Gigi Blog » The life and loveliness of Gigi's World

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  • Welcome to the Gigi Blog!

    Blessed to be a mother to half a dozen girls & one boy. Wife of an undertaker.
    Photographer. Homeschooler. Daughter of the King. Chicken and goat raiser.
    Lover of Jesus and all things pink and vintage. ♥

Right Here

I often read blogs or hear from other women who have children that are grown.
They say to cherish every day, make the most of family moments, love more, give grace, have fun with your children, raise them to love the Lord …
I feel like I am in the thick of it all – raising children, managing a busy home, homeschooling various grades, trying to teach them the Scriptures and to show them how wonderful a relationship with the Lord is, even working on a marriage … it can be, well, a bit much some days. I am determined to keep my eyes on the long term investment in this precious family of mine, however.
From babies to older children, my arms and hands and heart and schedule is completely full.
But I want to learn from these older women  … to not let it overwhelm me and take my eyes off the reason for it all.
I want to treasure it all, bottle up the joys of motherhood, be patient more often but still train the child right and wrong, choose to invest into the family instead of frivolous endeavours.

I have a feeling theses days will all go by too quickly. With God’s grace and sustaining help, I desire to do the best I can right here, right now.

“I don’t want to kiss you good night
So I’ll just keep on holding you tight
‘Cause I know you’ll change and you’ll grow
You’ll get bigger with each morning light

I know that the sky’s full of stars
And dreams call your name from afar
I’m anxious to see all you’re going to be
But I’m sure going to miss who you are

But I’ll keep you right here in my heart
And I’ll memorize each little part
‘Cause one day you’ll grow and I’ll miss you so
But I’ll keep you right here in my heart

Each tooth that you gain or you lose
And each time you’ll need bigger shoes
Each step that you take will be further away
But to stop you is not what I choose.

These fingers that curl round my hand
Must do things that no others can
I know you’re not mine,
But God’s own design
And I want you to follow His plan

But I’ll keep you right here in my heart
And I’ll memorize each little part
‘Cause one day you’ll grow and I’ll miss you so
But I’ll keep you right here in my heart.”

February 6, 2016 - 9:32 pm

Lynda Lu Gibb - So wonderful you have this beautiful perspective!

Bread Making

 

“Cast your bread upon the waters, and after many days
it will come back buttered.”
-Louise May Alcott

 

I recently found a *fabulous* bread recipe that is basically a no-fail recipe. I was so impressed with this recipe and the results.

Recently, the girls & I read a book where a young girl baked bread for her family and eventually received some customers to buy her bread from a local bank! Lacey was inspired! I guessed that this particular bread recipe would be a great one for the girls – Lacey, in particular – to learn.
She tried out our new recipe this weekend and was very successful. It is always encouraging for a project to turn out and not fail, especially since we are cooking on the cookstove.

If you are looking for a fabulous bread recipe to add to your kitchen, this is it. I have tried many recipes but this is hands down my favorite. It slices fabulously for sandwiches, as well. You can lessen the sugar or add more if you want to adjust the sweetness of the bread.

 

Here is the recipe from Jenny Can Cook:

 

2 cups of whole wheat flour (if you wish, you may just use regular flour)
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of instant yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar1 tablespoon of salt
1 cup of milk, warmed up
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 egg (at room temperature)

{I try to make bread without our mixer, but for this recipe, we did have to use the electric mixer.}

  1. Place flours, yeast, sugar & salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in milk, followed by oil and egg.
  3. Beat on high for 2 minutes.
  4. On low speed add about 1/4 cup bread flour until dough forms a mass.
  5. Place dough on floured surface and knead 50 turns.
  6. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
  7. Shape dough into a loaf and place in a greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.
  8. Cover and let rise in a warm spot until it’s one inch taller than the pan, about 35 minutes. {We used the warming drawer above the wood cookstove. I love that drawer! It is incredibly handy!}
  9. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, I cover the top of the loaf with a foil tent to prevent over-browning.

A little note, as we baked this in the wood cookstove. We did not bring the oven temperature up to 375 but baked it at 300. It still worked just fine although we did allow it to remain in the oven for a bit longer than the allotted time. We simply watched the bread carefully to ensure it was not burning.

 

 

What could be better than a hot simmering pot of homemade soup and some delicious homemade bread?

February 2, 2016 - 5:40 pm

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - Lacey, what a fabulous loaf of bread!!! It looks amazing and I bet it tasted amazing too! What a special lady you are growing up to be! Happy 12th Birthday, Lacey. xoxo

February 2, 2016 - 12:57 pm

admin - I am going to attempt to do this recipe to make five or six loaves at a time and see if it will still work. I will not be able to use my mixer then (too small!). However, I actually don’t mind making bread every other day as it is just so yummy fresh – and bonus, it makes the home smell so lovely and cozy!
p.s the pot? Well, I like to stretch our meals very far in between … so this is the leftover beef stroganoff simply turned into a soup! It was tasty!

February 2, 2016 - 12:53 pm

Our Home of Many Blessings - Oh and I forgot…what is the yummy goodness in the pot?

