Tag Archives: neighbors

Tuesday:) Toni and the Triplets

8 Nov

“Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor’s noisy party than being there.”

~Franklin P. Jones


I have SO many wonderful stories and memories about my old neighbors in McKinney. When we first moved to Texas, our first home was next door to a young family with four young children. The coolest part was, three were 5 year old triplets. That was about 18 years ago, but I’ll never forget our wonderful adventures together. Their older sister was just a few years older, but all grown up, helping with the little ones.

Why this is so nostalgic right now is because on Saturday, we went to the wedding of one of the triplets. How did that happen?

Jacob, Joseph, and Rebekah. Miss Toni surprised them with a very crooked makeshift school bus cake for their first day of school one year. (Obviously, with a lot of practice, my baking skills have much improved.)
This is Joseph and his lovely new bride, Grace.
Rebekah has grown up to be a beautiful young lady. She used to be my brownie making baking buddy. We made a batch of brownies almost every week. I used to put a step stool next to the counter so she could reach to stir. (I still use that harvest gold GE mixer from the 70’s🤦‍♀️)
Jacob is a tall, smart, and handsome young man. It was fun watching them grow and blossom.
Rachel is the older sister, and now she is grown, married, and has a little girl of her own. I haven’t been to a wedding since hers a few years back.

I moved away in 2014, but we have kept in touch. I have been honored to be invited to graduations and weddings, and there are still a couple more weddings left on the list.

The coolest part is, quite a few years ago, I wrote a little story about my little triplet neighbors who grew up and came back to visit old Miss Toni with children of their own. I sat in my rocking chair telling stories. We had a tea party, ate brownies, and reminisced about the old days. That was just a story I made up when they were little. This actually may happen sooner than later. I can hardly wait. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Thankful Thursday:) Feeling Blessed

28 Jul

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”



Being thankful for what you already have and appreciating all the good in your life just makes your blessings overflow.

So, you may remember my dilemma posted on Facebook about being afraid to climb up to the 4th step of my ladder to change my kitchen floodlight. I realized my limitations. Well, I received many tips of getting a bulb changing extension pole, etc. Then, my nextdoor neighbor texted me, “I’m sending Jack over in the morning after his football practice.” Yay!

Thank you tall and strong Jack for saving the day. He even brought his own 8 foot ladder. Feeling blessed with awesome neighbors.

This morning, I decided to seize the day and get put for a morning walk before the triple digit heat set in. I walked a few loops, listening to the birds, watching squirrels, and taking in the beautiful sights. Well, the yellow and grey withering lawns weren’t that pretty. Hopefully they will come back if we ever get some rain. I stopped and rested on my favorite bench by the pond in the shade. Feeling blessed to live in such a lovely neighborhood.

Across Wilmeth Road, I saw my two horsey friends prancing around. They must be young, as they didn’t seem to mind the heat too much.

They came over to say hello to Miss Toni. They let me pet their cute muzzles.

Beauty and blessings, everywhere I go. All this before 9 o’clock in the morning. Happy Thankful Thursday, my friends.

Saturday In The Park- It Wasn’t Even the 4th of July

4 Jun

“One of the happiest sights to see is a family laughing and playing in the park.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I know I’ve mentioned my many blessing more than many times, but did I mention that I am so blessed to live right across from a little park. It’s just a tiny swatch of grass with a couple of outdoor exercise equipment stations. But, every now and then, I’ll see boys playing football or soccer, or families riding their bikes and scooters round and round, and people walking their dogs.

Lately, I’ve see this family from down the street riding their little bikes down the sidewalk with their dad jogging along behind them. They play frisbee and have conversations with Miss Kathy’s cats who think they’d like to play too.

Sammi the cat can’t catch the frisbee, but he can chase it as it spins in the air,

While I was on my way home from my morning walk, the dad and three kids rode and strode over to the park. We shared our hellos as they started to toss the frisbee. They are actually pretty good. This gave me an idea.

I had a couple of brand new frisbees that I got on sale after the 4th of July last year. They were sitting in the garage just waiting for such an occasion. I grabbed one of the frisbees and walked back over to the park. I told the dad, Rick, that I really enjoy watching him and the kids play practically every day. I handed him the frisbee gift and the kids all ran over to check it out, they all said “Thank you” and proceeded to test out the new flag frisbee.
As I walked back home, I could hear them commenting on how cool it was spinning and how it was bigger than their old one.

