Archive | May, 2020

Wednesday:) Well, What Has Miss Toni Been Painting?

21 May

“Do what you love and love what you do. Share all those things, and they’ll always bless you.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Well, I’m just about done organizing my “crap room,” so I’ve tried to do a little late night painting. Actually, very little painting, but a little, none the less. Now that I finally devised a makeshift holder for my phone to take videos, I’m all set to share some ideas.

Here’s the quick time-lapse lavender flowers in a blue vase.

And, a longer version of painting a few easy lavender flowers in an oval shape. And, of course, it’s always fun and festive to paint a small flower on the envelope. That makes it very special.

I hope you enjoyed the videos, and maybe give it a try yourself. If it’s seems too difficult, really, it isn’t. I’ve taught MANY people this easy method. If you don’t believe me, when this whole quarantine craziness is done, come on over, and I’ll show you.

Toni’s Tasty Tostada Tuesday

20 May

“When people ask me if I like Mexican food, I always reply, “Growing up, we just called it food.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Talk about a lazy Tuesday. I finally got dressed somewhere around 2, then whiled away the day. It was pretty hot out, in the 90’s, so I wasn’t planning on walking until around 7:30. I went out on the back porch around 7 pm with a tall glass of water and my phone, so I could call my sister.

After we made some small talk, she asked me if I did anything today. I said, “Why yes! I did DIDDLEY and I did some SQUATS and I combined them and did DIDDLEY SQUAT today.” Ha ha, it wouldn’t be so funny if it wasn’t so true.

I did go out for a nice evening walk, about two miles, then made some dinner. It is Taco Tuesday, but I made tacos twice last week, so today I made Tuesday tostadas, still trying to use up some left overs.

I had some leftover pot roast. No, I didn’t make a pot roast. Kathy across the street did, and she gave me a big container full. So I sautéed thinly slice pot roast and some red onion, and added about three big tablespoons of Bernard’s Gourmet Foods Tomato y Red Pepper Salsa. A little goes a long way, adds wonderful flavor and just a tiny spiciness,

Then I warmed up two flour tortillas in a dry pan until they got crispy. No need to fry. Then, added the meat mixture, top with pepper jack cheese and warmed on low with a lid so the cheese melted.

Then, I cut up some spinach, (I prefer spinach instead of iceberg lettuce-healthier) added a couple more teaspoons of salsa, a drizzle of ranch dressing, and voila. You can substitute what you like, but I use what I have on hand.

My inspiration on Tuesday always comes from my friends Chef David and Michele Bernard and their delicious salsas. (Which I always happen to have in the pantry.) When I see Chef David’s video on Facebook every Tuesday, I get very hungry and very inspired.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Really Slow Peek

18 May

“If my days and weeks went by any slower, I’d be in a coma. Just sayin’.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


This week was even slower and more uneventful than the previous one. Saturday was so gloomy and rainy, that I never did get out of my pajamas or leave the house, nor move far from the sofa and remote control, for that matter. Crazy!

Here’s a week in a a really slow peek…

Sunday Sermon and a Sunset

18 May

“I guess it’s true, you really can’t appreciate the sun until you’ve been in the darkness.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


God never said the road would be easy but he also said he would never leave you nor forsake you.


After and endless gloomy rainy Saturday, Sunday morning was glorious, sunny, and warm, a complete contrast to yesterday. I guess it’s true, you really can’t appreciate the sun until you’ve been in the darkness.

I didn’t set my alarm, so I didn’t wake up in time to catch 9 o’clock Mass, but I did get up in time for 11 o’clock Mass on TV with Bishop Burns and Bishop Kelly.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus telling the disciples that He would never leave them.

Jesus said to his disciples:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

And I will ask the Father,

and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,….

Whoever has my commandments and observes them

is the one who loves me.

And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,

and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

My take on it… Just follow the Commandments. And, in my view, there are only two Commandments…Love God, Love your fellow man. That pretty much covers it all. The rest is governed by your conscience, and your heart. You are free to choose.


After a leisurely morning, and about an hour of meditation, I actually got dressed and went for a nice long walk. I got a phone call from the kids while I walked, wanting to FaceTime. So, I sat on a bench in the park and enjoyed talking to my little angels. The babies are getting so big, and I love that I can watch them grow even though I’m so far away. This is always the highlight of my Sunday.

After I got home, made some dinner, I decided to enjoy another leisurely walk before sunset, taking advantage of the beautiful evening. After all, I didn’t get a walk in yesterday, as it rained ALL day. I put in about four miles today.

And the sunset did not disappoint.

