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Black Friday Thoughts

It will come as no surprise to you that I spent a lot of time in the kitchen during the last forty-eight hours. When you are the only one cooking the big holiday meal, that’s sort of how it goes.

This year I kept it fairly simple. Well, as simple as a holiday meal can be when cooked by a type A, OCD, control freak type of gal like myself. Only two appetizers, three side dishes, the bird of course and three desserts.

My prep started on Wednesday when I started baking the desserts. Desserts have never been an issue for me and I was making some of my tried and true recipes. But for some reason nothing was coming together.

My pie crust that I partially pre-baked for the pumpkin pie shrinky dinked down to a mini version of what it should’ve been, which had me back at the food processor making the crust a second time.

The pumpkin creme filling that was to be sandwiched between layers of rich dark chocolate cake became more of a pudding than a creme. So, that dessert became a trifle.

And my spring form pan for the cheesecake sprung a leak.

Day one was not going so well. But I have to say that I am quite pleased with how I rolled with the punches. I must be maturing, finally. The younger version of me (like a year and a half ago) would’ve been in tears. The me of today said whatever-the-heck-ever and popped open a bottle of wine.

I like this new version of me much better.

On Thursday things actually went pretty smoothly. The bird didn’t give me any grief, browned up beautifully and tasted pretty damn amazing if I do say so myself.

Nothing burned. Nothing was forgotten. And the kids all got along. Amen.

After everything was cleaned up, I started debating as to whether or not I was going to go out and stand in line for any of the black Friday deals.

Once again, the old me would’ve already been in line at Walmart, but the new me was eyeing the big puffy pillow on the bed. The pillow won.

But this morning I couldn’t resist heading out. No list. No plan of action. Just my purse and a fist full of ads. And as most of you know, that is a recipe for budget disaster.

I didn’t hit Walmart or Target because I didn’t need any of the big ticket items. And the idea of fighting the crowds to get Brave for $9? Well, I was not brave enough.

Instead I went to Kohl’s for a few of the doorbuster deals. Truth be told, I really went for the Rachel Ray Bubble and Brown set that was on sale for $29.99, originally $59.99. Who would pay $59.99 for that is beyond me. As you know, the prices are a bit inflated at Kohl’s.

That said, I had the coupons they mailed to everyone in the country. A 15% off and a $10 off any purchase. Between those two coupons and the earn $15 for every $50 spent, I figure I got the set for around $10 which is much more my speed.

After grabbing my dishes, I poked around and found a few things for the kid’s stockings and then spent the next hour in check out. I think my entire town was in that line.

After Kohl’s I went over to Macy’s where I did the bulk of my holiday shopping. In one fell swoop I took care of my mom, my mom’s husband, my mother in law and of course a few goodies for me.

That’s the bad thing about black Friday. I always find things for me when I’m supposed to be focusing on gifts for others. It’s a problem.

Now, here’s the thing about Macy’s…

I love Macy’s. I really do. Their selection is great and the sale prices are awesome and all, but their coupons are impossible to figure out.

You can’t use them for specials or every day vaules, but most of the store is on sale or on special during Black Friday, which makes the coupons sort of pointless. Don’t you think? It was a real struggle to find something to use the $10/25 on.

And if I struggle to use a coupon, that isn’t a good sign for the rest of the population. Just sayin’.

After hitting the stores I was interested in, I went home to stalk Amazon. And I have to say that I am not at all impressed with Amazon’s lightning deals this year.

To be fair, I said the same thing last year and many of you thought I was crazy. So, it could be me. But the few things I’ve found have sold out in mere seconds and the rest of it is just the oddest compilation of products that I can’t imagine that people would actually want.

Even the higher tech higher priced items have crappy reviews. I’d like to chat with the person who picks out the lightning deal items.

Higher quality toys and more of them (why are there so few toys this year?), electronics with better ratings, enough Brave dvds so that they don’t sell out in two seconds and maybe a Staub pot or two. Just to make me happy. The mama should always be made happy.

My guess is that a guy is in charge of the lightning deals this year and he really likes video games.

I’m holding out for cyber Monday. Maybe I’ll score some deals then. If not, then whatever. This is going to be a no stress holiday no matter what it takes.

So, that was my holiday. How did your day go? Did you go out into the black Friday madness? If so, did you get what you were after? What do you think of the Amazon deals? Happy with them or meh?


  1. I’m not positive if all Macy’s are the same, but I was told just the other day that Macy’s Everyday Values (which are the things you can’t use a coupon on) all end in .98 (as in $24.98, $16.98, etc.). Otherwise, the items should be fair game. Hope that helps!