I didn’t know these neighbors before, but now I know their names and they know mine. I’ll probably be known as the nice frisbee lady if they forget. isn’t that what it’s all about?

A random act of kindness is just another way of sharing your smile and your heart. ❤️

Happy Saturday, my friends.

Thankful Thursday:) The Kindness of Strangers

3 Jun

“Schedule kindness in your day. Watch how small acts of kindness can change your mood, bring someone else joy, and give both of you a positive benefit. ”
― Germany Kent


In a world where there is so much anger, hatred, and malice, what a breath of fresh air to find kindness among strangers. There are so many kind people doing kind acts, but we rarely hear about them. Here’s a little story.

The other day, I was scrolling through my Facebook pages. I belong to a Nextdoor neighborhood page that posts items for sale, news from the neighborhood, and complaints about pretty much everything. I just so happened to stumble across a post saying that if anyone in the neighborhood was in need of some moving boxes and papers, that they were helping a friend move and would have a bunch of boxes.

Well, my friend Helene was starting to pack for a move and I told her I’d be on the look out. This was just perfect timing. I replied right away and the gentleman who posted the giveaway said he’d contact me when he had the boxes. Yesterday, I got a text saying that he could drop off the boxes at my house on his way home. Wow!

This is my neighbor Aaron. He and his family live a couple of blocks away, across from the pond where I walk every day. We had never met or even seen each other in all these years, but now I have some new kind friends. I may have to make some of my awesome brownies tomorrow.
Not only did Aaron drive over to my house, but the boxes and paper were all neatly bundled, and he carried them up the driveway and placed them in my garage. Now, that is above and beyond kindness to a stranger.
Helene was beyond happy to receive all these boxes and papers for her upcoming move. We went to Wendy’s for lunch to celebrate.

Friday:) A Frosty View From My Window and Some Friends

4 Feb

“Friendship is a dish best served cold with a hot cup of tea.” ( I just made that up.🤦‍♀️)-Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Well, the sunshine today made the whole world glisten with sparkling tree limbs and shining streets pooled with melted snow. It was a lovely sight to see. But, I’m sure the temps in the teens tonight will make all those shiny roads turn into a skating rink. Be careful out there.

So pretty.

My neighbor Nextdoor invited me a Kathy for tea this afternoon. The streets were clear and my driveway was all melted, but Kathy across the street doesn’t get the sun in front of her house, so she had to slip and slide her way down her driveway. 🤦‍♀️

Elke, Kathy and I enjoyed a neighborly afternoon of tea and conversation. It’s nice to have friends on a frosty Friday🤗

Friday:) Finding a LuckyPenny, Friends, Signs and Spring

27 Mar

“Spring is the fountain of love for thirsty winter”
― Munia Khan


I’ve got this thing about lucky pennies and signs. Here’s my little story. Yesterday, I was heading out for an afternoon walk. I headed across the street to the park when I stopped, turned around and thought, “ I should walk over towards Mr. Larry and Miss Sandy’s house. They live about four blocks away, and I haven’t seen them in months. They usually sit out in their garage from 4-5pm, I walk past and open their garage fridge, grab a beer, and catch up on the neighborhood gossip.

I rounded the last corner and could see down the street, but the garage was closed. I grabbed my cell phone and started dialing their number. I looked down and saw a lucky penny a few houses away. Hmmm? A sign? I smiled.

“Hello, Miss Sandy. The garage is closed. What’s going on?” I joked. Miss Sandy proceeded to tell me, in a raspy voice, that she has been in and out of the hospital and Mr. Larry has stage four lung cancer. (Oh no!) I asked if there was anything I could do.

Miss Sandy said, “What are you doing tomorrow?” I told her I was free all day, and asked how I could help. She needed a ride home from the hospital the next morning. I was happy to offer a ride. The garage door opened and Miss Sandy strolled out and we sat in our designated chairs. I heard about all the health problems, hospitalizations, and doctor’s appointments.

A few minutes later, Mr. Larry walked out and sat in his waiting chair. He had lost a lot of weight and was coughing. We did some catching up on neighborhood gossip and the usual pleasantries and unpleasantries.

