Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dia de los Muertos.


October has come and gone and so has Halloween and All Saints Day. We had wonderful celebrations for both and now we are finally relaxing and trying to catch up with all the other stuff that we have to do. Mainly school work and rotating all our clothing to match the weather!

Not only that, but today we celebrate Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. We remember deceased loved ones, tell stories about them and pray for them. It's a great way to introduce the subject of death to kids in a fun way. Dia de los Muertos is certainly not a sad holiday. It is a fun day full of food, games and crafts. It is a day to make fun of death and to remember that just because our bodies cease to live, our souls do not! Death is a step from this world into the next, where we will come together with our heavenly Father!

I hope everyone out there is surviving this time of year. It certainly is busy for us and I'm trying my hardest to keep my head above water. It's always busy around here with little time for rest. But as my dad always says, "I'll rest when I die!" And he is certainly right about that!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gifted Children.

Recently, I've been hearing a lot about gifted children. Through friends who are trying to get their kids into the gifted programs at their local public schools, from homeschool moms who are seeing giftedness in their children and in the local news where they've been highlighting the gifted programs and what they offer. I thought this was a great subject to talk about!

First off, I don't know if my kids are truly "gifted." I think all children possess giftedness in some way or another. Some are great at math, some are great at reading and some are great at art. Most children excel in some subject or other. But true giftedness? That would probably mean across the board, above level performance. Which led to me to thinking....what exactly are all these moms prepping their kids for in public schools?

Not too long ago I met a mom who was getting her son tested in order to for him to qualify for the gifted/talented program at a school. She had been prepping him for the test for a couple of months with lots of workbooks and practice tests. At first, I thought she was crazy. I kept thinking, "Hey. If you're kid is really gifted...it won't matter if you prep him for the test or not. And if you have to prep him, then he probably isn't truly gifted."

But them she went into why she wanted him to test into it so badly. The gifted classes were smaller. They offered things like Latin, chess club and more hands-on "real world" learning. When she got to talking about all the perks, I realized that I would probably want the same for my kids, if they were in school.

Of course, homeschoolers don't have that problem. We can teach our kids Latin (and we do!) even if they aren't "gifted." We play chess, our class size is small and there is plenty of real world learning going on all the time. I get to speed things up in any subject I see my kids excelling in and I can slow things down if I have to. There is no need for me to test them!

All my children are covering more than one grade level, which makes it soooo hard to label them. Are your kids in 4th, 2nd, and kindergarten? Well, yes. BUT...not one of them does all their work at grade level. And that is one of the greatest perks of homeschooling. You tailor what you teach to the student...not the class.

So if you happen to be reading this and you happen to send your kids to school. Give homeschooling a second thought. It's really not so bad being around your kids all day. And you'll be happy to know that you won't ever have to fight with a school in order to place your kids in a "gifted" classroom.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Keeping Things Simple.

I still haven't posted my daily schedule and have been working on tweaking it a lot this week. We switched phonics and math, we added a new activity to Fridays and I'm trying to squeeze more time in with Christian's preschool work. Things look chaotic on paper! But it really is coming along and our MOTH (Managers of Their Homes) method is what still continues to work for us. Click here to see some of my previous advice on creating a schedule.

Of course, we know that with a large family it's important to keep things simple if you want to stay sane. It's all about prioritizing. Not too long ago I experience my first burnout. We were doing school, co-op, swimming, dance, piano, soccer and who knows what else. I wanted my kids to be exposed to different activities and to have fun. What I got was a not so happy family. I was chauffeuring kids around 4-5 days out of the week. We were rarely eating dinner together as a family and we were always in a rush. I was cranky so that meant that everyone was cranky. So what happened? I got burnt out. I grew so tired that I dropped every activity besides school and co-op.

It took me almost a year to recover, but I vowed to never do that to myself or my family again. Now I'm learning to keep a healthy balance. My kids are allowed to do 2 activities each. One that benefits them physically and one that benefits them mentally. I combine wherever I can, take shortcuts and NEVER sacrifice family time. The results are working out well so far.

