Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 Snail Mail Challenge



Katy over at The Nonconsumer Advocate has issued a snail mail challenge. All you have to do is agree to send out at least one snail mail a week - note, postcard, package, whatever so long as it is delivered by the USPS. (Well, unless you live in another country, then your local postal service would do it - you get the point.)


Mrs. Roy and Fifi are both going to take up the challenge. Actually, it won't be much of a challenge for Fifi since she's pretty good about snail mailing anyway. But let's just say we are both getting into the spirit of the thing. If you look back at this previous blog post, you will see that Mrs. Roy has been a snail mail lover for a long time.

We also got good news from the postal service yesterday - all their stamps from now on will be forever stamps, so you can buy stamps now and use them, well, forever. Mrs. Roy doesn't know why they didn't think of that earlier. So go ahead and buy yourself 52 forever stamps and get ready to go postal with Fifi and Mrs. Roy and Katy! Maybe we will start a new snail mail revolution!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Snacks

Grandmother's Step Stool

Mrs. Roy's grandson sits on this stepstool whenever he visits.  It puts him right at table level.  Mrs. Roy herself sat on this stepstool in Grandmother's kitchen back in the 1960's.  Mrs. Roy smiles whenever she sees this stepstool sitting in the kitchen because it is part of our family history.  Mrs. Roy loves traditions and this stepstool is a great one. 

Mrs. Roy supposes some folks would call this "vintage" and Mrs. Roy has seen reproductions that are pretty pricey.  Mrs. Roy is so glad Grandmother never got rid of any of her stuff.

So this Christmas morning, Mrs. Roy's grandson will sit on a seat that has held the rears of at least five generations of Mrs. Roy's family.  Life is good.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Mrs. Roy's Way


This is Mrs. Roy's favorite Christmas ornament.  We got it in 1996 to commemorate our trip to the Atlanta Olympics.  It plugs into the tree lights so that every time you turn on the lights, it plays the Olympic theme song.  Lots of folks have ornaments that play Christmas carols but not too many of us have the Olympic fanfare blaring through the house each December.  Mrs. Roy's way may not be exactly normal but it sure makes me smile!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mrs. Roy's list of good things



As a fire blazes in Mrs. Roy's fireplace insert, heating our house instead of using the electric heat, Mrs. Roy came across a list of 20 positive trends.  Wow!  That's a lot of good news! 

1.  We are safer.  The number of violent crimes dropped 3.5% in 2008, burgleries are down 43% since 1989, property level crimes have dropped 25% since the early 1990's and auto theft is down 42% from 1991.

2.  We use less energy.  Like burning wood in our fireplaces instead of using electric heat.  Per capita use of electricity in the US is down 9% from 1979.  And from 1970 to 2008, the amount of energy needed to produce a dollar's worth of goods and services has dropped 53%.

3.  We are generous.  Americans gave $300 billion to charities in 2009.  Wow!

4.  Mass transit use has increased by 38% from 1995 through 2008.

5.  We live longer and feel better.  We will live an average of 10 years longer than our parents and people over 50 have less stress, anxiety and worry than those under 50.

6.  Young people are smarter about taking care of themselves.  Less smoking, less drug and alcohol use.  Hooray!

7.  Networking using technology - computer dating services, social networks, etc. - have been shown to increase our likelihood of being happy by 9%.

8.  We are hooked up.  Wifi is getting more common, even on airplanes, and is free more often.

9.  Marriages are lasting longer and divorce rates are going down.

10.  We recycle approximately 800 tons of stuff each and every day.

11.  The total acreage of forested land in the US increased during the last thirty years and forest ecosystems are remaining intact.

12.  Our air is a lot cleaner than it used to be - pollutants like sulfur dioide are down 59% and concentrations of carbon monoxide, lead and oxygen dioxide are below the federal standards.

13.  8.9% fewer people died in auto accidents in 2009 than the year before.

14.  We grow more of our own food.  Seed sales are increasing and canning equipment sales have gone up 30%.

15.  Between 2002 and 2007, hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped 23%.  Public policy laws restricting smoking in public places is thought to contribute to this decline.

16.  We wear our seatbelts more.

17.  Bees are making a comeback.  This is huge since we don't know why they were dying off but we need them for farming and for honey.

18.  Breast cancer declined by 2% per year from 1999 to 2006.

19.  We are exercising more. 

20.  Being a positive thinker results in less heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure or diabetes among women in a 2009 Heart Association study and had a positive impact on grades, class performance and the immune system of students in a 2010 study.

Mrs. Roy read all this cool stuff in the goodneighbor magazine sent by our State Farm insurance agent.  Thanks, Ralph!

Friday, December 3, 2010

McGladrey Classic



Mrs. Roy would like to thank Davis Love, III, and his family and friends who hosted the first annual McGladrey Classic PGA tournament at Sea Island recently.  Mr. Roy and I were able to attend with our son who lives over there.  It was a great weekend and a great tournament.

For Mr. and Mrs. Roy, it was also frugal fun - Mr. Roy had enough hotel points for us to stay two nights free.  Plus the tournament passes were free with a military ID and we were able to take a guest so our son got to join us for free.  Then there was a military hospitality tent where they gave us free drinks, sandwiches and cookies with our military ID.

Mrs. Roy appreciates Davis Love, III and the McGladrey Classic honoring our veterans this way.  And my thanks once again to Mr. Roy for serving our country and keeping us free.  There aren't enough free tickets to make up for what you've done for us.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mrs. Roy's Charity of the Month - December - Salvation Army





As you may already know, Mrs. Roy focuses on a particular charity each month for the entire month. Mrs. Roy hopes you will join me in supporting these worthy causes.  Mrs. Roy promises not to lead you astray but to only recommend charities that (1) Mrs. Roy knows do good work, (2) Mrs. Roy knows they are good stewards and (3) Mr. and Mrs. Roy put their money where their mouth is - in other words, we give to them.

The Salvation Army is one of my favorite charities.  We probably all recognize the red kettles that appear outside stores during December and Mrs. Roy hopes you will keep an extra dollar bill in your pocket to slip in the kettle each time you go by. 

The Salvation Army is one of the oldest charities in the United States and has a fascinating HISTORY.  

One of the best things about the Salvation Army is that they don't pay their people much.  They use the money we give them to help the people they are supposed to help.  The national leader of the Salvation Army makes less than $50K annually - contrast that to the Red Cross Chairman who makes several million each year in salary! 

Locally, the Salvation Army is in charge of the Empty Stocking Fund in conjunction with our local newspaper.  Each Christmas, they allow parents in need to register their children to receive toy gifts.  A lot of those toys are donated by motorcycle riders who have a HUGE charity toy run in December.  Last year the Salvation Army was worried because they had nearly twice as many requests for help as the year before.  But you know what?  The bikers donated twice as many toys as the year before!  God is so good to take care of our needs.

Mrs. Roy encourages you to be a part of the wonderful work of the Salvation Army folks as they help others this Christmas season. 




Saturday, November 20, 2010

Altered Life Forms


Mrs. Roy accepted a challenge by Jo in the quilt group to take a piece of clothing from my closet and repurpose it.  This lovely (if I do say so myself) scarf was formerly known as Mrs. Roy's stretched out linen crop pants.  In fact, they had already been deposited into the "waiting to go to the Salvation Army" box.  However, by cutting the longest and widest pieces possible from the front and back of both legs and then sewing them together to make two long pieces and then sewing the two long pieces together and then adding some fringe to the already hemmed bottoms, Mrs. Roy now has a scarf. 

