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A few weeks ago, Ron and I picked our Angel off of the Angel Tree like we do every year. We purchased some items on Black Friday and then ordered the rest online. Everything finally arrived today and now it’s all labeled and ready to be dropped off at the Salvation Army to ensure our angel receives his gifts on Christmas. It can be weird shopping for a child you’ll never meet, but it’s also a great way to give back to the community. It’s nice to know we had a part in making some child’s Christmas better and hopefully, if we were ever in the same situation, someone would help us.

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Today has been a long day, but I’m really grateful for all the well wishes. Rags was definitely a member of the family and he’ll be loved and missed. I found this picture on my computer earlier. It was supposed to be my Christmas card a number of years ago, but I never got around to printing them so I thought I would share it now. He kind of looks like he stepped out a J. Crew Christmas ad.

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Thirteen years ago, I was fortunate enough to get a best friend, one I had to absolutely beg for and who never let me down. One stray puppy came into our family and absolutely took it over. Rags will always be the best dog, the Marley, the Skip, the Old Yeller. In 13 years, we certainly had our adventures. There was blue pen incident, in which Rags somehow managed to eat my pen and turn himself completely blue. There was the time he decided to eat my moms perfume under her bed which resulted in the place reeking for weeks. I’ll always remember how one little dog somehow managed to take up the entire bed and how he would open his own stocking and roll in the wrapping paper. I’ll always remember how as a puppy he would lay on my stomach when I watched television and how he would try to do it once he got bigger and suffocate me. I’ll always remember his puppy days of losing teeth, destroying everything and chasing rabbits. I’ll remember dancing in the living room, playing hide and seek in the house and how he would let me dress him up and mess with his ears. Rags is the best dog and I will always love and miss him. No other dog will ever compare to him. He had the best personality,  like he just knew he was person and not a dog. I know I’m a better person because of him and I hope he knows how much he was loved. He was never just a dog, but rather a member of the family. I’m glad I was able to see him Saturday, pet him and talk to him. I knew he would go when he was ready, warm in the place that has been his home for his entire life. I didn’t know it would be so soon, but I guess he was ready. You try to prepare yourself for whats to come, but the truth is you can’t. No amount of preparation will make it hurt worse, but I know I’ll see him again. Until then, I’ll remember all of our good times and be incredibly thankful for the dog that went from rags to riches.

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Yesterday I found this awesome tree snowglobe at Kohl’s. It has a pretty white glittery bottom and it’s battery powered. When you turn it on, it lights up and a blower blows the snow and glitter around inside as the colors change. Because it’s clear, the snowglobe makes a cool rotating design on the ceiling. I paid less than $20 for it and it’s awesome. It’s definitely a great find.

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The tree is up and fully decorated. Everything else is decorated as well and the presents are wrapped. I still have to get some gift cards and get Ron’s present, but everyone else is complete which is nice. Now I can bake and focus on other things than fighting crowds to get shopping done.

