Snowman Flash Mob on Medina’s square TONIGHT

Posted by Jennifer

Hey friends… I know this is last-minute, but if you don’t have plans for tonight here’s something fun to do with your family.

I saw on Facebook that someone is organizing a Snowman Flash Mob for tonight at 8 p.m. on Medina’s Square.

The instructions are to arrive at 7:55 p.m. and hang out on the periphery, either across the street or on the surrounding sidewalks. Stay off the central square. Wait for the signal (I don’t know what this signal will be!) and then move to the square and build as many 2-foot snowmen as you can. After 20 or 30 minutes there will be an ending signal, when you are to leave the central area and stand on the perimeter. There may be caroling at that point.

I can’t vouch for the veracity of this plan or if it would work, but what fun if it does!

And, if it doesn’t, take your family to Cool Beans or the Bakery Shoppe for a cup of cocoa, or to Lemonberry for a dish of frozen yogurt.

Either way, it’s a fun story for the family, right?

I wish we could go – I have a previously scheduled choir practice at 7:30, though! I hope some of my kids will check it out for me! If you go, please let me know what happens!


Post-Black Friday: Did you survive?

Posted by Jennifer

Today’s the first day all of my children are back in school after the Thanksgiving holiday, so I finally have to give up my pretense that I can still be in “holiday” mode. No work, lots of good food, no exercise, extra spending…

Yeah, I know. You can’t stay there forever. So, I hit the gym after dropping the kids off at school, and made a bargain with myself that I’d only do 30 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical — at least it was something. I just finished a salad and turkey sandwich for lunch (no pie!), I did a little writing and made arrangements for future interviews, and so far today I haven’t purchased anything. Progress!

So how did you fare this Thanksgiving? The beautiful weather wasn’t very “over the river and through the woods”ish, but it sure made everything sweeter. We cooked our turkey outside in the propane fryer, and the kids threw a football around the yard while my husband kept an eye on the bird. (And boy was it tasty! And done in only 66 minutes. I highly recommend.)

We had a fairly small gathering for our family — just us, with my dad and his wife — but were joined later that night by our good friends who came for dessert. We feasted on three kinds of pie and a cake while we plowed through the Black Friday ads and plotted our strategy.

For people who decided that “there wasn’t much in the ads this year worth going out for,” we still managed to forsake sleep and more than a few dollars.

In the end, it comes down to the sport of it. If half of Medina is going to be inside Walmart at midnight, by golly, we should be there too!

The little boys went home with my dad for a sleepover, freeing all of us up to hit the stores. At 9:30 p.m. we headed out with our three older children and two of their friends, stopping first at Walmart. They had specials starting at 10 p.m., and about 15 minutes before the magic hour, the store and all surrounding parking areas were teeming with people or cars. My son and I got in line for the toys, which were sequestered in the lawn & garden area, while my husband headed for the video games and movies.

It was the first time I’d encountered this system: We had to shuffle along a line that started back in Domestics and snaked its way through cosmetics before a limited number of people were permitted to view the toys from the ad. As we got plenty of time to survey the selection of picture frames and shaving cream, I prayed that there would — after all this — still be a 12-inch bike we wanted for our youngest.

A camaraderie developed among our fellow line-standers, and we swapped ads and shopping strategies while we waited. It was all very festive and pleasant, except for the fact that we were surrounded by massive numbers of people and this underlying doubt that it was all worthwhile.

When our time came, we were rewarded – we got one of the last three bikes in that size. We had to immediately check out (no browsing the store for other bargains) and exit. I was a little disappointed, since last year I had picked up a bargain on a couple of great towels someone had cast aside, but I reminded myself that I hadn’t really seen anything else in the ads. Let it go.

We found the rest of our troops and headed next for Target, which opened at midnight. That line started around the back of the store, facing Regal Cinemas. Thankfully, the store opened and somehow we made it inside. I was afraid the fire marshall — which was there and seemed to be appraising the safety of the situation — would cut off the line before we got in. Once inside, we split up again — I can’t say what I picked up (you never know who’s reading!), but as soon as I had those items, and a few spontaneous others, I jumped into the checkout line and waited for the rest of our group to bring things to me.

