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. ♥

Embracing a Life of {Do-Overs}

 

 

The hot tea was poured and the strawberry apple pie was cooling on the counter,  warm from the oven.

My dear friend-in-motherhood sipped her tea and sighed. She began to tell me that she finds her days of being a mother, wife, homemaker and homeschooler tedious, frustrating and full of do-overs. You know those days, those long ardorous days of cleaning, feeding, making meals, rearing children, disciplining, teaching, correcting, cleaning … I certainly know those days. All the tasks involved with a stay at home mother, yes, they can feel rather challenging as it is a on a repeat cycle for most days.

 

 

“I feel like my days are just do-overs … every day, just doing the same thing over and over and not getting anywhere,” she had said.
Her words sank into my heart. And while I understood and completely felt her pain, the statement of “just do-overs” weighed heavy on my mind and heart. Over the next few weeks, I could not shake those words – “just do-overs” – from my memory day after day, weeks after our little visit.

 

When it came time for me to sweep the dusty kitchen floor for the 4th time since breakfast one morning, that little phrase of “I’m just doing do-overs all the time!” popped into my head.

 

Humph. I felt grumpy. Just another do-over. I sighed.

And when I cleaned the back school room, picking up crayons and cut up scraps of paper, knowing I still had two loads of laundry (daily!) to tackle before naps and dinner preparation, I heard those words again.

“Just doing do-overs.”

It was not long before I began to feel a bad attitude, a self pitying mentality, creep into my head.

Yes, every day I sweep. I clean, I tidy, prepare breakfast, change diapers, do math, make lunch and dinner, clean up breakfast, lunch and dinner, wash floors, organize cupboards, plan homeschooling days … the list goes on. I’m sure you know all the tasks that are repeated in your own life. Whether you are a stay at home mom, a homeschooling mom or an older mom, we have repeat work cycles set on auto pilot most days.

 

But these words, this self-pitying attitude  … it was dragging me down. I suddenly felt easily discouraged and started to feel a bit of sorrowful attitude over all the tasks that loomed ahead of me day after day.

Was this attitude of self-pity godly and uplifting? No, it was wrong, my friends. I quickly realized I needed to go to Scripture to change my outlook. We need to look at our tasks that are involved in motherhood as a blessing, not a do-over. Yes, we must repeat the same daily chores multiple times, but what job does not require such actions? Even when I worked outside the home, my day was filled with do -overs. It does not matter what your job or employment is, it would seem that your day would be filled with do-overs. With prayer, I gave this phrase up and cleared it from my memory and mind, thanking God outloud, verbally, when I was faced with another daily task that had already been accomplished that day or that week.

I will tell myself … it is a JOY to serve my little child, my family, my husband …  when it is time to clean up the dinner mess and lead the little ones into a lovely warm bath before bedtime stories, I will chose to do it without grumbling or complaining. I will chose to make it my joy make dinner each and every day for my family – or fold their freshly washed laundry, wipe smudgy hand prints off the kitchen glass door and read stories in the twilight of a January evening.

Yes, these are do-overs.

But aren’t you so glad you are blessed with such an opportunity to do-over every day? I surely am, as I know some days, even yes, today, I am short with my patience and need to learn to show love and grace more freely.

 

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance:
for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:23

Dear friends, I am not writing this as a judgement, but writing this as an encouragement.

Let us set our eyes on Heavenly purposes, let us take our weary souls to Him to find rest. Let us see the joy in the every day messes of meal clean up and bed making, the servanthood of being a mother and wife to a husband God has given you and children He has blessed you with, embrace the frustrating messes and dirty back door rugs that need cleaning 40 times a time during the fall muddy season, and let us see the bigger picture in the everyday “do-overs”.

Another verse that I have pinned on my mirrors and fridge (which you can download free here) …

On this note of do-overs, please, let us remind ourselves that our husbands have do-over days as well. While perhaps a few husbands may have rather-exciting jobs, most men go to work daily to provide a roof over their family’s head, to provide financially and their day, too, is filled with do-overs. Rarely do I hear my husband complain of such tasks at hand.

