Tag Archives: Holy Family School

Wednesday:) What’s Happenin’, Miss Toni

3 Sep

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” —

~Audrey Hepburn


Yesterday was a dark and stormy day. My good friend Helene and I had made plans to go over to Holy Family School, over on the east side of town. We both have been including our friends at the school in our shopping trips. We get excited when we find a great bargain on apple juice, peanut butter, snacks, baby wipes or school supplies for the little kiddos over there. We purchase a few items every week, and when we’ve accumulated a trunkload of goodies, we drive over with our donations and visit.

This wonderful non-profit preschool in McKinney is dedicated to providing a safe, loving, education environment for children in the community. Our good friend, Miss Sondra, and her staff always welcome our modest contribution with delight.

Helene picked up a whole bunch of crayons and markers, along with snacks.

I found some deals on juice, peanut butter, etc. And, when I mentioned our trip to the school the other day, my friend Zelda, reached in her purse and handed me some cash to donate to the cause. How sweet.

When you have two hands, it’s nice to reach out with one and help someone else, especially a little child.

A big thank you to all the teachers and staff at Holy Family School. A great legacy carried on to honor the works of the Vega family.

On The Square and Elsewhere ❤️ McKinney

26 Jul

“I always say that I bloom where I’m planted, but I sure have been blessed to be planted in McKinney, TX.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Blessings are to be shared, that’s for sure. It seems like the more you care and the more you share, your blessings multiply tenfold. If you’re anything like me, when you see a great sale at the grocery store, you stock up. OK! Maybe you don’t, but I do. My favorite items to stock up on are items to take over to Holy Family School, over by the Square, to share with the adorable pre-schoolers.

Helene, my partner in crime, and I stock up for a few weeks on snacks, drinks, cereals, baby supplies, or whatever we think they could use. Then, we stop by for a quick drop off about once a month. Miss Sondra and the staff are always so appreciative. Lately, with the distancing thing, we generally just ring the bell and pop the items inside the door and scurry on our way. That’s what we did yesterday.

Since we were so close to The Pantry Restaurant on Louisiana, and it was after lunch time, we stopped by to get a to-go order of their famous chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and crispy fried okra. It’s enough for two meals. (But, we each got one. Yum!)

Right across the street from The Pantry is the awesome wall mural on the side of Fair and Square Imports, painted by our amazing artist friend, Andrea Holmes, so I had to get a photo op. (I do have my mask on. Safety first.)

McKinney is a great town. Now, saving the best for last, here is just one of the amazing sunsets that blesses the end of my day. Just awesome.

Friday:) From Holy Family School and a Few Firemen

13 Jun

“Everyone is hoping to get back to normal, but I’m thinking maybe the old normal wasn’t such a good thing.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


It’s been several months since Helene and I visited our friends over at Holy Family School. We both had several bags to share with the adorable children. Helene also had a huge 18 count box of Kraft Mac and Cheese. Their favorite lunch. We knew we couldn’t see the children, but we put on our masks and drove over to take our donations, now that the school is open. It was wonderful that the school has been able to care for infants and children of first responders and medical personnel. ❤️

I also made a quick stop to visit my friends over at Fire Station 9. They still weren’t able to accept homemade brownies or cookies, but I thought they could use some Powerade for these really hot days. The young fireman that answered the door was very appreciative. I had my mask on, so I mumbled to him, “You guys are all getting so skinny. I’ll keep checking to see when you can have some brownies.”

It was nice to get back to a little of our old sharing and caring routine. It still wasn’t back to normal, just smiling behind a mask, but pretty close.

When things finally do get back to normal, I hope things are a better normal.

I hope you all have a better than normal Friday. Cheer, my friends.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Terrific Generous Friends

4 Mar

“Generosity is not having a lot and sharing a little, rather, it’s having a little and sharing a lot.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I’ve said this a million times,”I have the sweetest, kindest, and most generous friends in the whole world.” Most of my friends are kind of in the same boat that I’m in, and that’s great because I can’t swim and I’m afraid of water. So, if I’m going to be in a boat, what better people to be in a boat with? Metaphors aside, I find that my dearest friends are always ready to help others, and are very generous with their time and money, even when they don’t have an abundance of either.

This afternoon, Helene and I made plans to go over to Holy Family School to take over more goodies that she had picked up at the store for the children. She had boxes of cereal, canned goods, and fruit snacks. I had another bag to add to the trip. Because I’ve been posting pictures and stories about the wonderful non-profit school, many of my friends have been offering to make contributions. A little goes a long way. Thank you Helene.

