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. ♥

Bri & Flicka {Mini Horse Love}


“All horses deserve, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a girl…”




Spending the evening with a beautiful young lady and her precious {miniature} horse was truly delightful …   sometimes, I do think, in this world of digital and technology and screens and rushing to and fro, we raise children who have lost touch with so many skills, children who do not know how to work {diligently} towards a true goal and then sacrifice leisure time and weekends and week nights to take care and learn what responsibility looks and feels like … young Bri worked hard to earn her horse, Flicka, and was surprised by her parents at Christmas time when they purchased her mini horse of her dreams – but only after she worked long and hard towards her goal and showed maturity and responsibility.


Bri, it was a pleasure to work with you! You are a beautiful girl, inside and out.










October 2, 2014 - 12:44 pm

Claire - Hi Tawnia! What beautiful pictures of Brianna and her horse!

October 1, 2014 - 9:15 pm

Tawnia Christos - Oh Gillian you have outdone yourself….you are so incredibly talented and totally captured the love Bri has for her horse..these pictures are beautiful!!.we have been very blessed to have Flicka in our life and these pictures will be treasured forever…thank you so very much!!!!

Puppy {Love}


This change of season is high on my favorites of the year …  I adore the quiet autumn evenings, the cool misty mornings as I hang out he morning laundry on the line … there is just enough chill in the air to require a warm sweater in the morning and just enough sunshine in the afternoon to allow the children to explore, play and be free outside …
School’s coming along well …. busy but good… I’ve even managed to squeeze in a few fall sessions for clients … I often feel like the house is suffering … I crave a sparkly clean, super tidy home … but then, when there comes the chance to have it all clean in one day … and the girls are off playing at the grandparent’s house … I realize all too quickly that I actually prefer having little fingerprints on windows if it means I have children here enjoying life. And those piles of well-worn sandals at the back door, well, it just tells the story of a happy-sun-filled day climbing trees and playing in the fields … I want to hear the noises of children and be busy with the duties and chores {and all moments in between} that come from raising a {non-average-sized} family …


Life would be too quiet without them.


We do require chores for the children, however. With six children and two adults, it can get very messy fast – but I tell them with so many siblings, it can also get clean fast! I love to lay my head on the bed at night and know we are not getting up to an untidy home. I am thinking it is abut time to revamp the chore list for the fall must-do-items. Should I share the chore list here? It’s pretty basic – no fancy graphics or colors – just plain and simple and straight to the point … it works for us though!


And a puppy update:

Winnifred is a beautiful addition to our family thus far. She is gentle and quiet, not too hyper yet and never once has tried to run away. Any puppy training tips I need to know?


{Leia & Winnie, getting to know each other}



September 30, 2014 - 8:31 am

Gillian - Melissa, great idea!!! But Winnie is the kind of breed that likes to live outside! So she does not come in the house ….! :)

September 30, 2014 - 7:41 am

Melissa Mullinax - We have use the bell training method with very good (and easy!) results. It’s simply a bell hanging by the door that puppy rings when she needs to go out. At first you ring it for her to show the correct desired behavior each time, and build up from there. And a small treat with each success when they come back in. :) . I was very apprehensive since I didn’t learn about it until Jasper was probably 6 mos old or so. But it still worked like a charm! Good luck! Winifred is adorable!!

September 30, 2014 - 7:05 am

Claire - Those pics make me smile. So sweet!
I’d be interested in your chore list :)

September 30, 2014 - 12:21 am

Katrina - Haha! Those two (Leia and Winnie) look so in love! It’s so sweet <3
And yes, share your chore list! :) I have Jacob doing small small things, like setting the table and clearing his dishes, folding his clothes nicely before bed, putting toys away [constantly]… Your posts here are always so wonderful.

Introducing Winifred…


Today … we did something we thought we never would do …


Yes …


We added a puppy to our family.
I know what you’re thinking {Crazy?! Don’t I have enough to clean up after?!} – but this is no ordinary puppy.




She’s a Great Pyrenees – which means, she’s a Livestock Guardian dog, a mountain dog, bred to protect, bred to work, they are known to be brave when needed,  they are strong willed, gentle, confident, fearless, patient and affectionate. I’ve even read articles where they have taken on bears and coyotes to protect a herd of their family. In fact, this little puppy’s father (who we met) had recently killed two coyotes on the farm where he lives …


So this little puppy … she has a job. Well, first she has to grow, grow, grow, which no doubt she will do so quickly. We got a young dog as they would need to grow up with the animals and children they are to protect.



Since moving here, we have lost three chickens, one duck and a bunny to predators. To be humbly honest, I am often a bit scared at night when we have to go out in the dark and put away the chickens and ducks. We’ve even seen coyotes in our yard and that was before having all these tasty chickens and ducks on our property.  And with all these beautiful little children running around outside most of the day, I’d love to feel a bit more secure and safe with a guardian dog by their side…



Of course, the girls are in love, especially the three older ones … it is nice to have their extra helping hands as they take care of our newest addition.






We think we have settled on the name Winnifred {Winnie for short}, which means peaceful guardian. We’re trying it out for 24 hours to see if we think the name suits her …


I have to admit, she’s pretty cute. Let’s hope she lives up to her breed’s reputation.




October 4, 2014 - 8:49 am

Cassy - U got yourself a polar bear very cute miss u guys

September 29, 2014 - 9:29 pm

Kristina - Winifred is one of our potential baby names! Lol! Congratulations, she looks like a really fun addition to your busy household.

September 27, 2014 - 8:31 am

Claire - Congratulations! I have always loved these dogs! They are amazing. What a beautiful loyal companion for your family. What a lucky puppy to have found her home with you.

September 27, 2014 - 8:27 am

Cassandra - Awwwww…. so sweet. Your photos are just breath taking. Winnie looks very precious… praying she is a peaceful-guardian for your family… And her name reminds me of Winnie from Tuck Everlasting who was an energetic, adventurous, noble and brave character. Still wishing we lived closer to each other… we could introduce our chickens… I’m sure they’d hit it off… xo Cass @ TheUnpluggedFamily

September 25, 2014 - 4:43 am

Chris McCoy - Oh the L’s will all be in heavenly bliss! She is just lovely! Great choice for breed! I can just picture future winter pictures of Winnie and the girls…I’m sure one of them will figure out how to teach her to pull a sled around :) let this wonderful adventure begin! :)

September 24, 2014 - 6:07 pm

I’ve also heard that Great Pyrenees dogs are great worker dogs, and are excellent guardian dogs. What an excellent addition to your homesteading family :)

September 24, 2014 - 1:40 pm

Tracy Nevin - OMG She is soooooooooooooooooo cute! Love her! We also got a dog in March. Little Minnie! I am so in love Gillian you would laugh!


September 24, 2014 - 9:47 am

Maike - This is amazing – it’s exactly what’s still missing. Well besides the cow, cat, sheep/goats. But a dog is so much: a real family member, playmate for the children, tear dryer, and yours even protects the farm (hopefully). Another family member that needs homeschooling. I grew up with dogs myself and don’t regret it at all. <3

School {at home}

“Mommy, it’s going to rain soon,” stated my almost-four year old.

“Really, Lovie? How do you know?” I asked, while folding and  putting away more laundry from yet another day.

My sun-kissed little daughter held her little arms up and said, “Because, the ants have biggggg walls!”

I  stopped folding laundry and quickly squeezed her in a big hug – I was proud of her! Why? Because we had read that fact earlier this summer while studying the weather and the sky … ants do indeed build higher ant hill walls when rain is predicted … but I couldn’t believe it. Well, yes, I could. Here was my three year old remembering this fact from a few months ago when I didn’t even know if she was truly listening while we read information regarding the weather.  In fact, the study we were doing was aimed at the older girls with facts beyond a three year old’s grasp …


But she picked it up. And she remembered it.


And as we officially began our fifth year of homeschooling this month,  that brought a lot of joy to my heart! Because sometimes, I wonder, am I doing this right? Are we getting anywhere?


{Lacey, nature journalling}

But we are – and I *love* that God has allowed our family to school at home.

This year, our one room ‘schoolhouse’ consists of a Grade 5, Grade 3, Grade 1, Jr. Kindergarten, preschool and five month old baby!

It it busy,  yes!! It’s takes up a lot of time in life – but my husband and I have both prayed about this and feel that this is where God is calling our family. It is not for the faint at heart! Homeschooling is not for wimps  – honestly! It takes a lot of personal sacrifice and heavenly perspective. Every day, you being with a big cup of coffee and the grace of God  — and prayers!   God is strong when we are weak!

It’s hard to explain homeschooling to those who have never experienced it or thought about it – your lifestyle naturally revolves around learning and veers away from a traditional school setting in many aspects. We are often finished  the formal school work by lunch time, however learning happens all throughout the day. Together, we read a lot – I read aloud to them, they read to me. We have our traditional phonics/language arts, math, handwriting [something they no longer teach in government schools] and spelling. The girls also have nature journals.  Together, we work on science and history as a family. [I will post about the unit study I put together for science later - I'm excited about it and love to teach all the girls at the same time - and yes, that is possible!] We are reading through the Bible together and have already begun the book of Leviticus.  There’s also poetry in the mix and formal music lessons.



The older girls also run their egg business, which is going great so far (not without glitches, but we are working through everything).     {Need eggs? Send them an email! We deliver to Orangeville, as well! }

Life is very busy but it is eternal work. Every day of homeschooling is an investment.