 

P.S. Would you like a great way to have pies anytime you wish? Here is a great recipe for bulk pie dough that will freeze well and make pies easily with little time.

Recipe for a bulk pie dough:

18-20 cups of all purpose flour
3 1/4 lbs. of butter (or shortening, if you wish)
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons vinegar
4 eggs
2 cups water

Using your largest mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar and salt. Cut in  your butter/shortening using a pastry cutter or two knives.
Cut together until your flour mixture appears crumbly.
In a separate bowl, whisk together {cold} water, eggs & vinegar.
Slowly add the liquid mixture to the flour.
Be careful not to overwork your dough.
Once the dough is formed, rolled into a large dough ball (still inside the bowl) and let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle your work surface with a smidge of flour. Divide your dough into 5 parts and then into 20 somewhat equal dough balls. Cover each dough ball with plastic wrap and place in a ziploc baggies. Your pie dough can freeze for quite a few months.
Once you are ready to make a pie, simply allow your pie dough to thaw overnight in the fridge.

Easy as pie! 🙂

 

 

Linked up with Strangers & Pilgrims
January 19, 2017 - 2:19 pm

Tawnia - I needed this today! Thank you.

January 19, 2017 - 7:41 am

admin - We’d love that! But we do not have to wait till spring – anytime is good. 🙂

January 16, 2017 - 11:44 pm

Melissa Aberdeen - Perhaps with spring on its way, we could meet up!! My guys would LOVE to see all of your furry friends!!

January 16, 2017 - 9:05 pm

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - Gillian, Thank you for the reminder and encouragement, because no matter what stage of life we are in, there are always times of “mudane do-overs”. God requires that we continue doing right and He will bless us. Love you, xoxo
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8

January 16, 2017 - 6:41 am

admin - Miss Lindy, you are so sweet. Thank you for your encouragement. I think of you so often, especially when the girls wear their beautiful nightgowns handmade by your loving hands! I hope you have a good day. Thank you for blessing our family!

January 16, 2017 - 6:40 am

admin - Melissa, oh so good to hear from you. Still waiting on that cuppa tea together!

January 16, 2017 - 5:44 am

Melissa Aberdeen - It’s 4:40 am on Monday morning. I can’t sleep for this same reason. Came into the kitchen to make a tea and write out everything I am thankful for in each member of my family. It’s so easy to fall into this cycle and point out the negatives. I am going to write out all of the blessings. Thank you for this very timely post. 🙂

January 16, 2017 - 1:55 am

Lynda Lu Gibb - A good word of encouragement Gillian.. and grateful for this blog.. In your wisdom you knew to go the the word of God, praise the Lord for for His mighty word!

Baby Goats {update}

Nearly a week has passed since our sweet triplet kids goats were born. We ended up bringing the two weakest goats inside to monitor them closely, warm them up during the first 48 hours and feed them some medicine that we hoped would help them become stronger.

 

Of course, a few hugs and warm cuddles from the resident toddler was also on the medicine list.

Sadly, however, one of the babies died during the night. We were heart broken, but we also know that this is part of farm life. We have been through this before and learn something new each time.

 

Thankfully, the other two goats are doing very well. After the first little one died, we were nervous that the second weak goat would also give up. My eldest daughter took the responsibility of caring for the little spotted kid inside, feeding the kid goat milk from a bottle, giving her electrolytes and keeping her warm at night. Once, I woke up in the middle of the night to check on the baby goat, hoping she was doing okay, but I could not find her anywhere. We had a box set up close to the woodstove to keep her warm, but her box was missing and so was the little one. In the dark of the night, I whispered to my husband “Did the little goat die? Where is it?!” But he had no idea where the little goat was …

 

In the morning, I went upstairs to wake up the girls and asked them if they had seen the little goat. Lacey pulled back the covers of her bed and there, indeed, was the goat, snuggled up and warm in the crook of her arm. She had been feeding her goat it’s bottle during the night and making sure it was doing okay. Lacey was tired that day but her night shift worked – the little goat became stronger and is doing so well. She has transitioned back into the barn with her momma and, while smaller than her sister, is doing just fine being cared for her momma, even in the winter weather.

