Thursday:) Birds of a Feather

16 Sep

“Hope is a thing with feathers.”

– Emily Dickinson


Yesterday, I had the pleasure of participating in a glass mosaic workshop with Wendolin Mercado over at The Art House. I wasn’t sure what kind of project we were going to work on, but I knew if Wendolin was leading the class, it would be wonderful. It always is.

We were cutting glass, nipping pieces, grinding and putting glass beads pieces strategically on a wooden feather base. Fun!

Here is what the other gals were working on. I was lucky. I got all my pieces glued down before I left. Three hours flew by. I decided that I would grout mine myself instead of waiting a week or so to go back and grout. (Patience is not my best attribute.)

Here’s my feather before the grout. All those tiny pieces were not easy to maneuver.

I had some pale grey grout, so I added a little black acrylic paint to darken it up a little.

Here’s my finished feather. It still needs to finish drying and buffing, I think it turned out pretty darn good. What do you think?

THANK YOU, Wendolin.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’, Miss Toni?

15 Sep

Cooking is like love: It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” — Harriet van Horne


And to add to the above quote, it should also be entered into without a recipe or timetable.

Those of you who know me well, know that I love to cook. Yes, I do so with complete abandon. Hmm… I’ve probably abandoned a few projects too.

As I’ve mentioned before, being Mexican-American, I like to make “food.” You may call it Mexican food. So yesterday, when my neighbor Kathy asked if I wanted to go to dinner for Taco Tuesday, I said, “Why don’t you just come here and I’ll make FOOD.”

I made chicken quesadillas with all the fixins’ and Kathy brought all the liquid refreshments for margaritas.
I wanted to share my no-recipe recipe for black eyed pea and bean salsa stuff, just in case you missed it a previous time. It goes well with anything or just as an appetizer with tortilla chips. It also made a visit to my friendly fire stations for 9/11 and several friends and neighbors.
4 or 5 cans of corn, drained, dry roasted in a big pan (casueala above) When corn starts to brown, add a swig of vegetable oil, add two big cans of diced tomatoes, 5 or 6 or 7 cans of black eyed peas (drained), 2 or 3 cans of black beans (drained) 1 jar of salsa, and a jar of sliced pickled jalapeños (mushed) I put as many cans of stuff as will fit in the big casuela. (Secret ingredient- about a cup of apple cider vinegar.) I simmer for a little while, then let cool.
I put the cooled mixture in jars for sharing. The stuff is always better the next day or two after it’s coagulated and fermented.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Two Word Tip of the Day~ BE KIND

14 Sep

“Your life is your canvas, and you are the masterpiece. There are a million ways to be kind, amazing, fabulous, creative, bold, and interesting.”



I love this quote above. It’s like it was written just for me, especially the AMAZING part. I always say that jokingly, but it’s pretty true. I am all those things, and I believe there are SO MANY ways that we can be kind, amazing, fabulous, creative, bold, and interesting.

Today, I was thinking about all the mean, hurtful, petty, nasty, degrading, words and comments that people make and share. Some people have quit social media just for that reason, but I love to share my happy stories, fun and interesting people I meet, or awesome things that my friends and family are doing.

That being said, I decided that today I would make that call to Walgreens headquarters to tell them about Mr. Nathan who works at my Walgreens. A few weeks back, when I picked up 100 photos, and I did something wrong and the heads were cut off or pictures were cropped, He was kind enough to reprint them all for me, after showing me what I did wrong. Plus, he didn’t charge me. That’s above and beyond…

A few days ago, I was wandering around Walgreens looking at vitamins, and Mr. Nathan, I’m sure not even remembering me, politely stopped what he was doing and asked, “Anything I can help you with, Mam?” I said yes. I’d like to speak to your manager and tell him what an awesome employee you are. Wow! He was delighted, a big smile ran across his face.

Mr. Nathan called his manager, who hesitantly walked up to me, fearing the worst. When I explained the reason I wanted to speak to him, that same smile appeared on his unsuspecting face. He confided that he expected to get yelled at about something. Then, he said that was so kind, and if I really wanted to express my gratitude, that I could call the Walgreens headquarters.

I called the Walgreens Customer Care 800 number today. I was on hold for over 10 minutes, but I was determined. Miss Shirley, who answered, was also delighted about the call and took all my information, store number, etc. Now, Mr. Nathan has been formally recognized for going above and beyond by his employers.

In a world that is often unkind, BE KIND. Recognize and appreciate kindness in others. Give a smile to a sad face. Ask to talk to a manager and compliment an employee or waiter. Hesitate, then reconsider those unkind comments before they are said. What you say and what you do represents who you are. How do you want to be remembered? I want to be remembered as being….AMAZING! (But, you already knew that. 🤦‍♀️

I’ve got the weird part covered too!

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

13 Sep

“Don’t count the days. Make the days count.”

~Muhammad Ali.


It’s Monday already. I’m not counting the days, but they sure do fly by like a sticky fingered kid in a candy store. Zoom! Flew by…

A week in a zippy-zappy Peek…

Feeling blessed.

Sunday Sermon and a Stunning Sunrise

13 Sep

“When my life is over, who will they say I was? Who will I say I was? Good question.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


A lovely Sunday morning. My Google assistant said it was on 69° at 7:30. I said “Bless you!” Siri said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t sneeze!” Just kidding. That really didn’t happen. But, I had you going for a minute, didn’t I? Actually, just now, I said, “OK Google. Bless you!” She replied, “I’m happy you’re happy.” That’s a true story.

The sunrise was stunning this morning. This photo doesn’t do it justice. The sun was actually a huge glowing red-orange globe in the misty tangerine sky.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus asking the disciples, “Who do people say I am?” Many thought He was a prophet. Jesus asked the disciples what they thought. Peter said He was the Christ. Jesus went on to describe how He was going to suffer, be rejected, be put to death and rise again. Peter was incredulous.

