Tag Archives: every day life

Friday:) Firemen and a Few Other Friends

23 Jun

“The shortest distance between truth and a human being is a story.”

~Anthony de Mello
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Friday turned out to be a fiery hot day. I took Bella across the street to the park for only a few minutes at a time. I, personally, am a bit crazy, so I put my cool wrap around my neck, and went out for a walk. I walked half an hour, came in to sit under the ceiling fan, then back out again. Yep, I’m crazy.

My goal today was to go to get some walking in, go to the bank and take some brownies over to my firemen friends at Station 5 and 9. I decided that I finally needed to write a little story to share with the friendly firefighters. I’ve been taking them goodies for so many years, so I wondered if they might like to know why I do this. It’s a special story. So, I wrote it down, printed it and attached a special photo. I took the story and brownies over today.

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MY ANGEL MOTHER

In 2002, my sweet mother had a serious stroke. She was visiting with me in Hawthorn Woods after not feeling well for a few days. Her speech was slurred and she collapsed in my arms. I held her with one arm and dialed 911 with my free hand. The Lake Zurich fire station was just around the corner. The dispatcher kept me calm and gave me detailed instructions. “The ambulance is on the way. Make sure the front door is unlocked. Stay with me on the phone. It’s going to be OK.” The paramedics arrived in just a few minutes.

The care and compassion, not to mention, saving my mother’s life has always remained with me. After that experience, I have always visited my local fire stations with homemade cookies, brownies or cupcakes, especially at Christmas and September 11th. At Easter time, I make those cute Peep cupcakes, but many times, I just stop by because I feel like baking and sharing.

When I moved to McKinney in 2004, Station 5 was my local station. I brought my baked goodies, and even hand-painted ornaments at Christmas. In 2014, I moved a little further north, and Station 2 was closer. That just gave me double the incentive, so I just stopped by with goodies for both. Now, the new Station 9 is walking distance from my house. That just adds to my baking and sharing.

I wanted to share why this is so important to me. Not only do all of you risk your lives every time you go out on a call, but you do this for strangers or neighbors or friends. It doesn’t matter who you are helping. Some selfless compassionate people saved my mother’s life those sixteen years ago. That sweet angel mother recently passed away on February 15, 2018. I know she’s smiling down every time I stop by.

One of her proudest moments was when she visited me a few years ago from Elgin, Illinois. She went with me to take some brownies to Station 5. When I asked if I could take a photo, the guys on duty insisted on taking her back to the fire truck for the picture. One of them held her arm as she shuffled down the long hall with her cane. After the photo was taken, she was escorted and helped into my car. She was so proud that day. I made copies of that picture that she showed off to all of her lady friends when she returned home.

That’s why I bake and share with you all. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOU DO!

First, I stopped at Station 5. I told the guys that I wanted to let them know why I’m always stopping by. They both thanked me and asked if I wanted to come in. I said I’d just like to take a picture. The captain glanced at the story and asked, “Are you the one who made all those hand-painted Christmas ornaments?” I told him I was, but I missed last year because I was in Chicago for a month to visit Mom and my new grand-daughter. (I guess I owe them an ornament.) That was a nice recognition.

After my first visit, I stopped at the store around the corner. I was ALL out of chocolate ice cream. OH NO! Today is Black Russian Friday. I need my chocolate ice cream.

Who did I run into in the ice cream aisle? Why, my good friend Laura Bartlett. Great minds think alike. We both were getting ice cream.

I’m a smart Texas girl. I keep a cooler in the back of my car pretty much all year long. I put the ice cream in the cooler and headed towards home. But, Station 9 is on the way home. I stopped, called on the outdoor phone and a nice fireman came to the door. I gave him the brownies and handed him the story and photo of Mom. He noticed Captain Floyd in the old photo. He said, “Why don’t you come on back. Captain Floyd is here today.”

We walked back to the office, and when I asked to take their picture, the young man said, “Let me get a picture of you with the Captain.” That was nice. They offered to go back to the fire truck, but I didn’t want to bother them. We have some of the nicest fire fighters here in McKinney, not to mention the cutest. (Thanks for all you do, McKinney Fire Fighters!)

This has been a really good day and a fun Friday. Hey, and I have chocolate ice cream in the freezer. I am blessed.

Friday:) Fun Friends, Favorite Cousins, and FaceTime with Belle

16 Dec

“The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.”

~ Charles Kuralt

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Mom and I went downstairs this afternoon for a crafting class of making ornaments. She painted some lovely green trees and some snow on hers. I made mine all silver trees. After we went back upstairs, I added glitter. One must have glitter.

Later, I received a call from Joe asking if I wanted to FaceTime with Baby Belle. Silly question. She was so cute and was gurgling some secret baby message to me. She even waved hi a few times and ended with a wave goodbye to Grandma. My heart melted.

Yes, I was making silly baby noises.

About an hour later, a visit from my cousins who I haven’t seen since Mom’s birthday this summer. Cousin Jeff saw my post on Facebook about Black Russian Friday, and didn’t even realize I was in town. So, he and his sister Kathy said they would be here to help me celebrate my Friday tradition, and see their favorite Aunt Trini.

I sure am blessed. Happy Friday, “Y’all.” Oops, I’m in Chicago…Happy Friday “You’se Guys!”

Thursday:) The Art Club of McKinney

13 Oct

Without poets, without artists, men would soon weary of nature’s monotony.
~ (Guillaume Apollinaire)

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This morning, the Art Club of McKinney met at the Heard Craig Carriage House. We were greeted at the door by the lovely gardens and manicured landscape.



The club meets the third Thursday of each month, August through May. The Art Club of McKinney is the oldest art club in the great state of Texas.

