Archive | December, 2016

Friday:) Fun Flowery Crafting With Mom

31 Dec

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”

― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


Mom was getting ready to put a bunch of cute hard candy, wrapped in pretty flower paper, outside her doorway. She has a little glass bowl on a ledge outside her door where she puts candy. It seems to disappear in just a few minutes. Either there are a lot of people passing by in the hallway, or there is one candy burglar that takes all the candy. I thought it was too cute to waste. When I looked at the rosebud candy, I put on my thinking cap and came up with a craft idea for us to work on.

Mom punched two holes in index cards with a pencil, cut the curly ribbon, and laced the ribbon from the back while I painted a stem and leaves. We both tied the candy to the top of the stem with a knot, then curled the ribbon.

We had an assembly line going. We were only going to make about a dozen or so, but they were so dang cute, I said, “While we’re on a roll and already made a mess, let’s make some more.” We made thirty-five. Mom will use them as thank you notes for friends or for birthday cards. Mom is one of those old school ladies that writes a thank you note for everything, or sends a thank you note when she gets a thank you note. Never ending notes. (I don’t take after her.,so if you gave me a gift…Thank you…don’t expect a note.)

Pretty cute, right?

A fun flowery Friday crafting day with Mom.

 Theme Song Thursday:The Next Generation

30 Dec

“When you hold your newborn child in your arms, you have dreams for the future. When you hold your great-grandchild in your arms, your dreams have come true.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” 

― Gaylord Nelson


This afternoon, I took Mom over to meet her new great-granddaughter. Four generations of family, life, hope, and dreams. Proof of the past, dreams for the future. Not only was Mom excited to hold the tiny little girl, but she was so honored that little Belle’s middle name is Trinidad. Great-grandma Trini’s name and legacy carries on. (They kinda look alike, don’t they?)

Now, we have four generations seated together, sharing these special moments. 

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom

29 Dec

“The greatest gifts I could ever give are a smile, a hug, and a kind word. These gifts are always returned. No receipt required.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” 

― Aesop


Just sharing a few words of wisdom to live by. 

I certainly do surround myself with these people. Lucky me.

Tuesday:) Timeless Memories And Tomorrow’s Treasures

28 Dec

“Keep all special thoughts and memories for lifetimes to come. Share these keepsakes with others to inspire hope and build from the past, which can bridge to the future.”

~ Mattie Stepanek


The holidays are always a time for memories, making them and sharing them. My newest excitement and wonderful Christmas memory 2016 is my new granddaughter. I’ve been posting about her for weeks. There will be more…lots more!
 I’ve wanted to share another story of an amusing nature. Many of my close friends and family already know this story, but my new friends may not have heard this.

The story of Mr. Dan’s dead wife…It started four years ago when I got a call from an artist friend of mine. She said that an elderly gentleman had called her art studio looking for an artist who might be able to paint on china or porcelain. She told me, “Every year, for the past forty years, this gentleman has had a special Christmas keepsake painted by a local artist for his wife. She has passed away, but he wants to continue the tradition of having a personalized gift painted. I know you paint on glass. Do you paint on porcelain?” 

Well, I heard this story and it melted my heart. This poor man has lost his wife, but he wants to continue having a gift made for her. How sweet. I said I’d call him and see if I could help. I met with Mr. Dan, and he brought a few examples of small white vases and trinket boxes delicately painted with bluebonnets. On the bottom it said, To Sue~Love Dan with the date. 

I love to paint bluebonnets, so I agreed to take on the challenge. The hardest part was finding a small white item to paint. I scoured antique shops, stores, and thrift shops, looking for just the right piece for this sentimental man. I found an antique covered box, painted bluebonnets, and dated the bottom with the enscription. I then called Mr. Dan to give him his memorial gift for his deceased wife. We met at Chicken Express and I gave him the box. He loved it and said, “Thank you so much. How much do I owe you?” I told him there was no charge. It was my pleasure to make something special for him. Then he said, “Sue is at her sister’s house, so I’ll be able to sneak this in without her seeing the surprise.”

