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. ♥

When Mommy is {at Home}

{This might be a controversial post but it has been pressing on my heart for quite a while now. I write this with a grace-tipped pen with hopes that it may strike a chord in someone’s heart, as well.}

 ”I looked on child rearing not only as a work of love and duty
but as a profession that demanded the best that I could bring to it.”
-Rose Kennedy

Slipping quietly into my truck before the household awoke, I double checked the address where I was a headed. It was early – 6 a.m.- and I was off to pick up a kijiji find in the town near by before my husband headed for work.

My treasure: a $5 bookshelf to hold some of my canning jars in the basement.

After a few wrong turns, I eventually found the address of choice … parking my truck in the small driveway, I greeted the owner of the bookshelf with a “Good morning” and “I hope I’m not too late…”

She was juggling a cute, sweet-faced baby (about one year old) on her hip and her car keys in the other hand. She was obviously going somewhere. I grabbed the bookshelf with her husband and we loaded it into the back of my truck. The little baby boy was already strapped into his carseat, playing with his mother’s car keys while I handed her the $5. The mom was friendly and explained she had all day and that she was no in a rush -  but that she was taking her young son to daycare so she could work around the house on her one day off.

Her words made my heart hurt!

Her one day off?
She was going to work around the home but her sweet, chubby little son was being sent to daycare. He was only a few months older than my youngest child and only son.

It was not even 7 a.m. and her little one was already in the car, ready to be taken away from his home – and from what is sounded like, perhaps this was not an only even as she mentioned it was her “day off”.

I desperately wanted to encourage this young mom, to tell her there options, a better way, a more natural choice … but I had just met her and she was obviously in a bit of a dash to get her day started.

What I am going to say is completely against what society teaches. It is not a popular thought. It may not even be politically correct. But it is Biblical.

Ladies, mothers, your children need you at home.

 

I know some women just do not  know any better … that they honestly do not  know the harm in it, and do not know there is an alternative. They actually do not know they CAN stay with their babies.

My sister runs a small-group Bible study in her home. Most of the ladies, who are Christians, who come to her group are first or second time mothers. My sister has told me that most, if not all, of these mothers are all returning to work after their maternity leave is up. This breaks my heart and I am sure it grieves the Lord! Where are the Titus 2 ladies who will stand up and teach these Christian younger women the value of being at home with your children? Why is the church not teaching women to be keepers of their home? How can these young mothers miss seeing the value in raising their children full time?

 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine.
They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands,
that the word of God may not be reviled.

Titus 2:3-5

Sacrifices must often be made in order for a mother to be home full time with her family. It is possible. It may not be comfortable, but it is likely possible.  Giving up a cell phone is a start.  What about cutting back on eating out? Bake more, cook more wholesome foods at home. You will save money in the long run. You will save on daycare costs – in Toronto, this article states the cost of daycare for an infant is $1,736.  You will save on the cost of gas for your vehicle, the costs of clothing as, when working, you must keep your wardrobe at a certain styleish level. Fancy vacations also can be omitted – a simple camping trip on the weekend or summer week would certainly bring just as much joy to your children as an international trip if money is tight.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and DESPISE the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Matt. 6:24

Mothering is a full time God-given job.

There also is a bond between a mother and her children that needs nurturing, not ignoring.

Dropping your children off at daycare, leaving them all day or even half day, is contrary to what your children actually need from you.   Your children need a mother who is home with them, a mother who is available, around, caring for them, teaching them, training them, even from a young age up until an older age.  This is not to say you dote on them and spend your entire motherhood years slicing apples and cheese, dishing our crackers and snacks to your hungry crew upon demand.

However, your daily life needs to includes your children.  Instead of using a paid daycare provider so you can get work done, try including your children, allowing them to help you, or at least stay near you while you work on your projects. I have painted many a bedroom while my children played in the same room. It is not impossible to get work done when children are in your care. Involve them, keep them near to you, watch over them – but you can still get your work done.

