Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wood is good

Mrs. Roy has an insert in her fireplace that blows the heat out into the room.  We live in a warm climate and don't have harsh temperatures often so the fireplace heat is usually enough to take off the chill and keeps us from having to turn on the electric heat.  Mr. Roy complains about being cold sometimes but he usually has on a short-sleeved shirt when he says that.  Since he's my chainsaw man, I try to cut him some slack. 

We have a lot of trees in our yard so we have a lot of yard trash - branches and limbs, trimmings, etc., to burn.  Occasionally a tree has to come down and we cut that up for firewood, too.  So we don't pay for the wood and I know we are only using scrap wood that I'm keeping out of the county's yard trash bins - a double good!

On top of helping us get rid of yard trash and keeping our electricity bill low, the fireplace insert has glass panels in the doors so I can sit on the couch and see the fire burning.  It is so relaxing.  A quilt over my legs, a cup of coffee, a good book and a fire to watch - Life is good. 

Many years ago, we lived further north in an older house and the pipes under the kitchen sink froze a couple of time.  Inside the house!  We had a wood burning stove in the den of that house and even though we had to buy the wood to burn, it was worth it when the electricity went out or when it got really, really cold.  Good Lord willing, Mrs. Roy will never live in another house that doesn't have a wood burning stove.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Where does your happiness come from?

A friend sent me this link tonight.  We often have conversations about the social service system in this country.  The reason it is so broken, in Mrs. Roy's humble opinion, is because God never intended for government to take care of people.  That's the church's business - loving our neighbors - and when we do what God says, we are happy people.  That's how it works.

If you look at the organizations who were successful in helping people after Hurricane Katrina or after last month's earthquake in Haiti, you will see they are religious organizations that specialize in these type operations. Samaritan's Purse is a great example and one of my favorite organizations to help.  World Vision is another. 

My point is just this - God created us to work together and He gave us specific instructions in the Bible about how to care for each other.  If you study the Bible carefully, you will find that God did not intend to people to rely on government.  Initially, God ordained judges who led the people for short periods of time, generally when they were being attacked or bullied.  But the Israelites wanted a king because everyone else had a king so God finally gave them Saul and that was the beginning of the end for Israel.  Whenever God's people started relying on the earthly leaders (i.e. government) instead of God, it always led to major problems.  You would think we would have learned something from all that but apparently not. 

I believe in supporting organizations that I know work, like the ones mentioned here.  Also, my church is awesome in caring and sharing for its members and our neighbors and so I support my church.  And I believe in helping out one-on-one when I can.  I see stories in the local newspaper often about folks needing a helping hand because of circumstances beyond their control.  

You might want to check out if you are interested in helping someone but don't know where to start.  These folks let you pick who you want to help and you can designate that 100% of your donation go to the person instead of administrative costs.  I like that.  It makes me happy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mr. Roy's Italian Delight

A couple of weeks ago, Mrs. Roy found out that several of her friends from church were going out to eat dinner together after church on Sunday nights.  It almost hurt my feelings that no one ever invited me along - until I remembered that Mr. Roy and I eat better than most people because we cook at home and we are very good cooks.  For instance, this is a photo of a dinner we made over the weekend.  It's lasagna made totally from scratch, dinner rolls, roasted garlic and chive butter made from scratch and oatmeal cookies for dessert, also made from scratch.  This pan is going to be more than one or two meals for Mr. and Mrs. Roy and that roasted garlic and chive butter is going to be incredible on a hot roll.  You won't get food like that in any restaurants around here!

That's the sad part - we don't eat out because we really can make it better at home and we enjoy the process.  It's a blessing to have that skill and knowledge but sometimes it would be nice to hang out with our friends after church, too.  Maybe I'll just invite myself along next time!