Our extra curricular activities this year? Here's how I have it set up so that I'm able to get all the kids' activities squeezed into our week without sacrificing our family priorities.
  • Karate fulfills our physical requirement. This is done together so that I don't have to go back and forth with different sports. They get to help each other and they love it!
  • Piano is also done at home. Our piano teacher comes over once a week and takes turns doing the lessons with the kids. That means I don't have to take time off from teaching; so while one child is doing their lesson, the rest are working on their school.
  • Art is our new activity this year. It's once a week and the kids also do it together. While they are in class, I walk down the street to the library and load up on books for the week. It works out great!
But what about the littles? I can't take credit for toting around 6 kids with me all the time. I have a nanny who comes in 3 times a week. She mainly takes care of little Jimmy and Christian, unless I have to go somewhere and I leave the whole crew with her. I am hesitant to admit to having this help, but I don't want to seem like super woman. One thing I will add is that to have her over means that we sacrifice in lots of other areas. Again...priorities.

So how do you keep things simple for your own life? Here are some tips.

  1. Make a list. Grab a piece of paper and make a column for each child. Under each name, list all the extra curricular activities you would like for each of them to have. Don't be afraid to include yourself and your spouse! It's important to keep in mind all the things you want to accomplish as well when making a schedule.

  2. Prioritize and Rank. Rank your activities. Take into consideration all the things that are important to your family when ranking. Are weekends together as family important? Then perhaps soccer might not rank high because of all the Saturday games. Is having dinner together a top priority? That might weed out all evening activities.

  3. Minimize. Look over your list and trim wherever you see an activity that is not in line with your family priorities.

  4. Pencil it In. Look at your calendar with your new activities penciled in. If your calendar still looks too full, perhaps it's time to go back and minimize some more.

  5. Pray. Prayer is a powerful tool when deciding what activities will benefit your family.

In the end, don't be afraid to say "No!" There is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping our kids at home and enjoying our families. It's important not to fall prey to the materialistic culture that plagues our society. More is not necessarily good and our children will not benefit from having a full schedule that keeps them away from family. We have to remember that in teaching our children, we want to prepare them for heaven above all else!














Family Time, Happy Kids or Over-scheduled, Cranky Kids

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11

Today marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11. My prayers are with all the victims of that horrific attack, both living and deceased.

So many lives lost, so many affected. We will never forget.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Early Winners.


We are coming upon mid-September already and school is in session for mostly everyone. For families that started early, like ours, we are already figuring out what the winners and losers are for the year. Here is a snippet of what's working so far, what's not, and what we're on the fence about.

Winners...So Far.
  1. Saxon Phonics. We are using this phonics program for Anthony, Isabella and even Marco! I love that it's scripted and the kids haven't complained yet! It combines phonics with spelling, which I find helpful in getting the kids to understand their phonics rules. For Anthony, this is his core program. Isabella and Marco are both using the Saxon Phonics 2 program and it is completely review. It's working fantastic, although sometimes I wonder if coding all those words is helping them read proficiently. But if they are showing success with it, I can't argue!

  2. Famous Men of Greece (Memoria Press). We are using this for history and following Angelicum Academy's lesson plans. So far the kids love it. It's colorful and interesting to them and I like that it covers vocabulary and reading comprehension, among other things (the suggested activities are great).

  3. Poetry Memorization from IEW. This is super easy to do and the kids LOVE it so far! The kids recite their poetry in the morning, during lunch and then for their dad over the dinner table. It's great fun for them!

  4. A Nature Walk With Aunt Bessie from Queen Homeschool. This is the science I'm doing with all the kids together. It's completely from a Charlotte Mason Approach and completely fun for the kids! We do this everyday and it is something the kids look forward to. I love that it's compatible for all the kids, from Christian in preschool to Marco in 4th grade.
Runner Up. Still sitting on the fence.
  1. Latina Christiana. Perhaps it's my own insecurities with teaching Latin that make this program so difficult for me. Marco and Isabella do this together and they are doing well, although I'm always unsure about how well they have grasped the vocabulary. I'm hoping that as the year progresses, I'll be more confident in teaching it and the kids will continue to do well with it. For them, this is not a favorite subject...but it gets done! We are taking it super slow!