When your project is done, stop and take time to be with your children. Read them stories, play games, go on walks, lay in the hammock, bake cookies, teach them nursery rhymes. Everything in moderation, as they say. Older children need just as much from their mother, if not more. They need the comfort of time, a listening ear, an available shoulder to cry on, a teacher and a friend, an instructor and a guide. A mother’s job is endless! How can we think daycare can offer the same valuable training and love to our own children?

Children need to know their parents are near. They need to feel a security in their homes, not dragged to an institution for 8 or more hours a day. It does not matter how loving and kind your daycare worker is – nothing can replace the love from a mother or father. God has entrusted these precious children to you to raise – make time in your life to BE a parent, not just on weekends or when it is convenient for you. Childhood is also fleeting and before you know it, your child will be grown.

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

That sounds like a full time job to me.

Mothers, do not let a stranger raise your child. Come back home to your family. Trust God to take care of you financially and you will see Him provide.

Your role as a mother is invaluable. If you are concerned  about your career of choice, just remember you are most definitely replaceable in the work force. There is always someone better, more current, faster, more talented, more able than yourself.

But in the home, in the eyes of your child and God, you are irreplaceable.

Linked up with Strangers & Pilgrims

July 22, 2016 - 8:16 pm

Reena - I agree with you 100%. You wrote this in a kind loving earnest way and I pray it touches many mothers whether at home, as encouragement to continue on, or whether at a crossroads or time of questioning to take that step in faith. He will always provide.

Using Mint

… Speaking of flower beds, all along the border of one of my gardens is a cluster of mint. It is just lovely. This weekend, the girls and I collected some as I want to dry some for tea for the winter (but sadly, just after I harvested some mint, a roaring lawn mower made its way through the patch and now there is just stubble left behind). I also wanted to try out this recipe for mint jelly.

Now, a few years ago, I read about mint jelly and thought that sounded just awful!

But this year, I’m not sure why, it sounded intriguing, interesting and perhaps a fun way to use the mint I have growing around the house. I also imagined a chocolate cake with mint jelly in between layers – I think that sounds delicious … what do you think? Chocolate mint … yes, please! Or homemade bread, toasted with the jelly spread lightly on top, accompanied with a cuppa tea?

 

Yes, I think mint jelly was in order.

It was quite simple to make, as far as jams and jellies are concerned. The hardest part was trying to make it with a baby on hip …

 

 

Would you like to try the recipe?

Here it is (I, however, doubled this recipe it and it turned out fine):

 

Mint Jelly

1 1/2 cups of fresh mint leaves and stem
21/4 cups of boiling water
1 drop of green food coloring (option, but it not a pleasant color otherwise)
3 1/2 cups of sugar
1 package of liquid pectin

Rinse off the mint leaves, and place them into a large saucepan. Crush with a potato masher or the bottom of a jar or glass. Add water, and bring the mint to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain, and measure out 1 2/3 cups of the mint.

Place 1 2/3 cups mint into a saucepan. Stir in the lemon juice and food coloring. Mix in the sugar, and place the pan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the mixture is boiling, stir in the pectin. Boil the mixture for a full minute while stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and skim foam off the top using a large metal spoon. Scoop the jelly into clean jars, wipe off rims carefully and place lids on.

 

 

 

In your water bath pot, bring your water to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 minutes.

Listen for the “popping” sound of processed jars, after you have removed them from the canning pot. I think they are rather pretty, don’t you?  My daughter mentioned that, paired with a pretty jar of last week’s strawberry jam, it would make a lovely Christmas gift. I tend to agree.

 

 

 

July 22, 2016 - 10:03 pm

Jenn - It was amazing with lamb! You should reconsider raising some, I can show you the ins and outs of acquiring some for little money, they are much less work than goats!

July 20, 2016 - 11:59 pm

Auntie Chris - for natural green food colour, just boil some some raw organic spinach for a few minutes remove spinach and eat it. boil and reduce liquid and add to jelly. Done to perfect green

July 20, 2016 - 7:00 pm

admin - Jen,I was thinking of doing jalapeno mint as well. Apple mint was another I thought of trying. Did you enjoy it with your lamb?

