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December 2013

FORREST FRENCH ORIGINAL~"STILL KICKIN"

Some country fun for your Monday morning.  This is one of Forrest's original songs from his demo. 

This is one to put in the CD player while you're driving, roll down the windows and let the fresh country air blow ya around a bit while you're singing at the top of your lungs.

Yes, I did that---enjoy!


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Forrest French-Still Kickin
Forrest French 2013

TODAY'S VINTAGE MOMENTS~

Eddie Jett's most favorite fixation is popcorn...he knows how to sign it, (flip both of your index fingers up and down alternatively like you're doing a happy dance--- there you go---you got it!!! )...he knows where all the movie theaters are when you're passing them on the highway or expressway, and points to them because he wants to go inside and get popcorn...HE LOVES IT!!

His dada Jeremy bought a popcorn machine for him this Christmas! He and his sissies are loving it! Skylar took this photo tonight. Wonderful, magical, popping, popcorn for Eddie Jett and his sisters.

Makes me smile, and remember that the simplest things in life can be the most memorable~ ps. He takes after his Ga-Ga on the popcorn obsession. I have to go to the Theater on an empty stomach so I can get a large popcorn, (with jalapenos in the bottom that I sneak from the well for the hot dogs) or the movie just isn't the same!

This looks like a vintage moment that will never go out of style~~




Our Eddie Jett has been pulling his chair up to the counter top since Christmas morning to get a peek of his new popcorn popping contraption.  He and his sissy Maddy are anticipating the magic!  

HOLIDAY SUGAR COOKIE HANGOVER~

Anyone else feel like they have a holiday hangover from all the sweets and goodies made and laid out before us at our many Christmas gatherings?

My cure today for the holiday over-indulgence is a black bean, avocado burger, with fresh home made salsa~

Okay, so I might sneak one more (two more) chocolate covered cherries for dessert.  I love those things! 

Here's to a pre-New Years resolution for healthier eating.


NEXT YEAR, I'M SHOPPING AT THE U-HAUL MOVING STORE!

Months of making detailed lists, pouring over online shopping sites, driving in heavy traffic to the malls, shellin' out the big bucks for the perfect toys, and hours of wrapping and taping it all up with glitzy bows and bright colored paper---they open their gifts, throw them aside and play in the boxes and bags~ Oh, to be a toddler again.

Next year, I'm going to the moving supply store---packing boxes for everyone!!! 

There are two Chapin children in that gift bag below btw---





Give a child a toy and they'll play for a day---give a child a box, and they'll play forever!!  Annabelle and Eddie Jett playing in Forrest Keurig Coffee maker box~~








Yes, there are two of my toddler grand children in that one gift bag! 








They tossed the toys aside to play in the gift bags and boxes---I love Eddie Jett's big smile!  What a wonderful Christmas day we had!

Dashing through...the Walmart---Christmas Eve Musings!!


Do you think if I just drew on the faces of my Nutter Butter snowman cookies with a black sharpie (instead of making black frosting and painting them on with a paintbrush) anyone would notice??  J/K??  No really...J/K!!

I don't think I have the time or strength to continue my sweet, artistic endeavors---This last batch is just going to get the M&M buttons and the snowman's expression will be up to the consumer!

Also, does anyone else write in "mad-dash elf shorthand" on their last minute Christmas gift/wrapping paper/grocery list?  I could not figure out, for the life of me what, "bat lace" was before I left the house for my final trip to Walmart post Christmas.  I literally could not read my frantically scribbled hand writing, but knew the item was important.

Between my house and the store, while hurling through space down highway 51-B, I continued racking my brain to figure it out...Butter---no...Bacon---no...BATTERIES!! Yes, that's it!  The g-babies would not be able to fire up their toy electronic cash registers, (ages 3 and up) to begin figuring out what money was, and how to use a credit card!!

Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas to you all!!!

And don't forget those gigantic C batteries for all the electronic toys hiding under the tree in brightly colored boxes for the kiddos people. 

Much love to all, and to all a good night~~




TROPICAL LEAVES AND CHRISTMAS TREES IN OKLAHOMA

I brought my hibiscus plants in just before the first freeze here in Oklahoma.  They've been sprawling out in my entry way shedding lots of crunchy leaves.  Forrest's guitar students have to fight a mini jungle, cutting a path with their guitar cases every time they walk in the door. 

I almost stopped watering them this week, but their sad little leaf faces begged me to continue giving them drinks.  I'm so glad I did, because after church today, I walked into the entry way and got struck by a clingy little branch that tapped me on the shoulder and said, "look at me, look at me!"

