Tuesday:) Toni’s Tips For Today

29 Jun

“If you’re always learning something new, you don’t have time to get old.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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One of my favorite procrastinating pastimes is spending way too much time on Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms. But, I’m always learning something new…then I get to share it with you.

The other day I was watching some kitchen hacks, some were interesting, others just goofy. One that caught my intention was about dealing with the unpopped kernels in microwave popcorn. I always make a huge batch of popcorn/pretzel/cereal/cheese puff snack mix for my senior friends at Towne Creek. It never fails that a lot of those pesky unpopped kernels get in the mix. I always worry about someone breaking a tooth or heaven forbid, their dentures. 🤦‍♀️

I saw a video where they opened up a small hole in the bottom seam of the bag and shook out the lose kernels. I thought, even better, I’d cut a small triangle where just the tiny kernels could be shaken and released from the bottom of the bag. IT WORKED GREAT!
Because I was popping 5 bags, I really had a lot of unpopped kernels. Another good tip would be to shake over a big bowl or container. I didn’t think that far ahead, so a few kernels went flying and rolling around on my kitchen floor.🤦‍♀️ I’ll remember that tip for next time. I also took the left over kernels, put them back inside one of the empty bags, folded over the seam, and popped them again. It made more popcorn. You know how I hate to waste.
I placed all the popcorn and other snacks into a large white kitchen trash bag, shook and mixed it all up and made 10 individual bags of mix to share. And guess what? I didn’t see any nasty unpopped popcorn kernels. Good tip, right?

Wait till you see “What’s Cookin’ “ tomorrow!

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

28 Jun

. “Your Monday morning thoughts set the tone for your whole week. See yourself getting stronger, and living a fulfilling, happier and healthier life.” —Germany Kent

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It was a pretty busy week, well, except for my lazier than a slug Saturday. But, it’s a new week, a new day, and before I can blink, it will be Friday again. Time does fly when you’re having fun.

A week in a peek…. Happy Monday! 🤗

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

27 Jun

“Never love something so much that you can’t let go of it.”
― Ginni Rometty

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Woa! Another warm day, but a little cloud cover gave us a slight reprieve from triple digits. It’s only on the 90’s. 🤦‍♀️ But, it’s Sunday, and a good day to celebrate life and our blessings.

Today was Father Barth’s last Mass with us here at St. Gabriel, as he is being transferred over to St. Michael this week. But, St. Michael’s is only a few miles away on the east side of McKinney, so not too far. He will be missed.

Today’s Gospel is the story of Jesus and his disciples traveling and not being welcomed,

Gospel

Lk 9:51-62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

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My take on it… when Jesus asked others to follow Him, they first wanted to say their goodbyes or take care of family obligations. I think this is symbolism for the material needs that we often deem more important than our spiritual needs. If we are always looking back, how can we move forward?

At the end of Mass, Father Barth told us how much he loved serving here at St. Gabriel and he will always remember his first parish assignment in the U.S. He received a standing ovation and there was a reception after each Mass in the community center to say goodbye.

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After Mass, we stopped for coffee at McD, as usual. We didn’t stay too long because Miss Joni had invited me and Helene over to assist her with an art project for her new outdoor living space. She had this cool surf board sign that she painted turquoise, and she wanted some lettering put on it and wasn’t sure how to do it. Being the amazing artist that I am, I said it would be easy peasey.

We arranged and taped the stencils to say BIG BITE BAR, as the surf board has a bite taken out of the corner, like a shark bit it. Very cute.
Turned out pretty cool. Joni and Bob have all sorts of cool tiki bar type signs and decorations that will be going out back once the workman and landscapers finish their part.
Joni also painted a large turquoise heart that she asked me to put Bob &Joni . I didn’t want to do the stencil thing again, so I just lettered it free Han, and added a vine of rosebuds around the edge. I love when people are impressed with my steady hand and hand lettering. It’s just like printing, but with paint. Easy-peasey,
Joni loved it. She ordered a cool metal arrow that is going through the center of the plaque, and Bob is going to hang it on their tree in their back yard. These two are the cutest love birds, married over 50 years and still madly in love. Sweet! ❤️❤️

They are so adorable.

It’s been a lovely Sunday. I hope your Sunday has been wonderful, too.

