Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

I did something this year that I've never officially done before.  I went Black Friday shopping.  I have mixed feelings about Black Friday shopping, but thought I'd give it a shot at least once before poo-pooing it for life.  The stores opening at midnight was what pushed me over the edge to go this year.  I'm not one for getting up at 3 am to shop, but I'll stay up a little later.

We opted for Target.  And we had a strategy.  And we were in and out of there in just about an hour.  Which is pretty good for a normal shopping trip.  We did so good at Target, we just had to go to Old Navy too.  Yeah.  That was a mistake.  Old Navy isn't designed the handle the number of customers that Target gets regularly.  And I bet there were almost as many people at Old Navy as there was at Target.  Old Navy was so full that they were literally at capacity and could only let people in as others left.

It was really odd going into Target and seeing dozens of TVs out on the floor.  40"+ LCD TVs for less than $500.  And SLR cameras.  And game systems.  It was an interesting sight.  

Target was brilliant.  They had all their "2-Day Sale" items in big specially marked cardboard displays all over the store.  They handed out maps to where things were located (because I don't normally shop for DVDs in the girls clothes).  The line to check out was insanely long.  You know, the people you stand in line with outside the store the same people you have to stand in line with inside the store when you want to pay.  They taped off a makeshift queue line that weaved in and out of cosmetics and toiletries.  

It was BRILLIANT!  You finish getting all the must have deals of the day and wait in line for 20 minutes and see all the household items that you need to have ... soap, lotion, medicines, etc.  And while you're at it, why not pick up that toy that someone before you left behind.  We had a short conversation with our cashier.  I say short not because we didn't have things to talk about, but because she was so super speedy that we didn't have time for a lengthy one.  As expected, the most experienced cashiers were staffed starting at midnight.

Old Navy.  Imagine shopping at Old Navy on a normal busy Saturday.  You have to wait in line about 20 minutes, and maybe wait 5-10 minutes to try on clothes.  The clothes are messed up and you have a hard time finding your size.  It's crowded.  But you make due.  Now take that same speed and sense of urgency and mentality and multiply it by 1000.  That was the Old Navy experience.  They just aren't equipped to handle the number of customers that come out for an event like this and I won't do that again.  We were in line to check out for over an hour.  And I didn't get anything that I could not have purchased later today or this weekend.  And since everyone went shopping at midnight (thank you Wal-Mart for starting this new trend last year), the Friday day shopping should be a dream ... unless you like the mall.  Yeah ... I'm not going there.

And here's what I learned ........ the Door Buster deals of the 90s and even early 00s are no more.  You remember, you get to K-Mart at 5 am and you get that extra 20% off the TV or movies you wanted.  Or there's a limited number of that "must have" toy and if you don't get in line at 3 am you won't get the toy.  Now, at least at Target and Old Navy, the sales last all weekend or the coupons are good all month.

We did not encounter anyone mean and vicious.  We didn't have to fight over any one item.  There were plenty stocked of everything.  It's a bit odd to see 46" TVs sitting in the makeup aisle at Target.   

I spent only the money I was given to spend and I got some great things.  I got some things I've been meaning to get for awhile.  I got some things I would not have purchased otherwise.  I got some things for me and I got some things as gifts.

I did not get anything that I could not live without.
And there were no sales that were so good they were worth losing that much sleep over.
I did have fun.

I wonder how many Black Friday shoppers are really shopping for Christmas presents and how many are shopping for themselves, or for the rush of getting a good deal.

I'd love to go as a photographer and just get shots of the chaos.  Organized chaos in some places, but chaos nonetheless.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Crafting: Pipe Cleaner Colander

DSC_5151 by Christsstar
DSC_5151, a photo by Christsstar on Flickr.
My friend Katie at Texas Tigers has a son the same age as Audrey. She keeps giving me ideas of fun things to do with the kids.

She posted this great one of playing with pipe cleaners and the holes and a colander. I picked up some pipe cleaners for all of $0.99 at Michael's and let Audrey play with them.

She wasn't super interested, but it gave her something fun to do for about 15 minutes.

Crafting: Crayons

Audrey seems to be at the age where she can do simple crafts by herself.  She does them regularly at daycare, and I think it's time to start implementing them at home too, especially on days that I'm home with her.

Our first craft was more of a Mommy craft, but she was excited at the idea of it.  

Repurposing broken down crayons as new crayons.  

Start with broken crayons:DSC_5130

Place into a muffin tin or something that's oven-proof.  I chose a silicon ice cube tray shaped like stars.

Melt crayons in oven at 250*.  They don't take long to melt, so keep an eye on them.


Remove from oven and let cool until solid.

Pop out of container and color.  Unfortunately, mine broke when I popped them out.  The star shape is just too fragile, even for thicker crayons.  But they are still cool and fun to use.