Archive | February, 2021

Saturday:) Some Special Firefighters and My New Healthy Eating Strategy

28 Feb

“Because I love to bake, but still trying to cut back on my sugar intake, I found a great solution. It’s the B&T Diet. Bake &Take.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I’ve been listening to a zillion different “help your mind, spirit, and body” webinars and videos for over a year now. Everyone from Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, to Father Mike Schmitz. I’m all over the place, but I find something helpful in everything I listen to. I even take notes. (Actually my mind is fried and on overload. Just ask my friend…? Gosh, I forgot her name. Oh, yah, Helene.

Yesterday, I was listening to Dr. Neal Barnard on the amazing benefits of an all vegan diet. I could “almost” go there except for the cheese. I lova da cheese. Gotta hava da cheese. So, on my quest to reduce my sugar intake, yet satisfy my baking withdrawal, I decided to implement the B&T method. Plus, the firemen could use some brownies. They are so skinny.

It was perfect timing. Just as I pulled up to Station 9, two fire trucks and the ambulance were pulling into their bay doors after a call.

See! So skinny!

After my delivery, I went over to Kroger, determined to stock up on some healthy fruit and vegetables and nuts for my new optimistic semi-vegan diet.

See how GOOD I was. Organic apple cider vinegar, broccoli, vegetables, diced tomatoes, nuts, and almond milk. Wow, very healthy.
Oops! But on the other hand, see how BAD I was. Wine, vodka, and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

In my defense, I heard that red wine was good for you, and it does come from grapes after all. Vodka is made from potatoes, and that’s a vegetable, right? And Mr. Jerry was kind enough to pick up a couple of bottles of vodka for me when he made a trip to the liquor store. He knew that I needed some for Black Russian Friday. The semi-sweet chocolate chips have some dark chocolate, which is also very healthy, and I need them for my B&T brownies. Plus they were on sale. It was a win-win. All in all, a very healthy shopping excursion. 🤦‍♀️

It’s a dreary drizzly Saturday here, so I’m going to have some pizza and wine for dinner. The left over pizza has been in the freezer for two moths, so I’m just trying to clean out the freezer. The wine is already sitting there on the counter. I’m always on the quest for simplifying, organizing and healthy living. NOT!

Happy Saturday, my friends.

Friday:) Feeling A Little Creative

27 Feb

Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end of the day.
— Winston Churchill.


It was a kinda dreary day today, and I must admit that I haven’t felt very motivated all week. Well yah, I did laundry and vacuumed, but I get so intimidated by all my artistic friends on Facebook who have been creating all sorts of fabulous art work just about every day. So, I decided to go up to my crap room… oh wait… it’s all tidy and organized now… I mean my studio, and spend a few hours working on something creative.

Several weeks back, I did a reverse glass painting time lapse video of Elvis. My Dearest oldest friend from when I was 14 and my nextdoor neighbor had commented how much she liked it, so I mailed it to her. I was thinking that I needed to paint another one so I don’t forget how I did the first one. I always like to keep an original artwork for future reference. I’m getting old and forgetful, so it helps to have a visual.

I was only going to paint one, but as well you know, I am an overachiever, as demonstrated when I cook and bake for an army. I also have a friend with a birthday coming up who loves Elvis, so I better make an extra one or two. I lost all track of time because each painting needs a second careful coat and a background, so I was up there for hours.

Well, here we go. Just black FolkArt Enamel paint and an 8 1/2 by 11 glass frame.
Here they are drying on the carpet. (Someday I’m gonna mess up my carpet and be very mad at myself. So far, no mishaps. 🤦‍♀️)
Elvis #1
Elvis #2
Elvis #3

In case you missed my time-lapse video from last month, here’s an instant replay. It’s very instant.,. About 27 seconds…

Well, it’s rather late and it is Black Russian Friday. Cheers my friends!

Theme Song Thursday:) Being Replaced by a Younger Model

26 Feb

“There will be times in your life when things simply have to be replaced because they are tired, broken, worn out, harmful, outdated, or irrelevant. Take an inventory of the things that no longer serve your best and highest good so you can replace them with things which do.”
― Susan C. Young


I just want to let you know that I’ve been doing my part to conserve energy after last week’s tragic Texas snowstorm. They asked people to limit their electrical usage, so I kept the lights off as much as possible, I didn’t watch tv, and I didn’t do any laundry or housework.

Well, it’s been most a week. I wanted to be extra careful, so I held off on any housework that called for electrical usage. I’m considerate that way.

Last year, I broke down and replaced my old friend, Henrietta Hoover, with a newer younger model that I named Sharona. She is a Shark vacuum.

My Sharona is younger, sleeker, lighter and looks pretty cute, but I’ll be honest, she really isn’t as powerful and faithful and dependable as my old Henrietta was. (Sound familiar?)

My Sharona sat in the middle of the bedroom for several days before I thought it was civically safe to plug her in and do some housework. I was wondering how long I could use the old ”conserving energy” excuse. So today, Sharona and I waltzed around the entire house, cleaning and dancing, as I sang “My Sharona” quietly in my head.

Just sayin’….

Wednesday:) When Enough Is Enough!

25 Feb

“Crime isn’t that complicated. People steal because taking something gives them something. If they’re not in it for the money, they’re in it for control. The act of taking, of breaking the rules, makes them feel powerful. They’re in it for the sheer defiance. Some people steal to stay alive, and some steal to feel alive.”
― V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic


I’m sure you all have gotten many of those emails, texts, and phone calls with someone trying to steal your information and your money. Ha…I still remember the time a bunch of my friends got an email, supposedly from me, saying that I was stranded in the Philippines and lost my wallet and my money and my ID, and I desperately needed them to wire me some money. Well, all my friends just laughed because they said, “Toni doesn’t ever leave McKinney much less wander off to the Philippines.”

I think everyone has gotten the one from the wealthy prince in Africa that wanted to give you a million dollars, so just send him your bank routing number. I’ve even gotten calls that said that I just won a brand new car, and before they could continue, I would say, “That’s SO very nice, but I already have a nice car. Please give my new car to a poor person who could really use it.” CLICK… But, my favorite is when they keep trying the hard sell and badgering me on the phone. I hate to hang up on people. It’s just rude, so I politely say, “I’ve got all day, I’m not busy, I’m not going to buy anything from you, but I’d be happy to talk to you for a couple of hours. I’m kinda bored anyway.” CLICK…

NOW, I finally stopped being patient with all these email scams. You know, the ones that look SO REAL, with all the right logos and phone numbers to call saying your Amazon package is delayed because we lost your information, or your bank account has been compromised. YIKES! I hate that. So, I always copy the email and forward it to that particular bank or business to their phishing department. But, first I reply to the email and tell that person just what I think…

And, I genuinely say a prayer for that person.

My new philosophy is to report these scammers so they don’t hurt and steal from someone less savvy, like old people. (Wait…I’m old people.) Then, I always reply with my disdain for their actions but my hope and prayers for their eternal soul. 🙏 Amen… give it a try. Reporting injustice might help someone else from getting hurt, and all those prayers might help save a soul. You never know.

Toni’s Tuesday Time-lapse Painting Video:) Yellow Roses

23 Feb

“The perfect gift from the heart is made with your hands.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


This year, I painted another large glass bowl with yellow roses for Empty Bowls. People love their yellow roses down here in Texas. So, I did a quick video of just the first layer of the painting process using only three colors of FolkArt Enamel Paint. Yellow, white and sage green.

As you can see, I like to work in a very neat and well organized environment…. said NO artist ever! 🤦‍♀️👩🏻‍🎨
The finished product… ta-da…

I was so honored that my donation auction bowl last year for the Empty Bowls auction sold for $350! Wow! Let’s see how well the yellow roses do this year.

Way cool!

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Chilly Peek

23 Feb

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” -C.S. Lewis


It certainly was a very crazy week. A couple of days ago it was 7 below zero and today it was 70°. Crazy!!!! Welcome to Texas.

A week in a peek….

Sunday:) Signs From Heaven and a Sermon

22 Feb

Three years ago today, a beautiful memory and miracle worth repeating. I was in Chicago with my family, making arrangement and preparing for the memorial service for my sweet angel mother. This miracle from Mom needs to be shared again.


If you don’t believe in angels

I’m here to say it’s true

There are angels up in heaven

They’re watching over you,

So, I asked my angel mother

I whispered in her ear

When you get up there in heaven

Please show us you are near.

If only you could send a sign

As only angels can

We will know you’re safe in heaven

And that you have a plan.

To watch and guard us every day

You’ll guide us from above

So, you left two lucky pennies

Beneath your painting, signed with love.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


This is a true story of faith and love and angels. As my sweet mother grew weaker and less alert, my sister and I would talk to her and sing to her. I prayed the rosary out loud to comfort Mom during her final days in hospice. One of the last things I whispered in her ear was, “Please Mom, when you get up to heaven, could you show us a sign that you’re OK, that there really is a heaven? I know if anyone could do it, you could. I know you’ll always be my guardian angel.”

We’ve done a lot of crying since Mom passed away last week, but today, the crying was a celebration. Mom left us a sign. Those of you who know me, you already know that I believe in lucky pennies. They always appear out of nowhere when I need them most. I always look up to heaven and say, “Thank you.”

This afternoon, my sister and I went out for some lunch. We’ve spent days and days sorting and reminiscing and making arrangements and crying, It’s been a whirlwind, so it was good to get out of the house for a little while. My sister said, “Let’s go to the library so I can vote. They have early voting, and we can return Mom’s audio-books.”