February 2, 2016 - 12:47 pm

Our Home of Many Blessings - This is wonderful! Thanks for sharing!! I can’t wait to try it.We are a family of 9 and I for sure have to make more than on or two at a time or I would be making bread all day everyday!…..and Amy…does this mean I can have your recipe to????

February 1, 2016 - 5:46 pm

Gillian - Amy, that sounds like a great recipe! I usually do a recipe that makes six loaves, as well. I mix it by hand as it cannot fit it all in my mixer! I don’t always bake the six loaves at a time but store the dough in the fridge over the week. I do have trouble getting the last bit of dough to rise properly though if it has been in the fridge for a few days.
I’d love to see your recipe, as well, if you want to email it to me! :D

February 1, 2016 - 5:21 pm

amy - i have a great one that does 6 loaves at once. you make a yeast mixture the night before and the yeast does its multiplying overnight and the next day you add the rest of the flour, kneed, etc. i usually divide it on half and do 3 loaves as cinnamon raisin and the other 3 as whole wheat. if you’d like the recipe i can email it.

Treasure

“I don’t want to kiss you good night
So I’ll just keep on holding you tight
‘Cause I know you’ll change and you’ll grow
You’ll get bigger with each morning light…”

 

 

Every day with Lazarus is sweeter than the day before. He is my little treasure. I often wondered if having a son would be so very different from the girls. I can tell you this: a mother’s love just keeps growing and multiplying with each child. Boy or girl. It does not change.
These babies, I wholly love with my entire being. xxoo

 

 

 

February 5, 2016 - 3:38 pm

Annie - I think at one point it will feel different. In the most amazingly wonderful way. A lucky boy to be certain.

January 30, 2016 - 11:45 pm

Erin Lynn - So, so sweet!

January 30, 2016 - 2:05 pm

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - WOW! He looks more like Abby every day!! xo

January 29, 2016 - 10:34 pm

Our Home of Many Blessings - He is so cute!!Your picture is beautiful.

Music to the Ears

“I know that the most joy in my life has come to me from my violin.”
-Albert Einstein

 

 

In our house, we love music!

Who doesn’t love a well played musical instrument? Or even a squeaky violin or slightly out of tune piano … when it is your child playing, it is music to your ears, despite the mistakes and occasional squeak of strings.

 

And we all know music is fabulous for the brain

 

Continuing with the last post, touching on learning while listening to audio stories … today I’d like to feature some of our music-orientated CDs that we use for learning.

 

 

 

I discovered these lovely CDs on Amazon last year when we introduced a composer per month to the children. Each CD features one famous composer and his music, while listening to a narration of his life. We have learned so much about incredible composers just by listening to these stories.

An Introduction to the Classics by Vox Music Masters can be found here on Amazon.

 

 

I just so happened to find a beautiful collection of classical composers for sale at the local dollar store. {What a shame, in some ways, that these magnificent musicians are belittled to be sold at the dollar store?!} It was a great find for me, however,  to accompany the narration CDs.

 

Another fabulous CD collection is Classical Kids, which features interesting stories centered around the lives of many great composers. You can find the collection on Amazon, as well, by visiting here.

  • Beethoven Lives Upstairs

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this helps if you are looking for ways to introduce classical composers, music or audio learning to your family.

 

 

 

January 23, 2016 - 11:14 am

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - Awh, this makes me miss those days! I love those stories too. Thankful that your childhood has so many good memories. Love you Gillian, thank you for sharing and for those kind words. xo

January 22, 2016 - 11:12 pm

Maike - I don’t like audiobooks much as I can’t concentrate on listening to them. I prefer books or movies instead. But I like seeing your girls play the violin and piano. I used to play the violin for years when being in their age, giving concerts, and loving it. But there was so much pressure behind it that I gave it up in high school and I regret it so much. I sold my violin back then and now don’t have the money anymore and I would have to start again from zero.

January 22, 2016 - 8:11 pm

Our Home of Many Blessings - Thanks for sharing! I love to see children playing piano! We have one and we are teaching ourselves to play it.Its been an adventure,lol.

Slow Down & Listen Up.

 

Have you ever seen an image of the Waltons gathered around their radio, together, at the end of a busy day? I’ve always loved that scene in my head. If our own living room can be such a picture of coziness and warmth, it would make my heart happy.

 

 

 

It’s nap time. And tea time. And right now, there are four giddy girls outside skating on the world’s longest “puddle-rink” that happened to freeze in a valley-area of our yard. They are delighted. [I had dreamy plans of making them a proper rink but that was pushed to the back seat by .... well, having a baby last month ...]

 

But right before the girls laced up their skates, this was the scene in the living room…

 

 

 

 

 

 

… sitting around our radio, listening to the most fabulous audio stories…. I knew I just had to share these audio stories with you. If you homeschool, if you don’t, if you have children or if you do not, these historical audio stories are wonderful and engaging.

