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. Wife of an undertaker.
    Photographer. Homeschooler. Daughter of the King. 
    Lover of life, coffee and all things pink and vintage. ♥

Dr. Dolittle

This has been our first experience with raising ducks. In total, we have seven, although only four that will be at laying age soon.

And it has been a delight to have these little creatures around this summer!  Lyla is our little Dr. Doolittle – she’s always in the coop, studying or ‘training’ the chickens, following the ducks around during the day, chasing them, talking to them … so far, she’s the only one that can actually catch the ducks to hold them.
Well, this guy pictured below is a drake, not a duck – he’s a male Roen and he’s hilarious. We just laugh as we watch the ducks waddle around in a line, wandering around, poking about. We call it Duck T.V. as they are quite humorous to observe.
Often times, we wake up to find the ducks at the back kitchen glass door, tapping the window with their bills, quacking at us. We wonder if they can smell breakfast or if they are just curious.



The girls named this duck below King Jeremiah. He’s the leader of the ducks thus far.

September 4, 2014 - 7:51 am

JES - Another lovely post! Your picture is gorgeous! We used to have ducks but our last property wasn’t big enough and we had to let them loose at a park (it was quite the S.W.A.T. team experience)… I have heard that duck eggs make the best ice cream though :) Thank you for sharing on the Art of Home-Making Mondays this week! Please join in again next week…

End of Summer {Love}

“Have you quit photography?”

I get that question a lot. I never know what to say. I have not quit – how can one quit something that is a passion and continues to be used every day? But I have felt, for some time, that it was time to stop focusing on my own personal success in business and turn my sights on an eternal goal. My family.

While it has been humbling many ways to step back from busy-ness of running my photography business, I have known all along, in my heart, that it was what God wanted for our little {big} family. Being a mother and a wife is a high calling – and living and breathing and being this momma to six, wonderful gifts we call our children, well, it was time to take that seriously.
I love photography.
I love my family.
I love God.

He required me to put it all in order – loving Him, loving my family, and letting my own goals take a back seat for a season. It doesn’t mean I cannot book a session or two but it means I need to keep my life open and available to my husband and children first.


It was a hard decision.

But I don’t regret it.
I see the rewards of turning my focus on my family and being an intentional parent – with God’s grace – so thankful for the sprinkling of grace every moment!


I am grateful. And humbled to be given this calling as a mother.



Tonight, before bed, Lovelyn was all wiggles and giggles and couldn’t stay still.  I asked her if she wanted to go for a quick walk … she obliged.  {Lovelyn – 3}



September 1, 2014 - 9:15 am

admin - Thank you, Shelley, for your comment! It’s so nice to know others mothers understand your heart.
Thank you for the encouragement! :)

September 1, 2014 - 8:00 am

Shelley - I admire this decision of yours :) once we had our third little blessing I too, decided to take on much less in my photography business and at first turning down perspective business was hard but everytime it got easier because I was saying YES to God and my family :) I do have to still work to help with the finances but I am much more intentional about the work I take on now and have been so happy with the changes I made. God bless you as you grow and nurture your family! I love your sweet blog and have always loved your photography :)

Blueberries for Sal {BFIAR}

Although we haven’t officially ‘started school’, we started up our {Before} Five in a Row for the younger girls.
As a mom, I love this very-flexible, loving-environment, creative way to preschool through FIAR and include all the girls in the learning experience (although poor Leia did nap during this experience today)…

We skipped ahead (one of the best things about this schedule – decide what works best for your family and children) as blueberries were on sale locally – therefore …





Blueberries for Sal was the book of choice.


Oh, how I adore this sweet storybook – from the simple, yet eye catching illustration, to the plink-plank-plunk sounds to the adorable, cozy scene of mom and daughter canning in the old-fashioned kitchen …


So today, with great gramma visiting and the late summer sun keeping us warm, we canned blueberries to go along with the story.

