Archive | November, 2019

Friday:) Sharing and Caring and My Firefighters

30 Nov

“For pleasure has no relish unless we share it.”

― Virginia Woolf


Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and I am am very thankful for the wonderful meal I shared with my friends the Murphy’s. I am also thankful that I didn’t bring home any leftovers that were so kindly offered. I did a lot of baking, so I had no room in my fridge or my tummy.

I have to admit that this batch of brownies I made were probably my best ever. Not only did I use mini marshmallows and chopped up Mars Candy Bars, but I also chopped up several dark chocolate gourmet chocolate bars that I sprinkled on the top. Can you believe that I didn’t get a chance to eat them? My friends always give me chocolate gifts.

The brownies were going over to Station 9 because they got a Snicker Peanut Butter pie last week. Station 5 was getting a Snicker pie. Both stations were receiving a hand painted Christmas ornament for their tree.

Station 9 has only been around for a couple of years, and they just so happen to be less than a mile from my house, so they get a lot of Miss Toni visits.

Fire Station 5 was the first station I started visiting with my baked treats back in 2004 when I first moved to Texas. I don’t get there as often as station 9 since I moved, but I absolutely had to give them one of my special hand painted ornaments for their tree. It’s a tradition. They should have about 15 of them by now. I remember running into a few Station 5 fire fighters last year at the grocery store, and one young man said, “You’re the Christmas ornament lady.” What a nice compliment.

Well, there were a few brownies left over, so I know the mailman always appreciates a surprise.

“For pleasure has no relish unless we share it.”

― Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader

Oh, I almost forgot it was Friday… Thanksgiving always confuses my internal calendar.

I can’t forget Black Russian Friday… my personal Friday tradition.

Cheers, Happy Friday, my friends!

Thankful Thursday:) Happy Thanksgiving

29 Nov

Neal A. Maxwell

“We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.”


When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t help but think that Thanksgiving isn’t just a day on the calendar. Thanksgiving is a way of life, and I am thankful for my many blessings, my beautiful family and my wonderful friends.

I received an early morning phone call from my friend Mandy who lives in California. She was in town visiting with family, and she asked if she and her husband Tim could stop by for a visit. Well, I was delighted. I haven’t seen her in a couple of years or more. What a wonderful surprise. I jumped out of bed and frantically started baking a batch of brownies and cleaning up the kitchen. I was so excited, I forgot to take a selfie of us …that’s not like me. So, I stole a photo from her Facebook page. So good to see you Mandy and Tim. Thank you for the visit.

After their lovely visit, I needed to walk the dog and gather up some last minute things. I called my sister Jo Ann, to wish her a happy birthday. Her birthday happened to fall on Thanksgiving this year. When she answered the phone, I started to sing, “Las Mañanitas” in my very poor Spanish. (That’s the traditional Mexican birthday song.) She laughed, but appreciated the effort.

Then, I gathered up my brownies and Snicker peanut butter pie to take over to the Sherri and Michael’s. Here’s the cool story about the Murphy’s. When I opened my Facebook page this morning, there was a photo from 2013 of the fireplace at my old house, and a little blurb about what I was thankful for. The actual truth was, I was a total mess that year. It was my first Thanksgiving alone in 60 years.

I was going through a traumatic divorce in 2013. I was alone, afraid, and devastated. I was still married, but living alone in that big house while it was for sale and on the market. My not so discreet husband had moved out, living in a brand new condo, and was busy making Thanksgiving dinner for his girlfriend, the waitress from his country club. Those were not good days, but I was still thankful. I was thankful for my family and friends. But, I was still a big mess.

I’ll never forget that year. My friend Sherri Murphy had invited me over for Thanksgiving because she new I was alone, but I politely declined, Thanksgiving, to me, meant family, love, laughing, great food, and making memories. I felt blindsided and broken. That Thursday morning, I looked at my Facebook page and there was a cheery picture of Sherri Murphy’s beautiful kitchen, all decorated with pumpkins and the beautiful table settings. She posted a picture of the name tags she was making for each plate, and she said, “And I have one here for my friend Toni. I hope she changes her mind and comes for dinner today.”

Well, I cried like a baby, then later called Sherri and asked her what time I should be there. That’s when I realized that I WAS part of a family. Family isn’t always about blood relatives. It’s about the people who love you. I do have a wonderful family, but they live far away. But, I am truly blessed because I also have my McKinney family. They are right here, and I know I’ll always be part of their family.

Six years later, here I am. Life is good and I can honestly say that I am happy. I’ve been invited to the Murphy’s every Thanksgiving, and several other friends have invited me over too. But, I’ll never forget that day in 2013, and that place setting that said “Toni” on it, and I know that I’ll always be part of the Murphy family. I love you guys!!!

Family means love, laughing, great food and making memories.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Wednesday:) What A Weird and Wacky Fun Day!

28 Nov

“Never underestimate the importance of having fun.”

