Showing posts with label Family Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family Life. Show all posts


Packing an Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box on a Budget

Items to Pack in Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for Boy

Packing Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes has become the official sign that the Holidays are here at our house! To be honest I don't think I could think of a better way to kick off the festivities.


Life is an ADVENTURE

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all- Helen Keller

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase from them your cost does not increase and the compensation keeps this site running. 


Why it is Important to Give on ANY Income

This post may contain affiliate link. When you purcahse through a link your prices does not increase and it helps keep this site running. Thank you!

A very common question I get asked is "should I be giving if I can't afford to pay my bills?".  There is no one blanket statement to this questions but from my experince if you can't give finanically you can still give the gift of your time and talent, so, yes.


Being Present in a World Full of Distractions

3 Tips to be present more at home

There has never been a time in the world's history were people have had as many distractions as we do now in the palm of their hands. 


Embrace Monday to get The Most Out of YOUR Week

Embrace Monday My #1 Productivity Tip

To many Embracing Monday sounds like an anti-motivational quote. 

If you ever watched How I Met Your Mother you would probably put "Embrace Monday" right smack in the middle of Barney Stinson's office wall. A wall full of awkward motivational quotes.


Our Free or Cheap Summer Fun Academic Schedule 2016

Free or Cheap Summer Fun Ideas

One the great things about getting to spend the summers with the boys is that we can plan for some serious FUN!


#DS321Challenge {March Challenge: Athletes for Down Syndrome Awareness}


It is time to hear all about the challenge for March! If you haven't caught on I am going to run a challenge each month. In January we had the Fresh Start Challenge, February was the Eat in Challenge and for March I am SO EXCITED to be partnering with TeamT21 for an Exercise challenge!  This Challenge has a dual purpose getting fit and helping bring awareness about Down Syndrome!


Goal Achieving: Week 7

All of 2016 I will we sharing my weekly goals to achieve. Please let me know what your goals are each week as well! If you have never set goals you can see my process on setting goals in this video and you can see how I maintain my goals in this video. 


Goal Achieving: Week 6

All of 2016 I will we sharing my weekly goals to achieve. Please let me know what your goals are each week as well! If you have never set goals you can see my process on setting goals in this video and you can see how I maintain my goals in this video. 


Goal Achieving: Week 5

All of 2016 I will we sharing my weekly goals to achieve. Please let me know what your goals are each week as well! If you have never set goals you can see my process on setting goals in this video and you can see how I maintain my goals in this video. 


#EatinFeb: A Challenge to Help your Families Meal Times

#EatinFeb Challenge
Friends it is February 1st and you know that means? CRAZY STUFF is going to be happening to your meal time with my favorite challenge #EatinFeb.

You are going to be planning meals, whipping up lunches, grabbing breakfast to go from HOME and pushing the timer button on the coffee maker BEFORE you go to bed!

Did I mention the best part? You are also going to start seeing little green dollar men on paper magically appear in your wallet for all your effort.

So what am I talking about specially?


Goal Achieving: Week 2

2016 Goals and Goal Setting

All of 2016 I will we sharing my weekly goals to achieve. Please let me know what your goals are each week as well! If you have never set goals you can see my process on setting goals in this video and you can see how I maintain my goals in this video. 

Each week will be basically be a small step to achieve the larger goal. I want to be focused with NO Excuses this year so I will be trying my hardest to STICK to them and achieve my goals this year.

Starting in Week 3 I will also be sharing how I actually did. I will be real, transparent and honest about this. What is the use of lying anyway?

So lets go!

