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 22, 2014

Tips to Save on Home Repairs

Save on Home Repairs

save on home repairs

I don’t know about you but it seems this winter has been particularly long and cold. As we approach spring, I look forward to the opportunity to open the windows and air the house out. I also have an ulterior motive for this. After enduring record high electric bills this winter, turning the heat pump off will be a welcome relief to my already shattered utility budget.

Winter is almost over. At least I hope that statement is true. With the melting of the snow, warmer temperatures, and glimpses of what spring has to bring, my mind turns to what needs to be done outside the house. After all, I feel as if we’ve been cooped up for an eternity.

Here are some things we can all do to save on home repairs this spring:

1. Take a good look at the exterior of your home. How did the doors, windows, siding, decks, and stairs fair over the winter? Do you see any obvious repairs which need to be made? If so, are they repairs which you can do yourself or will you need to hire a contractor?

2. Make plans for a family cleanup day. From youngest to oldest, everyone can help out. Simple things like cleaning debris out of flower beds, sweeping the porch, and tearing down cobwebs in the corners all contribute to the cause.

3. Take the opportunity early in the season to wash your windows inside and out. If this project is broken down into manageable time periods, it can all be done before it’s too hot to think about being outside. Once those windows are sparkly clean, everything else in the house seems to shine a little brighter.

Let us know what types of projects you have planned for the spring. Be sure to tell us how you plan to save on home repairs. We love to pass on your tips to our readers!

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Topic: Save on Home Repairs

How to make glowing cupcakes

How to make cupcake frosting glow

glow int he dark cupcakes


I wanted to make a recipe that even my nine year old son would think was cool. When I made this glow in the dark frosting  I was pleasantly surprised that it tasted good and was really simple to do. I was upset that I didn’t know about this chemical reaction earlier because I am positive I could have made this recipe more famous while attending college but anyway I figure sharing it on the internet would be a great way to make sure others get to enjoy the glow in the dark cupcakes.

glowing cupcake ingredients

Ingredients need to make cupcake frosting glow:

Frosting any vanilla or white kind will do

Tonic water

Green or orange jello depending on the taste you wish to achieve

a black light … you will not be able to see the glow without one of these. I bought mine on amazon. You can do the same Black light <—–  or my kids wanted this black light flash light

How to make cupcake frosting glow

how to make frosting

Pour jello in a bowl add 1/3 cup of tonic water

how to make cupcake frosting

Then you will stir the jello

neon food

Place the mixture in an icing bag and mix it. Leave some tonic water and jello to spread on top.

Making frosting for cupcakes

Make sure you fully ice your cupcakes

Glow in the dark cupcake

Turn off the light and on the black light… mix up the jello and tonic water again

glow in the dark cupcakes

Repaint the cupcakes to achieve the color you want! Then enjoy your new neon rocking cupcakes.

If you like cooking with kids check out our series! Easy Kid Recipes


easy neon

glowing cupcake

February 19, 2014




This post is dedicated to the lady that taught me to hug everyone. I mean really hug them. This isn’t  the quick hug that you repel your body quickly back after making contact with another person but the kind of full body, look you in the eye, and touch your heart kind of hug. She taught me everyone needs, deserves, and will benefit from a hug. I have carried your message Anne Danaugh from the halls of Alpha Xi Delta to the classrooms that I lead all the way through to the three children that have also benefit from your mission to hug everyone. Like you said, in your southern draw I simply do not do handshakes I only do hugs.

I will admit Mom “hugs” D that I did on occasion she your hand hit below the belt. Your response was always funny. You would claim who is going to call an old lady out when she touches the bottom of a good looking guy? Not only did no guy dare to call you out but you have the hottest dates at every one of our date functions. I am reminded of your words. They have always rung in my ears. It was your advice that guided me through those challenging college years. Those years full of excitement and freedom coupled with the responsibility of managing your own life. I would come into your apartment since the door was always open. I would sit down and prepare for a story. It was always my place of home when I didn’t want to admit that I wanted to go home. You would say, “Merk” it is the way it is for a reason. You would tell me about your life adventures and remind me that world was a tough place but that I  always had a home.


You taught me to hug the world and aim for the sky. You encourage my somewhat aggressive go get them attitude by saying the world needs people that know what they want. You advised me on love and relationships and even rated my dates. I am proud to report my husband was on the approved list. I believe you taught me to be a lady through your example where a girl had once stood. You made time for myself and my friends. You followed us on a cruise so we could go.

You have taught us all how to lead with our heart. You have given us the gift of your presence in our lives. You have been a person who we think of often because of your kindness, sense of humor, and really your zest for life. You are the mom some of us needed while we were away from our own. You are certainly the person who we think of with fond memories. I can’t thank you enough for teaching me to hug and to squeeze tight. I can say people are shocked when I hug them but they will get over it and hopefully they will also learn to hug. I just wanted you to know I was thinking of you today as I often do. I wanted you to know the nights and days that you spent with us were part of my history and what you taught me has been part of my today and will be part of my tomorrow.

