Tag Archives: friendship

What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

10 Jun

“Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven, and the fridge and the stove and the microwave. Let’s just say, I love to cook.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Well, she was at it again. Can you say portion control? No, me neither. As you may or may not recall, my freezer was acting up and leaking all over the kitchen floor a couple of weeks ago. I took everything out and took a hair dryer to the vents, did some dusting and cleaning and said two “Our Father’s” and two “Hail Marys,” (Its a Catholic thing🤦‍♀️) Guess what? It’s been 10 days, and so far no more leaking. 🤞 Fingers crossed.

While I was taking inventory of things, I defrosted a few frozen mystery items to finally use. One large container had some homemade pasta sauce. Enough for one casserole dish, but I can’t cook just one. What’s the fun in that. I added a can of this and a jar of that and a pinch of some other stuff. Then I boiled two bags of penne pasta. Voila! Four containers of awesome delicious pasta. One for me and three to give away. (I added a lot more cheese after the photo op)

I can make four meals in the same amount of time as one meal, so why not share!

My favorite addition is topping the pasta with shredded cheese, some Monterey Jalapeño Jack for a little zing and some mozzarella for the Italian flavor. Then, bake until the cheese gets bubbly.
I picked up a loaf of jalapeño cheddar focaccia bread, toasted it with some butter and garlic powder. You’re getting hungry now, aren’t you?

I still have enough for a few more meals for myself and was able to share with friends. Lucky me, lucky friends. Ciao!

Thoughtful Thursday:) Sharing, Caring, Adoring

4 Jun

“The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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If you know me well, and many of you do, you know that I just love to cook and bake and paint and do creative things, but nor just for myself, it to share with others. Yesterday, I showed my huge bowl of black eyed pea/corn/bean salsa that I made. Well, today was my sharing day. I got out my many recycled containers and divided up the salsa for sharing.

I was able to get ten containers full. Yay!
My first stop was Station 9. Then, a quick stop at Kroger to get more tortilla chips.
Then, off to Station 5.

I had other containers in the cooler, but I wanted to stop at church a little while for Adoration. It’s quiet with just a few people in the chapel for Adoration, but after a few prayers, I always like to walk over to the sanctuary, main church, to light a candle.

This morning, while I was meditating and listening to a podcast by Dr. Caroline Leaf, (I love her scientific based mind healing) she was talking about the benefits of daydreaming to replenish the mind/brain. She said that our minds work 24/7 and that when we dream while asleep, our minds are very active. But, sometimes we need to daydream while we are awake, to slow down the pace and calm our busy brains. I like that. She gave examples, but also said that absolute quiet or stillness isn’t necessary. You can listen to soft music or sketch, etc. Ah ha! Sketch… I’ve been meaning to take a sketch pad and pencil and sketch in the quiet solemnity of St. Gabriel’s sanctuary. Today was a good day for that.

I’m not great with faces and people, but the peaceful setting and sketching was very relaxing and prayerful.

After Adoration, Helene and I visited with Mr. Jerry, as I had more salsa and chips to share. After that, I stopped at Karen’s to drop off a couple of containers for her. After all, she was the reason I made the salsa in the first place. She asked for my recipe, and I don’t use no stinkin’ recipe. Then, seeing as we both hadn’t eaten dinner, we went out and had a burger. I have the bestest friends.

On my way home, the sunset was so awesome. When I turned the corner and went up the hill, I had to stop a second and say, “WOW!” Out loud.

When I got home, I started to go over to check on Miss Kathy’s cats and feed them. Sammi always runs across the street to my front door to meet and greet me, and he throws himself on my feet. Funny!

Oh, I wanted to share some Artisto App photos I made of my sketch from church. Pretty fun app.

Pretty cool, right?

Well, it was an awesome day of sharing, caring, and adoring. Feeling blessed!

Friday:) Friends, Food, Fun Art, and Miss Toni Being Foolish at Towne Creek

29 May

“If you can’t be silly with your old friends, where can you be silly? We are all old…it doesn’t matter.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Helene and I went and visited with our artist friends over at Towne Creek Apartments today. We worked on several watercolor book mark and note card projects. I brought them each a red rose that they could use for artistic inspiration. We painted, laughed and had a late lunch. Of course, I got up and did a little singing and dancing for half-time entertainment. Miss Dorothy was being sneaky and recorded a video of me being silly. She said she was going to post it on Facebook and embarrass me. I said, “Bring it, Girl,” and kept on dancing.