 

There is always something new to learn with each season. We are grateful that two of the kids have survived and are doing well.

 

 

January 11, 2017 - 3:06 pm

Maike - Oh what a sweet lovely memory to keep of them sleeping together in the cozy bed! ^_^ It’s so sad that one kid didn’t make it, but I’m very glad for the ones surviving. You seem to have such a caring loving family!

January 11, 2017 - 7:20 am

admin - Thank you for the tip on the selenium. I was just reading about selenium and was researching it. I heard TSC sells it. I shall investigate!

January 11, 2017 - 5:10 am

Rebecca - Congrats on the baby goats! I’m so sorry one of them died — have you given them a selenium shot? At least in our part of Alaska, our soil is low in selenium and it’s an important part of a goats nutritional needs. I bought selenium shots from a local vet and gave our days old baby goats a shot to make sure they didn’t have any problems (I guess leg problems are common with selenium deficiency).

January 10, 2017 - 11:05 pm

Rachel - I’ve been wondering how they were doing. Yay Lacey! What a wonderful thing to do and a beautiful memory she’ll have forever. So sweet!

All Creatures {Great & Small}

“All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all….”

(This was our morning song a few months ago – how applicable it was to sing it today.)

 

Still basking in the joy of another lovely goat birthing, we were saddened to find two of the three goats not doing as well as they should be doing by morning. While the third kid was born with weak hind legs, she has actually turned into the stronger goat thus far. The remaining two just seeminly were failing to thrive. They lay limp, they did not wag their tails like cute little kids always do, they would not nurse when brought to their mother … although it is not very cold outside, we decided, with grim faces, that perhaps one of the weaker goats should come inside and warm up.

 

Not knowing what was specifically wrong, I searched our goat books and the internet for some help. We had a previous baby goat die within a day of birth last year – we think she had Floppy Goat syndrome. We treated her, but it was too late. We did not want to lose these two little goats, as well.

 

While they were a bit lifeless, these newborn goats did not have the exact same symptoms of a Floppy Goat – they were indeed weak. One of the kids’ eyes were rolling back into her head by the time we brought her  in – looking at her, limp in our arms and appearing so lifeless, I was sure she would not make it past the morning.
The second weak goat was seemingly following the same pattern.
Not knowing exactly what was wrong, I mixed up a homemade electrolyte mixture, which I will record here for future reference.

Homemade Goat Electrolyte:

1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of sea salt
8 tablespoons of molasses or honey
3 litres of warm water
Mix together and feed gently to the weak goat.

 

 

 

Using a syringe, we also fed the babies 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda mixed in a little warm water, which is recommended for floppy goats, although again, we were pretty sure this was not the same sickness. It was suggested that feeding them the baking soda mixture would not hurt them if it was not needed.

 

We wrapped them up and placed them gently underneath the stove to warm up.

 

 

 

They slept for a few hours and then one of the goats started crying, bleating – we scooped her up and rushed her back to her momma to see what would happen. Thankfully, she nursed just fine and seemed to be on the mend. Her little tail was wagging again, she was standing on her own and was welcomed back into the barn by the momma goat.

 

Was this success? We are hoping.


The second and weakest goat was fed some milk from a syringe again and given some more electroyltes. It took a few more hours {and a little snuggle on the couch with me} but she perked up around 4 p.m., after being in the house all day.
The girls returned her to momma for an hour before dinner to see what would happen. She, too, began drinking milk from her momma and was accepted back into the stall just fine.

We are hoping they will continue to stay strong and thrive. We learned a beautiful principle today – God cares for His creatures –  great and small.

 

 

January 9, 2017 - 6:29 pm

Lynda Lu Gibb - The care and concern on the children’s faces is heartwarming.. they know all about nurturing, learned from God loving parents.

