Sorting my Surroundings

One of the Weight Watcher’s catch-cries is to “Sort Your Surroundings”.  And I have been doing that in more ways than one in the last week or so.  I’ve certainly sorted more than just the food surroundings but more on that later.

Last week Mum and I attacked my kitchen.  Dh actually helped in the initial stages so there was a frenzy of pulling stuff from cupboards and throwing stuff out.  One of the plans that has come de-railed since January was the one about the boys taking charge of dishes.  Dh complained that they couldn’t reach the cupboard to put them away. So, Mum and I cleared out and cleaned the top shelf of our pantry and the dishes are now happily living there – not all our dishes but a good supply of what we need for everyday use.  Our pantry is a very annoying cupboard, under the microwave shelf in our kitchen and so deep that it reaches back to the wall – so deep that things can be lost in its murky depths for like – years!  I can almost swear some things had been breeding in there.  If anyone has need of creamed corn or chick peas, I’m your girl!

We moved on from the pantry to the dreaded “corner cupboard”.  You know those ones with folding doors that look so convenient but then you find that they stretch back further than any normal human arm can reach so stuff get lost in there almost forever?  Well, we nearly climbed into the cupboard tog et everything out, only to find that there were many things we didn’t want to put back – more space.  I now have a Breville Kitchen Wizz and a large Tupperware strainer that are looking for good homes.  E-bay – here I come!

Another thing I was very happy about was the Tupperware situation.  I bought several containers a while back and never got around to actually putting the stuff in them that was meant to go into them.  They had gradually crept to all corner of the house to store things like receipts and toys!  This was not ok!  I am happy to report that almost every Tupperware item I own has been re-purposed to its intended purpose, labelled and stacked.  The label maker almost had a nervous breakdown from all the work it did that day.

But the best thing of the day was finding two items which I thought had gone forever.  I was absurdly excited which means I probably need to “get a life” but I found the two seals that go with my Tupperware sifter (and Tupperware sifters are the BEST in the world!) and I also found the metal bits that go into my double cake plate.  This is the double cake plate that has NEVER been used as I had lost the metal bits to put it together.  Now I need to have a posh morning/afternoon tea to use my beautiful plate.

Photos are coming but I thought I’d publish this now as it has been a LONG time between blog entries and I’ve really enjoyed writing this one.

I is about 7:00am Saturday morning.  I’ve sat quietly at the computer for long enough to let the rest of the family sleep in a bit so now I’m off to put the kettle on which will cause Vera to go into a frenzy of excitement because some is awake.  Roll on Saturday!

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Making it fun to learn those spelling words

After sailing through Year 1, 2, 3 and 4 with son #1 it has been a very different journey with son#2.  For #1 it all came easily and we had to spend very little time revising sight words and then spelling words.  He just seemed to acquire it through osmosis.  But for #2 we have had to really work hard with him, first to master the Year 1 sight words and now to learn spelling words in Year 2.  We sort of realised what we were in for when he came after his first spelling test with 4/10.  I didn’t want him to continue on this path for the sake of his self-esteem and I wanted him to really learn these words to help him with his writing.  And speaking of writing, he has to write out his spelling words each night of the week and he will do that but after that he is very reluctant to do any other task that requires writing.  So in the past few weeks I’ve been searching for and trying out ways to learn the ten words each week without writing them more than once.

So far I have tried:

Scrabble tiles – When we bring home his friend on a Tuesday afternoon I try to play a few games with them and hunt the letters with the scrabble tiles has proven popular.  It  has also occurred to me that I could set up the words myself but scramble the letters and have them unscramble them.  I wonder if you can buy cheap scrabble tiles anywhere?

Jump on the letter – 26 half pages of paper with a letter of the alphabet on each and spread out on the rug in our living area.  Dh enjoys this one so he calls out the words and #2 jumps on each letter of the word.  I could do nice letters on the computer and get them laminated I suppose.  I might do that or I might not.

Pipe cleaners – This week I had him make the letters he needed for his words out of pipe cleaners.  He needed some help initially but quite enjoyed it and it had the added bonus of giving him the chance to see when he reversed letters and to be able to correct them far more easily than if they were written.

Spelling City.com – This site is a great resource that you can pay for but has plenty of activities available for free.  I can just type in his words and then he can choose from a wide range of activities.  His favourite is the word search and he has actually asked me to make him a word search this weekend with the words he learned for Friday’s test – go Daniel!

Some things I would like to try:

Play dough – I have to make the play dough of course but I think he will enjoy making his letters out of play dough “sausages”

Sidewalk chalk – I’m sure Vera (our adopted blue cattle dog) would enjoy helping him write his words out on the driveway!

Sandy words – I’d like to dust off/de-grass the sandpit and have him “write” the words with a stick

Nerf bullets – This would take some preparation but I thought I could put each word four times on a sheet of  paper – spelt correctly once and incorrectly three times.  Then I’d put them behind some plastic and have him bring out his trusty nerf gun to shoot at the correct words.

Swing and spell –  I got this from – #2 son sits on the swing and I call out word.  he then has to say one letter each time he swings towards me.  I think we could easily come up with a trampoline version of this too!

Crazy words – a Year 2 boy, a tray, a spelling list and shaving cream!

Ransom words – Write your words by cutting out letters in a newspaper or magazine and glue them on a paper.

Secret Agent Words – Number the alphabet from 1 to 26, then convert your words to a number code.

BEDTIME STORIES
Before retiring for bed, write your child’s spelling words on separate pieces of paper. Hide them in different places in your child’s bedroom (i.e.; under their pillow, in their medicine cabinet, where they keep their toothbrush, and etc.) When they find any of the pieces of paper they must give the paper to you and spell the word correctly that is written on the paper. If they can spell it, they get to keep the paper. If not, they must let you hide it in another place the next evening. The object is to collect all the words (papers) before the end of the week.