Archive | January, 2019

Theme Song Thursday:) Angel On My Shoulder, Penny In My Pocket

31 Jan

“It’s amazing what miracles and little angels and pure love around you can bring out.”

~Tionne Watkins


Sunday morning, I woke up with the 7am alarm. It’s always a tough wake up when you don’t go to bed till 1 or 2, and you don’t always fall asleep right away. But, I bounced up, looking forward to my Sunday morning greeting before Mass, and it was cold, so I was going to wear my silly sock monkey hat.

I wasn’t even a bit groggy when I grabbed my tooth brush and looked down in the doorway of the bathroom. There was a shiny penny right there on the tile floor. I know for a fact that it wasn’t there when I went to bed, and it wasn’t there the two times I got up during the night to go to the bathroom. I know it wasn’t! I’m very observant. But there it was at 7 am. Where did it come from?

I did that “Twilight Zone” theme Song in my head, and picked it up. I looked at the penny and noticed the back was different. It was Abe Lincoln sitting there reading a book. I’d never seen one of those pennies before. It felt a little spooky at first, then I smiled and said, “Just another penny from heaven. Thanks Mom.” It was shiny and new and different. I took that as a sign from my angel that a bright shiny new future was ahead. Yep, that’s what angels do. They’re heavenly forecasters.

Since then, I have found two more pennies on my walks and a dime just a little while ago.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

31 Jan

” If you don’t like to follow recipes or directions in life, make up your own recipes and go your own direction.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Remember Saturday morning, when my CRHP sister ps and I made breakfast for 70 ladies? I wanted to share my non-recipe-recipe for Breakfast Biscuits.

I started out with 5 tubes of flaky biscuits, like the Pillsbury Grand, but they weren’t on sale, so I got the store brand for 1/2 the price. Then, I greased the muffin pans with butter, split each biscuit in 1/2 and smooshed each 1/2 into the pan. So, 8 biscuits will make 16 liners. I preheated the oven to 325 only, (dark pan) and then baked the pans for just a few minutes, like 5, because they rise up. I take them out and smoosh the now puffy biscuit with (I had to look around the house for the right too.) a glass bud vase to tamp down the biscuit so there is room to fill. Then, bake a few more minutes, maybe 5. They should still be 1/2 done because you’re going to bake with filling.

See, when you smoosh, they flatten out and make a better crust.

Next, I sautéed onion, red and green pepper and 2 tubes of Italian sausage. When browned, I added a 4 lb. bag of hash browns, cooked that some and cool, then beat up 10 eggs and mixed that in,

I put a heaping tablespoon or more of the mixture in each shell, sprinkled with cheese, refrigerated then baked them at 325 the next day at church. You could freeze them at this stage or bake them 90% and freeze. Your choice. They were yummy.

That’s my no-recipe-recipe. Any questions? Give me a holler.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Telepathic Girlfriend Network

29 Jan

” I’m not even sure why I need a telephone. I just think about calling someone, or just need to hear a friendly voice, and someone calls me. Oh that’s right. How do I answer the phone,”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Did you ever have one of those days when you just think about someone, and a few minutes later the phone rings and it’s that person? Or maybe you’re thinking you need an oil change for your car and a coupon comes in the mail. Well, that stuff happens to me all the time.

Last Monday, I was still lying in bed at 10am all melancholy and mopey thinking there was nothing on my calendar. My page looked like a snowman in a snow storm, all white and blank. I usually have three or more things on my calendar every day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not OCD or ADD or any of those compulsive initials. I like to keep busy, have fun, and be out with people. I’m not compulsive. My house is a mess, I’m not tidy, I don’t organize or purge junk, I’m a hoarder when it comes to arts and craft supplies, and when I cook, I may leave the mess for days.

Oh,where was I? That’s right. I was feeling sorry for myself, then the phone rang, and Sherri Murphy said, “You want to go to a movie and lunch? Sure. No more blank page. Then Sunday afternoon, nothing to do after church but think about laundry and housework, poor me, Sherri called and asked if I wanted to go to a concert at her church. Saved by the bell.

After I got home, I plopped down with a cup of tea and a few hours of boring television. It was late, so I knew my Chicago family was probably already in bed. I was thinking about my sons, wondering how they were, then the phone rang. My son in California called, and we talked for almost an hour. Yay! I rarely ever call him. Well, not on the phone…just telepathically.