  2. Map Essentials. This is another Angelicum course that I have loved over the years. But now that Marco is doing his 4th grade book, it's getting more rigorous (which is great!) but less fun. And I'm all about the kids having fun when it comes to geography. Why shouldn't it be fun? It's a solid program...it's National Geographic! But I think I was hoping for something that would make learning cartography and geography more hands on. Perhaps I'll supplement if we have the time; after all, this is done only once a week.
Losers.
  1. Vocabu-Lit. We followed Angelicum's suggestion of using Vocabu-Lit for 4th grade. The workbook is great and it uses literature to teach new vocabulary. But as we were progressing through the book, Marco began to get more and more frustrated with the work. "It's too hard! I hate it!" So I did further reading to see what the problem could be. Well, it turns out that the book that Angelicum is recommending for 4th graders is actually a 6th grade book!! That might be fine and dandy for kids who are great readers, but for the average kid...this might be a little too much. So I abandoned Vocabu-Lit and am going back to using something more grade appropriate. So I guess in the end, it really isn't the program that's a loser...it's just a loser because we were using something that wasn't suited to our grade level.
That's it! Looks like we don't really have lots of losers this year. All other materials are straight from Angelicum and we are enjoying them all. I hope that all you homeschoolers out there are having luck with your curricula. It's always a mystery as to what will work, but thank goodness that we have the luxury of tailoring our teaching to what our kids need!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Scholaric Review.

When I find something that I love, helps me and is easy to use...I want to tell the whole world!! I'm a chronic planner, organization junkie and all around nerd when it comes to homeschooling. I'm constantly looking for ways to make my life easier and more streamlined. With 6 kids, keeping our homeschool organized is a top priority.

Before the beginning of our homeschool year in August, I decided that I needed an easier way to organize lessons for my 3 grammar stage kids. Fitting everyone's schedule in my planner just wasn't working and adding any more kids to it was just not realistic. So I decided to give the electronic planner a try.

I started with a popular, downloadable "Tracker" program. It took me a whole weekend to type everything in, understand how to use it and get the ball rolling with it. I was on the brink of throwing in the towel with it's learning curve, but decided to stick it out because of all the time I had already invested in it. But then something wonderful happened. I got rid of my dinosaur PC and upgraded to an iMac.

Upgrading to an iMac is awesome...but not so awesome for Tracker users. I found out that not only could I not transfer my Tracker files, but that I couldn't even start over with Tracker because it is not compatible with Macs!! All that precious time wasted! I nearly cried with frustration!


Thus began my search for a homeschool planner that was Mac compatible. Luckily, it didn't take long before someone recommended Scholaric. Could it be that I had found something I could download to my Mac that would save me from a planning crisis? Read on.

It turns out that Scholaric doesn't need to be downloaded into any computer because it's web-based. That means all your planning stays online and not your computer. I wasn't sure I liked this. My lesson plans floating around in virtual space? I didn't buy into the hype until a light bulb lit up over my head. My lesson plans....accessible from any computer!

Once I realized that I could plan my school week not only from my desktop, but from our MacBook from anywhere in the house, I got so excited! Not only that, but you could use it on your iPad too! How much more convenient and terrific could this Scholaric program be? I signed up for the trial version immediately. After all, not just because you can have easy access to something does it mean that it's easy to set up or use, right?

Well...Scholaric is extremely easy to set up and use. If you like to spend hours typing information into a planner before you actually get to use it...this program is probably not for you. But if you like to get started right away, Scholaric is perfect! Setting up our homeschool account on Scholaric was a breeze. It's like opening a notebook planner and just filling in the days with what you are doing. You can schedule repeating lessons, record time spent on a subject (necessary in some states), reschedule lessons easily and even share lessons if you have more than one student.



Scholaric makes it easy to record grades too and even generates a report card if needed. What I really like about Scholaric, beside all these great features? I can print out a daily or weekly assignment for my kids that they can check off. Here is a quick screenshot (sorry it's blurry).



Is Scholaric perfect? Probably not. There is no perfect planner, although for me it's as close to perfection as I've ever had. Sign up for a free 15 day trial to find out how easy it is to use this amazing online planner. It's only $1 per month, per child after that!

Check them out and become a fan! They post tips and updates on their FaceBook page.




Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Pup?

We are finally settling into the routine of being back to school. Co-op started this past Monday and it was great. The kids were so excited to be back! It was a great first day and I was happy to see all the kids and my friends!

Of course, things are never dull around here with school, co-op, a new baby and just our daily routines. But I decided to throw in a little curve ball this past week. We are fostering a dog!! I know it's crazy of me to even think of adding a dog to a family of 8, but I couldn't justify not allowing my kids to get a pet. After all, I have very fond memories of growing up with pets myself.

