Merry Christmas!

I am not sure I am ready to admit that 2013 is almost over. As I write this post I am going through the motions of wrapping presents, sighing Christmas Cards, and prep for Christmas Dinner, but I am not 100% sure that I believe this year has come and gone so fast! I guess as you get older time does really speed up!

I wanted to take a minute to wish all of you a Merry Christmas!

One of my favorite traditions each year is to read the story of the Birth of Jesus. I thought I would share this with you as well.

The Christmas Story

Long ago, about 2000 years, when King Herod ruled Judea (now part of Israel), God sent the angel Gabriel to a young women who lived in the northern town of Nazareth. The girl's name was Mary and she was engaged to marry Joseph.
The Christmas Story - Gabriel visiting Mary The angel Gabriel said to Mary: 'Peace be with you! God has blessed you and is pleased with you.' Mary was very surprised by this and wondered what the angel meant. The angel said to her 'Don't be afraid, God has been very kind to you. You will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and give birth to a baby boy and you will call him Jesus. He will be God's own Son and his kingdom will never end.' Mary was very afraid but she trusted God. 'Let it happen as God chooses.' She replied to the angel. Gabriel also told Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth who everyone thought was too old to have children, would have a baby boy whom God had chosen to prepare the way for Jesus.
Mary said goodbye to her family and friends and went to visit her cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah. Elizabeth was very happy to see Mary. She knew that Mary had been chosen by God to be the mother of his Son. An angel had already told Zechariah that Elizabeth's baby would prepare people to welcome Jesus. He was to be called John. Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home to Nazareth.
Joseph was worried when he found out that Mary was expecting a baby before their marriage had taken place. He wondered if he should put off the wedding altogether. Then an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said: 'Don't be afraid to have Mary as your wife.' The angel explained that Mary had been chosen by God to be the mother of his Son and told Joseph that the baby would be named Jesus which means 'Saviour' because he would save people. When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel had told him to do and took Mary as his wife.
At this time, the land where Mary and Joseph lived was part of the Roman Empire. The Roman Emperor Augustus wanted to have a list of all the people in the empire, to make sure they paid their taxes. He ordered everyone to return to the town where their families originally came from, and enter their names in a register (or census) there. Mary and Joseph travelled a long way (about 70 miles) from Nazareth to Bethlehem, because that is where Joseph's family came from. Most people walked but some lucky people had a donkey to help carry the goods needed for the journey. Joseph and Mary travelled very slowly because Mary's baby was due to be born soon.
The Christmas Story - Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus in the Stable When they reached Bethlehem they had problems finding somewhere to stay. So many people had come to register their names in the census, that every house was full and every bed was taken in all of the Inns. The only shelter that they could was a stable or cave with the animals. In this poor place Mary gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God. In those days it was the custom to wrap newborn babies tightly in a long cloth called 'swaddling clothes'. Jesus' bed was the manger that the animals ate their hay from.
In the hills and fields outside Bethlehem, shepherds looked after their sheep through the long night. As the new day began, suddenly an angel appeared before them and the glory of God shone around them. The shepherds were very, very scared, but the angel said, 'Don't be afraid. I have good news for you and everyone. Today in Bethlehem a Saviour has been born for you. You will find the baby lying in a manger.'.
The Christmas Story - The Shephereds being visited by an Angel Then many more angels appeared, lighting up the sky. The shepherds heard them praising God singing: 'Glory to God in highest, and peace to everyone on earth.' When the angels had gone the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem to see what has happened.' So the shepherds went to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph. The baby Jesus was lying in a manger as they had been told. When they saw him, they told everyone what the angel had said and everyone who heard the story were astonished. Then the shepherds returned to their sheep, praising God for sending his Son to be their Saviour.
When Jesus was born, a brand new bright star appeared in sky. Some Wise Men in faraway countries saw the star and guessed what it meant. They were very clever men that studied the stars and had read in very old writings that a new star would appear when a great king was born. They set out to find the new king and bring him gifts.
The Wise Men followed the star towards the country of Judea and when they got to the capital called Jerusalem they began to ask people: 'Where is the child who is born to be king of the Jews?' Herod, the king of Judea, heard this and it made him very angry to think that someone might be going to take his place as king. Herod sent for the Wise Men to come to him. He told them to go on following the star until they had found the baby king. He said: 'When you have found him, let me know where he is, so that I can go and worship him.'. But Herod did not tell them that he really had an evil plan in mind to kill the new king.
The Christmas Story - The Wisemen visiting baby Jesus The Wise Men followed the star towards Bethlehem (where it said that the king would be born in the old writings). It seemed to stop and shine directly down upon the place where Jesus was.
The Wise Men entered the house where they now lived and found Jesus with Mary, they bowed down and worshiped him. The Wise Men spread the the gifts they had brought before Jesus. The gifts were gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Wise Men were warned in a dream, by God, not to go back to Herod. So they returned home to their countries in the East by a different way.
When the Wise Men had gone, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. 'Get up,' the angel said, 'take Jesus and Mary and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for Jesus to kill him.' So Joseph got up, took Jesus and Mary during the night they left for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod died.
When Herod realized that he had been tricked by the Wise Men, he was furious and he gave orders to kill all the boys aged two or younger in Bethlehem and the surrounding area. This was to try and kill the new King, as his plan to find the location of the new king from the Wise Men had failed.
After Herod had died, Joseph had another dream in which an angel appeared to him. The angel said, 'Get up, take Jesus and Mary and go back to Israel, for those who were trying kill Jesus are dead.'
So Joseph got up, took Jesus and Mary and they went back to Israel. But when he heard that Herod's son was now king of Judea, he was afraid to go there. So instead they went to Galilee, and lived in their old town of Nazareth.

