Category Archives for "Living Life"

Living Life is about being a parent, giving tips for home management, finance, humor, love, and everything the day throws your way.

February 25, 2013

Planning a Baby Shower on a Budget

 Find out everything you need to know about Planning a Baby Shower on a Budget!

baby shower

Everybody loves Baby Showers but the cost can be staggering as anyone who has ever planned a baby shower knows. It isn’t that the guests expect a large bash but we are always so worried there will not be enough we go overboard.

Planning a Baby Shower on a Budget 101

  1. By invitations at the dollar store or take advantage of offers on sites such as VistaPrint, Shutterfly, and York Photo.
  2. Select a theme that allows you to add your own touches without buying “Branded” items.
  3. Purchase Table Cloths, plasticware, plates, napkins, and cups at the Dollar Store.
  4. Create your own centerpieces
  5. Purchase a sheet cake from your local Warehouse Club or make your own cupcakes.
  6. Make Homemade Hand Scrubs for game prizes.
  7. Plan your shower for mid-afternoon, guests will have already eaten lunch and you can go with lite foods.
  8. Do a Salad Style Buffet. Include: Tossed Salad, Pasta Salad, Tuna Macaroni Salad.
  9. You do not need tons of side dishes. The food line will go faster with just a few options.
  10. Buy bread or rolls from a discount bread store – no need to spend what fancy bakery wants.
  11. Let the parents-to-be know that the shower is your gift to them.
  12. Skip hors d’oeuvres and table snacks.
  13. Set up your sides before your main dishes. Guest will fill up their plates with the less expensive items and take less of the entree.

My Favorite Tip when Planning a Baby Shower

Take people up on their offer to help. You do not have to be a superwoman and do everything yourself. Remember when planning a baby shower that 5 people bringing dishes is 5 less dishes you have have to make or pay for.




Hi I’m Gwendolyn and I have been a stay at home mom since 2009. I have been with my husband, James, for 10 years and we are proud parents of Jayme (9) and Nicholas (14). We foster dogs and are also parents to 3 dogs, 2 cats, 1 hamster, 1 fish, and a snake. My father-in-law lives with us so it is always non-stop at our house. I had the honor of becoming a step-parent when I got married and have a great relationship with my step-son. I always used coupons and shopped for bargains but was forced to step up my game when my husband was disabled in 2005. I get an incredible rush from saving money and finding great deals. My life is a constant journey and I look forward to sharing it with you all.

Topic: Planning a Baby Shower on a Budget

Thought for the Week from Karla’s Korner: Looking Beyond Yucky

Thought for the Week

Thought for the Week

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!

Looking Beyond Yucky….

This past weekend my husband and I went back to the little town where we started our family. With the rain falling for most of the weekend we were sad that we couldn’t get out and walk around and take in the town like we wanted, but we were thankful for the opportunity to go on this journey together. We lived in three different houses while we were there and were excited to see the changes that have taken place in the past twenty years. While there were definite changes to each house the biggest change was to the one we lovingly refer to as the “yucky house”. When I was 7 months pregnant with our daughter, our landlord decided to sell the house and our option was to buy it or leave; we left and moved into an older less attractive house. Two years later we bought a foreclosed home that needed some work. One night after working on the new house we were packing up to go back to our rental when 2 ½ year old Melinda plopped down on the floor and said “I don’t want to go back to the yucky house no more…I want to stay here in the new pretty house!” From that day on we have always referred to house number two as the “yucky” house. Moving into house number three was exciting; we brought our baby boy home and completed our little family. Having lived in that house for almost five years we were excited to go back and remember our time there. What astounded me about the “yucky” house was that it was no longer yucky. The brown cedar siding had been replaced with beautiful light yellow vinyl siding while the yard had been cleared of the excess trees. It was beautiful. To the side of the house stood a garage and the driveway was nicely paved. For the rest of our weekend we found ourselves discussing the “yucky” house and how surprised we were at how great it looked. (Being renters we did all that we could and learned to just make do with what we had knowing that it was only temporary.)Continue reading

February 24, 2013

Chuck-E-Cheese:The Do’s and Don’ts (A List)


If you are a parent, then most likely, you have been to Chuck-E-Cheese. I just got back from our most recent trip to Chuck-E-Cheese about an hour ago, and I noticed while there, that *some* parents just don’t know the unspoken rules of Chuck-E-Cheese, (don’t you hate that!?) but it did give me some inspiration to write this post, so without further adieu…

The Do’s and Don’ts of Chuck-E-Cheese (A List)