This morning, I went to zumba and wondered what I would do with the rest of my day. A walk of course, but what else? I texted some friends, but they were busy. My friend, Linda Grossman (World’s Greatest Realtor) said she was swamped all day, but maybe we could grab a glass of wine tonight.

Great. I put on my hat and gloves and warm coat and headed out for my walk. Ring…ring. Miss Pat called and asked if I wanted to meet her and her lunch bunch friends at 12:30. Yay! See, I didn’t even need to call. I just think lonely boring thoughts, and someone calls me. It’s the TELEPATHIC GIRLFRIEND NETWORK.

I love it when that happens. All the energy and thoughts and wishes are transmitted out there in the stratosphere. You just have to believe. Life is good.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

29 Jan

“I am a man of few words… wait a minute… I’m not a man, and I’ll just jabber and talk your ear off all day if you let me. Never mind.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Another fine week of good friends, fine food, movies, magic, and blessings. As I’ve said a million times, “I would count all my blessings, but I can’t count that high.” I hope y’all had a great week and an even better one coming up.

A week in a peek…

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

27 Jan

“I think that you have to believe in your destiny; that you will succeed, you will meet a lot of rejection and it is not always a straight path, there will be detours – so enjoy the view.”

~Michael York


A beautiful crisp Sunday morning. It was only 35 degrees when I left for church, but the sun more than made up for the temp. Everyone was cheerful and smiling as I greeted before 9 o’clock Mass. The new church is coming along nicely and the beautiful St. Gabriel statue is now gracing the front entrance, ready for next months ribbon cutting.

(Photo from St. Gabriel Community Facebook page)

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus reading at the synagogue in Nazareth, thus beginning His journey and fulfilling His destiny.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,

and went according to his custom

into the synagogue on the sabbath day.

He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to bring glad tidings to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,

to let the oppressed go free,

and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,

and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.

He said to them,

“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”


My take on it… we are all put on this earth to fulfill our destiny, but it is our choice as how to proceed and how to do that. No one tells us what we HAVE TO DO. We get to choose, we have to decide, and sometimes we just don’t get it right, and sometimes we do.

I’ve spent many a sleepless night or meditative morning wondering if I’ve wasted my life or if I haven’t fulfilled my destiny. Was I meant to do great things and just ignored my calling? Then, I contemplate these past six and a half decades and try and think back to all the people I’ve met, friends I’ve made, family that I’ve loved, and the hundreds if not thousands of people I’ve made smile, even just for a moment. That’s when I say, “YES! I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.” I think God is smiling down at me. Either that, or He’s laughing hysterically. Especially this morning when I wore my sock monkey hat to church again.

I thought I was going to have an easy go of it in this life, but a few bumps in the road, a few set backs, and a lot of tears and heartbreak… well, sometimes that’s all part of what makes you stronger. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Saturday Sisters and Brothers:) CRHP Sisters, YAH YAH Sisters, and Brothers In Blue

27 Jan

“Treat your family like friends and your friends like family.”



Wow! A busy day. I was up very late preparing food for the CRHP 31 Retreat weekend at St. Gabriel’s. Our group, CRHP 28 Sisters, were providing breakfast for today. I got carried away, as I generally do, but my momma always used to say, “It’s better to have too much than not enough.”

I got up at 6 am so I could walk the dog, pack up all my goodies, and stop and pick up two big trays of breakfast skillet biscuits in Mr. Mike’s fridge. I had no more room in my already packed to the brim fridge. I was out the door before 7 and off to church.

I have the greatest bunch of CRHP sisters. We had enough food to feed a small country. Not a big one, maybe like Yugoslavia. (There were two more tables on the right filled with more food.)

I just couldn’t resist a picture of this littlest CRHP 30 participant. Mamma’s little helper.

We set up and served about 50 people, and then we all went back into the kitchen to enjoy the leftover fruits of our labor. And there were a LOT of leftovers. When our CRHP28 sisters finished eating and cleaning up, everyone was invited to take anything they wanted home to their families. There were so many muffins, breads, quiches, etc. leftover that Miss Irma said I should take some to my firemen. I told her that I’d prefer to take food over to my senior ladies over at Towne Creek where I volunteer. Perfect!

The YAH YAH Sisters of Towne Creek. Young At Heart…Young At Heart sisters…so nice we say it twice.