Just for fun, here’s our little homeschool corner, however, school happens *everywhere*. Sometimes we go upstairs in their bedroom so the little girls can play  at the same time. Or we might be outsde at the creek. Or learning history in the car with audio tales. Life *is* school here and school is life!



{the desk set up Abby created for us}


I have an old hutch that I painted – in this hutch, I store everyone’s books that are to be read, along with their curriculum.

Each girl has their own section, divided into grades.

{In the bottom half of the hutch, you will find ‘busy boxes’ for the 2 and 3 year old.
Items such as playdough, a mini sand box, puzzle, magnet crafts, counting games, paint with water … all those cute fun preschool type things!}

{busy boxes}

{my reading/holding baby chair}


Sometimes nature studies walk right through the door!

{the view of the whole room – it is quite small, but the best part is the cozy, warm woodstove in the winter!}


{desks for working and more books – we LOVE books!}

{I found this bookshelf in the old barn, dragged it in, cleaned it up and painted it. One of these desks were free on the side of the road!}




Do you have questions regarding homeschool? Have you thought about it in the past but doubted if you could do it? Did you know you can homeschool on a budget (and with some work, for free)?  I’d love to hear from you  – perhaps your family also homeschools or would like to start? I’d love to post more about it as it is a beautiful, busy, wonderful way to raise your children.:)


October 2, 2014 - 9:54 pm

JES - Hi there! I wanted to feature this post on the Art of Home-Making Mondays this week. I was hoping to post one of your pictures, what are your thoughts on this (specifically the girls dangling feet and studying over water)? Thanks!

October 2, 2014 - 7:55 pm

JES - I loved this post about your homeschooling days and room. Absolutely beautiful! We have homeschooled from the beginning and it changed the way we live, for the better, like you mentioned, it is a way of life… It has been such a blessing! Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! :)

September 30, 2014 - 9:38 pm

Heather - What an absolutely delightful room, Gillian! So pretty and yet so functional. Thanks for sharing with us!

September 29, 2014 - 9:00 pm

Kristina - I love that your homeschool room has a door to the outside. How nice to have direct access to recess!

September 21, 2014 - 8:59 pm

Tara C - LOOOOVE your new homeschooling room!
PS – I know it’s not anywhere close to Christmas (although some would say it really is), but I’d love to know what you guys do for your girls for Christmas gifts. I know you’ve talked in the past about how you do a lot of homemade gifts, etc. I really dislike the idea of a commercialized Christmas and want to get back to basics, but don’t have a clue where to start with the gifts.

September 21, 2014 - 4:51 pm

Maike - I’m an absolute addict of your blog, but mostly am a silent reader. I am strictly governmental schooled, been in kindergarten, non-enjoyable school and it definately didn’t do me any good. I have only heard positive things about homeschooling, the people I met that were homeschooled were much more intelligent and talented or better and laid back. I am so interested in everything that gives me an insight about homeschooling and would love if you can share more about it. The schedules, how to manage all of the kids in different grades, how you deal with them not feeling like studying some days, is it possible to manage with having another job…I don’t have children yet and I can not turn back my own time and start all over with being homeschooled this time, but if I ever will have children, I would prefer to homeschool them.

September 21, 2014 - 11:19 am

veronika goisova - I love homeschooling posts very much,we talk about a lot with my 6 years old,she would like to be homeschool too,but because of my bad English and because we speak at home only check,I want her to go to regular school,to practise her English there.
She just told me last week,you don’t have to be sad mom you can’t homeschool us,because you do it anyway,we do so many crafts,exploring,talking and reading-she could read at 4,5 in both Czech and English-so we have regular school and homeschool as well)) yes I love her so

September 20, 2014 - 11:12 pm

Lacy - I just have to say that I love your blog! I found it a few months back on a link-up. I homeschool my two little girls Charlotte Mason style and am working on my walk with God and to raise my girls knowing Him- something I didn’t really have growing up. You are an inspiration and although I had heard about BFIAR before, your recent post on it pushed me to finally order it for my preschooler and I am very excited! Thank you for all you do!

Glimpse in Time

Things have been so busy around here lately … apple picking, winterizing the chicken coop (still in progress), stacking firewood, canning food, switching clothes from summer to fall for six children (that alone can take up my entire week!) and getting into the groove of schooling every day … we have such a long list to accomplish before the snow falls …


But in the meantime, during one lovely warm early September day … we had a chance to visit our favorite horse farm a few sideroads over… Lyla and Flicka …it’s been so fantastic to spend time at Applebrook to learn about the horses, groom them, clean them and even muck stalls!




September 20, 2014 - 10:56 am

Claire - I love the way the purple/pink flowers are blurred around them. Beautiful shot! I see ponies in your future ;)