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  • Welcome to the Gigi Blog!

    Mother to six Little Women and Two Little Men. Married to a Happy Mortician. Caretaker to goats, chickens and many, MANY bunnies. Photographer. Homeschooler. Lover of Jesus, coffee & tea and all things pink & vintage.

100 lbs.

 

 

“The strawberry is the wonder of all the fruits…”
Roger Williams
founder of Providence in 1636

 

 

 

The truck was cleaned and ready to go. The morning chores had been finished and breakfast had been hastily eaten. Two loads of laundry hung fresh and clean on the laundry line, snapping in the wind.

Ringing the bell (which is a standard in our home – I  try to use a bell instead of calling the girls) signaled it was time to leave. Little girls quickly strapped on their shoes and ran out the back screen door, letting it slam shut as they shot out of the house. Their squeals and squabbles filled my ears as they tumbled into the car to find their seats. I carried baby Loyal on my hip and placed my big straw hat on my head.

“Okay, let’s go! We want to get picking before it gets too hot,” I said, as the girls clambered throughout the  big 12 seater van. My eldest strapped the two year old boy into his carseat and we all sang happily as we drove the five minute drive to the local organic strawberry patch. I knew we had to leave early if we were to pick before the baby began to fuss for his morning nap. Plus, it is best to pick berries in the cool of a summer morning, as opposed to working in the dry heat of June.

 

It has been a yearly tradition for the girls & I to go strawberry picking for as long as I can remember. Even as a young girl,  I remember following my enthusiastic mother into the local strawberry fields, dreading the heat, but excited for the taste of June’s juicy berries that were headed into my cardboard basket. In fact, later, my sister and I were employed at the same strawberry farm to pick berries for the owner. As I crouched down in the hot fields, the sun beating down on my braided hair, strawberries staining the seat of my pants, I was always jealous of my older sister’s job at the same farm. She, just two years old, was promoted and now wore a bright x-marked vest that marked her superiority on the farm, she had surpassed the mundane job of just picking berries and was the one that organized where customers were to pick and even helped at the checkout stand, an old wooden shack at the beginning of the field. In any case, the monotonus task of picking hundreds of berries in Ontario summer heat was a good job for this young girl. It is always good to be challenged to have such a task to teach consistency, hard work and a steady pace at your task.

 

Now, with eight children toddling behind me, I had parked our big family van and was now walking into the strawberry fields with all the children following behind like little ducklings. Each girl was given a task of filling two baskets. Of course, we would help the younger ones fill their little baskets as soon as ours were filled. My little son was enamored with the big tractors parked at the edge of the fields- he pointed to them and said his favorite word, “Ta!”, as we walked slowly into the field.

 

Within an hour, we were finished our task and it was time to pack up and head home to hull the berries. I am so thankful that the girls did not complain and everyone seemed to still be somewhat cheerful about the day’s work ahead of us.

After the berries were paid for, we returned home and spread the berries out on the outdoor kitchen table. The girls donned some aprons (even though their dresses were already strawberry smeared) and I put up the third load of laundry on the line. Today was going to be a productive day, indeed.

With the help of listening to Jonathon Park CDs, we hulled berries until noon. Then, the lovely red strawberries were washed and covered and put aside for tomorrow’s jam and preserve making.

What a blessing to have a mighty crew of lovely ladies to help me! So many times I hear that it must be so much work to have eight children. Why, yes, it is work, it is not easy to be pregnant eight times and to have babies that need tending and gentle care year after year … and yet, here I am now, reaping the benefits of older children helping their mother and the blessings of younger children entertaining us while we work. 🙂

 

Children can truly be blessings to their families. I have always heard from a popular parenting speaker that he taught his children chores and to work with the family.

“This is a home, not a hotel,” he would say over and over.

And I agree with that. Work does not have to be dreary either. We often have something to listen to while we work and that helps pass the time. We find with so many helpers, sometimes it will only take an hour or two before the task is completed.

Later, my eldest was encouraged to make a pot of bubbling strawberry jam, which tasted divine.

Lovelyn, 7, helped me make a batch of strawberry lemonade concentrate, which we also canned. It was delicious served with our lunch!

 

While the eldest made jam, I made up some pie dough and placed it in the fridge for a future pie. I believe I shall bake one today, seeing as my husband is home for the day today. I also canned 10 jars of strawberry pie filling for future pies.

 

 

The following day, the strawberry picking scene was repeated as we returned, armed with the same amount of baskets, to pick another 50 lbs of strawberries. In total, we picked approximately 100 lbs of lovely, red, sweet tasting strawberries for the year’s supply. What a blessing! Strawberries may be used in so many recipes – you really can’t go wrong with a freezer and Provision Room full of strawberry preserves.

