Huge Upgrade For Oklahoma City Incredible Pizza Tiny TownWe are excited to announce our Tiny Town area has been updated. These pictures do not do the update justice, you will have to come in and enjoy this new update in person.
Incredible Pizza Partnership with Great Circle
Springfield’s Incredible Pizza has been partnering with Great Circle for about four months.
Great Circle is a Missouri based non-profit that has become one of the most comprehensive providers of behavioral health services in all of Missouri. They provide an atmosphere where families and individuals can grow and learn in times of struggle. The trained professionals who work for great circle are guided by the Core Values of compassion, diversity, fun, integrity, mission-focused, professional excellence, stewardship, and transparency. Great Circle hopes to equip families with the tools and support they need to reach a place where they can thrive.
Some examples of services Great Circle offers are 24-Hour care, Autism services, Counseling, Crisis Services, Education, Home and Community Based services, Parenting Support, Day Care, Psychological Services, Foster Parent Training, Supervised visitation, Foster Care Case Management, Intensive Family Intervention Services, Intensive Family Reunification Services, and Transitional Living Group Homes.
Incredible Pizza supports Great Circle’s mission, and we hope to make an impact for children, and to be a part of building a better future. We have strived to help Great Circle in three ways: fundraising, employment, and creating a safe place for families to rebuild.
Incredible Pizza understands that our customers are all in different financial situations. We choose to offer multiple options for fundraising. We ask our guests if they would like to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar, and we also ask guests if they would like to make a $5 donation and we give them a Free Attraction at our store. So far the Springfield store has raised about $4,000 for great circle- that’s an average of $40 a day! Our goal is to train our cashiers to ask every customer if they would like to donate to at risk youth, and we have high hopes to raise $30-50,000 a year for Great Circle.
Incredible Pizza knows and is sensitive to the struggles that at-risk youth have gone through. At age 17, Missouri residents are considered adults. It can be difficult to find jobs at 17 when you’ve had a rough life. Springfield’s Incredible Pizza has given Great Circle applicants 1st chance to an interview. If a Great Circle teen applies for an open position at Incredible Pizza, we guarantee them an interview. This doesn’t always mean they will get hired, but we make sure to give them a fair chance at gainful employment in an environment that is fun and supportive.
Safe and Fun Place for Families
Along with what we have already implemented, Springfield’s Incredible Pizza is in the process of creating a program with Great Circle to bring families and groups in to have fun in a safe environment at no cost to the families or individuals. Many circumstances can lead to a family being separated, and there are times where reintegration is possible. Incredible Pizza is in the process of setting up a visitation pass system with Great Circle to bring those families in and let them reconnect in a safe, fun, and positive environment. This also expands to the group homes run by Great Circle. We want to provide an incentive system to those who are living in group homes the chance to experience fun with free group events for celebration of achieving goals and reaching milestones.
Expanding to St. Louis
We are pleased with our partnership with Great Circle in Springfield and have decided to expand our partnership to our St. Louis location in the coming months. To start in St. Louis, we will be implementing the same Fundraising strategy that we have been using in Springfield.
To learn more about Great Circle visit: www.greatcircle.orgEating healthy can really seem like a chore at times. It’s easy to fall into a “salad rut” when you’re munching on the same bland bowl of lettuce every day. We have some great ideas to take a boring salad and mix it up! It’s easy to get you’re your daily suggested servings of veggies each day when you start making tastier salads.
Here are 5 Ideas to help you get out of your salad rut:
- Taco Salad- Making a great Taco Salad is easy. Start with a base of mixed greens of your choosing, add taco meat, beans, salsa, corn, cheese, black olives, tomatoes, avocado, and top with some crushed up tortilla chips!
- Caesar Salad Wrap- Caesar salad is a classic, but it can get boring. To change things up, try making a salad wrap. Get a tortilla, and inside put romaine lettuce, chicken breast, parmesan cheese, pepper, croutons, and drizzle your Caesar dressing over it. Roll up your tortilla, and now you have a delicious wrap!
- Southwest Salad- To make a great Southwest salad start with your greens. In sections, add avocado, cheddar cheese, tomato, black beans, corn, grilled chicken, and bacon bits. Squirt with some lime juice and add your favorite salad dressing.
- Crispy Chicken Salad- This salad is easy to customize! All you need are some greens, your favorite salad toppings, and chicken nuggets! Cut your crispy nuggets into small pieces and add to your salad.
- Classic Veggie Salad- A classic veggie salad may sound boring, but if you add super foods to your salad, your body won’t think so! Super foods are nutrient powerhouses that are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Some great superfoods to add to your salad are mushrooms, tomato, broccoli, carrots, black beans, spinach, and olives!
