Archive | April, 2021

Thursday:) McKinney Empty Bowls 2021

30 Apr

“After a full belly all is poetry.”
― Frank McCourt


This evening was the wonderful McKinney Empty Bowls event at MPAC on the Square. The annual charity event supports Community LifeLine, which helps feed the less fortunate in our community. The rain held off, with threatening clouds and drizzle all day. We lucked out.

I was honored that my bowl was displayed front and center of the display with all the other awesome handcrafted auction bowls.
There were hundreds of event bowls that were available with the purchase of a ticket, and others for an additional fee. These were created by volunteers, church and school groups, and other donations.
There was entertainment and many restaurants and area food vendors donated soups and desserts to feed the visitors.

Local potters were on hand to show the art of throwing clay bowls. My friend Steve Macias was busy creating beautiful bowls.

Bernard’s Gourmet Foods won People’s Choice for their black bean soup. I’ll have to agree. Congratulations David Bernard!

A big thank you to all the volunteers, donors, artists and visitors who came together to support Community LifeLine and feeding the hungry, “ONE BOWL AT A TIME.”

Wednesday:) What’s Up, Miss Toni? Not MULCH!

28 Apr

“There is an abandonment, an escape, that physical labor bestows.”
― Steven Gould


As far back as I can remember, I’ve never been opposed to good hard physical labor. I’m not that strong, but if I can let out a big grunt and drag a bag of heavy rain soaked mulch from one place to another, I’m gonna do it.

I jokingly put in my tips from Toni last week, that if you leave your bags of mulch in front of your garage long enough, someone will offer to help. The truth is, I did have a couple of offers of help, but I like to do as much as I can on my own, while I’m still young and strong enough to do the hard work. (I take that back. I’m neither young nor strong. I should have said naive and stupid enough.)

I should have taken some before and after photos. I just have the after. I did have the neighbor’s landscaping guy dig out a couple of my dead bushes from in front. He only dug out two, thinking the one I had trimmed down that had a few baby shoots growing I wanted to save. Nope! So, a few days later, I tried to dig that last dead sucker out by myself. Holy Hannah! It took over an hour of grunting and cursing and digging and snipping to get that one little guy out. (These are just the bags left for the back yard.)

After I got that demon out, the big holes and dingy bare space was looking sad, so I decided to put down a few bags of mulch to spruce it up. I grunted and lifted and dragged each bag into place and slit each bag open with a knife and the precision of a fine surgeon. Not really, I spilled mulch all over me.

Look how awesome that looks. So satisfying when I look at it and say, “I did that!” My roses are in bloom and my big red condominium bird feeder attracts the birds. Cool!

While I was at it and the sun was slowly setting, I tackled the small space where I pulled out all the tall decorative grass that died with the killer winter frost. I added mulch and put my reclaimed flower box (Nextdoor neighbor threw out and I painted it) in front where it could be seen and appreciated. I’m going to get some other flowers, but I had to display the cute yellow plant that Miss Sherri gave me.

I bought some Scott black plastic edging that will have to wait for another day and more energy.

I worked until dark, and could barely straighten up without groaning. Later in the evening, I went out and saw the beautiful moon and admired my handiwork.

I am thankful for my strength, perseverance, my beautiful home, God’s great blessings and … TYLENOL!

Toni’s Tuesday Time-lapse Video~Pastel Chalk Butterfly

28 Apr

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

Nathaniel Hawthorne


A little time, a stencil, some pastel chalk and a Q-tip.

Pastel Papillon

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

27 Apr

“What i like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
― Karl Lagerfeld


A week in a peek…. the weather is getting warmer, the dreary rainy days swirl into warm sunny days. Babies are getting bigger and bunnies are hopping around. Life is good.

Happy Monday, my friends.

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

26 Apr

“Shepherds lift their heads,
not to gaze at a new light
but to hear angels.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich


A beautiful Sunday morning, the sun was shining, and I was up early before the alarm at 7. I fed and walked the dog and then got ready for church, hoping to leave by 8:15. AND, I didn’t even show up in my pajamas. I’m getting the hang of this real-life-in person stuff.

Today was Good Shepherd Sunday. This is always a great metaphor.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus comparing himself to the good shepherd who is willing to lay down his life. And, He did just that.

Gospel, John 10:11-18

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep….

16 And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and I must lead these too. They too will listen to my voice, and there willbe only one flock, one shepherd….

My take on it… well, I really like the part that says “there are other sheep who are not in the fold, and I must lead these too.” Jesus is telling us that He is here to guide us all. Just like a good shepherd would not abandon stray, lost or sickly sheep, even if they weren’t his own. All would be welcome and under His protection. Now, that is a Good Shepherd.