 

Would you like to share in our recipes? I will post them below.

There are so many lovely ways strawberries. Pictured below is a yummy afternoon treat of a scone with whipped cream and strawberries on top. Just perfect with a cup of tea!

 

 

 

Here are some recipes for your enjoyment:

 

Strawberry Pie Filling {to fill 7 quarts}

                    6 quarts of fresh strawberries                                
4-6 cups of sugar
                                                     2 1/4 cups of Clear Jel or Thermflo                                                                    
                                                                         7 cups of cold water                                                                                                                        1/2 cup of lemon Juice

** Please, feel free to adjust the sugar to your preference. In the case of pie filling, one can simply reduce the sugar and add some back if needed when making the pie. I usually add less than required. In the case of jam making, they say the amount of sugar is required to make the jam set. If you do not mind a runnier jam, then feel free to reduce the sugar, as well.**

                                           
Wash strawberries and drain fruit in a covered bowl or pot. Combine sugar and clear jel or thermflo in a large pot, stirring often. Slowly add the cold water.  Cook on medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Mix quickly to a smooth consistency.  Now it is time to add the lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Fold in the beautiful, washed berries immediately and fill quart jars with mixture. Be sure to leave 1 1/2 inch headspace or else your jar will not seal and the mixture will bubble over the jar edge.  Remove air bubbles with a knife by poking it down into the jar and gently moving the mixture around. Refill if necessary. Wipe rims clean with a hot, sterile rag, add hot lids/rings and process in water bath for 30 minutes at a full rolling boil.
Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate {From Simply Canning}
(This recipe will make 7 16oz. pint jars)
6 cups of hulled, washed strawberries
4 cups of lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
4-6 cups of sugar

Puree strawberries with a stick mixer or blender until smooth. Transfer to a large pot. Add lemon juice and sugar to the puree, stirring well. Heat to about 190 degrees F over medium heat, stirring to keep from burning. Try not to boil the mixture. If foamy on top, remove the foam. Ladle the juice into your hot, clean jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean with a hot, clean rag and put on your new canning lids. Water bath in full pot of water for 15 minutes at a roiling boil.

 

June 23, 2018 - 5:20 pm

Monica I hate I let our strawberry season get away from us without us going to pick any. We have a u-pick farm about 40 mins away. Our strawberries are always ready here first of May. I did plant some strawberry plants this year so I hope that in a few years’ time, we shall have our own harvest! Right now for us, tomatoes are in season. I’m getting a basket full daily. This morning I went to my in-laws and picked bell peppers and jalapeños in hopes of canning some salsa later on!

Lovely pictures of your strawberry pickers! From having six children, I could feel your relief that things went so smoothly. It always seems I hold my breath when we have to go somewhere together and exhale once we get home with the job accomplished! PS. Would love to hear an update on the mini horse…

June 23, 2018 - 9:52 am

Paula Lovely. Picking strawberry days with my family in the 1960’s is in my memory bank. Your story brings it all back in a beautiful way for me. The way the field smells, the heat, the taste of the perfect berry, seeing which sibling can pick the most, red stained hands. All of that is still here in my brain. Thank you. It’s more than just picking berries that you are giving your children….

June 23, 2018 - 5:48 am

Gigi So lovely to hear from you. I think of you often! 🙂 You are very special to me!
I posted a link to the farm – Maple Grove Farm just off Airport Road!

June 22, 2018 - 11:25 pm

Heather Hi Gillian! Which farm do you get your strawberries from?

The Simple Way to Raise a Baby

 

Recently, while visiting a local thrift stores, I questioned why there always seems to be old-fashioned rocking chairs for sale …

Perhaps many people are not taking the time to rock their babies anymore.  I know first hand as I used to be one of them. Somehow, I thought it was just normal to use a baby swing and all the other trendy objects marketed for baby care. There are plastic swings that work with electricity, full mobiles and singing birds, that do the work of a mother’s soothing voice, her loving arms and soft gentle sway. Baby seats hold babies while mother’s work … siblings are not required to help out as the baby is entertained greatly in brightly colored plastic chairs with rattles and trinkets galore … baby bath tubs are sold and baby this and that …

 

 

I recently passed a garage sale it it was packed full of modern baby items and gadgets. Hundreds of dollars spent on baby items that were only needed for two years or so …

 

I’m here to say … parents … folks, all we really need for our babies are the basics! Babies need a parent that is willing to slow down, time, care, a mother’s arms, nutritious milk and your love.