Work, school, sports practices, music lessons, rehearsals, and many other scheduling conflicts can make it seem impossible to sit down together for a family meal. We get so caught up in all of our commitments that we often end up eating breakfast bars on the go, and picking up dinner at the drive-through. A recent study by Eckrick showed that 40% of American families eat dinner together only three or fewer times a week. The report also showed that 88% of families would like to increase the time spent with their family at the dinner table.
It can be hard to work your family meals around your crazy life, but here are 7 reasons why you should try!
Better GradesA research study by the American College of Pediatricians revealed that “Teens who have dinner with their families seven times a week are almost 40 percent likelier to say they receive mostly A’s and B’s in school.”
Healthier ChoicesThe same study reveals that children ages 9-14 are 24% more likely to eat healthier foods when families eat meals together. Kids are more likely to be introduced to (and like) fruits and veggies. They are more likely to choose healthy snacks over salty and sugary snacks.
Better relationshipsHaving mealtime as a family has been linked to building better bonds within your family. Kids feel closer to their parents and are more likely to be open and honest about any issues they’re dealing with.
Mental healthFinding time to eat with your family can reduce stress in kids and adults. Rituals like mealtimes add some structure to a world that often feels frenzied and out of control. Knowing that one part of your day is going to unfold in basically the same way as every other day is comforting.
Teach New SkillsMealtime and preparation is a great way to get your kids excited about learning to cook. Kids are more likely to try new foods and meals if they help cook them. Let them help make the weekly menu, set the table, prepare the food- cooking is a basic skill they’ll need to learn eventually. When I was growing up, my mom assigned each of the kids one night to make dinner each month. It was a great learning activity.
Knowledgeable KidsKids who have family mealtime also have bigger vocabularies and faster language development. Children hear longer discussions, narratives, and hear more words. Language activities in preschool aged children can drastically affect their future literacy skills.
Save MoneyFamily mealtimes usually take some planning to pull off. Planning ahead can actually save you money! If you plan your mealtimes in advance you can lower your number of trips to the store. You also save on last minute fast food decisions. If you know you’ll still end up going out two or three times a week, plan in advance.
After I learned the positive impacts of having mealtimes with my family, I started doing my best to make it happen at least three times a week. My husband and I sit down together each Saturday and make our meal plan for the upcoming week. We make a list of everything we need for the week and get our grocery shopping done. If I’m feeling really ahead of the game, I even prep things that can be prepped for later in the week on Sunday afternoon to save time on week nights. We usually take turns cooking. Our daughter is only 10 months old, so she’s not much help in the kitchen (yet). Once dinner is done we eat together at the table. We even pull up the baby’s high chair to the table so she’s eating dinner with us too. She’s already got the art of back and forth conversation down. We can’t understand her babbling nonsense yet, but she understands that people take turns when they’re talking.
Making mealtime a priority can change your family dynamics in so many positive ways. These are only a few of the major benefits. One thing that is important to remember is that every family is different. What works for my family might not work for yours and vice versa. Tailor your mealtimes to YOUR family and find what works for you. If you can’t make it work every day, pick a couple nights a week. If dinners are impossible for your family, have breakfast together each morning. The most important thing is to bond with your family and create healthy conversation and connection.
Get back on track this month! Let’s check in on those New Year’s Resolutions. My resolution this year is to stop drinking soda. I didn’t do as well as I wanted this month, but I still made a major improvement. I may not have completely stopped drinking soda this month, but I went from drinking soda EVERYDAY to going 19 days last month without soda. Part of my issue was that I didn’t plan for what I would do when those soda cravings and caffeine withdraws came. I’ve evaluated my progress for the last month and know that I need to make a few more changes if I really want to eliminate soda. Here are some tips that I’ll be using, and you can also use to ensure that the rest of the year goes a little smoother!
- Don’t beat yourself up! – If you didn’t do as well as you had hoped you would, that’s ok. You are human, and every day is a new day. Pick yourself back up and start again!
- Check-in and Reevaluate your goals monthly – Did you fall off the wagon because of lack of willpower, or were your goals too unrealistic? Sit down and evaluate the past month to see where the issues were. If it was too hefty of a goal, break it down. If you didn’t have the drive, try thinking of a way to reward yourself when you do well.
- Create an action plan with steps- If you’ve evaluated and concluded that you need to adjust your goal, try creating a SMARTER goal. SMARTER stands for:
- Specific- Clearly identify what you hope to achieve. Specific goals have a much greater chance of being achieved than broad goals. Can your goal be broken down into smaller goals? If your goal is to “eat healthier,” you probably won’t make it far because your goal is too broad. If your goal is to “eat three servings of fruit each day,” you are much more likely to accomplish your goal.