July 20, 2016 - 7:00 pm

admin - Yes, I have tried it. It is good! I liked it on homemade bread this morning ….
Mom, yes, I would like to try lamb. :)

July 20, 2016 - 6:48 pm

Brenda Clair (Gigi's Mom) - Gillian, it looks beautiful and refreshing!! Now you need to learn to cook lamb because it pairs well with it. :)

July 20, 2016 - 5:33 pm

Chipmunk - Have you tried it? If so, how was it? I’ve never had mint jelly, but have a boatload of chocolate mint and some orange mint.

July 20, 2016 - 1:37 pm

Jenn - Last summer, I made Apple mint jelly- it was awesome too!

July 20, 2016 - 12:13 pm

Rachel - This looks soooo refreshing! I remember my grandmother making mint jelly when I was little.

Weeds, Gardens & Children

 

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
Colossians 3:23

 

 

The large canning pot is bubbling away, sealing up the 24 jars of  jelly I have just made on this warm afternoon. Little ones are napping & the older girls are out with the animals, playing Sacagawea and Jean-Baptist, scarves wrapped around their heads and a scraggly rooster tucker under one of their arms. The weather is delightful today – overcast and quite windy. It has been so hot lately that this nice cooler weather is a welcomed break in scorching July temperatures. I love hearing the wind – it reminds me of ocean waves…

 

 

Life has been good lately. How has it been for you? It’s been quiet – the kind of day where you can hear the wind rustling in the summer green leaves of the trees all around, the crickets singing at night … yes, you can even hear a chicken snore at times (did you know chickens snore? I did not know until we started raising hens and yes, they do indeed snore). A few thrift store shopping trips with the girls, canning some jam and weeding – lots of weeding. We have quite a few friends who have immaculate, stunning large gardens and it is always inspiring to visit them. Not discouraging, but inspiring. Lyla (who just turned 10 last week!!) says she wants a flower garden just like the one we visited this week. It was impressive, to say the least. I suggested we try to make a garden like that next year, but of course, that comes with more weeding.

When we work in the  garden, we reward the girls (sometimes) with an ice cream treat afterwards, as we are all usually hot and sweaty. But they are not always rewarded. Taking care of the gardens is just something we have to do. It’s a part of being part of the family!  A dunk in the pool is a welcome relief on those hot sticky days after spending time in the garden- that, too, is a nice reward.

We have 92 tomato plants this year! I cannot wait to can and preserve all those lovely tomatoes, Lord willing! Our beans, carrots and peas are doing fine, but it is not enough for our family. (Sadly, I think the chickens ate the seeds before they could grow.) I look forward to seeing more grow in the garden over the rest of the summer.

In a society where you can be doing anything almost anytime, experiencing new adventures and watching entertainment that will delight you or taking new classes to teach you a new hobby, I’m quite positive that working at home – even so,  in the garden  – is still a beautiful way to spend and invest your time. I am not a particular lover of gardening – but I cannot let a season pass by without doing my part to grow food for the family. I just cannot! Also, I know it is one way to teach a life skill of working at something and seeing it (hopefully) produce a wonderful end result.

It is a great learning experience for the children. Within the vegetable garden, I believe children (and myself) are brought closer to nature as they unearth new bugs and beetles. They see, firsthand, the wonders of God’s handiwork as a lovely flower turns into a delicious squash or bright green cucumber or even a lovely, red tomato plant. We are able to practice, alongside the children, a little bit of hard-work ethic, doing something that may not be entertaining by society’s standards (pulling weed after weed, row upon row) but if gives you time to think, be quiet, sing a song, talk to your siblings, listen to the birds’ sing or the wind whisper…

You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
Psalm 128:2

 

 

Of course, there are always a few children that have to be persuaded to do the garden chores, but that is just the way it is. Sticking with it and tending the garden, even if you are tired and hot and want to be doing something else, teaches patience and good work ethic. You can’t just quit when you want to or else your garden would be over-run with pesky weeds {ask me how I know}! I truly believe that the jobs the girls have around the home are teaching them, in little ways, how to properly work. In fact, they went over to help their grandma weed her vegetable garden recently and found it an easy task indeed. Her garden, seeing as it is just for two people, is a smaller size and so to the girls, it seemed like a breeze to weed after weeding our two vegetable gardens, not to mention the flower beds and walkways.