This three year old boy was so excited when he saw the box of Spider-Man snacks that he couldn’t contain himself and wouldn’t let go of the box.

Then, Helene and I stopped for lunch, but only after we made a quick trip to the Dollar Store to pick up about 25 ceramic and glass bowls. We plan on using them for a couple of painting projects to benefit the upcoming Empty Bowls fundraiser in April which helps to feed the hungry of Collin County. My senior friends at Towne Creek love participating by painting dozens of bowls for the donation.

Here are just a few examples of bowls that my Towne Creek friends painted last year. I can’t wait to see what we come up with this year.

Yes, my friends are very kind, generous, and talented. I’m so glad that I get to share a boat with them.

Friday:) A Busy Better Late Than Never Awesome Day and My Firemen

29 Feb

“Sometimes I wish there were hours in the day so I could have even more fun.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Wow! Such a fun busy day, and too much to fit into one post, so I’ll save some for later. My day had absolutely no plans on my calendar. I totally forgot that my phone was on silent after I went to Adoration Thursday, so I hadn’t seen the text from Sherri asking if I wanted to go to lunch on Friday. When I saw the text in the morning, I called her and we made our plans. She picked me up at 11:30 and I hit the ground running from 11:30 am and finally landed back home after midnight. I sure can jam pack a lot of fun into one day.

Sherri picked me up at 11:30 and our first stop was to Miss Bernadine’s house down the street. Miss B had picked up 5 more packs of baby wipes to add to my bags of donations to take over to Holy Family School.

My very good friends, Joni and Bob Goen, gave me a VERY generous donation of cash to take over to Miss Sondra at Holy Family School. The very much appreciated donation will be used to purchase supplies for the children. I have the greatest generous friends.

After Sherri and I left the school, we stopped at The McKinney Art Studio to drop off my donations for Empty Bowls. Lisa and Carol were working on some pottery and it was fun to see what they were working on. Jason was camera shy, so he declined a photo op. Here are my two bowls for the upcoming charity event. I think they turned out great.

After our visit at the pottery studio, we enjoyed a two hour lunch at El Pollo Elegre on the east side. Very good food. Being Lent and being Friday, I asked for a vegetarian version of their taco platter. Yum! After lunch we went over to Plaza Thrift Store. They were having a half off sale. (Be still my heart.) I think we spent almost two hours and a goodly amount of money there, finding all kinds of bargains. We each had a cart load. I had to smile, I found a lucky penny on our way back to the car. All that shopping gave us a hankering for ice cream on the way home.

While we were shopping, I received a text from Linda Grossman, World’s Greatest Realtor, asking if I wanted to meet for dinner. Well, why not? A good chance to catch up with a good friend. By the time I got home, it was 5:30, and we planned to meet around 6. In the meantime, I got a text from Mr. Mike asking if I could run over to feed Bella and take her for a walk, as he was stuck at a doctor’s appointment and was running late. So, I scooted over there, fed the dog and took her for a walk. The sun was setting and an amazing sunset was captured.

I got home in time to hop in the car and go to meet Linda over at Anamias just a mile away from my house. There was no place to park and such a long wait for a table that we decided to chuck that plan and go over to the Square. Linda followed me home, and we went to the square in her car. This way I could have a drink. I don’t drink and drive…never. Yay!

We went over to Rick’s Chophouse. They had a great band playing, Missing 3, so we had drinks and danced and ran into friends and made a few new friends. It was a blast, but we didn’t leave till 11:30 pm. Where did the day go? Our sweet friend, Jeremiah, was such a gentleman and walked us back to our car.

I got home after midnight, so my Black Russian Friday was a little late, it as I said, “Better late than never.” Basically, I was out running around and having fun for over twelve hours. I need more hours in my day.

Well, it’s after 2 am. I’ll finish my favorite Friday drink, finish this post, and watch a little tv and relax. What a great day! So many good friends, good times and good memories made.

Oops! My firemen. I almost forgot. I took some cupcakes over to my firemen friends at Station 9 yesterday.

Thankful Thursday~ Holy Family School

17 Oct

“Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”

~John Wooden


Well, Mr. Wooden pretty much covered all the bases on how to live a perfect life. Now, if we all could follow these guide lines, it would be a perfect world. As much as we try to make that happen, we don’t always succeed. So, all we can do is do our best. I try to follow these steps, but I’ll admit, I’m not much of a reader, the “Good Book” or otherwise. I do a lot of short reading, but not novels or classics or even the Bible. I think I just can’t sit still that long.