WEEK 2: Goals to Achieve 

  • This week we will have have a family night on Friday. I have a family night scheduled each third Friday of the month. We have slacked really bad with enjoying each other at home lately so this is a must!
  • Focus on no social media during the hours of 5-8pm. This is our family/chore/dinner time each evening and I get roped into social media a lot. My goal is to keep my phone away from me at these time at least 4/7 night.
  • Go to church for the 3 week in a row
  • Read the 2nd chapter in I am a Church Member
  • Attend Women's Group
  • Pray daily

  • Call with mentor on Tuesday
  • Take Spreadsheets Assessment
  • Finish Managerial Accounting Book/Book Work
  • Post Consistently
  • Get a led or book one class for February
  • Eat a Healthy Breakfast each morning before 9am
  • Gym 3 Times
  • Continue the Fresh Start Challenge
Earn half of Car Payment ($70) with TNTLFRESHSTART Challenge


My 7 Goals for 2016 and my One Word for the Year

2016 Goal Planning

My goals  for 2016 are evolving just like my life is evolving. This year I intentionally set goals that would challenge me but were very attainable. If you have been around this part of the inter-webs you know that I am goal setter and planner. So setting S.M.A.R.T. goals yearly is no surprise to you.

I also set smaller weekly goals to help me reach my ultimate goals for the year. I find these bite size goals makes the bigger goal not so scary.

This year I am also focusing on "One Word" for my year. In my case I had to be rebellious and set two words that are a call to action. I thought a call to action would be better for 2016 since this year comes after a year of refining.

  • Cultivate already built relationships deeper- in 2015 I meet some amazing people. These people came into my life at a moment that I was vulnerable and I needed them the most. I wanted to focus on building these relationships deeper. This goal also covers my husbands and kids.
  • Be Present- Have you noticed this being a trend? Last year was one of the worst years for me to be in a room but not to actually be there. Thank you social media and lack of will power! This year I am building what I call "Office Hours" which means I will not be responding as quickly to comments, emails, messages ect. I still will be doing my best to answer within 24 hours but I will not be instantaneously responding.
  • Pray without ceasing and LISTEN for God- Last year I was introduced to Listening Prayer. It was a powerful experience for me in my journey. I have since found myself praying more and looking, listening, or waiting for Gods word. I need to develop this so much further, I need to learn to pray in the small things as well as the big.
  • Graduate in July 2016!!- There is not much to say about this. I want to be done with school so I can focus on earning an income. I am not sure what this will look like in 2017 but I know I am ready. 
  • Grow, Leverage, and Monetize The Nifty Thrifty to earn a Part-Time Income by July- This goal is new for me this year. I have decided that my passion is family finance and I spend a good portion of my time each day here writing, creating, and helping other through my webiste. There are simple ways for me to earn a small income from doing just this and I will not be compromising my writing style or your trust in me. I am happy to be able to contribute to my family and still feel authentic. 

Water Color Goals display

  • Implement health and wellness knowledge to take care of myself- Bottom line, if I am empty physically, emotionally, and spiritually I have nothing to give to my family, friends, or business. I want to be a giver, helper, whatever you would call a person who chooses to lift others up with nothing in return. The truth is I have to fuel myself in small ways so I don't burn out. This is not a selfish goal (that is more a reminder for me).
  • Create No New Debt: Last year we added some debt on our table due to some unexpected events. This Debt will be paid off in February but my goal for 2016 is to create NO NEW DEBT! With the part-time income I hope to be making by July I also plan to pay off 1 additional debt this year!

 To accomplish these years goal I have decided that this year will be the year of "NO EXCUSES". I am calling myself to action to be a good example for family, for you and for the world. 

Please let me know what your goals are for 2016! If you have never set goals you can see my process on setting goals in this video and you can see how I maintain my goals in this video. 

Here is to year of action and accomplishments!



2015 in Review, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and What I Learned

Last week I shared with you the top viewed posts on TNTL in 2015. This week I am going to review the whole year for not only TNTL but our family and finances too.

I am a big believer in reflecting on yourself and learning from the past.

"Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" - Albert Einstein
I have no interest in being labeled as insane. Different. Odd. Weird, those do not bother me. Knowing that I can learn from my mistakes, failures, and past experiences means that I get a lot of FREE self development!

2015 has been a rough year. If you have ever heard of picking one word to define your year mine would be REFINING.