We’ve made blueberry jam in the past, but never just canned blueberries… Lovelyn was a great helper filling the jars – although, as the picture proves, she certainly ate her fair share …


We listened to the audio version of the book while we filled the jars while another sister read through the book …

To can blueberries, simply wash the berries, fill the jars, and pour in a syrup mix to cover the berries (1:2 ratio of water and syrup, boiled on the stove). Wipe the rims clean, place a new canning lid on top and pop them in the water bath …



We water bathed for 15 minutes …


They came out looking very juicy and lovely – inviting for a cold winter day when we decide to make blueberry pie or blueberry bundt cake …


I’m so grateful for these little hours, moments of time, with the girls in each of their different stages of growing and learning …

If you have a preschooler or kindergarten child at home, I encourage you to check out the Five in a Row option. You will be pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable it can be to teach your own young child with beautiful classic storybooks and endearing activities to go along…

As for Lovelyn, she fell asleep with the Bluberries for Sal book in her arms tonight –:)


September 1, 2014 - 1:22 pm

JES - This is the perfect post and pictures which share the beauty of home education. Just lovely!

August 31, 2014 - 12:28 am

Mama H - Well the birds nest is sweet!Thanks for the berry info,we are newbie canners!Wish we could sit down and chit chat some time!I think we would get along famously.:)…..Sincerly,Bobbie

August 29, 2014 - 7:47 am

Gillian - p.s. Oh, my hair is commonly referred to as the bird’s nest! loosely pulled up with lots of bobby pins!

August 29, 2014 - 7:46 am

admin - Hey Mamma H (ok, you have to tell me your real name so I can call you that!) – we hot water bathed them – cold packed the berries (just dropped them in) and the hot syrup was just ladled in to leave the regular headspace on top – water bathed for 15 minutes. I can’t wait to try them although I tend to wait till cooler weather to open the preserves. I have seen where you can add lavender or vanilla to the process – yummmm!

August 28, 2014 - 11:59 pm

Mama H. - I luv luv luv five in a row!!!We have a house full of kiddos also!What kind of syrup is it?And you just sit them in a tub of water?hot or cold matter?You should do a post about how you fix your hair like that!Seriously!It’s super sweet and delicate.I love it!

Putting Up.

Everyone in the house is already asleep and I’m sitting here, waiting for the last batch of pressure canned soups to finish up … I’ve just filled out a huge stack of fall fair entry forms for the girls. Do you attend your local fall fair? We have a blast with it every year and enjoy seeing old friends at the fairgrounds year after year. However, I almost skipped the fair this year – it just felt like too much on the to-d0-list but the girls asked and here we are, filling out the forms again.

If you go to the Orangeville fall fair – we’ll be the ones with ducks, chickens and rabbits following behind us …:)

Ahhh, yes, the fall fair.
The beginning of the change of seasons.

The glorious summer sun is quickly fading into an Autumn haze … our inky nights arrive earlier and with that, a more regular bedtime for our family. I adore summer – what a beautiful season to relax (?), enjoy nature and family, quiet times and busy times, but I {very much} welcome the almost-here Autumn season – it is my favorite. Snuggly days by the woodstove, warm bread baking in the oven, hot apple pies, Thanksgiving, cool mornings and sun-dappled afternoons – and yummy, creamy healthy soups simmering on the stove.


Let me introduce you to my latest batch of Pressure Canned Soups – the creamy, dreamy delectable fill-your-tummy Cauliflower Soup.

This soup is Lyla’s favorite – she asked for it to be her birthday lunch – in July – in the middle of a heatwave. That’s how much she loves it.

Did anyone see that cauliflower is really cheap right now in the grocery stores? After a good friend told me about these good sale prices, I zipped out and bought quite a few heads of cauliflower to make and can soup for the winter.

Nearly a dozen jars of creamy soup later, I think we are set for the fall and winter months.

{Can you believe I found these beautiful bowls in the barn out back, stuck inside a milk crate, long forgotten? I think they are so pretty!}


Doubling, or even tripling a soup recipe, is just so simple. And this recipe was so wonderfully easy to start with, it really made this task quite enjoyable.

