Archive for the ‘Medina activities’ Category


Putt-ing through the Ages is old-fashioned fun

Posted by Jennifer

Well, moms, we’ve just about made it to the end of the Christmas break. On Monday, the kiddos will be back in school.

Did we all survive?

It’s a bittersweet time, because I rather enjoy the holiday bubble, when practices and other activities are suspended in favor of family events and a general lull in an otherwise hectic pace.

But, there’s a calm in the return to routine, too. No more teens sleeping in past 1 p.m. and meals ongoing throughout the day. No more little boys staying up waaaayyy too late just because they have nowhere special to be the next day.

My biggest observation this break might be that it’s not the act of doing these things that is so bad, but the mismatched expectations that lead to conflict. (I know, big deal — this is no big psychological breakthrough for you, but bear with me.) Sure, it’s great if you’re the one sleeping in till 1, but if Mom expects you to get up and watch your brothers, there is conflict.

Having access to food throughout the day is fine, but if the kitchen is constantly littered with dirty dishes, I feel unsettled and annoyed that there isn’t some point at which all is clean and put away.

Children expect that they should get everything they want, and, when you don’t comply, there is discord.

During school, some of those expectations align — only to yield to new ones, of course, about homework and studying and such. But since it’s a longer period than a two-week break, it’s easier to establish an order and pattern.

Ah, but I digress.

While your children are still around this afternoon — and weekends through March 1 — enjoy some creative and educational time together playing miniature golf indoors at Medina County Park District’s “Putt-ing Through the Ages.”

The indoor miniature golf adventure, sponsored by Lodi Lumber and Friends of Medina County Parks, takes travelers through Ohio’s geologic history, through swamp forests, past giant amphibians, dinosaurs and woolly mammoths, and across a glacier. Facts about each area are printed nearby for those who want to know more. The younger ones just think it’s a hoot to hit the ball through the rocks and prehistoric fish.

We played a round a year or two ago and discovered it was a lot of fun. The props were imaginative and impressively made. I’m glad to see they brought it back.

It’s all inside the beautiful Buffalo Creek Retreat, so you can ignore the current Ice Age while getting out of the house with the kids without feeling like a woolly mammoth yourself.

Best part of all? It’s all free and open to all ages.

Hours: Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday, Jan. 2-March 1, 12 to 8 p.m.

Cost: Free and open to the public. No reservations or tickets necessary.

Location: Buffalo Creek Retreat, 8708 Hubbard Valley Road, Seville.

Directions: From Medina, take Route 3 south, turning left on Blake Road. Take the first right onto Hubbard Valley Road. The park is nearly 1 mile down on the right.


Welcome to south Medina, Discount Drug Mart!

Posted by Jennifer

All summer we watched with eager anticipation as Discount Drug Mart built its new location at 5923 Wooster Pike (the intersection of Lexington Ridge Road and Route 3), across from the McDonald’s.

That’s because there hasn’t been a lot of retail on the south end of Medina, where we live. Yes, the good old Hawkins grocery isn’t far — and certainly a lot closer than Giant Eagle or either of the Buehler’s locations — but it was just far enough and, let’s face it, lacks a certain flair. While I don’t want to pay extra for “flair,” bright lights and a fresh ambiance do make for a more pleasant shopping experience.

As the DDM building was starting to look fairly complete, we were even happier when a traffic light was added. No more taking your life into your hands to dart across Route 3!

The store opened quietly at the end of October, and we’ve been there almost daily for one thing or another. Today it celebrates its grand opening complete with free hot dogs and Johnsonville brats, chips, soda, giveaway bags, raffles and a formal ribbon cutting.

My husband was all over this. He made plans for us to have lunch at the store, after our son’s basketball scrimmage. And yes, I may have rolled my eyes once or twice.

But I’ve learned that, more often than not, he’s — oh, how it pains me to write this — right.

Today was no exception.

The DDM parking lot already was fairly full when we arrived about 11:30 a.m. We scouted the grill and food stand but it seemed that they were not serving yet, so we wandered inside and found two areas with free raffles for such things as $2,500 in gasoline, game tickets and a basket with a few kid-oriented DVDs. We checked the sale prices on a few things — a 10-pound bag of potatoes is on sale for $2, and off-brand, square tissue boxes are 59 cents — then wandered back outside once we saw the food was being served.