God has given me the talent to spend wisely and it is by his grace that I am able to stay home with my boys. Each year reflecting on the story of The Birth of Jesus humbles me and sparks my thirst for the word!

I will see you in 2014!



A Quick Holiday Savings Tip: Keep Packaging Materials

Just popping in quick to share a money savings tip that will help you throughout the year.
Christmas is the time of year that I order things online. I really don't like to pay shipping so I opt to venture to the brick and mortar.  I do order online during the holidays because many stores offer free shipping during this time.
One of the things I do when I get the packages is store the reusable packaging materials!
This is a big money saver throughout the year when I have to ship items for giveaways or presents to relatives.
I suppose this might be a little Extreme cheapskate-ish, but it works and if nothing else on snow days like today we have lots of bubble wrap for the kids to pop;)
Stay warm and safe today!

Do you have any quirky money savings habits? Share them with us!! Your in good company.


Tis' the Season...

...for busy, over loaded schedules, lots of baking, lots of giving, lots of family time, and even lots of sickness! December is such a blessed month really and I wanted to let everyone know that at the Ward house we take the month to spend as much time doing holiday things as possible. Unfortunately, that also means that I won't be around blog land as much! I do miss you guys when I stop posting so, I will be in and out all month long. More towards posting events and giveaways more then deals and savings tips.

I hope most of you already are done your holiday shopping.
  • IF NOT STOP BUYING until the 2nd week of December. This is when prices are the lowest until after Christmas. 
  • Remember food is a great present for anyone yummy cookies or breads melt anyone's heart. Not to mention this can be made for a fraction of the cost of a store bought present
  •  If your crafty (which I have never claimed to be haha!) Get on Pinterest and find an awesome handmade gift to give this year.
  • Don't forget that family Pictures in a nice frame will make any grandparents Christmas! (Check out shutterfly, tiny prints or other photo processing places for great deals)

Upcoming Events:
  • The Nifty Thrifty Lady Reader Appreciation Giveaway  12/5/13-12/10/13 
  • Get a L.I.F.E. Early Bird Ticket Special ends 12/7/13, there has been a great response to this just remember that seating is limited so grab your tickets (at a steal!) today.
  • If your are in the Chambersburg area there is a great Vendor Event happening this Sunday!

