Tag Archives: sharing

Wednesday:) My Personal Words of Wisdom

23 Jun

“Wake up thankful, see beauty everywhere, share, care, and never stop learning.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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One of the many self-help podcasts and webinars I’ve been listening to suggested that getting up early, meditating, exercising, and eating healthier could not only improve your body, but also your mind. Those of you who know me well know that I rarely go to sleep before 1 or 2 am, and getting out of bed somewhere before noon. I am AMAZING! I can change my habits.

I’ve been getting up before 7am, saying my novena, listening to my Formed Daily Reflection, and out the door for my walk before 8 am. I’ve been averaging 2 to 3 miles a day, sometimes more. (See beauty)

After my strenuous streamy walk, I sat on the bench and soaked in the sun, admired my view, and listened to the birds chirping their happy songs. (See beauty)
My neighbor cats followed me home, and Juno tried to walk inside with me. I’m keeping an eye on them while Miss Kathy is out of town a few days. (Care)

Today was garbage pick up day. It was already super hot out there, so when I heard the truck churning down the street, I ran out to give the very nice driver some cookies and a cold Dr. Pepper. He had the biggest smile on his appreciative face. (Sharing is caring)

After drinking a lot of water, I worked on an on-line writing workshop with Nadia Colburn. I was going to make a smoothie, but when I grabbed a few frozen blueberries and popped them in my mouth, I decided to just eat frozen blueberries for breakfast while I wrote. They were delicious and refreshing. (Eating healthy and keep learning)

This motivated me before heading over to the MillHouse for our in person writing group called Words With Friends. (More learning)

On my way to the east side, I stopped by Towne Creek Senior Apartments to drop off a couple of cases of bottled water for their community closet. I’ll be there Friday, but I’ll already have so much to carry. (Sharing)

Our writing group was great. Such a great group of talented creative ladies. Thank you, Melissa Cantu, for always challenging and inspiring. (Learning)

I found a feather outside at the MIllHouse on my way to my car. (Lucky)

Talk about sharing, Andrea Holmes had posted on Facebook that she was organizing her studio at MillHouse and had a whole bunch of extra cool art supplies for anyone who wanted them. I arrived early and picked out some awesome paints, papers, and other art supplies. (Sometimes others share)

By 7 pm, I was actually hungry. I made a great big salad. Yum. Perhaps I’ll splurge and have a glass of wine later. After all, grapes are very healthy, even in liquid form, right?

What a busy beautiful healthy sharing caring learning kinda Wednesday.

Friday:)Fabulous Artist Friends At Towne Creek Senior Apartments

28 May

“The only thing better than a day creating art, is a day creating art with old friends.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Today was our Towne Creek Craft and Art Day with our senior friends. There’s always a lot of preparation, anticipation and great expectation… (you See my literary play on words there? I was going to say constipation🤦‍♀️)

I decided we would work on the torn tissue paper project from my Tuesday video. I really wasn’t sure if it would go over well or if it would be too difficult. Boy, was I surprised. They all turned out fabulous.

I started out this morning making my famous popcorn/pretzel/cereal mixture. I make individual bags for each person to take home after the class. They said that they like to watch tv and have their popcorn snack. I gathered up all the supplies, and cut up individual brown bag trees, little squares of 4 colors of green for the trees, and squares of tissue paper colors for the background. A lot of prep.
I also chocolate dipped some strawberries, made a few more lemon cheesecake cookies and cut up a watermelon. Helene was making her famous pasta salad and I was bringing hot dogs, nacho cheese dip, tortilla chips, drinks, and ice cream. Can you say Friday Feast!

Helene and I arrived about the same time and got a couple of carts to haul in all our supplies and goodies. We organized tables, put plastic table cloths and passed out the art supplies needed. I did a brief demo of how to tear the tissue paper, add the dimensional tree, and make all the dimensional leaves. Then, everyone got to work. I couldn’t believe how awesome each background looked.