Don’t forget, if you are pressure canning, you cannot add  the milk products to soup – when it comes time to serve the soup, *THEN* you may add the milk, cream or cheese to the soup while it is warming in the pot.  I’m not an expert by any means – but this is what is working for me:

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

{I’m not a big person on measuring so use your judgement}

two heads of cauliflower, choppedpot full of water to boil
chicken stock added into the water
two or three potatoes, peeled and chopped
one stalk of celery, chopped
three onions, chopped
carrot, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
garlic cloves to taste
Herbs de provence, to taste

{Add cream or sour cream to soup to thicken, but only if you are not canning.}

–You will add all cream products only once you are ready to serve your soup, so please omit them from any cream soup recipe you may find online.–

Add all ingredients to the water, bring to a boil, continue to simmer until the vegetables are soft. Puree soup with an immersion blender.
Ladle into warm, clean canning jars, leaving a headspace of about an inch.
Wipe rims off jars and place new canning lids on.Place gently into pressure canner (canner is filled with water up to your knuckle).
Lock pressure canner and process at 10 lbs for 60-09 minutes (I could not find information on how long to process, so I am going with the longest time).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

See you at the fair!



September 1, 2014 - 1:15 pm

JES - I can’t believe you found those beautiful bowls in the barn! They are stunning and… your soup looks stunning! I have some cauliflower on hand and may give this a go this week :) Happy homemaking and thank you once again for linking up with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays. I am in love with your photos by the way!

Mr. & Mrs.

So many of my blog posts are about my children and yet there is a very important person in my life that is not often talked about …

…maybe because we’re still learning at this marriage thing … probably because I feel like we still struggle with a lot of regular-every-day marital issues … perhaps it’s because I know I still have so much to learn at this whole wife-role … but I must say, I have such a good husband – he puts up with a lot, especially since he has a house {literally} full of girls. From learning to brush fine hair into lop-sided piggy tails to reading princess-bedtime stories over and over and having to be the muscles for everything around here, as well as the one and only man who will remove the dead mice from the mouse traps … he certainly has a big role to fill.

He must go from seeing the worst situations of death and dreadful disaster to coming home, slipping off his suit jacket and dress shoes to replace them with muddy gum boots and donning his country-clothes, stained with grass and grease.
Last week, when I texted him to let him know two of our ducks are actually drakes, he said, ” Finally!  Some guys in the family!”

But God knew what He was doing when he gave Abby six daughters to raise.
That was no accident. He’s the right man for the job.

And tonight, when I said “Hmmm …..let’s do a photo of the family!” he didn’t complain or say no as most men probably would on a verrrrrrry hot, muggy summer day, especially with a chore list so long it never seems to end…  I promised it would only take a few minutes … (I was pretty close) and that we would only steal him from his (humungous) task of building his extra-large wood shed for a bit … and he obliged.

Yes, indeed. I’m very thankful for this man in my life.

If anyone has ever read Created to be His Help Meet  (a good book all wives should read!), you’ll know what I mean when I say this guy is my Mr. Steady.
Slow and steady.
Would help a complete stranger just because.
He makes a fabulous father for all girls … I’m pretty sure most men are not this patient.
He’s loving and kind and willing to give up so much for his family.

This whole parenting and marriage thing – it’s such a learning process. We may have been raised in Christian homes but that doesn’t mean an exact blueprint is laid out in front for us in every situation. Spiritual leadership, growth … it’s all different when you’re the parent and little eyes are watching you. When we first were married, I remember going to church alone with my baby because of Abby’s work schedule. Only in this past year has it changed because of my husband’s intentional decision -he can now join us for family worship – that has made such a huge difference in our lives.

But this journey means we’re learning. Yes, we have baggage. We still fight and argue, as we are humans. We struggle with selfishness and pride. But we have a wonderful God who will sustain us and give us answers when we do not know what to do or say.

We’re growing together. And with God’s grace, in time, I pray we leave a legacy for our daughters how a marriage may be blessed by God.

August 25, 2014 - 10:57 pm

Heather - Love the blue. It’s sweet and calming :)
What a great tribute to your husband. I love your honesty and humility about how real your marriage is and how you’re still learning. We all are and will continue to until death do us part, I believe! Thankfully, the Lord guides us or where would we be? Beautiful post.