Mrs. Roy got tickled when I cut the pieces out and found a tag that said "dry clean only."  If Mrs. Roy had known about that little tag, these crop pants might not have gotten so stretched out and shabby looking, seeing as how they were thrown in the washer and dryer on multiple occasions.  Fifi says that just proves you can't trust those little "dry clean only" tags. 

And here's the kicker - Mrs. Roy bought these crop pants at a consignment store in the first place so they are now on their 3rd life.  Life is good.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Shoebox Party 2010


Samaritan's Purse is a Christian organization that does mission work all over the world.  One of their most successful projects is Operation Christmas Child, where folks like you and Mrs. Roy take an empty shoebox and fill it with toys and clothes and toothbrushes and school supplies.  Samaritan's Purse takes those shoebox gifts and gives them to children in need all over the world, telling them that Jesus loves them and the people who packed the shoebox love them.  Mrs. Roy loves getting to be a part of that.

Several years ago, Mrs. Roy and a couple of her friends started getting together in November each year and collecting shoeboxes.  The first year we collected about 25 boxes and thought we had done great!  This year, we collected 93 shoeboxes!  We had lots of friends come join us in putting together the shoeboxes, enjoying fellowship with each other and eating Christmas cookies and punch.  What started out as a little get together at Mrs. Roy's house has grown to the point we have to use the church fellowship hall to hold everyone.  It's a glorious thing. 

If you would like to contribute to Operation Christmas Child or if you would just like to know more about the things Samaritan's Purse can do and maybe hear about some of the children who have received shoeboxes, just click here.  Or watch a video by clicking here.

Life is definitely good.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Economics by Mrs. Roy

The following commentary appeared in the Knoxville News Sentinel on Saturday November 6, 2010.  First of all, it shows how big a nerd Mrs. Roy is that I actually read this.  Second, Mrs. Roy has read several articles and heard commentators recently who are saying the same thing. 

Dr. Black makes a valid point – with the uncertainty in Congress re taxes, health care and other unfunded mandates on top of knowing the interest rates are articificially low, businesses don’t know what decisions to make so everyone just stays in a holding pattern.  They (the Fed) are going to have to loosen their control of the money and let the economy have free reign in order to get any long term correction.  That’s scary, of course, because it means interest rates are going to go up – good news for savers but bad news for borrowers and bad news for consumers because prices will go up again.  But it has to happen sooner or later to break this pattern we are in.  Seems no matter what happens, consumer prices go up, doesn’t it?
 
It’s going to get worse before it gets better no matter what.  People sure don’t want to hear that and politicians don’t want to say it.
 
Mrs. Roy thinks the next two things we are going to see are an end to extended unemployment funds which is going to trigger an avalanche of foreclosures, which is going to cause more squatters and is going to cripple the mortgage industry but Congress will extend the Bush tax cuts for at least a couple of years which will help small business owners - if the Fed will quit artificially manipulating the system.  Confidence by small business will lead to a creation of jobs which is going to have to happen before the economy turns around. 
 
Mrs. Roy just felt like going on the record about this.  Mrs. Roy hopes she and Dr. Black are wrong.  We'll see.


Dr. Harold Black: Fed policy 'startling incompetence'

Dr. Harold Black, University of Tennessee

Saturday, November 6, 2010


John Maynard Keynes, commenting on the Federal Reserve after World War I, is reported to have called it a body of "startling incompetence."

Well, the current Fed carries on that tradition. After embarking on a policy of remarkable monetary ease, the Fed seems determined to continue that policy despite no indications it has done any good. What that policy has done is to accomplish little. It has pushed short-term interest rates close to zero and has punished savers and those who depend on their savings as a source of income, such as retirees.

It has resulted in dollars being borrowed at low rates and then shifted into countries such as Brazil to earn higher returns. It has relentlessly driven down the value of the dollar.

The low rates are a result of the Fed buying short-term Treasurys to support the dramatic increase in government spending over the past four years. In buying Treasurys from the banks, the Fed has created excess reserves of more than $1 trillion. These excess reserves basically have sat on the banks' balance sheets because of low loan demand by businesses and consumers. As long as the excess reserves are not lent, then no money is created and inflation stays low.

However, when the Fed buys Treasurys directly from the U.S. Treasury - monetizing the national debt - the result is an increase in the money supply and sets the stage for an inflationary recession. At its Open Market Committee meeting last week, the Fed announced it will start buying long-term Treasury bonds directly from the Treasury. The result will be to lower long-term rates to stimulate investment spending by businesses.

The immediate result, however, will be a further drop in the value of the dollar as more dollars are created by the Fed's purchases and an increase in inflation. There is no guarantee that businesses will invest unless the uncertainty about the future is resolved - something that is up to the Obama administration and Congress. Moreover, when the government is interfering in the market, the private sector knows that rates are being actively manipulated and less risks are taken because of increased uncertainty about the future. What rational person or business will make important decisions not knowing about future taxes, costs related to health care and energy policies as well as the ever-increasing costs of regulation?

What is intriguing about the Fed's new policy of buying long-term Treasurys is that I know of no monetary economist that supports this action. Indeed, after having created much of the economic problems through monetary ease in the first place, it now only compounds the problem. The blame lies not just with Chairman Ben Bernanke but with the entire Fed. Bernanke only has one vote on the Open Market Committee along with the other Fed governors and the presidents of the New York Fed and three other reserve banks.

However, to be fair, the presidents of Fed banks in Kansas City, Mo., Dallas, Minneapolis and Philadelphia have expressed opposition, with the Kansas City president calling the new Fed policy a "bargain with the devil."

Maybe the "startling incompetence" just radiates from Washington.

Dr. Harold Black is the James F. Smith Jr. Professor of Finance at the University of Tennessee. He may be reached at hblack@utk.edu.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mrs. Roy Mails Empty Envelopes



Mrs. Roy hates getting junk mail.  Mrs. Roy is also not a big fan of credit card companies.  Regardless of my lack of affection, these folks continue to send junk mail to Mrs. Roy.  (Yes, I've opted out on lists again and again so don't tell me about that.)  However, Mrs. Roy has found a way to get a small amount of satisfaction, thanks to Dave Ramsey.

Years ago, Mr. Ramsey suggested that you mail these unsolicited solicitations back to their owners with a snazzy letter he had composed telling them something along the lines of they should be ashamed of themselves for charging huge interest rates and taking advantage of people.  Eventually Mr. Ramsey removed that fine letter from his publications and website but Mrs. Roy thinks a good idea is a good idea so I just keep sending the envelopes back - empty.  It costs the company 44 cents to get their junk mail back and Mrs. Roy has a smile on her face.

Life is good.


Monday, November 1, 2010

A Penny Saved


Last night Mrs. Roy was walking home from church when my flashlight caught something shiny in the grass on the side of the road.  When Mrs. Roy looked closer, I saw it was a penny, so I picked it up and put it in my pocket.  Mrs. Roy's lucky day!

When Mrs. Roy was a little girl, Grandma would always say it was my lucky day if I found a penny on the ground.  It always made Grandma genuinely happy to find a penny and she expected me to be happy about it, too.  When Mrs. Roy got older, I asked Grandma what she thought was going to happen good because of the penny and she said it had already been her lucky day because she had found the penny.

Mrs. Roy has thought about that a million times over the years - the magic of the penny wasn't its monetary value; it was the smile it created when it was found.  A blessing is a blessing, no matter how small; the secret may be in recognizing it. 