The background layers were pretty wet from the watery glue, so we set them outside to dry. They were dry in 10 minutes in the sun.
We also had a lovely teenage girl, Michele, who volunteers at Towne Creek, join us. (Miss Kathy-top left, Michelle-top right, Nadia-bottom left, David-bottom right.
Helene’s and Bonnie’s trees turned out so cute. Helene even experimented with two or three colors in one leaf. I love when people experiment and create something spectacular. While the trees were drying, we had a dessert break, then worked on some holographic scratch boards. Those were cool, too.
Then time for our Friday Feast. We hold hands, say a prayer of thanks for our meal and our friendship. Then, we eat like little piggies u til we are about to explode.

Happy Friday, my friends. I hope your day was a fun and fabulous as ours. ❤️

Tuesday:) Toni’s Time and Money Saving Tips of the Day

1 Mar

“Not wasting money is the best way to save money.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

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I have and will always be a coupon cutting, sale shopping, and share your blessings kinda gal. My grocery shopping ritual begins with checking out the sales and digital coupon specials every week. The digital coupons are usually awesome.

Tip #1- Grocery shopping should primarily be composed of what’s on sale that week. If it ain’t on sale, ya don’t always need it. Why do you HAVE to have the $4.00 bag of Oreos?

Last week Kroger had canned corn 3 for $1.00, bananas 29cents a pound, pears on sale and I had a coupon for a free box of Mac and cheese. The corn I used in soup and I make my famous salsa with. The bananas, I was able to take some to Towne Creek so everyone who came to the art class got a great meal, snacks, treats, drinks, and a banana to take home for later. I don’t usually eat Mac and cheese, so I’ll find someone who could use it. It was free!
My receipt… I spent $3.85, purchased 10 items and saved $9.30. I saved more than twice than what I spent.

Tip#2- When you are going to share your bananas with friends in a few days, wrap the ends in foil or plastic, and they won’t ripen so fast.

6 days later, still good and perfectly ripe. (Make sure to buy them more on the green side, though.) I had a couple of bananas left over that I wasn’t going to eat right away, so I froze them for smoothies for another time.

Tip#3- “Chop once, eat many times. I found some red and yellow peppers on sale the other day. They are usually mucho expensive. They were 4 for $1.00. I bought 8. I usually make a nice frittata on Saturday, so these were perfect.

I also chopped up a couple of large onions and added 1/4 onion to each bag to freeze for 8 more Saturdays… unless a soup or some other meal needs a little of the mixture. I chopped once and will save a lot of time and tears later. Onions… I always cry.

Tip#4- When purchasing all these great sales and prepping all this food, make sure you have enough room in your freezer. Ice cream was on sale yesterday, so I was forced to eat the little bit that was left in the old container before I could fit the new one in. I tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

Yikes! Red Barron Pizzas were 3 for $10 and I had a $1.50 off coupon when you buy 3. An entire pizza for less than $3.00. I usually bake a pizza on Friday.

Hey, sales are great. But don’t forget, you can always share your blessings with family, friends, and neighbors. “Sharing is caring.“

Tuesday:) Time to Visit Our Friends at Holy Family School

3 Aug

“Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.”

~Toy T. Bennett

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Ah, today Helene and I drove over to Holy Family School to drop off our treasure trove of snacks, drinks, and school supplies that we have been collecting for over a month. We try and get over there at least once a month with our Kroger, Tom Thumb and Walmart bargains and sales that we find for the little ones during the course of the month. We get so excited when we find a great sale… “Oh look, yogurt is 3 for $1. Crayon’s are 2 for $1. Wait, wait…Goldfish Mickey Mouse crackers, only 99cents?” We are easily excited. This is just our little way to share our smiles and love with the adorable pre-school children and staff and our community.