Well, early voting hadn’t started yet, so we just returned the books and got a bit teary-eyed, because Mom loved the library and all the people. She had donated her very large “Cinco de Mayo” painting to the library several years ago. It takes up an entire wall on the second floor. When I asked my sister if she needed any books or videos while we were there, she said, “Not really, let’s just go home.” Then I said, “Should we go upstairs and see Mom’s mural before we go?” Of course, we needed to do that.

The elevator opened and we walked ever so slowly towards the mural.

There on the bench, right beneath her painting, were two lucky pennies from heaven. We both burst into tears as I blurted out, “Here’s our sign. I asked Mom to send us a sign. Here it is! Two pennies, not just one. What are the chances that they would be here waiting for us today, right beneath her painting?”

I hadn’t told my sister the story about asking Mom to send us a sign right before she passed away, until that moment. If she didn’t believe in angels before, I’m pretty sure she does now. We both knew Mom was an angel here on earth, but now, we both know that she’s up in heaven. She gave us a sign.

Thanks Mom.

So, for today’s Gospel according to Mark… Jesus was in the dessert for 40 days, tested by Satan. He was with wild beast, attended by angels. After John’s arrest, Jesus appears in Galilee, proclaiming The Good News, the reign of God is at hand.

My take on it… there will always be temptations by Satan, but if we remain faithful and strong, we will be honoring God and the Good News. We will be attended by angels.

I feel fortunate to be guided by angels here on earth, right now. Amen

Happy Sunday, my friends. I hope you believe in Angels too.

Saturday:) Snow Melting, Some More Tasty Snacks, and a Sunset

21 Feb

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”
― Helen Keller


What a difference a day makes! Today, the sun was out, the birds were chirping jubilantly, and the snow only lingers in a few shadowed recesses. Yay! Many friends and neighbors are recovering from catastrophic winter storm damage. I feel very blessed to have survived unscathed. (You notice I’m using my prosaic two dollar words. That’s how fortunate I feel today.)

This afternoon, I counteracted my decadent bacon tostadas from yesterday with a healthier vegetarian tostada. Can I consider myself a quasi-semi-intermittent vegetarian? Nah, I didn’t think so. Sure was tasty, and one was just enough. Left overs tomorrow.

I hadn’t been out for a long walk in a week or so. My old right knee has been bothering me for quite some time. Old war injury… just kidding. Do all night “Star Wars” tv marathons count? But today, the sunshine and warmer weather tempted me to get out, at least to catch the sunset. I managed to get in 5,635 steps, 2.5 miles. I did stop at a bench a couple of times to massage that old knee.

Each lap around the pond was glorious. There’s still some ice closer to the shore.
Most of the grass has shed its snowy veil, and the robins are basking in the evening glow. I think they’re pretty happy the frigid temps are gone, too.
Another spectacular Saturday.

Friday:) Freezing Update, Fun Food, and Friendly Fond Memories.

20 Feb

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
― L.M. Montgomery


Well, it got above freezing today and the sun was out. You know what? It pays to live on the sunny side of the street. The sidewalks on my side of the street are almost dry and clear, while the other side is still icy and snow covered. The streets are still frozen, but I’m hoping tomorrow will melt the rest. Yay! It’s been a crazy ride, and I’m feeling blessed.

Since I haven’t left the house in a week, I’ve been trying to use up stuff in the freezer, fridge and pantry. I took out some bacon the other day. That bacon has been in there for months and months. I haven’t cooked bacon since the turn of the century. But today, I decided to make BLTAT- bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, tostadas. I very rarely use bread, (except to keep brownies fresh) but I always have tortillas, and I always have Bernard’s salsa to spice things up. Oh yah!!!

Besides my yummy dinner, and a quick walk in the park with the dog, I pretty much spent the entire day watching tv, checking emails, looking at Facebook and reminiscing over my over 10K photos on my iPad. 🤦‍♀️

It’s hard to believe that just a year ago, life was simple and carefree, visiting with friends and family and my firefighter friends.

Fond memories on a cold winter’s night. Cheers, my friends…

Theme Song Thursday:) “Rockin’ Robin” in the Snow

19 Feb

“Does the robin sing because the cold of winter is leaving or the warmth of spring is coming? Or might he be singing because each without the other would lessen both?”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough


The other day, I noticed that there were dozens of little birds fluttering around in my front yard, taking shelter behind the thick shrubs. I purchased a big bag of bird seed just in time before the big deep freeze.

I put a few small glass bowls full of seed on my window ledge. I sit every day and watched the hungry birds feast on the new found feast. (Alliteration🤦‍♀️)

I’ve been entertained for days by the happy little birds. I decided to record a little song and be entertained on this theme song Thursday.