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  • Welcome to the Gigi Blog!

    Mother to six Little Women and Two Little Men. Married to a Happy Mortician. Caretaker to goats, chickens and many, MANY bunnies. Photographer. Homeschooler. Lover of Jesus, coffee & tea and all things pink & vintage.

The Household {+ a Homemade Bagel Recipe}

 

 

The [Biblical] word household is “therapeia” in the Greek and means
“attendance to medical needs, domestic, healing.”

In other words, out homes should be homes of healing
—healing the spirit, the soul, and the body. That’s why God ordained the home.
It is an oasis from the storms of life, a sanctuary from the chaos and strife in the world,
a place of safety to nurture and raise children, and a place of healing.
-Nancy Campbell

 

 

“Oh, are you having a party?” the middle-aged lady at the grocery checkout till asked, as she counted the large stacks of cheese I was purchasing early Saturday morning. [When cheese goes on sale, we purchase about 40 blocks of cheese. I then grate the cheese and store it in our large chest freezer for the next few months.]

 

I smiled and explained, well, no …  we have eight lovely children at home … so, it my life is a constant party … or at least, it feels like a party some days, other days it is a bit of a … zoo! …. but still, it is fun indeed!

You see, ordinary life does not need to be boring. There is joy and interesting aspects in all areas of the day, if you look for it.

Right now, the girls are playing with baby bunnies in the afternoon early spring sunshine. It has been a long winter – a good one – but as the toasty sun warms their cheeks, the promise of spring is blossoming in our hearts.

There are eight new chickies cheeping away in the mudroom … they were hatched in our incubator with the supervision of my eldest daughter. They are her special Polish chicks, which she enjoys raising.

 

and baby kittens tucked away safely with their momma …

…there is a load of washed clothes on the laundry line, drying in the fresh, cool air … it will smell so good when I wrap my arms around the laundry and bring it inside …

Earlier this week, we saw a turkey vulture out in the field sitting on top a very tall old hydro pole. It slowly spread its great expanse of wings and sat there, sunning its open 6′ wide wings in the warm March sunshine. It was an amazing sight for us to watch with wonder.

 

Lacey’s mini horse, Spirit, is due with a foal in a few month. She is so excited!

 

Every day, we have school at home, around the kitchen table or in the “school room” … every day, there are three large meals to prepare and plan out … every day, there are needs and problems, trials and chores, happy moments and exciting times … there is usually a funny story to tell daddy when he arrives home from the workplace, weary and ready for rest … there are bedtime stories to read and chapter books to explore … there is never a dull moment.

In the excitement of our life, I try to find at least a half hour in the afternoon to sit and drink a cuppa tea.

 

Sometimes I listen to my favorite music and read a book or sometimes I listen to a sermon. Other times, I simply enjoy the quiet. I can either sit in my favorite room – as I call  it, the parlour – and have some quiet time or I will sit on the front porch in the spring and summer months … it is peaceful and quiet and it gives the baby a chance to rest away from all the noise of the busy family. The girls are encouraged to do something alone – draw, write, colour, listen to audio stories, play outside, swing on the hammock, take a nap … but we all retreat for a little while. It is restful for the soul and for the body.

I have discovered this rest cannot happen if we are out and about, running around hither and thither … we must stay home to experience rest and quiet time.   I don’t believe there is much rest to be found rushing about or being too busy in the world.

 

Do you find rest at home?

How do you order your day?

P.S.

Here is a recipe I wanted to share with you this week … it is for Homemade Bagels. Yum – they were so delicious!
I used my regular bread recipe and just added a bit more oil (olive oil). I formed the bagels by forming them into a regular bun shape and then poked a hole in the centre, stretching the dough a bit to form a bagel. Once you have formed your bagel, drop them into boiling water until they float. Lift out with a slotted spoon and place on baking sheet. Brush the tops with an egg wash and sprinkle desired seeds ontop – or leave plain. Whatever suits you best!

Bake as usual – until they are a golden brown.

Oh, they were so good! We have made them a few times now and just love them each time.

Bread Recipe (which can be used for Bagels)

6-6.5 cups of flour
2 cups of warm water
4 tsps of yeast (dissolved in the warm water)

A dash of salt

Optional:

a dollup or honey or 1/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of oil (if desired)
raisins and cinnamon, if you wish to make raisin bread or bagels

Mix the yeast into the warm water – allow it to sit for about 8-10 minutes. Mix into flour, add optional sugars using a  mixer or a big bowl and your own mixing abilities. 🙂 Add salt last.
Knead until dough is elastic and does not rip apart when you pull gently on the dough. This will take about 100 kneads by hand – you may use the mixer and it will take a few minutes.

Allow dough to rise in a warm location until doubled in size.

Form into bagels or bread at this point …

Follow directions above on bagel making or simply form into a loaf style of choice.

Allow bread loaf to rise for about 20minutes. Bagels do not need to rise – after they have been dipped into the boiling water, they are ready to be baked.
Bake at 350 until golden brown. A bread loaf should sound hollow when tapped – this is a sign it is done.
Enjoy with melted butter! Mmmmm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 23, 2018 - 1:44 pm

Gigi Sue, I had no idea! Thank you for the helpful tip!

March 23, 2018 - 12:03 pm

Sue Did you know there is no need to dissolve your yeast before adding the dry ingredients? I decided to experiment one day, and i added all dry ingred ingredients together, including the yeast, and mixed them well. Then I added my warm water and oil and proceeded as normal with my recipe. My dough always rises and bakes excellent. I looked it up online afterwards and discovered it is true …there’s no need to dissolve the yeast when making bread. This saves me a lot of time and I thought it will be helpful to you also! I included a link so you can read about it if you like:
https://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2015/09/25/active-dry-yeast/

March 22, 2018 - 5:50 pm

Sarah Oh, my! The baby bunny, kitten and chick are so adorable! What a blessing for your children. I can just imagine how much they love them.I smiled when I read your mention of the turkey vultures. Over the past few years we have lived here two turkey vultures would come every summer. They built a nest on top of an old silo across the road. They would often disturb traffic by standing in the road. When my daughter was a year old she was terrified to see them fly over our house. We are very pleased to know they will not be visiting this summer. Their silo was taken down, as the property was purchased by a Mennonite family. They plan to prepare the land for farming this summer. : )

March 22, 2018 - 4:03 pm

Rebecca I just went back and read a few of your previous posts, and since I couldn’t comment on them directly, I just wanted to say that 1) what a GENIUS idea for the granola!!! I’m literally gonna try it today — I’ve been meaning to make homemade granola but I just haven’t been able to get myself excited about all the work involved! and 2) on your post about TV, I had the exact opposite childhood — a childhood FILLED with television and video games for my brother, and that’s why I chose NOT to have a television, starting my freshman year of college (and I’m over a decade past that time). It took many years to convince my husband of completely getting rid of tv and video games (he would watch sports on it, I never watched it, and he played some Xbox when we got married), but now we only have a tv and dvd (and a vhs — haha!) set up to occasionally watch an old movie (we are very picky about the kinds of movies our kids can watch as well) and absolutely no video games (I’m constantly shocked at how many of my married friends have husbands who play video games all the time!). I do not want my kids to have a childhood full of screens and wasted time, but instead I want them to have time for nature, farm animals, art, and lots of books and childhood games with their sisters. Sorry for the long post, but I just wanted to say, “Yes I agree 100%!” 🙂

March 22, 2018 - 2:52 pm

Rebecca We mostly stay at home during the week as well, except one day a week when my two oldest have piano lessons in town, and I do my grocery shopping with the little two. During the day when I put the littlest one down for a nap, we do some schoolwork and then I usually send my oldest 3 outside for some nature/sunshine/fresh air/farm chores (which is important when you live in Alaska). If we don’t go outside, we try to spend the extra time after school reading, listening to audio stories, drawing, playing games or dollhouse, or catching up on a few chores. I need to work on actually taking a break myself during that time — I usually just try to catch up on chores but I think it would better for me to sit and knit or read and enjoy a cup of coffee instead!

March 22, 2018 - 1:15 pm

Gigi Thank you, Kristal! I hope the recipe turns out well for you!

March 22, 2018 - 11:03 am

Kristal Those bagels look delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

March 21, 2018 - 11:44 am

Gigi We have lots of different kinds of rabbits – we don’t sell them, but we should! I am trying to encourage my daughter to sell a few at the local animal show coming up.

March 21, 2018 - 8:15 am

Gigi I would love to be in a greenhouse, too!
P.S. I just saw the Modest Shoppe … I am thinking of ordering a dress or two. Lovely items!

March 21, 2018 - 8:00 am

Our Home of Many Blessings I forgot to ask…what kind of bunnies do you have and do you sell the babies?We want sweet bunnies but have a hard time finding any anywhere! Have a good day!

March 21, 2018 - 7:57 am

Our Home of Many Blessings Oh how lovely of a recipe!I shall try that today!We also have a downtime during nap.We like to stay at home as well….We have so many things we wanna do anyway!Like reading,baking or writing dear old pen pals!Writing in my bible studies is so refreshing during that part of the day alao.

March 20, 2018 - 11:19 pm

Teesa I love you simple quiet life you live. I love just being home also…we have quite time here as well, maybe listening to audio, reading a book, and drawing. My favorite spot is my greenhouse where it is warm during the cold spring days we are having. It a place to read a book or just pray. Hugs!

Some Easy Tips & Recipes for Busy Kitchens

 

 

“The person who decides what shall be the food and drink of a family,
and the modes of its preparation, is the one who decides,
to a greater or less extent, what shall be the health of that family.”

– The American Woman’s Home, Harriet Beecher Stowe

 

 

This morning, after lighting the fire in the kitchen cookstove and preparing a pot of fresh coffee for my husband and I, it was time to put together a large batch of granola for my hungry children. Our breakfasts are usually pretty simple – a rotation of oatmeal with muffins, eggs and hash browns (which I also prepare ahead of time) and granola. We go through a lot of granola in one sitting and I have found a batch from the oven just is not enough for us. I have discovered a very easy way to make a large batch of this easy, delicious breakfast — I prepare it in my crockpot before everyone wakes up for the day.

Simply mix up your ingredients in your slow cooker and set on low or high – depending on how quickly you need to serve your granola. If I prepare it in the slow cooker and set it on high, it will be ready in about two hours. You can easily prepare everything the night before and just have the task of turning on your crockpot in the morning to save you even more time.

Here is how I prepare our granola for our slow cooker:

First off, I fill my trusty crockpot with rolled oats. I am grateful to have a large slow cooker! It helps make an even bigger batch for our family! Add in cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, a smidge of brown sugar, honey, wheat germ and chia seeds. Add in a good clump of coconut oil and mix together thoroughly. Set the lid just a bit ajar so the steam can exit. This will help your granola to be crunchier. Stir every so often.

In a few hours, your batch of homemade granola will be finished! I find it so much more convenient than using the oven, as I can only do a small batch at a time using the baking sheets. I allow the girls to add in their extras when it is breakfast time – coconut, cranberries, raisins, pumpkin seeds, and banana slices.

Often, I will make up a big batch for a friend who may be having a hard time – such a early pregnancy, new babies or just needing something to help them in the morning with their children and the breakfast routine. It is easily packaged and can make a nice gift for someone who needs a little healthy encouragement.

Here’s my second easy recipe … you can take the banana cake recipe I posted last week and change it to something else that suits your taste!

 

On Friday, we were attending a church event and needed a dessert. We decided on a cake (it always amazes me how a little bit of flour, eggs and butter can make such a lovely dessert such as a cake!). As we were mixing up the cake, the girls said they would like to have a different option than banana, so we added applesauce instead.

Well, it tastes fabulous! In fact, it tasted so lovely that that my two year old little boy sneakily decided to taste-test it while we were in another room. We heard his little chair being scraped across the tile kitchen floor and looked in to find him in bliss … there he was, with his handful of cake and his mouthful of goodness! Alas, we had to bake a second cake in time for our church event. Thankfully, we had time and it gave his big sister’s great practice in their baking that day. 🙂

 

We took note that most people went up for seconds of this cake while at the church event. I would say that is a good sign of a delicious cake.

 

We reduced the sugar and swapped it out for brown sugar instead. Also, add in a flavor of cinnamon if your applesauce if not spiced.

 

Simple Old Fashioned Applesauce Cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
    1
    cup of brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
    Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F. 
    Mix flour, baking soda and salt together in your mixing bowl.
    In a separate bowl (cream your butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and milk. Finally, add 1/2 cup of applesauce. If you don’t have applesauce, try chopping up an apple and adding it this way. I bet it would taste lovely with the chunks of apple!
    Mix with flour mixture.
    Bake at a moderate heat until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
    (I use this term loosely as my cookstove does not really keep a temperature –
    but I would say 300 degrees)

You could serve with a light dusting of icing sugar or drizzle caramel sauce overtop.
Or better yet, serve plain with a hot cuppa tea or coffee.

 

 

 

I hope these little tips help in the kitchen! Have a great day!

 

 

March 13, 2018 - 8:07 pm

Gigi I have to adjust the recipe, Sarah. I did indeed use rolled outs, not steel cut! My error! They are both a healthy option.

March 13, 2018 - 6:04 pm

Sarah Both recipes look delicious! I have never made granola with steel cut oats. I am sure that would make the granola extra healthy. I have always made my granola with rolled oats. It is wonderful on top of yogurt! I will be sure to try your crockpot recipe soon. The pictures of little Lazarus and the cake are precious! It was just too good not to try. : )

March 13, 2018 - 5:17 am

Gigi Bobbie, we eat it like cereal – with milk in a bowl! Top with cranberries, fruit of choice (fresh or dried) and it’s so good! We stopped eating cereal quite a few years ago and this was our replacement quick breakfast. You can also add it to yogurt.
Thank you for your encouragement! Let me know how the cake turn out. I love using my bundt pan as it gives a different look and “feel” to the cake.

March 12, 2018 - 9:59 pm

Our Home of Many Blessings When you make a big batch of granola like this,how do you guys eat it?Are you just simply using it as a topping for like oatmeal or snacks?Tell me all your ways!!!:)..also how lovely of a cake.Im gonna try it tomorrow!!!Thanks for sharing!I love your recipe posts!!!

Wonder & Enthusiasm of Childhood

“Society is giving more and more entertainment to children that is adult planned …
it actually robs them of what childhood means.
That is spoiling them. I always thought letting children be children
to mean ‘preserving their innocence, wonder and enthusiasm’.
Yet today, we begin when they are babies to dull that fresh eagerness with passive, adult-contrived entertainment. I thought it meant encouraging and channeling their fertile imaginations,
but how soon we stamp them out and replace them with the vain imaginings of someone else
who is highly paid to do so.

Letting a child be a child, I thought, meant being a good steward of his dependancy,
using that opportunity to teach, train, work side by side with him.

Today, don’t you think we’ve thrown out God’s plan for a parent-child apprenticeship experience which blends the best of what it is to be a parent with what it means to be a child?
And in it’s place, [this has] left our children with a variety of high-tech babysitters that are experts on how to wrap packages of things children need but they don’t put anything worthwhile in the box…”
– Valerie Shepherd, daughter of Elisabeth Elliot

 

 

 

The morning homeschool-large-family rush had died down and there was a tiny moment of  blissful quiet between lunch cleanup and regular nap-times. My toddler scraped out her little chair from the table and climbed up with a big book to read.

I stood at the old hoosier, my designated baking centre, ready to tackle the next thing on the mommy list. With a growing pile of over-ripe bananas beckoning me from the fruit basket, it was decided that a banana cake would be the dessert of choice for the night.

Pulling out a large mixing bowl, I gathered the supplies for a banana cake – one of my personal favorites and one my mother makes so well! This delicious cake is so well loved that my mother has even made it for my many birthdays in the past. [If you love banana cake, try out the recipe below!]

I cracked the lovely brown eggs and dropped them into the cake batter. Mixing away, I listened to my three year old chattering away like a little lark. She was describing the pictures she was enjoying in her Richard Scary book, splayed out on the kitchen table. Boy, she does love to chitter chatter,  I thought …

 

“Look at the pickle car, mommeee,” she exclaimed, giggling with delight at the goofy drawing of a silly green pickle automobile. [How we love Richard Scary! If you don’t have these books for your little ones, may I suggest you add them to your library today!]

My mixer continued to whir gently as the cake slowly formed into proper, delicious cake batter. I walked over and looked at the silly car, resembling a pickle … indeed, it was our favorite vehicle on this page.

 

It was not long before Lavender’s little brother toddled up to the kitchen table, intrigued and full of wonder. Richard Scary’s book are one of his favorites to ‘read’, as well. He quickly climbed up on the long empty bench and joined in the fun of pointing at his favorite vehicles, his two year old fingers ready to point to the pictures.

Into the bowl went the mashed-up bananas …  then I buttered the baking dish to prepare for the batter. I watched the two little ones with quiet contentment.

 

 

“Ta …!” Lazarus pointed to a bright yellow car on the next page.

Together, the brother-sister duo sat, side by side, staring and examining the drawn images of various vehicles on the page. They turned the pages slowly and eyed up the drawings.

I poured the now-finished batter into the buttered pan and wiped off the counters, placing the dirty mixing bowl into the sink.

“May I read, too?”

This time, it was my five year old Leia, ready to join the reading fun.  She pulled up a chair, and directed the viewers to find the little bug creature that was featured on every page. Their little fingers touched the pages, pointing out which cars and trucks were the most fascinating.
The three of them sat, side by side, sharing the large colorful book.

I popped the ready cake into the warm cookstove oven and slipped my apron off over my neck. Grabbing my teacup, I poured myself a cuppa tea and sat down to watch the fun little trio, engrossed in their childhood world of their delightful book.

…  and I thanked God, quietly in my heart, for these precious children. As I sipped my tea, I realized the decision to keep them home with me stems from a generational decision of my parents’ decision to go against mainstream parenting, keeping us home for a few years and then enrolling us in a very small modest Christian school. We were not turned out to the world, but kept in close contact with our parents, a few good families and a good Christian church family. I never felt like my childhood was limited in a negative way or that I “missed out”. My childhood was full of relaxed play, romping through fields, exploring and listening to nature, music lessons, quiet moments of reading and dreaming and very little rushing about to daily events. We did not have a lot of toys, but what we did have we enjoyed. We always rode bikes and played “house”. It was a modest lifestyle in many ways.

 

Now, looking at the faces of my own children around the kitchen table, I appreciate that set apart parenting ever so much more. The lovely smell of the banana cake, baking away in the oven, filled the kitchen as the children continued to read their book with joy … perhaps, one day, these children will see the value in not being mainstream … in avoiding the screen-saturated society … in not rushing to events every day but keeping the home life will with natural adventures … one day, Lord willing, these little ones will grow to see the value in a simple childhood … one filled with Richard Scary books and homemade banana cake.

 

“I really believe children are more contended with fewer toys than they are with more toys.
Over the years, we have gotten rid of more and more things.
Seeing that the younger children (under age five) play perfectly happy with very, very few things …
[we realize] they play quite content using their imaginations…”

-Valerie Shepherd

 

A personal sidenote: much of my parenting decisions are influenced by how my parents chose to raise my sister, brother and I. I am constantly amazed at how the values they taught have stayed ingrained in my daily happenings and decisions. For instance,  my parents stood against culture and decided to toss entertainment of the day (television) when I was about five years old. My parents’ decision to monitor and nearly eliminate the trendy popular screen time for their family definitely influenced our decision, now, as parents, to do the same. Although in this generation, t.v. is more accessible and not just a machine set up in the living room to watch (although, in many cases, this is still the situation in family living rooms).  Instead, ‘easy babysitters’ come in so many more varying forms of digital screens. It can certainly be a very real battle for parents to hold their ground and not succumb to the digital entertainment world.

 

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
– Mark Twain

I have found, even if we limit the such entertainment inside our home, everywhere we go, there are still screens. Ipads, iphones, even moving vehicles are screen infused. It is a challenge to avoid them or at least limit them.

Instead of screen time, we’ve been investing in books and books and more books. Our home library is being built weekly. I love to scan the shelves and find something new to read to the children or have the children read. I am constantly amazed at how much a child can learn if they have the proper books laid out for them. Every afternoon, I implement a quiet hour where every child is to go alone and read some books. If they can’t read, they look at pictures. There are books on missionaries, science, adventures, historical fiction and, of course, just plain cute Richard Scary books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Cake Recipe
(It makes a great for a snack while reading):

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups milkPreheat your oven to 275 degrees F. 
    Mix flour, baking soda and salt together in your mixing bowl.
    In a separate bowl (cream your butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and milk. Finally, add your mashed bananas.
    Mix with flour mixture.
    Bake for approximately one hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting recipe:

1/4-1/2 cup of butter, whipped in your mixer.
Add in roughly 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar … taste it as it mixes up.
If you want it to be sweeter, add some more sugar. I also add a little (tiny!) but of cream cheese to give the icing a bit of a kick. I am not a huge fan of cream cheese icing so I only add a bit.
Add as much as you wish.
Taste as you go to decide on your final icing results.
You may also choose to add a dash of vanilla. 
Frost cake, of course, when it is cooled.

 

March 12, 2018 - 3:16 pm

Brenda (Gigi’s Mom) PS I just made the banana cake last week. It was devoured! And I also made one to give away to a neighbour. xo

March 12, 2018 - 3:16 pm

Brenda (Gigi’s Mom) Aww, this made me cry. xo

March 12, 2018 - 5:19 am

Gigi Hello Katie. Thank you for your comment. The older girls do their Math and French lessons online – so that, I suppose, counts as screen time. They don’t really do anything “fun” (as in games, surfing, browsing) online. We often learn a new hymn from you tube until we can sing it alone. We watch a family movie maybe once a week in the fall / winter months (we rarely watch anything in the spring/summer as we are outside and enjoying the real world!)- or if daddy is working late, I decided this winter that it would be the night the girls can choose a movie to watch. We are currently watching the Road to Avonlea series together. In the past, it has been Little House on the Prairie (a favorite!). Our movies are generally outdated or older 🙂 but we do love the old movies. We literally have to set the t.v./DVD player up each time so it deters us from watching too often.

March 12, 2018 - 3:29 am

Katie Very encouraging, thankyou 🙂 Also curious if you have any type of screen time in your home and what does that look like? Or none at all?

March 10, 2018 - 6:44 am

Gigi Caitlin, that’s such a great idea! Eye spy, using these books, is something we do, as well. They are great books for such a game – so many colorful, fun scenes to look at.

March 9, 2018 - 11:50 pm

Caitlin I love these snapshots of your cozy home! We are big Richard Scarry fans here also. I’ve actually found them a huge help to avoiding screens. I always keep a few in the car to look at in the waiting room at the dr, any appointments, and I always bring them on plane rides (where EVERYONE just sets a screen in front of their child.) It’s a huge help to keep children occupied. We even play “I spy with my little eye” using them and the children love it!

March 9, 2018 - 10:53 am

Gigi I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it!

March 9, 2018 - 8:29 am

Our Home of Many Blessings That banana cake was simply wonderful!!!Thanks for sharing!

March 8, 2018 - 1:45 pm

sue oops, meant to say “minority”

March 8, 2018 - 1:43 pm

sue Thank you Gigi for the banana cake recipe and also for the idea(on a previous post) for making and freezing pie dough. We prefer pies but the dough tends to be messy. It will be great to have it on hand! (And your pies look amazing:)
I love the quote you shared from Mark Twain. Most times I find myself in the “majority” with my values but His words are perfect for me today!

March 8, 2018 - 10:06 am

Gigi Bobbie, sorry, I should have mentioned about the bananas. I think there were about five bananas.
Yes, older books are mostly our favorites, as well.

March 8, 2018 - 9:27 am

Our Home of Many Blessings We have a few of those Scarey books.I remember having those when I was a little girl also.Is’nt a child’s little mind simply amazing,and the things that grab their attention!I’v been building our library throughout the years and love it so.I search for older books constantly and get all giddy when I find them!Scarey being one of those.
…..I love simple times like you described in your kitchen.I will definitely be trying that cake recipe today,thanks so much for sharing!How many bananas do you put in yours?I love it when you share your recipes,and we’ve enjoyed every one of them!

Little Things Mean a Lot

 

 

 

The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,

and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

Song of Solomon 2:12

 

 

Has spring truly spring in Ontario? It may or may not be true spring – however, the weather has warmed up to a balmy temperature this week and it is a sweet breath of incredibly lovely fresh air. We have just returned from taking the children to the local park to enjoy the sun. It was a reward for helping clean out our back barn (full of four years of junk)  and the animal barns for the past few days. While the park was lovely, there is no place like home.

On the journey home, we spotted a marshy field full of beautiful, pure white swans, migrating home for spring. How lovely and elegant they were! I have wanted to spot these infamous swans for a few seasons, after a local neighbour told me they would pass by his property and spend some time in his large pond for a portion of their journey. It was such a delight to see these beautiful birds in their natural environment.

Now, with fresh air in his lungs, Baby Loyal has snuggled asleep and Lazarus, still tired from his bout with a two day stomach bug, is resting in his crib upstairs. All the girls are still outside, romping about in muddy boots, enjoying the fresh, crisp air. I’m sitting, drinking my cuppa tea in the afternoon rays of golden sunshine. The double doors, leading into the kitchen, are wide open and although it is a bit chilly :), it still feels like spring. In the distance, I can hear the calling of the Canadian geese as they return home from their winter abroad. Despite the mud and many patches of brown grass on our property, how lovely this time of year is for the soul!

A winter’s end …even right now, I can hear new birds singing away, welcomed home after a winter away, chirping in the bare branches of the trees. It is sweet music to my ears!

 

From where I sit at the kitchen table, I can see my lovely collection of pretty violets, gathered together on the ‘parlour’ coffee. These little delicate flowers are so encouraging to my soul! While the flowers outside may take a while to bloom yet, it can at least feel like spring indoors.

These sweet flowers were lovingly brought home by my hard-working husband. He may never know how much that warms my heart … he is not one to think of fancy ways to show affection, but little things really do mean a lot.

 

“Blow her a kiss from across the room
Say she looks nice when she’s not
Touch her hair as you pass her chair
Little things mean a lot

Give her your arm as you cross the street
And call her at six on the dot
A line a day when you’re far away
Little things mean a lot

Send her the warmth of a secret smile
Show you haven’t forgot
For now and forever, that’s always and ever
Little things mean a lot…”

 

 

 

To thank my husband for the lovely violets, I baked him an apple pie. Like most men, he loves pie … it is a little thing but I hope it means a lot.

 

 

In fact, I have been working on my pastry for a few weeks now – baking a good, old fashioned pie is something I would like to do with confidence, especially if my husband likes pie!  Of course, making pastry batches every day can be time consuming. Therefore, I have found a beautiful recipe for bulk pastry. It works like a charm! It’s keeping my husband happy … 🙂

 

 

Would you like to try it? It really does help cut down the work in pie-making. I’m sure your husband will thank you.

 

 

Bulk Pie Pastry Recipe

15 cups of flour
3 lb. can of Tenderflake lard
2 Tbs. salt
4 Tbs. sugar
4 Tbs. vinegar
2 cups of cold water
4 eggs

 

Mix flour, sugar and salt together in a very large bowl. Now, using your pastry cutter, cut in the entire can of shortening/lard. Continue cutting until the flour and shortening was properly mixed (it will resemble a crumbly flour mixture).

Next, mix your water, vinegar and eggs together. Pour slowly into your flour/shortening mixture, mixing well. Using your hands, shape the dough into a ball and then dividie into equal portions. I can generally 12 crusts, depending on how large you want to make them. Once divided, wrap your dough balls separately, and then bag them into freezer bags for future use.

 

When you are ready to use, just thaw them in the fridge and you will be all ready for your pie baking adventure.

 

Remember, little things mean a lot!

 

“What is my husband doesn’t meet my needs? I’m so tired of hearing that. Where did you get this idea that he is supposed to fulfill {all your needs}? Only the Lord Himself will fulfill all your needs. You be the one to meet his needs. The great thing is to treat each other as Jesus Christ. Learn to see Christ in our husbands
and treat that person exactly as you would Christ in the flesh …”

-Elisabeth Elliot

P.S. Would you like to try a smaller pastry recipe? Try here.

March 8, 2018 - 9:39 am

Our Home of Many Blessings Yes they are!….Oh,I love older cookbooks and old homemaking books.I don’t have any cookbooks unless there Amish that are newer than like the 50’s.We love pies but are more chocolate cake kinda people….like mama seeton!:)

March 7, 2018 - 9:53 am

Gigi Bobbie, I love those little cookbooks. I have the other ones, too. They are fabulous – and the quotes and stories are darling.

March 5, 2018 - 7:17 pm

Our Home of Many Blessings Your pies are so lovely! It took me forever to get pie crust right,and im still working on it but oh my are they yummy! I have that book as well! And a few others like this one.Have a good day!

March 2, 2018 - 3:55 pm

Sarah I have yet to attempt propagating new violets from cuttings, but I did watch a video about it, and it looks pretty easy. It seems to just take awhile for the plants to mature from a cutting. One of my plants did produce another plant which I was able to separate from the original. From what I have read if you give the violets extra space they will multiply.

March 1, 2018 - 9:00 pm

Gigi Sarah, your poor violet! I am attempting cuttings for new plants. Have you tried that?

March 1, 2018 - 8:59 pm

Gigi Ohhhh, great tip! I did not know about the egg wash on the bottom crust – thank you! I will try that!

March 1, 2018 - 7:18 pm

Sarah Your African Violets are beautiful! I agree, there is something so cheerful about having flowers inside, especially this time of year. I have a couple African Violet plants, two of them I have had for 2-3 years now. That is a record for me! : ) One of my newer plants died after my daughter “watered” it with steel cut oats. I guess she thought they would make the violet healthy and strong.

Your pie is lovely too! There is nothing quite as delicious as homemade apple pie.

March 1, 2018 - 6:21 pm

Lynda Lu Gibb Great looking pie Gillian..Looks like the talent for that doesn’t “fall far from the tree”, your mom makes wonderful pastry! will tell you a little hint.. I always grease my pie plates, it sure makes the first piece come out easier.. another tip.. I use an eggwash on the bottom crust before filling..helps cut down on having a soggy bottom crust for juicy pies. I am glad you had some sun, beautiful flowers and perfect pastry all in one day! BLESSINGS..Thank you for telling us about it!

March 1, 2018 - 10:43 am

Gigi Yes, I heard on the radio that we are having “back winter” this weekend, as well. It is only March – I know we can have snow till May sometimes, but we shall see. At least the sun shone for a while! There are so many lovely birds gathering back home. I just love it.
Have a great weekend. 🙂

March 1, 2018 - 7:37 am

Katy We have enjoyed some spring-like weather here in Pennsylvania as well…although I think someone said snow is coming!? Oh well, it won’t stay long! You are so right….spring is good for the soul!

Love the quote by Elisabeth Elliot!
Poor Lazarus had the stomach bug? That is the worst! I hope he is feeling much better and no one else gets sick!

Warm wishes for you and your lovely family!
Kat

A Sunday of Chocolate Cake and Choking Smoke

 

 

 

It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon and I have just sat down for a well-needed cup of chamomile tea. The wind is howling outside, despite the lovely beautiful sunshine that is filtering through the kitchen window panes. My geraniums are in full bloom, sitting cheerily on the windowsill, their tiny pink blossoms searching for that glorious sunshine illuminating our naked, February brown earth outdoors.

“Love requires sacrifice and self giving.
It is a glad and voluntary submitting of ourselves first to God
and then to those with whom we have to live.
A glad and voluntary ‘yes’ to the conditions we meet on our journey to Christ,
because these are the conditions that He wants us to share with Him.
Events are the sacraments of the will of God.”

-Elisabth Elliot

A quiet Sunday … well, that is a relative term. Earlier this morning, (as in 3 a.m.) Lazarus, our two year old son, woke up not feeling well. The rest of the morning was spent between his crib and cuddling him in the rocking chair in his nursery, located in the room across the hallway, and  back to the chubby baby Loyal, cuddled warm in our bed, who decided to nurse and cry in his sleep. Sleepy eyed and groggy, the coffee was a lovely morning treat once I stumbled downstairs. We decided that I would stay home with the little boys while daddy took the older girls to church this morning. With Lazarus, still pajama-clad and quite fussy this morning, and Loyal, needing me in ways that babies do …  it was a somewhat quieter with most of the family missing. Between babies, I still managed to make lunch, refill cleaning bottles with a thieves oil blend (recipe listed below, if this is of interest) and bake a Sunday afternoon chocolate cake. [After reading this book, I decided that every Sunday deserves a cake – or at least, a special dessert of some kind. So today, it was chocolate cake.]

It was not long before the back door swing open, the screen door slammed {oh, that poor screen door is now fully falling off the hinges, worn with great wear and tear} as the rest of the family returned from church. Noisy, excited and with empty stomachs but full of chatter, the girls excitedly piled into the kitchen.  Questions of “How was church?” and “What did you learn?” were followed with quick answers and their own question of “What’s for lunch?”

 

My husband quickly kissed me goodbye, while I balanced the baby on my hip. He explained he needed to return to work in town and was not able to stay home for the rest of the day. My two old year started to whimper – he was feeling so poorly and needed more rest.  Since it’s only February and still chilly outside, my considerate husband decided to start up the woodstove to keep the house warm. Unfortunately, this Sunday was a very, very windy day – the kind of day where you cannot even bother hanging laundry on the line or sending the children out to play … the winds blustered and blew outside, forcing all the smoke from the freshly lit fire back into the house. Within minutes, billows and billows of choking smoke filled the rooms quickly as we tried to eat our lunch in a hurry and get upstairs where the air was cleaner … I threw open the windows and doors to air out the main floor of the house (at this point, my husband was already gone to work) and rushed back to the kitchen only to find my two year old “sick”  on the kitchen floor… all at the same time as the smoke alarms decided to rudely go off, screeching their horrid sounds,  thus waking the baby, who began to fuss and cry from his bassinet.

It was a moment of true, motherhood  chaos.

I swiftly announced it was outside time  – despite the wind that would could more than likely blow a toddler down the driveway – and the cake was postponed until the sick boy was snuggled into his bed for naps…  out came the homemade thieves cleaner, windows were opened wider and the prayers sent up to Heaven much faster.

 

I am learning – day by day – and not always so swiftly – to start praying whenever I feel frustrated or upset in these motherhood moments. Or as someone once told me, begin singing – and then your lips will be filled with praise instead of complaining.

 

The lingering smells of chocolate cake and chalky smoke is still hanging in the air, but tomorrow is a new day – I will throw the windows wide open and let the fresh breeze blow through this old house. Great is His faithfulness.

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:21-21

 

________________________________

 

Homemade Thieves Oil Blend

1 tbs. Clove Essential Oil

1 tbs. Lemon Essential Oil

2 ½ tsp. Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil

2 tsp. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

2 tsp. Rosemary Essential Oil

To use: 6-12 drops for one 1 oz. of carrier oil.

February 27, 2018 - 3:15 pm

Sue Well! What a day. Ive had some similar, although not with so many children to add to the mix, and sometimes i did ok, and not so good other times. I like your idea of singing “thru” it. I’ll try to remember that next time, if i can just get my flesh to obey! 😉

February 27, 2018 - 11:54 am

Gigi Oh, please don’t bow to me! I have had so many moments of not handing it well. I’ve been parenting for 14 years now and am STILL learning. It’s amazing how our sinful nature is so strong at times.
By the way, I hope you are LOVING your first year as a momma! What fun and joy you must be having!!

February 27, 2018 - 11:16 am

Samantha Gillian, I can’t imagine how you handled all that alone while your hubby had to head off to work. I can feel the pressure of the moment while reading your story. It’s amazing how God’s grace grows with our circumstance. I can feel overwhelmed like I am at the end of myself with only one baby, and yet if I had 8 I would somehow manage to hold it all together, as I do now. God is good! I never considered a wood stove would put smoke into the home on a windy day – that does sound very inconvenient. Our two fireplaces in our home are sadly shut down but I really long for a nice warm fire. I bow to you – you’re an amazing mama to hold it all together and exhibit grace and gentleness amongst chaos.

February 27, 2018 - 7:07 am

Gigi Oh, I know – those sweet baby cheeks! Babyhood is so fleeting! I hope you can snuggle all your sweet ones today and enjoy being a mother. 🙂

February 27, 2018 - 12:40 am

Misty Oh, my goodness! Your sweet baby love is precious. My youngest just turned a year old, and I have been trying really hard to drink in as much baby goodness as possible, for I know it will not last long.