What??? Sue wasn’t dead??? Ah!!! I sat there a minute when he left, while I figured out the story. My friend had said, a local artist had painted a gift for Dan’s wife. He wanted to continue the tradition, even though she passed away. Oh! The artist passed away, not Sue. I’m glad I didn’t tell Mr. Dan that I thought his wife was dead.

Now, every year, this sweet gentleman calls me early December and asks if I’ll be able to paint a gift for him. I always say yes, and I scour shops again looking for the perfect item to paint. And I smile, glad that Sue is not dead and Dan has another year with his wonderful wife.

This year, I found this cute covered heart-shaped container. I even painted a small white box with matching flowers. 

As our tradition, I met Mr. Dan at the outdoor patio of the Chicken Express, and I gave him his gift. Every year, he pulls out his wallet and asks “How much do I owe you?”  I always say, “It’s my pleasure, and all I need is a hug.” We hugged, and Mr. Dan walked back to his truck a happy man, and I walked back to my car knowing that I’d done something special for a sweet gentleman at Christmas time.

Montage Monday:) ‘Twas The Day After Christmas…

27 Dec

Somehow, not only for Christmas but all the long year through, The joy that you give to others Is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing The poor and lonely and sad, The more of your heart’s possessing Returns to you glad.~ John Greenleaf Whittier


‘Twas the day after Christmas, but I wasn’t sad.

With wonderful memories, and fun that we had.

Now, a brand new grand-daughter, as cute as can be.

The family together, all under the tree.

When I count all my blessings, too many it’s clear.

Now, I won’t be this happy, ’till maybe next year.

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Sunday Sermon and a Merry Christmas~ a Good Way to Start Your Day 

26 Dec

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it”


Christmas morning was very special to me, not because of piles of presents, lights, and decorations, but because of family. I spent Christmas Eve and day with my two sons, daughter-in-law, and our new tiny member, my first grand-daughter. 

This morning, my son, Joe, said that we could go to an early Mass at St. Norbert. He is up at 5 or 6 a.m. anyway. With a new baby and feedings and fussing every three hours or so, we went to 7:30 Mass. I assumed we needed to get there very early because it was Christmas morning. 

We were one of the first to arrive around 7. This gave us time to light the first candle in the dimly lit church. A candle of thanks for special blessings and gratitude for answered prayers. 

The Gospel, of course, was about the birth of Christ. Thus, the term Christmas. I won’t recount the story. It was a beautiful service with singing of all the well known Christmas songs. Merry Christmas. 

We stopped to pick up donuts and came back to a still quiet house. Presents were not opened until Lindsay’s mom arrived in the afternoon. The presents were mostly baby gifts, but the grandmas received beautiful framed photos.

The best Christmas present ever was being together with my family and endless hours holding my beautiful baby Belle. 

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it”

Sentimental Saturday:) ‘TwasThe  Night Before Christmas 

25 Dec

“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;The children were nestled all snug in their beds,While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads…”


Merry Christmas Eve, everyone. To add to my blessings, I am sitting here this beautiful Christmas eve with my son Joe, his wife Lindsay , and their new baby girl, Belle,  in their home. My youngest son Matt is here, and we are celebrating with Lindsay’s mom, Marcie. We had a wonderful dinner together, and now watching the traditional “Christmas Vacation” movie. 

Family. A very special blessing. 

Even though all family members aren’t together tonight, they are in our hearts. 

A special wish for a very Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to one and all. 

Friday:) Feasts, Feats of Fortitude, and Furry Feets

23 Dec

“There has never been any great person who never met great trials and oppositions but their patience, tenacity, endurance and perseverance saw them to the end as great people” ― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah


Yesterday was the Feast Day of St. POrtillo’s. OK, that’s a bad Catholic joke. But, being back in Chicago, I was dying to start devouring Chicago hot dogs and Chicago pizza. My sister and I went to Portillo’s. My favorite! She had the chopped salad….boring! I had the jumbo dog, large fry and, of course, a Diet Coke. Have to watch those calories somewhere.