 

We are not doing our children any favors by sheltering them from work, doing everything for them and avoiding teaching them skills that will one day benefit them as an adult. Even the youngest of the family can contribute – tidy shoes, retrieve diapers for mommy, clear her dishes, even just handing her a towel to help “dry” the dishes is preparation for when she really will need to help out with the kitchen chores.

Hard work is good for the body, good for the soul and good for the mind!

In fact, the Bible clearly advises to stay clear of laziness and to work with your hands. Just this morning, one of my girls, while doing her morning chores, said “I actually LIKE doing chores, mommy.” My heart was happy to hear this! Working hard, breaking a sweat – it is a good thing.

And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

July 20, 2016 - 3:36 pm

admin - Maike, that is a very kind comment. Here, for writing, I try to focus on my blessings, but we all have trials that are often not shared. If I could, I would make things a bit easier for husband as he works very hard, long hours and has a busy life here at home too. I wish he could have more time away from work but I do appreciate that he is a hard worker. :) God is faithful and takes care of us.
Yes, I am very satisfied as a mother and a wife. It is a calling that I feel honored to fulfill. Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. No life & no family is perfect. I am never sure if I should write about the trials that one faces as sometimes it just needs to taken to the Lord, and not the public.
I choose to see the blessings!

July 20, 2016 - 3:29 pm

maike - I think about you very often as you seem to life a dream life. I love the simple homemade lifestyle away from apps, and the hectic life the majority lives. You sometimes write about the tougher times of being a mom, and the garden work,…but then it still seems as if you are very satisfied. Is there any dream what you would like to change or do you think you are living your dream? :-)

July 20, 2016 - 7:12 am

Grandma Cardinal - Xxxxxxxxx

July 20, 2016 - 12:19 am

Lynda Lu Gibb - Your insight is inspiring
Gillian! I applaud you, thank you for encouraging me to keep on going on! sending love, and always prayers for you and your growing family.

July 19, 2016 - 9:41 pm

Brenda Clair (Gigi's Mom) - Very true about the children helping in the garden. There is nothing better than teaching children the value of hard work, especially when they get to see the fruits of their labour. I love the pictures … Lavender is so cute when she is watering the plants. :)

{Homemade} Sunscreen

A friend was over, dropping her children off to play for a while and, as the girls ran off to play in the summer heat, she quickly said “Avoid the sun, girls!”
She turned to me and explained how she had read how bad sunscreen is for your health and she was hesitant to put it on her daughters and was afraid of them burning. I smiled and said I completely understood -which is why we have been using our homemade sunscreen for two years now.
Grateful, she allowed her daughters to apply the homemade version of sunscreen on their faces while I quickly explained the recipe …

{We all know you should not burn your skin – however, having some sun exposure is important for many reasons.}

Once you have gathered the needed ingredients,  this sunscreen is very simple to make.
You will never need to buy store-bought sunscreen again for you or your family!
I have had the ingredients on hand for two summers now and have not needed to even buy more ingredients.
[So while it may seem a bit costly to purchase the few ingredients at first, know that you can use it for many other projects and remedies down the road.]

 

Your ingredient list for your safe homemade sunscreen lotion:

shea butter
beeswax
coconut oil
almond oil
carrot seed oil
non-nana zinc oxide
(red raspberry seed oil may also be used)

All together, there is an spf of about 15-20 (remember – sun is still needed for your skin! You still need some sunshine in your life). The more zinc oxide you use, the stronger the SPF will be, however.

