Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Crock Pot Italian Chicken

Yesterday's crock pot meal was a very tasty shredded Italian Chicken. 

The Recipe:
1-2 lbs. Chicken
Italian Dressing Packet
up to (but not more than) 1 cube Butter
Put in crock pot and cook till cooked through and easy  to shred. Take two forks and shred. Add:
8 oz. Cream Cheese (not the fat free kind)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
Milk to desired consistency
Serve over pasta (Penne, Fettuccine, Linguine are fun)

What I did:
Once again, I wanted leftovers, so I used 3 lbs. of chicken with one packet of Italian dressing and the whole cube of butter. I put mine in the crock pot on low for about 4 hours, and then shredded it because it was cooked, even though dinner wasn't for another two hours (it was very tasty at this point too). I added the cream cheese and 2 cans of Cream of Chicken and mixed it all up. I completely spaced the milk so mine was fairly thick. I left in in the crock pot on low for another two hours, before serving it over penne pasta. I think it would work just as well on rice or potatoes. It was very yummy, but also very rich, so I have even more left overs than I thought I would.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

More Birthday Ideas

I really do more than go to birthday parties all the time. Really. It just feels like it sometimes. This shirt is for a seven year old boy. I have the hardest time coming up with ideas for the older boys. My crafting ability has not yet extended to the realm of hand-held gaming systems or anything similar.
The inspiration for this one came from the part where the boy in question wanted a Skate party and his favorite color is green. I found a skateboard on my Boys Will Be Boys Cricut Cartridge, cut it out in fabric with heat-n-bond (the sewable kind in the purple package), and to make it last through the wash- sewed around all the edges. One custom tee shirt for a birthday boy.

It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's... Batman/Superman?

Another little friend was having a birthday. Six year old boy this time. His favorite color is blue and he likes to run, so I made him a Super Hero Cape (reversible). I got the idea and pattern from here
 Super Man on one side-
Batman on the other. The friend is about a head taller than Tiger (modeling above), so the cape fit him quite nicely. I used flannel and sewed around all the edges of the superhero symbols to make it more durable. I like how this cape pattern closes with velcro (not pictured). That way I don't have to worry about children getting entangled in the cape- it will just pop open, and I also don't have to tie it all the time. 

Half Shirt Tutorial

I know what you are thinking- What is a half shirt? At least that is what I thought when a friend was telling me about them. Turns out they are an amazing innovation for the nursing mother. You wear it under another shirt, so when baby is hungry, you pull the one down and the other up, and can nurse while still being covered (if you have ever gone searching for modest nursing tops that don't leave you exposed all over the place you will understand what I am talking about). My friend had found hers at Mod Bod (I think this is the one), but they only came in a few colors and can be a little pricey. So we decided to make our own.
 We took a regular (cheap) shirt, and cut it off about two inches below the original. (It ended up being 15 inches from the highest point on the shoulder, slightly arched).
 Finished cut- see the slight arch. You can use whatever length feels good for you- just try on your shirt and mark where you want it, making sure to leave room for a hem.
 We sewed a simple hem around the bottom. It ended up being between 1/4" and 1/2" depending on the elastic that we were using.
 Make sure to leave a gap to thread the elastic through. (To measure the elastic, I had my friend wrap it around herself til it felt comfortable, and added about an inch to sew it together). After the elastic is in and sewed together, close the opening.
Finished product. This was our sample to see if it would work, and it did. The Mom is going to find more shirts in fun colors to add to her collection. She recommends a slightly tighter fitting shirt, cause after all, it is an undershirt, so just buy whatever size you would for an undershirt. These would also work well for undershirts where you want the layered look with out all the extra bulk and lines.

Crock Pot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

For a Super Saturday activity next month, I am in charge of coming up with some Crock Pot recipes that are tried and true. I figure that means I get to test out a bunch of recipes, right? This one was submitted by a member in the ward. 
Her Recipe:
Crock Pot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

4-6 Boneless Chicken Breasts 
1 Bottle of BBQ sauce
1 20oz. can Pineapple Chunks, drained

Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray for an easy cleanup!  Place frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot and cover with sauce.  Empty can of drained pineapple chunks on top.  Cook on High for 2-3 hours or Low for 4-6 hours.  Shred chicken with two forks while still in the crock pot so the chicken will be well coated with sauce.  Serve over rice. 

What I did:
I used a little more chicken. I think I had at least 7 breasts, but the rest of the ingredients I left the same. I cooked mine on low for about six hours, shredded it, and cooked it on low for another two- simply because that is when dinner was. It would have been ready to eat earlier. The family all liked it, and we had lots of leftovers for the next day.

Rice Heating Bag

 Kitty has been a little silly lately. She has been wanting someone to have a hand on her so she can go to sleep. As much fun as it is to stand next to someone while they are falling asleep, I really have much more things that I should be doing (attempting to clean the house would be one of them).
So I made her a rice bag as a substitute. I figured it was probably the weight with a little heat that she was wanting. (I can't remember where I found the tutorial that I used, but here is one that is similar). It worked. Kitty has been doing much better about going to sleep.

St. Patrick's Day

I am still behind on life. I forgot that I had these pictures well before St. Patrick's Day. Consider it another idea to store away for next year. I am getting good at those. :)
 I found these barrettes here. They were very quick and easy, and added a nice touch of green.
 These shirts were done with my Cricut, some fabric remnants, cheap tee shirts, and some heat-n-bond. (I just clipped the bows on the girls' shirts so they were easy to find later.
 Close up of the girls' shirts.
 And the Tiger's shirt.
While I was making them I found out that my nephew whom I hadn't ever seen was making a surprise visit so I made him this onesie. (He is adorable, by the way).

Monday, March 5, 2012

PVC Kids Chair

Today my little Tiger was saying something about needing a chair. I remembered a picture I had seen on pinterest (one of those uploaded by user things with no post to follow up on). I also remembered that I had a bunch of PVC leftover from the chicken coop (not to worry, I washed all the pieces). I made it up as I went along, but kept notes so I could repeat it later. So, here is how I made Tiger a Thomas the Train chair so he can have something to sit in while playing at his train table.

1: 10' length PVC Pipe ($3.39) cut into several pieces-
7@ 10"
6@ 6"
4@ 1 1/2" (could be a little shorter- just need to join tees and elbows without a gap)
8: PVC 1" Elbows ($.53 each)
6: PVC 1" Tees ($.64 each)
Fabric (can use one color cut twice or two contrasting ones for front and back)
2@ 9 3/4"x31 1/4"
2@ 6 1/4"x9 3/4"
*(I might even go up to 6 1/2" on the one piece- it fits at 6 1/4 but could be a little longer)*
Interfacing (same measurements as fabric, just to make it a little more sturdy)
Velcro (Sew On)- 3 strips cut 8 1'2" each
Spray Paint (if desired)

(The prices I pulled from Homedepot.com. Just the PVC adds up to $11.47, unless you happen to already have it on hand. I made my chair with things I already had around the house.)

1. Assemble chair like so. The small pieces are what hold the elbow and tee together in front and two tees at back with no gap.
2. Spray paint if desired. I used the blue leftover from the train table, and put a coat of clear on top of that. There were a couple spots on the armrests that got a little tacky- not sure if it was the paint or sticky fingers. 
 3. I made my seat cover so that it could be easily removed for washing. For the seat, take the two strips of fabric 9 3/4x31 1/4" and interfacing (the interfacing I had on hand was the heavy duty stuff that doesn't iron on. If you have the iron on stuff, just iron it on to one of your strips). With right sides together, sew down the two long sides and across one short side (1/2" seams). Clip corners, turn rightside out, and iron.
 4. With the short strips of fabric, do the same thing, except sew the two short sides and one long side. Clip corners, and turn. (And iron, as you can tell I hadn't yet in this picture).
 5. On the short piece, turn under and tuck in open end 1/2". Sew one side of a strip of velcro to close opening. Sew other half of velcro on opposite side as pictured.
 6. On the long piece, do the same thing, except the other half of the velcro should be sew 5 1/4" from the end (both pieces should be sewn on the back side of the fabric).
 7.  Repeat on other end of fabric (back side as well).
 8. Sew short strip to long strip 14 1/4" from bottom edge (it is almost in the center. It might even work if sewn in the center, but this is the way I did it). I used a fabric marking pen to draw a line in the center of the short piece, and at the 14 1/4" line on the big piece, lined them up, and sewed along my line.
 9. Attach seat cover to chair and enjoy. Monkey might have come along and stolen Tiger's chair (and Elephant). The chair ended up being the perfect size for my four year old (almost five), three year old, and even the 18 month old. 

My biggest problem with making this chair is that I only made one today. That means that Kitty and Monkey have spent the day trying to steal Tiger's chair. I have a bunch more pipe, and tees, but now I have to go pick up some more elbows before World War III breaks out in my living room.

The velcro on the front can come undone if the child is standing on the chair or putting a lot of weight in the seat. Next time, I think I will use some of those heavy duty snaps- just along the front. The velcro works perfectly fine in the other locations.

After putting in snaps, I ended up just sewing along that front edge. The snaps held up the light-weight girls, but not my son. Fortunately, I was able to slide it on the chair without him seeing. I really didn't want him to discover that his chair can come apart.

Lego Playmat

It was time for another birthday party- this one was for a little boy who likes Legos. So I made him a Lego Playmat, using the same idea as the car playmat the other day. I left the inside blank this time, to be more accommodating of Lego Creativity.
 I was looking for Lego-esque fabric. These robots where the best I could come up with.
 This time I went with a wider bias tape around the edge, and a larger grommet hole with a silkier cord. It worked much better.
When I went to wrap it, I realized that I didn't have anything suitable, so I made a Lego head jar instead. I took a jar (this one formerly contained Target brand Monster Trail Mix) and wrapped it with yellow streamers (I had coated the jar first in spray mount. I then applied a liberal amount of Modge Podge and let it dry. I cut out the face from scraps of leftover black vinyl. The lid I glued yellow ribbon around the edge, and yellow cardstock on the top. I wrapped another ribbon around it to finish things off.