Archive | November, 2017

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

30 Nov

“Family and friends are the feast for the soul.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Well, here I am in Elgin with my sweet Mom. I slept like a baby in my Mom’s house, because… I am the baby. A very old baby, but “Im the baby, gotta love me.” Some of you may remember that old TV show, if not, look it up. It’s really cute.

There’s nothing more comforting than being nestled in your mother’s arms. I really do have the sweetest mother in the world, and many of my friends and family out there would thoroughly agree.

My BEST FRIEND and me….

Very short and sweet posts. The internet is terrible here.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Taking It On The Road

29 Nov

“And then it happens all at once and unexpectedly. That is how things happen, I suppose. You pack your bags and find yourself walking yourself home.”

Shannon L. Alder


An early morning of packing, cleaning and hitting the road. You might ask, “Why didn’t you pack last night, Miss Toni?” The response would be because I was washing clothes at midnight and some things that were getting packed were still damp. Oh, then I have this habit of cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors, wiping counters, and general housecleaning in the morning before I get in the shower. Old habits.

It was a beautiful warm sunny morning when Karen pulled up to take me to the airport. There I stood with a long sweater and my yellow Notre Dame hooded winter jacket. I’m going to Chicago in the end of November. It will be freezing, right? Wrong! It was in the 60’s when I arrived. But, it won’t stay like that for long.

We got to the airport a good two hours before departure. That’s perfect. I like to get there plenty early to allow for crowds, problems, or meeting new people. Today, I walked around over by my gate, deciding what to do with my time. Hmm… right across from D22 was a chapel. That was something different, I’ve never been to the airport chapel. I sat and spent a little quiet prayer time there, all alone.

The flight was smooth and flew by quickly. (A little airline humor.)

I had an enormous American Airline breakfast of a cup of orange juice and 20 mini pretzels. Wow! I’m still full…not!

My sister picked me up at O’Hare, and traffic was smooth. We stopped at the store for some groceries, which included a lot of very healthy fruit and vegetables. We also got ice cream and apple turnovers. A balanced diet.

The best part of the long journey was getting to hug my sweet mother and spend time with her. It will be a great visit. I’ll get to see my adorable granddaughter in a few days, and hug my friends and family that I haven’t seen since summer.

Coming to you live from Chicago.

“And then it happens all at once and unexpectedly. That is how things happen, I suppose. You pack your bags and find yourself walking yourself home.”

Shannon L. Alder

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

28 Nov

“Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.”

Thomas Goodwin


Another fine week filled with travel, beautiful landscapes, glorious sunsets, friends, fun, Thanksgiving, and giving thanks for all my blessings.

A week in a peek…

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

27 Nov

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Anonymous, Holy Bible: King James Version


Another beautiful Sunday morning in McKinney. Mary wasn’t there at the door for greeting with me this morning, so I flew solo. I’ve made so many friends at St. Gabriel’s and love all the smiles and greetings before Mass. what a fine way to start the day.

Today’s Gospel from Matthew was about when the Son of Man comes in his glory, he will keep the sheep on the right and the goats on the left. The sheep were the good people who helped the poor and needy, the goats were the ones who ignored the needy and thought only of themselves. Both groups questioned the the words… ‘ For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made me welcome, lacking clothes and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.”

The sheep did these things for strangers, and the goats did nothing. The king responded, And the King will answer, “In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”

Then he will answer, “In truth I tell you, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.”

And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the upright to eternal life.’

My take on it… when you see someone in need, hungry, or thirsty, you should treat them as if they were a friend, family member or even a king. Treat others as you would like to be treated. The old, do unto others.

We had a baptism during Mass and welcomed a new baby to our parish.

After Mass, the Knights of Columbus hosted a fine pancake breakfast. I very rarely eat breakfast, but it was nice to visit with friends.

The volunteers arrive early in the morning to make the batter, cook the sausage and hash browns, and set up tables complete with orange juice and fixin’s. I made sure to thank each one. We have a great community spirit at church.

After breakfast, I stopped at Sprouts, Walmart, and some other running around. The best part of my evening was my traditional Sunday phone call from my son, Joe. Today, he asked if I wanted to FaceTime with my sweet grand-baby. Why yes! I get to see the baby, Lindsay and Joe.

