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Waffles to the rescue

Let’s face it: waffles are a pain in the you-know-what, if you’re cooking. Pancakes are a lot simpler. But sometimes you just need waffles, with all their crispy little nooks and crannies and offspring-soothing powers. (I am speaking hypothetically, of course. I would never substitute waffles for good parenting. Probably.)

Did I ever tell you the story of how I snagged this Cuisinart Belgian Waffle Maker brand new at a yard sale for $5? It’s one of my prize possessions. The thing about a waffle maker is that the cruddy ones are, well, cruddy, and so it’s worth getting a good one, but on the other hand, you probably don’t use it all that often, so you don’t want to spend a fortune.

So, good news! Today Amazon has this Oster Belgian Flip Waffle Maker (which has even better reviews than mine) marked down to just $25.08. That’s within pennies of its lowest price ever, and just about the right price for a kitchen electric you might only use a few times a year.

Also, I’ll be jealous, because as much as I love mine, it doesn’t flip, and that seems fancy.

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As American as… a giant TV

Forget apple pie; the mark of a true American these days is a gargantuan television set, right? Right.

You can wait until the Black Friday scramble if upgrading your set is on your holiday list, sure. You may end up spending a lot of time in line or missing out because that “great deal” was a grand quantity of one, but hey, if that’s your thing, have at it. I prefer to snag the deals earlier so I can point and laugh while everyone else is panicking.

Deals like this one: Right now, Best Buy has this 65″ LG LED Smart Ultra HD TV marked down to $850 (you’ll have to add it to your basket to see the promotional price) with free shipping. LG is a consistently high-rated brand and that’s a whopper of a set. (For comparison: Here it is at Amazon for $1,400, and the lowest I saw it anywhere else was about $1,300.)

I’m not sure I’ve quite reached the point where I want a TV this enormous, but if you do, you’d have a hard time doing better than this.

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It’s tote time!

Longtime readers know that every time these Samsonite Tote-a-Ton duffels go on sale, I get very excited. That’s because these things are as big as steamer trunks, super durable, and fold down to the size of a small paperback book. I knew they were great before I moved my oldest into a dorm, but let me just tell you: She packed all of her clothes in one, and all of her bedding/towels (including pillows and such) in another. We kept saying “There’s no way it’s all going to fit in there…” but it totally did. And unlike bulky suitcases that we would’ve had to take home with us (because dorm rooms are not exactly long on storage space), these did their duty and got folded down and stuck on a closet shelf.


Now one tends to come home to me once a month filled with laundry, but that’s a different story.

Anyway! They come in all sorts of colors, and my sale line is about $20; when they go to $20 (and very occasionally, lower), that’s when I think they’re an unbeatable deal. Right now the black with red trim and the turquoise with black trim (do not be fooled by the picture, it really is a turquoise-y color and not the kelly green that photo shows it as) are both down to just $18.89 at Amazon. Run, don’t walk. If I didn’t already have two for each kid, I’d go buy more. Buy ’em for your kids, buy ’em as graduation gifts for other kids, buy ’em to store whatever you have all disorganized at home. It doesn’t matter. These are worth every penny.

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Protect that screen (and get a spare)

If you have an iPhone 6/6S/7, check this out: Amazon has this Soft Fiber Glass Film iPhone 7/6/6s Screen Protectors 2-Pack listed at $7.90, which isn’t bad, anyway, but there’s a hidden coupon. Add ’em to your cart, go to checkout, and another $6.99 will be discounted, making your total for 2 screen protectors… just 90 cents. (With free Prime shipping, that is, but I assume everyone has Prime by now.)

I have a child who shall remain nameless who goes through screen protectors at, shall we say, a rather rapid rate. Stocking stuffer!

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Need the perfect gift?

kindnotes-ldI think I mentioned this here once before, but the folks at KindNotes were kind enough (see what I did there?) to send me a sample, a while back, and left it with my girlchild in her dorm as a surprise for after we left. She loves it. What could be nicer than your own personal jar of encouragement and affirmation?? Especially when it comes in such a pretty package.

Right now Amazon is running a Lightning Deal on the Colorful Turquoise Splash set of KindNotes, and with $10 off and free shipping, this is a no-brainer for anyone you adore. Get it as a thank-you, get it as a “thinking of you,” get it as a “you’re really hard to buy for but I knew you’d love this,” just go ahead and get it. The tiny, beautiful envelopes alone are worth the money.