Look at this! Wow! Perfect.

So, today, my feats of fortitude, I’m going to hop a train in a few minutes. Thus, the early post here. No, I’m not a hobo going to hop a freight train. I’m going take the Metra downtown to meet my youngest son after work for dinner and a visit. It’s supposed to snow and sleet for a couple of days, so fortitude in the Chicago winter is my feat. 

Speaking of feats, my “feets” which I think is the plural of feet, (just kidding) are nice and cozy warm in the new boots my sister bought me yesterday. Not a big need for snow boots in Texas. Maybe for three or four days, not three or four months.

My furry feets, getting ready to hop a train.

Theme Song Thursday:) Too Many Pieces

23 Dec

“Not every puzzle is intended to be solved. Some are in place to test your limits. Others are, in fact, not puzzles at all…” ― Vera Nazarian


Today was a day of too many pieces. Actually, it started last night. Did you ever purchase a piece of furniture online that came in a huge heavy box? Then you open it up, only to find dozens of wooden pieces and hundreds of nuts, bolts, screws and washers. Yikes! 

My sister bought my mom a beautiful white wooden headboard for Christmas. The box was so heavy that it took both of us  and all our strength just to slide it into the bedroom. I spent almost two hours last night, attempting to start the assemblage and getting a headstart. 

So many pieces, so little patience!

This is all I got done alone the first night. 

Then today, my sister came over and we spent ALL NIGHT putting the rest of the headboard together. I don’t know, maybe four or five more hours of two people trying to decipher confusing directions and getting long metal screws into dozens of tiny predrilled holes. (I’m sure you can relate, right? They never line up properly.) 

It doesn’t look that complicated, does it? WRONG! This was horrendous. Now, trying to attach it to the bed frame. Yikes! Getting fingers to attach bolts and nuts into tiny little places, tightening and maneuvering. 

When we finally finished around 10 p.m., we called Mom into her room to sit on her bed and check out the new headboard. It looks beautiful, Mom loved it, but my sister and I both looked at each other and said, “Never Again!”

If you look very carefully, to the right of the pretty headboard, there is my Black Russian. It’s not Friday, but I needed a stiff drink. Cheers!

Wednesday:) What Ya Been Doin’, Miss Toni?

22 Dec

“People who truly live their lives don’t have time to complain or judge others. They’re too busy enjoying life and love and everything in between!” ― Charlotte Eriksson


One thing I’m good at is keeping busy. Even if I don’t accomplish much, I can spin my wheels and look really busy with the best of them.

My dear friend Debbie was kind enough to scour some Hobby Lobby stores in Chicago to find my elusive 4″ frosted ornaments and get them to me last week. This way I could paint ornaments while visiting Mom. I shipped the needed paints, brushes, and glitter Tuesday of last week, along with some heavy sweaters for my chilly visit. I thought for sure I’d get the priority package at least by Saturday, but nooooo. It arrived Monday afternoon.

I spent ten or eleven hours Monday painting and glittering. No rest, no dinner, just working non stop. I had to do some creative thinking and inventing to get the project done at Mom’s.

Working until the wee hours by lamplight, I managed to create, paint and glitter sixteen beautiful ornaments and paint matching boxes.

A big mess was created along with end result. Glitter everywhere!

At home, I use tomatoe cages to hang ornaments between painting or glittering steps, I devised a makeshift hanging system with a suspension curtain rod and some wire hangers. “I am amazing!” That’s my quote. I prompt Mom when she says I’m wonderful, with the initial, “No, I am ???…” and she responds…”Amazing!”

See, I told you so! “I am amazing!” Right? That’s what I’ve been up to.