We had our choice of hot dogs or Johnsonville brats, DDM-brand potato chips, cookies from Eat ‘n Park and cups of Pepsi products. They even offered some kind of onion relish in addition to the ketchup and mustard…boy, was that good.

It was cold, so we ate in the car, and then noticed people coming out from the store with goodie bags. We ventured back in for a bag and were pleasantly surprised at how much was inside.

It would be hard to list everything, but here are a few highlights:
* 2 cans of Freshlike corn
* 6 Gain “flings” laundry tabs
* 2 full-size Hershey chocolate bars
* 4 rolls of Ace-like bandages from Motrin
* 3 sample tubes of Aquafresh toothpaste
* A Tide toy car
* many more samples from Axe, Pert, Clean & Clear, Purell and more

There also were handfuls of coupons, some of them for free products:

* Two free video rentals
* Free package of Johnsonville breakfast sausage
* Free box of Monkey Bars (granola bars)
* Two free packages of Pictsweet frozen vegetables (each good for up to $4)

The bags were given out one per household. We got home and sorted out some for our college daughter’s care package and some for my in-laws. My boys are excited about the Axe samples, and my teenage daughter eagerly laid claim to a box of Neutrogena moisturizer.

About 10 little packs of diaper rash cream will be donated to Birthcare, along with some newborn clothing we bought on clearance after Christmas last year.

The bags were extremely generous and lots of fun to dig through, although I think we would have been just as excited with a third as much stuff. I wonder if the store management might have been able to spread the good will even farther with more bags that weren’t stuffed quite as much.

Right now, perhaps my favorite acquisition from today’s adventure (aside from my yummy sandwich — need to find out what that relish was!), was the Tide car. My little guys have been happily playing with their Matchbox-style cars ever since we got home. Thanks, Discount Drug Mart!

It’s nice to have choices and here in Medina we are fortunate to have many when it comes to shopping. We’ll still visit Hawkins — we love the bakery, and often there are sales on items we buy — and the other groceries, but we’re happy to have something so close and convenient.

Whether it truly does “have everything you need,” only time will tell, but in the meantime, welcome to the ‘hood, Discount Drug Mart!


Free parenting program offers advice on raising young children

Posted by Jennifer

I distinctly remember bringing our oldest daughter home from what was then Meridia Euclid Hospital. We were just sure that every car that dared to cross our path wasn’t going to stop in time and was carelessly unaware of the precious cargo we had on board.

After we carried her car seat into the kitchen and set it on the floor (lest it topple over), we looked at each other and thought: “Now what?”

Despite being the second-oldest of five children, having babysat my share of youngsters and completing a Lamaze course, a sense of alarm threatened to take root in my heart. I couldn’t believe that “they” actually let us take this fragile newborn baby home with us. What did we really know about taking care of a baby??

We eventually figured it out well enough, I suppose, but every day there are new circumstances that threaten our tenuous hold as parents who are supposed to always make the right decisions. And every day I make my share of mistakes.

That’s why Catholic Charities is offering to help. The agency, which benefits people of all faiths (or none), is hosting its free Incredible Years Parenting Program at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 606 E. Washington St., in Medina. The program offers helpful parenting information for parents and families of young children, including such topics as play, using effective praise and rewards, limit setting that works, handling misbehavior and problem solving. A workbook is provided free of charge.

The group will have three Friday morning sessions: Oct. 10, Oct. 24 and Nov. 14, 9:15 to 10:45 a.m. in the Loyola Room of the church basement. Free childcare will be available nearby in the latchkey area, and snacks will be provided for parents and children.

For more information, call Michelle Kipfstuhl, LSW at Catholic Charities Services, 330-723-9615, ext. 20. Funding for this Incredible Years Parenting Group has been provided by the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund.

I wish a program like had been available when my children were this young. Can they develop a series for these “incredible” teenage years?


Medina ‘Just Kid’s Stuff’ sale is Saturday

Posted by Jennifer

If you’re looking to stock up on some new-used items for your children, Saturday’s “Just Kid’s Stuff” sale at the Medina Community Recreation Center is the place you will want to be.

The twice-yearly sale, sponsored by the Medina Early Childhood PTA, runs from 9 a.m. to noon. Shoppers enter through the back entrance to the field house (signs will be posted, but park in lots D, E & F).