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday:) Someone Stole My Front Porch Bench

17 May

“The greatest thief is the one who returns the item better than they found it.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I woke up this morning to the sound of pelting rain. It rained all last night, during the night, all day, and still raining. So, I gathered up all my strength, pulled up the covers, then rolled over and went back to sleep. Rainy days make me sleepy.

My phone dinged a couple of hours later. My friend and neighbor, Allison, asked me in a text how attached I was to the old dilapidated brown bench I had on my front porch. She wondered if it was of sentimental value. The last time she was over, it sat out front all broken and disassembled from the last storm. I replied that it was a $10 garage sale find.

Then, she texted me some pictures of my broken bench, laying on a tarp in her garage. She had gotten up at dawn, drove her truck over to my house and stole my bench.

The funny part is, I have a Ring doorbell and didn’t even hear her when she pulled up. Did I mention that rainy days make me sleepy? Later, I checked my Ring doorbell camera, and there she was, stealing my bench in he rain.

She put it in the back of her truck. Then, she spent hours sanding, stripping, hammering and nailing, trying to repair my old bench. She wanted to surprise me. She’s still working on it. A lot more work than she expected.

These are the kind of wonderful friends I’ve been blessed with. When I thanked her and said she was so thoughtful and kind, she said, and I quote, “You help so many people and offer so much to the community. Someone needs to give back to you.” OK, I got misty.

Allison is not only a wonderful friend, well known author/writer, amazing Master Gardner, but she has a lot of power tools and she knows how to use them.

She later sent me some pictures and a video of her Flower Tower that she also assembled and planted and placed in her front yard on this yucky rainy day. All these projects in one day. I’m lucky that I remembered to brush my teeth. Hmm? Did I brush my teeth today?

Today, I accomplished nothing, zilch, nada. And, I’m embarrassed to say, (well, not really) I never got dressed and I’m still in my pajamas. “I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I’ll never know.” (Old joke.)

But, the day is still young. It’s not even 10 pm. I may go upstairs and do something creative, maybe a watercolor painting, or an acrylic project, or maybe just go brush my teeth.

Happy lazy Quarantined lazy rainy Saturday, my friend.

Friday:) Fast and Fun Watercolor Notecards

16 May

“It is a mistake to think that moving fast is the same as actually going somewhere.”

― Steve Goodier


Last night, well actually early his morning around 1am, I decided to paint a couple of notecards. I was feeling motivated to paint, inspired by my friend Sherri, who is painting note cards to be used for messages of encouragement to some folks at local nursing homes who are alone and quarantined. How sweet. I didn’t want to just paint, but I wanted to make a quick time lapse video of the project to show Sherri, and because…. no one likes to watch paint dry, so I did the time lapse.

Using a thin black permanent marker, I outlined a few simple flowers and leaves, and used an inexpensive Crayola brand watercolor set, (usually 99 cents on sale.) You have to use permanent marker or a Micron pen or the watercolor will make the black bleed. You can use water based markers, but that will bleed all over, and that’s another kind of project.

So, here’s the funny part… at 1 in the morning, I’m trying to devise some kind of tripod type clamp holder that would hold my phone so I could record the video hands free. I looked all around, and came up with a couple of stacked up paint totes, a clipboard, and lots of maneuvering. Well, it worked. My best inventions are created after midnight.

So, that was just a test run. I want to make a few more painting videos to share with the world. The time lapsed are fine, but I need to do a few regular timed videos to do some “splainin'” Lucy.

Well, happy Black Russian Friday, my friends. Cheers!

Quarantined Karaoke Thursday:) “A House is Not a Home”

15 May

Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.

Mother Teresa


Another Quarantined Karaoke Thursday, and missing my friends at Delaney’s. It’s been a long time since last we met. Thank goodness Bob is still singing from home and Joni is recording and posting on Facebook. (They have their very own really cool karaoke room.) I sing into my iPhone. And as I’ve said, I sing loud and proud and off key, BUT… I love to sing.

My magic microphone wasn’t charged up, but it’s a good visual prop, none the less.

Bob Goen singing, “I’m Leaving You for Me.” Great song.

Happy Quarantined Karaoke Thursday, my friends. ❤️🎤

Wednesday:) What An Interesting Fact About Mother’s Day (Notre Dame)

14 May

Mitch Albom

“I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.”


I know Mother’s Day has come and gone, but I forgot to share this little bit of trivia about the special day. I receive occasional emails and info from The University of Notre Dame, as my eldest son is an ’03 graduate. And, there are a lot of views and credits of who really started the tradition of starting an official Mother’s Day. Mothers have been celebrated since ancient time, and deservedly so.

Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.”

The Mother’s Day holiday in the United States wasn’t born out a desire to simply treat mothers to a day off or buy gifts. It essentially began as a women’s movement to better the lives of other Americans.

The creation of a national Mother’s Day is primarily attributed to three women: Ann Reeves Jarvis, Julia Ward Howe, and Ann’s daughter, Anna M. Jarvis.


BUT….. here’s something I read on the Notre Dame site. The part I loved was how the professor handed out postcards to the students so they could write to their mothers once a month. “One day a month is Mother’s Day.” What a thoughtful idea! Seeing since Notre Dame literally means Our Lady, honoring The Blessed Virgin Mary, and their school song is “Notre Dame Our Mother,” how appropriate.


Notre Dame’s Connection to Mother’s Day

Our Lady’s University has a connection to the founding of Mother’s Day, thanks to the advocacy of an alum who helped build support for creating the holiday more than a century ago.

An action-oriented Renaissance man, Frank Hering earned two degrees from Notre Dame, coached several sports, served on volunteer boards, and is probably best known for his involvement with Notre Dame football. As a student, he played quarterback and served as both captain and coach. As an alum, he gave a speech at the dedication of Notre Dame Stadium and later served on the Rockne Memorial committee. But it was as a faculty member that he got the idea to help celebrate mothers.

The story goes that he was visiting a colleague’s class, noticed the professor handing out penny postcards to students, and asked what they were writing.

“Anything at all as long as it’s to their mothers,” his colleague replied. “We do this every month in this class. One day a month is mother’s day.”

The idea stayed with Hering, who used his leadership position with the Fraternal Order of Eagles to spread it beyond Notre Dame. In a Feb. 7, 1904 speech in Indianapolis, he called for the “setting aside of one day in the year as a nationwide memorial to the memory of Mothers and motherhood,” and he continued lobbying for it in the years to come. So did his fellow Eagles, who organized festivals around the country to build support for the idea.

Hering, who was later called the “father of Mother’s Day,” was among several advocates across several decades who supported the idea of honoring and celebrating mothers. Anna Jarvis, a contemporary of Hering’s who is often called the “mother of Mother’s Day,” partnered with retailers in the early 20th century to campaign for celebrations across the country. By 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson set aside the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day, the holiday was already widely celebrated in many cities and states.

In 1925, the Society of War Mothers honored Hering for his role in helping to create Mother’s Day. A plaque still stands in the Indianapolis opera house commemorating the moment where he first called for the holiday.

Back to Mother’s Day Novena page>>

GO IRISH!!!!!!

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tasty Tip of the Day

13 May

“The best recipes are the ones that you just make up.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I was going through baking withdrawals last week, but I wasn’t sure what to make. I made a batch of my usual brownies with mini marshmallows, sprinkled with chocolate chips. But, I needed to experiment with something different.

I baked a box of German chocolate cake mix, and I didn’t worry about how it looked because I was going to mush it up in a bowl with a can of coconut pecan frosting. But, I also had some homemade cream cheese frosting in the fridge that I wanted to use up. So, I put the frostings in a big bowl and crumpled the cake mix and blended.

Guess what? It was too mushy, too wet, and wouldn’t form into a ball. Soooo, fortunately, I had another box of cake mix in the pantry, so I decided to bake another box. I let that one cool a bit, then crumpled into the previous mushy mix. Ok, that was better.

I rolled the cake/frosting mixture into small cake balls, set on a wax paper lined cookie sheets, and also into an Ethel M candy box, that I just so happened to have recently finished consuming. Then, refrigerated them while I melted the chocolate for dipping. Just a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips and about a teaspoon of vegetable oil, and melt over a makeshift double boiler.

I dipped the endless little piles of tiny cake balls into the yummy melted chocolate.

Of course, I had to taste-test a few to check for quality assurance. They passed. Then, I packaged up the majority of the delightful delicacies, and distributed the bon bons and brownies to friends and neighbors. Mostly porch drop offs.

I was assured by the recipients that they were delicious. (I managed to save a few for future consumption.)

“When the going gets tough, the tough get baking.”

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Lazy Peek

11 May

“You gotta know when to be lazy. Done correctly, it’s an art form that benefits everyone.”

― Nicholas Sparks

Happy Monday, my friends. Here we go again……🤦‍♀️

Here’s my week in a lazy peek.

(Now, to warm up some of my leftover Mother’s Day Rosati’s Chicago Pizza.🍕