I sure love my Sundays.

Saturday:) Celebrating on the Square

26 Nov

“Holidays are about experiences and people, and tuning into what you feel like doing at that moment. Enjoy not having to look at a watch.”

~Evelyn Glennie


McKinney is celebrating Home for the Holidays this weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The weekend after Thanksgiving is the designated event, starting Friday evening with the tree lighting ceremony. Friends, families, neighbors and visitors strolled around the square with music playing, a carousel, ferris wheel, artists, games, petting zoo and more. The weather was perfect and so is McKinney.

The Grinch didn’t steal Christmas, he shared the spirit and joy with all the visitors.

Always fun bumping into friends, and friendly police officers.

Friday:) Black Friday or Black Russian Friday

25 Nov

“A bargain is something you can’t use at a price you can’t resist. ”

~Franklin P. Jones


Black Friday is an informal name for the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, the fourth Thursday of November, which has been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season since 1952.

Given the choice between pushing, shoving, and scrambling for Black Friday super sales, I decided to stay away from the stores.

Personally, I celebrate Black Friday EVERY Friday. It’s called Black Russian Friday. I saved a lot of money and enjoyed the day.

Just a few fond Friday memories. My kinda Black Friday… CHEERS!

Thankful Thursday:) Happy Thanksgiving

24 Nov

“Every day should be Thanksgiving, and we should wake each day thinking what we are thankful for. But, man,,,I couldn’t eat like this every day. I’d explode,”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.

~William Arthur Ward


Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November[1] in the United States. It originated as a harvest festival. Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, after Congress requested a proclamation by George Washington.[2] It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader fall/winter holiday season in the U.S.



I bet I can think of one thing you are thankful for today. You’re happy I didn’t post pictures of my turkey, and stuffing, and sweet potatoes, and all the other stuff. I’d need a wide angle lens, and I need one now for my selfie. So, I’ll spare you. It was a good day, with calls from my sons, talks with family and friends, a good meal and a beautiful sunset. There are so many people who go hungry every day. I feel truly blessed with good food, good friends, and a wonderful family.

Here is what I’m thankful for…

At the end of the day, my heart is full of joy, my eyes are full of beauty, my belly is full of good food. You can say, as my mother often does, “Why, you’re just full of it.”

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Now, something funny.

Wednesday:) Where Ya Been Miss Toni

23 Nov

“You know you’re having a great adventure when you can’t get WIFI or cell phone reception.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Well, yesterday I wrote about my adventures at the Rio Grande, thinking of my ancestors and the people on the other side of the river.

Today, I want to share just a few photos from Big Bend National Park. I have a few hundred, so I’ll spare you the ordeal of sifting through them all.

I’m back in McKinney, with WIFI and cell phone reception. Yay!

The highlights. These are probably the ones I’d like to paint in watercolor… next chance I get. I took my paints with me, but didn’t get around to painting. My New Year’s resolution.

Some gorgeous scenery, glorious sunsets, and desert beauty.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Hand In The Rio Grande

22 Nov

“You can’t go home again, or can you?”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

A scenic drive, glorious sunsets, and a feeling of ancestry, all makes for a wonderful trip to Big Bend National Park.

My heritage is Hispanic, although most people wouldn’t guess it. My mother was born in Chicago and my dad in Amarillo. Dad always boasted of being a Texan, even though he probably only lived in Texas a few years as a child. But, my grandparents were born in Mexico.

This afternoon, when we hiked up and down a rugged trail to get to the Rio Grande, with Mexico just a few feet on the other side, I thought of my ancestors. Way back when they came to the states, there were no boarder guards and presidents talking about building walls. And, I bet a few of my earlier ancestors were here before the Rio Grande was the border. It was their home, too.

So, when I got down to the river, I put my hand in and touched the cold water of the Rio Grande. There was a man playing a guitar and singing on the other side of the shore. I sang along to “Cielito Lindo.” It’s one of my favorites. If you’re not familiar, it’s that “ay, ay, ay, ay song,

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

21 Nov

“Adventures begin in your own back yard. But, an occasional road trip every now and then is fun.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


A week in a peek.

Internet is sucky here in Big Bend National park, so we have to walk across the street in the dark or try and get a signal. If this posts… it worked. Cross your fingers. Here we go.