So enters Sierra. This little pup is a year old and the sweetest thing. We actually weren't planning on adopting a dog just yet. We were waiting to see if we could swing buying a nice poodle mix so that I wouldn't have to add vacuuming dog hair to my list of chores. But as I took Anthony on a mother-son lunch date, we decided to stop by the humane society just to look at the puppies. And there was Sierra. More timid that my own little Anthony (he's a shy one!), but just so sweet. We fell in love with her! Now we are fostering her for a week or so to see how she adjusts to living with our family and how our family adjusts to having her around. So far, things are going great!

Yea...she sheds. She's not a designer dog. But the kids love her! I'll have to let you know if we decide to go through with an adoption and having her become one of the family!


She was so shy at the shelter. She was almost afraid to be pet.



As soon as we got home, she opened up. She loves the kids and is excellent with them! She is not one bit shy anymore!!




With 6 kids, she gets plenty of attention. Here she is taking a nap after a long walk.

Monday, August 22, 2011

FaceBook. Bringing Out The Worst.

I remember a couple of years ago I kept getting invitations to join Facebook from family and friends. "What a time suck!!" was my initial response. How could anyone waste their time reading all the mindless posts from friends they hadn't seen since high school? And not only that, who cared? If someone really wanted to be your "friend" why didn't they give you a call or send you a letter?

Well, here we are 2 years later and I'm constantly checking my Facebook home page. Did my sister update her status? Is my aunt in Chicago doing well? How about my cousins? Don't forget all my old friends who live far away. What are they up to? Oh! I better update my status and let everyone know that I just gave little Jimmy the third bath of the day because he decided to pour maple syrup on his head...again.

Yes. This is what part of my days look like. Granted, I check in for only about a minute and then I'm off. But add those minutes up and who knows how many hours I spend a week on Facebook. How did I get sucked into this? And why is it so difficult to stop?

Today I finally made a realization. Facebook brings out the worst in me. As I sat checking everyones updates on my phone today, I caught myself doing something. I wasn't surprised or suddenly appalled...I was just AWARE of what I was doing. I was judging. Criticizing. Forming bad opinions. Snickering.

And as I read a friend's post, I realized just how addictive Facebook is. And addictive is not good. Sure, I get to keep in touch with friends and family. My dad looks forward to all the pictures I post of the kids. It's the way I message our babysitter. But is being on Facebook really bringing out the best in me? Probably not.

This past Lent, I remember talking with a friend about our sacrifices. Giving up Facebook was one of them. I remember her saying how difficult it was going to not check in and asking if it counted to just read and not post. Wow. Talk about the incredible grip that Facebook has on our daily lives! Even more recently, another friend gave up Facebook as a prayerful cause. But of course, it's impossible to really "give it up" and you can still see where she checks in daily and Sundays don't count.

Is it that hard to stop? I say yes. After choosing to go without it for Lent, I realized just how tempting it was to "drop in." The first week was the hardest. My husband kept saying, "If you even visit the FB page, you are breaking your fast." So I didn't. Not even on Sunday. I went the whole season without even opening the FB page. It was a little liberating.

But now here I am again. Should I "give it up" as my friends say? I'm not sure. On the one hand, I love keeping in touch with my family. On the other hand, I'm sometimes creating negative thoughts and bringing out the worst in me. Which way to go?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to School 2011!

Is it August already??!!! Of course it's August. I've known that for the past 17 days!!! But really...here I go again. Life gets in the way of blogging...blah, blah, blah. Let's get down to the nitty-gritty.

We actually started school on August 1st! Yes we had our first day of school celebrations and all. It was a fantastic day and the kids had the best time, like always. I won't say that it was easy, as I wasn't ready to start school at all! But I sucked it up, planned as much as I could, gathered whatever materials I had and got to it. The first two weeks were a MESS!! I couldn't find all my materials, our old books were still on the shelves while our new books sat in piles all over our school room. Not only that but our daily schedules weren't set up, my lesson plans weren't organized, the kids' planners were nowhere to be found, and our school room was a disaster.

Sounds like a nice start to the school year, huh? Well, I finally got my act together. Every night last week I stayed up late organizing and planning. It was painful, but now I can say that I'm mostly done! The only thing left for me to do is get our daily schedules done. I have a tentative schedule, but I'm still experimenting on how our days are going to flow best with 4 kids doing school, a toddler, and a baby.

