Tuesday, July 23, 2013


We are on vacation at Hilton Head Island this week with family, so please excuse the break for a bit with no posts. I'll be back next week to keep you updated on what's happening at the Roost!

Hope you are having a great summer,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Refrigerator Pickles with a Kick

 Need an easy way to use up fresh cucumbers from the garden? Try making some refrigerator pickles!

We are so blessed to have an abundance of cucumbers from our garden this year. It's a good thing we started them and harvested early because with all this rain the leaves are now plagued by a powdery mildew and we have had to replant many of the cucumber plants from seed.

the start of the cucumber harvest- we picked several more baskets

One thing I love to do with cucumbers is to pickle them. Spicy and tart, sweet, or made into a relish- it doesn't matter I like them any way! Of course I also love them fresh in a salad or spread with cream cheese on a sandwich :)

A really easy recipe for pickles that is a delicious snack (and also a great gift) is for refrigerator pickles. This recipe gives the pickles a hint of spice with just enough kick.

I found this recipe from The Kitchn webpage and loved the result the first time I made them:

Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles
(makes 3 pints)

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons pickling salt
6 garlic cloves, peeled (2 per jar)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper per jar (3/4 teaspoons total)
1 teaspoon dill seed per jar (3 teaspoons total)

2 pounds cucumbers
Wash and slice the cucumbers. In a large saucepot, combine vinegar, water and salt. I found that for 3 quarts I had to triple this recipe (just brine ingredients) to have enough liquid to cover. Bring to a simmer.

Arrange jars on counter and dole out the spices to each. Pack the cucumber slices firmly into the jars. You don't want to damage the cukes, but you do want them packed tight.

Pour the brine into the jar, leaving approximately ½ inch headspace. Tap jars gently on countertop to dislodge any trapped air bubbles.
Apply lids and let jars cool. When they've returned to room temperature, place jars in refrigerator. Let them sit for at least 48 hours before eating. 

Keep on pickling and preserving in these hot (and rainy) days of summer! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Preparing for Twins: Baby Gear we are Doing Without

After working on our baby registries and having my first baby shower over the weekend we have been thinking a lot about what items are essential to have before our little ones arrive! Just entering the baby stores with a sea of baby "must-haves" and dozens of choices for each thing is incredibly overwhelming and can be downright stressful. We were extremely blessed to receive a good variety of gifts as well as all of the major and important items on our registry!

Onesies with chicks- how perfect! 

good friends at my first baby shower

eating brunch on the back veranda at the shower

 I don't think I will want my house transforming into a babyland zone of toys, walkers, swings, play things, and whatever other baby contraptions cluttering every room! We just simply don't have the space for that to be honest.

So, we are really trying to simplify our wish list for the twins and register for the essentials. Of course, our essential list may differ from yours, and there are many items that we'd still like to have that perhaps we don't need, but we are trying our best not to overdo it on baby gear. To me, this stuff takes up precious space and distracts us from working and playing with our babies in other ways that are beneficial for building their minds and muscles--not to mention the expense of all these extra things!

Below is a list of items we plan to NOT register for and go without (unless donated/gifted to us to try):

- changing table 
we will use a dresser with a changing pad--that way the dresser can stay in their room and be useful

-  swing
Nice to have, but not necessary.

- Pack n' Play
This just takes up room when they can just as easily play on the floor. If we need to be moving around or doing housework, we can put them in the sling or carrier with us. The only exception is we may have to get a portable crib for two, which could double as a play-yard.

- diaper pail 
We plan to cloth diaper the babies for a variety of reasons (saving $$ is one), but even if you use disposable diapers you can just use a trash can perhaps located in the garage or on the back porch. We will be using wet bags for cloth diapers.

- full sized high chairs
 We plan to use portable high chair seats (Chicco 360 booster seat) that clip-on to the dinner table-a HUGE space saver!

- toys 
We aren't registering for or buying many toys ourselves- I'm sure they will have plenty loaned or given to them!

- expensive newborn clothes 
Again, I'm sure the twins will receive plenty of darling outfits as gifts, so we won't waste our money.

- different types of strollers 
We will just be getting ONE all-purpose, high quality double jogging stroller- if needed, we can buy cheapie umbrella strollers later on. We were so blessed to receive the stroller we wanted at our shower!

-  walker or bouncy seat
Again, nice to have but not necessary. It's important for babies to lie on their tummies to play on the floor to strengthen and exercise important muscles. However, we did receive a nice bouncer as a shower gift so we will certainly try it out and keep it if it turns out to be really useful.

- bassinet 
 They will just use their cribs- plus, our room is located right next to the nursery with a door that connects or adjoins to the room for easy access.

- bottle sterilizer

- wipes warmer
umm........just one of those things we don't really need :)

-any type of baby videos or other technology

- a bumbo seat
They only use this for a few months anyway before they are sitting up on their own.

The one exception is that we are registering for a large sized portable crib so that we can travel with the babies and have something that we can easily take with us for them to sleep and play in. After getting home with all our gifts from the shower we have been setting up the nursery- it is SO exciting and fun! I will admit though it's certainly overwhelming the amount of stuff that comes with these tiny babies. We are already running into not having enough space for things--especially in the kitchen. We didn't think about extra storage  and cabinet space for the booster seats, bottles, sippy cups, toddler plates, snack bowls, baby food storage containers, baby spoons, and bibs.

I'm sure there will be even more items that we can add to this list after our babies are already here and we find we aren't using a product as much as we thought we would.

What baby gear items did you find unnecessary?