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. ♥

{Welcome Autumn} Cinnamon Buns

Nothing says fall more than the smell of warm apple pies & toasty cinnamon rolls, fresh from the oven.
Last week, we worked on the apple pies (which I meant to write about but wow, does time fly right now!) and this weekend, I think we all felt the craving for cinnamon buns.

They are so simple to make – and truly,  there is just no comparison to homemade, as well. Purchased cinnamon buns just do not go over well in this house. I was spoiled by my mom, I suppose, as she always made homemade – so therefore, my tastebuds can only agree with the same now as an adult.


I have been asked to share a recipe for the cinnamon buns before, but I just find it hard to say “This is my recipe” because, besides the dough, I haven’t measured my ingredients in years.

So let’s just start with the dough part. You can find the recipe for the dough here. Today, I mixed half whole wheat and half white – just to make it “half” healthy….? Perhaps.

While you dough is rising, you may melt your butter any way you like it. We melted the butter over the warm cookstove  as it was already warming up for the baking of the day- roughly a cup or more of butter should be good, depending on how much dough you have made. We doubled our dough recipe and so therefore, we melted about two cup and a bit for all the dough.

Once your dough is ready … using a floured work surface, roll out it into a thin, rectangle shape.  Pour your melted butter all over your lovely, sweet smelling dough. It will get messy and it is good to do this on a surface that is easily cleaned afterwards. Next, sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon all over the dough surface. {We make our own brown sugar by mixing molasses and cane sugar together.}
Again, I’m not so great on the measurements here – just liberally sprinkle the sugar (cane, brown, etc.) all across the rectangle dough,
sprinkling cinnamon on top as well. (You can now add raisins if you wish to your rolls -
in my family, I am the only one who likes raisins, so sadly, I skip this step and sometimes just pop a few into my cinnamon roll before I eat it.)

Now comes the messy(ier) step.
You are going to roll your dough, just like one long cinnamon-bun-snake, and tuck the ends up – if you can – to keep the sugar/butter mixture from oozing out.

It will still ooze – be sure – and there will still be a mess to clean up.
Once your cinnamon roll is rolled, take a serated knife (bread knife) and begin by cutting your role pieces, roughly 1.5 inches wide (or less).

 Place your cut cinnamon rolls into your buttered dish – as many as you can fit.

Place in a warm location to allow to raise for an hour or so (depending on how warm).
Once the buns have raised sufficiently to your liking, pop them into a hot 350 degree oven. Bake for about 15-25 minutes, or until tops are nicely browned.

And that’s it! The hardest part, I think, is the cleanup – but it is nothing a warm, soapy dish rag cannot tackle easily enough.
It is certainly worth it once those lovely cinnamon buns are finished baking in your hot oven.

Once you have cooled the cinnamon buns slightly, you may choose to drizzle some icing overtop for added yuminess.
Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. This time, I chose to do so but I usually skip this step and just enjoy them as they are – delicious, ready to eat, warm and gooey, cinnamon buns.

I hope you find time to make some of these lovely treats this week. I’m sure you family will love you for it!:)

A Bee in Her Bonnet

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think.
Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do,
there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were,
but he didn’t know what it was called.”

- A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

 

 

 

On my husband’s last day off, the sun promised to be shining and the temperatures were going to be enjoyably warm  …

{beautiful sunrise on a September morn}

After a lovely cup of hot coffee in the morning, we decided it was a good day for Harvesting Honey.

It was a bright sunny day – one that is required when you open up the hives so that the bees are not all home at the same time.
We are still new to this bee keeping thing but my husband is thoroughly enjoying it. He fondly talks to the bees, calls them his friend and really, well, he  genuinely loves them. I am so thankful -as some aspects of our “homestead” he does not love (for example, the , ahem, goats). So it is a true pleasure to see him enjoying the  honey bees and actually liking this part of his at-home job {caring for the bees and hive} as Man around the House. Honeybees are quite amazing!  I think they might be the most interesting thing we have on our property. I am looking to get an obersvation hive for our house for next year. I cannot wait!
We have a LOT more glorious honey than last year – which is fantatic – although, I always feel a bit remorseful and slightly guilty for “stealing” the honey after the sweet honey bees worked so hard all spring and hot summer long.

Everything went well in regards to harvesting the lovely, golden honey. Abby is the perfect candidate for this job – as he is slow and steady and calm. As mentioned before, this is not a job for the faint of heart or the excitable of spirit.

We have a new honey extractor that worked fantastically well to help extract the golden goodness, which was a blessing.