  • On school evenings when there is not much to do our family watches ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas sometimes with Hot chocolate and popcorn;) Here is the schedule for a quick reference
  • The Hagerstown tree lighting is December 5th with lots of great activities for the little ones and yummy treats! 
  • December 23 Leitersburg Cinemas will be showing Rudloph and Frosty the Classics at 10:00am these are free showings with free hot chocolate, candy canes and ballons!
Lots happening!

Enjoy December!


Black Friday 2013 Shopping Results!

Here it is! All of my Black Friday Finds!

I was very excited about what I was able to get. I must say that my family loves Christmas for more reasons then presents. I do not feel the need to buy very expensive presents as explained in earlier posts. If there is a need to buy an expensive present then it is very calculated and planned.

Enjoy watching this video and let me know what your favorite find was this BF!


Black Friday/Small Business Saturday Deals- Washington County and Tri-state area

Small Business is what keeps the economy going if you ask me. Yes I do shop big box stores but ibALWAYS support local
I wanted to highlight some black friday deals and Small Business Saturday deals for those that prefer to take the less crazy route tomorrow; )

Leitersburg Cinema

Get a $30.00! Gift card for $25.00 or
$60.00 gift card for $50.00

Bam Crafty Momma's
20% off total purchase
 Promo code THANKS20

Get your tickets to Get a L.i.f.e now for only $20.00!!

Have a Little Faith Delights

Any orders place on Saturday (Small Business Saturday) will receive a 20% off total purchase!! (cannot be combined with any other coupons)  This includes our cupcakes, cheesecakes, cookies, breads and even our new Delightful Baskets (does not include gift certificates)!  We can be reached on facebook or email at havealittlefaithdelights@gmail.com. Coupon Code to use when ordering is Support Small Businesses!  Orders must be place on Saturday for the discount. Also on our facebook page is a list of our current menu, prices and more details on the baskets

Sweet Minerals with Jessica
Black Friday special is Buy 2, get 1 free on the Lash Extension system and Free shipping (online purchases) and Cyber Monday is Buy $50 and receive a Golden Truffle eyeflavor free and Free Shipping (online orders) use promo code 1301-09001!


Check out Get a L.I.F.E. Presenter Highland Building Services...

in the Herald Mail! I was so excited to see owner Tom Browning of Highland Building Services, LLC in the New Business Section of the Herald Mail yesterday! I have had the pleasure of working with Tom on a custom built desk for my office and my in-laws used his services to build a custom deck with handicap accessible ramp and built-in storage benches. He is very efficient and professional for being a young entrepreneur. I know as homeowners it is always hard to find a home repair man/company that you can trust and won't rake you over the coals so I thought I would share Tom's company.

My In-laws amazing new deck
The best part built-in storage benches!

Tom will be joining the presenter list for Get a L.I.F.E. (March 15, 2014)  teaching an interactive class on DIY home repair. For more details on the workshop and to grab early bird tickets for just $20.00 go here or click on the direct link button to Eventbrite!
Eventbrite - Get a L.I.F.E {Lesson in Frugal Economics} 2014
Last Tom created this nifty coupon organizer as a giveaway!
Highland Building Services, LLC just joined Facebook check them out and show some love! 

(PS I again was not paid to write this post! I like to share small local businesses that I have had first hand experiences with and know they are outstanding businesses.)


Proudly Announcing Get a L.I.F.E 2014!

Mark your calendars, mark your FRIEND'S calendars, put in that request off slip at work for March 15, 2014 because you are going to be enjoying an amazing day of learning how to live a fun, frugal, and balanced life at Get a L.I.F.E {lesson in frugal economics} 2014!

The second annual Get a L.I.F.E. workshop is going to knock your socks off! I have hand picked every presenter because they are knowledgeable in not only their area but,know how to save money! The presenters are amazing people who are going to inspire you to be your best, live life to the fullest, have fun, make a change, save money, and live a balanced life! Who isn't looking for this?

Are you ready to hear who the presenters are?

With out further ado.....DRUMROLL....

