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Sunday, October 25, 2015

When God's Light Shines Down on You... And You Don't Even Know

Light Shining Down on My Daughter's Hands as She Made the Blanket
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

As I was browsing through pictures, I came across an image that clearly had a light shining down on my daughter's hands as she tied the edges to create a tie fleece blanket. As I looked closely at the image and really thought about what we were doing, the reality hit...

God really does shine His light down on you when you do His work... Even when you don't know it.

Can you imagine why my daughter and I were making this blanket?

We heard that a father had unexpectedly passed away, and he left behind his wife and sons.

His wife was pregnant with another boy, so we thought that a sports blanket would be the best gift for all of the boys. I just felt like they would wrap it around them when they wanted a hug from their dad. I just felt like it would help his wife, too. So, my daughter and I worked quickly and created the blanket at the park and promptly brought it to her baby shower.

We don't know the family, and we did not attend the baby shower... But as you can see in the image, God's light was shining down on my daughter's hands as the tied the blankets edges that day.

It reminded us to listen to the Holy Spirit and do what we feel in our heart for people, even if we don't completely understand it at the time.

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
God's light shining down on a blanket we made for a wife and sons who lost their husband/daddy.

Mother Goose Time - Preschool Books that My Daughter Loves

Mother Goose Time sends us books that correspond with our theme for the month. We have a nice stack of Mother Goose Time books to fill in my daughter's book shelf in her bedroom.
Here are the covers of Mother Goose Time books, as you can see each one is unique and has always kept my preschool-age daughters interest.

She looks forward to reading the book with me as soon as we get the box for the month.

Here are the beautiful covers for many of our Mother Goose Time books. There may be one missing, as I had to scour my daughter's bookshelf. If I find any missing, I'll add them.

Ocean Animals A to Z

A Trace-the-Letter Book

by Leslie Falconer

The photographs in this book are bright, colorful and very interesting. Not only did my daughter enjoy tracing each letter, but she got to learn about a new ocean animal on each page. There were some amazing creatures we weren't as familiar with in this book, like the fugu for the letter "F" and the "isopod" for the letter "I". It was fun to read the book, because it had consistency, tracing each letter, with a new animal to surprise us on each page. Even when I wasn't around, she enjoyed taking out this book and reading it to herself as she traced each letter.

A Ride for Duck

by Kelly  Nogoski and Leslie Falconer

This funny story about a baby duck looking for a ride goes along with our transportation theme for next month. Duck meets a goat, lion and fish, as he tries to problem solve how to get to the store for some foot cream. Ducks motorcycle has a flat tire, and she tries to get a ride with one of his friends, which all have different types of transportation. In the end, absent minded duck find a surprise he forgot about in his own garage. The photographs in this book really kept my daughters interest and the silly story line made her laugh.

A BIG Problem

by Carter Oosterhouse

Pictures by Chris Lensch

As soon as my daughter got this book she was thrilled. She loves blue and had just got a blue elephant stuffed toy for her birthday gift. She ran to get her blue elephant toy, and we read the story together at bedtime. The children in this story work together, as they problem solve ways to get elephant down from the tree. It's fun to see the interesting pictures, as kids problem solve ways to save elephant. In the end, they put all their ideas together and save elephant in a creative way. It really is a well-thought-out story, that can teach a preschool-age child the scientific process and how to solve problems. They even provide an illustrated model for Solving Problems (imagine, plan, make, improve and ask) on the last page.

Aesop's Fables for Preschoolers

Pictures by Chris Lensch

We read this book over, and over again. Even my older daughter enjoyed reading it along with the CD. It was wonderful to have daily, corresponding activities (such as crafts and games) to go along with each of the fables. As the girls worked on their corresponding activity, we listened to the fable. The lessons within these fables are really life-long lessons. This beautifully illustrated book included the following fables: The Lion and the Mouse, The Bundle of Sticks, The Grasshopper and the Ants, The Hare and the Tortoise, The Dog and His Reflection, The Crow and the Pitcher, The Boys and the Frogs, The Young Crab and His Mother, The Milkmaid and Her Pail, and Bell on the Cat. This book is handy to keep in the car for long car rides because is has the CD to accompany it. These classics are a welcome addition to our library, because they remind us of choosing good character and timeless bits of wisdom to live by when faced with challenges in life.