[Edited to add: Looks like a few other options are on sale, as well. Click around to see.]

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Looking for an Instant Pot deal?

I have not yet caved to the Instant Pot craze—despite being billed as a “non scary pressure cooker” that can do a million things in very little time, I am still partial to my crock pots—but everyone I know who has one raves about it.

And right now, Amazon has this 3rd generation programmable Instant Pot marked down to just $91.15, which is their lowest price ever.

Now, if you’re bound and determined to find the best deal, if I had to guess, I’d guess we’ll see some amazing prices on Black Friday. But I’d also guess that’s going to be one of those items where you have to wait in line and/or go shopping at 2:00 in the morning. So… up to you. If you want a pretty good price right now, this is the deal to beat. If you’re willing to wait and possibly fight for a better deal, hold off.

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Bake it up, Rachael Ray style

There are a lot of things I don’t love about Rachael Ray—the fact that she declares everything “yummo,” how she once made a “vegetarian” dish on 30 Minute Meals using chicken broth—but I as someone who actually cooks and bakes a lot, I have to admit that I really like her line of kitchenware. (And to be clear: I’m sure she’s a lovely person. I’m easily irritated.) I have a few of her baking pans and they’re really nice quality.

That said, if you need some bakeware, here’s the deal you’ve been waiting for: Right now Amazon has this 5-piece Oven Lovin’ set available for $27.89, and it’s claiming that that’s just 9% off, but ignore that. You can see that this set in the other color is priced at $49.99, and this one with the orange accents has been around $42 for forever. I think now that they’re doing a new color, they’ve put this one on clearance.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really care what color my baking pans are as long as they work well. This would be a great set to replace your old pans, or to give as a wedding gift or to a graduate heading to their first apartment. With 800 reviews, this set averages 4.5 stars. Grab ’em before they’re gone!

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Pick your Dirt Devil

Longtime readers know I am a fan of quality and durability over simply “cheap;” to me, it’s worth the extra money to get the right item. On the other hand, there are times when I’m good with simply cheap—clothing small children will outgrow, snack food about which I feel ambivalent (ha!)—and that’s okay, too.

I have recommended (and linked to) this Dirt Devil Simpli-Stick vacuum multiple times already, I know, because I think it’s the best compromise around in terms of bang-for-your-buck and being small but mighty. Do I recommend it as your only vacuum? Of course not! But is it perfect for quick kitchen clean-ups or your kid’s dorm room? Absolutely. This is the vacuum I bought for my kid’s dorm. Right now it’s listed at $16.88 with an available $2 coupon to clip, so it’s about what I paid for hers.

But I also just noticed that if you want to go, say, another level up from there, the Dirt Devil Vibe vacuum—similar to the Simpli-Stick, but this one also has a powered brush roll—has that same $2 coupon, which means you can get it for $23. Is it $8 better than the other one? I can’t say for sure, but I’m in the process of accumulating dorm stuff for the other kid, and given that he will actually vacuum on a regular basis, I’m thinking I’ll spring for this one.

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Portable back-up is a bargain at any price

I’m pretty sure we had a deal on these a little while back, but here I am again.

Today (formerly has refurbished 2TB WD My Passport Ultra external drives (in either black or blue) available for just $64 shipped.

For reference: They sell for just under $90 at Amazon (note the 4.5 star average with 5,000+ reviews!), and I thought I was pretty awesome when I scored the 1TB version for my college freshman for $50.

In short, this is a crazy good deal on a tiny powerhouse of data backup. Don’t miss it.

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In case you go swimming with your phone

I am skeptical of any bag which claims to keep your phone dry, on account of the fact that phones are expensive and any failure of said bag is going to prove a very expensive discovery. However, some people swear it can be done, and course sometimes people who don’t spend all their time hermit-ing at home, reading while curled up with dogs (not that that sounds like anyone I know…), go to water parks and such.


Right now Amazon has this 3-pack of iSpecle waterproof phone cases available for $14.99 (not bad), but applying coupon code 9BSEJKO9 brings the price down to just $10.49, which is even better. Reviews are excellent, and if you look at the detail pictures, you’ll see that the mechanism for closing the bags at the top (two turn-latches) does indeed look a lot more secure than many other bags I’ve seen (many of which have a zip-top). Snag ’em now for your next water adventure, or go ahead and buy them and put them away for stocking stuffers and use next summer.

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