Sunday, February 14, 2010



A gnome is in the garden busily destroying some bushes when a house cat appears.  "What are you?" asks the cat.
"A gnome," comes the reply.  "I steal food from humans, I kill their plants, I make annoying music at night to drive them crazy, and I love mischief.  And what, may I ask, are you?"
The cat replies, "Um, I'm a gnome."  

Submitted to Readers Digest by Blake Kiltoff



Mrs. Roy always ends up frustrated when she has to use a florist.  This time was no exception.

A few days ago, I came across a $10 off coupon for FTD.  I got online and looked into buying some Valentine flowers for my mom and aunt who live in another city.  In case you haven’t looked at these online florist things, you can either buy something that they ship in a box via FedX from a big warehouse somewhere else or you can buy something that will be delivered by a local florist.  I’m all about supporting local business so I was looking at the local delivery option.  Let’s just say the price differential was shocking.

Overnight, I got to feeling guilty for being a cheapskate so I called my local florist the next morning and set about ordering the flowers.  I told her I wanted to spend about $35 for the flowers and I knew there would be a wire fee.  She told me I had to spend at least $50 plus the wire fee.  So I told her never mind and hung up. 

I went back to FTD online, searched out an online coupon and got a cut arrangement with a vase and a box of chocolates delivered by FedX for less than $50.  I’m all for supporting the little guy but I’m not willing to get taken to the cleaners.  If local florists intend to compete with FTD and these other big guys, they are going to have to try harder than this.

Diggin them bones


Mrs. Roy was reminded again of how much of a maniac she can be.  There was a bowl of leftover ham bones and scraps following a dinner at church Wednesday night.  Someone commented that would be a feast for someone’s dog.  Mrs. Roy spoke up that she could make some killer soup with those ham bones.  Secretly, I was also thinking I could probably salvage enough actual ham to make a big bowl of ham salad, then make a pot of beans with one soup bone and a pot of ham and potato soup with the other one.  Sometimes, the bones are the best part of the meal.

I don’t know who took the bowl of scraps home but I sure hope someone did.  This experience gives me a flashback to Thanksgiving a couple of years ago when my brother threw out the turkey carcass after dinner.  I wanted to cry, just thinking about the turkey noodle soup we wouldn’t be having.  It’s times like these that I wonder if I’m the only one out there who thinks like this.

Well, except for Mr. Roy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stop Spending Time Report

A couple of weeks ago, I decided not to buy anything while Mr. Roy was off on a business trip.  How did it turn out?  Great, as a matter of fact.  I bought a few work lunches because that couldn’t be avoided and I bought one gallon of milk early on but other than that, I didn’t spend any money.  I didn’t even spend any cyber money.  For some reason, buying something online doesn’t seem like real spending to me.  Anyway, I digress.  I went the entire two weeks without buying anything and I ate really good and had plenty left to eat.  I didn’t run out of toilet paper, which was a concern.  I did have to wash my dishes by hand because I ran out of dishwasher soap but that was really not a problem. 

I even managed to do a little cooking ahead while I was working my way through what was on-hand.  I had some buttermilk so I made a batch of buttermilk waffles and put them in the freezer.  I was inspired by an article in Reader’s Digest that said Eggo’s were going to be scarce for a while because of mechanical problems at both Eggo factories.  Mr. Roy says that is food industry pig latin for “we have a bacteria problem and we are having to break down all the equipment and sanitize it.”  Just for the record, I don’t buy Eggo’s even when their factory is working but I like waffles so I made some.

Was I tempted to break my self-imposed restrictions?  Actually, yes.  There were a few times when I considered stopping at the Sav-A-Lot and getting a frozen pizza or running through the drive-thru for a quick breakfast biscuit.  Mindless food consumption is just so . . . . mindless. 

Mrs. Roy’s sister came across an article that talks about a similar challenge taken by a blogger up in Tennessee recently -

She came to the same conclusion as me - it’s good for us to step back and examine our spending occasionally.  And it doesn’t hurt even a little bit to be more intentional about the way we spend our time, talents and money.