Retold by Leslie Falconer

Pictures by Chris Lensch

We love the way this story is re-told in a more constructive, caring way than the original version. Goldilocks is a likeable character and she loves her Baby Bear. She must clean her room to find him, but falls asleep as she cleans. She dreams of her adventure to find her beloved Baby Bear. She comes upon a cottage that she cleans (just as she cleans her room) in hopes to find Baby Bear. It was worth re-telling because it ended in joy and appreciation, rather than fear. The illustrations are also adorable.


Lettuce Turnip the Beet!

Colors, Counting and Corny Jokes from the Farm Market

Compiled and illustrated by Kelly Nogoski

This book is creative on so many levels. The illustrations are actual prints of fruits and vegetables, which helps the child see them in a new way. On each numbered page, the child finds a silly riddle that plays with words. This book encourages healthy eating, too. When we were done reading my daughters asked for cucumbers and carrots, as printed in paint in the book.

Johnny Appleseed

Story by Leslie Falconer

Pictures by Chris Lensch

Johnny is a retelling of the classic Johnny Appleseed. Johnny travels state-to-state with his squirrel friend, planting and sharing apples. As people chased away his squirrel friend, in the end the found value in what squirrel had to share. Children learn that Johnny Appleseed was a real person named John Chapman. He was a vegetarian, who cared for mistreated horses. He was wealthy, but he did not flaunt his wealth, instead he shared medicinal seeds and plants. He was a real, Christian missionary.

Beatriz, Bananas and the Very Big Hat

Adapted by Leslie Falconer

Pictures by Chris Lensch

In this brilliant story, Beatriz, a creative entrepreneur living in the jungle, comes up with a functional hat to solve the problem of getting lost in the grass. She decides to work hard and create more of her well-liked hats to sell at the market. Unfortunately, selfish monkeys steal her hats, and she works through ways to get her hard-earned hats back. My daughters learned the importance of taking care of yourself, keeping your cool, and being creative with solutions, as you hold onto your hard-earned ideas. This insightful story helps remind us that learning to lead is just as important as creating, and sometimes simply being nice isn't the solution that works. Using your mind, and not letting monkeys take advantage of you takes sneaky solutions, that are less confrontational than you may first be inclined to resort to. In fact, it's okay to not let the monkeys steal from you. This book was accompanied by a fun game, as well as many other activities for the month. Of course, my daughters wanted to eat bananas like Beatriz. So, it's great that it encourages healthy eating, too.

All of these Mother Goose Time books come in the themed box for the month, full of lesson plans, activities, games, crafts and much more. Both of my daughters have enjoyed these stories, and we will read them over and over again through the years.

Thank you, Mother Goose Time.

Mother Goose Time - Fun with Colorful Light Box Shapes

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke. Do not use without permission. For Mother Goose Time use only.

Take a look at our new Mother Goose Time light box shapes!

Every month Mother Goose Time always sends an interesting bag of manipulatives inside our beautiful, yellow box, which looks like a school bus. My daughters love getting into this bag as soon as we get our new box for the month.

This month, we got colorful light box shapes, as well as a few other manipulatives. These clear shapes show up brightly on a light box. I got out my light boxes, which I use for illustrating. For the first time, we used my light boxes in a new way, as she created interesting designs with her new Mother Goose Time shapes.

 She loved creating interesting light box shape designs.

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

As I pointed to each creation she explained what she made.

"Look mom, that's a baby chick."

"The red and yellow one is a car!"

"That's a dog and another baby chick."

"The red ones are a bathtub and a light above it."

It was so fun to see her get creative with these shapes and make her own designs.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mother Goose Time - Preschool Circle Time Fun

I love the portable, foldable Mother Goose Time display pieces that are provided each month. It's easy to take out and put away, especially convenient for homeschooling. If you have a classroom, you can easily put these pieces on your bulletin board.

Here's our Mother Goose Time circle time display.

We added a United States of America flag. That way we can say our morning prayers and then do our flag salute together, too.

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

After that the girls put the next day on the calendar and say, "Today is (day of week), (month) (number of day), (year).

Example, "Today is Tuesday, October 13, 2015."