 

You see, when I was young, my parents ditched the t.v. and opened up a world of no-screens for their family. It did wonders, in my opinion. We read more. We sat on the living room carpet and listened to audio stories. We skipped most of the garbage that was on the t.v. and only watched (parental approved) movies. [Thank you, mom & dad!]
We also lived a slower paced life, compared to other families. We went to church on Sunday and Wednesday nights and piano on Mondays. In the summer, we all joined a baseball team. Perhaps life became busier as we grew older, but from what I recall, our life was not overly-rushed.

Well, we live a lot like that now in this home, as well. We go to church on Sundays, but not Wednesdays. We have piano once a week and fiddle lessons when their teacher is not touring. We don’t rush about too much. We don’t have a t.v. in the living room (it is stored in a closet until it is movie night).

However, the difference is there are more screens to avoid in this day and age. More to distract a young family. Ipods. Laptops. Ipads. Screens are a very big annoyance to me. And more often than not, such devices can discourage social time together. While we do not have a t.v. set out, I don’t want my children to spend their childhood with most of it in front of most screens. And even though it’s fantastic that you can save all your music collection to one device, you must have access to that device – and well, we have one very old ipod and one ancient ipad (given to us from family members). They do not hold very much music, they are usually not charged (an easy fix but still …) and I personally don’t like the girls to be carrying about an electronic device all day.

[This is just my opinion and what does or does not work in our home - I know that in many homes, ipods and such work great for gathering a family together to listen to music, etc.]

So, we do it old-school. We use … gasp … cd players! And time-tested CDs. No access to the internet. No cords or charging needed. Just a plain cd player. Recently, the cd player in the kitchen died and we had saved up for a replacement. Today was the day we first used our new radio in the living room.

The girls were delighted {and so was momma!} … We could finally listen to all our cds again!

 

Again, my parents gave these CDs to our family a few years ago as  Christmas present. They are, however, the same ones that I listened to growing up.  One set is the Bible completely dramatized {wonderful!}. And the second set gathers together fabulous historical stories and varied character-building tales. Both are so valuable! In fact, most of the history and facts that I remember from my school years involve these stories that I listened to in the living room of our home as a little girl.

Stories like Alexander Graham Bell and the “dead man’s ear” … Clara Barton … George Mueller … Christopher Columbus … Joan of Arc … the Wright Brothers … so many wonderful stories from the past!

 

 

 

 

 

And this reminded me that I truly needed to share with you these gems of audio learning that will truly benefit your own home.

 

It really does not matter if you listen from your ipod or cd player – these are wonderful stories that should be in every home’s collection.

 

There is something so pleasant to listen to audio tales … especially when the stories are gently teaching …

Here is another collection that we adore in this house: Your Story Hour.

Again, you will find these collections peppered with fantastic historical tales of great men and women … Louise May Alcott, George Washington, Sojourner Truth, Henry Ford, Sacagawea, and LOADS more.

 

 

 

They are fantastic CDs to listen to while folding laundry, preparing dinner, driving in the car, weeding the garden {pop in your car and open the trunk for outdoor stereo!}, down time in the evening … or  quiet winter afternoons together in the living room …

 

 

 

 

For information to purchase the Dramatized Bible and Character Building Series, you must use the old fashioned phone.:)No website, no email … just a phone number and here it is:  813-986-3464. I just called them this morning to replace some scratched CDs and they are still shipping out CDs, so don’t miss out.

 

For the Story House cds, they are available at ChristianBook.com – you can view them here.

 

Do let me know if you use audio stories in your home. I hope to share a few more audio gems in the future.

{:linked up with Strangers & Pilgrims}

January 26, 2016 - 9:01 pm

Heather - I wholeheartedly agree with all of this. Life is definitely becoming faster paced in our home and screen time is more often as the kids get older and have different needs. Still, we try to slow things down and do the CDs and stories, read-alouds and quiet, personal reading time. It has to be intentional because it slips away SO easily!
Love your CD player :)

January 25, 2016 - 3:08 pm

Lauren - We’ve listened to your story hour… Our favourite, from what we’ve listened to is John Newton.. What an amazing story! Some of them sound graphic though.. Like when the slaves got whipped in Sojourner Truth. It sounded really realistic

January 23, 2016 - 10:52 pm

Ashley - Thank you for sharing these Audio Dramas. I would love to know where you got that radio. It’s beautiful!

January 23, 2016 - 2:00 am

Rebecca - Oh i am so excited to check these out! We grew up listening to Adventures in Odyssey and I love them! I have all the ones from when i was a little girl, but they are on cassette! Haha! I also have a very similar radio/cd/record player like yours and it also plays cassettes so we still get to listen to them! I cant wait to call about those cds! Thank you!

January 22, 2016 - 8:18 pm

Our Home of Many Blessings - I have seen those CDs and wondered about them.I love your little reading nook there and the radio! I swear me and you think soooo much alike!:)

January 21, 2016 - 5:35 pm

Music to the Ears » Gigi Blog - [...] with the last post, touching on learning while listening to audio stories … today I’d like to feature some [...]

January 21, 2016 - 11:42 am

Liz bronsveld - We have those same story’s from my childhood! They are amazing! Lillia is starting to listen to them now actually, and in turn Alice too! Lol