Every time we had a baby in our house, I would be so thrilled and excited, naturally … but would be frustrated with the stumbling over all the plastic baby-items around the home.

A baby swing, a comfy seat, Bumbo, baby bath tub, a super-saucer, etc.

One day, I finally got rid of everything. I did not even keep the pretty pink swing that was actually so cute and matching of my decor (besides the plastic). Yes, I got rid of everything. I think my husband thought that meant no more babies in the house! Nope! Instead, it just meant I was de-cluttering, getting back to the basics of baby-hood. No more plastic, no more bouncy seats, no more unecessary baby clutter. When I had Lyla, my second born, I realized carrying my tiny 5 lb baby around in her big plastic car seat was ridiculous. The car seat weighted three times as much as she did and I did not even get to hold her while I was out! So I ditched the car seat (except for when we were driving, of course) and decided to wrap her little sweet body up snuggly and carrying her like so. I would hold my toddler’s hand and carry my little baby girl with the other arm. I had people staring at me when I would go into the doctor’s office … they seemed to question where my bulky car seat was. It did not seem normal to carry her in just her swaddled state.

_
I was so glad to rid myself of that plastic seat, however! Then came the time of baby wraps and slings and it was not so unusual to carry you baby without the aid of car seats. The above wrap was given to me free and it has been used for five of my babies. It is very handy.

I would see families come into church on Sunday with their giant plastic strollers, carrying giant baby bags filled to the brim with plastic toys and rattles for their little ones. As they arrived and came into church, their stroller was so big they could not even fit it in the church aisle without causing a stir. When the baby would fuss, they would push the stroller back and forth. Now, I know strollers have their place and they are definitely useful, but at this point, a mother’s arms would have been much more efficient and soothing- not to mention less disturbing in public.

If you are nursing (which is a great way to nourish your baby! So natural and God-given for so many reasons!), then you need even less items when you leave the house. A simple change of clothes for the baby, a blanket and a few diapers and that is all you truly need. As the baby begins to crawl and chew, a simple baby toy would be helpful, as well.

Babies do not need the entire house brought with them! Nor do they need every toy and gadget on the baby aisle shelf!

They do not need everything the stores are selling. If you are a new mother, try not to buy into that trap. I know it’s tempting. All those sweet baby items are pretty cute, lined up pink and blue and shiny. But once they enter your home and litter your floor and are only used for a few weeks at a time (as the baby grows so quickly), you may realize how wasteful it is. You will save yourself a lot of money if you just get back to the basics.

And also … let’s consider how unhealthy it could be to immerse your baby in plastics before he or she is even a year old. I’m sure there are studies done on the possible harm of so many items in your baby’s mouth, around your baby and where your baby sleeps.

As we continued to have more babies, I continued to purge the extra baby items.

I use the sink to bathe my babies – I do not need a baby bathtub with a special attachment to hose the baby down.
I use my arms to swing and hold the baby to sleep instead of a baby swing.

I use our many rocking chairs to calm the baby.

Sisters are beautiful helpers and love to help entertain the baby. A simple blanket on the floor with a few toys is a good thing for a baby. Spending time outside on the grass with the family is a great way for the baby to get fresh air and sunshine.  I am not saying this is the only wait to raise a baby, but I am suggesting it is less complicated.

I have also tried to simplify the clothing. Again, I noticed with all our babies that we had too much clothing. Drawers were overflowing. I know babies need to change more than adults, but there came a time when I realized it was too much. Just this week, I purged more baby clothes and cleaned the nursery closet. My goal is to not have any labels or modern slogans on the clothing. To keep the clothing simple and quaint, old fashioned, if you wish and without a lot of fuss. Old fashioned baby girl clothing is easier to find, but boy baby clothes are more challenging. Still, I have found some items and am using a simple wardrobe to rotate our baby boy’s clothing.

Cloth diapers are also a great way to save money and provide healthy care for your baby. We do use disposable for night times (as they do help with sleeping and keeping the baby dry) and for when we go out for long periods of time. Otherwise, I am quite content to have a bucket full of baby diapers that need daily washing. It has saved us a lot of money over the years. I rarely have to ask my husband to pick up disposable diapers. When he does, I am always shocked at how expensive they are! Not to mention, they are terrible for clogging up landfills. I am quite happy that we have not had to use very many disposables much over our 14 years of parenting babies.

