Monthly Archives: February 2011

February 28, 2011

Karla’s Korner: Second Chances

Second Chances…

I’m sitting here staring at a blank screen with an empty head (there are those who will tell you that happens quite often) and absolutely no idea what to write about this week.  My dog Spankie wanders over and plops down at my feet.  Spankie came to live with us in September 2009 after a brief stay in the state maximum security women’s prison.  So how in the world does a dog end up in prison?  Good question.  Let me explain.

In March 2009 I had the opportunity to meet a young woman who at the age of 15 participated in a crime that landed her in prison with a life sentence.  She’s been incarcerated for almost 19 years and is eligible for parole in two years.   When I met this young woman she told me about her work as a dog trainer in the prison system.  This program places shelter dogs in the prison and inmates use their skills to train and rehabilitate them and return them to society as adoptable pets.  This program gives dogs who would otherwise end up losing their lives a second chance.  One night my friend called to tell me that they had gotten a new dog that day and she wanted me to see him. I went to my computer, found the website and there he was.  Instantly I knew that this dog had to be ours.   After completing the application and faxing it to the adoption office we anxiously waited for the call.   Finally, on September 22, 2009 Spankie came home with us.  He got his second chance.

Continue reading

February 25, 2011

Fashion Friday: Swimsuit

I love Fashion but I hate paying tons of money to look great. I believe you need two things the knowledge of what looks good on you and the skill to find it for less. I encourage you to get rid of all the items in your closet that you do not wear. They cloud up your options to make really great outfits because you can’t see your clothes! If they are in good condition sell the at a consignment store or a place like Plato’s closet, or host a clothing swap. Clothing swaps are a blast!


I hit the store inspired by the 75 degree weather to find a bathing suit. I do not care who you are, there is nothing scarier clothes wise then attempting to buy a bathing suit. I suggest you buy a suit that you are not scared to walk out of the dressing room in. I mean if you are afraid to walk towards the mirror in the suit, then how are you going to wear it at the pool?

I then suggest you not look at the size on the suit. I actually always buy bathing suits that are not my “normal” size because I go by fit not size.  No one is going to ask to see the tag in your suit. I do think if your assets are hanging out, you will get more questions regarding size.

Why did I run to the store to buy a suit?  Well, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s have started filling their stores with swim suits. I scored my Kenneth Cole Suit for $24.99. I saw this suit at a department store last year for $60.00. This is the time to buy your swimsuit because they have all the sizes in stock. Yes, they are most likely last year’s model but how much design improvement can there be in a swimsuit?

February 25, 2011

Frugal Kid Fun: Recycling Crayons

Are you looking for something Cheap and Fun to do with your kids? Well Madame Deals will be adding a weekly column written by Sharon at Mom on Dealz and Heather at Living on Love and Cents. I will occasionally add my 2 cents since I am a certified Special Education and Regular education teacher. If you want or need modifications let me know in the comment section. Thank you for the great idea!

Each week I try to bring an activity to you that is fun yet educational AND that is frugal. This week I wanted to give you a way to rejuvenate all of those broken crayons you have around the house.
broken crayons
cupcake/muffin pan
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Gather all of the broken crayons you have in the house.
3. Spray muffin pan with PAM or line them with foil liners. (I used my oldest pan for this in hopes of having an excuse to replace it, but the crayons don’t stick so no such luck for me!)

4. Divide crayon pieces among the spaces in the pan on your preference. You can put similar colors together, seasonal colors together, primary colors together, etc.
5. Put pan in the oven. Check every 5 minutes to monitor if they are melting. Everyone’s oven is different so time will vary.
6. When crayon pieces are completely melted, remove from the oven and allow to cool. If you are in a rush, you can put them in the fridge or freezer.
7. Pop out of pan and color away with your new crayons!

