Archive | January, 2019

Theme Song Thursday:) On The Street Where You Live

24 Jan

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind.”

~Leo Buscaglia

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I do love and live this quote. I could have written this quote. When I walk down the street, I do get excited about the little things I see along my walk.

A couple of twigs needed just a little adjustment to make a perfect heart.

The lush green and golden dandelions are popping up amidst the dreary gray January dormant lawns. How hearty and strong and persistent weeds are. I like the concept of,”We may not be pretty. We may not be wanted or popular. You may not like us, but here we are, defying the weather and the hate and the attempts on our life. We will flourish!” Interesting analogy. (I think weird things while I’m walking.)

The skies are always amazing, whether dappled with eerie clouds or painted with brilliant blazes of color. The same street… a different spectacular sky.

St. Francis over at Miss Bernadine’s front yard is still wearing his winter coat and hat, and I always give him a little pat on the head when I pass by.

These are just a few of my favorite sites…all on the streets where I live. I’ll never stop being “wildly enthusiastic about the little things.” I’ll always play with the twigs and leaves and skip down the street.

What magic awaits on the street where you live?

Wednesday:) What’s Happening in McKinney?

24 Jan

“Caring can be learned by all human beings, can be worked into the design of every life, meeting an individual need as well as a pervasive need of society.”

~Mary Catherine Bateson

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Last evening, a wonderful group of talented artists met at The HUB, at First United Methodist Church of McKinney. Our objective was to create beautiful underglaze paintings on the already fired bisque-ware bowls thrown and fired by local potters for the upcoming Empty Bowls Event in May.

For those of you not familiar with the Empty Bowls charity event, local potters, artists, painters, students, instructors, and other creative souls decorate, paint, glaze or create unique bowls to be auctioned or chosen with an entry fee ticket. The concept is, these lovingly created bowls will remind us of all the many Empty Bowls of the less fortunate and hungry people in our own community.

When you purchase a ticket, (I believe they are $25) it entitles you to chose one of the hundreds of bowls on display. Then, there are fine artisan bowls in the silent auction, and extra bowls that can be purchased. Also, local restaurants, bakeries, and eateries provide samples of their soups and desserts while you browse and visit with friends and neighbors. You get a beautiful bowl, a wonderful meal, and the knowledge that you helped to feed some hungry folks. A win-win.

Last year, over $75,000 was raised to help provide meals for families in Collin County.

Here are just a few bowls that I chose over the years at Empty Bowls. I’ve gone every year since it started. Some were made by middle and high school students, and others by local artists.

When I walked into the HUB last night, it was like The Who’s Who of the McKinney art world. Of course, most of them are already dear friends from the Art Club, or long-time artist friends.

Everyone was hard at work, creating a masterpiece that will grace the auction tables in May.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to paint when I arrived, so I went to my signature bluebonnets and roses. Keep in mind, these under glazes will be brighter and shiny once they are fired in the kiln. Another huge task that the volunteers undertake.

Our good friends Steve and Minda Macias, Jamie St.Clair, Jennifer Burke, Wayne Batchelder and others, organized and set up this 2-D artist event, and have been busy all year organizing other creative events for Empty Bowls.

You can Google or check out Facebook Empty Bowls McKinney for more info.

Minda commented on Facebook that I was an over achiever because I finished two bowls while others were still struggling to finish their first one. I laughed because I can do these with my eyes closed…and I have demonstrated that on occasion.

I still haven’t painted my artist donation bowl yet, but I’ll keep you posted when I do. It’s all for a great charity and for a great community. We have the greatest, kindest, most generous and talented people you’ll ever come across in your lifetime. I LOVE MCKINNEY!!!

Tuesday:)Toni’s Tasty Tip for Today~ Mini Cherry Cupcakes

22 Jan

“It’s not enough to just share my tasty treats, I have to share the tips and tricks so you can make them too.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Last week, I made a zillion mini cupcakes that I shared with a lot of folks, and people always ask me for my secret recipe. I have a standard response for when they ask, “Did you make that from scratch?” I always reply, “Of course! I scratch open the box, and go from there.” Then I’m asked what boxed mix do you prefer, and I am very picky about that. I prefer that the cake or brownie mix be on sale. I refuse to pay full price.

