Archive | September, 2018

Thursday:) THIS IS THE DAY!!!! North Texas Giving Day

20 Sep

“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.”

― Abraham Lincoln



I wrote a blog the other day asking friends and family if they had just $10 or $20 to spare or to share, would they consider donating it to a very worthy cause? Today is North Texas Giving Day, and there are hundreds of charities that are hoping for donations. But, I have become very involved in the Bella House organization here in North Texas. There are many charities helping homeless animals, or maintaining historic buildings, or preserving wildlife, BUT, Bella House lovingly reaches out to young homeless expectant women who have no place to live and no one to turn to. They are scared and alone. I can’t even imagine that feeling. Can you?

I know you have charities near and dear to your heart, but if I asked you, “Hey, do you have $10 to spare?” You most likely would reach into your pocket and hand it to me, no questions asked. So, that’s what I’m doing today.

You may have already donated today, but “Hey, do you have $10 to spare for ME?”

My sister, Jo Ann, has already made a very generous donation directly to the address below. You don’t have to use the NTX Giving Day site. You may feel more comfortable sending a check. Any amount is greatly appreciated.

Love you! ❤️

The Bella House

P.O. Box 940802

Plano TX 75094

10 Reasons why donors should give to the Bella House via

1. It’s a Community-wide Celebration! North Texas Giving Day is an event that lifts up giving by engaging the entire community to support The BELLA HOUSE; celebrating the important part it plays in strengthening the region.

2. Your Gift Matters – Everyone can be a philanthropist on North Texas Giving Day! Every gift, no matter what size, truly makes a difference!

3. Fundraising Efficiency – North Texas Giving Day is an efficient way to raise funding for providing a safe haven for pregnant homeless mothers in the Dallas area.

4. Powerful One-Stop Shop –   provides an easy way for everyone to give while providing a one-stop shop website featuring more than 2,700 nonprofits. Support all your causes in one place.

5. To Make Tomorrow Better – North Texas Giving Day creates a sense of urgency and excitement to support the needs in our own backyard.

6. Be a Part of Something Bigger! When we all give together on one day, it shows how much we believe that our nonprofit sector makes North Texas a great place to live.

7. Prizes! By giving through North Texas Giving Day, you’re helping the Bella House qualify for one or more of approximately 100 prizes.

8. “We” is Greater Than “Me.” Giving together is more powerful (and fun) than giving alone.

9. Pride Point – Our Big-as-Texas giving spirit also becomes a great pride point to share with prospective new

families and businesses who may relocate here. A community that gives together, grows together!

10. Set a National Record! We’re Texan – we do things bigger and better. What’s more fun than setting a world record in giving!?

The Bella House

P.O. Box 940802

Plano TX 75094

Wednesday:) What I Saw On My Walk

19 Sep

“The most beautiful things are not associated with money; they are memories and moments. If you don’t celebrate those, they can pass you by.”

~Alek Wek


My daily walks are a virtual and visual enlightenment for the senses. Hmm? Where did that come from? Very profound,

This morning, after walking little Bella through the park, I took my long solo walk. It was already getting hot outside, maybe upper 80’s, but that never deters me. I always have my trusty cell phone to take pictures of the wonders I see along the way.

Today, a butterfly greeted me as I walked out the door, literally, it was in my doorway. I like to think of that as another “sign” from above. As I walked, more butterflies fluttered around mom and I smiled. One let me take her picture after teasing me by stopping, then flying off as I approached. But, she finally posed for a photo op.

It was trash day, so I took the opportunity to pick up scattered bottles, cans, wrappers, etc. that I find along the way. One finds a lot of trash in an hour. But then, one finds lovely things to brighten the day.

A few blocks from home, one of the neighbors had a beautiful fall display in their front yard. I walked right past it, then turned around and thought, “This is just too lovely not to take a picture of.” Unfortunately, my big ol’ finger got in the way in the upper left, but, you get the idea.

Every day is a new day with new beautiful sites and sounds, and new adventures. Each day is a blessing.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tasty Tip~ Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

19 Sep

“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” ~Ernestine Ulmer


Normally, my go to dessert to take to a potluck is a pan of brownies. But yesterday, I thought I’d change up my routine a little. I’ve been going to the Senior Center for the Monday afternoon Country Dance at 1pm and everyone brings food for our break.I was bored with my brownies.