Mr. Larry had a doctor’s appointment around the same time Miss Sandy would need a ride home from the hospital after outpatient surgery. He dropped her off at 6:30 this morning, and I picked her up around 10. I was able to sit with her in the recovery room for a while until she was discharged.

I realized that my lucky penny was a sign that I was meant to walk that way yesterday. I always say, “Sometimes God sends you an angel when you need one, and sometimes He sends you to be an angel for someone in need.”


It was such a beautiful sunny Spring day that I took two walks today. I put in over 4 miles and enjoyed every minute, with a few stops at the welcoming bench by the pond. The sunset was calm and the evening moon was inspiring.

Now, for my favorite part of Friday night…Black Russian Friday. Cheers!

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

18 Feb

“When the going gets tough, the tough get cookin’ and bakin’ and eating junk food.” ~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Well, we’re still in a terrible deep freeze here in North Texas. I stayed under the covers till almost noon. No place to go, nothin’ exciting to do. Just an update… I’ve been very fortunate with no loss of power, not like the majorly of my friends and neighbors. I’m just hoping to hang in there for a few more days. Feeling blessed.

When we got our first layer of snow and arctic blast a couple of days ago, the dog started barking by the front door. Strange? When I looked out the window, the two neighbor kids nextdoor were shoveling my driveway and sidewalk. It was such a kind gesture, and I’m sure the two teenagers were freezing out there.

Before and after.

I decided to bake a few brownies for my kind neighbors. Nothin’ says thank you like my famous brownies. I have been blessed with the kindest neighbors and friends.

Seeing as I wasn’t going anywhere today, or for a few more days, what to have for lunch? Hmm? Pretty much whatever I want. Let’s see what’s in the fridge. Spicy Curly fries and grapes. Sounds good.

Well, Must be time to make some more brownies and my favorite peanut butter no bake cheesecake to top it off with. That should last a few days… maybe…

Sending warm thoughts to you and yours. 🤗🙏

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

18 Nov

“Saints have no moderation, nor do poets, just exuberance.”

― Anne Sexton


I must be a saint because I have NO sense of moderation, just exuberance. Or maybe I am a poet. Let me see…

Roses are red

Violets are blue

If one meal is good

Than make twenty-two.


I made a huge pot of pasta sauce on Monday. I didn’t cook the pasta until Tuesday, because I didn’t have room in my fridge. Then, I could share fresh off the stove meals with friends and neighbors and still have a few for my already jammed freezer. (I did squeeze in two)

Miss Kathy doesn’t like a lot of sauce, so hers was more like mac n cheese. I think I like that too.

Helene was kind enough to take a few off my hands and disperse others to our mutual friends across the street from her. Mr. Jerry enjoyed his, and I dropped off the last container to my neighbor, Mr. Danny, on my evening walk tonight. Guess what I’m having for dinner.

Yep! I do not know moderation, but I do know that “Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven.”

Sharing is caring. Happy Wednesday, my friends.

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom About Fences

24 Jul

“Good neighbors make good fences.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“Good fences make good neighbors.”

~Robert Frost


Several weeks ago, as you may recall, we had a big gusty storm that had my back fence flopping in the wind, and teetering on the brink of collapse. I didn’t know the neighbors behind me, (quite unusual) but I went and rang there bell a few times and never found them at home.

I had a call into the man who repaired other sections of my fence previously, because the fence looks like it was put together with chewing gum and popsicle sticks. (Pretty much) Every minor storm wreaks new havoc. The entire neighborhood is the same, with many brand new fences being put in on homes just a year or two older than mine. Well, my fence guy never called me back with his estimate. I waited patiently for a couple of weeks, and still no neighbor to discuss our mutual back fence.

Then one day last week, I heard hammering and sawing and other strange noises. My neighbor was repairing and shoring up the fallen fence. I went out to introduce myself and discuss the fence.

Well, long and short, my kind neighbor Bob, said that he would repair the fence, put in strong metal posts instead of the flimsy wooden posts previously installed, and he would do all the work himself. Instead of paying a contractor hundreds of dollars, he said we could just split the costs of materials. Wow!

Bob spent three or four different days shoring up, cutting down, digging up, sawing, mixing cement, and I’m not sure how many trips to Lowe’s. When he removed the old ragged posts, he said only one of the three was actually cemented in. This kind neighbor also reinforced with new wood, a different section of my fence that wasn’t even on his side.