~ Randy Pausch


A cool morning, a nice walk, and some errands to run. I hadn’t been to Hobby Lobby in a long time. For an artist/crafter, that’s literally unheard of. But, I keep telling myself that my ” crap room” upstairs is probably stocked better that any craft store warehouse. But, I needed just a couple of things. I was SO proud of myself that I left the store spending less than $20. It was a Christmas miracle. But, I did have to take a selfie with an old friend. (No, I didn’t invite him home.)

The grocery store was my next stop. I needed more Cool Whip to make a couple more Snickers peanut butter pies. I had to stock up in case of an emergency call for pie.

Well, I was at it again. Last week was the first time I made this pie, now I’m hooked, addicted. I wonder if they have a support group…PBPA…Peanut Butter Pie Anonymous?

I don’t always lick the beaters when I’m baking, but when I do, you know I’m making peanut butter pie.

I no sooner had the yummy no-bake pies in the fridge, when it was time to leave to meet some friends at ZinZen Bistro. We were meeting our friend Gil from church, to celebrate and congratulate him on his upcoming wedding. He met a lovely lady and they are getting married next week. Unfortunately for us, they are going to live in New York. So, we are going miss our very fine and funny friend. (She’s not in the group photo. She’s in New York) We did get to FaceTime with her.

Wow! What a day! It’s almost 11pm and I haven’t eaten all day. I did lick the beaters, does that count?

Hey, you all (Y’ALL, as we say in the South) have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow. And remember, life is short. Eat the turkey and gravy and have a slice of pie.

Tuesday:) Tasty Avocado Tortilla and More

27 Nov

“Delicious food can look good, taste good, and be good for you.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


One of my favorite foods is avocado. So, when they go on sale, I buy a whole bunch. (I bought 9 last week when they were 3 for $1.) When I found out that you can freeze avocado, I was overjoyed. I scoop out the flesh, place in a small ziplock bag and add a little lemon juice, then freeze. I can enjoy this healthy food all year long.

A couple of my favorite ways to enjoy avocados, beside making guacamole.

I warm up a tortilla in a dry pan until it’s toasty and crisp. Then, I spread the avocado, top with baby spinach and sliced tomatoes, then add a few dollops of plain Greek yogurt. Yum!

I also bought some big Asiago cheese bagels that I toasted and added the same ingredients. I can freeze the bagels individually and just grab one out of the freezer along with a little packet of avocado, and voila… an instant delicious meal, any time. The bagel was so big that I sliced it in three pieces before toasting. I put the frozen avocado in a tall glass of cold water to defrost. Ready to spread in a few minutes.

I don’t always eat food that’s good for me, but when it tastes so good, that’s a win-win. (Ignore the pizza and ice cream there in the freezer.)

Happy tasty Tuesday, my friends.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

26 Nov

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Another fun filled frivolous frenzied wonderful and wacky week in a peek….

Happy Monday, my friends!

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

25 Nov

“Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough.”

― Ted Chiang


A beautiful Sunday morning. Always the highlight of my week. It was a little chilly, but not cold enough to wear my sock monkey hat. Darn! A lot of hugs and handshakes greeting before 9 o’clock Mass.

One of my little friends sporting his new haircut, and thanking me for his Matchbox car.

Then, a big surprise hug from my friend Gil, who I haven’t seen in months. It was especially great to congratulate him on his upcoming wedding next month. Congratulations Gil!

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus hanging on the cross, along with horrible criminals. He was mocked and jeered at, and people telling Him to save himself if he really was Christ. One criminal hanging next to Him said Jesus should save Himself and the others in a mocking way. Only one criminal defended Jesus saying that he and the others were justly punished, but Jesus did nothing wrong.

And indeed, we have been condemned justly,

for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,

but this man has done nothing criminal.”

Then he said,

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

He replied to him,

“Amen, I say to you,

today you will be with me in Paradise.”

My take on it… it’s never too late to repent and see the errors of your ways, but you truly must make atonement and change those evil ways. I’ve had this discussion with others who have said God forgives everyone, so we must forgive everyone. I truly believe that even God will not forgive certain people. Like the quote states, “There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness.” The key words are repentance and atonement. Without those, forgiveness should not be expected, even from God.


After Mass, Helene and I stopped for coffee at McDonald’s, and I stopped at the grocery store afterwards. I had to laugh. I was over in the dairy aisle picking up eggs when a stranger came up to me and asked, “Do you have any idea where the Cool Whip is?” I told her that I was pretty sure it was right down this aisle with the frozen pies and stuff. She turned around, and there it was. She laughed and said, “My goodness. It’s right behind me.”

Of course, I had to tell her about my no bake Snicker peanut butter pie that I made yesterday and proceeded to tell her the quick recipe and ingredients. Another lady standing right there said, “Wow! That sounds really good and easy to make.” I showed them a picture of the pies on my phone. I think I made a couple of pie converts.