Mrs. Roy hopes you will stop and pick up the pennies that come your way today and smile.  Life is good.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nob Hill Notions


Aren't they beautiful?  The rows are all so distinctive and yet each one is beautiful in its own way.  And see those hands?  Aren't they beautiful, too?  They are the hands that make the quilts that make the smiles that last for generations and generations.

Life is good.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mrs. Roy Gets to Help



Mrs. Roy's sister, Fifi, is part of a really nice quilt group.  For the past couple of years, they have donated a quilt they made to charity.  One year they gave a quilt to the Children's Hospital for sale in a silent auction fundraiser.  Last year they donated their quilt to a women's shelter.  Mrs. Roy doesn't know who will receive this year's quilt but I get to help make it so Mrs. Roy is very happy. 

Even though Mrs. Roy doesn't get to go to meetings (they are in another state!), these kind ladies allowed Mrs. Roy to contribute to last year's quilt.  So when it came time for this year's donation quilt, Mrs. Roy was all about adding my row when they so generously offered.  This is a liberated basket design that Mrs. Roy read about in a quilting magazine.  Most of the time, Mrs. Roy knows she's sorely lacking when it comes to published quilt patterns, but this one looked doable.  The end result is - not bad! 

Mrs. Roy will share a picture of the whole quilt once it's put together.  Actually, Mrs. Roy can't wait to see what the others are going to come up with!  What fun!

Life is good.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Welcome Dollar Stretcher Friends

Welcome to those of you who have come to check us out after reading the guest blog on The Dollar Stretcher.  Many thanks to Gary and his staff for allowing Mrs. Roy to be their guest.  And keep your eyes posted for an upcoming guest blog on this website by Gary Foreman.

Here's the link to Mrs. Roy's guest blog or you can just scroll down to the next blog post and read it here.  You can also find other Dollar Stretcher articles by Mrs. Roy at these links:

Contentment
reverse-menu-planning
Frugal at Fifty

Calendars - What's Right for You?


This essay appears as a guest blog on The Dollar Stretcher




My boss and my husband have the world’s simplest calendars. They have folks write down their appointments on little appointment cards which they have been dutifully trained to tuck into their pocket and bring to me. I then compare it to their schedules. If the appointment doesn’t work for some reason, I call and reschedule. However, since not everyone has a secretary or wife to keep up with this stuff for them, here are some of my tricks and suggestions for doing it yourself.

I use an electronic calendar on my computer at home and at work. These are especially useful for keeping up with repetitive events like birthdays or monthly meetings because you can just enter them once and tell the computer to repeat them at a designated frequency. If you have one of those fancy new smart phones, you can synch your computer calendar to your phone so that you always have the information available.

A big kitchen calendar was a great idea when I had kids in the house. That’s how we kept up with special project due dates, soccer games, doctor appointments, birthdays and just about anything else you can think of. Sometimes we would even slow down enough to actually LOOK at the calendar and see where we were supposed to be next. HA Seriously, this calendar was a sort of control central – in addition to telling us where we needed to be and when, it was helpful in planning menus and grocery lists. Early evening events meant it was time to pull out the crock pot. Nothing on the calendar meant sitting down together at the table for a real meal. You get the picture.

For several years, as my other commitments expanded, I carried a small notebook-type calendar in my purse so that I could keep up with where I was supposed to be even when I wasn’t at home looking at the big calendar. I still use a scaled down version of this calendar. In addition to keeping up with my schedule, these calendars give you space for short shopping lists, to-do lists and are a great place to jot down telephone numbers you don’t want to lose or the model number of the special light bulb you have to buy or the measurements you need to remember when you are at the hardware store.

In recent years, school planners have become an alternative to the regular January to December calendar. These school planners are nothing more than calendars that run from August to July. These calendars usually have plenty of room to write notes and are a handy size to keep on your desk or in your purse or backpack. Using a calendar that starts in August takes a little mental exercise since we are conditioned to start our calendars in January – but as long as it lasts a year, what difference does it make?

Occasionally someone will give me a daily calendar – usually something with a snappy saying or funny cartoon for each day. These calendars are fine for using on your desk but they are bulky and I’ve usually got plenty of other stuff on my desk so I don’t need the clutter. I also find that I usually need to view my life at least a week at the time, so daily calendars aren’t really my favorites. On the other hand, my sister has a daily “sunshine” calendar that she’s enjoyed every day this past year so if you like it, go for it.

Some folks like to use desk blotter calendars that cover the writing area of their desk. These are usually really big and show one month at a time. The down side for me is that I write things on my desk blotter and then forget I’ve written it there.

No matter what kind of calendar you decide to use, here are some calendar “habits” you might want to consider:

At one point in my life, I divided up my household chores and listed a couple each day on my calendar. That way I didn’t have too many things to do any one day. That was a great way for me to get organized and to learn a routine. I don’t do that anymore and I have the dust bunnies to prove it. Maybe it’s time to take up that particular calendar habit again!

Calendar stickers are great fun and can be useful, especially if you have kids who are “helping” you keep your calendar updated. I sort of got over-the-top about using the stickers so I had to give them up but it might work for you.

When the kids were at home, I tried color coding our calendar a couple of times but it never really worked out for us. I’d lose one of the markers or I’d forget which color went with which kid or I’d just get lazy and stop doing it. However, I still color code our office calendars and I’ve carried that over to my personal calendar so I’ll know what I’m doing on a particular work day. If you want to color code your calendar, just keep it simple.

My husband writes on his work calendars in pencil so he can erase as things change. I, on the other hand, use ink because it makes me feel committed. Consequently, my calendars tend to be a little on the messy side but my whole life is a little messy so it’s okay. Whatever works for you is fine.

One thing I have found that does NOT work is to have too many calendars. Beware having too many places to look for the same information.

Also be careful not to put too much information on your calendar. If it becomes a chore to try to decipher it, you won’t use it.

If you try to do too many things in too little time, you will get stressed and discouraged if you can’t fit it all in. That reminds me – I’ve heard you should schedule time for your spouse or children on your calendar so that you don’t overextend yourself with other commitments. If you have to schedule your family, you already have too many other commitments. Period.



The great thing about calendars is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a calendar; in fact, you don’t have to spend any money. You can print one for free off the internet. Just do a search of “calendars” and find one you like. There are also free web-based electronic calendars you can use. We get several free calendars in the mail every year from charitable organizations or merchants. The pizza company calendar with coupons at the bottom of every page is always a big hit around our house. Of course, if you want to spend money on a calendar, the selection is huge and so is the price range. I just bought next year’s calendar at the office supply store because I needed a particular size so I could continue using a fancy cover I bought a couple of years ago but for years I bought my calendars at the dollar store and they worked just fine.

One last idea – those extra free calendars you get in the mail make great gifts for young adults or elderly relatives. Just sit down and label the calendar with birthdays and anniversaries of family and friends so these folks have the information easily at hand. Trust me – they will love you for it!

We all have places we need to be and things we need to do. Some of us are just naturally organized and some of us struggle to keep up with keeping up. There are many different types of calendars available to us today and lots of ways to make them work for you. Whatever style of calendar works is what you should use but you should definitely use something so that you can get the most out of every day because life is good.



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

RUSTY


Well, the Lord provides.  Mrs. Roy was wanting to write a new post but couldn't think of anything blog-worthy to say when Rusty showed up in an email.

Rusty is a Rustic Sphinx caterpillar, according to my friend Duck, who is presently hosting Rusty in her honeysuckle bush.  However, Rusty is about to advance to the halls of learning by becoming a living science project at the local elementary school.  Hopefully Rusty will build a cocoon and then emerge as a beautiful moth sometime before school's out next spring. 