Like Walmart, Target’s line started back in Housewares, and snaked its way through food, then paper products and along the front wall. Once we made our way up near the registers, a Target employee directed us to the next available register. The line was long, but it moved quickly thanks to the large number of registers open.

Then we hit a stand-still. The next stores didn’t open until 5, and we didn’t feel strongly enough about anything to stand in line for several hours.

What else was there to do? We hit McDonald’s, which wisely had opened at midnight.

You would have thought it was noon, for the number of people who were there, inside or going through the drive-through. We got a little food and drinks and assessed our situation.

By this time (it was after 1 a.m.) our children were ready to go home. So much for the teen-age night owls!

We headed home and I caught a few hours’ sleep before heading out again with my husband at 4:30 a.m. We hit Home Depot ($5 pine roping and 99-cent poinsettias, baby!) and MC Sporting Goods before driving to Fairlawn for Staples, World Market and Five Below.

The second time, we got home about 8:30 I think. It was off to bed, then, and my husband had to go to work at 1. (Ugh)

It was a lazy Friday for the rest of us. I got a few things done around the house and took a walk. My girls wanted to spend time at Cool Beans on the square. I don’t know if my son got dressed all day. Late in the afternoon, my youngest came home from Grandpa’s, and the 6-year-old planned to stay another night.

It was a crazy night, and I wish I could say I had some great big bargain to show for it. I was a bit jealous at the empty flat-screen TV boxes that popped up on my neighbors’ curbs the next day.

The economists have been busy assessing the Black Friday outcomes and trying to prognosticate about our economy. Does this upturn in sales mean we’re on a rebound? the reporters ask anxiously.

My assessment is: No.

I was not out there to buy willy-nilly because I felt like I had so much more to spend. I was out there — as we always have been — because it’s fun, in a perverse sort of way. And sometimes there are great bargains to be found — the things I want become a bit more affordable on Black Friday than any other time. The investment of my time could equal a few more dollars in my pocket to spend on other things, like food.

Speaking of which, is it time for pie?


Not too late to enjoy Medina Ice Festival

Posted by Jennifer

If the long holiday weekend kept you busy these last few days, you can relax: it’s not too late to admire the ice carvings decorating Medina’s town square.

The city’s annual ice festival, which kicked off Friday with the Fire and Ice event in which a fire is lighted inside a hollow tower of ice blocks, officially ended on Monday.

However, the snow and cold temperatures that returned to our area on Sunday and Monday mean those intricately carved sculptures are bound to remain intact for several more days.

I remember years past where it’s been so warm that the sculptures dripped and melted all over the sidewalks and they barely lasted through the long Presidents’ Day weekend. And then there was last year, when it was so frigid we couldn’t bear to walk around to admire the sculptures up close, and settled for views from the car window.

This year, we started off warm — and thought it might help draw crowds to the square since Thursday’s temps in the upper 50s gave us a nice break from the frigid temperatures and snowcover. But Mother Nature turned out to be such a tease … and here we are, with roads slick enough to warrant a snow day (even if we didn’t get one).

If it’s not too chilly, try to get an up-close look at the sculptures. This is one more of those neat events that distinguishes Medina from every other burg in this northeast Ohio region.

Afterward, reward your kids with a steamy mug of hot chocolate at the Bakery Shoppe or Cool Beans, both on the square (and if you’re really savvy, you’ll use one of those half-price gift certificates you purchased earlier for the Bakery Shoppe and tucked away for just such an occasion).


Time for the ladies in Medina’s Historic District

Posted by Jennifer


OK, ladies, Thursday night we have to ditch the kids for a couple of hours and check out the shops in Medina’s Historic District.