After our initial meeting and minutes, we take a short break for a yummy brunch provided by volunteer members.


After the break, voting on artist of the month, and raffle drawing, a fabulous guest speaker and artists shares an informative demonstration. Today’s guest was the multi-talented award winning, Michael Holter. His demo was an impressionistic oil painting that he guided step by step techniques.


Another great monthly meeting. Friends, artists, learning and sharing.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Top Tips for Today

26 Jul

“I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.” ― Oscar Wilde

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I had lunch with my friend Mary today. I told her that I was going to the Women’s CHRP Retreat  at church this weekend. She said that she baked some brownies for the event, and was hoping they would stay fresh. I asked her if I ever told her my tip for keeping brownies, cupcakes, cookies, etc. moist and fresh tasting for days. She was impressed, so I shared some of my other tips. I’ll share with you too.

If you don’t have an infuser for flavoring water, you can use a whisk. When I cut up a mango, I save the pit and skin and either put it in a whisk or straight in a tall glass, add water and refrigerate. It’s a two-for-one. You get to eat the mango or fruit, and enjoy the water. Result, tasty flavored water. Keep refilling with water.


With the brownies and cookies, get a slice of soft bread, tear or cut up and place in the four corners of your baked goods, maybe one or two pieces in the middle, then cover with foil or its lid. Baked goods stay fresh and moist for a couple of days. Even add fresh bread pieces and throw out dried ones for a couple more days. Works every time. No more dried up frosting or dry brownies. Trust me…I have lots of experience.


My facvorite tip is the acupressure pinch for leg cramps. I learned this one when I took Lamaze classes way back in the 80’s. You take your index finger and place on that little grove above your lip, then place your thumb inside the lip and squeeze and press fingers together as hard as possible. Keep pinching until you feel the cramp disappear. It may take a few seconds, but it works. Believe me, I’ve used this one a zillion times. (Looks goofy, but who cares when you are in pain.)


Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom and Waving Flags

15 Jun

“The American flag represents all of us and all the values we hold sacred.” –

 – Adrian Cronauer

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Not everyone remembers or even knows knows that today is Flag Day. Guess what? I didn’t pay much attention to it either. But, there was a big celebration here at the Greens of Elgin where Mom lives, with a special Flag raising ceremony and tribute to the many veterans who live here. Afterwards, there was a party with snacks and drinks. Then, at 3 o’clock there was entertainment, a patriotic-themed performance by Heather Braoudakis. There was a lot of toe tapping, a sing-along, and a finale where everyone stood, whether with walkers or canes, hands resting on their hearts as they sang. A generation of true patriotic Americans. 


BY LEADA GORE lgore@al.com

Today is the day we celebrate Old Glory – the American Flag.

Flag Day is June 14, 2017. The day traces its origins back to June 14, 1885 when B.J Cigrand, a school teacher, arranged for students in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School District to observe the day as a time to celebrate the anniversary of the Second Continental Congress’ Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777.
The original resolution called for the flag to be “13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

Cigrand continued to spread the message about Flag Day, which was adopted in New York on June 14, 1889 and Philadelphia on June 14, 1891. The idea of patriotic celebrations honoring the flag spread throughout the country until it was officially established by proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. It wasn’t until Aug. 3, 1949, however, that President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day.

Flag Day is not a federal holiday but it is a state holiday in New York and Pennsylvania.
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act establishing an official flag for the new nation. The resolution stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” On Aug. 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman officially declared June 14 as Flag Day.

Saturday:)As Promised…Mom’s 90th Birthday Party

11 Jun

“What life expects of us is that we celebrate.” 
― José Eduardo Agualusa

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Instead of spending a lot of time telling you about Mom’s 90th birthday, I’ll just show you. It was a great day, and so wonderful to have so many friends and family members come to visit Trini and celebrate the nine decades that she has graced this planet.


Family. Four generations, daughters, grandsons, granddaughter-in-law, great-granddaughter and nephew and niece. 

Familia….Amigos!!!



Friends and family.


Mayor Kaptain of Elgin came to celebrate too.



Guests left notes and messages for Trini, and took a little party favor box with kisses from Trini. (Sorry Viv, Lin, and Vicky. I forgot to put those out till later. I’ll bring yours Tuesday.)

Thank you everyone who made it a very special day for Trini. You made her party one to remember. (Maybe another 90 years.)

Friday:) My Feverish Baking Frenzy

10 Jun

“A baking frenzy is good for the soul, and for the tummy. Not so much for the diet.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I’m taking a short break to put my feet up and rest a minute before I get back to my baking and food frenzy. Tomorrow is Mom’s big 90th birthday bash. My sister JoAnn and I have been running around, preparing, shopping, and getting ready for the big day. 

I love to bake, so that is my favorite task. Yesterday, Inwas busy making the chocolate cake bon bons, that still need to be dipped in chocolate. I’m not into recipes, but this is how I made about 100 of these yummy treats. 

I made two chocolate cake mixes, following directions. Then, I made some homemade cream cheese chocolate frosting. My recipe, hmmm? A package of cream cheese, 3 or 4 sticks of softened butter, a pound or more of powdered sugar and some cocoa powder, a few teaspoons of milk as needed. All just by eye and feel.


Then, I mush up the cooled cake with a few big scoops of frosting, then, mush and knead, until it’s smooth like clay. And roll into balls. Then ai freeze them, to be dipped in chocolate later, after I post this.



I made two trays of these.

Today, I made two pans of brownies and about four dozen cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes with marshmallows and a little cherry filling, to be frosted in the morning.



Well, that’s enough of a break. I better get back to my frenzy. Stay tuned for party pictures tomorrow.


Here’s Mom, all excited about tomorrow. Her sister Frances and family sent her some gorgeous flowers.