We did, however, receive a few bee stings along the way. To be expected, for sure, although last year, Abby was able to harvest without one sting.  But not for this year. Poor Abby was stung on the legs and ankles and his head. (He ended up wrapping his legs in white garbage bags as the black socks were just not going over well with the bees – because, as you know or did not know, bees do not like dark colors).

 

There was one point where the bees became a bit more upset than their normal buzzing behaviour. I was hanging around, watching the extraction, attempting to take some photos, when the bees seemed to become more agitated. It was not long before I was running down the driveway, flinging the camera and trying not to cry, running away from the hive, with a lovely bee sting on my face. Yes, just one sting  … but boy do they hurt.  One even fly up my skirt (I know, what was I thinking?) but thankfully that poor bee escaped before harm was done to either the bee or myself). Abby, at this point, was walking fast (he never runs) away from the hive and trying not to swat at the bees that were quite upset. (Did you know bees can only see rapid movement? If you can – and it is nearly impossible while being stung – do not swat at the bees … just move calmly away – easier said than done, however). During all of this, only one daughter received a sting, thankfully – and she is our little Pooh Bear – constantly trying to steal honey so perhaps the bees know she is after their goodness.

 


{As she watched the golden liquid flow from the honey frames, she said and I quote: “My life is over. I live and diiiiiie for honey.”}

 

 

So in the end,  only Abby, Lovelyn and I were stung – Abby’s stings were much worse than mine but he, for some reason, does not swell at all. I, however, quickly resembled a 200 lb. version of myself {in the face area, anyways}.  [I have since discovered three out of the six girls, along with myself, are mildly allergic to bee stings - hence the swelling, the redness, the itch and rash. We have proved this as others who were stung did not react this way at all.]

 

In light of an entire day spent with the bees, however, mostly unsuited because it was just too hot to wear a suit and too cumbersome, I think Abby did a great job. Only about five stings or so, more than last year, but still not terrible. He is sore today though as the sting location swells and becomes quite tender. My sting, on my cheek, is slathered with baking soda paste right now as it is itchy and swollen. The girls break out laughing when I talk to them or they just sit and stare with their mouths open at my giant swollen, fat, red face.

But we have glorious honey. Swollen, itchy faces but lovely amber honey.

Beautiful, organic, amazing honey from our bees. It is so delicious {and oh, so healthy!} – the best we have ever tasted!

We are so grateful for these precious honey bees and all the work they do for us!

 

 

 

 

September 18, 2016 - 9:40 pm

Lynda Lu Gibb - Sorry you got stung.. I have experienced a sting on my face too…not in the least easy to bear! And Abby and Lovelyn I will pray all of you don’t suffer too much and that swelling goes away quickly..your reward is the beautiful bounty of the sweetest !

September 16, 2016 - 3:35 pm

Maike - Oh my, I guess you got lucky to not get stung near the eye, but I myself am allergic to bees with fever, swelling and all, so it really is not fun to be stung. But the honey experience and taste must be amazing. My grandparents lived in a small cottage for awhile in a forest with other cottages around and the neighbor had a bee hive. I was always afraid to walk past the bees as child but we got to look at how the honey is processed from the hive to getting it into the jar. And then he somehow had 2 or 3 different sorts of honey in buckets and it was warm honey. We could always taste and chose the one we liked and sometimes lick the original wax board thing and it was amazing. You’re so lucky to have fresh self made honey (just a bit unlucky to get the stings). ^_^

September 15, 2016 - 2:27 pm

Lauren - Gillian!!! I would love a jar! Too bad we didn’t live closer! Anyway… I don’t think we could have bees… I think all of us couldn’t keep ourselves calm and collected around all those stinging insects! Lol! Good on Abby for doing such a great job

Dedication of Lazarus ♥


And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts,
if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me,
and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child,
then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life,

1 Samuel 1:11

{the dedication of Lazarus to the Lord}

{with his bunny, a gift from his grandma}

We recently dedicated Lazarus to the Lord – something we have done with all our children. It simply is a time set aside in front of family and friends where Abby & I promise to raise our son according to Scriptures,
to do our very best to train him to love the Lord and surround our son with love and care.
His dedication was held at his grandparent’s home by the river on a hot August summer evening. Abby’s father blessed  Lazarus and my father prayed over him. Not all the family could attend sadly, but I am grateful for the small circle of family and friends that evening.
It was a precious, simple gathering but one that was dear to our hearts.
His grandma made all the food and put together this lovely cupcake “cake” in the shape of a cross. His banner was lovingly made by a special “nanny” all the way in England.