Here’s me being silly and singing “Proud Mary” and dancing and just being me.

We certainly do have fun.

Now, it’s getting late and it’s time for…. Black Russian Friday.

Cheers, my friends. Happy Friday!

Saturday:) A Special Day With a Special Friend~ Bluebonnets and Backroads

3 Apr

“The best sights are seen on the backroads with a best friend.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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My awesome friend, Sherri Murphy…AKA…Thelma, called me up and invited me to check out the backroads and some Bluebonnet fields this afternoon. Yippee! I never have done that, and seeing as Sherri took me to see some amazing sunflower fields last fall, we have a flower field theme going on.

Sherri picked me up and even brought some fun girlie hats to use for our photo ops.

We took some backroads and pulled over on the side of the road to photograph some old barns and beautiful wild flowers.

We stopped for lunch at the Hula Hut in Little Elm and had an awesome lunch overlooking the water.

We took turns sitting in the big girl chair outside.

Lunch was yummy. They have the greatest burgers and fries. I was afraid this big sturdy chair wasn’t going to hold me. After I ate all that food.

Then, off to the bluebonnet field next to an old cemetery.

Good friends enjoying the backroads and the Texas Bluebonnets! Thank you Sherri Murphy for an awesome day.

Sunday Sermon and SO MUCH BETTER TODAY

15 Mar

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” ~Oprah Winfrey

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Before I get to my Sunday Sermon, I just wanted to say thank you for all the well wishes and prayers for my brief yet debilitating second Moderna Vaccine Friday. Today, I’m back and feeling about 99% . Thank you Miss Cheryl for your prayers and communion intentions at Mass today. That was sweet.

Big difference from yesterday, right?

Today’s Gospel from John explains that God gave His Only Son to save mankind…

Gospel, John 3:14-21

16 For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.17 For God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.18 No one who believes in him will be judged; but whoever does not believe is judged already, because that person does not believe in the Name of God’s only Son.19 And the judgement is this: though the light has come into the world people have preferred darkness to the light because their deeds were evil.20 And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, to prevent his actions from being shown up;…

My take on it… God sacrificed His son to save us and show us the light of His love. Some choose evil and avoid the light of salvation. To me, it doesn’t mean going to church or pretending to be holy, it means leading a good life, choose the light and good, and show your faith through example.

I hadn’t ventured out the door since Friday, so today when I saw the sun shining and heard the birds chirping, I grabbed my lawn chair and sat smack dab in the middle of the driveway, face turned towards the sun.

Ah! Sunshine!

I’m very thankful for a beautiful day, feeling fine, and my awesome friends and family.

Thankful Thursday:) The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

25 Dec

Edwin Osgood Grover

“Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy; who gives himself by thought or word or deed in every gift that he bestows.”

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I’m sitting here with a glass of wine, listening to Christmas music, and reminiscing all the treasures and pleasures of Christmas past, hopeful for better and brighter days to come. Merry almost Christmas, my friends.

I haven’t been here in McKinney for the past five years, always in Chicago, so I was excited to share my Christmas spirit on Christmas Eve. I have so many friends and traditions. One of my traditions is painting an ornament for my local fire station #5, but since I’ve moved and I have a new fire station just a few blocks away, I make one for both stations, #5 and #9. This year, because Crazy Covid has put a damper on my baking and sharing, I put together some awesome “hot and spicy” gifts to take over along with an ornament and some baking treats. Of course, some Bernard’s Gourmet Foods Salsa for the star attraction.

My friends at Starion #9. I know their Christmas tree will enjoy the new addition.

Station #5. I saw Captain Floyd walking past when I dropped off the gift. I’ve been dropping off special treats and gifts at #5 since ‘04. They’re not my local station anymore, but tradition is tradition. Thank you all!

After I stopped at my fire stations, I went over to the Chateau Retirement Community. I had called a few of my friends that I used to greet at the door at St. Gabriel’s. They were so happy to hear my voice, so I decided to go over and drop off a surprise gift for them too.

Miss Marilyn was so surprised to see me at her door. I miss these sweet ladies so much.

