Black Friday Memories: It’s Not Just About the Shopping

Black Friday Memories: It’s Not Just About the Shopping

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
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Black Friday is for Making Memories

Last year, I wrote about my family’s crazy Black Friday experience.  Believe it or not, it gets better every year.  We have some great times together and create some fun Black Friday memories!

The last several years, my sister-in-law and I have insisted that we are not staying out all night. Somehow, my adult niece always manages to keep us out all night.  Once, we even managed to get a trampoline in the minivan with five people.  And last year, we finished shopping by 9:00 a.m.  and I got to have three hours of sleep before going to have lunch.

Thanksgiving started as usual.  Everyone got to be together, and of course, we ate more than we should.  We got the newspaper ads out.  We highlighted everything we thought we might want and organized our game plan.  Then things got interesting.

 I have never had an iPhone.  I am an Android user!  “What does this have to do with anything?” you ask.  Well, I was introduced to Siri and the fun began.  Have you ever asked Siri, “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”  So by 3:00 am, we are asking Siri everything from “Tell me a joke,” to “What is the meaning of life?”  And we did not just ask once; we asked each question multiple times.  Siri will give multiple answers.  We let Siri entertain us every time we got back in the car.

Around 6:00 am, I knew my Black Friday post would post so I looked it up and read it to everyone.  Of course, then we had to sing “Dumb Ways To Die.”  I believe this will be our new Black Friday tradition.  We had so much fun rehashing previous escapades.

Different and Quirky

We were afraid that one tradition was going to change last year–our pizza buffet lunch.  There were more people to feed, a sluggish economy, and higher prices.  We had previously decided we would forego the pizza and have leftover Thanksgiving dinner.  Somehow, we found out that they were doing a Black Friday buffet special.  That saved the day!  We were able to go and have our traditional pizza.  I know it sounds weird, but it is something we have done for years.  It’s what we do.  It’s different and it’s quirky, like our family!

Of course, the weekend was not without incident.  There was an impending ice storm.  My oldest son left after we got back from eating pizza so he could get back to college before the storm (That’s another story).  We, unfortunately, did not.  By the time we were ready to go, it had gotten pretty bad towards our home.  We decided to stay another night (I had packed for it, just in case).  We got up the next morning, called friends to check on the roads, and headed out.  The closer we got home, the worse the roads got.  Fortunately, we made it home without incident and a lot of prayers.

What Black Friday Memories Will We Make This Year?

I do not know what this Black Friday will bring, but I am up for the challenge.  Now my family knows that what happens on Black Friday will be written about the next Black Friday.  They need to work hard to give me new material.

Does your family have any unusual traditions?


Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Shopping Guide Soul on Fire Frugal Meal Planning  Advent

Deliciously “Healthier” Poppy Seed Chicken

Deliciously “Healthier” Poppy Seed Chicken

Hi! Born in the great state of Texas and raised in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, this Daughter of the Alamo/Georgia Peach is still adjusting to life in Razorback Nation! My husband and I live just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas with our two toddlers and two crazy pups. I’m a small business owner, chocolate aficionado, and travel lover with a 2pm coffee hour no matter what time zone I’m in!
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Prior to one of my bridal showers the hostess had asked my fiancé all of these questions about his preferences. Do you prefer crunchy or smooth peanut butter? What’s your favorite sport? Things like that. At the shower, she posed the questions to me in game show fashion. Every time I got a question wrong, I had to put a giant piece of bubble gum in my mouth. I thought I was going to choke on that bubble gum I had so many pieces in my mouth! I apparently didn’t know my future husband at all.

All these years later, one of his answers has always stuck with me… “What is the best dish that Lindsay prepares?”

When the hostess asked it, like many of the other questions, I was totally stumped. Unless it came from the frozen aisle at Trader Joe’s, I didn’t prepare anything other than muffins (out of a boxed mix) and scrambled eggs. Like my other answers to the hostess, I offered my best guess, which was wrong. But, unlike the other answers she’d read me, this one put a smile on my face – salad.

If we were using LOL back then, this would be the most appropriate time to use it!

LOL all over the room!

Salad: no cooking required! Just a knife and a cutting board.

And to be honest, up until recently, salad would still be my husband’s answer to “What is the best dish that Lindsay prepares?”

What can I say, I have good knife skills.

Again, insert LOL and a laughing emoji.

No, the truth is cooking just isn’t my forte. During the last several years I have produced a few good batches of banana or cinnamon muffins from scratch and can make pretty good chili and ok tacos, but that’s about it. When people come over for dinner, most likely, we’re ordering pizza.

However, there’s a cute restaurant around the corner from us that has a take and bake fridge. The last time we moved I had grabbed a few of their take and bakes since I’d packed up all of our cooking utensils. One of them was a poppy seed chicken. Y’all, it was delicious. So, every so often, usually by request of my husband, I’ll swing by and pick another one up. But one day I looked at it bubbling as I removed it from our oven and felt this surge of empowerment. I thought to myself, “I bet I can make this.” So, to Pinterest I went, and the experimenting began.