Miss Dorothy offered to host us in her apartment, as the community room was already reserved for the afternoon. She made coffee and provided a cozy place for all of us to sit. (Thank you Miss Dorothy.) We had a delightful impromptu brunch and everyone was able to have a little leftovers to take home for later. AND… there was enough left to take a box of muffins and banana bread to my firemen at Station 9. Our Brothers in Blue.

OK, this reminds me of the Bible story of the loaves and fishes that fed the multitudes. We fed a lot of people today.

A wonderful Saturday with my SISTERS and BROTHERS.

Friday:) Friends and the First Day of Frenzy at the New Kroger

26 Jan

“That first day still came about as close to undoing me completely, both physically and mentally, as any day had in almost a week.”

― Ken Kesey, Sometimes a Great Notion


Last night was another fun evening with friends, dinner, drinks and krazy karaoke. We’ve been meeting at Delaney’s instead of the VFW, where they started doing trivia/karaoke on Thursday nights and it just wasn’t working for our group. So, some of the group goes early, has dinner and drinks, and then karaoke at 7:30. We had a great turn out.

The young couple singing were hilarious. They were with a group of friends. The girl said that they were recently divorced, and they were going to sing this song. Apparently they had a few drinks, but they seemed to be getting along ok, laughing, teasing, and singing the song “Picture.” She kept pointing to him saying, “Yah” during parts of the song.

Sounds like an amicable divorce to me. They were having fun.


Today was a busy day. I fed and walked the dog, went over to the YMCA for Zumba class, and rode the bike for 20 minutes to loosen up the old knees.

On the way home, I wanted to stop by at the new huge Kroger Marketplace Grand Opening on 380. It was packed. You would think they were giving stuff away. Oh… wait…. they were. There were all kinds of food samples, a little bag from the pharmacy with little goodies and coupons, raffles, etc.

I went in with the intentions of just getting biscuits and milk that I forgot to pick up yesterday. Oops! $68 later, I had a pair of slippers, 3dozen roses, 8 mini pizzas, 7 bags of misc. chips and pretzels, a case of Corona beer, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Never go to a grand opening on an empty stomach.

Even though it sounds like I had a momentary lapse of will power, I did restrain myself in the most exciting aisles in the store.

I didn’t buy any wine, but I did pick up a 12 pack of Corona beer that went directly to Mr. Larry and Ms. Sandy’s garage on the way home. I drank my last Blue Moon when I visited last Friday. (I bring some beer over to keep in their garage fridge for when I sit and visit.) Sandy asked, “No Blue Moon this time?” I told her it wasn’t on sale. I don’t know one beer from the next. $9.99 seems to be a good beer to me.

So, that’s my Friday so far. I have a lot of food prep, baking, and cooking to do tonight for our CRHP Women’s retreat at St. Gabriel starting in the morning. Our group 28 is hosting the breakfast. I’ll let you know how that turns out tomorrow. I better get busy. Lots to do. Happy Friday Y’all!!!!

Theme Song Thursday:) On The Street Where You Live

24 Jan

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind.”

~Leo Buscaglia


I do love and live this quote. I could have written this quote. When I walk down the street, I do get excited about the little things I see along my walk.

A couple of twigs needed just a little adjustment to make a perfect heart.

The lush green and golden dandelions are popping up amidst the dreary gray January dormant lawns. How hearty and strong and persistent weeds are. I like the concept of,”We may not be pretty. We may not be wanted or popular. You may not like us, but here we are, defying the weather and the hate and the attempts on our life. We will flourish!” Interesting analogy. (I think weird things while I’m walking.)

The skies are always amazing, whether dappled with eerie clouds or painted with brilliant blazes of color. The same street… a different spectacular sky.

St. Francis over at Miss Bernadine’s front yard is still wearing his winter coat and hat, and I always give him a little pat on the head when I pass by.

These are just a few of my favorite sites…all on the streets where I live. I’ll never stop being “wildly enthusiastic about the little things.” I’ll always play with the twigs and leaves and skip down the street.

What magic awaits on the street where you live?

Wednesday:) What’s Happening in McKinney?

24 Jan

“Caring can be learned by all human beings, can be worked into the design of every life, meeting an individual need as well as a pervasive need of society.”