It was wonderful to see old friends at church that I hadn’t seen in so long. Father Don looked great after having some serious health issues the past few weeks. It was nice to sit and celebrate the Mass with my church family, Jerry, Helene and Bonita. Good to be back.

When I got dressed for church, I put on the ribbon rose flower pin that was my mother’s favorite. It made me feel close to her and it felt like she was there at Mass with me in spirit.

The rest of my day was just amazing, as usual. ❤️

Then, an evening FaceTime with my little granddaughters with their giggling and screaming and tickling one another. Always special.

I took Bella out for several walks in the park, but she REALLY Just wanted to go out back where she knew those baby bunnies were hiding out. We did go out in the back while I threw my dead bush stumps in the garbage. I thought the baby bunnies had all run away, but NO! One didn’t make it through the night, so I built a barrier around him. (I may have to ask someone to dispose of him, too sad,) Then, I heard another familiar squeal of desperation. Bella was chasing another baby bunny. This one hid behind a fence post, and I had to pick the dog up and bring her inside.

Poor frightened baby. And Miss Bella keeps sitting by my back door and pacing, wanting to go out and find the bunnies. I’ve taken her across the street to the park several times, but she keeps pulling me back towards the house. She wants those bunnies!

I’m trying to be a good shepherd of bunnies, but the dog is not cooperating.

Well, it’s after 9pm and I haven’t eaten much today, a brownie and a handful of trail mix. Gettin’ hungry. Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday:) Some Serious Diggin’! Can Ya Dig It?

25 Apr

“First law on holes – when you’re in one, stop digging!”

Denis Healey


My week has been overly busy And stressful with procrastination and task avoidance, so today, I raised my hand in the air and vowed, “As God is my witness, I’m gonna do something productive today.” I slithered out of bed around 10am, listened to a podcast on healing the body and mind, talked on the phone some, walked the dog, and made some lunch around 2. The day halfway gone and my fisted vow still on my mind, I decided to do a little digging. Can ya dig it?

I started out back in the flower beds. Some very tall grass was gracefully growing where it shouldn’t, so I pulled out the clumps that popped out easily after all the rain. Then, I transplanted the clumps over by some bare spots along the back patio. Hopefully it will take and grow. I had several dry dead bushes and plants that didn’t make it through the bitter freeze we had this winter, so decided to dig them out today. How hard could it be? 🤦‍♀️ Well, these little bushes had deep thick roots that extended down to the depths of hell. Seriously!

I started out by trimming off the tall dead twiggy ends with the electric orange trimming thingy. At first I thought a spade would loosen things up, but don’t forget the roots from hell. So, the big spade shovel was used and the tall manual big branch snipper thingy cut the thick roots.
It took all my strength and putting all my weight into every crunchy dig. (And that’s a lot of weight!) My personal assistant inspected each hole to check for accuracy. Unfortunately, during her inspections, she uncovered a bunny nest. I heard some noise from across the yard that sounded like a squeaky toy. I knew she had no toys outside. OH NO! I ran over and a swarm of baby bunnies came racing from under her feet. I had to pick her up and take her into the house. She wanted those babies, and I don’t think it was to play hide and seek.
There was one remaining baby In the nest that looked injured in the corner under the drain spout. His little paw wiggling ever so slightly. It didn’t look promising. I built a little barricade of stones and some bushy roots to protect the baby from Bella. I hope the others made it to safety somewhere. They were so tiny.

Well, I got all my digging done out back. I still have ten bags of mulch out front for the front flower beds. I may have to get more on Monday for the back. Of course, those will sit there a long time too. Don’t forget, I have a MAP, Masters of the Art of Procrastination.

“First law on holes – when you’re in one, stop digging!”

Denis Healey

I need to stop digging holes, as I’m always in one.

Hopefully you are having a fine productive Saturday. Can ya dig it?

Friday:) Favorite Photo, Fun Mini Peanut Butter Cheesecakes, Friends and Other Stuff

24 Apr

“Friday seems to roll in just a few minutes past Monday. How does that happen?”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Ah, this morning my Facebook memory popped up with one of my all time favorite photos. Look how precious. I have a big 8×10 of this hanging on my bedroom wall. It makes me smile every day.

Then this morning, my doorbell rang. The mail lady, Miss Stephanie, left a package at my front door. My awesome friend Debbie sent me a gift. You know what the occasion was? No occasion! She just saw this, thought of me and had to send it to me all the way from Chicago. Thanks Debbie! You are AMAZING too.

She knows I’m not perfect, BUT she knows I am …AMAZING!

Remember how I made all that peanut butter cheesecake filling the other day. Well, I made a whole bunch of mini cheesecakes to share with friends.

