Archive | December, 2017

Saturday:) So, Why Did the Bison Cross the Road?

31 Dec

“So, why did the bison cross the road? Because they are big beautiful beasts, and they can do as they please.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


This afternoon, we visited the Woolaroc Museum in the Osage Hills of Oklahoma. Our first encounter with the wildlife sanctuary was a lengthy delay, waiting for the bison to cross the road. Why did they cross the road? Because they are big and beautiful and can do as they please.

Woolaroc is a museum and wildlife preserve located in the Osage Hills of Northeastern Oklahoma on Oklahoma State Highway 123 about 12 mi (19 km) southwest of Bartlesville, Oklahoma and 45 mi (72 km) north of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Woolaroc was established in 1925 as the ranch retreat of oilman Frank Phillips. The ranch is a 1500 hectare (3700 acre) wildlife preserve, home to over 30 different species of native and exotic wildlife, such as buffalo, elk and longhorn cattle. Woolaroc is also a museum with a collection of western art and artifacts, American Indian material, and one of the largest collections of Colt firearms in the world. Also on display is Woolaroc, the aircraft that won the ill-fated Dole Air Race in 1927. Woolaroc features a nature trail and a living history area inviting visitors to experience the natural environment of Woolaroc, the life in a pre-Civil War 1840’s

mountain man camp.

Once we got past the furry roadblock, we drove past longhorn cattle, ostrich, feet, elk, water buffalo, and other animals out grazing along the road and in the fields.

Once inside the museum, the walls and rooms were filled with an eclectic mixture of paintings, sculptures, Indian artifacts, and an actual airplane.

I have to say, my favorites were the amazing bronze sculptures. Not only the artwork, but the reflective shadows dancing against the walls behind them.

The Woolaroc Museum is a hidden treasure nestled in the wonderful wildlife preserve. You are never too old to learn new things or see new wonders.

Friday:) For My Belle From Her Grandma Toni~ “Buenas Noches Luna”

30 Dec

“Reading to your children is a gift you give your child. Reading to your grandchildren is a gift they give to you.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


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

~Pam Brown


My son and daughter-in-law read and sing to baby Belle every day. A friend had mentioned to me that Hallmark and other companies make recordable books that you can read a story with your own voice and personalize them. I thought how wonderful. I don’t get to see Belle that often, so she really doesn’t know my face or my voice. I’d like to read her a story and have a permanent recording of it for her.

My friend, Debbie, who is an excellent shopper and who can hunt down the obscure, bought me the book, “That’s What Grandmas Do.” Perfect! I recorded it for Belle to hear while I’m far away. That was in with her Christmas presents.

The idea got me to me thinking, why can’t I record my own stories, with my voice and my face and post it on YouTube. This way she can see and listen any time. I don’t have enough space on my iPad, so I could record one at a time and delete after posting. I thought that was very clever of me. Sometimes I have a challenge, I get an idea, and I invent something because…THAT’S WHAT GRANDMAS DO.

Here is my story for Belle, in Spanish, “Buenas Noches Luna,” by Margaret Wise Brown.

(My Spanish is rusty, but my heart sparkles.)

Thursday:) There Are No Strangers, There Are Only New Friends

29 Dec

“I meet people and they become chapters in my stories.”

Avijeet Das


Meet my new friend, Gustavo Bastidas. Gustavo sat next to me on my flight from Chicago.

I was supposed to sit in 15B on this tiny American flight, the kind with two tiny seats on one side and one on the other. I tried to get my backpack in the overhead compartment. Not a suitcase, just a backpack. It didn’t fit, and I managed to bump my head about twenty times trying to do so. In the meantime, I was in the aisle seat of two when a couple came by. The husband had the window next to me and the wife in the row behind me. While I was still struggling to figure out what to do with my backpack, I offered my aisle seat to the wife so they could sit together.

I scrunched into the row behind me, and decided to just scoot to the window seat and give my future seat mate the aisle. Heck, seat 16 was near the back anyway, I think only 18 rows. 3X18=54. The plane only held 54. I squeezed my smaller bag in the overhead and shoved my backpack under my seat. Ok, it fit, but no place for my feet. My feet rested on the pack and half in my chest. Ah, comfort on American Eagle! Not!