 

 

Babies are just lovely and sweet! Try thinking outside the box, skip the tempting advertising on what you need to have in your home for your baby and go back to the simple life of raising your little one with the basics. You may find it is less complicated and more natural.
Oh, and  check your local thrift store for a used rocking chair. You won’t regret it.

June 14, 2018 - 8:48 am

Monica Oh thank you! That would be great!

June 14, 2018 - 5:27 am

Gigi Monica, how lovely to be expecting another baby! I hope you are finding time to take care of yourself.
Regarding leaky cloth, well, they can all leak eventually! They need to be changed promptly as soon as they are wet and soiled. They are not like disposables, in that way. I will look at some of my tags and let you know the ones that work the best.

June 14, 2018 - 5:26 am

Gigi Milessa, I agree – I have been told many times I am spoiling my babies by holding them so much and I have friends who prefer to train the child to sit quietly in their chair. I suppose there is a reason for both sides of the story – one does need to put their baby down eventually and not have screaming from the infant, but it is such a short season of baby-holding … we need to keep that in mind.

June 13, 2018 - 11:10 am

Milessa I do wish I would have come to the acceptance I was not like everyone else 26 years ago. I love your words about babies and children. I send them to my daughter to read. One day when she does have babies I want her to know it’s ok being different. Babies grow so fast the holding (spoiling what people say) goes by very fast and you will miss it when it’s gone and it is gone in an heartbeat. Out of my three children, my daughter I held the most (breasting feeding and finally having a baby girl that I have wanted since I was 6 years old). I can see the difference in the grown children. She is very loving and close to me. More parents need to get on the band wagon and hold those babies. Wishing you and your family the best this week. Keep up the wonderful words you write. I think the photons are of the second little boy, but it is so hard to tell the 2 look so much I like. Have a wonderful rest of the week.

June 13, 2018 - 9:54 am

Monica Yes, yes!! I love this! Recently, we cleaned out our clothes shed to convert into a tool shed for my husband and I got rid of our swing (I hadn’t pulled it out for the past two babies anyway and it’s amazing how much space that thing was taking up in our shed!) a bumbo, a couple of pack n plays, lots of clothes, the baby bathtub, and most of this I hadn’t even used in the past couple of babies. Even shoes they don’t really need until walking age! We used cloth diapers with several of our babies, starting with my oldest who is now 15. I finally got rid of them bc they had been through so many years of use. I would love to hear your favorite no-leak brand. We are expecting our seventh baby so this was a timely post to reiterate my belief to keep in simple for babies!

June 13, 2018 - 5:20 am

Gigi Meg, it’s good you learned that quickly!

June 13, 2018 - 5:20 am

Gigi Yes, a baby carrier is so handy!

June 12, 2018 - 10:48 pm

Laura So true! This is excellent and wise advice. It took us a few babies to realize the same. Babies need loving and snuggling, not things.

June 12, 2018 - 10:28 pm

Meg When I had my first baby, I stressed out looking at all the lists online of “must haves” even the minimalist list included so much. I ended up many things I never needed or wanted. When I had my second I knew all I really needed were diapers, a few outfits & blankets, and that really was it! So much simpler, and less stress.

June 12, 2018 - 10:24 pm

Regina I so agree with you Gigi. When my girls were babies I fell for all the silliness of carrying carseats and large strollers. I did have those babywearing snugglies and I really liked them. I used a baby sling for my youngest who is now 17. Can you believe I still have it? It’s beat up and worn out of course. I carried her in that sling until she was almost two! This style of sling could be worn several ways as baby grew which is why, I wore her for so long. When she outgrew her sling she used it for her baby dolls.

June 12, 2018 - 9:07 pm

Kimberly Yes, couldn’t agree more!

The Lost Art of Slowing Down

My 11 year old was sweeping the kitchen floor after dinner one night. We had just hand washed all the dishes and were putting them away for the evening. The rest of the family was still outside, enjoying the cool but still comfortable warm, early summer night. All were excited for the promise of fire-fly catching later that evening.

“Lyla, what could we do to improve our life?” I asked, rinsing off the last dish. “What is it that you would like to see change or better around here?”

My daughter stopped sweeping and leaned on her broom. The bristles bent under her weight as she searched for an answer. I placed the last dry dish into the cupboard and closed the door. Hanging the towel up on the dry rack, I waited for her reply. The sound of my husband’s lawn mower sounded up in the background and I could hear the children playing on the swings.

Finally, this daughter of mine answered.

“Well, I would say … to have less stress….”, she said, now continuing her task of sweeping the well-used kitchen.