I normally don't pick the one word at the beginning of the year because I really don't think you know what the good Lord has up his sleeve for you and if you focus too much on what you want then you are shutting out the possibilities he has for you.

I could tell this year was going to be a year of learning and humbling myself more when my grams passed late in 2014. I carried and still carry that pain of loss with me to this day. It has very much broken me in ways I never thought I could be broke. I have always pride myself on understanding that death is part of life. As a Christian I know that this earth is not our home. I have never lost anyone I loved more than my Grams. As I sit here and type this tears are steaming down my face. I know that this pain will help me one day and it has made we realize that I have so many emotions I have not even tapped into at the age of 29. We also experienced the loss of one of me and husband best friends. This is a whole other level of lose because he was so young and we had not seen him is quite a while. We miss him terribly and the sting of live being so short awakeness us almost nightly.

I can not label this experience as good, bad, or ugly. I am just calling it a learning experience.

For 2016 I am taking a slightly different approach to how I view my one word. I am giving myself a call to action instead of a word. I think if I set out how I want to act in 2016 I can still follow the path laid out before me. For 2016 I want to take on each day with "No Excuses". I do not think I make many excuses and am pretty determined by nature but I feel like I have a new prospective from the refining this year and want to take advantage of this.

Do you do one word for each year? I would love to hear them!

I know this is not my typical type of content. I didn't even thing I would share about my grams. Sometimes I just have to let my fingers lead me.

Let's get into the review!!

Beach Trip 15

Jeff's First Pole Barn Design, Built By Highland Building Services
The Good

  • TNTL has seen some considerable growth this year. More than that we have seen an amazing community develop! I have to thank all of you for that and for trusting me to help you with your finances.
  • I have finally found my groove with how often to post, what to post, and how to make this blogging thing work!
  • TNTL has guest posted for WC Parents, The Hippie Juice Mama, and The Frugal Homeschooling Mom. This was a goal of mine in 2015!
  • I joined Periscope and love it. I will be back in action on Periscope come January so if you would like to join in on this live platform you can find me.
  • TNTL family has been doing some good things this year too, Our oldest son completed his first year of competitive soccer. He ended up with 3 goals and learned a lot about how to be a team plyer. 
  • My Husband saw one of his first designs built in real life. It was so amazing to see the progression of his design take life. He has since designed another build and it was just recently completed! 
  • Our little man has made leaps and bounds in learning this year. He is counting to 12, knows all of his colors, and is starting to work on his alphabet. 
  • We also went on our very first family vacation to the beach!!

The Bad
The Little Guy with Stitches
The Oldest!
  • I learned that committing to too much is not good. It is not only draining but it takes precious time away from family, friends, and other commitments. This means that I have scaled back on my posts,and my extra curricular activities so I could concentrate on things I will never get back. This was a hard choice when you are trying to grow a business and feed your passion but it was the right choice.
  • Our family experienced staples for the first time! Our little man, who is a monkey by nature, crashed is head into our end table and required 8 staples!
  • My Husband who I will from here on out just refer to as Jeff also experienced a first with an emergency surgery having his appendix out and then taking a tumble down our stairs and breaking his elbow within 48 hours. Darn Compression stockings and wood stairs!
  • I did not do a good job with couponing this year. This year we increased our grocery buget and concentrated on eating balanced. I found that I stopped couponing for food as much but I also had a great stockpile for personal and home supplies. So I didn't need to coupon for those items either.  I have depleted most of this so I will be starting again in 2016
The Ugly
  • My little Jetta has had another terrible year. This car has been so draining financially but we do not feel it is wise to have two car payments because we could not afford it. Not having a working vehicle for a majority of the year has been frustrating. I am hoping the recent repairs fix the issue but, lets just say I am not holding my breath.
  • Jeff's job has been very demanding in 2015. This is the first year I felt this way. He has had a total of 3.5 week off this year and work most weekends. While he is the sole provider for our family he has a salaried position so this extra work has not blessed us financially and has left him feeling very tired. I pray that 2016 is a better year for this, I know that boys and I miss him!
We built a Tree house
That about sum's up the this year it was a rough year, it was a refining year, it was a year of firsts.