Yesterday, I got to meet Bob’s wife, Christy, as we talked between torn out picket fence posts in the back yard. Such nice people. I asked if they would be home later because I wanted to make them some brownies. They said they would. I still can’t believe all the work my neighbor did.

Well, anyone can make brownies, so I decided to also bring them a nice bottle of wine and a couple of my hand painted yellow rose wine glasses. Neighbors sharing their gifts with neighbors.

So, the proverb about “Good fences making good neighbors,” should actually read, “Good neighbors make good fences.”

Here are my very good neighbors Bob and Christy. Thank you for my very good fence, and a new friendship.

Good fences make good neighbors

Until it falls apart

Then, your neighbor comes to fix it

From the goodness of his heart

A fence is just a symbol

The means unto an end

When you have a special neighbor

You also have a friend.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

(For Bob and Christy, my new friends)

The proverb ‘Good fences make good neighbours‘ is listed by Oxford Dictionary of Quotations as a mid 17th century proverb. Robert Frost gave the proverb a boost in the American consciousness with his 1914 poem Mending Walls. … He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

Wednesday:) What Did I See On My Walk and Why Was I In Trouble?

11 Apr

“I guess there’s a fine line between admiring beauty and being seen as a possible threat. It’s all in your perspective.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


It was a really hot and terribly windy day here in North Texas, but that didn’t stop me from my daily walk. My walking is my pensive contemplative time. I also love taking pictures of butterflies, beautiful flowers, wonderful weeds, sidewalk chalk art, and meeting new neighbors and chatting with old friends.

Well, today I was just about a mile into my walk when I saw some beautiful chalk art drawings in a driveway. I stopped to take some pictures. The sun was very bright, so I walked around, trying to get just the right angle.

Look how cute.

This was my favorite, the tall tree covered most of the drawing, but the cool blue sun popped through the shadow. A nice symbolism of the sun bursting through the shadows. I continued my walk. I saw several butterflies, but by the time I got my phone out, they would flutter down the street.

Now here’s the funny getting into trouble part. When I got home, my phone dinged with a neighborhood ring doorbell alert. It was a neighbor asking, “Does anyone know this lady? (It was a video of me taking pictures of the driveway art,) She was taking pictures of my driveway where my daughter drew some pictures with chalk. Is she the HOA lady? Doesn’t she have anything better to do than write citations for chalk art?”

Well, what followed was a barrage of comments about the HOA and how ridiculous they are and how they can’t come onto private property. Then, other people commented about how mean that was. One person even said, your garbage can had blown over in the street, she could have at least picked it up instead of taking pictures of your driveway.

I just laughed as I read the comments. I went to the comment section and wrote, “Oh, this is funny. My name is Toni, I’m your neighbor. I walk every day, and when I passed by your driveway this morning, I saw this beautiful artwork on the driveway and just had to take some pictures. I’m sorry if that made you nervous. And, it’s a good thing you are being careful. We need to look out for our neighborhood. I would have done the same thing.”

As I read more comments, I smiled. Several neighbors wrote, “I know that lady. She’s an artist and a wonderful neighbor. She was probably admiring the art work.” Another friend commented, “She’s the sweetest lady and she loves artwork and I’m sure she was taking pictures of the drawings. She volunteers teaching art and bakes brownies for the firemen. She’ll probably bring you some brownies.”

About an hour later, I was on my way to take some art supplies to Towne Creek, where I volunteer. Miss Kathy wanted to paint a couple of bowls today and didn’t have the materials. But first, I stopped at the house where I took the pictures and got in trouble. And yes, I took some brownies. When I rang the bell, there was no answer, so I talked to the ring doorbell, knowing that I’d be on video. I explained who I was and apologized if I worried anyone, and I was starting to walk away when a lady came to the door.

This is my new friend Wei. We talked for quite a while. I told her how much I admired the artwork and that I was a former art teacher. I said I walk past her house every day, and that maybe one day I can come a draw with her and her daughter.

Later on, there was a comment on the neighborhood Ring Doorbell Alert from Wei saying that she met the very nice lady who was taking pictures of her driveway and there was no problem. I guess the video feed was deleted. I was hoping to share the funny video of the mysterious picture lady. I do look rather suspicious. NOT!

Yep, it’s all in your perspective.