My snacks and drinks, sales and bargains.
Helene found a ton of crayons and markers to add to her fantastic finds.
Miss Sondra was upstairs in her classroom with the children, but took a few minutes to come down and say a quick hello. We hadn’t seen her in months. Such a sweet loving lady. so good to see her smiling face.
Look at those adorable faces.

After our quick visit, we stopped at One and Only Burger on HWY 5 and 380 for lunch. OMG! The fries are so fresh and hot and delicious, and the medium bag is enough for two line backers and their brother . The burgers are handcrafted, not frozen, with anything you want on it. I had lettuce, tomatoes, mustard, avocado, mushrooms and grilled onions. (No extra cost) PLUS, get this, when we got our receipt, I couldn’t figure out why it was so darn cheap. We usually spend a lot more for one meal, much less two. The girl gave us a senior discount. (Hmm? Should I be happy or insulted? I went with happy,)

We did our best, but couldn’t finish all the fries.

A great day with friends, food, smiles, and our Holy Family School Family.

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom~What Are You Doing For Others?

15 Apr

“Life’s persistent and most urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

Martin Luther King Jr.

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Sometimes I wonder if people reading my stories about taking brownies to the firemen, or volunteering with local senior artists, or taking food and treats to the preschool, well, I wonder if they think I’m trying to toot my own horn or show off. The truth of the matter is, I have found that when I share some of these random acts of kindness, often times, other people are influenced to join in on the fun. Yes, fun. Friends have given me checks to donate, others have given me cookies to take to my firemen, and others have joined me in volunteering. And guess what? They had fun and felt joy, too.

There is no greater satisfaction in the world than making someone smile. It could be something as simple as paying a compliment to a stranger, or writing a note or making a call to an old friend. And, my firemen love my brownies and always smile. From my own experience, I have found that the more I give, the more I receive.

I always say that my cup isn’t half full or half empty, but rather, it’s always overflowing. I have been blessed with so much that I try and share a little of my blessings with others. Then, right when the cup starts getting a tiny bit lower, it gets filled to overflowing again, so I need to share again. That’s how my universe works.

Monday, Helene and I went over to Holy Family School over on the east side. During the course of the month, we shop the sales at different stores for items that the little ones can use, anything from baby wipes to cookies to, the ever popular, Mickey Mouse Goldfish crackers. We delight in sharing our bargains. Then, about once a month, we gather a trunk load of items and take it over.

This month, I hit the jackpot, apple juice was only 99 cents, as well as the bags of cookies. Helene had puddings, cookies, and a bunch of other treats at her house.
Between the two of us, we had a trunk load of goodies for the little ones.
Miss Melody greeted us with the biggest smile, even under her mask. She knows that we are just two ladies that appreciate what the school is doing to help the young children and families in the neighborhood.

If we all just give back a little to our community, the world could be a better happier place. I know Helene and I are happier every time we visit.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

18 Nov

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

― Anne Sexton

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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.

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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:) 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

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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

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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:) Food Frenzy Makes Me Happy

21 Mar

“If you are a chef, no matter how good a chef you are, it’s not good cooking for yourself; the joy is in cooking for others – it’s the same with music.”

~ will.i.am

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I can’t even remember how many days it’s been since the world has “Gone to hell in a hand-basket.” And, if you have a hand-basket, make sure you stay six feet away from everyone, wash your hands carefully, and sanitize your hand-basket. It seems like forever, but in reality it’s only been a few weeks for us here in the states. And, it looks like no foreseeable end in sight.

Today, I did my usual routine of staying in bed until the cows came home. No cows, so I got moving around noon. I worked on a couple of small projects. One was framing one of my paintings to add to my personal home art gallery. (Wait till you see it when I’m done. Amazing.)

For the last three days, I’ve eaten the same thing every day for dinner. That was my only meal. For some reason lazy days slip into night before I think about eating. Here’s what I made each day. One flour tortilla, warmed in a dry pan till crispy, add a three bean and corn salsa mixture. I topped it with cheese, lettuce and a few dollops of plain yogurt. Yum! I’m not a vegetarian, I just happen to like this.