I am ready to move on to 2016 which I am visualizing as a year or improvement and joy.

Thank you all for taking this journey with us!


Moments captured 


Let's Catch Up: Entrepreneurs, Turkey, Updates, and More

Hi Everyone!! I feel like it has been a while since I just chatted with you all. I don't like to just continuously share content without making a connection. That is just not how I roll.

So how is everyone? We are in high gear here prepping for Thanksgiving, taking finals (me anyway), and planning for December which is always a fun and festive time.

October and the beginning of November has been a very productive time for me with The Nifty Thrifty Lady and I am excited to share a few of the things that I CAN and maybe shamelessly tease you all about the things that I can't just yet. What to Expect November and December

  • One Deal a Day  I know that many of you are going to be done Christmas Shopping this Friday. GO YOU!! I also know there are others that won't be. For those I will be bringing back the ever popular One Deal a Day. I basically search the web for one HOT deal a Day that is 50%  off or more and share it with you. If you have an item you are searching for please let me know in the comment below
  •  5 Days of Giveaways-  I couldn't make it through the Holiday Season without giving back to you all that make this passion of mine possible. During the week of December 7 - December 11 I will be hosting 1 giveaway a day. Make sure you have subscribed to my Daily Reminder to Save so you can enter each one! 
  • Small Business Saturday- I have reached out to many small local businesses in the area and will be sharing a list of specials and events they will be holding in honor of Small Business Saturday! 
  • Unplugging- I do it every year and it will happen again. I will be completely unplugging from all tech devices from Christmas Eve until New Years Eve. I will be January 4, 2016 with a very fun decluttering/organizing month so we can all start the new year off with a little extra money and peace of mind. 

Blog Updates

  • I am an entrepreneur- WOW! It has taken me almost 5 years to fully own that statement and it's still very uncomfortable when I have to say it out loud to anyone else but me. The cold hard facts are that I am making every attempt to start my own business. What business you ask? Well that will be revealed in due time. I have been reading and studying every business book I can get my hands on, in addition to finishing my Accounting degree in July of 2016. I am preparing myself and obtaining the knowledge and resources I will need to launch mid 2016! I am very excited about this and again owe you all the most heartfelt thank you as you have given me the encouragement and motivation to pursue this dream. DON"T WORRY THE NIFTY THRIFTY LADY IS A HUGE  part of my new adventure and will not be going anywhere.
  • Affiliate links-  As you all know I never charged for anything but my Get a L.I.F.E. {lesson in frugal economics} workshop. I thought this would be the best idea given most of the topics I teach are for those struggling with finances anyway. The time has come for me to own that I am a service and admit that I need to start thinking more like a business owner in some aspects. Charging a small fee for classes is one. I also researched what is called affiliate links and decided to become an affiliate with select stores and companies that I personally use. By Law I have to disclose every affiliate link that I use, which I would anyway. What this means for you is really no change. If there is an item I use an affiliate link for and you click on the link and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. It does not charge you more. Basically I am compensated for advertising their product. I have struggled with implementing this on my site. However, as highly respected business man (Micheal Hyatt) has a great podcast on Why a person should not feel guilty for charging. If you want to listen here it is (p.s. this is NOT an affiliate link, I still use them sparingly). This really hit home for me and I prayed about it for a very long time. I hope this does not make any of you feel like I am selling out because I am not. I plan on still provide you with the same content. I promise.
  • A How to Guide and Get a L.I.F.E-  I can not wait to tell you all that Lessons in Frugal Economics will be coming back in 2016! I am getting chills just writing that because this is my BIG idea, this workshop is my why. I am also nervously going to be releasing a How to Guide in what else but MEAL PLANNING. This is such a challenge for my and I am loving the process of writing, researching and challenging myself to improve my skills. 
  • It has been a rough year. With the recent one year mark of the passing of my grams I have been a bit sad. As I reflect over the past year I think that would sum up how I felt. My Husband and I lost our grandmothers within a week of each other last year and in July we lost a very close friend do to a seizure. We had a long year of lose. Our boys keep us grounded and makes sure we do not commiserate too long on any one thing! Thank the Lord for them!!