A half dozen poppyseed chicken dinners later, my husband looked at me and said, “This is the best thing you make,” and headed to the kitchen for seconds.

I could have exclaimed, “Eureka!”

I finally had a best dish. And it wasn’t salad.

Sure, it isn’t as healthy as grilled chicken and asparagus, but I do think my recipe is healthier than the others, or any other casserole recipe at least, that I’ve tried yet. And, what’s more, every person I’ve served it to once I finalized the recipe LOVED it.

So, if a healthier, yummy, stick to your bones, warm, affordable dinner is what you’re in the mood for on a Wednesday night after baseball and ballet but before you hit homework and book reports and Spring musical costume making, check this one out…

Lindsay’s Deliciously Healthier Poppy Seed Chicken

Serves 6-8


Untitled design


6-8 large chicken breasts

2 plain greek yogurt 5.3 oz cups

2 12 oz cream of chicken (I really like Pacific’s)

3 rolls of Ritz Crackers

1 stick of unsalted butter

2 tsp worcestershire sauce

1 1/4 tsp celery salt

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

3 good squeezes of lemon juice (so technical, I know)

Several shakes of ground black pepper (again, super technical, I can’t really measure it because I just know what it looks like in the bowl – kind of like making gravy)

Poppy seeds (this is like the pepper, you just have to look at it, but I will explain later)


Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Next, grab your stock pot and fill it 1/2 way with water. Toss a little salt in there and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, add all of your chicken breasts. Don’t worry about trimming the fat off. Just throw them in there as is. (Note: Boiling the chicken is one of the secrets to this recipe. I promise it’s worth the extra pot to clean.)

While they’re boiling, pull out a large mixing bowl and pour the yogurt, cream of chicken, worcestershire sauce, celery salt, garlic powder, lemon juice, and pepper into it. Mix it all up.

Melt your butter in a glass or ceramic bowl in the microwave. Set it aside.

Empty all of your Ritz crackers into a gallon ziplock bag and crunch them up. (No matter how old your kids are, get them involved with this part! I even let my 5 month old grab onto the ziplock bag and wrap her little fingers around to squeeze the crackers.) Once they’re all crunched up, it’s time to add the poppy seeds. How many poppy seeds is really up to you. I like a lot of poppy seeds, so I easily use 3 T. As you’re shaking them into the ziplock bag, mix the crackers up to evenly distribute the seeds. To me, every morsel of Ritz cracker should have poppy seeds on it. (Yum yum!) Once you’ve settled on a Ritz cracker to poppy seed ratio and have them all mixed together, set the bag aside.

Now, pull out your handy dandy cooking thermometer. Use tongs to remove chicken from boiling water and check to see if it’s up to 165 F yet. The timing will just depend on how big your chicken breasts are. (The super huge ones that are in my picture took a little more than 20 minutes.) Once your chicken is cooked, remove all of it from the stock pot and either cube or shred it. (I prefer to shred mine to the same consistency which I prefer my chicken salad.) Once it’s all cubed/shredded, add all of it to your yogurt mixture and mix it up really well.

Spray your baking dish with coconut or olive oil and pour all of the chicken mixture into it.

Now, empty your crunched up Ritz crackers adorned with poppy seeds into the bowl with the melted butter. Mix well. Then, spread that loveliness all over the top of your chicken in the baking dish.

Pop it, uncovered, into the oven for 25 min.

Once it’s done, ooh ooh ooh, your kitchen is going to smell so good! Remove it from the oven and let it sit for at least a couple minutes before you start dishing it out.

I usually serve it with rolls and a side salad. But, honestly, it stands alone just fine all by itself, if you just don’t have any bread or veggies to pair with it.

Lastly, enjoy and soak in the smiles and laughter around your kitchen table while your family gobbles down a deliciously healthier poppy seed chicken dinner.

I’d love to know what your first best dish was (and if yours was once salad too).

Bon appetit!


Deliciously Healthier Poppy Seed Chicken

Black Friday:  It’s Not Insane, It’s Tradition

Black Friday: It’s Not Insane, It’s Tradition

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Latest posts by Toni D (see all)
Our first T-shirts (front side)

Our first T-shirts (front side)

Back side of T-shirt.

Back side of T-shirt.

BLACK FRIDAY!   Those two words either bring fear or joy to your heart.  You are either one of them or one of them.  Everyone has a strong opinion on it one way or the other.   There is no in-between.