January 7, 2017 - 7:11 pm

Jennifer Heemskerk - anxiously awaiting to hear if these beauties made it through. Wow!! What an experience for your girls.

January 4, 2017 - 9:51 pm

Nic - Love. Glad they improved.

Winter Kidding

 

 

 

 

With excitement in our eyes and hope in our hearts, we watched the miracle of birth in the cozy quarters of our homemade barn yesterday afternoon.

The warm winter sun was melting away the snow and the sky was a crisp blue as cornflowers – it was a perfect day for a goat birth. No chilling winds, no freezing temperatures – just a perfect balmy winter day.

Born with very little trouble yesterday {unlike a previous breech and footling birth}, the girls and I were delighted to be witnessing our main goat, Marigold, kid not one, but triplets! Such an exciting day indeed!

 

{mildly graphic photo below!}

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-labour – nearly ready to push …

 

{I did not get very many photos as I was holding Lazarus … perhaps our goat is happy to not have her photos taken while in labour…?}

 

 

[While winter may not seem an ideal time to have baby goats, it has been suggested that there is less bacteria at this time, with the germs not able to survive the cold temperatures. That is a blessing. ]

With awe and excitement, we stroked our sweet momma goat’s Roman nose as she laboured, Lacey cleaned up the stall and gave fresh stray, water and feed … we had a towel ready in case the baby goat was chilled … from 1 p.m. until 4:30, we stayed outside in the barn while our nanny goat laboured. The girls helped, some watched over Lazarus, who after a while wanted to return to the warm house … other girls pulled the little ones around on a sled while Lacey and I stayed in the barn.

It is in these moments when I see my little family united and working together that brings me {great} joy. It is in these moments, when work is required, schedules are released and all else stops as we tend to what is most important in that moment, that I realize we could never live this lifestyle with a regular school day, a regular “normal” family. It has been a sweet blessing to build a lifestyle and a home life that revolves around …. well, it revolves around our own family. And, yes, sometimes our animals.

 

Speaking of which …. these sweet triplet goats – all females! – are just adorable.

{Miracle, Meadow & Mageesa}

One baby goat, which the girls named Miracle (in memory of another female kid who died shortly after birth), has weak hind legs. We are watching her closely and attempting to help her and keep her healthy in any way. She is getting milk, which is good, but we will go out every few hours today and tend to her legs, encouraging her to stand, to use her hind legs instead of splaying them out spread eagle and to ensure she is getting milk from her momma. Marigold, our Nubian goat, has her own private stall where she can tend to her babies in comfort.  We have a heat lamp set up for the baby goats and a little box where they can lay together and keep warm.  With a few kiddings under our belts, it has been a less stressful experience, yet no less exciting and wonderful.

 

It is encouraging to see the girls work, to love their animals, to help out and do chores that they would have never done a few years ago. Without older brothers, the girls have had to do all sorts of chores and work around the home – it would be challenging to shy away from such work as it would simply just be lazy. We encourage our girls to be feminine, to “be ladies” but there is a time when work is needed and skirt or nor skirt, they need to roll up their sleeves and pitch in.
From stacking cords of firewood, mucking stalls, to assisting in kidding time, we encourage our girls to not shy away from {real life} work.

I’m grateful for this opportunity to experience such sweet little daily miracles.

January 4, 2017 - 4:50 pm

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - AMAZING!!! Love seeing the miracle of birth!! Will be praying for the baby goats and Momma Marigold. Give my congratulations to the girls!!

Making Winter Cozy & Warm

 

 

Bone-chilling temperatures, frosty windows, ice-covered roads, biting winds and whirling snow flurries …  it is mid-winter here in Southern Ontario.

For many of you in the warmer areas, you do not experience a harsh winter like ours. But if you visit Ontario in mid January, you will feel an immediate chill to your bones. This is a time of year that can be frigid and cold, not to mention dark as early as 4:45 p.m. … it is truly a season of hibernating.

 

However, winter in Ontario (or anywhere, for that matter) it does not have to be a dreary, dark time in one’s home or life.