I have two of the prettiest little coral blossoms that brightened my icy Sunday.  Such a nice contrast---tropical flowers and Christmas trees~



    
        The sweet little plant that reached out and touched me today~
            I believe it was telling me thanks for not giving up on it~~


CUTE FACES AND INTIMIDATION~

I might just keep these little cuties on my kitchen window sill all year long. They make me smile every time I do the dishes---and I don't usually smile while I'm doing dishes~ Cutest faces ever!








Speaking  of cute faces, I snapped this pic of my adorable nieces yesterday.  I feel very sorry for their dad in about six years---load up that shotgun.  You laugh, but my dad actually did keep his hunting rifle by the door when boys came to pick me up for a date! Intimidation factor.  My husband says to this day, my dad was the scariest one of all. He used the phrase, "yes sir" a lot.  "He's just going quail hunting, calm down honey---bird shot does not hurt that bad!"










HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS~

Me, my sisters, and brother braved the ice storm to travel to Hulbert Oklahoma today to celebrate Christmas at my Dad's. This is our first Christmas in many years that we've been able to spend time with our brother.  He just moved back from North Dakota.  He and is wife scoffed at the cold temps, (did I mention that he just moved back from North Dakota?) but ice is ice no matter where you live.  Hoping everyone stays safe out on the roads as it re-freezes tonight.

Besides spending the day with my family, my second favorite thing of the day was broccoli salad.  Yep, I just said that.  It's the dish I bring to every holiday gathering.  It's the perfect accompaniment to ham, turkey, burgers, just about everything except for maybe an ice cream social---although, I've never tried it.  Hmmmm?  I tell people even if they don't like broccoli they'll like my broccoli salad.  I give them the old, "ok---open up...you've got to try just ONE bite!!!"  I then force feed them a spoonful and sit back and watch the magic.  "HEY!! That stuff is GOOD!!"  I always rest my case.  Did I also mention it has bacon in it?

If you want to wow broccoli scoffers everywhere just whip this salad together and shove a spoonful between their pursed lips. 

So, here's the magic broccoli salad recipe:

Two heads of broccoli---florets with a bit of the stem (or you can buy two bags of the prepackaged.) Bunches are more cost effective though.
1/2 a red onion chopped finely
6-8 slices of bacon, crumbled (this is the aphrodisiac that mesmerizes anti-broccoli folks.)  I don't think I'd be opposed to bacon perfume.

Dressing:
1 cup Hellman's mayonnaise (I use the low-fat model)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. white vinegar

Mix dressing in large bowl then add the goods above.  I usually reserve two slices of the bacon to crumble and sprinkle on top.

It...Is...Incredible!!!

Come on...open your mouth and try just one bite!

Happy Holiday cooking all!







The Magic Broccoli Salad~Converting broccoli haters across the nation. Or, maybe just across Wagoner county~













This is a huge branch that fell directly outside our bedroom window in the middle of the night scaring the be-jezus out of my husband and I.  I decided I would take an artsy pic of the culprit, as opposed to being  mad at it.







He's baaaack!!!  My sisters and I are so thrilled to have my brother back in Oklahoma.  The holidays are all about family~










Look who actually got to come with me!!!  The exhausted U.P.S. man.  He worked 60 hours in the nasty, cold weather this week, at a full dead run when he wasn't behind the wheel.  He still has to work tomorrow which is Sunday to try to catch up from the snow storm a couple of weeks ago, though.  Please be kind to your delivery drivers this time of year!!  And come by and visit me anytime!  I'm lonely!!







IF YOUR NICE, I'LL GIVE YA A COOKIE!

The girls and I, (and an extra minion army of toddlers) had our annual holiday, marathon, treat making session this afternoon.   The kiddos are finally old enough this year to help with "sprinkling" duties.  I wonder who's going to get the white chocolate pretzel with 6 ounces of red sugar crystals on it---they get a little heavy handed sometimes! Yum-yum~~

We baked, iced, and dipped for almost 7 hours.  Exhausting, but we made lots of good old fashioned memories in the kitchen.

Now to give it all away before I eat it! 

Happy Holiday baking ya'll!



My U.P.S. man has been very good this year---he gets the first pick!







My favorite are the snowmen---mint oreos dipped in white candy quick.  I painted on their faces with a tiny paintbrush and colored frosting.  When you bite into them they are they prettiest color of holiday green.










We seem to get more "help" each year.  Our minion army is growing~














Maddy and Landon---yes, they are professional sprinklers.