So, today I needed to cook. Ah, pasta. Massive quantities of pasta. That makes me happy.

I sautéed some Italian sausage and made a huge pot of pasta sauce, and boiled up two pounds of mostaccioli. When I cook, I cook tons so I can share. While the pasta was cooking, I made my famous Snicker peanut butter no bake pie. A big pie and some little ones. I made enough to share with Mr. Mike and my neighbor Kathy, and still have plenty for me.

Boy! I sure did make a mess, but that’s ok. It was fun.

Now, here’s the funny part. I finally realized today was Friday and I put sausage in the pasta and it’s Lent. Oops! No meat on Friday. It looked pretty good. I’ll have to wait till tomorrow. So, I made a big salad for dinner.

Oh well! The joy was more in the cooking and sharing than the eating it myself.

Now…. FINALLY… Black Russian Friday, my friends. Cheers!

Tuesday:) Two Tips of the Day: Share Your Blessings and Try to Ignore Ignorance

19 Feb

“Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

― Mark Twain

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I’m a firm believer of “The more you give, the more you receive.” There are many ways to give and share besides writing a check or swiping your credit card. Your time, thoughtfulness, sharing a kind word, or sharing your talents are ways to share your blessings,

One of my favorite places to visit and share is Holy Family School on the east side of McKinney. This Episcopal Christian school and daycare provides a safe educational and faith based environment for children ranging in ages from babies to kindergarten, and just seeing those adorable faces is enough to melt any heart.

So, when I see these great sales at the grocery store, I purchase items that I know the school can use for the children’s meals, snacks or care. I also enlist friends to participate, then we drop it off at the school. Today, Helene and I dropped off some cereal, fruit snacks a 10 cans of tuna.

Miss Sondra always greets us with a smile and a big thank you. She’s the greatest.

Look at these adorable children.

There are many ways to give back and share your blessings with your community. If you’d like to see more about Holy Family School, follow them on Facebook.

https://m.facebook.com/HFSMcKinneyTX/

When I got home, I walked Bella thorough the park back to Mr. Mike’s house. I keep an eye on Bella when Mr. Mike travels, and he just got home from the airport. He’s my neighbor and a great friend. I watch his dog when he travels and he’s always looking out for me when I need help. Being the president and owner of a large security business, I’m all hooked up with the latest security technology. We look out for each other. He provides security and manpower, I provide brownies and doggie daycare. A win-win.

Today, Mr. Mike brought me a gift from the airport gift shop on his way home. Does he know me or what? I’m enjoying the chocolates now with a glass of wine.

Surround yourself with sharing and caring people. The more you give, the more you receive. (And chocolate is very caring.)

Now, for the ignorance…When I got home from my walk, I checked the mailbox, and I had a bunch of mail. One letter was from the neighborhood HOA. I assumed it was just a receipt from our absorbent yearly HOA fee that I paid last month, but NOOOOO! It was a citation warning me about the “weeds along the curb around and/or in front of your property need to be removed.” I have ten days to comply.

It’s the middle of winter, for goodness sake. Who goes pulling weeds in the winter? We’ve had a lot of rain and a few warm days, and my grass is turning green and the weeds are popping up like crazy. Here’s the thing, I pay hundreds of dollars a year to a landscaping company that supposedly takes care of my weeds. They already did the first pre-emergent application. Seeing as it’s not mowing season yet, and the grass is supposed to be dormant right now, well, the weeds are flourishing. They were even kind enough to provide a photo of a clump of weeds by the curb. There must be four or five clumps of weeds in my front yard. Oh my gosh!!! Sacrilege!!!! I certainly hope EVERY house in the neighborhood with a clump of weeds received a warning.

I’m trying to ignore ignorance, but it’s not that easy. Give me strength!