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

We ended up using the paint dipping sticks for our pointers. That way they can point to the calendar as we say the date.

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

What to Include in a Preschool Classroom Display

Mother Goose Time sends all the display pieces you will need to set up your classroom display. There are some pieces that are year-long and other pieces that change monthly. This is great, because it keep consistency, yet it also varies to keep the children's interest.

This is what we put on our classroom display:
  • United States of America flag (not included, but we put this on ours)
  • Calendar
  • Letter
  • Number
  • Poster (under the calendar, and the theme changes with the month)
  • Topic (upper right corner, and this changes everyday)
  • Weather (includes a little sun, wind, rain and snow)
  • Shape (changes occasionally, right now we have a circle and rectangle there)
  • Colors (paint buckets that we tuck into the grass alphabet under the tree)
  • Alphabet (We love the alphabet grass.)
  • Character Traits Family Bee Hive and Bees

Other Classroom Circle Time Supplies and Music


It's really important to have fun songs for the kids to sing during circle time. Mother Goose Time has a Circle Time CD that includes all kinds of fun songs, such as:
  • Circle Time Song
  • Days of the Week
  • Months of the Year
  • Little Helper
  • Good-bye
  • Twinkle Twinkle
  • Row Your Boat
...and fourteen more songs.

Every month Mother Goose Time also sends a new CD to go with the monthly theme with fun songs, so the kids have even more music to enjoy. They also periodically have a dancer act out the song on youtube with fun dance moves.

Here's an example of Mother Goose Time song, Stuck in the Muck, on Youtube. Come on, you know you just want to jump up right now and dance, right? :)

Oh, you are going to love this one. Just be sure to show the kids a worm and dress up like her, too.
Bugs and Crawly Things Song by Mother Goose Time

I love her skirt in this one, Shake Your Tail Feathers by Mother Goose Time.

Now, doesn't that just make you want to go back to preschool?

Here's a classic one, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes by Mother Gooses Time, too.

Here's another tip... If you need a mommy-time-out, just put these on and sneak in the other room to re-energize with your coffee... Or you could do it with them to get some exercise. :) I do both.


We also have a beautiful, colorful map of the world. The girls love to put in their little children characters onto the map from other countries. So far, we have friends from Russia, Poland, France, Australia, Oman and Korea. The map transitions nicely into our language studies.


Language Study

I have just started studying Russian on my own, but my girls, husband and I know a lot of Spanish. I find Russian more difficult to learn because of the changes in the alphabet, but it sounds really nice. I like it. I will start teaching my older daughter Russian soon after I learn more, since she already knows quite a bit of Spanish. Because the Russian alphabet changes (as compared to English), I'll wait to teach my younger daughter Russian. Since Spanish is so similar, it's easy to teach her all the numbers, colors and alphabet in Spanish, too. It's nice, because Mother Goose Time writes most words in Spanish and English, so if you turn over the display pieces, you can see Spanish on the back. My great-grandmother's parents came to the United States from Italy, but she never once spoke Italian in front of us. I do know that she could speak Italian. I did hear her pray the rosary, and I thought some of the words were Italian, but she was whispering. I also love to study Italian. My older daughter loves to sing, so I think I will have her choose an Italian song to sing as part of her studies. It is so important to be sure that our children can speak and understand other languages.

Thank you Mother Goose Time, for all the fun resources and activities!


Monday, October 5, 2015

Mother Goose Time - Friendship Bracelets with Dad!

Our preschool-age daughter really enjoyed making friendship bracelets with her dad. This is a great activity to do to keep them busy, if mommy needs to run out for a bit. That's what I did, and it worked really well.

This Mother Goose Time activity will help your preschooler further develop his/her fine motor skills and self-concept.

Friendship Bracelet Craft with Dad!

Okay, usually a daddy doesn't do this, but he was being a good sport. (Thank you, so much, honey!) It made her so happy to create these with her dad. He usually sticks to music or legos, not the artsy-craftsy stuff. That's what I usually do with them. The Mother Goose Time kit came with a brown pipe cleaner, so making one with daddy just came to mind, since he would not wear pink. LOL.