The only thing, the layout over at the Chateau is SO confusing. There are four different building groupings with all kinds of wandering hallways. This young lady was working, but was kind enough to escort me to each door. She said she didn’t like having her picture taken, but this is sweet Sophia, who was my guiding light. I couldn’t have done it without her. I thanked her profusely.

By the time I left my final appointed rounds, I was feeling so invigorated and wonderful. I had just walked in the door, when I received a text from my new neighbors across the street. They wanted to stop over with some homemade cookies and a sharing plate. I am so blessed.

Earlier this afternoon, I received a package from my friend Vicky Hodi, back home. I knew it would be her homemade baklava and delicious cookies. So far today, I’m living on hot tea, cookies, baklava, and wine. Life is good, my friends.

Yes, I am truly blessed. My granddaughters called to FaceTime with Gamma. Even though I’m far from family and old friends and the world is crazy right now, I feel like the luckiest person on the planet,

Merry almost Christmas, my friends. Wishing you health, happiness and joy.

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

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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?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXBtdy_MsVo

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.

Timeless Tuesday:) Friendship Is Ageless & Timeless

5 Feb

As long as I’m learning every day of my life, I will never feel old. Never. And I don’t feel old; I feel in my head and in my heart – I don’t know, ageless!

Pat Mitchell

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This morning, a group of abeles and timeless friends gathered at the lovely Dulaney Cottage in the Historic Chestnut Square Village in downtown McKinney.

Our international, world traveling, and amazing friend, Annie Stokes, invited all of her local McKinney friends to join her for brunch at the Delaney Cottage this morning. Annie rarely stays in one city, much less one country long enough to spend much time with her friends, so this was more of a reunion and celebration. The beautiful historic home was the perfect setting for a gathering of talented and fascinating ladies whose ages spanned nine decades. The informal brunch provided time to visit with old friends, and the best part, time to meet new people and make new friends.

The adorable Annie Stokes, orchestrating the yummy brunch, along side another dear friend, Lynne Weinberger.

Some of the ladies had to leave early for other appointments, but the majority of us lingered long through the morning to chat, hear fascinating historical stories, and make new friends. There’s something really special about sitting in an old historic home, imagining all the history and stories the old building could tell. We became part of that history as we sat there continuing the tradition of friendship and community. McKinney, “Unique by Nature,” is our motto, most appropriately penned.

Thank you Annie Stokes for arranging such a lovely reunion.

If you haven’t been to Historic Chestnut Square, it’s a charming timeless place to visit, with farmer’s markets, wedding venues, tours, and many activities. Check it out.

https://www.chestnutsquare.org/

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

4 Feb

My blessings are many

And my troubles are few.

And you would be smiling

If you knew what I knew.

There is no big secret

There’s no fountain of youth.

Simply love who you are

And let that be your truth.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Another great week, my friends. How blessed am I!

A week in a pictorial peek…

Saturday:) Some Super-sized Soup for the Soul

2 Feb

“Forget Chicken Soup for the Soul. How about chicken soup for your friends with the flu?”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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We’ve all heard about or have read the series of CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL. If you think about it, when you are sick, have a cough, cold or flu, you always think, hmmm… I need some chicken soup to make me feel better. And the books relate inspirational stories that speak to soul, to make you feel better.

Motivational speakers Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen collaborated on the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, compiling inspirational, true stories they had heard from their audience members. Many of the stories came from members of the audience of their inspirational talks. (Wikipedia)

But sometimes, we need to do things to help other people feel better, emotionally and physically. My for friend and neighbor Allison has been sick for weeks with a horrible cough, flu, possibly pneumonia. I’ve stopped at the store and picked her up some groceries a couple of times, but nothing says I love you like a huge pot of homemade chicken soup. Yesterday, I spent hours dicing, chopping, simmering, de-boning, and preparing a big pot of chicken soup.

I always do great until I get to the onions, that’s why I save that for last. I cry.

The soup was delicious, and I dropped off a big container at Miss Allison’s front door, and left it on the bench. She still worries about being contagious. She texted me that the soup was wonderful and she really appreciated my kindness, plus, she had enough to last her for days.

There’s chicken soup for the soul and chicken soup for your sick neighbor. I’m pretty sure the soup and gesture were good for the soul. That’s what friends are for.