Today, I was feeling particularly thankful for my wonderful life, great friends, and fantastic family. And, I do consider each day a masterpiece and try to be true to myself. I have made friendship a fine art, and I do love to help others.

This morning, my side-kick Sherri and I went over to Holy Family School on the east side. Sherri had some early childhood instructional books and materials to donate, and I had apples and several boxes of cereal, and Zelda had picked up more granola bars, and Helene more cereal for the children.

Miss Sondra and Miss Maria were thrilled to see us. Sherri had also inquired about volunteering occasionally, perhaps doing craft projects, and I said I’d like to read some stories in Spanish. Wouldn’t that be fun? The children are so adorable. We arrived during lunchtime, and the 4 year old group loved the visit. We were treated to hand shakes, high fives, fist pumps, and a rousing medley of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

After lunch, they were getting ready for nap time and our presence had made them a little loud and distracted. We exited with more fist pumps and giggles. What adorable children. Miss Sondra said we were welcome any time.

Sherri and I left the school all invigorated and looking forward to sharing our talents and time with these youngsters.

Sherri and I had lunch, stopped at the thrift store, then ventured home. I had errands to run later, but I took a few minutes to stop at St. Gabriel’s for Adoration and a few prayers of thanks and pray for guidance.

There’s always something to be thank for, and I could use all the guidance I can get. Amen…

Friday:) Fantastic Friends, Family, Holy Family School and My Firefighters

4 Oct

“When I count my blessings, I also make sure to factor in how I can share some of those blessings with others.”

“A home is only as strong as its foundation. Love is only as strong as the foundation of family and friends. I’m covered.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


When I count my blessings, well, I can’t count that high, so I have to stop after a few thousand.

My day started out with a really cool walk. Literally, it was cool this morning, 68. I could have used a sweater. (Didn’t last long. It’s 90 now.) I walked Bella around the pond, took her home, then walked another mile or two. Then, off to Zumba at the YMCA at 11:30.

I stopped at church for Adoration and to say a few special prayers for some special people. It was good to sit in the quiet chapel, allowing my heart rate to slow down and my mind to calm. I had texted Jerry earlier, to see if he was up for some company. He’s getting around better, and hoping to discard his back brace in a few days. He’s not one to sit still, and he is missing his traveling adventures after surgery. Good to see his smiling face.

I stopped at Kroger to pick up a few things. They seem to have some really great special on Friday. I decided that if I found some items that the children could use at Holy Family School, that I’d pick a few up every week and maybe go visit a couple of times a month or so. Today they had the large boxes of Fruit Loops on sale $1.49. I got five. 👍

Yesterday, Karen, Sherri, and I went over to Holy Family School with our bags and bags of Quaker granola bars that we, and several of our friends, had purchased to donate, around 60 boxes. Miss Sondra and the rest of the staff were so appreciative. We were able to tour the school, playground and gardens, and see the adorable babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers. Some were just waking from their naps.

After our tour, we stood outside and talked a while. We agreed that if a lot of people do just a little bit to help those in need, the world would be such a better place. I don’t have millions of dollars to give away, but I can spare $5 or $10 to purchase groceries or baby needs every now and then. And, when they have a great sale at the store, that makes it even better.

(Photo courtesy of Sherri Murphy, taken by Karen Donaldson)

When I count my blessings, I also make sure to factor in how I can share some of those blessings with others.

Oh yes, always time for a quick stop to the fire station. I had some of Miss Pat’s cookies and a bag full of Gatorade for station #9. Someone had posted on Facebook the other day that her husband was a fireman, and they often receive cookies and cupcakes. She said that was nice, but what they really could use is Gatorade or bottled water, and other things that they have to buy a lot of at the store. Great idea! A few people commented that they didn’t realize that firefighters have to buy their own groceries for their meals. 🤦‍♀️ Who did they think paid for their groceries?

Have a great Friday, my friends!!!!

Tuesday:) To Do Good is Noble

25 Sep

“To do good is noble. To tell others to do good is even nobler and much less trouble.”

― Mark Twain


Teaching by example is the most effective way I know to influence others. Sometimes I wonder if people think I share my “goodie-two-shoes” adventures for the recognition, or a pat on the back. Quite the contrary. I like to write about these things so others might say to themselves, “Hmmm! That’s a great idea. I should do that too.”

When I read about the Little Free Food Pantries placed around town a couple of years ago, I started taking can goods there. Someone shared that idea on Facebook and influenced me, and I shared my stories, hoping to do the same.