34 “He called the people and his disciples to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.35 Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”

My take on it… Well, you know me. I don’t take every word literally. To renounce yourself and take up your cross, I take to understand that we will all have crosses and hardships to bear. If we follow the teachings of Jesus, we live our lives honestly, respectfully, love God and one another, we will prevail. We don’t have to literally die to be saved. Gosh, there’d be a lot of dead people. “Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it,” to me suggests if we only think about ourselves, save our own skin, be selfish and egotistical, that’s when we lose the true meaning of life. If we “lose our life for His sake and the Gospel,” suggests that we lose ourself in kindness, honesty, helping one another, and following the Gospel teachings, THEN we save our life, our eternal life. That is the true meaning of life here on earth, paving the way for eternal life.

It was a fine Sunday. I hope you had a great day too.

Saturday:)Some 9/11 Memories~ Never Forget

11 Sep

“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.”

~Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl


Twenty years later, the immortal phrase, “Never Forget,” still reminds us of the tragedy of 9/11 . But, what happened to the America that gathered together to support one another regardless of creed, color, or political views? Where is that America? Life is short indeed. There is no time for hate, yet so many hate. I’d love to see the America that I saw on 9/12/2001.

Here are some of my memories, my photos, my no time for hate memories…


Friday:) Honoring 9/11, Miss Denna Sikes, and Our Firefighters

11 Sep

“Honor is more than words. It’s gratitude, it’s actions, it’s saying thank you, and it is quiet thoughts and prayers.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Today, our little group of good friends gathered to honor the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. We also had a memorial celebration of life for our good friend Denna Sikes.

Jerry led us in a prayer, followed by Everyone singing “Amazing Grace” and “Proud To Be An American.”

Everyone had on their red, white, and blue.
Miss Denna’s Family was very moved by our celebration and remembrances of their sweet mother. There were photos and balloons and flowers and lots of love.
Good friends, good food, and fond memories.
There was a lot of food left over. I told Miss Pat that I was going to my fire stations this evening to take them my brownies, homemade Texas Black eyed Pea Salsa, chips, etc. So, after we cleaned up, she sent me home with all kinds of goodies, bratwurst, cakes, cookies, etc. to add to my offerings.
There was a lot of good food to share.
I dropped off a few things at Station 9 on my way home. Then, I had to cut up my brownies, put my homemade salsa in jars, and wrap up the other goodies. I said I’d be back shortly.
Firefighter Mead was very appreciative over at Station 5. He said “Thank you. You didn’t have to do that.” I said, “Oh yes, I did. Thank YOU!”

That’s what it’s all about, my friends. Being thankful for our blessings and thanking those who deserve our thanks.

Throwback Theme Song Thursday:) You’re A Grand Old Flag

10 Sep

I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it.

John Thune


The other day, someone posted a picture of the original flag from the battle of Iwo Jima that is on display in Quantico, Virginia. It was worn and tattered, but it is kept in honor in the National Marine Museum. I commented that I have an old hand-painted and autographed flag with the emblem from my father’s unit that he brought home from the Philippines after WWII.

Just as the famous Iwo Jima flag is honored, I also treasure this flag that had seen battle, sacrifice, and loss of life. My father never really talked much about the war, understandably so. But, I’m sure this old flag could tell some stories. I thought I’d share it with you today. I’m guessing it’s nearly 80 years old now.

You’re a Grand Old Flag…
Signatures and home towns from the guys he served with.
I’m pretty sure most of the soldiers who scrawled their names on this handmade canvas flag are gone now. But, as long as someone treasures this old flag, their memory continues. 🇺🇸

Wednesday:) What’s Happenin’ On The Square

9 Sep

“There is something special when creative people get together.”

Joy Mangano


Well, it was a fine day to head over to the Square to visit Kim Guthrie at her art studio. I was the lucky winner of one of her Move it Out Monday Auctions, and I hadn’t been over that way in a while. I texted her to see if she’d be working at her studio today, and lucky for me, she was.

I always like to sneak a photo from outside her window before she realizes that I’m making funny faces at her as she works.
Like the old song, “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?” lol at that adorable doggie. Kim does a lot of commission work, especially of family pets, historic homes and buildings, families, and funky animals. (Like my giraffe tea towel that I won in the auction.)
Aw, look at my cute tea towel, front and back. I love the quote.

Such a talented lady, and her studio is always bursting with bold colors and whimsical artwork.

You can check out her website at or visit her studio at 115 W. Virginia on the lovely downtown McKinney Square.

Thanks for a fun visit Kimmie! ❤️🤗👩🏻‍🎨

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tasty Tip of the Day

7 Sep

“Everything is better dipped in chocolate. Well, maybe not a car bumper, but you get the idea.”

Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I purchased some fresh strawberries today. I thought they would go well mixed with my watermelon, blueberries, and fresh peaches. I’ve been trying to eat healthier. You noticed the “trying” part. I have been eating oatmeal for breakfast, salads for lunch, vegan tacos for dinner… most of the time, and not all in the same day. There are occasional lapses, and that’s OK.

For some reason, these strawberries were calling out…”DIP ME IN CHOCOLATE!”

So, I did! One must answer the call. I just nuked a big handful of semisweet chocolate chips drizzled with just a tiny bit of oil for 1 minute in the microwave. I stirred it up until the chips were all melted. I had washed the strawberries and dried them first. Water and chocolate don’t mix well. Then dip.
This makes a lovely dessert or snack for someone special ❤️, a party, or just for yourself. YOU ARE VERY SPECIAL , TOO!

Well, you know what I’m having for dinner tonight. 🤦‍♀️