Cyber Monday Deals Week

I don’t hit the stores for Black Friday. No way, not in cold Ohio! I do, however, love Cyber Monday. Even more, I love how Amazon has extended the fun and savings all week long, just like they did for Black Friday Week. The sales have already begun on Amazon Cyber Monday Deals Week, with a new special being announced every 10 minutes.

Watch their Cyber Monday landing page or use any of the following links to take you to whatever department makes you drool — err — catches your eye for gift-giving this season. Deals are announced ahead of time so you can pop back in when they start.


2013 Amazon Cyber Monday Deals Week

2013 Amazon Cyber Monday Deals Week: New deals every 10 minutes, all week long!


Shop Amazon – Cyber Monday Deals Week in Laptops

Shop Amazon – Cyber Monday Deals Week in Desktops

Shop Amazon – Cyber Monday Deals in Sports


Let Meijer know you don’t want the Newark, Ohio store to close


Meijer doesn't have a pain reliever for store closures.

On February 26, Meijer announced that the Newark Meijer store will close on May 24, 2013. This news hit us hard. We’ve been shopping at Meijer since it opened and have received great service from many familiar faces through the years.

Aside from it being a large employer for the county, the store is one of only a few large privately-owned retailers around here. People from all around the county go there for groceries, prescriptions, clothes, household items, hardware, electronics and all sorts of other things.

What’s a community to do when faced with yet another store closing? If Meijer’s presence in the Newark/Licking County area is important to you as an employer or destination for your family’s pharmacy, grocery, and other household needs, don’t just shake your head and comment on Facebook.

What can you do? Let them know directly.

Like the Save the Newark Meijer Store Facebook page:

Contact Meijer directly via email, social media, snail mail and phone.

(use hashtags #NewarkMeijer and #NewarkOhio)

Meijer on Pinterest:
Meijer on Facebook:
Meijer on Google+:
Meijer Press Email:

Meijer Mailing Address: 2929 Walker Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544

Meijer Phone: (877) 363-4537

It may not change the outcome, but we can sure let Meijer know we want them here in our city! Don’t let them shut down that store without knowingwhat it means to us as a community.

Review of Sunset Inn Restaurant in Hebron, Ohio

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For years, we drove past this place thinking it was just a little bar. My husband heard they had good food, so went there for lunch with a friend. He raved about it and took me back there for dinner last week. The food is made fresh from scratch — not frozen — and is reasonably priced.

We split an order of chicken wings as an appetizer. They had a very light, crispy breading and had good flavor. I think there were 10 wings and the cost was only $5.95. We had the option of having the wings tossed in BBQ sauce or having the sauce on the side. We chose the latter. They make the wings fresh for each order, and it shows. They were good wings. A wider selection of sauces would have been nice, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker.

For my entree, I had fried frog legs. Having had big frog legs in Louisiana, I set a pretty high bar. I’ve had them at Asian buffets, but they’re always little previously-frozen wimpy frog legs. When I asked how big theirs were, our server brought out a pair of frog legs ready to go into the fryer so I could see for myself.  They were plump, fresh frog legs cooked intact. Lightly-breaded with just a dusting of a seasoned flour, they were really tasty. The thighs’ circumference was about the same as a US quarter. Forgive the poor quality shot, but I took it with my phone in dim light.


Four nice-sized frog legs with a side of cottage fries.

Four nice-sized frog legs with a side of cottage fries.


Yes, I giggled when I saw them. In all my previous experiences with them, the legs have been separated. We remarked about how they looked like little people. Now there’s a nice thought, huh? I must admit I held up a pair and made them dance a little jig. My husband did not video record this, unfortunately. I did stop (just) short of singing “Hello! Ma Baby!” as I did it. Even I have a few filters left.



Here’s the whole film, “Some Froggy Evening” cartoon with Michigan J. Frog. It’s one of my favorite Looney Tunes films!


But I digress.

My husband had baked steak, which was also good. The mashed potatoes and gravy were great. We both liked that they didn’t salt the heck out of the recipes. We don’t use a lot of salt when we cook at home, so it’s almost inevitable that most restaurant fare is way too salty for our taste. I had to add a little salt to my food, but I prefer that any day. You can always add salt, but you can’t take it away!

My husband had the apple dumpling a la mode with vanilla ice cream for dessert. I had the red velvet cake, something our server said was a new item. The apple dumpling was a tad rubbery, perhaps microwaved a little too long. It had a light, flaky crust and tasted very good, though. The red velvet cake had a wonderful, light and fluffy, whipped icing, not the usual heavy cream-cheese type. The cake was high, a good 4″ tall. As delectable as that icing was, there was a bit too much cake in relation to the icing. It made the dessert a little more dry than I prefer. Had it been a layer cake, the icing to cake ratio would have been about perfect. The dessert is the only reason for 4 stars rather than 5 on my review.

When my husband went there the first time, the owner’s mom asked what his name was, saying she tries to learn the customers’ names. It’s just a friendly, homey place serving good old-fashioned American food.