A chocolate sandwich cookie, a dollop of filling using a mini scoop, and topped with a mini Nutter Butter cookie bite. I still have enough to make a few more dozen. (Remember, I’m an over achiever,)

What does one do on a stormy Friday night? Cheers, my friends. (Did you notice the kitchen towel by the stove? It reads, “I love Jesus, but I drink a little.” )

Thankful Thursday:) More Blessings Than I Can Count

23 Apr

“Sometimes we spend so much time and energy thinking about where we want to go that we don’t notice where we happen to be.”
― Dan Gutman


I start out my day, every day, thinking of what I am thankful for and counting my blessings. It is said that you can wire or rewrite your brain to be happy if you do this. First thing, don’t even get out of bed, just think of all your blessings. Don’t let any negative thoughts or chores or work worries even slide in there.

This morning I was thankful for a cool cloudy day. I’m delighted that I have so many friends and family that I can depend on, but also, they can depend on me. I’m doggie sitting for Mr. Mike’s dog, Bella. Instead of feeling encumbered, I tell myself, “Now, you have to get your lazy butt up and walk the dog,” so it gets me moving. Then, several more walks during the day. Mr. Mike can count on me.

I wanted to go early vote for our local elections this afternoon, so I called Helene and asked her if she was going to vote and maybe we could grab some lunch.

We voted over at Fire station 5. It killed me not to take some treats for the firemen, but NO… not yet. Hey, we used a Q-tip to select each candidate. Cool!
After lunch, a stop at church for Adoration, pray the rosary, light a candle, and put a little something in the poor box. Also, a quick stop to visit Mr. Jerry.

I am so thankful for the faith that I grew up with. It really doesn’t matter what you call your religion or your church, but if you were raised to love and respect others, and that there’s a more powerful force out there besides our own selfish existence, well, that’s pretty awesome.

Feeling blessed and thankful.

Wednesday:)What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

22 Apr

“If you don’t like dancing to other people’s tunes, write your own songs.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo


You may or may not remember that my quote from yesterday was, “If at first you don’t succeed, take a nap.” I like to follow my own sage advice, so today I took a little nap. Oops, I also posted, “If at first you don’t succeed, drink wine.” I’ll have to do that later.

I couldn’t decide what to fix for lunch today, so I opened up my over stuffed freezer, closed my eyes, and picked out a surprise. Ah, rotini pasta, and a little baggie of spinach

I nuked the pasta and spinach then popped it in the mini broiler. Yummy. I also had some lettuce and tomatoes that needed eating. Well, let’s use that up.

Words of Wisdom on my potholder, compliments of the McKinney Fire Department. “Never Walk Away From A Stove While Cooking.” I need to remember that. 🤦‍♀️

While in the freezer, I also saw a couple of whipped topping containers. Ooh! I haven’t made my peanut butter cheesecake pie in a long time.

I don’t always lick the beaters when I’m baking, but when I do, it’s only for peanut butter cheesecake pie filling. (I even turned off the beater before licking. Safety first!)
This big bowl will set up in the fridge over night until tomorrow when I decide what all to make with it. I like to make a lot of minis and share. Stay tuned.

Hope you’re having a wonderful whacky Wednesday.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tips for Today

21 Apr

“If at first you don’t succeed, try taking a nap.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Well, I didn’t have time to take a nap today, but I wasn’t trying to succeed at anything special either. I fully intended on doing a time-lapse video, but I was running around all day, lunch with friends, went to the grocery store, listened to several podcasts, walked the dog, and had my church zoom meeting, then my sister called, and now it’s after 10 pm. Those videos always take me a couple of hours to put together. The funny part is, they usually run between 25-30 seconds in time-lapse. 🤦‍♀️

Instead, today I wanted to share one of my baking tips. If you have known me for a while, you already know this, but I was surprised when I told a couple of friends last week, they weren’t familiar with the bread trick.

My last brownie.

When I make brownies or cookies or cupcakes, I ALWAYS put a slice of fresh bread, (usually soft white) inside the covered container after baking. I just tear a slice in 1/4 and either place on top of non-frosted items or to the side of the Frosted baked goods.These brownies were made last week and this one is still as moist as the first day. Things stay moist for days. (I gave all the rest away except this one.) It works with keeping frosting from getting hard too. Hard cookies become soft. No more throwing away hard crunchy baked goods the next day or two. I bet you if I gave you a brownie I made today and one I made five days ago, you couldn’t tell the difference. (I am AMAZING!)

Another tip is, when you buy a trunk load of mulch for your yard, just pile up the bags by the front step and wait for someone to ask, “Do you need some help with that?” Well, so far it hasn’t worked, but I’m very patient and I’m a professional procrastinator.

Saving the best tip for last…

Yep! Toni’s BEST amazing tip for today!