*Jen Ward, The Nifty Thrifty Lady
*Stephanie Reese, Contributor to NTL
*Dwight Karkan with Organized by Dwight
*Renee Crabtree with Ageless Photography
*Harmony Wilson

Each presenter will be bringing you a class (or two) that will help you learn how to save money in all areas of your life and YOU GET TO CHOOSE WHICH CLASSES YOU TAKE! 

Here are the classes:

Budgeting- how to create, maintain, pay off debt, and learn what you should be spending
Organization- with professional organizer Dwight Karkan
Mommy Photography- Learn  the basics to photography to capture priceless moments.
Baby Essentials- Calling all new moms! Learn about cloth diapering, baby wearing, consigning and homemade baby food.
Travel- Just in time for summer vacations learn how to travel for less, tips to staying sane on long trips and travel tricks.
Gardening 101- Harmony Wilson will teach how to start a garden, care for, and the economical value to growing your own food.
doTERRA Natural Wellness- Get informed about essential oils natural solutions for your personal health and wellness needs
DIY Home Repair- Join Tom Browning for an interactive class on do-it-yourself home repair you tell him what you need help with and he answers.
Meal Planning- Never again wonder whats for dinner and how you are going to fit it in your budget. 
Parties on the Cheap- Planning a party will no longer break the budget with this hands on class!
Upcycling- enjoy a lesson in how to reuse, reduce, and upcycle almost anything!  

It this not an out of the world line up?!

Still not want more?

How about...
Catered lunch by Amber's Country Catering
Swag Bags
Hourly Giveaways
Take home materials

Yup that's right now until December 7, you can steal tickets for just $20.00! $20.00 to see these amazing presenters, learn priceless information! Make the investment today!

Eventbrite - Get a L.I.F.E {Lesson in Frugal Economics} 2014


Learn how to Save Money on your Engery Costs!

I am so excited to tell everyone about this! I had the pleasure of listening to Katrina present information about Ambit Energy AND fantastic,useful tips on how to save money at last years Get a L.I.F.E frugal living workshop.

Today I wanted to share Ambit Energy with you.

Maryland has recently become a deregulated state (big terms I know) basically an energy company can no long hold all the eggs in one basket or provide, service, and supply energy. They are only allowed to offer 2 services out of 3. I am betting you didn't know that and that folks is what the big energy companies want!

Our local energy company has decided that it will let other companies provide a source of energy. That is where Ambit Energy comes in!

If you want to hear more or would like to start saving today:
Contact Katrina
Business website: http://teambigelow.myambit.com/
Business Contact Information: 240-818-8019 or kbigelow@mail.com
Brief Description of Business: We provide electricity and natural gas to consumers at a discounted rate.
No contracts, fees to switch and no change in service, just lower energy bills every month! P.S. I was again was not paid to write this post. This information is strictly for your knowledge and benefit to live a fun, frugal and balanced life :)


MOM, what's for dinner??

If my son could talk... other than his constant 16 month old babble and few signs he knows... he would ask me the moment he wakes up "Mama, what's for dinner?!" We are major foodies in this house and enjoy eating a variety of meals, new or old or pinterest inspired. So one day we were looking through the Sunday paper we purchased in Hagerstown before driving back to Philadelphia, when I came across the Walmart sales flyer. I was confused for a moment when I flipped to the food section and saw recipes. Confused, and yet hopeful they would actually be good! So, I invite you to flip through the Walmart flyer next Sunday and see what might work for your family. In the meantime here are two recipes that I thought I would share. (Remember if you get stumped on dinners for the week to check out Pinterest or Jen's monthly meal plan she posts!)

½ of 1lb box of Penne Pasta, cooked and drained
1 jar Prego Alfredo Sauce Flavored with Bacon
½ of 1 oz envelope ranch salad dressing mix
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Heat Oven to 350. Stir the penne, sauce, dressing mix and half the cheese in a large bowl. Spoon the mixture into an 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbling!

This serves 4. How easy?! Now let's look really quick at the cost.