My No.1 tip for baking and cooking is ALWAYS, buy on sale. Sunday, when I went to Sprouts, the beautiful strawberries were on sale for only 98cents for a one pound container. Yay! I bought semi-sweet chocolate chips at Walmart for $1.98 a bag.

So, I made chocolate dipped strawberries for the potluck.

Wash 3 containers of strawberries and pat dry. Put 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in small bowl, add 1 tsp. vegetable or canola oil, and place over a larger pot of water (double boiler) and slowly melt. (I used to microwave, but sometimes it would get chalky if I over nuked.) Dip strawberries and place on waxed paper. I put the tray in the fridge to set up for about an hour because it’s SO darn hot here in Texas.

So, for around $5, I made over 50 dipped strawberries and had some strawberries left over for another day. They were a BIG hit at the Senior Center. They disappeared fast.

Monday:) Mark Your Calendars…PLEASE !

18 Sep

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

― John Bunyan



I’ve been asked many times by many people over the years to contribute to various charities. Generally, I can spare a few dollars, even though I live on a fairly limited budget now, I always remember that I’ve been very blessed. Also, being an artist, I’m always asked to donate artwork or some of my hand-painted wine glasses, vases or ornaments. Again, my talents and gifts are meant to be shared.

Rarely, have I ever asked friends or family to donate to any particular charity. But,The Bella House has become very near and dear to my heart. A few weeks ago, I visited the Plano Bella House with my friend and director, Mary Reddan. I was very impressed. I was very moved.

TODAY, I’M ASKING FOR YOUR HELP. This Thursday, 9-20-18 is the Annual North Texas Giving Day.

Can you spare just $10 or $20? If a lot of people give just a little, it really adds up and makes a difference.

After visiting the Plano Bella House, I saw firsthand how the lives of young homeless women and their babies can be changed with love, support, and dignity.

So, please check out the websites and watch this inspirational video and mark your calendars for North Texas Giving Day September 20th. If you miss the date, don’t worry. Any day is a good day to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate. Thank you!

Sunday Sermon and Other Grandma Stuff

17 Sep

“Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation.”

~Lois Wyse


Another fine Sunday. Greeting before Mass summoned many hugs and handshakes.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus asking His disciples who the people thought He was, as many thought He was just a prophet. Jesus told them that He was the Son of Man who would suffer, be killed, then rise on the third day…

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,

take up his cross, and follow me.

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,

but whoever loses his life for my sake

and that of the gospel will save it.”


My take on it… We are asked to take up our cross, figuratively. If we follow His teachings, denying the worldly evils and temptations, follow the Gospel, this is how we gain eternal life. I don’t think we all have to physically die, losing our life, but rather take up a life following our faith.


After church, I stopped for coffee with Mr. Jerry. I had iced tea. I decided to stay after he left to have a quick lunch. As I sat people watching and eating my $1 Big Mac (coupon), a police officer came in and ordered lunch. Just as he was reaching for his money, I got up, walked over to the counter and swiped my credit card saying, ” Thanks for all you do. It’s much appreciated.”

The officer smiled and said, “Your appreciation is much appreciated.” He ate his lunch pretty quickly and when he walked out, he gave me a big smile and a wave and said, “Thanks again.”

If I can make just one person smile and feel appreciated, I’m very happy and blessed.

I stopped at Sprouts and Walmart after lunch. At Sprouts I bought some fruit and vegetables and good healthy things. Well, some wine too. At Walmart, I stocked up on more brownie mixes, marshmallows, chocolate chips, and junk food. I like to keep a well balanced diet.

Oh, the instant coffee is for a painting project, but that’s another story.

In the evening, I went for a nice long walk, catching another spectacular sunset.

But, the BEST part of every Sunday is FaceTime with my beautiful Belle.

I love being a grandma.

Saturday:) Searching, Saving the Day, and a Sunset

16 Sep

“When you can’t make a decision, close your eyes, take a chance, and hope for the best.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I walk pretty much every day. I can count on one hand and have fingers left over, how many days I don’t get out for a walk in a year. It’s not only my thinking time, but I get to see beautiful sunrises and spectacular sunsets. Then, I also get to save the world from flat tires. Where’s my cape?

Dinner? What should I have for dinner? When I can’t decide, I close my eyes and reach into my over-stuffed jam-packed freezer.

I was hoping for chocolate ice cream, but pizza was good. Better than the cauliflower or cantaloupe in there.