When I was checking out, I was telling the young cashier my pie story, and he said that it sounded cool. I showed him the picture, too. He stopped what he was doing and grabbed a scrap of paper and started writing down, 1 Cool whip, 1 cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, etc. I had to laugh. He said he was going to ask his mom to make one for Thanksgiving.

It’s the little things in life that are special to me. If I can brighten someone’s day or give them a new idea or a new recipe, that makes me smile.

When I got home, I changed and went for a nice long walk. Then, I hopped in my car so I could take my Snicker pie over to my friends at Fire Station 9 so they could have it for dessert after dinner.

Later, my absolute favorite part of my Sunday. I get to FaceTime with my little granddaughters. I am so blessed. I hope your Sunday was just as wonderful.

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday:) Snicker Peanut Butter Pie, Oh My

24 Nov

When the day is cool and the sun is high

It’s the perfect day for a Snicker pie.

There is nothing in the world that good food cannot fix.”

― Kevin kwan


A cool sunny morning called for a creative day. I took a nice brisk walk, enjoying the beautiful fall colors, and time to plan my day.

Helene called to tell me that Denna wanted to invite some of us girls over for pizza and a Hallmark movie tonight. Great! A perfect opportunity to test a new recipe for Snickers and Reese’s peanut butter no bake pie. I had a lot of leftover Halloween candy.

While I walked, the cream cheese was softening on the counter. As soon as I walked in the door, I started the pie production. A Snicker peanut butter pie for my friends at the Fire station tomorrow, and a Reese’s pie for Denna’s today.

2 graham cracker pie crusts, 2packages of cream cheese, 2 tubs of Cool whip, 2 cups powdered sugar, about 1cup peanut butter. (I don’t measure) Blend and scoop 1/2 into each crust. Then, Reese’s peanut butter cups and Snickers cut up cutely for decoration.

I like to make things pretty and be creative. Well, what do you think?

I got to taste the Reese’s pie at Denna’s movie night with the girls. Everyone said it was yummy. I had to agree. The pizza and company was great too. I think my friends at Fire Station 9 will like their Snicker pie tomorrow. What’s not to like? I’ll keep you posted.

Friday:) From Jitter to Glitter

23 Nov

“Life is short, sprinkle it with glitter and shine.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


My Friday started out kind of cold and gloomy. My friend Sue was coming over at 10 am to pick up a couple of special order ornaments for her grandchildren. Christmas time is my creative busy time.

I walked the dog a few minutes, and she didn’t want to be out there either. Thank goodness for my Zumba class. A lot of Latin music, salsa moves, and invigorating dancing got my mojo moving and grooving. (That’s the jitter part) I even stopped to ride the bike a few miles just for good measure. I got a text from my friend Linda Grossman, World’s Greatest Realtor, asking if I’d like to meet for lunch. Sure! Already a great day.

This evening, I decided that I needed to do a little more painting. November starts the Christmas rush. My upstairs “crap room” (craft room) is always a crazy mess, but I love it. I’m usually covered in glitter most of November and all of December. I like to think of it more like, “I have a special glow about me.”

So, I went from JITTER in the morning to GLITTER in the evening. Now, time for a break. I’ll put my feet up and enjoy the rest of my night with my special Black Russian Friday.

Cheers, my friends. Happy Friday.

Thankful Thursday:) So Many Blessings

22 Nov

Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.

John Wooden


It was a cloudy drizzly Thursday, and you would think that would be a bad thing. Nope! I grabbed my umbrella and went for a long walk. We could use the rain, so it was a blessing. I saw a butterfly in my driveway and smiled. The trees were spewing colorful leaves, and several neighbors were hanging Christmas lights, competing with the fall pumpkins and scarecrows.

I ran some errands, post office, bank, and the grocery store. I ran into my friend Rose at Kroger. A quick hug and, “See ya tonight at karaoke.”

Then, a visit to church for Adoration, for quiet prayer, and to light a candle. It’s always so tranquil and calm sitting totally alone in the huge sanctuary. Another time to count my blessings and just say, “Thank You.” I could feel my heart beat slow down and my muscles relax. Gratitude changes your attitude.

Thursday night karaoke at Delaney’s Irish Pub is always a blast, good friends, good food, singing and dancing. Bob belting out “God Bless the USA,” More blessings. Life is good.

Wednesday:) What Makes You Smile?

21 Nov

“Use your smile to change the world; don’t let the world change your smile.”

~ Chinese Proverb


What makes you smile? There are so many things that make me smile, and it’s usually the little things. I was thinking about that today. I find myself smiling all the time, and the best part is, a smile is contagious. Hey, instead of sharing a cold or the flu, how about sharing your smile.

What makes me smile….

The faces of my family, and those little grandchildren, friends and hugs, laughter and music, dancing and singing, and how the sky glows with brilliant color, and when I create a piece of art with my God given talent.

And here is our friend Bob singing an impromptu song to his adorable wife Joni at Karaoke.

Are you smiling?