If I'd only had some way to get one of the gnomes in the picture!  Life is good.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mrs. Roy's Favorite Charity - October - Operation Christmas Child



Mrs. Roy will focus on a particular charity each month for the entire month. Mrs. Roy hopes you will join me in supporting these worthy causes. I promise not to lead you astray but to only recommend charities that (1) Mrs. Roy knows do good work, (2) Mrs. Roy knows they are good stewards and (3) Mr. and Mrs. Roy put their money where their mouth is - in other words, we give to them.

Mrs. Roy’s favorite charity for October is Operation Christmas Child, a division of Samaritan’s Purse. These are the shoebox people – they get folks like you and me to pack a shoebox with small gifts and they deliver them all over the world to children who need to know that Jesus loves them. Mrs. Roy and some of her friends get together each fall and throw a party where everyone comes together to pack the shoeboxes. It’s a wonderful charity and Mrs. Roy hopes you will join us in packing a shoebox and sending it to child to make them smile.

There is a link at the top of this page that will send you to the website for Operation Christmas Child. If you don’t want to pack a shoebox yourself, you can still support this charity by making a donation and praying that God will lead them in this work. Mrs. Roy hopes you will follow this link at least once this month and make a donation to this worthy organization.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

MRS. ROY'S PICKLE KEEPER


Mrs. Roy read about some folks out on the west coast who have sold, given away and donated all their stuff until they only own 100 items.  Mrs. Roy's been thinking about that and Mrs. Roy's not going there - for lots of reasons.  One reason is that Mrs. Roy loves her pickle keeper. 

There are some things in this world that just do what they are supposed to do so perfectly, it can't be improved.  This Tupperware pickle keeper is one of those things.  Mrs. Roy bought hers many, many years ago and it has been in constant use ever since.  How does it work, you ask?  Well, when you take off the lid, there is a handle underneath that is connected to a perforated bottom so that when you pull up on the handle, the pickles come up out of the brine without you having to dig for them.  When you let go, everything settles back to the bottom so the pickles stay nice and moist.  Mrs. Roy thinks it's more sanitary than a plain old pickle jar and it's certainly more interesting. 

Mrs. Roy has bought a couple of these beauties in second-hand shops over the years, always giving them away to interested friends or family.  Mrs. Roy checked the Tupperware website and you can buy a new one for $17.00.  Mrs. Roy is not trying to sell Tupperware but was glad to know they still make them.

Mrs. Roy knows there are probably a lot of things we could do without around here and be perfectly happy, but my pickle keeper makes me smile and that's worth more than some extreme political / ecology / frugality statement in Mrs. Roy's book.  So, rest assured there are probably always going to be lots more than 100 items in Mrs. Roy's house and, if you are interested, the pickles are in the frig.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mrs. Roy's Way of Spending Time


Mrs. Roy's way of relaxing sometimes means sitting down at the sewing machine and making something from nothing.  Mrs. Roy has a relatively large stash of fabric pieces given to me by a friend and I'm having a great time working my way through the stash.  It has become a challenge to see what Mrs. Roy can make without having to go to the store and supplement my stash.  When the baby quilt pictured above is finished, it will have come completely from the stash.  It's a perfect blending of Mrs. Roy's favorite ways of doing things - frugal, charitable (the quilt is a gift), eco-friendly by using what I have instead of buying new, and fun for me to work on.

Life is good.

Monday, September 20, 2010

ALL OR NOTHING

Mrs. Roy had a Sunday School student who came up to me years ago and said he had been arguing with his grandmother about creationism vs other ideas and his grandmother told him to just go ask Mrs. Roy, as his Sunday School teacher, and Mrs. Roy would tell him the truth. So, he asked me, did God create the world in six days like it says in the Bible or over millions of years like some scientists say? Mrs. Roy knew right then and there, with that young boy looking me straight in the eye and expecting me to know the absolute right answer, that God was telling me to put up or shut up - Mrs. Roy had to decide on the spot whether I was going to believe that every word of the Bible was the inspired Word of God or not. And that young boy's soul might be the cost of my lack of faith.

So, yes, God did create the world in six days just like the Bible says. Mrs. Roy is not going to start picking and choosing which part of the Bible to believe. For Mrs. Roy, it's all or nothing.  I know God is real and that Jesus is real and that He died on the cross for my sins so the rest is real, too. Mrs. Roy can't explain all of it but I believe it. And I'm thanking the Lord once again for sending that boy and his grandmother into Mrs. Roy's life with that lesson.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

CONTENTMENT


Gary over at The Dollar Stretcher recently asked:  Has anyone found a way to program themselves to be happy with what they have?  Mrs. Roy definitely believes contentment is a learned behavior and Mrs. Roy has found some tricks to help me along the way.  Maybe one of these will help you, too.

An attitude of gratitude. One of the best ways to be happy with what you have is to be intentionally grateful. Make a list every morning of ten things you are grateful for, even if you don’t feel very grateful. You may have a flat tire, but at least you have a car. You may not have a steak for dinner, but be thankful you have a can of soup. This exercise becomes easier as you go along so stick with it.

Take an inventory. When Mrs. Roy was going through a rough patch, I would take a mental inventory every time the panic started to swell up - kids are okay, husband is okay, house payment is made, electricity is still on, gas in the car, food to eat today.  Mrs. Roy was boiling our life down to the least common denominator but knowing the basics were taken care of made the “uncontrollables” in Mrs. Roy's life less daunting.

Look outside yourself. Most of us are so blessed. How can Mrs. Roy fuss about not having the latest greatest cell phone when other folks don’t have food?

Stop watching television and reading magazines. Advertisers spend millions making their products tempting. Manufacturers are constantly creating newer, better versions of their products specifically so we will become discontented with the perfectly fine product we already bought. Just don’t subject yourself to the ads and you will be much more content.

Set a goal. If Mrs. Roy is saving toward a specific goal, I am less likely to spend money on things Mrs. Roy doesn't really need.  In other words, Mrs. Roy is more content with what I have and less likely to feel deprived if Mrs. Roy is focusing on the goal.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Take Your Adventures Where You Find Them

Mrs. Roy recently had an adventure in the Japan Air Club Room restroom.  Mrs. Roy is really, really sorry she didn't take her camera into the restroom so there would be photographic proof of this story but who knew???

Here's the story.  Mr. and Mrs. Roy were on a journey and had the privilege of stopping off in the Japan Air Club Room in a foreign airport.  When Mrs. Roy went to the potty, I was greeted by a large, square contraption instead of the usual oval model.  Plus it had a lid.  Now, if you've ever been out of the USA, you know that restroom facilities differ from place to place so Mrs. Roy was immediately wary of this square thing, thinking it might be something other than what Mrs. Roy thought it was, perhaps a bidet or something.  This is one of those situations where it could be really embarrassing if you made a mistake so caution is a good thing.

That's when Mrs. Roy noticed the control panel on the wall.  There were two (two!!) rows of buttons on this control panel and, fortunately, some English along with the symbols.  Mrs. Roy saw that there were options for flush, tornado flush, wash front, wash back, even powder!  Obviously, this was no ordinary toilet!

Mrs. Roy proceeded gingerly but relaxed when skin met warm porcelain.  That's right - the seat was heated.  Now Mrs. Roy was wishing I had brought my book in with me.  Soon enough, the time came for Mrs. Roy to decide which buttons to push.  Mrs. Roy's exact choices might be a little too much information but Mrs. Roy will tell you that I stayed clear of the tornado flush.  And Mrs. Roy decided to forgo the powder; you just never know.