    • Maybe it depends on the store, but I was told that the coupons can’t be used on specials either. That was the challenging part because everything seemed to be a “special buy” or “morning special”. There were lots of frustrated shoppers trying to figure it out!

  2. I’m so confused!! I have gone to cyber shopping only and avoid Black Friday crowds completely! All that said, the heck with Amazon; I am loving your bird! What an absolutely marvelous looking turkey you roasted Melanie!! Please invite me to Thanksgiving next year!!

  3. Thank you! I wish I had better light to take a better picture. It was a Norman Rockwell like bird. That picture didn’t do it justice. And there’s always room at our table for another setting. πŸ™‚

  4. I could go for one of those wings! So crispy and yummy looking. Well done, Melanie!

    Our Thanksgiving went well, low stress even though we were also doing the birthday thing. I think 40 has mellowed me a lot. I can’t remember a Thanksgiving that has gone so smoothly and I really think it was my change in attitude. I even sent everyone off to go do their own thing while I cleaned up everything and I actually ENJOYED it. Maybe I’ve just plum lost my marbles.

  5. I was at Macy’s in Kingston on Friday with my very soon to be 11 year old son. We were buying some Martha cast iron pans. 60% off plus coupons – I thought. Then we were told that you cannot use them on specials. My big guy asked why they would give a coupon that you could not use. He went round and round with the lady. FInally asking her to show him something that we could use the coupon on. He was being very respectful just curious and a little bit too bright for his own good.. She could not find anything. He then thanked her for her time and as we were walking away told me that we should really think about shopping somewhere else.
    Glad you had a good Holiday.

    • Smart kid. It’s sort of ridiculous when you can’t find anything in the store to use the coupon on. Why bother printing it?? Major kudos to your son for being a gentleman. You did some find training there mama!

  6. The Macy’s coupons have always been darn near impossible. I remember plenty of hours spent standing around waiting for my mom haggling with the cashiers over the coupon language. Despite it I still love them, even if their coupons are crazy-making.

    The Amazon lightning deals are very disappointing. The week-long deals were generally much better but I found it hard to sort through everything and find what I wanted.

    I attempted to get a laptop doorbuster from dell.com but their site crashed.

    In the end I went into the city with my 3-year-old, who was excited to ride the train, and finally got myself a DSLR camera. Got a great deal, nearly as good as the big boxes but got to spend at a small business with excellent service.

    I’ll be hanging around to see if anything good pops up for Cyber Monday but I don’t have high hopes.

  7. We didn’t head out into the Black Friday Madness this year haha, we’re not doing presents this year. We are instead putting all of that money towards a beach out and our family will be cozy by the fireplace watching the waves roll in on Christmas day πŸ™‚

  8. I had to work on Black Friday so unfortunately I didn’t get to shop in store at all, I did get some video games from Amazon for my sixteen year old brother. Video game sales are normally few and far between, and start at $60. I only paid $30 for each, and got free shipping πŸ™‚ I also got a 16 GB flash drive on Amazon for $6, which worked out great for me, I needed a new flash drive for next semester and last time I paid $8.99 at Walmart for an 8 GB. You are absolutely right that Amazon seemed to focus on video games (and useless things) this year, it just so happened to work out well for my lists lol

    • Wow Nicole, sounds like you found exactly what you needed. Don’t you love when that happens?? Amazon is for gamers this year, apparently. πŸ™‚

  9. Hi Melanie,
    First of all, your turkey looks amazing. We don’t have turkey any more because of my husband’s gout. Turkey is his worst offender. Last year we did lobster and this year it was a roast pork loin stuffed with cooked apples, pears and craisins. So delicious and easy to make.
    I used to love Filene’s and I really miss it. They used to bend over backwards to help you get the best deal. I love Macy’s, too, I just can’t stand their coupon policy. It is very confusing.
    I did find some good deals online. The black Friday deals started Thursday night, and some of them were amazing. There were some small appliances at Kohl’s that ended up at $1.99 each. They were $19.99 each, buy 3 to qualify for free shipping, get an additional 15% off with a code, and get $15 in Kohl’s cash. I really wish I needed some of these things.
    When you went to NY with the girls, you mentioned half price show tickets. How did you score those? I will be in Manhattan for Christmas and I want to go to a show while I am there.
    Thanks for any help you can give me concerning tickets. Keep up the good work, too.

    • Yes, I saw that appliance deal. Awesome if you need them!! Your pork loin sounds incredible. A great combination of flavors!

      As far as the tickets goes, it’s pretty simple. Go to the TKTS booth in the center of Times Square at either 10am for the same day matinee show or 2:00pm for the 8:00pm show. They sell the tickets for 50% off. Sometimes you can get amazing seats and there are so many choices that if you can’t get your #1 choice, there are countless other fantastic shows you can choose from. I highly suggest doing this. You just need to be flexible and get there early. I’d say an hour before the box office opens. Let me know if you have any other questions or if I didn’t explain it well enough.