 

 

Okay, I thought, less stress …. I try to live a stress-free life as it is and provide the family with a stress-free life, but my little girl, one who really does not know what true stress fees like, still feels restless and stress in the air of our home. Interesting.

The opposite of stress is peace. And I crave peace. I want peace in my life and I desire to have a peaceful family life. Peace straight from the Lord, peace in our home, peace in our homeschooling, peace when we lay our heads down at night and listen to the crickets chirp in the fields about our home.  Perhaps this was a good, gentle reminder to slow down, have more patience and be intentionally peaceful. I believe it is very important to have a  peaceful home!

Later in the week, we happened to find this lovely, slow moving (if he was moving at all?) turtle attempting to cross our road. What joy it was to watch him just sit and be still! I brought the girls out and we all studied him in awe. It is rare to see a turtle around our area.

While the girls and the little boy watched in wonder as this strange looking, slow creature, I knew there was a lesson to be gleaned from this slow-moving turtle …

“Lord, show me how to make our home more peaceful! Help me to slow down,” I whispered in prayer, later that evening, as we retold our day’s adventures to a weary daddy after a long day of work.

I think, sometimes, I bring on the stress, I pondered. I am a go-er, a do-er. I get that from both my parents 🙂 and it’s hard to ignore. I like to get things done. I like projects. I like a challenge. And yet, I also love a low key life, a stress free day, a day of laundry fluttering on the line, lace curtains blowing the breeze and happy children playing after a morning of good, old fashioned chores. I believe you can have good, healthy work and still have peace. I do not think work is supposed to be stressful. Weeding our garden, hoeing a row, doing the laundry, preparing dinner for the family, cleaning out a closet … it can all be done stress-free. Perhaps we just need to give ourselves more time to accomplish the task, take things in stride, bite sized pieces and get done what you can get done.

Don’t stress. Just don’t stress. I have found I can still accomplish much even if I am just working at the project for 1/2 an hour at a time. By the afternoon, I am usually surprised- and pleasantly happy – with all we have accomplished, without rushing (too much).

However, I do need to remember to do things at a slower pace. Not every one wants to rush about. My husband likes a slow pace. He cannot be rushed, no matter what. He is a Mr. Steady. 🙂 Sunday mornings would stress him out because I would be rushing about, getting everyone ready for church and asking for his help. I have learned to lay out all the clothes the night before, make sure all church shoes are located, have everything ready, even the meal prepared or possibly cooked for Sunday afternoon. I get up extra early and get ready and prepare an easy but filling breakfast. I do not expect my husband to help – and that makes Sunday less stressful! He likes to sit and drink his coffee and have his shower and get dressed. Later, his job is usually to tend to farm animals in the morning and then possibly dress our little son, Lazarus, for church. And he deserves that day of non-rushing. He is the one that is required to leave the home every morning and get to work on time!  I have learned there is more peace if I do not rush him and allow his one possible day off to not be too stressful and rushed. And guess what? We always end up at church early. In fact, we are usually one of the first families to arrive.

Recently, our very sweet neighbours moved from their lovely farm residence. All these years, we have looked at their place and were amazed at the beauty of their landscaping, tidiness, and charming grounds. In one particular spot, there was a beautiful gazebo, tucked between weeping willow trees. When we went to say farewell to our neighbours, I asked her how often she had sat in her pretty little charming gazebo and if she would miss it. She sadly shook her head and admitted, “I never sat in there… I just didn’t have time.”

Living slowly, living with time to spare, enjoying the every-day, run-of-the-mill moments, not rushing … this is important to me. Yes, we do have to get things done, we have chores to accomplish and such, but I am going to be very choosy about what we are rushing to, what we are “stressed” about … I am going to purposefully guard our time and attempt to cultivate an air of peace in our home this summer. More front porch sitting. More fire fly catching. More story times under the shades of large trees. More in the slow lane and less in the fast lane.

More time just together at home. Slowing things down, even more than before …

 

 _ _

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
Hebrews 4:9

 

June 13, 2018 - 6:12 pm

Kim I would have to say my 5 year old grandson most enjoys the days he spends with us when we are just home doing everyday stuff. He loves following us around and watching and joining in on whatever we may be doing. He also likes to play by himself for short periods and loves it when we stop to join him in play- it may be running a race, riding our bikes our playing with a ball.

His parents tend to be busy working and trying to keep up with work, house and lawn and everything else. Our house is a slower pace.

I think kids enjoy adults who are with them in the moment. He can take a piece of yarn and make all kinds of toys with it from his imagination.

His favorite crazy, silly activity is dancing. No money necessary- just a grandma willing to watch and smile and hug.