Daddy/Daughter Bracelets
We drew a heart on him during our church service as a joke. Poor daddy. :)


  • Beads
  • Pipe cleaner


  • What can you do to make a friend feel included?


  • Dump out the beads and invite the children to explore and play with them. Observe how they share, sort or talk about them.


  • Encourage the children to sort the beads by color.
  • Work together to divide them up so that each child has some.
  • Invite each child to string his beads onto the pipe cleaner, then help him fasten the bracelet to wear.
  • Explain that the beads are like our friends and family. Everyone is included in our circle of friendship.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Mother Goose Time - F is for Fox Arts & Crafts

Friends and Feelings is our Mother Goose Time  theme for this month.

Here is a free Mother Goose Time arts and crafts activity, F is for Fox.

I love teaching my preschool-age daughter about letters and the sounds they make, while creating some type of art project out of the letter. She really enjoyed creating this fox by Mother Goose Time.
Here is her fox. Her favorite color is blue, so she tends to like to color everything blue right now (as you can see here).


When we discussed what animals can be friends and what animals can be kept as pets (as it explains to do on the photograph above under "discuss"), my daughter mentioned roly-polys and crickets (of course). She is really into roly-polys and crickets. We discussed how normally, people don't keep roly-polys and crickets as pets, but that we do. Hobby Lobby sells a roly-poly playground and it's really nice to keep pet roly-polys in. We usually keep crickets in a jar for one day, and then let them go.
We agreed that dogs are pets we can more easily keep as pets, as compared to a fox. A fox could bite us and it is a wild animal. Well, dogs are a lot of work, but they are friendlier than a roly-poly, which is what we were focusing on... Friendship.
Why do pet dogs feel more like real friends,  rather than a roly-poly, for example:
(Oh, the interesting questions we come up with while teaching preschoolers. Things you would never discuss with an adult, but truthfully, this conversation has a lot of depth to it.)
  • We talked about how dogs make eye contact. (Some humans even have a hard time with that.)
  • Dogs run over to you when they get hurt and comfort you.
  • Dogs remember what happened.
  • Dogs try to work on their friendship with you by doing the right thing to make you happy.
  • Dogs need us to love and care for them, just as they love and care for us.
  • Dogs sometimes like to do the same things we like to do, like play sports or go for walks. They also like to cuddle and rest.
Copyright Caroline Brooke

Copyright Caroline Brooke
Dogs like to go for walks. They get sleepy and thirsty, just as we do. Dogs are easy to have as friendly pets.
We talked about how foxes would probably not be good pets because they are wild animals. They would probably be sneaky and try to get our bunnies. (We have two bunnies, too.)

What Types of Animals Do Your Friends Remind You Of?

Then, we started to talk about how certain friends remind us of certain types of animals. The fox reminded us of friends who seem like they are your friends, but they really aren't. For example, they may talk bad about you behind your back. Maybe, they try to pressure you to do things that they know are wrong. Maybe, they tell you things that are not true and try to deceive you for their own personal gain. Maybe, they even try to use religion or similar interests to gain your trust, and then stab you in the back.
We talked about how those types of "friends" can be hurtful and confusing. We talked about how we can forgive when friends hurt us, but we also have to be wise about who we trust. Once someone shows us who they really are (e.g. a sneaky fox), it is not wise to trust them anymore and not only is that okay, but it is as wise thing to do. (I wish somebody told me that as a kid.) We want our children to have good discernment. That is an important ability we want to help them develop.
After all, we all know sneaky foxes, don't we? Or maybe you know a vulture, snake, leech, cat, turtle or frog?

Oh, btw, here's a fun Wikki Stix fox you can make, too.


Then, we started thinking about what animals we are like? What animal would we want to be? Why? What animal would we not want to be? What behaviors do we associate with each type of animal?
We talked about baby chicks, cats, dogs, turtles and more. We remembered how we held the cute, fuzzy, yellow baby chick in the springtime...

Copyright Caroline Brooke
Copyright Caroline Brooke

Copyright Caroline Brooke
The girls liked acting out different animals being friends with their new Letter F foxes using their puppet theatre, and they came up with other types of animals, too. Even though the letter F fox was too easy for our older daughter (so only our younger daughter created one), using the puppet theater and talking about friendship was definitely something our older daughter enjoyed learning about, too.