Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tried it Tuesday: Word Work (Freebie) and Menu Planning

Today was a glorious day!

The weather was beautiful.  My kiddos were positive, respectful, and hard-working!  I was energetic and well-prepared for the day.

Overall, it was a fabulous day.  The kind that makes me realize how much I love teaching.

To finish out my day, I tried out a tasty new recipe and I'm going to share it and a cool tool I found with you for Tried in Tuesday.  Also, I added a new Word Work material to the center and my kid's are LOVING it.  I'll start with sharing about that since this is a teaching blog.  :-)

Wikki Stix

Ever since I started blogging and doing the Daily 5, I have heard so much about Wikki Stix.  It seems like everyone has them at their Word Work centers.  Though I was intrigued by the idea of using them, I honestly didn't fully know what they were.  Then, a few weeks ago, I decided to use some Scholastic Bonus Points to order a pack of them to try out.  

When they arrived and felt their waxy texture it was instant deja vue.  Though I can't recall exactly when, I must have played with them at some point in my past.

Anyways, I cut the long pieces into smaller ones and added Ziploc baggies of them to my Word Work drawers.  After modeling how to use them, I let my kids go for it and test them out.

The result was great.  Everyone wanted to use them, even the kids who are usually unmotivated to do Word Work.  Even a few weeks later, they are still highly engaging.

What's cool to me is that they are a very tactile, kinesthetic way to practice words.  Students can mold the waxy yarn any way they want.  They can make the words lay flat or stand up.  They can use one or more sticks for each letter.  They can use a variety of different colors.  Great fun all around!

Also, pick up the most updated Word Work bookmarks by clicking the picture(s) below!

Editable Version

Pepperplate Menu Planner

After starting the new year off by trying out some new recipes, I quickly fell back into boring eating habits.  I blamed not having time and living alone.  I didn't want to waste ingredients or money planning recipes.

Last week, I somehow got motivated to try planning a menu, so that I could use some of the 500 billion recipes I've pinned on Pinterest.  Yeah, that's only a slight exaggeration.  

When searching for a menu planning tool, I came across Pepperplate and fell in love.

On Pepperplate you can import or copy and paste recipes into a common list.  Then, you can create menu groups and plan meals for different days of the week using a calendar feature.  All of the recipes can be converted to 1/4, 1/2, 1 1/2 etc. of their regular portions.  Perfect for singles and couples.  

That's not even the best part.  

My favorite feature is the tool that plans your grocery list!!!  You just input the recipes you plan to make and Pepperplate makes a list with the exact measurements of what you need.  Plus, they are categorized by what aisle they should be on in the store.  AMAZING!!!!

I used the tools to plan 4 new recipes for this week using some of what I already had around and a few other ingredients.  Then, I made my stop at TJ's with the generated list in hand via the Pepperplate app and had a smooth and enjoyable shopping experience.

As a result of these minimal efforts, tonight I enjoyed one of the best meals I've made for myself in a long time:  

Blackened Chicken and Cilantro Lime Quinoa with Avocado Cream Sauce

Recipe from Sarcastic Cooking
Now, I am definitely not a food stylist, but don't let my poor iPhone picture fool you.  This was DELICIOUS and EASY.  The rice was so flavorful and the chicken had nice spice.  The creamy sauce finished it perfectly.  Definitely a PinSuccess!

So, that's what I've been trying.  Hope you enjoyed!


  1. YUM! That looks amazing. For some reason, I've been having allergic reactions to quinoa lately. Very disappointing because I truly enjoy eating it. I will have to check out Pepperplate. I have only ever checked out Ziplist. Thanks for sharing!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. That meal does look amazing! The name just goes right over my head as I'm not known as the cook in the house (although I love to bake!). I've heard so much about Wikki Sticks too but have never tried them. You've inspired me to look into it! Thanks for linking up. :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper