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

Gigi Blog bio picture
  • 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. ♥

A new Grandfather {Clock}

In a dusty, dark corner of a very old house,
sits the tall, wooden worn out clock.
It has seen its share of memories and pain,
keeping perfect time with a tick and a tock.
-The Grandfather Clock

 

 

When it comes to making a home, creating an environment that is memorable, filled with happiness, I have always felt that enchanting sights, fascinating sounds and delicious aromas will bring fond memories as children grow older … do we not all have a favorite aroma that brings back childhood memories? The smell of gingersnap cookies baking in your mother’s oven … the aroma of fresh bread, golden brown and ready to melt in your mouth, cooling on the kitchen counter …  the sounds of your family’s favorite music being played on the piano … the whispering wind in the trees outside your bedroom window …memories of watching flickering fireflies while sitting on the cool front porch in the summer …
When we found our sweet cuckoo clock a few years ago in a thrift store, we were fascinated with the darling song it sung, the enchanting way it kept time for us. It brought a new sound – one that will be remembered as part of our family and the passing of time in our own day- to our noisy life.

Since then, old clocks have been something of interest to us.

Browsing through kijiji recently, I came across a lovely old Grandfather clock, up for sale for a very low price, near my husband’s workplace. With just one visit to look at the discarded grandfather clock and a handshake later, we found a new {old} family member being moved into our dining room.

 

It was an exciting night as Abby and I carried in the big, heavy clock, wrapped in a large quilt, as a surprise for the family. Everything was in working condition – except the chimes. We called the local clock maker (who was extremely fascinating and friendly) who came to our home, dismantled our grandfather clock one snowy winter evening, wrapped it back up in a large quilt for protection and whisked it away for a cleanup and repair.

Two weeks later, our new friend, the clock maker returned  on yet another windy-snow-filled evening with the repaired-cleaned-up body of our old grandfather clock.

And with much excitement and anticipation, we heard it chiming for the first time in our home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It chimes every 15 minutes – which is lovely! You surely realize how much time you sadly waste or make good use of during the day as you listen to the music played every quarter.

Welcome to the family, Grandfather Clock.

 

 

 

It’s a Marshmallow World 💕

 

“It’s a marshmallow world in the winter
When the snow comes to cover the ground
It’s the time for play, it’s a whipped cream day
I wait for it the whole year round.

It’s a yum-yummy world made for sweethearts
Take a walk with your favorite girl
It’s a sugar date, what if spring is late
In winter it’s a marshmallow world…”
 

I have to admit – I still love marshmallows in my hot chocolate. Adult or child alike – who doesn’t?

So, Leia and I decided it was time to make some homemade ones. {This 4-year-old thrives on one on one attention … she is a handful most days – but sit her on you lap, read her a story or let her help in the kitchen with momma and she is lovely!}

The recipe is from Strangers & Pilgrims, which originally inspired us to make these fun treats.

 

 

Homemade Marshmallow Recipe
{We doubled the recipe as I knew they would be eaten within a few days of making them.}

1 tbsp. gelatin
1/4 cup of cold water

Dissolve the gelatin in the water and set aside.

Next, mix 1 cup of sugar into 1/2 cup of hot water and start boiling on the stove.
We were able to make this on the cookstove with no problem.
Watch for it to reach a soft ball stage, which is achieved by reaching temperatures of 235° F–240° F . You can test this by dropping a bit of your sugar syrup into a cold bowl of water.
If the syrup forms a small ball that does not flatten, it is ready. You can read more about it here.
We do not have a candy thermometer so we only used the cold-water method of testing the syrup.

Once your syrup has reached the soft ball stage, remove it from the heat source and add 1 tsp. of vanilla and a sprinkle of salt, if you please, along with the gelatin mixture.

Pour into your mixer and turn on medium speed for 10-15 minutes. You will see your marshmallows fluff begin to form after quite a few minutes. Be patient. 🙂

Once the fluff is made, pour it immediately into a baking dish to let it sit overnight or a few days,
if you can wait that long.

After sitting overnight, you may cut out your marshmallows and roll them in a mixture of powdered sugar and cornstarch {approximately 1/8 cup of each ingredient). You may eat them immediately or store them in a container or the freezer.

 

 

 

It was hard to photograph the mixing process because six little girls were intermittently gathered around the mixer, oohhhing and ahhing over the wonders to behold of creamy marshmallows forming magically in front of their very eyes.

Once it was ready, the marshmallow fluff was setting very fast so daddy assisted with the step of spreading it into the pan.

 

After waiting nearly all day for the marshmallows to chill in the fridge, we could resist no longer. We pulled out the pan and attempted to cut the fluffy, little treats for our hot chocolate. They ended up being very sticky to cut but dried out nicely one they were shaped – and now reading other recipes, I probably should have been more patient and waited a few days to cut them. It was nearly impossible to cut them with a knife, much less a cookie cutter (I had grand intentions of having heart shaped marshmallows) – but in the end, it did not matter … they still tasted supreme.

 

{not so photo-worthy but still wonderfully tasty!}

They still tasted scrumptious! Everyone was pleased as they watched their homemade marshmallows bob along in their steamy hot chocolate.

Have you made homemade marshmallows? I think we will try them again and see if leaving them longer to set for a few days would help with the cutting stage. It would be cute to have little shapes {hearts!} or even decent shaped squares.

 

If you do not want to make your own, take a look at this sweet business that does the job for you. The flavor ideas are wonderful!

December 20, 2016 - 4:12 am

Rebecca - Yes! I’ve made them before and I’m planning to again this year. To help with cutting, oil your knife with coconut oil or some other cooking oil after each slice and they will cut a lot smoother. I’ve given them as gifts too — put them in a cute little treat bag and voila! People are so impressed with homemade marshmallows! 🙂

December 20, 2016 - 12:03 am

amy - I have found Mama Reiners recipe for Fudge Covered Marshmallows works great. You could just do the marshmallow step and skip the fudge dipping part. Her recipe is NOT sticky that I have found. I have been making them for years. Once you eat home made marshmallows, store bought is just not as good.

http://www.marthastewart.com/316904/momma-reiners-chocolate-covered-marshmal

December 19, 2016 - 8:21 pm

Tawnia - My husbands Nan makes them and hers are perfect squares. I will have to ask what her secret is! They look delicious if not symmetrical!

December 19, 2016 - 8:15 pm

Lynda Lu Gibb - I too have made *real* marshmallows.. for coating them I used toasted coconut! My favorites.. and you are right patience is required to cut them and a hot, warmed in hot water, knife. And you can use the mixture to make rice crispy squares if short on patience .. those can be cut into sweet little hearts!?!

Winter Inspired {Gifts} to Make at Home

“It was so wonderful to be there, safe at home, sheltered from the winds and the cold.
Laura thought that this must be a little like heaven, where the weary are at rest.”

-Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter

Freshly fallen snow has finally arrived {yet again} and our little world is pretty and bright, sparkling and clean. It is easy to to list the negatives in our minds about a chilly winter season or focus on the woes of the colder months, but I take joy in this delightful new season! There are so many blessings to winter … have you seen them yet? Look. You will…

 

 

One thing that I love is the added time to work on some homemade projects that time does not allow during the busier summer and autumn season. This weekend, I put together a stove top pot pourri for a friend. It was simple and easy to make and, as you will often find it simmering on the back of our cookstove, I can speak from experience that it will make your home smell cozy and delightful.

 

 

 

As the children eat fresh oranges for their snacks during the day, I save the peels and dehydrate them in the warming drawer of my cookstove. There are so many uses for orange peels – please do not throw them away! 🙂

With a nice collection of dried fruit {apples, cranberries, oranges and orange peels}, you can make a lovely potpourri.

Combine your dried {or fresh, if you prefer} ingredients – such as oranges, apples, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, cloves – in a glass jar. If preferred, drop in 5-10 drops of cinnamon or clove essential oil. This is a very flexible recipe and can be adapted to your personal preference.

 

To use, add your ingredients to a small saucepan filled with 2-3 cups of water. Place at the back of your stove a low heat setting and allow your potpourri to simmer throughout the day, filling your home with a delicious aroma. This potpourri works particularly well on woodstoves, as you will not be wasting any electricity or money to heat up the mixture. Add more water over time and enjoy your homemade pot pourri for as long as you wish.  This also makes a great gift for others.

 

Another simple project, that will just require a few minutes of your time, is mixing together an essential oil blend that will assist your family in staying healthy.

 

 

{Immune Booster} Essential Oil mixture:

2 drops of oregano [antiviral, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory]
2 drops of tea tree oil  [anti-bacterial, anti-septic, aids in ridding one of a cough]
2 drops of lemon oil [calming, anti-infection, detoxifying, disinfectant]
2 drops of frankincense [anti-septic, astringinent, disinfectant, calming]
2 drops of cinnamon [anti-bacterial, help treat coughs, sore throats, decreases inflammation]

Fill to the rest of the bottle with a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil. Shake gently and apply to the bottom of your children’s feet in the evening before you tuck them into bed. This also works great on adults, as well. 🙂

If you have an old essential oil bottle, you could re-use your bottle after giving it a good rinse. Another great option is using a roller ball bottle.

 

 

 

I hope today you can find time to enjoy this wintery day with a cup of soothing tea and perhaps a small homemade project to try …

December 19, 2016 - 7:37 pm

Roseann Hampton - I’ve always loved the beauty of fresh fallen snow! Unfortunately I don’t get to see much of it in Houston! Thanks for sharing!

Turning One …

 

Could a little baby be more love? I think no. What a special day, celebrating Lazarus’ first birthday. A simple gathering. Good food. And lots of hugs and snuggles for our little boy.
Nothing brings out his smile like his sisters!

 

The girls made his cupcakes and icing, decorated them and make the cupcake toppers. They were great helpers!

 

 

 

Happy birthday, sweet Lazarus! It is hard to believe that a year has passed already. But what a sweet, lovely year it has been. We are so happy to have a little blue in our world of pink! You are loved. xo

December 20, 2016 - 4:19 am

Rebecca - Oh gosh so cute! Happy Birthday Lazarus!

December 16, 2016 - 6:55 pm

Renee - Oh Happy birthday sweet Lazarus!!!!! It was with such sweet joy we all sat stunned at your birth…..a BOY!!! What a wonderful beautiful surprise you were an what a darling little boy you are growing up to be!! Much love and Gods blessings to you today and always xoxo

December 15, 2016 - 5:17 am

admin - Lindy, I agree – I would *love* to live closer to you! I’d ask you over for a cuppa tea and suggest some sewing lessons … hee hee …

December 15, 2016 - 5:01 am

admin - Those are cute dresses, are they not? 🙂 We found them just in time for his birthday. They are all used dresses, because, of course, rarely can you find something new that is lovely for little girls and young ladies these days. Thrifts stores, etsy and homemade- that is what we tend to go by. I a can only sew a skirt and cannot sew much more so you are ahead of me by far on your sewing adventures! But yes, it is very challenging to find good modest clothing, not just for the little girls but for women, too. Have you noticed everything looks masculine in the women’s department lately?

December 14, 2016 - 10:15 pm

Lynda Lu Gibb - God Bless your one year old little son! isn’t he so precious…oh I so wish we lived closer.

December 14, 2016 - 2:01 pm

Lucy - Seriously! how do you keep your girls in dresses that cute? I only have 2 girls and cannot find affordable dresses that are pretty and modest. It’s like pulling eye teeth. I try to make dresses for them, but all too often lately by the time I get a dress finished it no longer fits the original recipient and becomes an new hand-me-down 🙁

First Haircut

I must say, it has been delightful to have a wee little boy in our home. At first, when he entered our lives after six daughters in a row, I was a bit nervous.
“I don’t know what to do with a boy! How will we adjust?”

It seemed strange to me to be holding a baby boy after six daughters had filled my arms – but within minutes of meeting our little son, it was natural. God knows what you need. He knows what your baby needs – male or female. He places a love in your heart that is all encompassing. Even if you prayed for one gender over another (which I believe is not God’s will – do not do that, mothers! God has already pre-destined your child for you and He has this little one’s future presence on earth planned), your heart will melt as you meet your precious bundle.

So, we are quickly approaching Lazarus’ first birthday. Shocking, I agree. And with his first birthday just peeking around the corner, his first cut was imminent. He was beginning to have a bit of a shaggy look. Lyla (10 years old) helped with the gentle trimming.

I think our little man enjoyed his first tiny hair cut.

 

I personally thinking he looks darling. xo

 

 

December 14, 2016 - 10:37 pm

Lynda Lu Gibb - So clever giving him water to focus on while sensitive, careful Lyla give him his first haircut!!

December 11, 2016 - 6:05 am

admin - Thanks – we think he is pretty cute!
The lens is a Nikkor 50 mm 1.4.

December 10, 2016 - 9:53 pm

Lauren - What a cutie patootie, Gigi! He sure is growing.
I have to ask, which lens did you use for these shots?

December 10, 2016 - 10:17 am

Jennifer Heemskerk - I think it’s fantastic that you get to experience raising a son amongst all those little women! He is so cute! Is it my imagination or does he look a lot like Lovelyn? Have a wonderful Christmas season with family