Archive | January, 2017

Montage Monday:) Magnificent Day

31 Jan

“Life is so magical, mysterious, magnificent, and peaceful.” 

― Debasish Mridha


A gorgeous magnificent warm day here in North Texas. It was in the 50’s for my morning walk, but by early evening, it was in the mid 70’s, t-shirt weather for my evening walk.

Happy Monday!

Sunday Sermon, Sunsets and Other Stuff

30 Jan

“Make no mistake about it, no matter how kind, meek, humble and soft your giving heart is — you are a warrior!” 

― Bryant McGill


A cool but sunny Sunday morning. I was delighted about the cool morning because that meant I could be wear my sock monkey hat while I greeted at the door before Mass. I received many compliments from adults and high fives from the little ones.

Today’s Gospel was about the poor in spirit being blessed…

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 

He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
My take on it… money can’t buy you everything. The Gospel says the poor in spirit, a humble modest spirit that is giving and loving and kind to others. 


So, here’s the other stuff. After church, I stopped at Sprouts, then home to make brownies. I decided to bake another double batch, so I could take some to my Krewe Barkus meeting at Blynda’s, and share with some neighbors. If you’re not familiar with my secret brownie recipe, here it is. 

Use a box mix and follow directions. People ask me what kind of mix, Imsaid whatever is on sale. For each box, add about 2 cups of mini marshamallows into the batter, pour into a pan lined with parchment paper, then sprinkle about a cup of chcololate chips on top of batter. Bake as directed.

I decided tomtake a quick walk while the brownies were in the oven. I used the timer on my phone. The alarm sounded when I was still two blocks from home, so I scurried like a bunny to get home. Fastest I’ve walked in a long time.

I took brownies to my meeting, came home and took some brownies and MatchBox cars for the two little boys playing across the street. Their dad is a fireman, and they are always out back playing, dressed in a fireman outfit. When I pass by, they chatter away at me. I took another batch over to Mr. Larry and Ms. Sandy, and told them that it was to compensate for all the beers I’ve been drinking in their garage.

On the way home from my evening walk, the sun was setting. The sunsets sure have been amazing.

I sat in the park until dark, and was able to capture the moon and night sky.

Mother Nature is spectacular.

Saturday:) Screenings Save Lives~ Baylor Scott &White

29 Jan

“The First wealth is health.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson


Friday morning, I just so happened to see a blurb on Facebook or an email, I’m not sure which, about the event FOR WOMEN FOR LIFE. It was a free health event of screenings, lectures, and information for women at the Baylor McKinney Medical Center just down the road from me. I logged into the site and registered. I didn’t think it would be too crowded because when I signed up, it said there were 250 spots still available.

It started at 8 am, so I set my alarm for 7. When I arrived promptly at 8, it was already crowded, ladies scurrying about from table to table.

What a great way to help the community. There were screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI, skin cancer, functional movement, injury evaluations, lung function, and assistance with assistance about scheduling mammograms and colonoscopy tests. There were health presentations and cooking demonstrations, not to mention coffee, juice, muffins, fruit, etc. 

I was told that they hold this event once a year for women and another for men on a different date. I was happy to find that my cholesterol was not as bad as I expected. I used to have moderately high cholesterol numbers and was taking medication, but stopped  several years ago. Too many complications. Today, my number was 191! Great!  Hmm… it used to be 220 or 230 when I was taking medication. (Must be all the walking and healthy eating. Ha! Well, maybe the walking. Chocolate, brownies, and black Russians aren’t the best.)

My BMI was ok, my body fat maybe not so much. Too much jiggle in my wiggle.I tested my grip strength, right hand fine, left was pretty weak. But, I picked up one of those foam balls to work on strengthening that. The skin cancer screening was very informative. Two nurses, and later a doctor, actually examined me and answered questions. Most of these screenings just involved filling out a short form with info and listing concerns, then maybe a ten to fifteen minute wait. Even less for blood pressure and cholesterol. 

Oh, it was funny, when I walked past the table for the Baylor pharmacy, the young lady waved and said, “Hi, Ms. Andrukaitis.” She remembered me. I pick up my one medication there once a month.  Not sure if she remembers me because of my excruciatingly LONG last name or because I’m just so darn cute.

Here’s Dee Dee.

Then, I bumped into Dee Dee from the McKinney C &V Bureau. She asked, “Toni, do you live in my neighborhood? I see you walking all the time.” When I asked where she lived, turns out her house is  a couple of blocks away and just two doors down from Mr. Larry and Ms. Sandy. Small world.

So, while everyone was walking around, we were supposed to get each table we visited to initial their booth on our form, turn in the form, then their would be a drawing for prizes later. All the tables had little give aways, anything from hand sanitizer to phone chargers. I came home with a bag full of goodies. But, the best part was the screenings. I’m sure some lives may have been helped, if not saved today by a screening and early detection.

Look at all the fun goodies. Pens, lots of pens. I’m always losing pens.