- Measurable– Be sure to identify concrete criteria for measuring progress. How much? How many? When will I know when my goal is complete?
- Action-Oriented– Create a plan of action on how you are going to reach your goal. Have steps in place on what to do if you feel like going back to your old habits.
- Realistic– Is your goal consistent with other goals you have, and do they fit with your long and short-term plans? Make sure your goal is realistic for your current circumstances.
- Time-Based– Give yourself a timeline! Ensure you have deadlines and try your hardest to stick to them.
- Enthusiasm– Approach your goals with an open mind and positivity. Know your reason for making the goal in the first place. Evaluate and reevaluate regularly.
- Rewarding– Reward yourself for every major milestone and encourage yourself to stay focused.
- Find an accountability partner- An accountability partner is so beneficial when it comes to reaching goals. Find someone with a similar goal and be there for each other.
- Don’t give up- Even if you don’t get the results you want, look at the positives, rework your goal, and try again. Slow progress is still progress.
- Celebrate! – Every time you reach a milestone share your progress and celebrate!
Incredible Pizza Raises Money for The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical CenterThe Event: This winter, our Warr Acres, OK Incredible Pizza location partnered with The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center. We held a Round-Up campaign from November 20, 2017 through December 31, 2017. Guests were asked to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar, and all proceeds went back to the children’s hospital. We hosted a kickoff party on November 18th, 2017, before the campaign, and several Make-A-Wish families were invited to come to Incredible Pizza to celebrate. At the kickoff party, our incredible employees learned about all the things that the Children’s Hospital does for children in the area, and were able to meet and hear the stories of some of the strong and brave children who are receiving treatment.
“The employees were very supportive, very helpful and seemed to enjoy themselves as much as the families. This event holds a personal place in my heart. I’m also a Make-A- Wish mom. The families couldn’t stop saying how much fun they had and how grateful they were for our partnership. Lots of emotions were shared by all. There were some tears and lots of laughter. It was an incredibly successful kickoff. It’s an honor to be a part of such a special occasion.” -Regina Best, Fairgrounds General ManagerThe Results: After the kickoff party began the campaign. We raised $333 in one month for the children’s hospital, and 63% of that was raised by just one person! Our incredible cashier Nydirhya Pittman was very diligent in raising donations, and made sure that every guest she encountered was educated on the cause. Great job, Nydirhya! We are so proud of her diligence that we are awarding her with some Incredible Pizza swag. You go, girl! We are SO thankful to our guests for being willing to donate! The store has a goal to double their numbers later this year when we hold the campaign again. Winter can be beautiful, but after the holidays the cold and rainy months just drag on and on. The weather is unreliable at best, and there are a lot of days that it’s too cold to let the kids play outside. Or too dark because the sun goes down 10 minutes after it comes up, if it even decided to come out that day. Finding fun activities for the kids during this season can be a challenge, so we’ve put a few together for you. Here are 7 ideas for fun indoor activities to keep the kids (and you) from going stir crazy this winter!
1. Board Games/Puzzles: On especially gloomy days, I love to turn on some music and pull out a puzzle or game to do with my family. Just pick your favorite and play!
2. Art projects/Crafts: Bring out the crayons, markers, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, and googly eyes. Cold or rainy days are the perfect time to get crafty. If you don’t have a lot of craft supplies, don’t worry. Kids can make art with anything. (Have you heard of macaroni art?)
3. Write letters to family: I know we’re in the digital age, but writing letters is a fun and different way to spend your day inside. Write letters to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Teach your kids how to address the envelope! Older family members will love it, and your littles will get to feel the excitement and anticipation of receiving a letter back in the mail.
4. Mad Libs: Do you remember these? They’re fun and educational. You get to create silly stories, and your kiddos learn the different parts of speech. We even made an Incredible Pizza themed Mad Libs just for you! Click Here to print your copy of our Mad Libs. Bonus points if you find us on Facebook and let us see your silly stories!
5. Have fun in the kitchen: Choose something delicious to make, and let the kids help you. Kids enjoy making (and eating) sweets, and it turns out baking is a great way to learn kitchen measurements and math. Did you know there are 256 tablespoons in a gallon? And there are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon so there are 768 teaspoons in a gallon. See? Baking=math=learning. So, baking cookies is actually a good thing.
6. Movie Night: Let the kids pick a movie and make an activity of it. Get your favorite treats, pop some popcorn, get in your pajamas, bring all of your blankets and pillows out and make a giant cozy pallet on the floor in front of the TV, turn off all the lights, and enjoy!