Mrs. Roy came out of the restroom grinning from ear to ear and Mr. Roy enjoyed hearing all about the Japanese toilet so much, he asked me to share with the rest of you.  All I can say is take your adventures where you find them because life is good!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Charity of the Month - September - Modest Needs.org - part two

Here is one of the testimonials from someone who was helped by Modest Needs.  What Mrs. Roy liked about this one was that the money was sent straight to the tire store so you know it got used for tires!  That's one of the things Mrs. Roy likes about Modest Needs!



From the bottom of my heart I thank all of you for helping at this time. I don't know how much longer my tires were going to last, but now I can soon get them replaced and it's due to your wonderful generosity. I don't know what I would have done without your help. My car is my only transportation to work. Again, thank you so very much for your kindness in my time of need. I will certainly try to help someone myself when my financial situation improves. May God bless all of you!
benben1112 Lincoln (AR) | 2010-09-09 17:22 | Read original request

If you would like to be part of the good work at Modest Needs, just click on the icon on the right of this page and you can start helping make this world a better place today!  They even have their requests broken down by categories so you can find just the right person to help - animal lovers, military folks, domestic violence situations, elder care, and more.  You can find folks in a particular state or who need a particular amount of money.  Modest Needs makes it easy to be a good neighbor.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

WHAT'S RIGHT WITH THIS WORLD - ICE CREAM



I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.  Mrs. Roy loves ice cream.  And Mrs. Roy loves her brother.  One reason Mrs. Roy loves her brother is because he gave me this super easy chocolate ice cream recipe.  It tastes like a Wendy's Frostie.  There are only three ingredients.  You don't have to cook anything.  Mrs. Roy knows you are going to love it, too.

Mrs. Roy's Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

1/2 gallon chocolate milk
1 regular size container of Cool Whip, thawed
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Dump it all in your ice cream freezer, put the paddle in and put the lid on, turn it on and when it stops - enjoy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE WORLD




Mrs. Roy was reading "Our Daily Bread" this evening and came across these words:
"Glance at any newspaper and the headlines tell you what’s wrong with the world. Watch television, listen to the radio, talk to friends, and you will find no shortage of opinions as to what is wrong on planet Earth. That’s because pointing out what’s wrong is easy."

Mrs. Roy promised when I started this blog that I would try to explain the way I do things.  This is one of those things Mrs. Roy has learned along the way.  We have to pay back evil with good if we are going to succeed in life.  What's wrong with the world isn't all the mean, bad stuff other people do - the problem is our reaction to all the mean, bad stuff.  Why would we want to allow the hatred and meanness of this world to grow and get larger?  Mrs. Roy says stop adding to the bad vibes.

Look in the mirror.  If you want to make the world a better place, Mrs. Roy strongly suggests you start by trying to fix the person staring back at you.  Don't worry; God will help you if you ask Him.

The "Our Daily Bread" folks also gave us some scripture to check out that Mrs. Roy is happy to pass along.  "If in your personal life you’re facing the effects of someone’s evil actions, these Scriptures may be helpful: Prov. 20:22; Matt. 5:38-48; 1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Peter 3:8-17."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

VOTE FOR SMOKEY



Okay, this is really important.  Mrs. Roy loves Tennessee football and Smokey is the Tennessee mascot.  Go to vote for Smokey and, well, vote for Smokey.  Do it often.  The gnomes and I thank you.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mrs. Roy - Retro



 
Mrs. Roy has inherited this cool blue retro luggage.  There are two suitcases that complete the set but Mrs. Roy didn't have room to put it all in the car this trip.  This is a world-class example of taking care of the stuff you have and it will last forever.  Most of these pieces of luggage are in the bottom of the landfill tonight but thanks to Mrs. Roy's mother-in-law, this one and its sisters were saved and can now be enjoyed by a new generation.  Mrs. Roy is going to be smiling every time I pull these out and pack in them!






Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Charity of the Month - Modest Needs.org

modestneeds.org was started by a professor at the college Mr. and Mrs. Roy attended. Here is an article that appeared in an Arizona newspaper a while back explaining what they do and how they do it. Just so you'll know, they do what they do better than just about anybody else!  You can click on the link to the right to help - PLEASE. 

In an economic downturn, more people may find themselves robbing Peter to pay Paul.

When people have neither a Peter nor a Paul in their life, they may turn to Modest Needs (modestneeds.org), a Web-based charity dedicated to the financial needs of the working poor.

Six-year-old Modest Needs typically cuts checks for a few hundred dollars at a time to people facing unplanned expenses or as high as $1,000 for such one-time needs as getting the car fixed.

Site founder Keith Taylor said that though many people have enough money to cover basic needs, their savings can be meager. So when an emergency crops up - long-term illness, malfunctioning air-conditioner, a broken pipe - they can be thrown into a cycle of poverty.

"A single mother making $27,000 a year - which is nothing - who would not qualify for any state or federal help because she makes too much money is our ideal applicant," Taylor said.

Taylor said the idea stemmed from his college days and how family and friends helped him out financially when an unexpected expense cropped up. If he were wealthy one day, he recalled thinking, he would help those in similar need.

"Then it occurred to me that the people who helped me those two or three times I needed it weren't wealthy, they were just kind," he said.

People in difficult financial circumstances may post their hard-luck stories on Modest Needs, where visitors may choose to contribute (donations start at $1 and can range into the hundreds). When enough money is donated to meet an applicant's need, Modest Needs sends a check to the individual, organization or business that posted the plea.

Anna Schaefer, 54, sought the generosity of strangers in May when she found herself and her two sons, ages 19 and 14, facing eviction. Months before, she had moved to Phoenix from St. Paul, Minn., because doctors thought the warm, dry weather would help her recover from car-accident injuries. Just before the move, Schaefer was faced with a $1,000-plus car-repair bill.

"That set us back," Schaefer said. "Then we get down here and I thought I'd get a job real easy, and my 19-year-old, too. We haven't. We didn't know the economy was going to do what it did. I started to panic, and I couldn't pay the May rent."

She posted her story on Modest Needs and read other stories. There was a Colorado mother of two small children who had lost her job and was about to be evicted. "So I sent her $10," Schaefer said. "I thought, what am I doing? You need to put food on your own table, but I hoped to pay it forward and that it would come back to me."

Schaefer watched as the online contributions to her request grew. Within a week or two, strangers had donated more than $1,000, covering her late rent.

"I continue to give," she said, although she still doesn't have a job and lives on disability checks. "You have to when you read the stories."

Four years ago, the organization was receiving about 300 requests for aid a month. Now the organization receives about 250 requests a day. Taylor said the economic downturn has resulted in an increase in applications, but also donor support.

The organization gave out about $1.48 million last year, up from $370,000 in 2005. This year, Modest Needs expects to give away more than $2 million. About half of all applicant requests that meet the qualifying criteria are funded.

Income of applicants must be above the poverty line, making them unable to get other assistance. Applicants must prove their financial needs and situation by e-mailing such documents as pay stubs and bills.

First-time mom Christina Tonelli, 40, of Tucson, was overstressed and financially strapped with a sick newborn. Within 20 days of applying to cover a $574 hospital bill for her daughter, Sofia Tonelli-Pepe, Modest Needs sent a check to the hospital.

"It was such a quick turnaround," Tonelli said. "It's an amazing organization, and to think it's just a couple people here and there donating a few dollars."