Saturday:) Sittin’ Around Like A Slug All Day Saturday

26 Jun


“I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention. Invention . . . arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.”
― Agatha Christie

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I don’t know about you, but it’s too dang hot out there to do much of anything today. After my very busy, on my feet all day Friday, today I gave myself permission to take a day off. I’m going to call it my “Sittin’ around like a slug all day Saturday.

Well, I did go over to check on the cats this morning. They were happy to see me.

But since this morning, I haven’t even peeked out my window since then. It’s after 7 pm and it’s still 99°.

You know what makes a perfect lazy day? Massive quantities of hot green tea with fresh ginger, lemon and honey, watching TV all day. Oh, and a few “bad ass brownies” that I made yesterday.
Yum!
And what does a lazy old lady binge watch while sipping green tea all day? Well, the Hallmark Channel, of course. And guess what. It’s Merry Movie Week, featuring schmaltzy fall in love happily ever after movies with a Christmas theme. After over eight hours of this, I’m going to need a little stiffer than green tea.

Happy lazy Saturday, my friends.

Friday:) Fun Friends and Artists at Towne Creek

25 Jun

“Friends make the days brighter, but art friends make the days funner. And we get to make up our own words and play with fun art stuff.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Wow! Another fun day with out lovely senior art friends over at Towne Creek today. We had a little bit of a setback at first, because when I opened the store room closet door where we keep most of our art supplies, the floor was flooded. Fortunately, nothing was damaged, but poor Kelly, the manager, was mopping and using the shop vac to try and get the water up. I guess the HVAC unit was leaking water somewhere. I think it was a good thing we had art today, because I’m the only one who goes in there once a month. Can you imagine???

The mess didn’t hold us back. I had brought in a big bin of art supplies and projects for the day. So we worked with the super loud shop vac whizzing along. Kelly got it pretty dry, but it was still leaking a little bit. It all worked out. She called for emergency AC help, but they still hadn’t arrived when we left.

We have such a good time. My favorite part is our little feast. We eat lots of food, tell funny stories, and laugh. Always laugh. (Oh, I did bring my karaoke microphone and belted out a few songs. Miss Dorothy sang a few too.)
Helene and I bring tons of food, drinks and goodies to share.
We work on different projects. Today we worked on hologram scratch boards, painted ponies, and 3-D paper crafts.
Helene’s cards turned out so cute, and Miss Kathy’s 3-D painted pony was awesome. She used foam tape behind the head and tail to make the pony really pop off the page.
Miss Bonnie and Miss Sandy did a great job too.
Miss Dorothy is an over achiever and worked on a 3-D paper flower project too. So cute!
Mr. David enjoyed the projects. I love it when everyone does something different and adorable.
I had just a couple of demo projects to share. Helene and I were busy helping and running around. She did all the outdoor spraying with fixative on the scratch boards. And everything dried in 3.5 seconds. Needless to say, it was hot outside. When we left around 6:30, my car said 111°. Yikes.

Another great day with great friends and fun projects. Happy Friday, my friends.

Yep!

Thankful Thursday:) Good Friends

24 Jun

“A good friend is like a four-leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have.”

~Irish Proverb

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It’s always good to count your blessings and count your friends, of which I have so many. Today, I am thankful for my crazy catholic side-kick and partner in crime, Helene. She was going to Sam’s Club to get gas and shop today, so I asked her if I could ride along and go shopping with her. I don’t have a membership.

Tomorrow is our visit to Towne Creek Senior Apartments for our arts and craft day. We are always on the look out for sales and deals for our projects and dinner feast. Helene has been volunteering with me for… hmm, at least a couple of years, if not more. I’ve been going for 15 years. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Today, I’m especially thankful for all her help, kindness, and sweet friendship.

A friend is someone who keeps you out of trouble. A good friend is someone who keeps you company while you’re getting into trouble. Thanks Helene.

So, tonight I’m busy getting ready for tomorrow, making pasta salad, bad ass peanut butter brownies, and I still need to go upstairs and think of our art project. It’s gonna be a long night. 🤦‍♀️👩🏻‍🎨

Here’s just the beginning of the kitchen chaos tonight. Stay tuned tomorrow for the grand finale. Miles to go before I rest.