THANK YOU BAYLOR SCOTT  & WHITE and all the doctors, nurses, speakers and volunteers. 

Friday:) Friends, Fun and a Fiery Sunset

28 Jan

It takes a long time to grow an old friend. 

~John Leonard


Another fun Friday. I had plans to meet Karen, Linda, MaryBeth and Mercedes for lunch at Silk Road. After we sat and ordered, I shared with them that I’ve been working on expanding my horizons and working on my bucket list. Ive never gone to a Thai restaurant, so this was outside the box for me. They asked what else have I done on my bucket list. I told them that I’ve driven to Oklahoma, took a trip to Santa Fe and Estes Park, and last year, on my birthday, I took a bath. What? They looked at me strangely until I explained that I’m petrified of water, I can’t swim, and baths are scary. Oh! Everyone has their phobias. I just happen to have a few strange ones. 

It was a very nice lunch and visit with friends that don’t get together very often. But, when we do, it’s a great time. 

A little prayer doesn’t hurt if you don’t want to get an upset stomach. It worked.

After lunch, I stopped at the store to get some snacks for my Towne Creek painting group. Then, I popped into Papa Murphy’s pizza next door to chat and get a hug from Karri. Scurrying home and packing up glass paints, bowls and brushes, then off to Towne Creek. We worked on painting bowls for the upcoming Empty Bowls Charity event.

We finished painting thirteen bowls. Miss Kathy said thirteen was unlucky. I said , “No, thirteen is my lucky number,”

While the paint dried, we had our snack, pepperoni pizza, root beer floats and brownie bites. Yum!

Now for the firey sky. We’ve had some amazing sunsets the last few evenings. 

Theme Song Thursday:) Something’s Coming

27 Jan

“You are an unfinished work in progress. One of the good things about life’s challenges: you get to find out that you’re capable of being far more than you ever thought possible.” 

― Karen Salmonsohn


While I was driving this afternoon, every radio station had some rappy  snappy crappy kind of song playing, so I checked to see if I had a cd in the player. Yes! My West Side Story cd was in there, so I put it back in to play. I skipped straight to number 3, remembering that song from a few years back. It was about this time of year in 2013. I kept playing  number 3 over and over, singing along, belting out the song as I drove. I told myself that something great was coming, I just didn’t know what was going to be revealed in a few months. I thought maybe a  great opportunity with my artwork, or I’d publish a book, or something really exciting. I soon found out something devastating instead, that would change my life forever. That’s not what I expected or was hoping for.

Now, three and a half years later, after a horrible divorce and ultimate betrayal, I finally realized that IT WAS something good. I discovered I had been  living in a bad dream with a bad person, and now I could wake up. Today, I played the song over and over, belting out the words as I drove. “Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is, but it is…gonna be great.”

I believe in manifesting your own destiny. I believe in making your dreams come true. I believe in signs, perhaps from heaven. I wish on the first star in the night sky, and I believe in lucky pennies and feathers. I believe in belting out show tunes while driving 60 miles an hour down Route 380. 

Yesterday, I lit a candle at church, saying a prayer for health and happiness for my family and friends, then I found a lucky penny. Signs! Good signs!

Today, on my walk, a little white winged moth flew past my face. I followed him over to the grass to take his picture. It was pretty darn cold. These guys aren’t supposed to be out flying around in the cold.  Another good luck sign.

“The best things come to those who don’t give up.” I’ll keep singing.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

26 Jan

“If you can tell a good cook by a messy kitchen, then I’m the world greatest cook.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis



I love to bake, I love to cook

I’d be much thinner, if I read a book.


This week has been busy with a lot of cooking and baking, and eating. My favorite pastimes.

One day, I roasted all the vegetables laying lonely and neglected in the bottom fridge crisper. The potatoes were starting to grow eyes and the onions were sprouting. I peeled, chopped, and drizzled with olive oil, garlic, then shake and bake.

Oh my goodness, they were so good. I almost ate half the pan. Then, the next day, I boiled some mostaccioli, and added the vegetables, a little more olive oil, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese and baked. Here’s my secret ingredient. I add about half a teaspoon of oil from jarred jalepeño peppers. It adds a little tang. Another fantastic meal, all made from food in the fridge and in the pantry.

Tuesday, I made the brownies for my firemen friends and a few neighbors.

Today, I went into the freezer and found two ziplock bags of brownie bites. When I have leftover brownies, ( I know that’s hard to believe) I cut them in half, mush them in my hand, and roll into small balls, then freeze. So, I decided to take those out and dip in melted chocolate, about thirty in all.(Minus a couple I had to taste test)  A nice treat to share with my support group. They enjoyed them, and it helped me free up a tiny bit more freezer space.

I always have a messy kitchen, but I also have a lot of friends who appreciate the mess.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Taking Brownies To Those Handsome Firemen

25 Jan

Firefighting — one of the few professions left that still makes house calls. ~Author Unknown


You know how your Facebook page comes up with memory photos from years gone by? Well, the other day, this photo popped up. It was a McKinney firefighter calendar that I had purchased in 2011. I was promoting the sale of the calendar. It was just to support a worthy charitable cause, of course. 