Donors are able to read the applicants' stories and later can receive follow-up testimonials from the people they helped. Tonelli wrote to her donors: "You have made a big difference in our monthly budget and have lightened our load so we can concentrate more on getting our daughter healthy and strong."

Although many of the requests on Modest Needs are to cover bills and repairs, some are for acquisitions, such as a breathing apparatus or glasses - or in the case of 20-year-old Tucson resident Nicholas Jansen, a bicycle.

He doesn't have a driver's license, and even if he could afford a car, the part-time custodian at a non-profit agency said he couldn't afford the gas.

"I've been using public transportation, but the bus system is just not as reliable as I need it to be," Jansen said. "If I need to get somewhere at a certain time, the bus would make me late. With a bicycle, I could improve my on-time ability."

Jansen said he watched for a week, but no one chose to fulfill his request even though he submitted the documentation showing that his mother, his brother and he were disabled and living on a fixed income in the same house.

"Then one anonymous donor completely funded the entire application," Jansen said. "I nearly fell out of my chair. The bike is in great shape. And I got it from a place that will do free service on it for a lifetime. It's inexpressible how grateful I am. I would love to help someone else out this way someday."

Taylor said that's the idea.

"It's not about helping people with these short-term expenses," he said. "It's about inspiring people to be the philanthropists we all have it in us to be."


Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/2008/08/28/20080828modest0828.html#ixzz0yK30Apyy

Friday, August 27, 2010

Two Great New Books




These two books were written by the daughter of a very good friend of Mrs. Roy - about Mrs. Roy's friend and her husband when they were children.  Besides being a wonderful way to honor her parents, Missy has captured true stories from the 1930's American south.  These books aren't available on Amazon.com (yet) but Mrs. Roy is sure you could purchase copies through Providence House Publishers - www.providencehouse.com if you were so inclined. 

Just so you will know the rest of the story, John Hart grew up to be a decorated Air Force pilot who flew combat missions in Vietnam.  He married Peggy Sue, who followed him all over the world during their Air Force days and who still makes pickles to this day.  They very graciously took Mr. and Mrs. Roy under their wing many years ago and they hold a special place in our hearts.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Charity of the Month - Wounded Warrior Project

Support WWP August 30 – September 5 with eBay’s Give at Checkout


If you’re purchasing an item on eBay between August 30 and September 5, don’t miss out on an easy opportunity to support WWP. During this seven day period, WWP will be one of the nonprofits featured in eBay’s Give at Checkout, which enables buyers to add a $1 donation or more to any eBay purchase when using PayPal. The option to give at checkout will appear on the right side of the final checkout window. Want to donate to WWP year-round? Visit WWP’s eBay Giving Works page, click Save As Favorite and you will always be prompted to make a contribution at checkout. You can even choose to Sell to Support Our Cause or Donate Now without making a purchase.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

SNAGGED ANOTHER $5 AMAZON GIFT CARD

If you look over to the right, you will see that my Swagbucks total has gone back to zero.  That's because it hit 450 and I used those Swagbucks to buy another $5 Amazon.com gift card.  If you haven't signed up for this awesome search engine that pays you for surfing the net, just click on the "sign up" icon on the bottom right corner of the Swagbucks square to get started earning for yourself!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Reverse Menu Planning

Reverse Menu Planning

Follow the link above to an article by Mrs. Roy featured in this week's Dollar Stretcher.  Thanks to Gary and the other kind folks at The Dollar Stretcher.com for letting Mrs. Roy explain my way of doing things. 


MRS. ROY'S GERMANY ADVENTURE

Mr. and Mrs. Roy recently traveled to Germany; Mr. Roy was working but Mrs. Roy was just being a camp follower and tourist.  We had a great time and Mrs. Roy learned a few things I would like to pass along to future travelers  because, as Dorothy so aptly put it, we weren't in Kansas anymore!  Mrs. Roy encourages you to put aside your prejudices and normal way of thinking and embrace all the little things that make foreign travel such a great adventure.

1.  Mrs. Roy had to buy a washcloth.  The hotel only had face towels and bath towels - big, nice, fluffy towels but no washcloths.  Mrs. Roy tried to do without but was glad to spend one Euro for a washcloth that Mrs. Roy just wrung out and let air dry every night after my bath.  Now Mrs. Roy has a nice orange souvenir that will make me smile for years to come.

2.  Europeans are very garbage-conscious because they have a lot of people living on a relatively small plot of earth and they are running out of room for trash dumps.  Consequently, trash is very expensive - you won't find public trash cans anywhere (plus trash cans make handy terrorist bomb holders) and Mrs. Roy didn't find a lot of amenity type stuff in our hotel room, like paper-wrapped soap or plastic bottles of shampoo to stick in your luggage.  What Mrs. Roy did find are wall-mounted dispensers for soap which often doubles as shampoo.  Mrs. Roy has seen this in a few ecology-conscious American places, too.  It certainly makes you stop and think about all the stuff we throw away.

3.  Germans don't do ice.  Mr. and Mrs. Roy only had ice in our drinks at one restaurant the entire trip but we had been there before so we knew what to expect.  After a couple of days, you don't even notice it anymore.

4.  When Mrs. Roy orders a salad in the USA, I get a long list of salad dressing options.  In Germany, they bring you a salad and it is dressed however they think is proper.  This trip, most of Mrs. Roy's salads had yogurt dressing.  At other times, we've had mostly oil and vinegar.  Never fear; it's always good and one less decision is something Mrs. Roy can live with!

5.  Euros consist of paper bills and various coins, sort of like American money except more coins.  Mrs. Roy always ends up with a bunch of one cent, two cent, five cent and ten cent coins that are nearly impossible to use.  Even when Mrs. Roy tries to use them, the cashiers don't really want them.  Mrs. Roy got the hotel clerk to take some of my small coins in exchange for a larger coin but she said they couldn't really use them, either.  Mrs. Roy's grandchildren will probably get some in their Christmas stocking to take to school for show and tell.

6.  It costs about 20 cents to use the bathroom in Germany - pay toilets are alive and well there - and one of the few places you can use those little coins (see #5).  On previous trips, Mrs. Roy was obliged to "tip" the human attendant but we only saw mechanized WC's on this trip.

7.  Kindereggs!

8.  Castles!

9.  American soldiers, airmen and dependents.  Mr. and Mrs. Roy had the distinct honor and privilege to visit several military bases while in Germany.  I am amazed and humbled by these Americans who pack up their entire families and move to a foreign country to protect Mrs. Roy's very American way of life.  May God bless each and every one of them.



10.  Mrs. Roy is rounding out her top ten list with the very friendly, kind, patient people of Germany who made her feel welcome.  Many Germans speak English, at least enough to help Mrs. Roy order food or make a purchase, and they are always so kind in response to my pathetic attempts at speaking German.  The Germans are unerringly polite while driving and even out walking on the streets.


Mrs. Roy hopes you will hop on a plane the next chance you get and explore our wonderful world for yourself.  It is always interesting to see how other folks live and to realize that Mrs. Roy's way may not always be the best way - but I'm learning!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Proud of Son


Mrs. Roy's son ran in the Tour de Pain in Jacksonville this weekend.  The medal around his neck means he completed all three races - a 5 mile beach run, a 5K and a 1 mile road run.  Mrs. Roy gets tired just thinking about it.  Mrs. Roy also wishes I could say that either of those flat stomachs belongs to me but, alas, my stomach quit looking like that about 30 years ago.  HA  Congratulations, Son, we are proud of you for the race and the good company you keep.