After learning a little more about Holy Family School at the recent fundraising gala, I asked my friend Michele, a board member, if the non-profit pre-school could use some peanut butter that I’d been collecting. She said they could use pretty much anything. The grocery stores always have some really great bargains and coupons to get you in the store, so I love to take advantage of the sales and share with those less fortunate. Last week, Kroger had baby wipes on sale, so I thought, perfect. Yesterday, I gathered my jars of peanut butter, baby wipes and some cans of tuna, and drove over to Holy Family School on the east side of town.

The director greeted me with a big smile and a hug, as she examined the contents of the bags. I asked her if there were any special items the young pre-schoolers could use. She mentioned granola bars, cereals, bread, milk, and a few other items. I popped that into my memory banks for the future.

When the director asked my name, I said, “Toni. The last name is way too long and confusing.” I think she was going to write it down because I would want a tax deduction letter. I told her that I didn’t need any letters or recognition, I just wanted to do something for the little ones.


Today, when I was looking through the grocery store sale ads, aha, I saw that Kroger has Quaker chewy granola bars on sale for 99cents with Kroger card. That’s a great sale. I know what my next donation will be. When you do your grocery shopping, maybe consider picking up a few things to donate to a food pantry, shelter, or other non-profit organization. Something to think about.

My philosophy is, “When you’ve been given so much, it’s nice to give back a little.”

Saturday:) Spectacular Holy Family School Fundraiser at The Sanctuary

22 Sep

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”

― Calvin Coolidge


I was honored to be invited to this lovely fundraising event supporting Holy Family School. Linda Grossman, (World’s Greatest Realtor) purchased a table and invited nine friends to join her. There was a wonderful silent auction and The Who’s Who of McKinney attended. It was great to bump into good friends, dancing, eating, and of course, bidding on wonderful auction items.

Linda and I joined a host of volunteers who went over to The Sanctuary around 2pm to set up and organize before the gala. I knew it would be a good night because when I was putting away some things in the storage room, I found a lucky penny.

Everyone had a great time, and thousands of dollars were raised for a very worthy cause. Holy Family School has been providing education, care, love, and spiritual guidance for young children since 1951.

Mayor George Fuller, Maylee Thomas, Rick Wells, and other McKinney dignitaries attended, and also made very generous donations.

Selfie with the Mayor. Fun night. A successful fundraiser for Holy Family School. Thank you Linda Grossman for all you do, including volunteering to be the newest board member of Holy Family School.

Wednesday:) What’s Happening in McKinney, Miss Toni?

29 Aug

“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.”

― Idowu Koyenikan


Today was a crazy busy day, but what else is new? I picked up Bella around 8 am, and took her for a long walk, then off to Starwood to meet the JULIETS (Just Us Ladies Into Everything Together Sisters) for breakfast. Wow! I forgot to take pictures. I’m slipping.

Helene and I decided to go to visit our dear friend Jerry later in the afternoon. He had back surgery and was finally feeling a little better and up for some visitors. It was good to see him smile and make a few jokes. I think the heavy duty pain mess helped a little on that count.

I got home in time to feed the dog, another walk, then head over to the Square to meet Linda, Sara, and some other wonderful ladies at Landon’s Winery at 5. We were there to brainstorm about the upcoming Holy Family School fundraise. It was a little warm outside, but still lovely when spending time with friends.

Linda Grossman (World’s Greatest Realtor) and Sara Thomas (World’s Greatest Lender Specialist) are so involved in our community. It’s inspirational just to be around them.

Here are a few of the behind the scenes angels supporting Holy Family School.

The big Gala Fundraiser is coming up in a few weeks. Linda invited me to join her and the other ladies planning the gala. I wanted to get a little more information about the fundraiser and how I could help. I also wanted to bring my donations for the auction. I put together a couple of gift baskets with some of my hand-painted wine glasses and a bottle of wine.

I’ve been thinking about becoming a little more involved in my community. Holy Family School on the east side is a perfect place to start. My sister, JoAnn, is one of my inspirations of someone who works tirelessly to support her community back in Elgin, Illinois. And another inspiration was my friend, Gilda Garza, who recently passed away. She was a dedicated supporter of Holy Family School and the Hispanic community here in McKinney. I need to do more. I’ve been so blessed.

After talking to Linda, who is petitioning a seat on the board, I think I may see what more I can do. I’ve been given much, so much is expected. JFK said so, it must be true.

Well, my day wasn’t finished. I scooted as fast as I could, around 6:45, from the Square over to the west side to St. Gabriel for our Wednesday support group. I was only 10 minutes late. It was a good group with good discussions. I got home by 9pm.

A long day. A good day.