Honestly, this is one of my favorite seasons, as it is just incredibly cozy, a perfect time for reading that book you have been wanting to read for some time, planning for the year to come, knitting, crocheting, doing home projects or just being still.

 

To make one’s home cozy and snug, warm and comfortable … we have some suggestions.

… Search your home library and find many good books for reading. Winter is the perfect season, I find, for catching up on all the reading I was hoping to do earlier in the year.

…. twinkle lights (my personal favorite, even if they are not old fashioned, as we try to maintain a vintage feel to our lifestyle and home) … they just add such charm and coziness to a darkened winter room ….

warm fires in the woodstove or fireplace …

lighting a homemade scented candle {the girls & I made cinnamon bun scented candles last week – they are making the house smell delicious} and drinking a cuppa tea …

 

 

 

Once darkness falls, we also use oil lanterns for that gentle glowing ambiance. There’s also always a basket of warm, snuggly blankets nearby a cozy chair … inviting a reader, knitter, thinker to sit and be still and cozy … preferably by a warm fire …

 

cozy movie nights with homemade popcorn {Here is a recent movie we watched – truly fascinating!} or games night with the children …

 

baking a selection of goods for a dessert bar on a special evening or for blessing a friend or neighbour …

reading many books by the fire …

… homemade soup simmering on the stove …

fresh cinnamon buns on a Sunday morning, just waiting to be eaten …

building snowmen  with the packing snow … ice slides in the backyard and toboganning …

Those are just a few ideas as January approaches. I hope you enjoy this lovely season and find ways to make your home cozy.

 

 

 

January 9, 2017 - 2:05 pm

Sarah - This is such a lovely and comforting post! Your house is gorgeous! What a beautiful picture it makes amid the snow. We too are enjoying a warm fire, good books and tea with honey. : ) It does help to keep busy during these cold winter days.

January 3, 2017 - 6:52 am

admin - I can post a recipe later, if that is helpful. I am looking to make some again for our Tea at Two on Tuesdays today. 🙂

December 31, 2016 - 5:23 pm

Our Home of Many Blessings - How do you make those tarts???They look perfect for our tea!

December 30, 2016 - 5:42 am

admin - Yes, strange about the field. The grass is longer so perhaps it is poking through and appearing like there is no snow. Knitting is hard, yes! I crochet (and not very well) and prefer it right now. I would love to make some socks. That has been on my must-try list …
I hope you had a good holiday. No, we do not teach our children about Santa. In the past we exchanged presents, but this year we did not.

December 29, 2016 - 7:08 pm

Maike - In the first picture when you look to the very left the trees and field do not seem to have any snow. It looks as if it only snowed for your house of love and coziness. It looks wonderful and it really does seem as if everything slowes down in your house. I like the blanket idea as I am always freezing and couches do not look inviting for me. But your place sounds wonderfully inviting. I could almost smell the candles and I feel like trying cinnamon buns now myself. I got some needles and yarn for knitting some socks (or handwarmers) for christmas. I have never knitted before, only sewing and weaving. It’S very difficult to find a good tutorial for beginners showing how to do the first loop to the very last, but I really want to try. I hope your family had a nice christmas. Do your children believe in Santa and do you give eachother any presents?

December 29, 2016 - 4:43 pm

admin - Lucia and Lovelyn made these tarts -a first time for us – so I cannot take credit. They used maple syrup instead of corn syrup. It turned well and we were all pleased! Nothing can beat your tarts, though!

December 29, 2016 - 2:06 pm

Brenda (Gigi's Mom) - Great winter ideas, Gillian! I see that you make amazing tarts, so I will not need to bring you any. 😛 You have certainly become a wonderful amazing homesteader!! Love you, from warm Hawaii … no snow here. 🙂 xoxo

December 29, 2016 - 12:22 pm

Our Home of Many Blessings - Your home is beautiful and oh so inviting!I love the vintage feel myself and try to set my home that way.There’s something so wonderful about it.

December 29, 2016 - 10:24 am

Nicole - So beautiful. Exactly what I want for my kids!