June 8, 2018 - 2:13 am

Lauren I literally come to your blog to slow down.
<3
Lord Bless you and yours.

June 6, 2018 - 4:15 pm

Sarah I have been thinking about this too, and wrote about embracing the slowness of childhood. Living in the suburbs, people are rushing around everywhere – even in New Zealand, where we tend to be slower than other nations. I dislike it immensely. I would love to live in the country and live a slower life, but we can’t for my husband’s job. So I keep trying, but it is such a battle. It is literally a battle, so say ‘no’ to things (even to the kids who ask, “Where are we going today?”). I would say we live slower than other families, but it isn’t slow enough for my tastes! I like how you said to slow down our actions. I need to start that, too.

June 6, 2018 - 9:29 am

Laura It looks like your turtle could be laying eggs. The dirt has been quite disturbed near its tail end. Once when I was a young girl, we had a painted turtle lay eggs in the driveway of a neighboring cottage. Perhaps you could carefully check to see if there are eggs there and eagerly await their hatching if there are. How fun that would be!

June 6, 2018 - 8:45 am

Monica This is good! I believe peace is a state of the heart that spills over into our daily lives. I think even in times of stress, we can remain peaceful in our circumstance. It doesn’t seem possible but it IS a peace that passes all understanding. And yes I’m all for making time to purposefully slow down and make peace even perhaps when the Lord is still working on my heart part, and filling it with more peace. What a great thing to observe, Miss Lyla! Strangely enough I’m sure my children would say the same for our home. And great tips for Sunday morning. Because we are NOT some of the ones who get there early. Good to have a new post from you this morning!

June 6, 2018 - 7:43 am

Sarah We found a turtle by our stream earlier this week. My daughter was thrilled. Our turtle was smaller, and I was surprised at how quickly it was moving! : )It ended up in the stream and we enjoyed watching the turtle swim away.

Sometimes it is difficult not to hurry about, especially during the summer months with gardening and canning. You have given good advice about allotting more time to projects. I will keep that in mind.

The Outside World

 

“It is amazing how lovely common things become,
if one only know how to look at them.”

-Louise May Alcott

When there is a need for me to go to a store and run an errand, I am always so happy to pull back into our driveway and return to our little home and our tiny plot of land. Crunching up the gravel driveway and walking through our creaky screen back door makes me think “Home! Here it is!”

 

There is no sweeter place …

 

While out in the world I am always amazed at the depressing, lifeless music played in the background of the stores, the way plastic-wrapped junk food fills up grocery carts of young and old alike and the general hurry and rush attitude pushes it way on the roads and lineups. Mothers are distracted and looking at screens instead of their sweet baby’s face and you will rarely see a back pocket without a phone sticking out of it. (Do we really need to be that connected 24-7?) I know there are pretty places out there to visit but, it feels, in general, the quick-paced, brand-name wearing, electronic-infused world does not feel right to this old soul. I am always happy to step out of the world and return home.

What feels like home to me is the sound of an early May rainfall (hopefully jut the right amount for the garden) and beautiful birds singing in the treetops. Just listening in the calmness of the morning makes me feel as if I am listening to a peaceful soundtrack to life!

There is something romantic and peaceful about living separate from the “modern world.” I don’t even know how to explain bit, but surrounding this family with an old-fashioned lifestyle of hard work, homemade foods, old fashioned chores and simple pleasures seems right for us. I don’t really want to adjust to modern life. It does not have a draw for me …  I enjoy rocking my babies on the front porch or by the fires in the winter, reading outloud to the girls in the shade of a pine tree with clean clothes hanging on the line… waiting to see if our Mourning Dove hatches her eggs safely …

 

… there is comfort in making an actual pot of tea and carrying it out to the front covered porch at 3 p.m. in the afternoon and sitting …

 

there is joy, yes, even in the daily tasks of laundry, cooking and cleaning. These are tasks that many may feel mundane but perhaps there is another way to look at such chores.

 

I feel as if women have been lied to from society in general. We have been asked from the beginning of age … “What will you do when you grow up?” Very few females are encouraged to be stay at home mothers. And yet, it is not only Biblical, it is wonderful. There is much to be done just in your own home and it is not all dull and boring. Just yesterday, I made a fresh batch of honey soap and crocheted up a few wash cloths in pretty, delicate colors. It will be a gift for a friend who is having a baby soon.

 

 

I baked bread and scones and weeded the garden with a chatty crew of young maidens. I made bone broth in the crockpot and saved the broth for a future recipe.