STUFF

Katy over at the Non Consumer Advocate has posted a book review that triggered some thought.  While Katy is pretty good at living the Compact and while Mrs. Roy tries to be a conscientious consumer, we all bring home more stuff than we need.  Mr. Roy and I joke that we have become the "keepers of the stuff" since his mother passed away a few years ago and since my mom sold her house and went to live with her sister.  We've given "things" to our children and my siblings, we've sorted out junk, we've stored things, we've donated, rearranged and prioritized.  In the end, Mrs. Roy still can't park in the garage.

From the glass is half full perspective, we've been able to bless young friends with furniture, we are now surrounded by furniture and belongings that make us smile because of the memories attached to them and we are honored that we are the keepers of those memories.  By the way, if you start inheriting stuff, make sure you write the names of the people in the pictures on the back so future generations will know who they are.  And label stuff - take pictures and label the picture or make labels for the quilts and blankets and sew them onto them or whatever it takes.  We have some photos we can't identify at this point and that is so sad.

Mrs. Roy does ponder sometimes whether our home still reflects us or has it become a museum to the past?  Maybe a little of both and that's okay.  Mrs. Roy is grateful for the influences of family in our lives. 


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Charity of the Month - More about Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior Project believes in the power of nature and recreation to help warriors dealing with combat stress.  Project Odyssey, an outdoor rehabilitative retreat that combines adventure challenges with opportunities for peer support and group processing, was created to support warriors in their recovery from combat stress.


Recreational experiences ranging from rock climbing in the Black Hills of South Dakota to herding cattle on Wildcatter Ranch, encourage personal growth among participants and team building within the warrior community.


In conjunction with the National Park Service, Project Odyssey takes place on a variety of geographical locations over the course of five days.  Past event sites include Wildcatter Resort & Ranch in Graham, Texas; Marriott Cocoa Beach in Miami, Florida; National Ability Center, Park City, Utah; Acadia National Park in Maine.  Each location offers a unique experience that is different from the last and varies based on geographical resources.

Partnering with the Vet Centers across the country, Wounded Warrior Project recruits combat warriors from across the country who are currently enrolled in counseling services.  Odyssey allows participants to continue their therapeutic journey in a novel, dynamic setting with peers and support from Wounded Warrior Project and Vet Center professionals.

To read more about projects funded by the Wounded Warrior Project, just click on the link on the right side of this page.  Thanks.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

LIFE IS GOOD

Mrs. Roy recently read a quote from Agatha Christie that very properly describes Mrs. Roy's life as well.  "I am thinking," she would often say, "that it's a very happy way to live."  More details to follow.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mrs. Roy's Favorite Charity - August - Wounded Warrior Project





Beginning this month, Mrs. Roy will focus on a particular charity each month for the entire month.  Mrs. Roy hopes you will join me in supporting these worthy causes.  I promise not to lead you astray but to only recommend charities that (1) Mrs. Roy knows do good work, (2) Mrs. Roy knows they are good stewards and (3) Mr. and Mrs. Roy put their money where their mouth is - in other words, we give to them.

There is a link to the right of this page that will send you to the website for the Wounded Warrior Project.  This group supports soldiers who have returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I hope you will follow this link at least once this month and make a donation to this worthy organization.  Our soldiers deserve our support for their sacrifices.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

I LOVE MY GRANDKIDS BECAUSE ....


Mrs. Roy loves her grandkids because they turn her world upside down.  Who knows which of them decided that the gnomes needed to face the wall instead of the room - and why didn't Mrs. Roy ever think to turn them that way!  Mrs. Roy had fun this afternoon watching the nearly 13 year old try on some of her mother's old prom dresses in preparation for a middle school formal - whoever heard of such a thing!  Mrs. Roy has made oatmeal cookies - twice - magic squares, rice krispie treats and brownies as well as quesadillas (twice) and hot wings and we have washed more clothes than Mrs. Roy thought possible.  Mrs. Roy went school clothes shopping and was ever so thankful that I don't have to do that every year anymore!  Mr. Roy wanted to know why everything we bought looked like gothic wear and I tried to explain that pretty much everything we saw looked like that.  It was sort of frightening.  We've drunk gallons of tea and Yahoo and cola and red cream soda.  Mrs. Roy's mother made two double batches of our secret recipe chip dip.  [Notice there's been A LOT of food around here this week.]  Mrs. Roy has had to share her laptop and her bathtub and Mr. Roy had to watch some stuff on tv he doesn't usually have to watch.  The granddaughters sang in the choir with Mrs. Roy at church today and the two year old danced in the pew while we sang hymns.

We've had a glorious week with our grandkids.  Thank you, Lord!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Gators



Mrs. Roy's grandchildren are coming to visit which is a wonderful thing.  They had big plans to swim in the lake and jump off the dock and generally just goof off while Mrs. Roy was at work each day.  Unfortunately, Mr. Roy spotted a gator under our dock this afternoon so all swimming is hereby canceled until further notice!

If you have ever lived in the deep south, especially swampy areas like where we live, you know that basically any body of water is going to have a fresh water gator in it.  That's just the way it works.  Most of the time they stay away from populated areas and prefer the quiet and solitude like that found on the far side of our lake, far away from Mrs. Roy's grandchildren.  However, it has been literally over 100 here every day for about the past month and not too many of us human types have been stirring down by the lake.  So Mrs. Roy is assuming the poor gator, having a small brain and big teeth, decided it was safe to venture out.

You should know that it is against the law to exterminate one of these gators - someone thinks they are endangered.  So if you want to get rid of one, you have to call the game wardens and they have to send a gator catcher out to catch and relocate your gator into someone else's water.  However, when you live on a body of water that has several houses on it, like where Mrs. Roy lives, you have to have written permission from everyone who lives there before the game wardens can remove the gator.  Supposedly that's so you don't remove a gator one of your neighbors thinks is a pet or something but Mrs. Roy suspects it also keeps the game warden from getting nothing done except gator relocating since collecting all those signatures is too much effort for most of us to bother with.

So, Mrs. Roy has gone to plan B - call the neighbor and ask if the grandkids can go swimming in their nice, safe swimming pool while they are here.  If that doesn't work, well, Mrs. Roy will think of something. 

Life is good.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CHANGE


Do you like change or do you try real hard to avoid it at all costs?  Mrs. Roy is pretty good with change about some things - like new responsibilities at work - but personal change can be hard for me sometimes.  Right now Mrs. Roy's sister is having a hard time with some of the changes in her life as her daughter goes to college.  Mrs. Roy keeps trying to tell her that empty nest syndrome is a wonderful thing but she's having trouble grasping it all.  And Mrs. Roy works with a lady who just retired from her job rather than have to move to a new office and figure out new ways of doing things.  Mrs. Roy's son went through a period of change a year or so ago that sent him off in an entirely new direction in his life.  He's been very successful in following this new path and Mrs. Roy is very proud of him. 

Change is good for us because it makes us think and it lets us appreciate the old and the new.  But change can be difficult to accept and really inconvenient, too.  Mrs. Roy has found that, like most things, praying is very helpful when I'm faced with intimidating changes.  Mrs. Roy has also found that God most likely will answer my prayers one day at a time - so don't expect to know how the whole thing is going to turn out before you ever get started! 

That's really the key to embracing change - just trust in the Lord, take things one day at a time (Matthew 6:34) and try to enjoy what each day brings.  That's Mrs. Roy's way of doing things.