A young man came down the aisle and sat next to me. He offered to crawl over into the window seat, but I said I was fine. We buckled up and the plane was taxiing within a few minutes. The young man closed his eyes and I leaned against the window and tried to snooze. We didn’t talk.

It was just under a two hour flight. About an hour and a half later, I noticed my neighbor was drawing in a sketch book. I asked to look at his drawings. He was happy to show me the pen and ink characters, calligraphy and graphic designs. When we started talking, I noticed a slight accent and asked where he was from. Gustavo was originally from Venezuela.

Well, you know me. We shared pictures, and stories of families, friends, and artwork. I showed him some pictures of my hand-painted glassware, ornaments, and paintings. I even practiced some of my rusty Spanish with him. Then, of course, I had to take a selfie and ask if we could be Facebook friends.

Gustavo lives in Michigan, with a degree in commercial design, very talented and creative, and is looking for work. If you have any prospects, let me know.

I meet the nicest people at the airport or on the plane. I’m glad I offered my seat to the young separated couple. Look forward to keeping in touch.

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom From Winnie the Pooh

28 Dec

I hope you know each time we part

I’ll always keep you in my heart.

In all I say and all I do

My final words are “I LOVE YOU!”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I’ve been visiting with Mom for an entire month, but the days flew by too fast. I was able to see friends, spend time with my sister, my sons, family, friends, and let’s not forget my adorable granddaughter. I’ll be leaving tomorrow, but I don’t like to say goodbye.

A very long time ago, I told my sons that the last thing I say when I hang up the phone or have to say goodbye in person is, “I love you.” The reason being, if for some reason this was my last day, they would remember my last words or the last thing I said to them, it would be those three special words.

The nice part about that tradition is, those are always their last words too. Easy to remember. So, when I leave tomorrow, it’s not goodbye, it’s “I love you.”

Words of wisdom from Winnie the Pooh…

Thanks Winnie for expressing my thoughts so well.

Tuesday:) Tribute to Family and Friends in Heaven

27 Dec

“Life is short. Make a long list of your blessings, and a short list of your messings.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.

~Billy Graham


With all the festivities, fun, and family gatherings over, the day after Christmas is always a let down.

When I was at Mass yesterday morning, kneeling next to my first born child, now a father himself, I was thankful for my family and blessings. I looked at the other families, worshiping together and giving thanks for their blessings. It made me think about all the people who were alone during the holidays. I thought about families, separated at Christmas by death, divorce, military, police or firefighters, working, or homeless. I thought about the people who were up in heaven. It was a sad time, yet a happy moment to have all those thoughts course through this my head. I cried.

We may have known loss and pain, but we can think about our happy memories and joys. With a new year approaching, this is a good time to reflect on those joys and happy memories. We can remember those who are gone, but not forgotten. Life is short, make a long list of your blessings, and a short list of your messings,

Montage Merry Christmas Monday:) A Week In A Peek

26 Dec

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”

~Andy Rooney


Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. I hope your Christmas was merry and bright. Mine was.

Another wonderful week with friends and family, baking, cooking, and crafting. A week of kissing babies, and hugging family, unwrapping presents and thanking God for His blessings.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

25 Dec

“When God throws something your way, catch it!”

Chriscinthia Blount


Mom and I attended Mass downstairs in her community room. The volunteer who was scheduled today was sick, so a very nice lady scurried in a few minutes late to lead the service. It was a small group today. I think most were planning on going tomorrow for Christmas.

Joe, Lindsay and Baby Belle arrived just in time to join us. Belle was very good and all the elderly folks enjoyed her smiles and wiggles and her trying to sing along.

Today’s Gospel was the story of the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary, telling her not to be afraid. She had found favor with God.

“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,

and you shall name him Jesus.

Mary was afraid and confused, but accepted God’s will.

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.

May it be done to me according to your word.”