The shops are sponsoring “Ladies Night Out” on Thursday, June 17, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Now, with the exception of Fundamentals toy store, 140 W. Washington St., most every shop on the square is really designed for the ladies anyway. You can’t really take your children into Gramercy Gallery, 221 S. Court St. - at least if you think you’re actually going to shop. I tried once, years ago, and spent the entire time fretting that they would touch something or, worse, break something.  Yikes!

But this night is special. I went to last year’s event with my stepmother and we went into a few shops I ordinarily avoid because I rarely am without the children. Nearly every shop offered refreshments, and we lingered over to-die-for cakes and truffles at DaVinci Floors & Granite, 229 S. Court St., and admired the lovely countertops and cabinets that I would love to have in my kitchen. We enjoyed a little glass of complimentary wine at the Interior Design Studio, 207 S. Court St., while we oohed and ahhed over the wall colors and fun accessories. 

Again this year there will be a game card which can be picked up at Whitey’s Army-Navy Store, 2 Public Square, (along with Jell-O shots and wine spritzers!), and you get stamps as you visit each shop. If you hit a certain number – I can’t remember how many that was – you get entered into a drawing for a prize. The Main Street Medina Web site doesn’t give details, but mentions you can also pick up your packet at the Medina Convention & Visitors Bureau – where they are offering cookies and drinks.

Here’s a list of the deals being offered Thursday night:

  •  Again & Again Boutique – 10% off all sales tonight only
  • Bee Scrappy – $5 off purchase of $25 or more; sangria & snacks
  • Cool Beans – Psychic readings
  • Eastwood Furniture – 20% off all accessories, lamps, and prints
  • Fleurs European Boutique — 10% of purchase of $20 or more; 20% off purchase of $30 or more; 6/8 to 7/12/10
  • Gramercy Gallery — 20% off Country Living Food Collections; wine & food tastings
  • Heartstrings Photography – Basket raffle valued at $250; sangria, cheese & crackers        
  • La Placa Jewelry – Bead Special! Buy 2 get 1 free
  • Lyle’s Jewelry and Coin — Get an additional 15% above value on gold; Snacks & chocolate chip cookies
  • Main Street Café – 1/2 price martini’s, $2.99 16oz margaritas, special small plates for under $5
  • Medina Auto Parts – Margaritas served by “The Chip And Dales”
  • Medina County CVB – Cookies & drinks
  • Medina Gem Co. — 15% off all purchases that evening; fruit, wine, & vegetable snacks
  • Miss Molly’s Tea Room & Gift Shop – 20% off all gift shop items not already on sale
  • Perfectly Charming — 10% off all sales tonight only
  • Promotions Xpress – Selling “Medina T’s” and “Ladies Night Out T’s” at Whitey’s Army Navy
  • ROOT Candles – Snack samples and in-store-only special discounts
  • Square 42 Aveda Salon and Spa – Free product samples
  • Studio Knit — 20% off stock yarn purchase; wine & cheese
  • Sully’s Irish Pub — $4 Margaritas and Cosmopolitans; complimentary appetizers
  • Tandem Trolley – 10% off Fresh Produce and Life is Good items
  • Tangerine Parlour — Paraffin dips and hand/arm massage; goodie bag hand-outs
  • The Bakery Shoppe — Raffle for a free 1/4 sheet cake
  • The Book Shelf – Half Price Books! Hardcover books $1.50, children’s books  $.50
  • The Dress Bridal Boutique — $100 off veil w/gown purchase;  champagne & truffles from The Country Baker
  • The Gardener’s Cottage – 20% off total purchase with coupon; drinks & appetizers
  • The Interior Design Studio – Summer drinks & snacky treats
  • The Potomac Bead Company – Bracelet or earrings for $5 + cost of beads, 20% off pre-made jewelry, wine & snacks
  • Towne Square Commons – Chair massages; Peach White Wine Sangria, hors d’oeuvres & sweets
  • Whitey’s Army-Navy Store  – Wine spritzers & Jell-O Shots