Little Lazarus is blessed, indeed, to have such loving family in his life. We are grateful for everyone who has shown love to him in his first year of life so far. We are blessed to have Christian grandparents and a circle of friends who hold the same beliefs.

Thanking God for our little boy and praying that we take his raising as a godly man to heart. It is a big responsibility – we know we need God’s guidance and help and grace. 

September 14, 2016 - 3:20 am

Maike - You all look so lovely and Lazarus is so cute with his bunny. Glad you didn’t lose all of the images. It’s so nice to have pictures to look back at in the future. :-)

September 13, 2016 - 1:08 pm

Erin Lynn - I love the picture of you and your guys! Gorgeous!! I have one son and five daughters. So much fun!!!

{Home Canned} Tomato Hamburger Soup

The geese have already started heading south.

I can hear them honk and take flight- it is the grandest sight to see them fly right by my little balcony, eye level with me. I love to see them in flight and, although some people think geese are a nuisance, I think they are beautiful! It seems that every night, during reading before bed, we hear the geese honking and we all run to the little balcony that adjoins the little girls’ room and watch the geese fly away from our second story view point. In some ways, it is bittersweet knowing the winter months are coming – but in other ways, it is okay. I love the snuggly-months – with warm fires blazing, snow falling freshly all around and of course, a delicious aroma of the daily soup simmering away on the woodstove … Mmmmm … homemade soup …

With  the geese showing us that the cold winds are coming sooner rather than later, it means we all must take note. Winter is fast approaching. It is time to squirrel away all our goods from the garden – or local produce if you have not had a chance to grown your own – and prepare for the colder months that are inevitable.

This is one of my favorite aspects of homemaking!
[Well, I must sound like Dorcas of Larkrise to Candleford when she says "This is my one weakness" - as she says that about nearly everything in the series!] But this truly – canning and putting up food for winter – is one of my favorites of homemaking. It is a beautiful privilege to source out healthy foods, preserve it and provide it for your loved ones during times when nothing is growing locally, when leaving the comforts of your cozy home are daunting knowing the streets and roads are covered with ice and snow.

 

One of my favorite things to can is soup. It is just so incredibly comforting, handy and easy for quick, healthy meals. Soups and stews stretch a long way and can feed many on a little budget. Couple it with a lovely homemade loaf or two of bread and the meal is satisfying. Simmering it all day at the back of my cookstove, letting the delicious smell waft through the home … it is all signs of fall and winter months to come.

 

I am hoping to share a few of my favorite soup recipes with you over the month of September.
First off, in light of my tomato bumper crop, I will begin with a Hamburger Tomato Soup, compliments of my cute helpers …

Do not be fooled into thinking you need a small pot like the one in the photo- that was just for a “few” of the chopped vegetables. I used my big stock pot. The recipe made about 13 litres.

 

Here is the recipe:

 Tomato Hamburger Soup

6-8 lbs of ground beef

8 chopped onions
8 minced garlic cloves
7 litres of  tomato juice
2 tsp pepper
6-8 diced carrots
12 or so diced potatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Brown all of your ground beef, onions and garlic. Cook carrots & potatoes in your tomato juice. Add all ingredients together and simmer away for about 10 minutes. Ladle into clean mason jars, using new canning sealing lids. Process your soup in your pressure canner for 60 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure. (Always use a pressure canner for soups! If you do not have one, it is a great investment!)

 

When it is time to serve your soup, you may mix up a 1/4 cup or so of flour to about two cups of milk. Stir your mixture into your soup as it is heating up (you do not need to boil or cook your soup – just reheat). Feel free to add personal seasonings to your soup as well.

In the middle of winter, you will truly enjoy this lovely homemade meal, without stress or fuss.

September 13, 2016 - 9:59 pm

Jennifer A - Pinned! That looks so delicious. (Your photos are fabulous too!)Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop!

September 9, 2016 - 5:05 am

admin - Auntie Kate, we miss you! Yes, they are standing on one stool together. Lovelyn would like you to know she has her first wiggly tooth. She is delighted and wants me to pull it out. I said no! Ugh, blood!

September 8, 2016 - 9:07 pm

Kate - Your helpers are very cute indeed! Are they standing on one chair?! xoxo

September 8, 2016 - 9:23 am

admin - Yes, it will cook it.

September 8, 2016 - 7:05 am

Kyla - where you are only browning the meat, does it get fully cooked when you have it in the pressure canner?

Education {at home}

“Thank goodness I was never sent to schools … it would have rubbed off some of the originality.”
-Beatrix Potter

 

 

September, with its fresh crisp mornings and warm afternoons, cool evenings and painted leaf-tips, is here.