Well, it reminded me that I hadn’t made cookies or brownies for my local fire stations lately. So, I made a couple batches of brownies to share with our guys and girls in blue. Then, I always share with friends and neighbors too. If you’re going to bake, bake big, I always say.


Everyone says I make the best brownies. My secret is, I sprinkle about a cup or more of semi sweet chocolate chips on top of the batter and/or I top with mini marshmallows, mix a bit and sprinkle with chips. 

I stopped at Station #2, and Captain Turner answered the knock at the back door. The truck bay doors were open, so I just went in the back way. I’m a regular visitor. The Captain smiled and asked, “What’s the occasion?” I responded, “Just want to say thanks for all you guys do.”

Then, off to Station #5. 

Here’s the neat part. Firefighter Eddington answered the door, said thank you and asked, “Aren’t you the lady that brings us Christmas ornaments and cookies all the time?” I assured him that I was, and apologized for not being by this Christmas. I told him that I was in Chicago visiting my new granddaughter. (Dang! I forgot to take my pictures of the baby. Next time.) A good excuse to come back again soon.

I really appreciate our fire fighters and police officers. It takes a very special type of person to be willing to sacrifice their life for a stranger. If a few cookies or brownies can say thank you and bring a smile to their faces, it’s more than worth the small effort.

Here’s one of my silly brownie mix faces to make you smile. 

Montage Monday:) Carpe Diem

24 Jan

“Seize the day, then let it go.” ― Marty Rubin


The days seem to fly by and melt into months, flashing past my eyes in a minute. It was a good week, busy, fun, and lazy all rolled into one blur. Here’s another week in a peek. 

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

23 Jan

“I have found that the road less traveled often has the best view.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

“There are no wrong turnings. Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk.” 

― Guy Gavriel Kay


Another fine Sunday, greeting with Mary before Mass, and saying good morning to all with occasional hugs from a few. My friend, Dorrie, joined me this morning. Yes, a fine day.

The Gospel today was about Jesus finding and gathering his apostles and followers, teaching and curing the sick along the way…

“As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them,”Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”At once they left their nets and followed him.He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.”

My take on it…sometimes we are called to follow a certain path. It is our own personal decision which path to choose. There may be many challenges and obstacles along the way, but we have to be strong and faithful, taking the right path, even if it is not always the easiest one.


Now for the other stuff…Here are a couple of pictures of the stormy sky that threatened last night while I was walking. I find a stormy sky more intriguing than a plain old bright shiny sunny sky. Don’t you?

I had to wander off my usual path to take these pictures. My shoes got a little muddy, but my soul loved the view. The road less traveled…

Saturday:) St. Anthony Saves The Day…AGAIN!

22 Jan

“Sometimes when you lose your way in the fog, you end up in a beautiful place! Don’t be afraid of getting lost!” 

― Mehmet Murat ildan


Catholics have a Patron Saint for just about everything. Really, we do! But, one of the most important and most called upon, is St. Anthony. Well, at least at my house. I have him on speed dial prayer.

This afternoon, I took Bella for a walk around the pond. At one point, I reached into my pocket to get my phone to take a picture of a big ol’ hawk gliding through the sky. No phone. I just assumed that I left it at home. After a long walk around the pond, we walked home. I looked everywhere for my phone. Grabbing the land line phone, I dialed my cell, walking around, listening for the ring. No ringing anywhere. That usually does the trick. Nope!

The next step was look on the “find my phone” link on my iPad. I was already in a panic, and couldn’t  remember my Apple password. Is there a Patron Saint for passwords? Thank goodness I had it written down in a safe place. The app showed that my phone was somewhere two blocks away. It looked like near the pond, not really specific, but general vicinity.  I ran out the door, trying to retrace my steps. I didn’t have a spare cell phone to call myself. Now what?

I almost knocked on a neighbor’s door to borrow a cell phone, but I thought I’d try the exhaustive search approach first. I retraced the entire walk, scanning and panning and panicking every minute. My walk was more like a jog. No phone. Then, I remembered how just last week, I told my friend Sherry to pray to St. Anthony for lost items when she couldn’t find something very precious that she misplaced. She’s not Catholic, but St. Anthony doesn’t care. She found her lost item.

I started chanting to myself, “Please St. Anthony, please!” Over and over, I prayed, my heart racing. Within a minute of my desperate fervent prayer, I looked down, and there it was, laying on the grass. I had already walked that way, but there it was.

It doesn’t matter if you believe in prayer or Patron Saints or miracles. The important thing is, I BELIEVE. And, Saint Anthony, my personal Patron Saint,  has been a good friend of mine and called upon quite frequently. Just yesterday, I asked him to help me find my American Express card that I couldn’t find, as I had put it in a very safe place for safe keeping while I was out of town. I said my prayer and, voila, I  found it. Thank you Saint Anthony…AGAIN.