This week we are well into our 3rd week of school and it's going GREAT! Our lessons are getting done, the kids are happy (for the most part), and I can finally find all our books. I'm sure that this year's beginning isn't going to scar the kids. They have been having a wonderful time since our new school year started. Our first day of school traditions helped, of course.

As you may know, every year we celebrate the first day of school with schultutes or school cones that I usually spend a couple of weeks working on. It's like Christmas around here! The cones are full of school supplies, candy, and toys. The kids get to spend half of the morning playing with their treats before officially starting their school work. Check out the celebration!






























Thursday, June 23, 2011

Language Arts Decisions and Reviews.

It seems that if you are a homeschooler, this time of year is mainly focused on curriculum decisions, planning, organizing, and hunting for reviews for new products. It's my favorite time of the school year!!Of course, we are using mainly Angelicum Academy for our homeschool. But after having tried out their language arts curriculum for the past 3 years...I just don't like it!!

(Photo from Habits of a Happy Home blog)

Shurley English was not only torture for me to teach, but Marco totally hated it. So we ditched it and switched to Rod and Staff English. It's rigorous and boring, but I actually like that it's straightforward to teach. Marco doesn't like it, but he doesn't hate it either. I like that there's tons of review, which is important for him. Isabella used it this past year and she flew through their 2nd grade book. She loved it! But she's just that kind of student. I plan on using First Language Lessons for Anthony's 1st grade and then jumping into Rod and Staff for him too.

Well, that's grammar. But how did our year go with using Angelicum's recommendation of Hooked on Phonics for phonics instruction? I totally dislike the program, but the kids loved it. In the end, we're ditching this too. The program might get your kids reading, but it completely lacks phonics instructions. There is no explanation of phonics rules and I felt it was more like teaching word families. So in the future, when your child comes across a more difficult word, he won't be able to apply any phonics rules to learn to read it because none were ever taught!! Come on!! Even I remember learning things like "When 2 vowels go a walkin', the first one does the talkin'." HOP consists of watching a video, repeating the words they say, and then reading the same words in the workbook. Not my idea of a solid phonics foundation.


Anyways...we're switching to Saxon Phonics this year (click for a Cathy Duffy review). After reading review after review, I made up my mind and have received Saxon Phonics 1 for Anthony. It looks fabulous!!! It's completely scripted like their Saxon math program, and I love that! It has lots of review, explains all the rules, teaches coding, and comes with manipulatives. We are starting this next week!! I'm even tempted to do Saxon Phonics 2 with Isabella. She completed HOP 2, but I feel that she needs a better grasp of phonics rules.

And although Saxon Phonics covers spelling, we are still continuing with All About Spelling. It really is a great program and Anthony is doing well with it. Marco and Isabella are also moving along and enjoy the program. By the time the kids are done with Saxon and AAS, they are going to have such a great grasp of phonics and spelling!

Did I cover writing?? Well, after much consideration and back-and-forth, I took the plunge and bought the Institute for Excellence in Writing program. The IEW program always looked pretty awesome, but the price always seemed a little steep. But after hearing Andrew Pudewa speak at the homeschool conference, I was completely convinced! I bought the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style set, as well as two of their themed-based writing books: All Things Fun and Fascinating and Fables, Myths and Fairy Tales. To top it off, I'm also starting poetry memorization using IEW's Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization.


Is that all for language arts? I think so. The wonderful thing about homeschooling is finding what works for you and your children. I am completely thankful, however, that there are programs out there that lay out a plan. Most of the thinking is done for you and you know that you won't be missing on any core subjects.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Get Ready For Some Books! Angelicum Sale.


If you are planning on enrolling with Angelicum Academy or just purchasing their lesson plans books...now is the time to do it! They have their summer sale going on until July 5th.

We decided not to enroll this year and will just be purchasing all the lesson plans that we need for the kids. Perhaps when Marco is older and we feel it more necessary to have grading services and support, we'll enroll him again.

For now, I'm getting all our lesson plans in order, our books ordered, and new school materials organized. It's something that I'm sure will take a while to accomplish.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

On Vacation.

