Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday Shopping & Pies

An all in one post for past and future events. Since I'm leaving on Wednesday for NC, and I'm working far too many hours, and have to squeeze in finals before I leave, this may be on of the last posts of the month. I botched NaBloPoMo weeks ago anyway.

First, the pies! They both were fantastic. Here's the original recipe from allrecipes.com:

Grandma Opal's Apple Pie


This year I had quite a few diabetics, or low carb eaters and I wanted them to be able to enjoy desert with the rest of us. Plus, they've had the original pie so buying an icky 'no sugar added' pie at the store is unacceptable. This apple pie is expected and much desired by attendees at gatherings. So I scoured the internet and got diddly squat in results. Depressing. I instead chose to modify the above recipe with Splenda products and hope it was still just as good. You have to understand just how ridiculously good this pie really is to know how important it was to make a version just as good.

Here are the changes I made:

1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (in place of the 1/2 cup brown sugar)
1/2 cup Splenda granuals (in place of 1/2 cup white sugar)

Everything else is the same except I didn't lattice the crust and I poured all the liquid on the apples with a vented crust. Cook time was about 40 mins or so. I don't know the carb count but the original had almost 70 carbs per serving (mostly sugar!), and I'm thinking the change should've at least halved that per 1/8 slice serving.

Rave reviews from those who had the 'diabetic apple pie' version. They got to have a real size slice instead of a sliver with 2 bites, and it didn't jack thier blood sugar into the clouds. I'm THRILLED with this! Now I'm going to experiment a little more and see what happens.

Second, the Black Friday Shopping. I don't really know how to explain this if you haven't done it yourself. My mom generously took the boy child overnight so I could do this. I had a game plan, and knew what I wanted and where to go first: 24-hour Meijers @ 4a (better than Super Walmart, not as nice as Super Target), Kmart @ 6a, Walmart @7a.

I didn't go to sleep after Thanksgiving Day, I plotted out my strategy. I got to my first location at about 4:30a and got in a short line in the electronics department for my items. The long line was for the Wii & TVs, but I had a Wii in my hands a couple weeks ago and put it back. So I was only 5th in line for 8 of my item in stock.

I also watched something akin to a piranha feeding while waiting my turn. Seriously, if you're into people watching and behaviors, this is the place and time to do it. The item was an $80. digital photo frame being sold for $30. The poor employee couldn't even get the boxes open before people were crushing him and surrounding him like he was passing out diamonds! One lady in my line was brave and managed to hop in and snag two, but one was for a fellow line member. Honestly, watching that made me want one even though I didn't even need it! Then it got ugly at 5am when the sales started.

They had only 2 registers open for about 100 customers in about 8 different lines! We had to pay for our items before leaving the area to do other shopping! I guarded my items with my life when I got out of there! So they were trying to call up one person from each line at a time, but only two people were checking out at any given moment and for some reason that was taking forever to get rung up. Then random people were trying to line up behind those 2 people to check out their non-wait-in-line electronic items and chaos ensued. You could hear people grumbling, the clerks and managers were not helping or helpful. Finally, they got more organized and figured out they should take those of us in short lines for small items to different registers! HOORAY! My line got out of the electronics department first. But there was no holiday cheer. People were tired and hungry and annoyed at the disorganization going on. I cracked jokes.

As our little band of people got to leave to purchase our item, one lady had a very large TV in her cart. She moved past the people in the line almost as though she was cutting in line. So the other lady behind me mentioned the end of our line was a few people back and TV lady got snotty about how she didn't want her TV to be bumped, but yet she was blocking the aisle causing a pile up of regular shoppers!!!! Honestly, she had a ghetto attitude, and when it looked like it was going to escalate, I jumped in because I am crazy and was exhausted and hello, it's the holidays! I cracked a joke or two and it broke the tension. Then I got to check out and finish my shopping. Really, you have to have a sense of humor if you're going to shop Black Friday. I was there about an hour total from wait to check out. The item for all the drama...a Nintendo DS blue, with Brain Age and free extra styli (styluses?).

I still had two more stores to go after that! And honestly, Walmart was on the list as a maybe because I KNOW how ugly it gets there. The parking lot, the shoppers, all of it is horrible at Christmas. But they had the portable DVD player I wanted and a DVD for super cheap. The Kmart was my son's gift and I knew it'd be in stock. It wasn't even busy there. Best store EVER this year! Walmart was as horrible as I imagined. I saw people with box trucks parked outside. I saw a 'family' with 2+ carts piled high with random stuff and saying they should go get more stuff before leaving! That was insane to me to see. I got shoved in electronics, the movies were...no words for that. But as I wandered lost, thinking the two items I wanted weren't there anymore, I saw the DVD and then an employee walking by with the DVD player in her hand. I asked where to find it and she gave me the one in her hand. Only 2 people in front of me and the checkout lady was SO NICE. Better than the checkout experience at Meijers by far.

By then it was like 7:30a and I couldn't even speak more than a croak. I hadn't slept and still had to get the child from grandma's house 30 mins away and 45 back. Thank GOD by the time we finally got home, with all gifts on my list & McD's lunch, he was ready for a nap and we were out cold for hours. I missed the Kohl's online sale this year, but I didn't see much I wanted/needed this year. Amazon is getting some of my money this year too, and I may have to revisit Kmart on Sunday.

For me this time of year isn't just for gift buying. I save all year to get things on my personal 'wish list' on Black Friday & Cyber Monday. So not only have I budgeted gifts for others but my own wants and/or needs. Unless it's completely broke or found on a super sale/freecycle/craigslist during the year, I don't buy it until after Thanksgiving with much price comparison. It makes it worth it and it keeps my spirits in a happy place.

After all, it's about Christmas...isn't it?

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