My favorite mini cupcakes are made easier by using several ginormous pans that hold 4 dozen and two dozen at a time. If you’re baking a lot, it’s worth the investment and goes a lot faster. I use the mini cupcake paper liners, and I can scoot those little devils in and out of there, right quick.

The secret surprise filling is what amazes first time recipients. I put 1/2 batter (about a tablespoon) into the liner, place one cherry on top, I use canned cherry pie filling so it has some goo, and bake. The Cherry usually gets covered over in baking. Another tip, if you use those dark teflon pans, reduce to 325*. I’ve burned a lot at 350.

I usually make homemade chocolate frosting (from scratch), but I didn’t have any milk, not a drop. So, I decided to make cherry frosting, using the extra pie filling goo for the liquid. 1 package cream cheese and two sticks butter softened, 1 pound confectioners sugar and cherry pie filling goo as needed. (I don’t measure.)

Now, here’s another great tip. I HATE cleaning up those huge cupcake pans. They don’t fit in my sink and the rims get all crusty and gooey. Once, in the summer, I got a huge plastic bin and soaked them outside over night. But, it’s been really cold there. So, I discovered that if I placed a sopping wet dish towel over the tins and let soak a few hours, the crusty part cleans up in a snap.

Then, I just get a soapy scrubber and go round and round right quick in each cup and rinse. TA-DA! Ready for another day. Like this weekend…yikes…more baking on the horizon for the St. Gabriel’s women’s CRHP retreat on Saturday. Another tip…I just leave all that stuff out on the counter. Just gonna use it again.

Just Another Manic Monday:) ๐Ÿ™ƒ

22 Jan

“We choose mania over boredom every time.”

~James Gleick

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I didn’t get to bed till almost 3am this morning. I’m a bit of a night owl. Who else vacuums at midnight, looks at Facebook and emails for hours, then spends two hours sorting through bills and paperwork? Oh, don’t forget, had to take time to look at the special moon a few times last night. Yah, that’s me.

So, when my phone rang at 10 am, I was still half asleep. The other half had been meditating and dozing for a few hours. My mantra is, “I am happy. I am blessed.” I repeat that when I can’t sleep at night and when I wake in the morning. My mind is always working, and I always like to keep busy. Is that mania? I don’t know, but it’s better than the opposite, I guess.

I answered the phone. My friend Sherri was on the other end asking if I’d like to go to a movie. Without hesitation, I said sure. She said, “I’ll pick you up in an hour.” Yikes! A quick shower, squeegee and wipe down the shower, (not OCD-just a good habit), make the bed, get dressed, make a cup of tea, and play piano while I waited for the honk in the driveway at 11.

We saw “The Green Book.” A very good thought provoking movie. After the movie, we stopped for a late lunch. The new Panera opened up on Hardin and 380. I love Panera. It was great to chat and catch up with Miss Sherri.

I got home around 4:30. Woa! Where did the day go? The Single Mingle group was meeting at Rockfish for dinner at 5. I normally don’t go to Rockfish, but Miss Barbara was leaving for a few months, and that would be my last chance to see her. She had given me a beautiful Christmas present in November and I was gone all December and wanted to give her a couple of hand-painted wine glasses. So, I grabbed the gift and off to Rockfish.

There was a pretty good crowd when I arrived. Miss Barbara loved her wine glasses, and I had a chance to visit with more friends. NO! I didn’t eat dinner. I had just eaten lunch at 3.

I got home around 7:30, made another cup of tea, and started writing this post. I’m sure that I’ll think of a few more things I need to do tonight. But, I probably won’t get rolling until midnight. That’s how I roll.

JUST ANOTHER MANIC MONDAY.

Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

21 Jan

“Men are what their mothers made them.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Another sock monkey hat morning. The snow from yesterday was all melted but it was bitterly cold greeting at the door before Mass. The warm smiles and hugs from friends more than made up for the cold. I had my Matchbox cars for three little boys in one pocket and a stuffed alligator for Avery in the other. She is so adorable.

