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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chicken in the Crock Pot

Crockpot via Google Images

Do you have some fast and easy meals that you like to make when you're in a hurry? Do you have a favorite crock-pot meal?

This is delicious and extremely easy to throw together. Almost everyone enjoyed it immensely. There's always that one person who doesn't care for it, strange enough he came back for doubles and some people even came back for triples. Brown rice holds up better than white rice for long cooking times and is more nutritionally valuable and adds great flavor.

Chicken in the Crock-Pot
1 whole chicken frozen
2 cups brown rice
1 can mushrooms-rinsed
1 -14.5 oz diced tomatoes with basil and oregano
1 -14.5 oz diced tomatoes with garlic and rosemary
1 Bag of Baby Carrots
4 garlic cloves-peeled
vegetable broth approx 2 cups (you can use all water, but broth adds a nice flavor)
2 cups water
4-5 Bay Leaves

Dump all ingredients in the crockpot.Cook on high for 6-7 hours. If using non-frozen chicken, I would probably cook on low for less time.* I used some portobello mushrooms in addition to the can of mushrooms, you can probably also throw in other ingredients maybe spinach, sweet potato or chickpeas.**You don't want to use all broth because it will be too salty.

What are some of your fast and easy meals or what are some of your favorite meals to make in the crock-pot?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Create Your Own Hijara Game

What's your family's favorite game? 
Do you play any homemade, original or unique games?

Here's a fun game you can make. My family has played it countless times since I've made it and that's saying something since it hasn't even been a week yet. If you're the type who gives homemade gifts this game would be great. It's definitely for older children. On the box if you see it in the store, it's recommended for ages 10 and up.

There's a few options to making the game board:

You can use thin cardboard see here and here.

You can also use a checkerboard. and just draw the borders and write the numbers in. My little brother gets credit for that idea.
Or you can make it the way I did. For that you'll need:
1 template of board or make your own. Mine (below) is pretty stark, but I think it's less distracting when playing the game. You can make it as colorful as you like though.
Scrap Paper
Packing Tape
Decorative Vase Fillers-2 bags in different colors. You will need 32 pieces of each color.
Optional: Drawstring Bags or Ziploc Bags, Box to Store it the pieces.

Right Click and Choose Open-Link in a New Tab on your desired game board (with lines connecting the boxes or without lines) to open in a new tab and print it. You will need to print 2 copies.

First one has lines connecting the boxes, the second one doesn't. You will need to add lines to connect the middle boxes if you print the first one.


Skip this if you're just going to use one of my templates:

To make your own template:
If you want you can make your own template-using Word or a similar program on your computer. You make 8 squares using the square tool of equal sizes.  4 on the top and 4 on the bottom.

Then create a text box for the score, type in increments of 5. So it should read 5, 10, 15 all the way up to 65. Make sure your text isn't crowding and it's a size you like.

Add lines to the boxes, so each box is split into 4. You can also add connecting lines if you'd like. See this image for a sample Hijara board.

Save your template.

Print 2 copies.

Continue Here:

Write in the numbers 1-4 in each box using a sharpie-see below. Remember to place paper underneath so the sharpie bleeds through onto that. I used a plain black sharpie. You may also want to use a stencil to get a crisper more professional look. You can see that I just wrote it in though.

Now if you have a paper cutter this is a good time to use it, if not scissors will do just fine. You want to trim one of the printouts of some of the white space on the side opposite the numbers. This will be the middle of your board.

Overlap both printouts so the papers are symmetrical and the scores are on opposite sides. Tape together using Packing Tape on both sides. I wanted to make my game board fold, so I folded it at this point trying to line up the edges the best that I could.

Cover both sides of the game board with packing tape using long strips. If there's extra you want to fold it to the back of the game board. Do this slowly, so that the tape doesn't bunch, or crease. Cover the back of the game board. The tape also makes the game board more sturdy.
game board ready to play
If you're cynical like some other people I know in real life
and want to tell me there's a box holding it down in the corner.
That box is not necessary to hold the board down.
We actually played all of the games without anything holding it down.

Now you can apportion 32 stones for game play +1 for keeping score totaling 3 stones per person.

The game rules are here. Also since you are not playing on the computer, it would be a good idea to add in that any point not accounted for are forfeited. We play that the person has until the next person puts down their piece to claim their points. If someone gets more than 65 points, they just start their marble at the 5 again. Of course they don't lose their points they are just added to the points they originally had. so if someone has 65 points and gains 15. They would just move their marble to the 15 point marker and have 80 points. Although the rules use blue and yellow pieces you can play with any 2 colors you choose and even pick who goes first.

The following are samples of how it might look during game play, but there was no actual game happening at the times of these pictures.
Sample of how it might look during game play

Whoa! Someone got a bit distracted
and let someone get 20 points. See the marble on the 20 point mark.

We are currently using a gift box like the one you put baby clothes in for gift-giving. I don't know how sturdy it is, or how long it will last. It doesn't seem to sturdy, but it's working for us right now. Don't forget to decorate it so everyone knows what game is inside. I recommend decorating the box while flat.

I lost the first few games whether against real life opponents or the computer. So I'm pretty proud of this.

in the box.

Play Instructions Can Be Found here and here. The first link has diagrams which can be helpful to see how you can score points. We have also added on that you cannot claim points later in the game. Points need to be claimed before the next person makes their move.

Have Fun!

Update: I received the following email from Martin, the creator of the game, I linked his site. Who knew he had another game.:


As designer and owner of all rights to the game Hijara, I was interested to see your Create Your Own Hijara Game.

The site you linked it to is owned by a Russian who knocked off my Hijara and Rhumb Line games.

For the genuine Hijara, see :


What's your family's favorite game?

Do you play any homemade, original or unique games?

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