Clara Jane helping mama.  Nothing like making memories in the kitchen during the holiday season.  The simplest things in life are the best.











Doesn't Annabelle look just like a Who from Whoville?  Or, maybe a Munchkin from the land of Oz?  She was such a good girl...as long as
Ga-Ga slipped her an M&M every so often---shhh!

You know it's been a good day when your shirt ends up in the washer mid-day because it has so much icing on it---It was a good day~~

A COLD MAN IN NEED AND HIS BEST FRIEND~


Forrest told Monty and I a story the other night-- He was going into to Quick Trip for gas after the big snow, and saw a gentleman, who was obviously in need, sitting out front to possibly pick up an extra buck, or a warm cup of coffee from kind strangers as they walked in and out.

The man had a dog with him that he had put two warm coats on, while he was only wearing one light coat in the sub freezing temperatures. The dog was obviously his very best friend in the world, and probably one of his only true, unconditional companions.  Forrest said as he walked by, the man was kissing the bundled up pup right on the nose, and speaking to him lovingly.

When Forrest walked back out he handed him some money, and started to walk on to his truck. The gentleman yelled to him within a few seconds.  He told Forrest that he had accidentally given him a 20 dollar bill which was wrapped in a single. Forrest smiled at him and said, "no man, I meant to do that!"

Forrest was blown away by the less than fortunate man's honesty, and love for the dog that he was unselfishly taking such good care of.

His story gave me tears, and made my heart happy, knowing that Forrest was moved by the experience of giving, and also by witnessing the love and compassion shown by the cold man with the warm dog~

Tis always the season to give to others, even if you don't have much to give--

BIRTHDAY LIGHTS~


We celebrated our sweet grand daughter's 3rd birthday yesterday evening with a trip to the McDonald's Play Place, and a trek through the breath taking Christmas lights at Rhema Bible College in Broken Arrow.  We let her pick which way to go at every turn on our light viewing adventure. Pa-Pa told Maddy that they put the lights up for her birthday!

What a fun family night!

If you are in the Tulsa area, make a point to grab a hot chocolate and hit the sidewalks of Rhema.  It takes six months for 15 member crew to string over a million lights across the 110 acre campus.  The lights shine from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day.

My favorite Holiday eye candy.




Sweetest Birthday Princess--blowing out her candles with daddy~
















How many of you have gotten to ride your bicycles in McDonalds?  Go Maddy, Go!















Clara Jane eating treats and enjoying the light show









Forrest and his friend Theresa by the duck pond--






                 RHEMA 2013---Birthday lights just for Maddy!!

GA-GA'S HOUSE~TEACH THEM GIVE

I had such a fun Saturday with all five of the g-babies. As much as I don't like clutter, some days you just have to say, "have at it kiddos!" Color on the (chalkboard) walls, decorate the wood floor with stickers, trample popcorn into the carpet, pull out every toy, rummage under the Christmas tree---you, my little friends, are at Ga-Ga's!!!"

I dumped out a bunch of mis-matched Christmas cards left over from years past, ribbon, Christmas stickers, crayons, etc. onto the kitchen floor, and let them decorate cards for their mamas and dads.  I haven't seen them work so intently on something in a long time.

I think sometimes we get so involved in making our detailed holiday lists, and shopping till we drop to get our children the perfect presents, we forget how much they love to give.  The kids were so excited to give their "in-batations" (as Landon called the cards) to their parents when they picked them up.

Children are natural givers.  Nurturing that instinct in them is a wonderfully rewarding thing to do.

It's so much fun to spoil the grand babies and then send them home for a nap---and by nap, I mean MY nap, not theirs!!

Worn out, but blessed!  Happy Holidays!



 The kids making Christmas cards, (or in-batations) for their mom and dads.  Even baby Annabelle was crafting~









I made nutter butter cookie snowmen and treats for Maddy's birthday party this weekend~festive little critters.















Eddie Jett enjoyed coloring on my new chalk board door-- his favorite color of chalk was black!
















Landon put the elf hat on me---it's clear who the "helper" is, and who's the "boss." I'm pretty good at fetching chocolate milk~

HAPPY HEART FAILURE HOLIDAYS!


You know that moment when you're sitting all alone in your house, and the largest ornament on your Christmas tree comes crashing down, plinko style behind you.  This tranquil little jewel just about gave me a heart attack---Happy heart failure Holidays!

COUSIN ED!!!!




    COUSIN ED!! Just in time for Christmas!  A big thank you to
    Forrest for getting up early to drive me, Skylar and the kiddos
    around in his trusty pick up truck. 

     School's back in session here in Coweta today.  Be careful out there
     peeps!
   

CHRISTINA AGUILERA AND TOOTHPASTE AT WALMART

I had a gentleman stop me in Walmart this evening to tell me that I reminded him of Christina Aguilera.  I told him he couldn't sing, and carried on with my shopping!  J/k  He actually said "the younger" Christina Aguilera.  I shall take your compliment fine sir and Merry Christmas!"Tomorrow it could be Emilio Estevez, "the older" version~

And for the record, I am fully convinced that unless someone was to follow me around with a gun to my head, there is no way I can get out of Walmart with just the four items on my list.  I went in for exactly four things, (one of which was toothpaste) and came out with a full cart totaling over $200.00. 

You are marketing geniuses Walmart!

BE KIND TO YOUR LOCAL U.P.S. DEIVERY MAN IN DECEMBER~

  1. I know many of you are feeling the frustration of a slow down of delivery from U.P.S. etc. Please be kind to your U.P.S. delivery drivers. It's not that they're being lazy or keeping your pkgs. on their trucks, but many of the trailers haven't been able to even get to the local U.P.S. centers, especially when your merch is coming from up North, and interstates are iced over.
  2.  
  3. I become a "U.P.S. Christmas widow" each year at this time when the Christmas rush arrives. I know that sounds dramatic, but we become two ships that pass in the night this time of year. Monty leaves at 7:30 a.m. and doesn't even get home until 10:00p.m. or later most of these blistery, cold days. He's so worn out from running double time in bad conditions that he barely has strength to eat a warm meal (that's been sitting for several hours) before dragging himself to bed for 8 hours sleep.

  4. Last year he was out in the big snow storm and ran off the icy road. Within minutes, a semi came down the same hill and barreled into his truck, sending it up into a tree...He was running away from his truck as fast as he could in the deep snow, seconds before the semi rammed his vehicle. (And I was on the phone with him while he ran!) I was beside myself, and wanted him home right then!

  5.  Monty's missed many meals with the family on Christmas Eve, as he usually has to work that day also, until all pkgs. are delivered. He comes in wind burned, barely able to walk from having frozen feet, hours late as the rest of the family celebrates---Christmas is a wonderful, warm time of year that most are spending a bit of extra time with their family.

  6. Those U.P.S. drivers are just hoping for 8 hours of sleep each night, and a hot meal once a day until December 26! I  love my delivery driver/husband, (and miss him being around this time of year.) Weekends are their only reprieve, and that's the time they use to catch up on their rest, (lots of recliner naps) and battle colds that they can't miss work for~~

  7. And down from my soap box I step .
  
          Be kind to your local U.P.S. man this holiday season!

And I'm not sure what the "numbers" are for, (I guess my lap top thought my rant needed to be a numbered power point!!!)  I tried to remove them, but the computer won. 



CHRISTMAS ANGELS

My daughter, Skylar's heat went out at her house, so I had some pretty sweet visitors make the snowy trek to my place to warm up.

Schools are still closed here in Coweta, so Eddie Jett got another footie pajama snow day.

Eddie Jett has always loved my Christmas angel.  He smiles, loves on her, and has one-sided conversations with her, (she's the beautiful silent type.)  :) 

Very grateful that Sky got her heater fixed so quickly, but sure enjoyed my little Christmas Angels this morning!






Annabelle discovering Ga-Ga's Christmas Angel~















I was so thrilled that I captured the moment that she put her precious little finger under her chin--

















Eddie Jett was glad to see his sweet friend had returned for the Holidays---he had quite the conversation with her!












Christmas Warmth <3









Had two more QTs come in the afternoon today---Landon was stoked that I put all the Christmas hats in a basket by the tree.  We usually have to put them on them, but he found the festive items and put them on himself~~as you can see he is a proud little Santa's helper!
*Can you tell what movie we're watching?  The background still shot of Despicable Me 2 made me laugh!






GARTH BROOKS 2014!!


Garth Brooks just announced a 2014 world tour!!! 

Wow.  I remember my sister showing me his CD back in the mid 80's, saying, "This guy is amazing, he's gonna be huge!"  Good call sis.

Beyond his incredible talent, personality and energy, I respect him for his decision to step out of the lime light and be a hands-on dad, there for his precious children day in and day out.  My cousin's daughters played soccer with Garth's daughters from Owasso, Oklahoma.  They said there could not be a more down to earth guy than Garth.

Music is an incredible force in this world.  The quality of my life would not be the same without it, but family is the best melody anyone can write~

So excited about Garth Brooks tour.  Look out world, he's gettin' back out there!


THAT YEAR OLD GRANOLA BAR~



Snowed in three days and counting.  We did get out to attend church services this morning since the church got it's lot scraped by three members that are  most certainly in God's good graces, and we're only 2 miles away.  I sure enjoyed the music.  Needed a little rock-n-roll praise and worship to get my blood circulating and lift my cabin fever spirits.  It was wonderful.

Tomorrow, I'm going to at least venture out as far as Country Mart for fresh produce, butter, eggs and milk.  Most of the main roads have been sanded, but the side roads are still frozen.

I have this granola bar that's been in the change holder of my Bravada for over a year.  I also have a water bottle that's 3/4s full rolling around in the back seat that I never toss out when I take in my recycling.

I, semi-unintentionally, keep those items there just in case I run off the road or get stuck out in a desolate area, (like between my house and Country Mart on an icy trek for bananas.) 

You know, the stories.  Person trapped in vehicle, and survives for a week on a starlight mint and two pieces of Big Red gum.  Well, not me.  I'll dine on a healthy oatmeal raisin bar, and have an (almost full) bottle of Aquafina to tithe me over until rescue comes.

Wish we could go straight into spring time after Christmas.  Here's to above freezing temps!



                  My little garden angel topped with a snow blanket.
                                          It just looked so sweet~

OU V OSU BEDLAM GAME





Whew doggy!  What...a...game!  Sooner fans here at the French household are happy campers!  I even got a big wet kiss from my husband, who was loosing his mind when OU came from behind in the last 2 minutes of the game, and scored not once, but twice!!!

As strange as it will be with him coming from a Sooner football fan family, Forrest will be heading out this coming spring for Stillwater to attend OSU for their engineering program. Hopefully, he can find some jumping juke joints to play his music as a part time job while he gets his classes in. 

I'm going to have to get a half crimson, half orange sweatshirt for next year though. But, I think I'll sneak a monogram on the back ---"SOONER BORN AND SOONER BRED...AND WHEN I'M GONE...SOONER DEAD!"

We actually had a 4.5 scale earthquake in Oklahoma, (yes, in Oklahoma) during the game that shook the couch I was sitting on!  Or, was it an earthquake??  Maybe it was a BOOMER-QUAKE!!

BOOMER SOONER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


FREEZING TREES~BURNING SKIES

It was a beautiful day.  Ended with the prettiest sunset.  


                                    COLD DAY--WARM SUNSET


                                

        Clara Jane just swiiinging in the snow...just swiiiinin' in the snow!

 I think Landon is wearing his mama's gloves---better to throw snowballs with!!

OKLAHOMA SNOW STORM--CUTE DOGS AND PIES


Sitting at work on Monday, I had the air conditioniner on, AND a fan by my desk because it got stuffy with the west sun coming in through the front glass windows.  Today---snowed/iced in, fire raging in the fireplace, and central heat cranking. 

O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A, where the wind/rain/snow/ice at-any-given-minute comes sweeping down the plains!!! 

Love our snow days.  Home with my son and husband.  I'm cooking up a storm (no pun intended) and we're OD-ing on movies.  Thanks Netflix and Amazon Prime!

Stay warm all!!


Zeus, the cutest snow dog in town.  I love my Pomeranian.  He sure misses Cassie, but he has finally made peace with Carmex the cat, and lets her sleep under the heat lamp in the garage with him<3  This little guy loves playing in the snow--











Isn't this how every young man brings fire wood up to the house?  As long as you have a sock cap on your good! (I can't talk---I was standing in my robe with bare feet taking pics of the dog...we're smarties.








The banana bread I made yesterday is almost gone, so it's a must that we get some pies made pronto!!  And yes, pumpkin is one of them.








This pie was titled, "the best chocolate pie in the world" on Pinterest.  It only filled my crust 3/4 of the way.  I re-named it "the best 3/4 chocolate pie in the world."  It's going to take lots of whip cream to make it look pretty!







Dinner is cooking in the crock pot.  Lime-cilantro chicken tacos.  Smells sooo goo--ood!










Home made chunky salsa.  My blender broke, so I chopped everything fine, then chopped it again in a big bowl with a metal spatula.  I may never use a blender again.  Necessity is the mama of invention!















Meanwhile across town, some overly bundled kiddos are playing in the snow.  Took 45 minutes to dress them for 5 minutes of play time---so cold!

Annabelle can't move!










Eddie Jett looks like a little Elmer Fudd :)  "I'm gonna get that skwooey (snow) wabbit!" 







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