Life is good.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

SNAGGED ANOTHER $5


Mrs. Roy just snagged ANOTHER $5 amazon.com gift card by using swagbucks.com's toolbar and search engine.  Every time I earn 450 swagbucks, I get to buy another gift card.  If you haven't joined yet, what are you waiting for?  The widget over to the right will get you started earning your own swagbucks today - and I'll get credit for referring you.

I know I sound like a commercial but this is a really good deal and it costs absolutely nothing. 

Life is good. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

QUOTE OF THE WEEK



I just started reading this book and came across a great quote at the end of the first chapter.  I hope it is indicative of more good things to come.

"For all the rational explanations I used to account for choices in my life, for all the intellectual reasons I used to justify this particular endeavor, I now realized it was possible - maybe even likely - that I had been motivated by some internal longing that I hadn't even identified.  Some journeys we choose to go on, I realized; some journeys choose us.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

GNOMES AND CATS - PART TWO



Mrs. Roy looked out the window this morning and there was something stuck in the tree by the back porch!  Well, it at least looked like it was stuck but when Mr. Roy got a long pole and prodded it, the neighbor's cat jumped on down and ran off.  We think it just got up there and got semi-stuck and was too scared to jump down until it got a little encouragement.  HA

If you are wondering why Mrs. Roy has posted a picture of cat's rear instead of our usual gnome, go to gnomes and cats.

Happy 4th!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

ARIZONA

Mrs. Roy has had enough of these protests and boycotts.  I hope everyone who reads this post will plan a vacation to Arizona in the very near future.  Those folks are trying to enforce federal law that the feds won't or can't enforce and Mrs. Roy believes the federal government is out of line criticizing them instead of helping them.  And those folks who want the baseball games to stop being played in Arizona and school trips to stop being made to Arizona, you should be ashamed of yourself.  You should be supporting the rights of American citizens and not people who are here illegally.  As Sonny Bono said, when asked his opinion of legislation extending benefits to illegal aliens:  "Illegal.  Enough said."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Generosity




Mr. Roy and I were sitting in front of a bank of pay phones in the Atlanta airport recently. We had just had a discussion about whether or not those phones ever got used anymore when a man came up to the phones and read the instructions, then turned and asked if we had a quarter he could borrow to make a phone call. I, sadly, shook my head and told him I didn’t have any change, which was a lie and I knew it. Mr. Roy, however, immediately bent down and started digging in his briefcase for change but could only come up with a couple of foreign coins. So then he offered to let the man use his cell phone to make the call! By this time, Mrs. Roy was totally ashamed of myself and knew it was time to fess up. I reached in my backpack and gave the man a quarter, and he was so grateful. He made his call and left but his memory has stayed with me. All Mrs. Roy can say is that if I ever find myself in a strange place needing the kindness of a stranger, I hope I run into someone like Mr. Roy and not someone like me.

Jesus says we should love the Lord our God with all our heart and all our soul and all our minds and our neighbor as ourselves. Mrs. Roy failed at that and I’m going to do better.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Food Stamp Challenge Update Six

We are coming to the end of the Food Stamp Challenge and Mrs. Roy has to admit it's been more difficult than I thought.  We are down to $5 to get us through Wednesday evening.  We have enough stock to  get us through but I have a pretty extensive grocery list, a lot of it staples like olive oil and Goya and milk and bread.  Mr. Roy drank the last of the milk last night so most of our remaining $5 will go toward a gallon of milk today. 

We made spaghetti sauce last night using some italian sausage we knew we didn't really like (Mrs. Roy had bought two packages on sale and we cooked the other package with some cabbage and onion but didn't really care for it).  It was much better in the sauce.  Without the Food Stamp Challenge, it might have languished in the freezer so thank you, Katy. 

Life is good.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I'M RICH(ER)

You may not have noticed, but my Swagbucks total just went from 450 to zero a few minutes ago.  That's because a $5 gift card to Amazon.com costs 450 swagbucks and so I bought (another) one.  I had grand plans to save my Swagbucks gift cards and buy Christmas presents or something with them but so far they have been funding my never-ending thirst for used reading material.  I can live with that.  Free gift cards, used books that I can then resell or pass along;  life is good. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WANT SOME CORN?


Mrs. Roy's kind neighbor brought us a bag of corn yesterday, which Mrs. Roy shucked and cut off the cob tonight.  Tomorrow night some of it will be in a cast iron skillet with some butter and sugar and the rest will be in the freezer for some future delights.  Want some corn?


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

cookbook giveaways

The good folks at livingonadime.com are giving away some of their cookbooks this week.  Check it out for your chance to win.  This is a great cookbook! 


Monday, June 21, 2010

Food Stamp Challenge Update 5



Mrs. Roy stopped by Sam's and bought a few things a couple of days ago.  Then our son came home for Father's Day and brought two hungry friends so Mrs. Roy made a quick trip through the Winn-Dixie.  Here's how it went:

baked lay's (30 lunch size bags) - $10.88
18 eggs - 1.38
regular coffee - 6.98
decaf coffee - 9.57
splenda - 11.87
8 cans tuna - 8.88
3 bottles ketchup - 5.78
20 skinny cow ice cream sandwiches - 9.88

2 boxes of cereal - $5 (bogof)
mini marshmallows (to combine with the cereal for rice crispy treats) - 1.29

Then Mr. Roy forgot about the food stamp challenge and stopped at Winn-Dixie and picked up a few things - ground beef, texas toast and milk, spending $17.58

The bottom line is we have about $10 left to get us through the rest of the month.  Obviously, if we really were on food stamps, Mrs. Roy wouldn't have bought skinny cows or the rice crispy treat stuff or stocked up on ketchup and Mr. Roy wouldn't have stopped and just picked up whatever we wanted that day.  I don't know if we'll be able to make the $10 last until the end of the month but Mrs. Roy has learned it isn't as easy as it sounds and I'm enjoying the mental exercise and reading about the other folks doing the Challenge so it's all good. And just for the record, I'm not blaming Mr. Roy for anything; the poor man does have to put up with all my wacky ideas up close and personal.  He's a jewel; trust me.  (Katy over at the Non-Consumer Advocate had pretty much the same thing to say about her husband which made me smile and nod in agreement.)

The good news is that our neighbor came to the door this weekend with a bag of squash, a green pepper and a huge tomato from his garden.  Thank you, Lord, for good neighbors.  Mrs. Roy offered to give my son and his friends some of the squash and one of the friends told me, "We wouldn't even know what to do with fresh produce."  Mrs. Roy thought that was an interesting commentary on how these young folks are eating and spending their food dollar, especially in light of our Challenge.  Mrs. Roy and Mr. Roy may have to open a cooking school for upwardly mobile 20-somethings to teach them about what real food looks like but that discussion is for another post.

Also, we finished off the potatoes and squash Mrs. Roy bought at the farmer's market by cutting them into small chunks and roasting them with some onion and olive oil.  Yummy!  And no waste.

Finally, Mrs. Roy has a confession - we ordered pizza Saturday night (Mr. Roy said it was for Father's Day - knowing Mrs. Roy would refuse him nothing).  We got in the car a few minutes later and headed to the pizza parlor about a mile from our house.  As we approached, we noticed that the traffic lights weren't working and, sure enough, when we got to the drive up window, they confirmed they had no electricity, it had gone out just minutes after we placed our order, and our pizza was a gooey mess of warm dough and half melted toppings stuck somewhere on the conveyor belt inside their oven.  So Mr. Roy and I returned home, opened the freezer and pantry and prepared ourselves an alternate meal with items already bought and paid for.  Yes, we were weak and sad about maintaining the Food Stamp Challenge but the Good Lord took care of it for us and helped us stay on track.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.