 

Perhaps that sounds silly and trivial to some, but to me, it was a soothing and peaceful  task.  This week, we also worked in our vegetable garden, planting our vegetables and herbs and gently patting the seeds with anticipating for a great fall harvest. There is a new reason to read gardening books and discover proper ways to store root vegetables and fruits over the cold, long winters.

 

I  also love to use old fashioned items in the home – it brings charm and they generally work better than the new products!

There is the such a thrill to be sitting still and listening to the strong flap of the wide wings of the Canadian geese as they fly over my head while I am in the garden. Hearing the wind whistle through their wings leaves me breathless.  It is beautiful.


Have you ever sat still and quiet and heard a chicken snore?
I have. And yes, they do snore!

 

 

 

 

 

There is a pull inside of my soul for me to stay home – not just because of the care that is required for the children, but I actually want to be here – I truly enjoy being  in this place we call home.

 

May 26, 2018 - 9:23 pm

Monica You described the way I feel “out and about” exactly! I have before described it as feeling dirty and unclean after shopping. Feeing like all is wrong out in the world. I love to order from Amazon so I won’t have to leave the house, but then feel guilty for the mass marketing and all of the China made products I’m supporting. It truly is hard to find the balance with it all. Home does draw me tho! Love the peaceful scenes from your day!

May 25, 2018 - 12:28 pm

Gigi That sounds like a great move, Milessa. I have less trips to the grocery store and it is wonderful. I only have to pick up a few things now and then — makes all the work in the garden and all the time canning and putting up so worthwhile!

May 25, 2018 - 11:06 am

Milessa We moved from North Carolina to Maine, in the country, on the our skirts of a small village, in the woods to get the quitness and relax way of living. I hate leaving the house and will find any reason to not leave. I am also a house wife and have been for 26 years, only one underage child left in home. Have to go to the grocery store today. Looking forward to getting the new to us house and land the way we want for producing food so grocery store trips are less frequent. Enjoy the weekend.

May 25, 2018 - 10:45 am

Kristal Beautiful words of encouragement.

May 25, 2018 - 9:30 am

Gigi I’ll have to post a recipe. I have a mold which works well for this soap. I also made soap in the crockpot and poured it into bars. It is a great soap to use! Very good for your skin!

May 25, 2018 - 9:29 am

Jen Oooh!!! How delightful your home sounds!!! How did you make those sweet honey soaps?

May 25, 2018 - 8:14 am

Gigi Oh Bobbie, where are you moving? Maybe you could make your way to visit us. 🙂

May 25, 2018 - 7:53 am

Our Home of Many Blessings Oh how do you make your honey soap??!!The baby washcloths are darling.It all sounds so lovely.I knit baby washcloths and mine have out lasted any store bought ones I have had.I also love being at home and have no desire to go town…its a little on the scary side anyway.Im truly happy and content being at home…by the way we are moving a lot closer to you!!!

May 25, 2018 - 7:38 am

Kimberly Wonderful! Beautifully worded and beautiful pictures! Home is so important!

May 25, 2018 - 5:48 am

Gigi Julie, thank you for your encouragement.

May 25, 2018 - 5:48 am

Gigi Well, maybe you could make ice tea! 🙂
Your garden sounds lovely!

May 25, 2018 - 4:41 am

Julie Thank you for being such an inspiration to me! We must teach our daughters that it is an honor to stay home raising a family and teaching your children. You have a lovely family and I look forward to your next post. Blessings! Julie

May 25, 2018 - 4:33 am

Julie Thank you so much for reminding us that we are not alone in the quest as mommas and homemakers. I too love to be home with the children and have no desire to go into town. We have to teach our daughters that it is a blessing to raise your family and guide their learning at home. Your blog inspires me! each time I read how you care for your beautiful family. Blessings!

May 25, 2018 - 12:39 am

Regina Hi Gigi! I haven’t commented in awhile and I’m sorry. Anyway, I love being at home too and I actually recent running errands.
I love your idea of making a pot of tea and taking it outside. We have a lovely covered patio and patio furniture so I’m going to do just that. Of course my family might think I’m crazy because temperatures here in Arizona have been in the upper 80s and 90s!

We’ve planted some tomatoes and green beans but I also want to plant some red or yellow bell peppers.
Well you have a blessed weekend!