The sale features individual vendors (other families) selling their stuff — sports equipment, clothes, toys, maternity items, baby stuff, and more — at tables set up in the field house. Admission to the sale is $5 for the first hour and $1 beginning at 10 a.m.

The rec center is at 855 Weymouth Road, connected to Medina High School.


It’s Fair Week!

Posted by Jennifer

Ah, there’s nothing like the sights and sounds and smell of the fair!

Sorry, but in my opinion, that’s a good thing.

I know, it’s probably very un-Medina of me to admit this, but I’m really not a fan of the fair. To me, it’s loud and dirty and smelly and expensive and greasy.

I’m a city girl. And here in the city of Medina, 98 percent of the time I get along just fine driving past the “cute” cows and horses and bucolic pastures and musing about the what appears to be the relative simplicity of country life.

Yeah, right. I know country life has its challenges. My cousins who grew up on and around farms and are active with 4H work long and hard to take care of their animals and land. I know it’s just a different kind of life, not necessarily simpler and definitely not easier.

But once a year at fair time, the overwhelming percentage of Medina County that’s still genuinely “country” bursts through the gentrified veneer and demands its day in the sun. Go to the fairgrounds, and you’ll be surrounded by plaid shirts and cowboy boots, demolition derbies and cow showings, pigs penned and chickens cooped. And all those people who live in their tidy neighborhoods built on former farmland traipse around the fairgrounds to ooh and ahh at the animals, and binge on some greasy fair food while they talk about how much spinning they’ll have to do to work it off.

It’s not that I dislike the farming side of our county. Quite the opposite. I’m grateful for our farmers for coaxing our food from the land and sustaining the Earth from which it grows. I have nothing but admiration for the hours they spend working the ground, studying the science of fertilizer and weed control, all without a vacation because plants and animals don’t take a week off of needing their care.

What I dislike is the carnival atmosphere that develops around the fairgrounds. The guys and gals (and oh yeah, they’re gals, not girls) who call out for your attention from their game booth. The layers of crud — grease, mostly, but also mud and animal crud — that lingers in the air and seems to cake on every surface. The plethora of bad food we shouldn’t eat at prices we can’t afford, so walking down the midway becomes an exercise in discipline. No, we aren’t buying that. No, you can’t have that. No, no, no.

That’s why I was glad this week when my husband amiably took a day off of work so that he could take our little boys to the fair while I worked. It was a fair trade (no pun intended). It was Kids Day — which always makes me smirk since the fair hosts the honors youth band and honors youth chorus the very next day, when it’s full-freight to ride the rides and for siblings to enter the fair. (I know, they’ve got to raise money somehow…)

But I digress. On Kids Day, children 11 and under get in free (saving $2) until 5 p.m. and can buy a wristband for $10 so they can ride (most things) all day. So, off they went for the afternoon, and they had a ball. They left just before the rain started, came home for dinner, and then we all went back that evening — yes, me too. Of course, the children weren’t free then, so we paid another $14 (Craig and Teagan’s hand stamps were still valid from earlier in the day) to go back and they could ride some more. Cha-ching.

By then, the weather had cooled considerably, and it turned out the rain wasn’t done. The boys rode one ride, then we waited out the heavier rain looking at the fair entries — jellies, cakes, photographs, sewing projects, Lego creations, toothpick holder collections (they have a category for everything!), and more. The boys loved it. Haha!

From there, we darted over to see the pigs, sheep, goats and rabbits — all of which was much more their speed. No, we aren’t getting a rabbit. Yes, they’re very cute. I know you have $25 at home. No, we’re not getting a rabbit.

Once the rain stopped, we ventured back to the rides, and although it was cold and the seats were wet, the boys were eager to try a few more. My 9-year-old gave up his sweatshirt to his 6-year-old brother in an act of chivalry that made this mom proud — and shiver. Just like the teenage girls running around in their Daisy Dukes. (Put some clothes on! Boy, am I old…)

About 10 p.m. we convinced the boys that it was time to head home. They conned us into letting them use their money to buy a caramel apple for one and Dipping Dots for the other as we headed for the gates. I was glad to be escaping to a warm, dry car, and soon to my warmer, drier bed.

I appreciate that there is a large segment of this county who love the fair, and I’m happy for them that we seem to have a good one, as far as they’re concerned.

It’s just not for me. To be fair, it doesn’t have to be.


Handel’s to offer $1 ice cream cones

Posted by Jennifer

Be prepared for a traffic jam south of town this weekend: Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream, on South Court Street in Medina, will sell single scoops of its fabulous ice cream for $1 each on Saturday, June 12.

There’s no limit to the number of cones you can buy, nor any coupon required. Last year, we managed to stop by twice — heck, it’s open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., so that means lunch AND dinner :) — because there are far too many flavors to sample with just one cone.

Based in Youngstown, Handel’s and featuring more than 100 flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurts, this ice cream is made with the best ingredients available. I like ice cream with lots of “stuff” in it — lots of chocolate chunks, creamy caramel, nuts, marshmallows, whatever — and this place doesn’t skimp with flavors like Graham Central Station, Funky Monkey and Blueberry Cheesecake Chunk. Just heavenly. (Can you tell I’m hungry?)

So grab your sweetie, treat the kids or be the hero for the whole baseball team — you aren’t going to beat $1 a scoop for some of the best ice cream around.


Free ice cream on the Medina Square today

Posted by Jennifer

The Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) is hosting Sundaes on Thursday in the Medina Square.

The free ice cream social that runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday will feature chocolate, caramel and strawberry toppings to add to vanilla ice cream, which is provided by Smith’s Dairy.

There will be other family-friendly attractions, including Patches the Fire Dog, the Windfall Industries Balloon Sculpture Team, the Cranksters Classic Car Club and the Medina Square Dancing Club, along with carnival games, face painting, crafts, a scavenger hunt, contests and prizes.

The event is open to all — not just those with disabilities. The idea is to provide opportunities for people of all abilities to enjoy time together as one community. What’s more universally appealing than ice cream?


Take a ride on the rails for free this Saturday

Posted by Jennifer

Got a train buff in your family?

Here’s a chance to let him or her see trains close up in one of the coolest model railroad sets you’ll ever see. And it’s all free (although donations are appreciated).

The Northeastern Ohio Live Steamers will offer free rides on the club’s small-scale replica trains from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lester Rail Trail.

The park is located on Lester Road in York Township, about a mile north of state Route 18, west of Medina.

The club will offer five free ride opportunities this year. The other dates are Aug. 2, Sept. 20, and the very popular and heavily themed Halloween rides on Oct. 17 and 18. Click here for more information.

Trains take riders through grasslands and replica train stations and across miniature bridges and trestles. Passengers — adults and children — ride atop replica box cars and other train cars pulled by miniature diesel and steam engines.

Medina County Parks allows the group to use park district land along an abandoned railroad line in exchange for periodic free rides to the public. At Halloween, it’s not uncommon to wait more than an hour for the chance to ride.


Regal $1 summer movies start next week

Posted by Jennifer

Summer’s off to a late start thanks to that pesky polar vortex and the extended school year, but it’s not too soon to begin mapping out cheap diversions.

We have enjoyed taking in the Regal Summer Movie Express that kicks off next week (June 10) at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The movies cost $1 (we remember when it was free) with the proceeds benefiting the Will Rogers Institute, a charitable foundation supporting research in asthma, tuberculosis and pulmonary diseases.

The first week’s movies are: “Hotel Transylvania” (a surprisingly enjoyable film for adults too) and “Smurfs 2.”

Week 2 (June 10 and 11): “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2″ and “The Pirates: Band of Misfits.” (I haven’t seen either of these.)

Week 3 (June 17 and 18): “Arthur Christmas” (another sentimental favorite in our house. Grandpa Santa is hoot!) and “Despicable Me 2″ (also not bad).

Week 4 (July 1 and 2): “The Lego Movie” (Everything is awesome!) and “Free Birds.”

Week 5 (June 24 and 25): “Adventures of TinTin” (an oldie but a goodie) and “Rise of the Guardians” (I like the cast (Jude Law!) but found the whole thing long and not as good as I would have hoped).

Week 6 (July 1 and 2): “Kung Fu Panda 2″ (Jack Black – yawn) and “Madagascar 3″ (hopefully we’re at the end of the run for that franchise).

Week 7 (July 8 and 9): “The Croods” (ugh) and “Epic” (didn’t see that one).

Week 8 (July 15 and 16): last year’s “Turbo” and “Walking with Dinosaurs.”

Week 9 (July 22 and 23): “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” (I’m intrigued for $1)and “Rio 2.”

And with that, it’s almost time for school to start again. Did you enjoy your summer? Haha. With my oldest daughter graduating from high school on Friday, I’m feeling a bit like time is moving too fast. But for my two little guys, whose last day of school is today, it can’t move fast enough. I remember those days, and I’m excited for them. We’ll celebrate by walking with a bunch of their friends and mothers to Lemonberry (hope somebody warned them we would be coming!) this afternoon. Let the summer begin!


Old Navy departure leaves big void in Medina

Posted by Jennifer

I was shocked the other night to see “news” on Facebook that Old Navy, Marshall’s and Bath and Body Works were closing their doors in Medina.

Thankfully, that post was only partly true — but confirmation from Mayor Dennis Hanwell that, of those three, only Old Navy is indeed shuttering its Medina location on Friday was not good news for our city.

Old Navy’s departure is part of a larger problem stemming from the big, gaping hole that is the former Kmart building just across the dirty parking lot.

When Kmart opened there in 1991, it was hailed as the first “Super Kmart” in the country because it had groceries as well as household items. Even Sam Walton supposedly visited, then opened a competing Walmart across the street. As the store lost profitability, it was scaled back to a regular Kmart (no groceries) in 2011. Since it closed in 2012, all 151,000 square feet of this mammoth carcass have been left to decay in what used to be the city’s center of “modern” retail.

Residents have watched and waited for what new retailer would come along to transform the space. Menard’s was rumored to be interested, as “for lease” signs disappeared from the storefront. A temporary Halloween store occupied part of the otherwise vacant space for a few weeks each fall. And yet, nothing more happened.

Although he was unaware of the news before my email Monday night, Mayor Hanwell responded immediately, explaining to me that Kmart pulled out of our city with several years left on its lease. It continues to pay rent to Benderson Development Co., which manages the property through its Buffalo, N.Y., location, even though the place sits empty.

“We have sent numerous leads to Benderson, but they are not even interested in showing [the] building as they still get the rent checks each month from Kmart,” the mayor says. “It is quite frustrating.”

He went on to explain that Old Navy and the other retailers in the adjacent plaza have a clause in their contracts that if the anchor store(which was Kmart) leaves, they get either reduced rent or can their vacate lease. On Tuesday morning, he confirmed that Marshall’s was not closing, but had not yet heard from Bath and Body Works. I also wonder about the remaining tenants: Dress Barn, Shoe Carnival and Sally’s Beauty Supply.

I don’t blame Old Navy and other retailers in the adjacent plazas for getting weary of that huge eyesore. I would argue that in the almost 14 years we’ve lived in Medina, Old Navy has behaved more like the anchor of that plaza, seemingly attracting more shoppers than Kmart. Quite honestly, a huge percentage of my family’s clothing that I have bought new has come from that store. (Those of you who know me well know that I take good advantage of thrift stores and garage sales.) Of course, we often wait for deep clearance prices, so we probably haven’t contributed much to the store’s profitability. But I digress.

It is disheartening that an out-of-state management company is content to let the building sit vacant as long as it collects its rent checks from Kmart. One might argue that the lingering vacancy is merely a symptom of a struggling economy, with no one particularly at fault, but it is hard to think Benderson is doing everything possible to fill that space if it has ignored prompts from the city.

Or, does Kmart want to hold onto that property with an eye toward possibly returning one day? Is it trying to block Walmart from adding, say, a Sam’s Club? You know, the old “I-don’t-want-it-but-you-can’t-have-it” strategy that has frustrated other communities like Painesville Township and Willoughby.

In any case, the departure of Old Navy from the city of Medina should be a significant red flag for Medina-area development officials. The store was more than just a place to buy affordable clothing; I would call its styles “family-friendly hip” — cute and trendy, but not over-the-top edgy or expensive — that could well describe the character of our city. Does its departure mean something more than the loss of just one more tax-paying retailer?

One of the things we have always loved about Medina is that it seemed to have everything we could need. From a retail perspective, being able to say “we have an Old Navy” was as important as being able to say “we have a Target, a Walmart and a Home Depot.” I would argue that Marshall’s is another destination retailer that I am glad we have nearby.

I hope that this Friday’s closure lights a fire under our city officials to find a way to fix this blight along North Court Street. Maintaining a healthy retail segment in that portion of our community is every bit as important as keeping storefronts occupied around the square, and deserves at least that much attention.