Tag Archives: every day life

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.

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom~ Walk a Mile in My Shoes

8 Jun

“Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes isn’t as much about the walk or the shoes; it’s to be able to think like they think, feel what they feel, and understand why they are who and where they are. Every step is about empathy.”― Toni Sorenson
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I often wonder how many pairs of gym shoes I’ve worn out during my many years of walking. How many miles have I walked, yet really haven’t wandered more than a mile or two from home? I’ve walked just about every day since I moved to Texas in ’04, and the 17 years in Hawthorn Woods, IL. Then, a few years in New Jersey. So, if you calculate about two miles a day for, let’s say 300 days a year for over 30 years…hmmm? That’s a minimum of 20,000 miles, but probably more than that. Some days I’ll walk 4 or 5 miles in one day. And where has it gotten me? It always takes me to a very good place.

Chicago is about 900 miles from McKinney, TX.  I could have walked there 22 times.

5,573 miles Distance from McKinney to Rome.  I could have walked there 3.5 times.(But I’d have to swim a little, but I don’t know how to swim.)

Well, you get my point. I walk for my health, for my recreation, and for my soul. It’s my thinking time, my happy time, my crying time. I need my walks.

But,  I do go through a lot of gym shoes. I’ve worn the soles off of these poor guys. 

Worn soles for worn souls. That’s why I share my daily blog. So, now you CAN walk a mile in my shoes. 


BY STEVE MUELLER LAST EDIT: MARCH 31ST, 2017 CONSCIOUS LIVING

The earliest traces of the enlightening proverb date back to the Cherokee tribe of Native Americans, who warned: “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes”  

Nelle Harper Lee, an American authoress, was seemingly inspired by the saying of the Amerindians in her book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” where she wrote:

“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960

Montage Monday and More New Mexico

22 May

“Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky.” ― Willa Cather

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A wonderful week of travel, churches, mountains, art shows, museums and more,

A week in a peek.


Sunday Sermon, Sunsets and Other Stuff

30 Jan

“Make no mistake about it, no matter how kind, meek, humble and soft your giving heart is — you are a warrior!” 

― Bryant McGill

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A cool but sunny Sunday morning. I was delighted about the cool morning because that meant I could be wear my sock monkey hat while I greeted at the door before Mass. I received many compliments from adults and high fives from the little ones.

Today’s Gospel was about the poor in spirit being blessed…

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 

He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
My take on it… money can’t buy you everything. The Gospel says the poor in spirit, a humble modest spirit that is giving and loving and kind to others. 

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So, here’s the other stuff. After church, I stopped at Sprouts, then home to make brownies. I decided to bake another double batch, so I could take some to my Krewe Barkus meeting at Blynda’s, and share with some neighbors. If you’re not familiar with my secret brownie recipe, here it is. 

Use a box mix and follow directions. People ask me what kind of mix, Imsaid whatever is on sale. For each box, add about 2 cups of mini marshamallows into the batter, pour into a pan lined with parchment paper, then sprinkle about a cup of chcololate chips on top of batter. Bake as directed.

I decided tomtake a quick walk while the brownies were in the oven. I used the timer on my phone. The alarm sounded when I was still two blocks from home, so I scurried like a bunny to get home. Fastest I’ve walked in a long time.

I took brownies to my meeting, came home and took some brownies and MatchBox cars for the two little boys playing across the street. Their dad is a fireman, and they are always out back playing, dressed in a fireman outfit. When I pass by, they chatter away at me. I took another batch over to Mr. Larry and Ms. Sandy, and told them that it was to compensate for all the beers I’ve been drinking in their garage.

On the way home from my evening walk, the sun was setting. The sunsets sure have been amazing.

I sat in the park until dark, and was able to capture the moon and night sky.


Mother Nature is spectacular.