7. Create a Scavenger Hunt with a prize at the end: Come up with a prize that your kids will love and create hints and clues to send them searching all over the house. HINT: the more clues you create and hide, the longer your kids will stay occupied. Make sure that the clues and hints are age appropriate. For kids 5 and under, include images or drawings in your hints.
These are a few ideas we thought of, but let us know if you have any other awesome ideas that your kids like! Click here for a copy of our Mad Libs.
There was a time in my family when nobody would speak up about what they wanted or needed. Everyone was trying so hard to please each other, but nobody was happy! Somehow, the assertive speaking skills we had mastered in the workplace weren’t carrying over to home. Once I started speaking up for my wish list, we were able to find new traditions that worked for everyone.
There’s a tipping point for me, when the to-do list reaches such gargantuan proportions that I become a deer in headlights. All work grinds to a halt as I worry about all the work to be done. That’s especially likely to happen during the holidays. Then came the magical day when I decided to try the project management software I use at work for my personal life. Better than a simple to-do list, Trello lets you break up the list into separate categories, or cards. Some of my cards are “Most Urgent,” “To Delegate,” “Shopping List,” and “Day Of.” It makes everything run smoothly.
Did you notice that one of my categories was “Delegate”? My life was revolutionized the day I realized I didn’t have to do it all. (Sure, mock if you will, but that was big for me). By delegating tasks to my kids, they learn how to someday navigate their own holiday seasons as adults. My favorite memories have been made wrapping presents with my children. Sure, some of the presents are wrapped a little… artistically…, but their siblings aren’t going to notice or care if the tape is perfectly aligned.
Delegating can even be extended to guests. Before the event, think of what tasks can be shared so when someone asks, “Can I help?” you have an answer for them. At every party, there will be people who would be happier if they have something to do. Parsing out little tasks not only takes some of the pressure off you, it makes you a better host!
Help during the holiday season can even come from the stores you shop at. Many stores have free gift wrapping services; they just don’t advertise it. Don’t be afraid to ask. Did you buy something that has “some assembly required?” Ask the store to put it together for you. Even if you have to pay for the service, the heartache you’ll save will make it worth it!
Let it go:
No matter how well you plan or delegate, there will still be hitches or things that don’t get done. That’s okay. Ultimately, the hiccups only have the power to ruin the season if you allow them to. Choose to enjoy your friends and family even when things go awry. Of course, for some of us, to “Let It Go” is such a monumental task that it’s worthy of an epic ballad if we manage to accomplish it. But the effort will undoubtedly make for smoother holidays. (And to everyone who now has that song stuck in your head: You’re Welcome. Oh, there’s another one).
Don’t be afraid to stop doing the high-stress traditions. Just because you’ve always done something, doesn’t mean you always have to do something. It’s okay to replace old traditions that stress you out with new ones that are more enjoyable for everyone.
Don’t ditch it:
Don’t give up the daily habits that calm and center you to accommodate the extra workload during the holidays. If your day starts with yoga or a trip to the gym, don’t give into the temptation to skip it to make extra time in your schedule. Use the tips above to make the wiggle room without sacrificing needed routines!
Keep it simple:
Some thrive on being the Pinterest queen, and I respect that. (I don’t necessarily understand it, but I do respect it). But for me, the big day is not the time to try an elaborate new recipe. I’m much better off to stick with the tried and true recipes I could do in my sleep that I know my family loves. I work those other recipes in throughout the year, so I can test them out in a situation that isn’t quite so intense. If I simply must try something new, I do a test run before, much to the delight of my kiddos. Remember, guests care less about elaborate decorations and more about seeing you – and your stress will stress them out! So, take a deep breath in and enjoy the holidays.
“Adoption is a wonderful opportunity for families looking for children as well as those children who are in need of families and loving families. It’s not just an opportunity for them for a better life but it’s also an opportunity for families to just build a bond and a connection.” – Natalie Potvin
We at Incredible Pizza know we have a lot to be thankful for all year long. There might be a myriad of reasons for us to give thanks, but they all come down to two things: our guests and our employees. They are the secret recipe that make the incredible moments happen. We could go on all day about how incredible both are, but we figure you have other things to do today besides read this post. (Like getting ready for a certain big meal coming up this week!) So here are the top ten reasons we’re thankful for our guests and employees:
10: We thank our guests for trusting us with their birthdays. We know how important that party is, and we’re grateful every single time you entrust such a special day to us. Of course, those birthdays wouldn’t be quite the same without our party hosts; the energy and enthusiasm they bring is what makes the day incredible!