Today’s Gospel was the story of the wedding in Cana.

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jn 2:1-11

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 

When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, โ€œThey have no wine.โ€ 

And Jesus said to her, โ€œWoman, what concern is that to you and to me? 

My hour has not yet come.โ€ 

His mother said to the servants, โ€œDo whatever he tells you.โ€ ………….

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My take on it… four little words… LISTEN TO YOUR MAMMA.

This was the first of the miracles that Jesus performed. He turned water into wine. Mary didn’t tell Jesus what to do. She only suggested that there was no more wine and left the rest up to her son. She raised her son properly and he respected her wishes. A good Gospel story.

After Mass, a quick coffee with Mr. Jerry and a long stop at the grocery store. It warmed up enough in the late afternoon to go for a brisk walk. Funny, the colder it is, the faster I walk. While I was walking, I received a text from my son asking if I wanted to FaceTime and see the grandchildren. I scurried even faster, but took two seconds to capture a quick snap of the glorious sunset.

“Hi Gamma!”

A glorious grand-daughter and a glorious sunset. A perfect Sunday.

Saturday:) Sitting Here Counting My Blessings

20 Jan

โ€œDonโ€™t count your dollars to see how rich you are. Count your memories. Count your friends. Count the hugs you get every day. Count what really matters.โ€

โ€• Toni Sorenson

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I’m just getting around to sitting down with my “GOOD JAR,” and reading the small squares of paper that I placed in the jar throughout the year. I wrote down things that made me happy, my blessings, special events, etc. I also put my lucky pennies and coins that I’d found along my walks and travels. (Pennies from heaven.) I wasn’t home on New Year’s Day when I had planned to do the official reading, then I just got busy and plum forgot. So, today is the day. My GOOD JAR…

My 2018 was filled with so many blessings, but also heartbreak. The most beautiful blessings include a new grand-daughter in December, a two year old birthday, trips, travels, parties, church, friends and family. The heartbreak, of course, was the loss of my sweet mother in February.

So, today I count my blessings, literally. This is what really matters in life. Plus, this physical and tangible reminder helps me to see how blessed I am every day. Then, I have this special opportunity to share my blessings with you.

I also counted my lucky pennies and coins. 37 pennies, 9 dimes, 2 quarters, and 6 nickels. PRICELESS. Now, if one of those pennies is like that million dollar 1943 penny recently found, then I’d really be lucky.

Friday:) My McKinney Firefighter Friends

19 Jan

โ€œIt was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.โ€

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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I’ve had a busy week of baking. Monday I baked brownies for the dance at the senior center, some for Creative Community potluck, a batch for Fire Station 9, and a few to take to Miss Nelma at Towne creek. I decided quite a while ago that every time I bake for a potluck, birthday, or celebration that I would bake extra for my firemen.

I love the smiles I get when they open the door and I hand them their treats. Station 9 is the new station less than a mile from my house. It’s funny, when I arrive, I pick up the outside house phone. When someone answers, I just say, “Hi, It’s Toni with some treats for you guys.” The response is always, “Thank you. I’ll be right there.” Here’s the funny part, whoever opens the door with a big smile, also has my plastic container from last time. They save it for me.

Yesterday, I made a zillion mini chocolate cherry cupcakes with cherry cream cheese frosting. I made enough for Miss Loretta’s birthday, to share with some neighbors, and take over to two fire stations.

Some of my Station 9 friends. I also shared my baking tip about putting a slice of fresh bread in the container to keep the frosting and cake soft for left overs the next day. I was informed that there was no such thing as leftovers.

Station 5 friends.

My neighbor across the street is a fireman, and his two little boys are just adorable. They are always playing outside in their little firemen uniforms or riding their little fire truck car. I always get a wave and a “Hi Miss Toni.” Most likely, a couple little firemen apprentices in the making. So of course, my little mini firemen get some treats, too.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make someone smile and feel appreciated. And, nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven.