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Holiday Spending: Don't let it wipe you out.

The holiday season means entertaining guests, big meals, decorating and of course, gift buying.

Stores definitely play their part offering deals and discounts to attract everyone to their stores; all to get you to spend money you don’t intend to spend.

Despite the urge plan ahead and stick to a budget so you’re not still paying for this Christmas next Christmas. Here are a few tips to keep you on track:

1.) Leave the plastic at home

Resist the urge to use your credit card for purchases. It is more difficult to keep track of what you spent and that line of credit will only intensify your urge to buy, buy, buy. The worst part: the interest you will be paying on that purchase long after that present is unwrapped, used and pushed to the back of the closet. 

2.) Budget

Chef Robert Barolin Judges Lockheed Martin Employee Bake-Off Competition

Chef Robert Barolin Judges Lockheed Martin Employee Bake-Off Competition

City Square Café owner and chef, Robert Barolin was one of five Manassas-area judges selected to choose winners of Lockheed Martin’s inaugural Employee Bake-Off at Lockheed Martin’s offices in Manassas, Va.  Barolin selected a pineapple upside-down cake as the overall winner. There were 48 baked items submitted with 17 winners chosen in four different categories, including cookies, pies, cakes and other baked goods. First, second and third place winners were chosen in each category. Items were judged on taste, texture and presentation.

City Square Café provides tapas and homemade American bistro favorites with an international flair, seven days a week.

Hours of operation include: Mon. through Thurs., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (lunch and dinner,) Fri., 11 a.m.to 10 p.m. (lunch and dinner), Sat., 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (breakfast, lunch, dinner), and Sun., 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (breakfast and lunch).

Briar Patch Donates Rooms for Veteran's Day

Reprinted with permission from Ashburn Patch -- Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast Inn in scenic Middleburg plans to offer free rooms to veterans as part of a nationwide promotion this week to honor those who have served our country.

B&Bs and inns across the country are providing free rooms on Wednesday, Nov. 10, in observance of Veterans Day on Nov. 11 to honor servicemen and women now serving or who have previously served time with one of the country's military forces.

Two B&B owners started the program in 2009. Both were members of the West Virginia B&B Association and this year the veteran program has expanded to include 49 states, 8 international locations and more than 850 Inns.

Local Business, AMERICAN SYSTEMS, Reads to Students on National Young Readers Day

The following was sent to us by Seamus Hogg of Sage Communications:

Company to Give Away a Heating System

My Plumber Heating and Cooling prides itself on a long history of giving back to the communities that it serves.  As company founder R. Wendell Presgrave explains it, “We consider it our privilege to give something back to the communities that provide our living, and frankly, we love having the opportunity.”  My Plumber has collected many tons of food for the hun­gry, performed free or deeply discounted plumbing repairs for homeless shelters and in private homes throughout Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland, and sponsored sports teams, school plays and many other educational activities.  The company also has a tradition of replacing, for free, the oldest, ugliest heating system that it can find each autumn.

The Halt to Foreclosures will have an impact to DC area homeowners

Recently, there has been a halt to foreclosures on homes where the mortgages have fallen into default. The onus has been put on the lenders to prove that they have the right to foreclose. Judges have started dismissing foreclosure actions against homeowners as it has become clear that the banks do not have clear title or standing to foreclose.

What this means to struggling homeowners is that they now have an opportunity to challenge banks that may not have been helpful in the loan modification process. Very few homes have been successfully modified under the HAMP program and the blame for this is being laid right at the banks front door. From the entire modification process being characterized as unhelpful to downright deceptive, this moratorium on foreclosing will give homeowners a chance to negotiate favorable terms with their lenders.

Dominion VA Power to Present 7 K-12 Educational Grants

Tomorrow evening, Thursday, October 7, Dominion Virginia Power will present checks to 7 area schools to help strengthen the mathematics and science skills of students in grades K-12. The event is being hosted at Hollin Meadows Math and Science Focus school and the students from the school will be providing tours of the irrigation system they built as a result of last year’s grant from Dominion. Using wind and solar power they built, the students hooked rain barrels together to create an irrigation system to complete their learning garden.

The event will run from 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. The program will begin at 5:15 p.m. at Hollin Meadows Math and Science Center Learning Garden located at 2310 Nordok Place in Alexandria, VA.

Below are the participants: