Sunday Sermon, Some Lemonade, and Smiles

24 Jun

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade and set up a lemonade stand. Make it count.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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A sizzling steamy Sunday, but the impending rain held off. It’s always wonderful greeting at the door before Mass, with lots of smiles and hugs.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus talking to the crowds and healing the sick. When it started to get late, the Apostles suggested that they send the five thousand people away because the crowds were hungry after a long day. Jesus said that they should be fed, but only five loaves and two fish were available.

16 “Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd.

17 They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps left over were collected they filled twelve baskets.”

My take on it…sometimes you think there isn’t enough or things couldn’t possibly work out. With a little faith and a lot of determination, not only is anything possible, but sometimes the outcome is better than you could have ever imagined.

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After Mass, I stopped for coffee with Miss Mary. We barely get to talk while greeting at the door, so we had a lot of catching up to do. Then, a quick stop at the grocery store.

On my way home, I saw a lemonade stand by the entrance of my neighborhood. I remembered seeing it advertised on our neighborhood Nextdoor app. The children were raising money for Scottish Rite Hospital. I stopped by and just made a donation. I said I really didn’t need any lemonade, but maybe if a couple kids passed by later with no money, perhaps they could offer them a glass of lemonade. Pay it forward.

Storms are expected tonight…again, so I changed clothes and went for a walk. Wow, it was still hot out there. The heat index was around 105.

The best part of my Sunday is always my FaceTime with my adorable grandchildren. Sophie was already in her crib, so Belle kept me well entertained with stories of her two socks and daddy has two socks and mommy has no socks. She went to the park and went on the swing. Isn’t it funny how those trivial stories are so adorable? I love that little face. She looks so much like my angel mother.

Ah, the skies just opened up and I can hear the rain pelting down on the roof. The Directv is scrambled and sputtering, as usual. Oh well. Here we go again.

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday:) Some More Baking, Storms and My Silent Sanctuary

22 Jun

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

― Ansel Adams

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I stayed up till after 2 am baking my mini cupcakes. I like to do the baking part the night before, but I prefer to frost them right before I need to deliver them, so they’re fresh. I hate dry crusty frosting, don’t you?

I was baking for St. Gabriel’s big Casino Night fundraiser tonight. The Women’s Club sent an email requesting baked goods. Say no more. But also, as is my tradition, when I bake for one thing, I also make extra for my firemen.

I didn’t set an alarm or have an early agenda, so I woke up, and took a short walk, less than two miles. It was already pretty darn hot. Google said, “The temperature in McKinney is 95, but with the humidity and heat index, it feels like 105.” Yikes!

I came home, drank a lot of water, then proceeded to frost and package up the mini cupcakes. These are my favorite. Chocolate with a cherry from pie filling hiding inside.

My first stop was Fire Station 9. They really appreciate my sweet treat drive by visits.

Then, off to church with two containers. When I got to the community center, there weren’t too many cars and the inside looked dark. But, the door was unlocked and I saw four men sitting at a distant table. All the other tables and chairs were set up and ready for the big event later. One gentleman came over and said,”Thank you,” when I said I had some cupcakes.

The bottom of the foil pans didn’t feel that sturdy and the plastic covers kept popping off. For some reason I said, “CUIDADO!” when he picked up the containers. I’m not sure why? Maybe he looked a little Hispanic, it just slipped out. And that means “Watch out,” or “Be careful,” in Spanish.

Without skipping a beat, he responded while juggling the flimsy aluminum pans, “Muchisimas gracias.” OK! He spoke Spanish. Phew!

I decided to stop in the adjoining sanctuary just a few feet away. It was Saturday afternoon and no one else was around. I love having the entire silent sanctuary all to myself. And, our beautiful new church is like an amazing old European Cathedral. It’s very quiet and peaceful and I feel like I’m alone there, talking to God, and He’s listening to only me. I’m pretty sure He is.

When I got home, it was a little overcast and they were calling for big storms, so I figured I’d try and get a little more walking in. When it’s hot, I prefer to take several short walks instead of a long one. A couple of times, I over did it and had to sit under a tree to catch my breath when I got light headed. Not good. I managed to get 3.5 miles total in today.

I barely got home when the skies opened up. A nice refreshing rain. The temp is 78 now instead of in the 90’s.

So, a very nice Saturday so far. I have dinner plans at Miss Pat’s and then we are off to the Performing Arts Center on the square for a concert at 8. What a perfect day.

Happy Saturday, my friends.

Friday:) Find Your Passion, Share Your Passion

22 Jun

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

~Maya Angelou

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I love this quote from Maya Angelou. There is so much more to life than making money and only looking out for yourself. And, what better way to live life than with passion and compassion.

I have many passions… art, painting, writing, baking, dancing, singing and sharing. The first thing I wanted to share today was my no-recipe recipe for Clean Out the Freezer Fruity Upside down Cake,

My freezer is always jam-packed to the gills with fruit, vegetables, left-overs and ice cream, of course. I tend to buy more groceries than I need, mostly because I buy food, then end up going out to eat all the time. Thus, I have food to freeze, not to mention left overs from all those lunches and dinners to freeze.

So, when I want to use up a few things in the freezer, I bake a cake. I went into the freezer and took out several different packages of frozen fruit. I had strawberries, blueberries, mango, and peaches. Then, I mixed in a can of apple pie filling.

First things first. I like to make a funny face with the mix before I start blending. It’s a goofy tradition I have. Humor is important.