      • Patricia N. says:

        Thanks. I will email my son and see what he thinks about doing this. He lives about a block from Central Park, so I don’t know how far he is from Times Square. He was only a couple of blocks from where they had to turn off the power during the super storm. We like to walk everywhere when we go to the city, but certainly do not snub the city’s transportation system. Great job explaining it. I’m very excited about being in the city for Christmas. I might even try to get tickets for The Chew.

  10. Glad you had a great Thanksgiving Melanie! I always Black Friday shop (but not the super crazy version) but wasn’t feeling it this year. I did end up shopping a Kohls Thursday night and that was it. I don’t really support the Thursday night shopping idea because of the poor people who have to work it but my serious need to sleep in won out over my principles. Whoops! Slept blissfully late on Friday!

    Traci, I hope my future kids are that coupon savvy! I’m certainly going to try and instill it in them! I am proud of your son!

    • Thanks, I am pretty proud as well. All 3 of my kids know we don’t buy anything without a coupon/sale.

    • Yeah, I hear you about the Thursday hours. Nothing is sacred anymore. That said, some people want to work for the extra hours. So, I have mixed feelings. I’m holding out for cyber Monday. I only have a couple of things I’m watching for and hopefully cyber Monday will take care of it. πŸ™‚

  11. I’m all about stress-free holidays too…and I’m gonna accomplish that, no matter what. If we don’t have it and I can’t find, then we must not need it. I’ve shopped online for several years, and it just allows me to enjoy the holidays more…I haven’t really looked around yet to see what’s out there. I’m thankful that there’s not really much my kids “need.” With 2 in college, one moving into an apartment and the other moving into the dorm, there are other more pressing expenses that have to be dealt with so we won’t be going overboard with Christmas presents. Hopefully we’ll enjoy the family time without spending a lot of money for a lot of unneeded “stuff.”

    • We are in a similar boat. There’s nothing pressing that the kids need. And since we are fresh back from a vacation, this will be a low key holiday. As in, low dollar. The cruise was like a birthday/Christmas/Easter present all rolled up into one. Of course the kids will have gifts, but nothing big ticket. I’ll spend more time baking with them and doing other holiday activities to make up for it. πŸ™‚

  12. Melanie,
    Your turkey was beautiful! I’m so glad to see that someone still stuffs their turkey with dressing! It gives it so much more flavor!

    Congrats on snagging some Black Friday deals. I didn’t venture out and I really don’t feel sad about it!


    • Thank you! I agree. I love a stuffed bird. I just make sure the internal temp is over 165ΒΊ to make sure there’s no bacterial issues. I don’t blame you for not going out on BF. It wasn’t all that anyway!

  13. That turkey…ugh! I totally should have made the trek from PA πŸ˜‰ I also didn’t go out on black friday…mainly so I didn’t buy things for myself, and nothing anyone wanted was on sale (except I found some clothes and shoes but…I knew I didn’t need them especially this time of year!) So I’ll be watching the deals blogs for cyber monday deals, so we’ll see how that goes πŸ™‚ Oh, and amen to the stress free holidays!

  14. My black Friday shopping was laughable and yet a good score. Our BJ’s Wholesale Club gave out a coupon for $10 off two of the 42 ct. Prilosec, plus I had $1 manufacturers coupon. Excellent, and we needed the stuff.

    The CVS, which is in the same shopping area, was next to feel my pattering feet. My eye vitamins are $30+ usually. I had $15 in extra bucks plus $4.50 manni which Preservision had sent me. I left feeling as if I had committed something instead of spending.

    I love that feeling.

  15. Ranger that’s a good Prilosec deal! I use that stuff too!

    I did do rite aid and CBS this year, in addition to kohls. But not early Friday.

    I agree that some people like the extra money working on Thursday buuuuttt I heard a lot of people at my lohls complaining so I think people are pretty torn!

  16. As of last year (thanksgiving) I decided I was no longer going out on Black Friday- way too crazy for me and I don’t like crowds very much either :).
    My christmas shopping was done before Thanksgiving this year. I still did a little shopping online though at Kohls- got some great deals with free shipping and 20% off.

    About Macy’s….I too don’t like their coupons very much, so many restrictions , and if a coupon is such a hassle, it’s not worth it to me.

  17. Your day with misshapes on Wed then saw your turkey I thought the same thing. Oh no you burnt it ! But you said it was good.
    No more shopping for me on Black Fridays. Everything bought ahead of time on line or very few in the store. That is the best shopping ever !

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