And so it begins … another chapter in our homeschooling journey … the pencils are freshly sharpened, the work books not yet creased and worn, excitement brimming as we all anticipate another lovely {and sometimes, challenging} year filled with learning new and wonderful things about this world God has created …

 

The girls have been asking to start our school year for a few weeks now, but I was not ready – there were still things to organize, lists to create (I’m not sure I ever did create those lists, except for in my head), books to arrange and supplies to be refreshed. And yet, here we are again, ready to begin. I think it is safe to say that we all love home educating here at the Gauthier home. We have never regretted the choice to school the girls (and soon, boy!) at home. That is to say it is not always easy – but it is a choice and a lifestyle we have embraced.

A few weeks ago, the girls, Abby & I worked on installing some new bookshelves and organizing the home library for our school room. Thus, the school room received a bit of a makeover. I still need to freshen up the (painted) floor (I find I have to paint it every six months or so from all the wear) but other than that, it is pretty much ready.

I located a cozy braided rug off Kijiji for the room and it just helps make everything feel more at home. We love the addition of the woodstove since we moved in nearly four years ago. It has made a world of difference in our very-chilly-old-farmhouse. My plans were to make this room as cozy and inviting as possible for little ones (and big ones), especially during the winter months when we are indoors more than the summer months.  We may not always “do school” in this room, but it is a room where we can sit and read our books, work on nature journals, listen to audio stories and just have life happen. School, that is to say, the book work and such, happen anywhere in our home – but this room does give us a designated location for our general home education.

 

Here is the room view when I last updated it

 

 

I may remove the little couch later and put a table there for the big girls for school work, crafts, etc. but we will see.
our lovely new bookshelves …. where in the world did I put all these books before? We still have at least two (large-ish) bookshelves in nearly every room of the house. We LOVE books.:)I working on making our home library as self sufficient as possible.

 

 

the morning together-time basket …

… little bits of nature …

… a chalkboard I made to remind us of the character trait of the month (I hope to write a post on that later)….
… the little girls’ writing/work space … and a handy book ledge that Abby made from a recycled pallet …
It holds our library books so they do not get confused or mixed up with our regular reading material (oh, you homeschoolers know what I am talking about …)

 

little Laz checking out the lower shelves…

 

 

our nature section (one of my favorite sections in our library)…

 

 

 

of course, a basket of books and some rocking chairs by the fair is a must …

 

a selection of our audio library for cold, chilly winter afternoons of listening …

and a basket of toys and puzzles for all the little ones to play with …

 

So grateful for yet another year of homeschooling about to begin!

 

(Linked up with Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth)

 

September 12, 2016 - 6:10 pm

Mia White - Wow, SO lovely! I want to learn there! I have a skosh of homeschool room envy now ;)

September 7, 2016 - 5:58 am

admin - Maike, yes, definitely a lot of work (I consider it a full time job in some ways) but so, so, rewarding! I was never sent to a traditional school (except for one year while my family transitioned from across the country) and I, like you, was afraid of a “public school” in many ways.
I am grateful for a smaller school setting that I was raised in (started with homeschooling and then moved into a church with other families until it grew to about 80 children or so). Home education is definitely a great option for a parent that wants to be active and involved with their child’s education or one that is concerned about what the government is teaching in the government-funded schools (here in Ontario, this is something to consider for sure!) – it does take up a lot of your time and energy but again, the benefits are wonderful. We are blessed to have this option!

September 7, 2016 - 3:21 am

Maike - This looks so cozy and the little men who sneeked into almost every picture made me giggle. It must be wonderful to be homeschooled in your home…or perhaps even in general. I wished I was homeschooled – I always was afraid of going to school and it didn’t do anything good for me. With only your children or even meeting with other homeschooled natural children everyone seems to be accepted and let be the way they are and work in their speed. And when they do need help they can still ask you at a later time in the day too. It must be a lot of effort for the parent but worth it. :-)

September 6, 2016 - 7:09 pm

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - Gillian, these pictures make me want to go to back to school. Looks so inviting and pleasant. The girlies will enjoy the upgraded school rooms. Good renovating job!!!

September 6, 2016 - 12:39 pm

Mary Stephens - Well, that is a delightful school room! :-) It looks like a very pleasant place to study.

September 5, 2016 - 7:21 pm

Liz - Your “classroom” reminds me a bit of the “Reggio Emilia” approach. I like your natural items. I try and model my classroom after it, it just seems so natural, calm and happy.