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Every year I look forward to Black Friday, and this year was no exception. Ron and I went out last night around 9 p.m. to be in Walmart when the sale started at 10 p.m. We met up with my cousin Anna there. The 10 p.m. sale didn’t include any major electronics, like televisions or blu-ray players, but it did include toys, movies, games, etc. I feel like there were more people in there than before. My guess is people who normally don’t do Black Friday shopping did last night because it’s easier to go out at night than it is to get up super early and go out. We were able to get everything we wanted, except our blu-ray player and a printer. We bought some movies, including Vampire Diaries Season Two ($10), a game for my nephew, a Barbie for my niece and an Elmo backpack for our Angel Tree child. Then it was on to Target which actually closes and opens its doors at midnight, which means you stand in a long line and freeze. We froze for approximately 90 minutes before  getting inside. We got everything we were looking for–some gifts, movies, a Christmas tree, clothes for the Angel Tree child, etc.–but the system was a little too intense this year. They had the front of the store near the cashiers roped off and you couldn’t cross it for anything unless you were checking out, even though they has used some sale items to block it off. Then Anna wanted a video game and she got trapped in a massively long line which was basically for anything electronic–televisions, video games, etc. My original plan was to price match the same printer and blu-ray player Walmart was selling at midnight at Target since we would be there when Walmart’s 12 p.m. sale started. And yes, as long as you have the ad, you can price match on Black Friday. There’s a little tip for you that can come in handy. However, Target didn’t have the exact same items so when we rolled out of Target around 12:45 p.m. we went back to Walmart, picked up the printer and found the very last blu-ray player they had. After that, it was on to the mall. Originally, I had planned on visiting Victoria’s Secret, because they offer some deals and a special gift bag on Black Friday that’s filled with some trial size items and some full size items, like lip gloss. However, the line was crazy long and the deals weren’t that good this year. Plus, they were offering the exact same style bag as last year so I bailed on that. We went next door to Bath and Body Works where I purchased 12 bottles of hand soap, yes 12, it’s the only time of the year I buy them and they’re six for $20. Plus, I picked up a decorative holder that you slip over the bottles. Bath and Body Works was also offering a bag, $20 with a $40 purchase, and it was a much better deal than the Victoria’s Secret one. The bag is really functional and inside it has two smaller bags, a loofah and tons of full size items like hand soap, lotion, body spray, etc. and coupons. On the outside of the bag is hand sanitizer in a little holder. When you add everything up inside, the bag is worth approximately $120. Definitely worth the $20. Plus, on my entire purchase I had a 20 percent off coupon and a $5 free item. Score! After Bath and Body Works, I walked into a few clothing stores, but wasn’t too impressed with the deals so we went and ate some Chic-fil-a, met up with Anna again before she had to work at 3:30 a.m. and headed home. I went to bed sometime after 4 a.m. but the Christmas shopping is basically finished. I need some little things like gift cards, but that’s it. I woke up this morning around 10:30 a.m. and we went out again to a craft store, picked up some groceries at Target and stopped by Walmart to see if they still had one of their doorbusters.  Then we came home and everything is wrapped, the blueray player is hooked up and our Christmas tree is decorated. I’d call that a productive day and because my day started at midnight, I feel like I got a whole extra day out of my weekend. All day I kept thinking it was Saturday. And now I can get ready for Cyber Monday 🙂

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Thanksgiving dinner is done. Now I’m standing in Walmart waiting for the black Friday sale to start. Crazy! Since it starts at 10 pm there are all these people here who have never black Friday shopped before. This could get ugly. I’m going to get my stuff and roll.

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Even McDonalds is having a black Friday sale. Well, probably not, but they are feeding the people who are shopping. Hopefully I’m done and on my way home before they even open!

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Now that my OnDemand is working I’ve decided to try some of the fitness TV offerings. Tonight I tried “Abs & Ass,” which was alright. The abs part was better than the ass, but I still can’t do a side plank to save my life. Then I tried Denise Austin’s “Cardio Fat Blast.” It really is some serious cardio but she’s so annoying. I don’t know if it’s her perkiness or her perfect hair, which you know they probably had to fix a million times during taping. It could also be her words of encouragement which include “because you deserve it.” I think I need to try some sort of boot camp Celebrity Fit Club style. There should be a workout where the trainer barks at you and swears the whole time. Anger would be more motivating than “let’s go girls” from perky, perky, blondie, blondie.

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This is my fun little turkey that I have hanging from the chandelier-ish lamp in my living room. I’ll probably take him down this weekend during the Thanksgiving to Christmas conversion, so I thought I would get his picture first. The real picture for today should have been the amazing deer I saw on the way home. She was standing right next to the road in someone’s front yard, about 25 feet from their front door. She saw me coming and just stood there staring at me. I let her go across the road, not really wanting her to decide to move when I drove by, and she just took her time walking across before she entered another yard between two houses. Pretty crazy how calm she was considering it’s hunting season, but hanging out in people’s front yards in town is a good way to avoid being someone’s “prize” of the day. After that, it was pretty much animal planet all the way home. I saw a fox, a raccoon, an opossum, a cat, some unidentified animal because it ran across the road too fast, and then four more deer. I started to worry that I had crossed into the twilight zone and when I got home there would be mice washing my dishes, ala Cinderella style. But really, how sweet would that be? I think I’ve been watching too  much “Once Upon a Time”….