12 April 2011

Languages... Or Specifically, Italian :-)

So most of you know that I have a little thing for languages.  :-)  I love learning languages and teaching them too.  Which is why for the last week I have been hard on organizing online resources for my Spanish students.  Again, check out my other blog Spanish Practice to see the current results of that endeavor.

I just want to share an online resource that I discovered in the process that I have fallen in love with.  Last fall I had learned about StudyStack as a website to do free online flashcards.  Though it has a large variety of games to play with it I quickly found that I wasn't learning the Italian vocabulary from my Busuu units like I wanted to.  So when I stumbled across Quizlet I was like a kid in a candy shop!  That's seriously how much I geek out at language learning resources.  :-)

Here is an example of what Quizlet is like:

As you can see there are different modes you can set it on.  If you sign up for an account you can do a game called SpaceRace and create tests to take online with the flashcards.

I have been finding with these flashcards it has been forcing me to learn the Italian words I am studying much better than I ever did on StudyStack.  I have fallen in love with this resource and encourage everyone to check it out who is learning anything.  You can make flashcards on Quizlet for any situation and there are many ways to customize your flashcards and different learning modes as you use them.

08 April 2011

The Prius and a Government Shutdown...

Ben and I recently decided and acted on buying a new car.  A Toyota Prius.  Our dealer at the dealership actually just sent us a thermos as a thank you gift, addressed to just me.  Thanks Dennis!  It was actually everal weeks ago Ben that mentioned a desire in buying this car (for the obvious benefits of better gas mileage, and if you know us, we sure know how to rack up the mileage on our cars), but he mentioned it with the thought of not buying it until about August.

Then the tsunami hit Japan.

That same weekend Ben stopped by the dealership to talk Prius and was encouraged to look at buying it sooner than later.  You see, up thru now there have been some really good incentives on the Priuses to buy them, incentives that very easily will go away with the manufacturing power behind them swept away.  The priuses are manufactured solely in Japan.  Today I ran across a video discussing the future of Toyota in Japan and found it interesting.  Check it out here.

I think it is interesting how interconnected and interdependent our world is.  The future of Japan is definitely something we need to keep in our prayers.  They are in for a hard period of rebuilding that will last a long time.  Having seen how long it has been taking places like New Orleans get back together (and there is still work to be done there) gives me an idea how long it will take Japan.  Though I imagine it will take even longer yet.

One of the reasons we bought the Prius (and for the week we've owned it, we have enjoyed it very much) was to take it on long trips.  Ben is in the guard and his unit is a ways away.  This weekend he is gone to do his duty for the weekend.  Well, he got to drill and now there could be a government shutdown.  So his guard unit decided to cancel the drill just in case.  Which basically means all the prep work for the weekend that he and others have been doing is for nothing.  They have to clean everything back up (throw out food...) and just go home.  Good news, I'll see my husband again soon.  Bad news, the government just threw a wrench in a lot of peoples lives due to not being able to agree on the budget.

Now I don't know all the problems with trying to agree on a budget.  I don't listen to or read the news enough to be any sort of authority on that.  What I do know is that our nation depends on the government to be able to establish a budget for the year and they have failed to do so.  Check out this article for interesting insights on how this will affect different jobs.

07 April 2011


A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sing the Verdi Requiem with the community choir I am a member of.  This work is demanding on the choir that sings it and the orchestra that plays it.  The choir was composed of our choir and the choir from a local college.  We put in long rehearsals and many extra rehearsals during the week before the concert and when it came to concert time, I was only able to sing the Saturday evening concert, as I developed a bad sore throat before the Sunday afternoon one. Regardless, it was COMPLETELY worth it!  Check out this video of the Dies Irae.

It kind of reminds me of several undertakings that I have had since Christmas.  Currently I am training for a marathon (see last post) and fundraising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Not only am I putting in long training sessions (which getting sick made very difficult recently), but I am working on raising at least $2,900 (but I would love to surpass that by a few hundred if I could).  So again, I am doing something that is very demanding and takes a lot of long hours and extra work.

Also I am working on building up my tutoring business.  Tutoring includes working evenings and doing a lot to prepare for my students.  Yesterday I have been working a lot on gathering and creating resources all in one convenient location.  Check out my other blog Spanish Practice and see the work I have done on that.  Feel free to use those resources and pass them on to others that are learning Spanish.  The materials on the site are of course focused on my students' needs and catered to the curriculum their schools are using.

I am active at Church as well and recently have been selected as a Young Women's Representative for the LWML 2011 National Convention.  When it comes to LWML I am also helping start a new circle at Church.  Right now we are focusing it on other young women in the congregation and basically we meet and have Bible Study once a month.  So far we've met twice and I have really enjoyed it so far!  I can't wait to get more involved in LWML as time goes on.

Along with that I am also still working as a substitute teacher.  March was rather slow with it, but that was fine.  We had a lot of company and I was sick.  It is also to be expected due to spring breaks being on different weeks.  There are just not a lot of jobs in March.  I still enjoy working as a substitute.  I think what I like the best is seeing the students and giving them as hard of a time as they try to give me.

I am just amazed at how busy I have been since student teaching finished, but it has also all been a lot of fun.  It keeps me busy and at times I am probably busier than I should be (my husband can attest to that), but I can say that I at least enjoy the work I am doing and the activities I am involved in.