I melt 1/2 stick of butter and add about a cup of brown sugar (I don’t measure) into a foil lined pan, stir that around till the pan is coated. Mix up the defrosted fruit with a can of apple pie filling and pour on top of sugar/butter mixture. Then, I use a yellow cake mix following directions and pour over fruit.

I bake at 350, but you can’t really time it. It takes a lot longer than a regular cake because of all the gooey fruit, so, I just keep testing doneness with the touch cake with your finger method. It has to bounce not sink. Bakers know that. Once it looks done, I actually turn off the oven and let it sit in the oven a while longer.

After it cools, I put a platter on top and flip it over. That’s what the foil is for. It peels away, leaving a beautiful fruity topping. Yum!

Then, share with your favorite local fire station.

Well, that was last week. After I’m done posting this, I have more baking to do tonight, as I volunteered to bake a mess of mini cupcakes for the St. Gabriel’s Casino Night tomorrow. A baker’s work is never done.

Sharing is caring. My mission in life…

Theme Song Thursday:) At Last

21 Jun

“Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.”

― Edward Bulwer Lytton

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I always look forward to Thursday night. It’s karaoke night at Delaney’s Irish Pub. We had a small group of regulars tonight because quite a few people were traveling this week. But, we also had some new folks join us. One lady, in particular, said that she was just visiting with friends and never sang karaoke before. Oh my goodness, Johnnie has an amazing voice.

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

Our fearless leader and DJ tonight, Justin, sang a few songs. One of our favorites is “A Boy Named Sue.” It’s a tough one to sing, but he does a great job. I didn’t get a chance to record it. Maybe next time.

I sang a duet with Miss Loretta, “Unforgettable.” We hadn’t practiced it, so I was pretty bad. She has a lovely voice. Then later, I sang “Walk on By.” That was pretty high for me so I squealed and squeaked a little here and there. I always say, “I sing loud and proud and off key, but I love to sing.” (Thank goodness for friends who applaud and don’t boo.) I don’t plan on quitting my day job and going on the road. Wait…I don’t have a day job. Lucky thing,

Still with a song in my heart and on my mind, I came home and was singing a few more songs with YouTube. I liked this one.

Yep, not gonna quit my day job quite yet,..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoB1I5QBD-c

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

20 Jun

“Nothin says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven, especially if its hand-painted glassware.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Being an artist has its upsides and its challenges. I have trouble going out and buying gifts for friends because I always want to make them something special. Oh, don’t get me started on Christmas gift exchanges with my artist friends. Those are the best because you know all the time and love and thought that has gone into each personalized gift.

With that in mind, I was trying to think of something special to make for Mr. Jerry’s big 75th birthday bash yesterday. I’ve painted a couple of martini glasses in the past because he has a martini glass collection. Then, one year I painted a couple of wine glasses to match, with those vibrant African colors and silhouetted trees and a giraffe thrown in for good measure. I wanted to make a bold statement for his collection, so I painted a large glass vase in the same motif. He buys fresh flowers for his table every Friday, and I know he really appreciates my homemade and unique gifts. A one-of-a-kind vase would be perfect.

I started out with a large clear glass vase and Folk Art Enamel glass paints. I turned it upside down and started dabbing wine red with a makeup sponge to get a soft application. Then, while still wet, dab in orange, blending ever so gently to avoid lines. The last color was yellow. I flipped it right side up for the last color, blending and softening lines and edges. Usually, when I take on a new project, I paint several smaller prototypes first to get all the kinks out before I risk messing up the larger project. Also, I like to keep a few references for the future because once I paint something and give it away, “I’ll never have that recipe again.”

After the background is painted and dry, I use black for the trees and giraffe. I have to laugh because no two giraffes I paint ever look the same. Some have short necks, some way too long legs, or a big butt that goes around the corner, Ha!

I was happy with my smaller prototypes, so I proceeded with the large vase.

I bake the glassware in a regular oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and leave unopened to cool. This helps to heat set the glass paint. (Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven.”

Voila! Mr. Jerry’s special birthday present. I think it will look cool with flowers or even one of those battery operated candles that flicker inside.

Here are the other prototypes. The small one was a gift for Brandi, Jerry’s lovely daughter who hosted the party. The other two will remain in my personal collection for a while. I hope you liked the step by step painting process of …Toni takes old glass and turns it into a new treasure.

I hope you liked your gift Mr. Jerry. Happy birthday.

Tuesday:) Today is Jerry’s Soulful 75th Birthday

19 Jun

“Birthdays are good for your health.  Studies show those who have more birthdays live longer.”

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Happy birthday to my dear friend Jerry Horton who celebrated his 75th birthday with about 75 of his dearest friends and family. It was a grand celebration for a wonderful man. I think if anyone was asked to describe Jerry in just one word, that word would be “gentleman.”

Jerry is as colorful a character as the flamboyant clothing he loves to wear. Today, yellow was the color choice of this gregarious man’s garb. There was a wide array of yummy catered food, a well stocked bar, complete with a bartender, and a three piece jazz band. Such a fun party. Classy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDmrWRVx3pQ

Happy 75th birthday to a very sweet colorful character. Love ya

Mr. Jerry.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

17 Jun

“When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day.”

~Ella Woodward

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Great idea! I’m going upstairs to my craft room and look for my glitter! It usually applies most of November and December when I’m always covered in glitter when I paint my ornaments. I know Sherry Joplin and a few of my artist friends can relate to that. During the holidays, we all have a glow about us. Mine is ultra-fine opalescent prisma glitter,

But, now its late Spring filled with bad storms and rain and flooding, with Summer on the way. It’s been a great busy week for me, as usual. And, this upcoming week even crazier than the last. Life is good.

A week in a peek…