I hope you all are doing wonderfully! Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. 

I wish you all very, very Happy Thanksgiving with lots of stuffing, family, fellowship, and love.



30 Days of Seeking to Give Thank in Everything - Day 5

Day Five
Be Thankful for your trials. If you’re being tested, you’re being perfected. Which means you have a divine purpose and reason to rejoice.

Yesterday was a fun day of looking for things to be thankful for. I surly had my ups and downs even though my spirits

were happy.

I think that was my take away from yesterday.

Think will not go your way every day. They just won’t no matter how thankful or happy you are.
We have trials and tribulations are we can be refined, humbled, and hopefully so we can learn from them.

When I started my day out with the thought I am going to look for the things already happening in my life to be thankful for, I noticed I take so many of the little things for granted.

  • I am thankful I have and can afford the internet to write this email to you.
  • I am thankful for how independent my children are, even though that independent spirit causes lots of parenting battles.
  • I am thankful for bottled water and I am thankful I get to stay home currently with my children.

Most days I openly admit I concentrate too much on the trails and not the outcome of them.
Today, I want us to think back to past trials and think about what God was trying to tell us from them, how were we different afterward?

This is not going to be easy, no one likes to think about their hard past. However, if we never reflect on what we learned then we will never know what we are thankful for as a result.

Write 1-3 things you are thankful for as a result of going through a trial

Along with the memories of the hard times. Grab a photo album and remember some of the good times as well!

If you would like to share your list's use #NTLthankful on instagram or tag me on your favorite social media platform.

If you would like to get morning emails to start your day so you can SEEK thankfulness you can sign up here.



30 Days of Seeking to Give Thanks in Everything Day 4

30 Days of Seeking to Give Thanks in EverythingDay Four

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything- Ephesians 5:20

Did you thank someone yesterday that has had a role in encouraging your spiritual growth?

 It is amazing the power we have in the two simple words of “Thank You”.  We can transform someone’s not so good day into a great day, we can reaffirm someone’s talent or business who may be doubting it or we can hurt someone’s feeling by taking their kind gestures for granted.

This challenge has already been a good reminder to me to say thank you more often even when it may seem like it is given.

Today I want to have “Free thankful day”. I want us to wake up and throughout the day look for things we are thankful for.

No I have not ran out of topics but I think if we are honoring God and remembering to be thankful we should be able to see a small change in our mindset.

I have notice that I am more gracious with my kind words and the little things I normally feel discouraged over are not as big as they once were.

What are you noticing?
You’re Day
List everything that you are thankful for in your day

Be fully aware of the little and big things in your life today. Say thank you to those that do something for you and remember to thank God for the list you compile!

If you would like to share your list's use #NTLthankful on instagram or tag me on your favorite social media platform.

If you would like to get morning emails to start your day so you can SEEK thankfulness you can sign up here.

Thankfulness Challenge Day 4 FREE DAY


30 Days of Seeking to Give Thanks in Everything- Day 3

Day Three

If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul- Harold Kushner

Day two was hard for me. I do not like to think about myself very much and I am very quick to point out my faults. To think about being thankful for myself seemed silly! The quote for yesterday spoke to me all day telling me to be thankful for what I do have instead of wishing and comparing myself to the thing I don’t. The truth is the things I do offer no one else may.

I have to be honest I am excited about the transformations that will take place in our souls after this challenge, but I am a little afraid too.

  • I am afraid that maybe I will be a negative Nancy and stop looking for the good in every situation after the 30 days are up.
  • I am afraid that I won’t have a transformation at all! That choosing to be thankful instead of ungrateful will not really change my mindset.
  • I am afraid that maybe it will really work and I have spent a long time making life hard when the simple answer is to seek being thankful!