9: We’re thankful to our employees for fearlessly tackling field trip season with us. Each year as May approaches, the entire company takes a collective deep breath. We take one last look at each other as if to say, “If I don’t make it, tell Ma I love her” and we roll up our sleeves and wade into a sea of buses and children amped up on the joy a day in an indoor amusement park—and the sweet promise of summer being right around the corner. It’s an insanely stressful month, but it’s also incredibly exciting. There’s a feeling in the air that’s indescribable. And when you survive field trip season, well, we’re pretty sure it’s akin to climbing Everest or finishing the Iditarod.
8: We’re thankful to our guests and employees for helping us give back. Each year, Incredible Pizza guests bring in school supplies for children in need, canned food to feed the hungry, art supplies for children in the hospital, and more. Whenever we say there is a need, time and again you fill it. Our employees give their time for things like the United Way Day of Caring. They Bowl for Kids’ Sake to raise money for Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Iggy the Mascot attends charitable events and races. Employees organize events to raise money for their local communities and causes they care about and then our amazing guests pack the house to show their support. It’s pretty incredible watching people come together to make the world a better place.
7: Speaking of community, one of our favorite things to do each year is participate in parades. We try to make it to one each year in each city where we have a store. There is a lot of work that happens behind the scenes to make that happen, and we’re so grateful for everyone who pitches in to do their part (and to our ah-mazing float driver). The day of, our corporate office and store employees donate their time to run alongside the float and hand out candy. Sometimes even our families and customers help us out. The excitement in the air at a parade is palpable. We adore being a part of our communities in such a special way, and we couldn’t do it without you.
6: We might only make it to one parade a year, but thanks to our employees, we’re able to attend other community events throughout the year. Festivals, fairs, expos, marathons, and more line our calendar in each city we’re a part of. That wouldn’t be possible without our employees being willing to give of their time to lug the tent, set up the prize wheel, and spend a day – often in adverse conditions – holding down the fort. And all of that effort would be pointless without our guests stopping by to say hi, joke around, and take their turn at the prize wheel.
5: We’re thankful to our customers for sharing their triumphs with us. One of the first things we ask when a guest walks through our door is if they are celebrating anything. The answers run the gamut: sports teams, scouts, youth groups, clubs, corporate groups… the list goes on. It’s easy to recognize the happy chatter of a group that’s there to celebrate a triumph or accomplishment.
4: On the flip side of that, our guests and employees are both pretty fantastic about helping us celebrate our triumphs, too. When we open a new activity or store, you’re there to help us celebrate. Not just our guests, but our employees, too. We have a private group on Facebook for our employees to share what’s happening in their corner of Incredible Pizza. The wall is filled with triumphs and shared activities, big and small—from the snazzy new flyer display case being hung, to a store’s grand opening, to surviving field trip season. Pictures of moments we want to celebrate with each other fill that virtual room.
3: We’re thankful to our guests and employees for sharing those beautiful smiles with us for marketing pictures. It’s not uncommon – especially the closer to Springfield you get – to see a member of the marketing team walking around with a camera asking if they can take a picture of you or your family. (Hint: we’ll give you a free activity or game card if you say yes.) Sure, we could hire models for our photo shoots or get stock photos. There’s no shortage of sites to find even free pictures on. But you are the face of Incredible Pizza. We don’t want to share meaningless pictures of people who don’t know us; we want to shine a spotlight on the real guest and the real employee. It’s your beautiful smiles that tell our story.
2: A couple of years ago, we started talking a lot more about #IncredibleMoments. We have monthly drawings to give away a $100 VIP Pass for four, and all you have to do to enter is post pictures of your special moments on our social media feeds and use the hashtag #IncredibleMoments. Every so often, we talk about ending the contest for something new or fresh but we can never seem to. We enjoy seeing those pictures too much. Each week, families “check in” on social with pictures and snippets about why they chose to walk through our doors. I have to fight the urge to hashtag them all—because they’re all incredible moments. And whether you enter the contest or not, we’re thankful each and every time you share a photo on our social feeds. For many of us, those pictures are the exact reason we do what we do.
1: And the number one reason we are thankful for our guests and employees … for helping us make something special, where family and friendship is still valued. Our founder created Incredible Pizza because he wanted a way for families and friends to connect, to spend time together, to play together. His dream was for Incredible Pizza to be a place where all of the world’s problems are checked at the door as moms and dads play with their children. Brothers and sisters team up to slay a dragon—or dinosaur—together. Friends giggle until their sides hurt. That’s special, and we get to be part of that every day because of you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.