A Sunny Childhood

 

“Whatever parents may do for their children,
they should at least make their childhood sunny and tender.
Their young lives are so delicate that harshness may mar their beauty forever,
and so sensitive that every influence that falls upon them leaves a trace,
which grows into the character as a grace or blemish.
A happy childhood stores away sunshine in the chambers of the heart
which brightens the life to its close. ”
J.R. Miller – Home-Making

 

When all the children are out playing on the green grass, the goats are not being naughty and eating my prized plants, the happy hens are laying lovely eggs …

the load of laundry, freshly washed and dried on the outdoor line, has been folded and tucked away …


… when the dinner is simmering in the crockpot and the apple pie and fresh baked bread is cooling on the Hoosier …

 


{pie made by our 11 year old}

 … when the girls help me plant a few tiny lilac trees around our dinner patio and Peaceful Porch (I will explain this one later) …

 

 

when my baby boy gives me sloppy kisses and clings to me like a little leech …

 

when the girls come up muddy from their adventure in a nearby creek (ew, we now know what a drowned muskrat looks like – ugh!) and when the sunkissed little ones find crystal droplets of water absolutely fascinating …

… all is right in my world.

 

May 25, 2018 - 5:47 am

Gigi No, we don’t have a book, but I wish we did!

May 23, 2018 - 2:12 pm

Maike Do you have a book that teaches about observing ways to tell the weather, like birds, flowers, and all those other things? I think that’s quite a good thing to know about.

May 21, 2018 - 2:38 pm

Monica Thanks for commenting back, I appreciate it! We eat very similar, right down to the raw milk (goat), but I’m pretty sure our metabolisms have been altered through years of dieting/not. My husband is a big man so some of my children have inherited his bone structure so will probably never look skinny, per se, but that’s ok too. But on the flip side are always doing without breads/sweets to lose a few pounds. One thing we succumb to is not always eating one piece or one serving because we don’t feel full right away (slow digestion). That being said I do so love to bake and cook the old fashioned way!

May 21, 2018 - 10:39 am

Sarah I always enjoy your posts! The pictures of Lavender and Lazarus are adorable! I love their hats. The pie your daughter baked is lovely. She did a great job, especially considering her age. Spring is my favorite season, and this spring has been wonderful here. So many flowers and birds! : )

May 21, 2018 - 7:20 am

Katy Such a sweet, sweet post! Enjoy your week with your lovely family! 🙂

May 21, 2018 - 5:33 am

Gigi Monica, I envy your sewing abilities! I am not very good with the sewing machine. 🙁
Regarding baking and staying healthy, I have to credit to a few things … my metabolism is just that way … my weight has never flucuated. I was never one to eat healthy when I was younger and even in my college days, I ate very poorly. Now, I am eating the healthiest I have ever eaten and am teaching the children to eat the same way. We rarely, rarely, rarely eat out, I haven’t touched junk food in years (I don’t even miss it!), everything we eat as sweets {ie. cookies, etc.} we pretty much make ourselves, we drink raw milk and water, no juice, oh, there’s so much more, but it would take a long time to write out … I once heard someone suggest that you can eat that pie, cookie or dessert – just make sure you make everything from scratch. You will most likely eat less of it and when you do eat it, you will have 1) worked hard to earn it and 2) know the ingredients and will hopefully have healthy ingredients! Yesterday, we had homemade pie, however, we also spent the entire afternoon in the garden, digging, hoeing, raking, and then spent the rest of the day chasing chickens (to get them in their new pen). I believe we all worked off that pie!

May 20, 2018 - 5:50 pm

Monica I love, love the picture of the clothes hanging on the line! It reminds me of an Amish clothesline with all of the handmade dresses! Love it! I’ve been sewing my girls dresses and also looking for hand sewn ones at thrift stores and they love them!
I notice you do a lot of yummy baking but keep slim. What is your secret? 🙂 I don’t mean that as an uncooth comment but I love, love the breads, pies, muffins, but find that we “chunk up” after eating so much flour products (ie baked goodies!) and once we stop eating them I miss fresh baking so much! I’m sad that our family can’t seem to cook the old fashioned style and stay slim. :/ Anyway, I love all of the springy pictures on the post! ❤️

May 20, 2018 - 5:27 am

Gigi Amen!

May 20, 2018 - 5:27 am

Gigi Thank you, Linda!
And yes, overalls are the cutest, aren’t they?

May 20, 2018 - 5:12 am

Linda Hi Gigi,
I am a fairly new follower of your blog, but I must say that such a peaceful light fills me whenever I stop by. Your photography is just beautiful and your little boy in those overalls – so sweet !!! – thank you for all your lovely posts 🙂
~ Linda

May 19, 2018 - 7:13 pm

Sue Ahh, this is so sweet and so precious. Its a good reminder to slow down and savour the small miracles in every day!;)