It's been a great time bonding with the new baby lately! She is 4 weeks old now and it seems like she's been with us forever! Recently, I've been on vacation (as is obvious by my lack of posts). I first spent some time by myself (but with Evangeline) travelling with friends to the annual IHM Conference in Virginia. It was a great time, although I wasn't too thrilled with the vendor accommodations. It was hard getting around to see all the wonderful Catholic curricula. But I did come away with some gems and have been busy ordering and organizing our books every chance I get, since I've been back.

Soon after I arrived home after a long conference weekend, our best friends came to town for a week. We had a blast! Day trips to museums, parks, and playgrounds were all the kids needed to get away from our usual day to day routines. We also spent some of the week at the Great Wolfe Lodge (highly recommended!!) and camping in our backyard by the fire. We were sad to see our friends go, but are looking forward to our next vacation with them!!

All the kids together for a picture!


Hanging at the Great Wolfe Lodge.


The wave pool was awesome!


Our backyard campsite.



Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Evangeline!

So I've been missing again, but this time I have the best reason ever....our baby girl, Evangeline, was born on the 18th of May!! My biggest baby, she weighed just over 9 pounds!! Sweet little baby; we've been busy cuddling, feeding, loving her, and trying to get some sleep in between.

She is lovely and all the kids constantly hover around her, wanting to hold her and kiss her. She is our littlest angel. My biggest adjustment has been trying to keep the younger kids from loving her too roughly, as our little Jimmy gets so over-excited with the baby that he wants to hug her and never let go.

And even with her being so new and all, it feels like she's always been a part of our family...she fits right in! We have taken the last two weeks off, spending time with grandparents and just being a big family. It's been great! But now, we must return to the daily routines that make up our little domestic church. Chores, school lessons, and our daily routines.







Evangeline...our newest addition!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Marian Artist Trading Card Swap 2011.


I read about this last year and was bummed that I had missed the whole thing. So this year, I've been keeping an eye out for it. It's the Marian Artist Trading Card Swap 2011! Head over to Pondered in My Heart to get all the details.

I have never done this before, but thought it would be so much fun for the kids to participate. You can also read more about it at Jessica's blog, Shower of Roses.

I'll have to keep everyone posted on how it goes for us.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Catching Up on Past Events.

April was a pretty busy month. There was our end of year program for our awesome homeschool co-op, Marco had his birthday, and we celebrated Easter. In an attempt to keep up family and friends with our April happenings, here is a brief recap of what we were up to. Get ready for pictures!!

End of Year Program for our Holy Family Homeschool Enrichment Co-op.
Thanks to the volunteer efforts of all our co-op moms, our end of year program was a huge success. This is a time when all our co-op students get to showcase and present what they have learned all semester. There's food, drinks, a performance by our bell choir and lots of fun!

Isabella with her gal pals.


Three lovely ladies smiling for the camera!


Christian performing with his preschool class.


Anthony with his Blue Knights class. They were all knighted and got to show off some of their handy crafts!


Marco reading about his saint for his saints class.


Father Tri gave a wonderful opening talk and prayer.


Marco Turns 9 Years Old!
It was a great day in early April as Marco turned 9 years old!! I don't know how time has slipped by us so fast, but we are so blessed to have this guy in our family. It was a low-key birthday with just the family, and Marco didn't care in the least.

My "little guy" is beaming!


A rare picture with me in it!!


Ready for his present.


I'm not sure he liked his new IPod Shuffle.


And that Pokemon game? Lame.

Easter!
Of course, it was just us for Easter. I can't remember the last time we had family come in for the holiday and we've grown accustomed to having it be a laid-back family day. This year was not too different, but I must say that the kids said it was the "best day ever." Why? Not exactly sure, but I'm sure the Holy Spirit was with us! And as the kids have gotten older, holidays just seem more fun, too!!


On our way to Mass.


Hubby with the kids. I love my boys and my baby-girl Isabella!


In our home, no one gets Easter baskets until after we come home from Mass. It just works for us and give everyone time to enjoy the moment without having to rush the kids to get ready to go to church.


After baskets are done, we usually eat lunch and then have a craft and activity set for the kids to do. Here, Anthony is making Easter egg holders.


Marco is working on a Lego creation.


After crafts, we fly kites!


We play outside!


We fill our cascarones and get them ready.


So much fun!


After our Easter egg hunt, we cracked cascarones over each others heads. So much fun!

So that concludes some of my catching up with tons of pictures. Hopefully I didn't get carried away! I hope that everyone's April month was just as fun!