Do you have any of these fears or maybe you’re fearing something else?

I do know this. God has said that it is his WILL for us is to Seek Thanks in ALL Circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:15). I don’t think that God would put as much an emphasis on thankfulness if it was not a life changer.

Today I want us to focus on our faith.
List 1-3 reasons why you are thankful for your faith.
Thank a person who has encouraged you in your faith
If you would like to share your list's use #NTLthankful on instagram or tag me on your favorite social media platform.

If you would like to get morning emails to start your day so you can SEEK thankfulness you can sign up here.


30 Days of Seeking to Give Thanks in Everything - Day 2

Day Two

Gratitude: Helps us see what is there instead of what isn’t

How was day one? I promise I won’t ask this every day! I am just curious if your memory helped you see your day in a different light. Mine did.

One of the memories I am thankful for having is a summer day during band camp. It was my sophomore year, I played the clarinet and our group was having sectional in a random hallway. During the summer is was very odd to see other students in the building so when I saw my middle school art teacher it didn’t really strike me as odd. What did was the tall student that was walking behind her. I remember all us girls wondering if it was her son or if she would be a new teacher.
  • 3 years later I ran into that same tall student a again, at a job that I did not want as a teenager.
  • 13 years later that tall student is the father to my 2 boys and a man I proud to call my husband.

That memory is one I don’t often think of. It took this challenge to stir it up again. What kept burning in my brain all day was this little voice asking “Do you think this wasn’t a plan?”

Our marriage is not perfect and we have been facing some pretty consistent lows over the past year. I admit some days I doubt rather I made the right decisions and wonder how God can let our marriage spiral like it has at points.

When I remembered this memory I was like a big hug and God saying “Jen, I know exactly what I am doing!.”

Today I want to look at ourselves.
List 1-3 things that you are thankful for about yourself.
Highlight that characteristic in your day. Maybe you are thankful you are a good listener, call a friend and ask them how they are and just listen. Maybe you are thankful you are good at your job, go to work and put in a little extra effort!

If you would like to share your list's use #NTLthankful on instagram or tag me on your favorite social media platform.

If you would like to get morning emails to start your day so you can SEEK thankfulness you can sign up here.




30 Days of Seeking to be Thankful in Everything - Day 1

 Day one
“Train yourself to find the blessings in everything”

Today is day one of our 30 day journey to seeking to be thankful in everything. I am already anticipating the transformations!

I know it seems rather cliché to host a thankful challenge in November, the same month as Thanksgiving.

First, I want to say that I am not doing this to build my blog, followers, or make money.

Although my motives may be selfish. I am doing this to honor a calling I feel God has been pressing on me. He has been giving me little nuggets of good and testing me to concentrate on that. Folks, let me tell you the good here has been very little lately, which is why I think God is making this so relevant in my life.

I know that this time of year is also hard for so many people, me included. 10 days from today will be a full year since my grams has been gone. The days are gloomy, social media is highlighting all the fun families have, and Christmas is around the corner and some of us know that our tree’s may not be as filled as others.

But there is one thing to be thankful for each day, sometimes it is that we get to get up in the morning, other times it is an accomplishment, and other times we have to find the gratitude in hindsight.

That is why I am doing this, because I want us to all “Train ourselves to find the blessing in everything”. I want us to change our mindset, create a habit, and take action!

So let's jump into Day 1

Today I want to start with a memory or memories even.
List 1-3 memories that you are thankful for having.

Throughout the day bring them up in conversation, think about how those memories have transformed you into the person you are today.

If you would like to share your list's use #NTLthankful on instagram or tag me on your favorite social media platform.

If you would like to get morning emails to start your day so you can SEEK thankfulness you can sign up here.

I am so excited to get the word out about this challenge I am sharing it at Intentional at Home Thrusdays.