~Mary Catherine Bateson


Last evening, a wonderful group of talented artists met at The HUB, at First United Methodist Church of McKinney. Our objective was to create beautiful underglaze paintings on the already fired bisque-ware bowls thrown and fired by local potters for the upcoming Empty Bowls Event in May.

For those of you not familiar with the Empty Bowls charity event, local potters, artists, painters, students, instructors, and other creative souls decorate, paint, glaze or create unique bowls to be auctioned or chosen with an entry fee ticket. The concept is, these lovingly created bowls will remind us of all the many Empty Bowls of the less fortunate and hungry people in our own community.

When you purchase a ticket, (I believe they are $25) it entitles you to chose one of the hundreds of bowls on display. Then, there are fine artisan bowls in the silent auction, and extra bowls that can be purchased. Also, local restaurants, bakeries, and eateries provide samples of their soups and desserts while you browse and visit with friends and neighbors. You get a beautiful bowl, a wonderful meal, and the knowledge that you helped to feed some hungry folks. A win-win.

Last year, over $75,000 was raised to help provide meals for families in Collin County.

Here are just a few bowls that I chose over the years at Empty Bowls. I’ve gone every year since it started. Some were made by middle and high school students, and others by local artists.

When I walked into the HUB last night, it was like The Who’s Who of the McKinney art world. Of course, most of them are already dear friends from the Art Club, or long-time artist friends.

Everyone was hard at work, creating a masterpiece that will grace the auction tables in May.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to paint when I arrived, so I went to my signature bluebonnets and roses. Keep in mind, these under glazes will be brighter and shiny once they are fired in the kiln. Another huge task that the volunteers undertake.

Our good friends Steve and Minda Macias, Jamie St.Clair, Jennifer Burke, Wayne Batchelder and others, organized and set up this 2-D artist event, and have been busy all year organizing other creative events for Empty Bowls.

You can Google or check out Facebook Empty Bowls McKinney for more info.

Minda commented on Facebook that I was an over achiever because I finished two bowls while others were still struggling to finish their first one. I laughed because I can do these with my eyes closed…and I have demonstrated that on occasion.

I still haven’t painted my artist donation bowl yet, but I’ll keep you posted when I do. It’s all for a great charity and for a great community. We have the greatest, kindest, most generous and talented people you’ll ever come across in your lifetime. I LOVE MCKINNEY!!!

Tuesday:)Toni’s Tasty Tip for Today~ Mini Cherry Cupcakes

22 Jan

“It’s not enough to just share my tasty treats, I have to share the tips and tricks so you can make them too.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Last week, I made a zillion mini cupcakes that I shared with a lot of folks, and people always ask me for my secret recipe. I have a standard response for when they ask, “Did you make that from scratch?” I always reply, “Of course! I scratch open the box, and go from there.” Then I’m asked what boxed mix do you prefer, and I am very picky about that. I prefer that the cake or brownie mix be on sale. I refuse to pay full price.

My favorite mini cupcakes are made easier by using several ginormous pans that hold 4 dozen and two dozen at a time. If you’re baking a lot, it’s worth the investment and goes a lot faster. I use the mini cupcake paper liners, and I can scoot those little devils in and out of there, right quick.

The secret surprise filling is what amazes first time recipients. I put 1/2 batter (about a tablespoon) into the liner, place one cherry on top, I use canned cherry pie filling so it has some goo, and bake. The Cherry usually gets covered over in baking. Another tip, if you use those dark teflon pans, reduce to 325*. I’ve burned a lot at 350.

I usually make homemade chocolate frosting (from scratch), but I didn’t have any milk, not a drop. So, I decided to make cherry frosting, using the extra pie filling goo for the liquid. 1 package cream cheese and two sticks butter softened, 1 pound confectioners sugar and cherry pie filling goo as needed. (I don’t measure.)

Now, here’s another great tip. I HATE cleaning up those huge cupcake pans. They don’t fit in my sink and the rims get all crusty and gooey. Once, in the summer, I got a huge plastic bin and soaked them outside over night. But, it’s been really cold there. So, I discovered that if I placed a sopping wet dish towel over the tins and let soak a few hours, the crusty part cleans up in a snap.

Then, I just get a soapy scrubber and go round and round right quick in each cup and rinse. TA-DA! Ready for another day. Like this weekend…yikes…more baking on the horizon for the St. Gabriel’s women’s CRHP retreat on Saturday. Another tip…I just leave all that stuff out on the counter. Just gonna use it again.