Measure 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 1/4 cup of beeswax, two tablespoons of shea butter and 1/2 cup of almond oil into a glass bowl or large measuring cup, or even a mason jar.

In a double boiler, melt your oils together. When all are melted together, slowly add 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide powder (do not breathe it in) and your 10-15 drops of carrot seed oil.
Mix gently and you are done!

Store in a labeled mason jar and use all summer long. One small jar lasted us a whole summer last year. It stores fine on the counter, but if you are concerned about it melting, you may store in a cool location. Apply liberally before swimming and spending time in the sun. I would certainly apply more after swimming, as well, if the sun is still strong during the daytime.

Enjoy!

July 16, 2016 - 11:16 am

Kim - Thank you Gillian!! I was going to ask your mom if you had a recipe, as I do not like to use sun screen.

July 13, 2016 - 8:50 pm

admin - Donna, it feels great! A fabulous moisturizer, as well. :)

July 13, 2016 - 6:25 pm

Donna - Donna, Donn!

July 13, 2016 - 6:24 pm

Donn - How does this feel on your skin? My husband would rarely wear sunscreen, now he has to have cancer cut off annually.

Old Fashioned Summer

“A cool wind was blowing down over the long harvest fields from the rims of firry western hills
and whistling through the poplars. One clear star hung above the orchard and the fireflies were fitting over in Lovers’ Lane…” 
-Anne of Green Gables

 

It is July. Sweet July. So hot and carefree. Sweltering days and lovely nights. We are feeling the joys of stretched our summer days, afternoons of quiet play, splashing, loud pool times, drippy, sticky popsicles, campfires and even mornings or evenings of weeding in the vegetable garden.

We like to treat our summers with great ease, schedule less and enjoy long days at home.

The girls & I are outside all. day. long. And I am not stretching the truth. Unless it is raining or unseasonably cold, they are outside.  We eat outside, cook outside, they play outside, we read outside. They climb trees, splash in our makeshift pool, weed gardens, read books on the porch, do crafts on the patio, jump on the trampoline, play with the animals … we eat all our meals outside (again, unless it is raining or cold!) and enjoy as much outdoor time as possible.

We also sleep outside – if we are lucky! As my aunt pointed out, sleeping on the trampoline is an even better option that a tent as far as comfort goes. A trampoline is rather comfy and provides a good view of the beautiful stars in the heavens. We are enjoying cool nights sleeping on the trampoline (although I must admit, I end up inside as I am wanting to sleep in a bed with Lazarus for night time nursing).

Unlike many families, we stay home or visit friends locally. We do not go away or very far very often – especially with all the animals to care for here at home. We do go for one week to a small Christian campground every year, which provides a nice change of pace for everyone. I was talking to a friend the other day and they said every weekend of their summer is booked up with events and social engagements. That surprised me! I do not know if that is a healthy pace to have with a family- at least, it is not for us. We tend to stick close to home and have a fairly low key social life.

A night at home watching the glorious fireflies on the front porch is just as thrilling to me now as it was when I was 12 years old.

July 16, 2016 - 4:37 pm

Sherry - I love this idea! We do camping during the summer, but I find that brings us closer together as a family – away from the everyday things and we spend a lot of time really talking and listening to one another.
We do try to spend time with family over the summer as well, but for the most part we are not too scheduled! I love our nightly walks and impromptu basketball games or playing Frisbee or catch. Summer is an awesome time to relax and enjoy each other :) Happy Summer to you all Gauthier family :)

July 12, 2016 - 8:49 pm

Grandma Cardinal - Xxxxxxxxx

July 12, 2016 - 1:39 pm

Heidi - What a beautiful post! We enjoy the ease of the summer schedule as well and all of the sweet pleasures that come with it (we may just have to try sleeping on our trampoline!) The school year is so full and the change of pace is a refreshing break for all of us. I’m always feel so blessed to see pictures of your beautiful growing family! They are all so precious. ♥️