Thank you Helene. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday:) My Personal Words of Wisdom

23 Jun

“Wake up thankful, see beauty everywhere, share, care, and never stop learning.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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One of the many self-help podcasts and webinars I’ve been listening to suggested that getting up early, meditating, exercising, and eating healthier could not only improve your body, but also your mind. Those of you who know me well know that I rarely go to sleep before 1 or 2 am, and getting out of bed somewhere before noon. I am AMAZING! I can change my habits.

I’ve been getting up before 7am, saying my novena, listening to my Formed Daily Reflection, and out the door for my walk before 8 am. I’ve been averaging 2 to 3 miles a day, sometimes more. (See beauty)

After my strenuous streamy walk, I sat on the bench and soaked in the sun, admired my view, and listened to the birds chirping their happy songs. (See beauty)
My neighbor cats followed me home, and Juno tried to walk inside with me. I’m keeping an eye on them while Miss Kathy is out of town a few days. (Care)

Today was garbage pick up day. It was already super hot out there, so when I heard the truck churning down the street, I ran out to give the very nice driver some cookies and a cold Dr. Pepper. He had the biggest smile on his appreciative face. (Sharing is caring)

After drinking a lot of water, I worked on an on-line writing workshop with Nadia Colburn. I was going to make a smoothie, but when I grabbed a few frozen blueberries and popped them in my mouth, I decided to just eat frozen blueberries for breakfast while I wrote. They were delicious and refreshing. (Eating healthy and keep learning)

This motivated me before heading over to the MillHouse for our in person writing group called Words With Friends. (More learning)

On my way to the east side, I stopped by Towne Creek Senior Apartments to drop off a couple of cases of bottled water for their community closet. I’ll be there Friday, but I’ll already have so much to carry. (Sharing)

Our writing group was great. Such a great group of talented creative ladies. Thank you, Melissa Cantu, for always challenging and inspiring. (Learning)

I found a feather outside at the MIllHouse on my way to my car. (Lucky)

Talk about sharing, Andrea Holmes had posted on Facebook that she was organizing her studio at MillHouse and had a whole bunch of extra cool art supplies for anyone who wanted them. I arrived early and picked out some awesome paints, papers, and other art supplies. (Sometimes others share)

By 7 pm, I was actually hungry. I made a great big salad. Yum. Perhaps I’ll splurge and have a glass of wine later. After all, grapes are very healthy, even in liquid form, right?

What a busy beautiful healthy sharing caring learning kinda Wednesday.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tip of the Day~Never Waste Paint

21 Jun

“I know there are only Ten Commandments, but I think the 11th should be never waste anything.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Many of my talented frugal artist friends will agree that we don’t waste anything. Also, we are not really hoarders, but we are saving possible art ideas for a crazy rainy day art project In the future. Just because I press leaves, save…egg cartons and egg shells, empty brownie boxes, wine bottles, dried flowers, scrap paper, brown bags, plastic bottles, feathers, toilet tissue tube rolls, and the ever popular dryer lint, this doesn’t mean I’m a hoarder. It’s all labeled and organized and waiting for a possible project. Remember last month, my senior artist friends made lovely 3-D paintings with grocery bag trees and left over tissue paper leaves. Awesome!

Another pet peeve of mine is wasting paint. If I’m working on a project, if there’s a little paint left, I paint a few notecards or book marks or glassware.

So, last week, when I was painting my glass bowl for Jerry’s birthday, I had quite a bit of red, orange, and yellow paint left on my paper palette. Not enough to scoop back into the bottle. Oh yes, that paper is recycled mail or old print outs. I didn’t want to waste the glass paint, as it’s more expensive than acrylic. I grabbed a glass ivy bowl in my stash of unpainted glass in my “crap room.” I have had many friends donate old glass items to me because they know they will be turned into a work of art and find a good home.

As you can see, I use an old foam egg carton lid for my makeshift stay wet palette, a little square of moistened paper towel, then a square of recycled paper. Then, I pour my paint on it.
I used the left over paint from the paper palette and mushed it around and around the bowl until it was nicely covered and blended.
I loved the fiery look of the blended colors. Now, to decide what to paint on top. My easiest go-to motif is a simple one-stroke leaf. It was already after 2 am, so I wanted something quick and simple so I could go to sleep.