1 lb box of Penne Pasta. Typically on sale for $1 or less.
1 jar of Prego Alfredo Sauce. Wal-mart sells for $1.88.
1 envelope ranch salad mix. Ranges from $1-$2 depending on store.
½ cup Monterey Jack Cheese. Bags usually cost around $3 and holds 2 cups.

So if you double the recipe (for lunch leftovers the next day) you would spend a total of around $8 without coupons for the entire meal OR $1 per bowl of pasta. Add on some home made garlic bread and a side salad and I bet you wouldn't go over $1.50 per plate. This meal is amazing for group gatherings and a quick and somewhat healthy meal on a weeknight!

Here is one more recipe for a nice warm soup on a cold winter night:

2lbs ground Turkey
1 large onion, chopped
2Tbsp Chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
3 ½ cups of V8 100% Juice
1 small green pepper, chopped
2 cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Cook the turkey, onion, chili powder and cumin in a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat until the turkey is cooked through, stirring often. Add vegetable juice, pepper and beans to the saucepan and heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

This 6 serving soup may cost a little more to make since it has a meat component. However, when looking at the cost it is still under what you would spend going out to eat. Plus it is SO healthy and quick to make! Add some cornbread and Ta-DA a weeknight meal in 30 minutes or less!

Do you have some favorite week night dinners that are wallet friendly? Please share!


How to Save on the Holiday's Part 4: Travel

We are at the end of our Holiday Savings Series Journey and for that I had to ask the expert of all things travel..our lovely co-contributor Stephanie! Since she is a military wife traveling is the in her back pocket.

First! If you missed the other part of the series check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 so you can get the big picture!


One Deal a Day: Leitersburg Cinemas Gift Cards

Now and going until Black Friday The Nifty Thrifty Lady will be posting 1 Deal a Day to help you save on the cost of Christmas. These deals can be anything from a great sale on toys to a freebie you can snag in the mail! Every little bit helps during the Holiday Season! Let's make this year our thriftiest yet!

Today I am keeping it small and local with a great deal on movie gift certificates from Leitersburg Cinemas!

You will be seeing a couple more One Deal a Day posts from small local businesses! I love to support these types of businesses because it helps our community!

Do you have a great deal? I would love to hear about it!

Kid's Closet Holiday Sale: Plus Pre-Sale Pass Giveaway!

Kid's Closet is holding the first ever Holiday Sale for all us thrifty mom's looking to stay on budget this Christmas this is a BIG deal!

If you are not familiar with Kid's Closet here is a little background knowledge or check out this post

Kid's Closet is a semi annual consignment sale for the Washington County Area.
Kid's Closet offers gently used clothing, toys, baby gear, books, and more at 60-90% off retail value. This event is also great for those that are looking to get rid of these items and make a little extra cash.

You can check out the Kid's Closet website for more details!


The Holiday Sale will be focusing on Toys, larger baby gear, electronics, and winter outerwear!

Are you ready for some exciting news? Kids Closet is allowing for me to giveaway 5 pre-sale passes good for you and 1 friend! A pre-sale pass is super awesome to get because you can have the pick of the bigger items and best deals:)

I will be giving away the pre-sale passes on November 19th at 9:00pm Via Facebook. We will be playing a couple games! I have created a event on FB for this so you don't forget to attend! All you have to do is respond going and you will receive a reminder to log into FB and join the games on November 19th:)



One Deal a Day: Anchor Hocking Penny Jars 1 -Gallon

Now and going until Black Friday The Nifty Thrifty Lady will be posting 1 Deal a Day to help you save on the cost of Christmas. These deals can be anything from a great sale on toys to a freebie you can snag in the mail! Every little bit helps during the Holiday Season! Let's make this year our thriftiest yet!

1-Gallon Anchor Hocking Penny Jars

This is a great price on the gallon size jar! I know that the shipping is an issue if you don't have prime if you can I suggest either ordering an additional item to meet the $35.00 dollars OR ordering 6 of these to distribute as gifts! I would use some chalkboard paint to make a rectangle label and give to two people in a set of three!