  • First, Chuck-E-Cheese has no competition  (at least in my area) So DO plan accordingly. You will look mighty miserable trying to rock an infant to sleep at 4 pm on a Sunday, when there is at least 100 kids running around screaming and you are sitting  directly in front of one of the most popular games.
  • Always, always, always print some coupons before you go! It will save you on average about $10, which in parent world is a lot right!?A  DO for sure! Here is where you can print off your Chuck-E-Cheese Coupons.
  • DO Know where your Children are! I know this sounds like a silly addition, but while at Chuck-E-Cheese I saw 3 different kids being dragged around by employees looking like lost puppies because they had NO idea where their parents were!
  • Speaking of keeping up with your children, know what age is okay for your children to be running around by themselves. This age is different according to what your child’s personality is. A simple way to find this out it: If your 2 year old is running around with a pacifier in his/her mouth..they aren’t ready to be running around by themselves. I know that they stamp your hand with that invisible ink, but that is not going to stop them from running into the bathroom and dunking that pacifier in the toilet is it?  Don’t be that parent!
  • Now that we know how young is to young, lets talk about how old is to old. I see NO reason for a Teenager to be at Chuck-E-Cheese..I just don’t. (There are some exceptions, like if they are helping out with younger siblings or what not) But if you are old enough to work at Chuck-E-Cheese, I think it’s time to find something more age appropriate to do. It drives me nuts to see a 16 year old hogging a game and a million tickets. What are they going to do with those tickets? Get a super awesome Chuck-E-Cheese sticker book to decorate their locker at school with?
  • I Highly suggest trying other foods that are offered at Chuck-E-Cheese besides the Pizza.  As you might know from reading my other blog posts concerning my weight loss (If you haven’t read it, check it out HERE)I am making it a point to eat as healthy as I can,  so pizza is kind of a bad choice as far as dieting is concerned. Chuck-E-Cheese offers some awesome menu choices like their endless salad bar, Yummy Sandwiches, and even really good chicken wings!So make sure you DO check out all the yummy options on the Chuck-E-Cheese Menu.
  • Don’t be afraid to be stern! Some of the kids that are at Chuck-E-Cheese at any given time are heathens, and will try to jump your kid in line, not cool. Or my favorite, the older kids will run up to you younger kids (in my case a 4 year old) and ask them if they can have all your kids tokens. Go ask your parents!
  • Do make sure while you are online printing out your coupons that you stop by the Chuck-E-Cheese Game Section of their website and grab yourself some free tickets! I got 100 FREE Tickets for playing a cute little game on their website.
  • Don’t let your kid run around barefoot. I understand that they have a little play area that you have to take your shoes off and it’s a hassle trying to take their shoes off and on every time they want to go into the play tunnel, but please at least make sure they have socks on.  No Joke, I was in the bathroom today, the bathroom, and saw 3 kids running in there barefoot.
  • Do know, that it is every man (or woman) for themselves in Chuck-E-Cheese. If you walk away from some tickets, I’m going to give you some time to notice your mistake, and if you don’t, I’m going to snatch them, and so is any other kid (or parent) that sees them. Know where your tickets are!
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff! Chances are, if you are at Chuck-E-Cheese you are celebrating something. (unless you have the funds to go just because, and in that case go you!) In our case, we were Celebrating my daughter being extra good this week and helping me with my reviews and giveaways!  While keeping this in mind, don’t get upset if your little one doesn’t want to sit down and eat, or spills ice cream all over their shirt, it’s supposed to be a FUN day, and will be a lot more fun for you if you don’t get upset over little things that may go wrong.

Well, there you have it, My Do’s and Don’t for surviving Chuck-E-Cheese! What are some of your Do’s and Don’ts for going to Chuck-E-Cheese??



February 24, 2013

Money, Money, Money



I love Money. I am sure you are thinking who doesn’t. I actually enjoy having my own business because I get to decide what I do with the money I earn. The first thing I do is pay for the site to run which is 35% of my earnings. The next thing I do is invest 10% back into my business by sponsoring giveaways. You can find those on the Madame Deals Contest page. Then I put money away for a rainy day and uncle sam 20%.I spend 5% on charities and I also donate my ad space, time, and products I have reviewed. I pay myself 20% and I take 10% of my earnings and I hire you.


I created a job board to hire the people that read my site. Why? The answer is simple if you are running a business and you do not take the time to invest in the people that use your services what good is your business? How are you as a business owner helping to benefit society? I believe that each reader I have is valuable to my overall success as a business person. I believe in working with other bloggers, brands, and readers to bring the best products and services I can find to your inboxes, rss feed, facebook feed, twitter, and pinterest board.

Follow Madame Deals

Here is what I need from you to grow and expand my vision to help more people.

1) I need you to follow me on the social media you follow the most. (You can click on those images to get to me)

2) I need you to share, like, retweet, re pin, watch my video, google+ my content, stumble it, submit it to article sites etc. I need you to visit my site and comment on the posts that you find helpful.

3) Enter the giveaways they are usually sponsored so the happier to brand is then the more they will provide for you to win 🙂

4) Tell your friends about my site. We are working on a series for tips to save $5 a day, how to be a normal coupon shopper, recycled crafts, living on less than 30,000, how to find the right bed, and recipes and weight loss tips and seasonal holiday crafts.

5) Apply to earn Money

Fact: This site currently employs 8 people and about 10 additional fans a week. We can’t do it without your help. I look forward to empowering you to live your dream and Make DollarS Out of Change!

Topic: Money

February 22, 2013

I am going on a Trip…


We are going on a trip. We need it. We have had more fake snow days then I can count and I need to get my children out of the house. In fact I need to get out of the house. That is the problem with working at home. Let’s play a game so you can figure out where I am going. I am going on a trip and I am bringing or hoping for:
A apples for snack
B bathing suit
C clothes
D Dolls
E Eye wear
F Fun
H Hair Brush
I I Pad
J Juice Boxes
K Kids
L Lounge Chair
M Mountain
N Never a dull moment
O Ocean Like Waves
P plugs for my ears
Q Quiet
R Resort
S Surfing
T Tubes
U Umbrellas
V Victory after each slide
W water Bottle crafts: Search Game
X xi hours of fun if you get there at 11:00
Y Yeah!
Z Zipping around on a slide

Continue reading