After dinner, I went for a walk. I found a nail sitting smack dab in the middle of two different driveways along my route. I’ve picked up hundreds of nails on my daily walks throughout the years. I’ve gotten a few flat tires over the years, so I like to think that I’ve saved some neighbors and strangers from flat tires and the anguish and expense that goes along with it.

My reward for my caped crusader endeavors was yet another gorgeous sunset. Each evening, a perfect painting in the sky.

Friday:) Fantasy and Fun With Kim Guthrie and Her Magical Mice

15 Sep

“When the mouse laughs at the cat, there’s a hole nearby.”

― Nigerian Proverb


This weekend there’s a wonderful art show at The Cove, featuring my friend Kim Guthrie and her magical mice. The Cove is located at 402 N. Tennessee St. just north of the square. Kim’s paper mache, paintings, sculptures, and whimsical satires with a MOUSE theme are so cute. The best way to describe the quirky show is by sharing a sneak peek…

The show dates and times are Friday and Saturday Sept. 14-15 from 6-9, and Sunday from 2-4.

If you’re in the area, stop by and check it out. If not, lookup She has some amazing wearables, prints, and products with original artworks available. You’ll be glad you did.

Thursday:) The Art Club of McKinney

14 Sep

“Coffee keeps me going until it’s time for wine.”



This morning was our September Art Club of McKinney meeting and workshop at the Heard Craig Carriage House. Our guest artist was the talented Modesto Aceves. The unusual and fascinating painting medium that this Dallas artist uses had us all ready for another cup of coffee. Yes, Modesto paints with coffee.

I dabbled with painting with coffee several years ago, but I played around a while, then deserted the idea. Learning some tips and tricks, and seeing all the wonderful examples that Mr. Aceves brought with him had us all intrigued.

We were supplied with paper and various strengths of coffee to practice painting with coffee.

Here’s my masterpiece. It was a lot of fun, and I don’t even like coffee.


14 Sep

Wednesday:)What’s Bakin’& Shakin’?


anticswithantoinette Uncategorized .cat-links September 13, 2018 1 Minute


It is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind.”

~Branch Rickey


Those of you who know me know that I love to bake and cook. I’m often called the Brownie Queen of McKinney. My tradition is baking a batch of brownies for potlucks, parties, church events, etc. I’ve been taking brownies, cupcakes, and cookies to my local fire stations for nearly twenty years. At first, it was just on holidays and always on September 11th, but for the past couple of years, I visit quite regularly. Station 9 is just a few blocks away, so I’m there the most.

My new tradition the past few years is, if I’m baking for a potluck or function, I always bake a double batch. One goes with me and the other stops at a fire station or two. It’s just as easy to bake a double batch as a single. It’s just a little extra time and ingredients.

Yesterday was September 11th, so I did a ton of baking on Monday. I knew that most of the stations would be busy or at ceremonies Tuesday, so I did my baking deliveries Monday afternoon. I also know that they look forward to my visits.

Look at all those smiling faces.

This is how I show my gratitude and appreciation to our first responders. I honor them with what I do best… baking brownies and cupcakes.

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Tuesday:) 9/11 Time to Reflect and Remember

11 Sep

“On this tragic day in our country’s history, let’s honor those who lost their lives, and those who sacrificed their lives helping others, by coming together, not falling apart.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“United we stand, together we fall.”

~ Aesop


This grey and drizzly morning was the perfect backdrop for the September 11th Day of Remembrance ceremony at the Conference Center at Collin College.

Young students from McKinney Christian Academy and the A Capella Choir from McKinney Boyd H.S. Paid tribute with beautiful patriotic songs.

Fire Chief Danny Kistner spoke of the sacrifices of so many, not only then, but now.

Ron Castro, retired NYPD Detective, currently a Sgt. with Prosper P.D., shared his first hand experiences of being involved with the tragedy on that fateful day.

Gus Cabarcus, retired NYPD Sergeant, also shared his personal experiences. As his voice quivered with emotional detail, many eyes in the audience had uncontrolled tears slip down their faces, as did mine.

McKinney Mayor George Fuller expressed it best when he said that we need to remember that tragic day, and how our country came together in support of one another. We need to see ourselves NOT as Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, or Liberals, but only as Americans, first and foremost.

Bells were tolled and Taps was played. Bagpipes played Amazing Grace.

Endless names of people who lost their lives that day scrolled continuously down a large overhead screen during the entire event, reminding us that life is precious and fleeting.

After songs were sung, tributes were said, and tears were shed, only one thing holds true. We live in a great country. Let’s always remember………