Archive | June, 2017

Friday:) My Feverish Baking Frenzy

10 Jun

“A baking frenzy is good for the soul, and for the tummy. Not so much for the diet.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I’m taking a short break to put my feet up and rest a minute before I get back to my baking and food frenzy. Tomorrow is Mom’s big 90th birthday bash. My sister JoAnn and I have been running around, preparing, shopping, and getting ready for the big day. 

I love to bake, so that is my favorite task. Yesterday, Inwas busy making the chocolate cake bon bons, that still need to be dipped in chocolate. I’m not into recipes, but this is how I made about 100 of these yummy treats. 

I made two chocolate cake mixes, following directions. Then, I made some homemade cream cheese chocolate frosting. My recipe, hmmm? A package of cream cheese, 3 or 4 sticks of softened butter, a pound or more of powdered sugar and some cocoa powder, a few teaspoons of milk as needed. All just by eye and feel.


Then, I mush up the cooled cake with a few big scoops of frosting, then, mush and knead, until it’s smooth like clay. And roll into balls. Then ai freeze them, to be dipped in chocolate later, after I post this.



I made two trays of these.

Today, I made two pans of brownies and about four dozen cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes with marshmallows and a little cherry filling, to be frosted in the morning.



Well, that’s enough of a break. I better get back to my frenzy. Stay tuned for party pictures tomorrow.


Here’s Mom, all excited about tomorrow. Her sister Frances and family sent her some gorgeous flowers.

Theme Song Thursday:) Everything’s Coming Up Roses

9 Jun

When you give a homemade gift, you are giving a part of yourself to the recipient. You can’t do that with a mass-produced item. 

~Mark Frauenfelder

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My dear Friend Karri got married last Saturday to a wonderful man named Nick. I wanted to make her something special for the special day, so I did. I painted a dozen champagne flutes for the occasion. Hopefully, Karri and Nick will have many, many happy years to celebrate and drink champagne together.

I enjoy the magical process of taking plain glass and transforming it into a special gift.


Here’s what I use: FolkArt Enamel paints made for glass. These roses only required 3 colors~ white, sage green and gold. I like the combination, it’s elegant. I use a One Stroke painting method where I double load my brush with white and another color. I paint them, let them dry overnight, then bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes. Voila! 

Yes, I made a quick little video…

I also painted a matching card to add to the theme. A beautiful gift box to place the flutes in, a little bubble wrap and a bow, and the gift was complete.


Congratulations Karri and Nick!


Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom~ Walk a Mile in My Shoes

8 Jun

“Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes isn’t as much about the walk or the shoes; it’s to be able to think like they think, feel what they feel, and understand why they are who and where they are. Every step is about empathy.”― Toni Sorenson
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I often wonder how many pairs of gym shoes I’ve worn out during my many years of walking. How many miles have I walked, yet really haven’t wandered more than a mile or two from home? I’ve walked just about every day since I moved to Texas in ’04, and the 17 years in Hawthorn Woods, IL. Then, a few years in New Jersey. So, if you calculate about two miles a day for, let’s say 300 days a year for over 30 years…hmmm? That’s a minimum of 20,000 miles, but probably more than that. Some days I’ll walk 4 or 5 miles in one day. And where has it gotten me? It always takes me to a very good place.

Chicago is about 900 miles from McKinney, TX.  I could have walked there 22 times.

5,573 miles Distance from McKinney to Rome.  I could have walked there 3.5 times.(But I’d have to swim a little, but I don’t know how to swim.)

Well, you get my point. I walk for my health, for my recreation, and for my soul. It’s my thinking time, my happy time, my crying time. I need my walks.

But,  I do go through a lot of gym shoes. I’ve worn the soles off of these poor guys. 

Worn soles for worn souls. That’s why I share my daily blog. So, now you CAN walk a mile in my shoes. 


BY STEVE MUELLER LAST EDIT: MARCH 31ST, 2017 CONSCIOUS LIVING

The earliest traces of the enlightening proverb date back to the Cherokee tribe of Native Americans, who warned: “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes”  

Nelle Harper Lee, an American authoress, was seemingly inspired by the saying of the Amerindians in her book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” where she wrote:

“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960

Tuesday:) Today is Trini’s 90th Birthday~ Happy Birthday Mom

7 Jun

90 is a milestone that many may never know. Let’s celebrate your life and times, and all the things you love so. May your day be filled with wishes for a marvelous day, and may it be filled with those you love singing, “Happy Birthday!”**************************

My sweet Mom is 90 years young today. She is still the sweetest, most talented, loving person in the entire world.


Mom, 90 years ago with her parents Luz and Antoinette.


Mom around 70 years ago.


Mom right around now.

Still as beautiful as 90 years ago.


My favorite picture of me and Mom. 

Happy Birthday Mom!

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek-a-boo

6 Jun

“It’s tough to play peek-a-boo with a baby because you close your eyes for a second, and they’re all grown up.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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A busy week with travel, friends, karaoke, church, lunches, more travel, and the grand finale, time with my six month old grandbaby. A quick peek-a-boo.


Sunday:) Special Grandmother Moments

5 Jun

Becoming a grandmother is wonderful. One moment you’re just a mother. The next you are all-wise and prehistoric. — Pam Brown

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There’s no such thing as too many grandbaby pictures. I get to spend a little time with my new grandbaby in the next couple weeks. Some of my friends who became grandparents before me would apologize and say, “Sorry for posting all the baby pictures on Facebook.” Or they’d say,”I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about the baby.” My reply was always,”MORE PLEASE!”

Therefore, I’m not going to apologize. I’ll just keep posting and sharing until she’s in college. Well, I take that back. I’ll never stop. This is only the first grandbaby. Who knows, maybe more down the line. 

Here she is…she’s simply adorable. It says so on her shirt.


“Grandma, what big eyes you have!”        “The better to see you, my sweet Belle.”


“Grandma, what big hands you have.”      “The better to hold you tight, my sweet Belle.”


Bath time and ready for bed. “Goodnight, Grandma.”

Saturday Sermon and a Special Mass

4 Jun

The priesthood is not really so much a gift as it is a commission to serve, a privilege to lift, and an opportunity to bless the lives of others. 

~Thomas S. Monson

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This evening at 5 o’clock Mass at St. Gabriel the Archangel, Father Martin said his first Mass as a newly ordained priest. His time at St. Gabriel’s while a seminarian and studying for the priesthood was made complete today as he shared his first Mass with his St. Gabriel family. It was a special evening, with a beautiful reception afterwards.

Everyone could tell Father Martin was a little nervous, especially when he failed to turn on his microphone right at the start, and stumbled on a few readings, and his voice quivered a few times while speaking from his heart. The one thing that I noticed the entire time was, a very distinct smile that never left his face. He was thrilled and honored, not only to be a priest, but to share that moment with friends and family. 

During Father’s homily about the Pentecost, which we celebrate this weekend, he focused on Mary, the mother of Jesus. He said that Mary, like all mothers, had helped guide his life, as she helped guide her son’s life and the apostles afterwards. I thought that was a nice tribute to his mother and all mothers.


Father Martin Castañeda on the far right. His first Mass as a newly ordained priest.

There was a lovely reception afterwards, and yes, I asked Father Martin join me in a selfie. The good news is, I can always go to confession and ask for forgiveness. (A little Catholic humor.)


Look at that smile. A very happy man of the cloth and collar.

Friday:) Food, Fun and Friends

3 Jun

“A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.” ― Elsa Schiaparelli

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Today was my visit to Towne Creek Senior Apartments and my art group. We worked on a few projects with permanent markers on porcelain trays. A fun and easy project.


While they worked, I prepared a yummy Mexican fiesta of Monterey Jack cheese and spicy bean quesadillas, my homemade corn/bean salsa and chips, iced tea, and chocolate ice cream for dessert. 


My favorite part of the visit is when we sit down together to share our meal, we hold hands, and Miss Nelma leads us in a special prayer of thanks.


Miss Nelma is on the left, red shirt and red headband. She is a tiny woman, but she could probably eat more than a linebacker. I think she ate five quesadillas and two helpings of ice cream.

The sky grew dark, thunder boomed and the sky opened up. It’s been pouring rain since 5 p.m. or so. I told the ladies, “Oh no, I didn’t bring my sleeping bag.” I received several invitations of a place to stay if the storms continued. 

After we finished our projects, our meal, and cleaned up, Miss Nelma invited me to her apartment. She had a gift for me. She had a couple of small religious statues that she wanted to give me. Now that I am a new grandmother, she wanted to give me a Mother Mary and baby Jesus statue, and the other, the Holy Family with Mary’s parents, Saint Anne and Joachim, their arms outstretched around the young family, without touching them. She told me that the last statue showed how parents can watch over their children, but must let them live their own lives. She liked that symbolism, and told me that she treasured these statues and wanted me to have them. They helped her get through some tough times.


Now, these special gifts can remind me of the true meaning of family, and of friendship. Aren’t they beautiful? Thank you Miss Nelma.


Theme Song Thursday:) Karaoke With Friends

2 Jun

“A friend will go with you to the VFW Hall on  karaoke night. A good friend will go up and sing with you, and share in the embarrassment.”

“If you can’t sing silly songs with friends, you might as well pack up and go home.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Another fun night at the McKinney VFW Hall for karaoke night. Sherri and Michael Murphy joined me this evening. We had a blast. We are like family. Remember, they came over Tuesday for Black Russians. Now, karaoke Thursday. The family that drinks together, sings together, or something like that.

The regular crowd was there when we arrived.

 When it was one of my turns to go up and sing, Sherri and I sang a duet to, “My Guy.” You notice that we are such big drinkers by all the Coca Cola cans strewn about.

That was so fun! I like singing with Sherri. She helps keep me on key. (Close enough) I tend to wander.

Sherri sang like a lovely little song bird. 


Friends don’t let friends sing off key alone. Thanks for a fun night Sherri and Michael.

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom:) Be Careful What You Ask For

1 Jun

“Be careful what you ask of Heaven; it might be granted.”

~ Isabel Allende

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I like the quote about being careful what you ask for because, most of the time, I’m pleasantly surprised.

Yesterday, after I got home from my trip, I put my feet up and was looking at my emails and checking Facebook. My suitcase and dirty laundry and mounds of stuff from my car were all over the place. I didn’t care. I needed to catch up with friends and family via the almighty Internet. 

When I was on Facebook, I scrolled through pictures and posts. I saw that my dear friends Sherri and Michael were having dinner at Harry’s on the Harbor, not that far away. People were commenting at the nice view or the great yummy looking burgers. I commented that it wasn’t exactly Black Russian Friday, it was only Tuesday, BUT I could make an exception if they wanted to stop by for my famous Friday Black Russian of Tuesday. 

Well, about half an hour later, my doorbell rang, and there they were.


I love my new RING DOORBELL system. It captured this fun moment with the Murphy’s. We have this ongoing joke where we take pictures of each other with our arms wide open with a big welcome. Sherri took a picture of me. Look how happy I am. Great friends!


We drank our Black Russians and chatted for over an hour, catching up, and sharing travel stories.


Later that evening, I told my sister about my busy day, driving four and a half hours home, unpacking, exhausted, etc., then mentioning to the Murphy’s on Facebook that evening that they were welcome to drop by for a Black Russian if they were in the neighborhood, and she said, “You have to be careful what you ask for.” And I replied, “I know! Isn’t great?”

I couldn’t have asked for a nicer surprise.