Here’s a little video of how to paint the easy vine and leaves.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=bMA0d0mfJgg&feature=share

The finished project. Waste not, want not.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

20 Jun

“Life is but a stage… and all the players are backstage, behind the curtain, just goofing around.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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It’s been a hot, fun, crazy busy week here in my world. I hope you’re having a good week. It’s Monday. Time to start this show on the road again.

A week in a peek…

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

20 Jun

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
― Albert Einstein

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Another beautiful, gonna get really hot, Sunday. I arrived at church early so I could light my candle, get a few bulletins, then run over to the side door to meet the Chateau Senior bus. Darn, they were already in the door before I could run over to meet the bus pulling up. I have the ladies a hug, gave them their bulletin, and asked if Mr. Mike was coming.

Miss Marilyn said he was still coming. He has a wheel chair, so the driver has to lower him on one of those up and down thingys. I squally grab the handles and race him down the long hallway. Today, I gave him his hug and started to reach for the handles…. oh my, Mr. Mike had a brand new motorized shiny red wheel chair scooter vehicle.

I said, “Oh no! Now I won’t be able to scoot you down the hall at lightning speeds anymore.” He laughed. But, then I said, “I know! I’ll race you!” I lined up next to him and did the “On your mark , get set, go!” We raced down the hall. I let him win. (Not really. He was pretty fast.)

After our race, I went over to the front door to do a little greeting. Oh, I missed greeting the folks coming in for church. With all the Covid stuff, we hadn’t gotten back. We did have a church meeting of the Welcome Ministry last Sunday, talking about getting back into the swing. But, mostly they talked about standing behind the Welcome desk in the narthex to answer questions or help new parishioners get info. I just want to greet people. We haven’t started yet, but I started anyway.

Above the heavy metal door is a Bible verse. The two hands made me think that welcoming and greeting people on their way into church was more of my calling than standing behind a desk inside. (A sign)
Ah, look! It’s Helene. (I made her do the hands up Toni greeting.)

I had so many smiling faces and salutations as I greeted. I got to see the sweet babies, elderly couples holding hands, and that adorable family with the five little girls all in matching dresses with matching pink bows. This just gives me such joy. A few people even said, “You’re back! Good morning, so good to see you!”

Here’s a cool story… I saw a lot of familiar faces as I greeted at the door, but also a few new faces. I gave out a few hugs to some elderly folks who were moving slowly, just to give them a chance to catch their breath on this hot and steamy morning.

Then, I saw an elderly gentleman walking ever so slowly down the long sidewalk. His wooden cane strained under his tired arm. He finally made it up the two narrow steps, so I scooted across the way by the other entrance and said, “Good morning! Looks like you could use a hug!” As I gave him his hug, he paused and let out a slow sigh. He said, “I needed that. I had a heart attack a few weeks ago and I’m movin’ slow.” Then he look right into my eyes and said, “Would you pray for me?” I assured the sweet old gentleman that I would pray for him. I think we both needed that hug today. 🤗

Today’s Gospel on this Feast of Corpus Christi is the famous story of the loaves and fishes. Jesus blessed the five loaves and two fish and then fed thousands.

Gospel

Lk 9:11b-17

Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God,
and he healed those who needed to be cured.
As the day was drawing to a close,
the Twelve approached him and said,
“Dismiss the crowd
so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms
and find lodging and provisions;
for we are in a deserted place here.”
He said to them, “Give them some food yourselves.”
They replied, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have,
unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.”
Now the men there numbered about five thousand.
Then he said to his disciples,
“Have them sit down in groups of about fifty.”
They did so and made them all sit down.
Then taking the five loaves and the two fish,
and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing over them, broke them,
and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And when the leftover fragments were picked up,
they filled twelve wicker baskets.

My take on it… miracles do happen when you have faith. But also, the analogy of, you require very little to satisfy your needs when you follow the Lord’s teachings because if you share what you have, no one should ever go without or go hungry.

After Mass, Helene, Ashleigh and I stopped at McD for a beverage. The rest of my day has been just flittering around.

I did get to FaceTime with my favorite family and say Happy Father’s Day to my eldest son. He truly is the finest father that I’ve ever known. Aren’t those girls getting big!

Happy Father’s Day, Happy Sunday, Happy Day, my friends. ❤️