I love Black Friday!  Some of you may think I’m crazy.   I may be, but I love it.  There is just something about getting out early and braving the weather and the lines to get that incredible deal.  I am a bargain shopper!  I also love the rush of getting in the crowds and trying to get that last box of Legos for $10.00 or that new digital camera for $50.00.  Several years ago, I got up at 3:00 a.m. to drive 30 miles to stand in line to get a dual portable DVD player for our van.  (Yes, I know I’m showing my age because nobody buys those things anymore.)  Three in the morning is nothing now.  We get going at midnight!

Well, we actually get started before midnight.   This exciting event now takes place at my sister-in-law’s house.  Thanksgiving is spent there in Tulsa, almost three hours away from where we live.  We awaken early Thanksgiving morning and travel to their house.  As all of our families have grown, it has been wonderful to have to add so many tables.  I know that is the true meaning of this holiday: to be thankful for what God has given us and to be with loved ones–but we all love Black Friday!

After our incredible meal, the “girls” all sit around the table with the newspaper.  This is a sight to behold.  I am not going to give away all of our secrets, but I will share an overview of what transpires.  Needless to say, we are very organized.  We start with the first ad, circle what we want with bright markers and initial it, then pass it around the table.  When everyone has finished, we go through and put them in order of store opening times.  Then we check for duplicate items and find the best prices and make our list.  We then make sure we have our shirts ready or make our new ones.  Yes, we print up matching shirts for all of us!  We don’t make new ones every year.  We’ve even had strangers stop us and even take pictures with us in our shirts.

Most recent T-shirts

Most recent T-shirts

Back side of T-shirt

Back side of T-shirt

We try to take a nap!  This does not always happen–most of the time it doesn’t.  Okay, that may be wishful thinking.  But, we do try to get things ready.  There have always been four of us.  This consists of my sister-in-law, niece, niece’s husband, and me.  The niece’s husband is a 300+ pound former college football linebacker (you should see him in a bright pink shirt) so he is there for “protection” – and comedy relief.  The last couple of years, we have started adding to our group.  My sister-in-law’s granddaughter (She is not my great-niece because I am not that old.  Only old people are “great” whatevers.) was allowed to go because she had turned sixteen.  And now my daughter is counting down the years until she can go.

We all have our respective jobs!  I am the “Bargain Hunter”.  I search out the the items that we did not find quickly.  I also pick up things for a friend who hates Black Friday shopping but wants some of the bargains.  She even calls to check in with me to see how things are going.  I will admit that Black Friday shopping is much easier with the invention of the cell phone.  I often wonder what the increase in usage of cell phones is on that day.

We have a great time!  We go from store to store.   We also make several pit stops.  I do not know if you have a Quik Trip where you live (I don’t), but I believe that it is the best place while Black Friday shopping.  They have giant drinks, the best hot snacks (regular or breakfast), and of course clean restrooms (women’s and men’s, and women do go to the men’s when no one is around).  I also get very “punchy” when I get tired.  Around two or three in the morning, I start laughing at everything.  This is where the nephew-in-law comes in.  He starts with all the dumb jokes to see how much he can get me laughing.  My favorite is still, “Two men walked into a bar; the third one ducked.”  Think about that one.  I also learned about YouTube from him.  My favorite is “Dumb Ways To Die”.  Apparently,  this is an actual public service announcement from Australia.  That makes it even funnier.

Sometimes we take a nap in the car!  This we actually do.  If there is a store that only one person needs something from, two go in and the rest of us take our nap.  Somehow, we make it through the night and finish up by no later than 10:00 a.m.  We then go home, take a nap, then go out for pizza.  This is as good as Thanksgiving dinner.  We go to a buffet.  Yes, Thanksgiving dinner one day followed by pizza buffet the next day!

I missed this event last year.  Our van broke down one hour from our house.  By the time we got towed back home it was late.  Our other vehicle had bad tires so it could not make the trip.  My son’s car only seated four and we are a family of five.  We were stuck at home with nothing but the desserts.  Have you ever cooked a Thanksgiving dinner in two hours?  I did, and it was actually good and completely gluten-free (my husband has a true gluten allergy).

I did take my kids shopping around 9:00 a.m. when my friend called to see how it was going.  Of course,  I got a lecture of why I did not call and tell her we were broke down and didn’t make it to Tulsa.  They would have towed us home and we could have come over for dinner, etc.  I had several of those offers and that overwhelmed me.  My niece even called and said that it was not as much fun without me.  My sister-in-law told me that they even discussed meeting me in Oklahoma City to do our shopping.   Our nephew offered to come and try to fix our van.  For Christmas,  my niece gave me one of the gifts that we would always go to the mall for.  She had picked up an extra one for me.  We were truly missed!  Of course, we did learn a lesson: when you miss Thanksgiving, they plot against you.  That is another story for another post.  I will get even with at least our nephew.

Our traditions have evolved over the years, but last year reminded me just how great my family and friends are.  We get out in all the craziness, but we enjoy being together and being there for each other.  I would not trade that part of our family for anything.

Do you have a Black Friday story to share?

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?


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