Not sure just where Hebron is? Here’s a map:

View Larger Map
Whether you’re a local, in the Columbus area or out toward Zanesville, Mt. Vernon or Lancaster, it’s worth the a nice drive in the country and a day trip.

I caught Santa, and you can, too!

Can you imagine the look on your kid’s face when you show him a photo of Santa in your own living room?

When I saw this site,, I smiled. What a fun, original idea! Best yet, I have a discount code for my readers. But more about this later.

Our girls, despite their being four-footed, got to see Santa. See for yourselves!

Santa was just reaching into his bag of toys when he heard a low growl come from behind him...

Santa was just reaching into his bag of toys when he heard a low growl...

Santa reaching for the puppies.

Santa likes his reindeer well enough, but he had to pet the sleeping puppies before heading back up the chimney.

Time’s a wastin’….Head over to, upload your photo, and watch St. Nick appear. I have a coupon code for you, too: SANTA50 will get you half off your order. This is great fun!

Crock-Pot Create-A-Crock great idea, but missed an opportunity

I recently saw Crock-Pot’s latest product offering via their Facebook page. The Create-A-Crock is a great idea! Customers can now choose from nine different stock designs, then upload four of their own pictures.

You have to click the green “Create Mine Now” button on the page to get to the design app. The app is a little clunky, but fairly intuitive. I experimented with it tonight, uploading some retro kitchen advertisements for fun.

Crock Pot Create-A-Crock design

It’s great fun to be able to customize an appliance. I participated in a market research focus group several years ago where participants were asked if they would pay extra to have the ability to somewhat personalize their major appliances with custom inserts and knobs. I’ve not seen it happen, unless I’ve missed it. Still, people are all about personalization now. Skins are in, for everything from cell phones to iPods to laptops and tablets.

But back to the app. Once a user’s designed her dream Crock-Pot and clicks to add it to her cart, a message comes up warning the user, “This is the final time you will be able to view your customized Create-A-Crock™ Slow Cooker.”

When I saw this, I realized the flaw in the campaign.

Kudos to Crock-Pot for putting this idea out there. However, they missed a huge opportunity when they didn’t also provide a means for users to share their designs with others. I’m not talking about sharing as in buying a Crock-Pot to give as a gift, though that is the company’s goal. I’m talking about letting users share pictures of their creations with friends and family via social networks, mobile MMS, and e-mail. Users might have created profiles in order to save their designs, providing Crock-Pot with fresh prospective customers’ information for their database.

Viral marketing involving personalization pops up everywhere (think OfficeMax and ElfYourself) and yet it’s nowhere to be found with this product. It’s a shame, because I think it could have driven a lot of traffic to their site. People like to play with apps like that. The longer a user stays on your site, the more they buy in to what you’re selling. These users might have created their own designs or, if allowed, ordered duplicates of their friends’ creations.

Local discounts every day!

I’ve become a full-fledged Groupon junkie. If there’s a 12-step program, please DON’T tell me about it. Their writing is right up there with the laughter-inducing prose at ThinkGeek.

One of the other things I like is how so many of the deals are for small, locally-owned businesses. It’s a great way for them to get the word out about their services. They also have nation-wide deals, though; my latest score was three movie rentals from Redbox for the price of one. Redbox has a terrific business model, by the way.

With everything moving toward streaming content, I suspect their window of opportunity is closing, but for those who don’t want to subscribe to something like Netflix and prefer DVD’s, they are wonderful. We do have the disk-a-month and unlimited streaming Netflix, but sometimes it’s nice grabbing a brand-new DVD release for only a buck. In this case, I’ll get 3/$1.00 — Woohoo for a bargain for me!

Check out Groupon and let me know what you think. Share your bargain stories!

Nothing says Christmas like turquoise owls, right?

I normally love Caribou’s Christmas displays and merchandise. But this year I really think they blew it. Turqoise, red and purple mice, rabbits and owls? They went for this “nature” themed stuff, which could be cute if done right. But these? I can’t think of the name of this style of comic art. Maybe someone can help me out. It puts me in mind of poorly drawn Flash animations that pop up all over the web.

Not. Christmas. Not. Holidays. I didn’t take pictures of the ornaments, but they’re either big styrofoam balls covered with knitted yarn or woodland creatures made from plant materials. The latter were actually kind of cute, but they were gone by the time everything was marked half off. There are knitted and presumably recycled coffee cup clutches for sale, too, but judging from how many I still see on the racks, customers didn’t much like them, either. Very little of it has any kind of holiday feel to it. I know they were trying to go for designs that didn’t necessarily bespeak a certain season, but they went too far and the result is shelves still full of merchandise that would, I think, be gone by now normally.

C’mon, you guys can do better than this! Past seasons’ POP and merchandise has been great! Please, don’t jump on the whole “go green” bandwagon just for marketing. It really fell flat this year. Other customers we know felt the same way. It’s just not up to past years’ standards.