Educational Usage
1. Discuss with your child different states of matter and how the crayons went from a solid, to a liquid, and then to a solid again.
2. Discuss the blending of the colors and how different colors can combine to make new colors.
3. Use this activity to help your child review steps in a process. They can retell you the steps orally, they can draw the steps, or write them down.
4. Discuss how this activity is an example of recycling. Talk about other things that can be recycled and the benefits of recycling. Have your child draw, list, or tell you other ways to help the enviroment.

February 24, 2011

Keeping Track of Charitable Donations

In case you’re new here, we have a “tax time rerun” for you today.  One of the things we focus on at Madame Deals is being charitable. Using coupons and bargain shopping has helped us become more charitable and one of the easiest ways to be charitable is through our use of coupons.

April 15th is right around the corner and that means tax time.  Are you looking for more deductions? Here’s something you might have overlooked.  Most people are aware you can take a tax deduction for charitable donations of cash, clothing and household goods.  Did you know the retail value of groceries and health and beauty aids (HBA) which you donate to your local food pantry, church or homeless shelter is also tax deductible?Continue reading

February 23, 2011

Working Mom: What’s for Dinner? Chicken Brocolli Pasta

Okay, so I am huge fan of dump recipes.  This is one of my favorites.

4 – Boneless/ Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 – 16 0z. container of sour cream

2 – 10.5 oz. cans cream of mushroom soup

Some wine … like I said “dump” (1/4 cup)

Some pepper

Combine the sour cream, soup, and wine  in a bowl and mix.

Place the chicken in a glass casserole dish and place the sour cream/soup/wine mixture on the chicken.  Then add in the pepper.

You will need to cook the chicken at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

I place it on top of the noodles I bought on sale at Harris Teeter and added some steamed broccoli.

February 21, 2011

Karla’s Korner: Letting Go

I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Letting Go…

After spending a considerable amount of time trying to come up with an idea for this week’s article I took a break and wandered over to the wonderful world of Facebook to snoop around to see what my friends were up to.  It’s been a very long two weeks for our family.  My husband has been out of town most of that time, only being home on the weekends.  This past weekend my daughter and I travelled to a university for her to compete for a full scholarship and my son was sick most of the week.  Needless to say, my brain and my body have been on overload.   As I read through various posts from friends and family one in particular caught my eye.  It was from a friend and mother to a little girl in my preschool and immediately it spoke to my heart.   Whenever I thought of this woman I never saw a lot of similarities between us; until now.  Her post on her Facebook wall referred to a recent walk she took with her children.  Her daughter wanted to ride her bike down the big hill and while she tried to let her go, she couldn’t seem to force her hand to let go of the bike.  With her daughter yelling “let go mommy, let go mommy” she felt her heart saying “no, I will never let go” She goes on to write that the following day she registered her little girl for kindergarten.  She just isn’t ready to let her go quite yet.   I knew in an instant that we do in fact have something in common.  While being at very different stages of motherhood, we are both facing the fact that our little girls are growing up and we must let them do it.  We have no other choice.

As a young girl I always knew I wanted to be a wife and a mother.  I never imagined my life without either and have always known how blessed I am to be both.  When David and I became engaged and planned to marry we would often talk of children.  We knew we would become parents eventually, but decided to wait a few years before starting a family.  Four years after we married, our sweet little girl was born.  David cut the cord and placed her on my chest.  She was the most beautiful sight I had ever laid my eyes on.  She was going to be mine forever.  She would love me and always be my girl.  While that remains true, the circumstances of life have changed just a bit.  I never factored in how much it was going to affect me when she prepared to leave home.  Three years after Melinda was born I became pregnant and began to prepare for baby number two.  Sadly four months into the pregnancy, something happened and our baby was gone.  I had a miscarriage.  As I sat there on the floor with my sweet little girl in my lap trying to put into words what had happened and that our baby had gone to Heaven, she wrapped her little arms around my neck and said “it’s o.k. mommy, you still have me, I’m not ready to go to heaven yet.”  Once again, I knew my little girl was going to be mine forever.

Continue reading