My take on it… We don’t always know God’s will, but we need to accept gracefully our circumstances, and trust His guidance, just as Mary did. And yes, sometimes the road is long and we may get weary, or the pain and suffering might seem unbearable, but we need to trust. And here’s the part that some people may not agree with me. I don’t think God gives us pain, or suffering, or disease or disaster. He didn’t put evil into the world. We all have free will and choices. He doesn’t give us cancer or drunk drivers to kill people, or murderers or natural disasters. I’m sure it hurts Him to see us suffer. But, what He does do is, give us strength, if only we have faith and rely on His strength to get us through it. (Just my personal opinion.)


After the service, I passed out mini cupcakes and hugs to all that attended. They appreciated the homemade treats, but I think the hugs meant a lot more. Not, everyone is fortunate enough to have family come and visit. When you are blessed, share your blessings.

We were all together for Christmas Eve lunch. Mom, my sister JoAnn, Joe, Lindsay, and Baby Belle, and Matt. We opened presents, watched Belle smile and giggle, and then had a wonderful lunch. I say wonderful, because I cooked. I made vegetarian tacos. Yum! Black beans, four colors of peppers, onions, tons of avocados, lettuce, salsa, cheese. I’m

not sure if I’ll ever make meat tacos again.

It’s nearly Christmas now. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Saturday:) Somethin’s Cookin’ at Grandma’s

23 Dec

“The only way I know how to cook is for an army. Bring on the troops!”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


When I come to visit Mom, I always try to do a little baking and cooking. Well, I take that back. I do a LOT of cooking and baking. This way I can freeze a bunch of containers for future dining pleasure, but also to share with my sister and Mom’s friends.

My sister and I went to the grocery store yesterday and got all the fixin’s for beef stew and mini pot pies. I started last night with COMMERCIAL COOKING. I call it that because I get up during commercials, do a little chopping, then back for the segment of Hallmark mushy movies. I love Hallmark, but I’ll be glad when all the mushy Christmas episodes are done with. They all have the same plot and premise. AND?..that ain’t how it happens in the real world…excuse me!

So, I was up well past 1am doing commercial cooking. Then, today I finished up the stew. I needed an extra big pot that my sister brought over, and a few other things I forgot, so I could have two big pots. It couldn’t all fit in one.

I made 18 mini pot pies using biscuits that I split in half to use for crust and top.

Here’s a tip…I found out the hard way. Cover loosely with foil while baking so the top crust doesn’t brown too quickly and lets the bottom crust bake.

Look how yummy! Oh, that one missing on the left…that was the mandatory test sampler. I had to check and see if they were good. Yep, they were pretty darn good.

The rest of the stew went into containers for freezing, a couple for eating, and Some for sharing.

Cupcake baking later tonight. Ho ho ho!!!

Happy Holidays, Happing Baking, Happy Everything,

Friday:) Fun Last Minute Christmas Crafts

23 Dec

“I have never waited till the last minute for homework assignments, term papers, Christmas shopping, housework, getting ready, or craft projects. I always start a good ten or fifteen mutes before it’s due.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I already posted a few Holiday craft projects that I’ve been working on, but thought I’d show a few Pinterest ideas that might make fun last minute projects.

Here are the ones I did. Full size and min Hershey bars, just wrapped in white paper with a black hat and marker eyes and nose. Accessories optional. and a paper Santa with a candy cane.

Here’s a cool glass ornament I painted with just a silver paint pen… glitter and ribbon optional.

Some cute ideas from Pinterest for next year, if I remember, but you can try a last minute craft today or tomorrow. I may…or may not tonight, or in the morning, or next year.

Paper piercing. Just draw a design on the back and put over a towel and pierce with a pin. Card stock or water color paper works best. Flip it over, cool designs.

Happy last minute everything, my friends.

Theme Song Thursday:) Feliz Navidad

22 Dec

“It doesn’t matter what language you use, or how you celebrate, or what songs you sing, I hope you are celebrating the holidays with friends and family. And… I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart.”

Christmas is just a few days away, and this is the last chance for theme song Thursday before that special day. Mom has an adorable little animated statue that plays guitar, wiggles and sings Feliz Navidad, and it sounds just like Jose Feliciano, too. I bought it for her many years ago. I still have one at my house, and it makes me smile.

Christmas time is for sharing, caring, and spending time with the ones you love. I helped Mom make cards and wrap up little gifts for all her friends. As I’ve mentioned, the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree. I learned from the best. Homemade holidays are the best, too.