XI Love,


How to Save on Crafts

How to Save on Crafts

save on crafts


We love to make crafts in our house and we are always struggling to save as much money as we can. Over the years we have found tried and true ways to save on Crafts and still have them turn out fantastic.  Saving while making crafts allows us to make more crafts and surprise our friends during the holidays and sometimes just because. Keep reading to find out How To Save on Crafts.

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Karla’s Korner: The Importance of Saving Relationships

The Importance of Saving Relationships

Saving Relationships

Saving Relationships

Life, Relationships and Duct Tape

Have you ever had a relationship that ended and afterward you wished it hadn’t? Have you ever found yourself looking back and wishing you had not lost contact with someone or that you had not walked away from a relationship because it was just too difficult to deal with? Have you ever wondered “what if?” about long lost relationships and wished you had another chance to make it work? Unfortunately, we often allow our emotions to get in the way and walk away from relationships that can enrich our lives; sometimes we miss out on what could be wonderful because we give up. Acknowledging the fact that sometimes it is necessary to walk away, I want to focus today’s thoughts on the importance of working through the difficulties in order to maintain or save the relationships in our lives.

Recently I attended a party with childhood friends and noticed that “J” was wearing a pair of sneakers with duct tape wrapped around one of them. Thinking that it must be a temporary fix until she could get a new pair, I decided not to ask her about it. Certainly this was not her everyday sneakers; or was it. Later “J” shared with me that she had an idea for an article; it was about her shoes. Intrigued, I listened as she explained that she really liked her sneakers and just because the one had a small defect there was no need to throw them away; the duct tape is holding them together until she decides to get another pair. She shared that relationships are kind of like her duct taped shoe. All too often we tend to throw out a relationship because it is not perfect, it’s flawed or we find someone new to take their place. What if, she suggests that we simply put duct tape on it until we can fix it or until we can figure out how to fix it? And what happens when we develop new relationships? Do we leave the old ones behind because we have new friends? Are we so enticed by the newness that we leave the familiar behind? There’s something to be said about old friendships; you should never leave behind old friends for new ones. If you have two old friends and you make two new friends you then have four friends; not just the two new ones. Old friends are a conduit to our past; a lifeline that can’t be replaced. In order to have old friends, we must be willing to do the work; to hold onto what we have.

In the weeks since my conversation with “J” I have spent a lot of time questioning why it is that we are so quick to end relationships; what makes them disposable? What makes a relationship necessary one moment and unnecessary the next? Knowing that there is no defined answer to my many questions I conclude that we have become such a “throw away” society that it’s easy to detach from things and people quickly without a lot of thought. What if we took the time to work on relationships? What if we focused on what brought us into a particular relationship in the beginning? What if like my friend’s shoe we duct taped the relationship and held it together until we could find a solution to the fault or defect? What if we nurtured what we have and incorporate old and new together? Isn’t it important to save the relationships?

As my husband and I prepare to renew our wedding vows for our 25th wedding anniversary we often hear people “you two are so lucky”. At first I would agree but after talking with “J” I realize that luck has nothing to do with it. Twenty-five years of marriage, two kids, the loss of a baby, numerous moves, job changes, health scares, loss of family members and countless disagreements requires work not luck. Luck is finding $10 in the parking lot. Now, when someone tells me how lucky I am I politely reply that I’m not lucky I’m blessed and that what we have is a result of work; work that includes respect, compromise and leaving your pride at the door; duct taping it all together until we figure out how to fix the cracks that time has created and never giving up what we have for something or someone new.

Relationships come in phases. A healthy relationship matures with time. Getting to know someone new brings about excitement, however, as time goes on and the newness wears off we often begin to find fault and make the decision to walk away. Walking away is easy way. Sticking around and working to caulk the cracks of a relationship is hard. Taking time to remember what it is that made the relationship form in the first place can be the first step in renewal. Having found ourselves in the “throw away” mode on several occasions throughout our marriage David and I made the decision to always stick it out; walking away has never been an option. Working through difficulties is no easy task. Staying focused and remembering what’s important is essential to a healthy long lasting relationship.
I encourage you to nurture your relationships. Keeping that in mind that relationships are never 50/50, I think you will find it a bit easier to hang on to what you have. Seeking new relationships is a great way to expand your life experiences, however, I believe there’s something to be said about longevity and familiarity with the ones you already have. New sneakers, like relationships, are great to have. However, like the comfort of an old pair of sneakers, broken in and well-worn spending time with an old friend can bring about a sense of peace and security that can only be bought with time. Old friendships were once new and quite possibly like “J’s” shoes had to be duct taped once in a while to be held together.


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!

Read more Karla’s Korner , also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!

February 12, 2014

Heart Healthy Weight Loss Diet

Heart Healthy Weight Loss Diet

Heart Healthy Weight Loss Diet Recipe

Keeping your family healthy does not mean you have to stop making your favorite recipes. You can easily create a healthy version of your favorite recipe by following these Heart Healthy Weight Loss Diet Recipe Tips. Implement these tips into each of your favorite recipes and your family will be begging for more and won’t even notice the changes.

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