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Layers of the Rainforest Preschool Activities Mother Goose Time

I received curriculum from Mother Goose Time for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences in using the curriculum. I applied to be an official Mother Goose Time blogger and will continue to share my experiences throughout the 2014/15 school year.
MGT Profile

Layers of the Rainforest Preschool Activities

Below is my lesson plan for week one. Following it are highlights from our first week of the Rainforest Adventure kit from Mother Goose Time.

Lesson plan week 1

 Day 1: Rainforest

I Spy Rainforest

Materials provided: Theme poster and Looking Glasses

We discussed what animals and plants we might see in a rainforest. Using the Looking Glasses, we looked at the poster to match up the animal. We talked about color, sounds, characteristics and counted how many are on the poster.
Layers of the Rainforest with Mother Goose Time

theme poster

Rainforest Collage

Materials provided: Rainforest Animal Cards and Mosaic paper tiles, green background paper, tissue paper

Each child cut their animal cards apart and glued them on the paper. They also glued on tissue paper leaves and strips of green paper. I helped with the cutting and tearing of those because my group is young and there was quite a bit of gluing to do. They focused on the cutting and gluing for this project.

Mother Goose Time Rainforest Theme Collages

Green Rainforest

Materials provided: Color Bird: green

Introduced color green. Checked to see who was wearing green, who’s favorite color is green, looked for green items in the room. Why is the rainforest so green?

Shades of Green

Painted shades of green at the easel. This is an activity I planned in addition to the Mother Goose Time curriculum. It is a center or free time activity. I put out a variety of paints including: green, blue, yellow, white and green liquid watercolor for the kids to experiment with and create shades of green paintings.

shades of green paint

shades of green shades of green 2

shades of green

 Day 2: Forest Floor

 Introducing Hexagon shape

Materials provided:  Hexagon shape

Attached to “clothesline” display. Then we played a game. I cut a leaf shape from construction paper. I put a math shape (from last month’s kit) under the leaf and put it on one of our shape mats. Then we recited the opening rhyme:

Way Down Low

Way down low on the forest floor,

There are many bugs to explore.

When I looked under a leaf so green,

I saw a hexagon bug

That made me scream!

Each child took a turn looking under the leaf and naming the shape. This activity was a hit!

Rainforest floor bug activity

Wet & Dry

I scooped some dirt from a flower pot out by the garden. It was slightly damp. I asked, “What do you think the rainforest floor feels like?” (they may need prompting – “wet or dry?” or “Remember, it rains a lot.” They took turns feeling the dirt with their fingers. I introduced the word “moist” and explained what it meant.

wet & dry science

Wet & Dry Chalk Art

Materials provided: Dark green paper and colored chalk.

First they drew and colored on the paper with dry chalk. Most of them quickly broke their piece of chalk. I said, “Now you can share a piece with a friend” and they traded colors so they each had two colors.
paper and chalk

Then we tried dipping the chalk into water and drawing. One child spilled their water. I said, “That’s ok, just spread it around.” That led to most dumping their water out on their paper so good thing I just gave them a small amount! I loved this simple lesson exploring wet and dry as well as process art.

wet and dry chalk art wet and dry chalk art

 Day 3: Understory

My Little Journals

Materials provided: My Little Journals

Stamped rainforest images on the cover of the journals with stamp set that was included in the November toy bin.

My Little Journal

My Little Journal - rainforest adventure Mother Goose Time

Grateful Friendship Feather

Materials provided: Friendship feather, paper bracelets

We talked about the Friendship Feather “Grateful”. We talked about things/people we are grateful or thankful for. Each child went home with a paper bracelet that says “I am grateful”. They always like these simple bracelets. This little thing gives parents something to ask their child about.

3 Butterflies

In our writing center, I put out this coloring page that focuses on #3. I created it, you can download it here.  Usually we only have plain paper available in the writing/art center so they really enjoy these sheets on occasion. I use them for a specific focus, not just coloring, as I agree with encouraging mostly open ended materials and activities.

3 butterflies printable

Forest Layers

Materials provided: Recipe Card

We made Rainforest Layers Parfaits to explore the concept of layers. This was an awesome activity! If you want to see a child engaged, let them make some food. Be sure to use clear cups so you can see the layers.

Rainforest Layers Parfait #MGT

Rainforest Layers Parfait #MGT

Day 4: Canopy

M is for Monkey

Materials provided: Letter Mm Letter Set – the 3 posters below plus a flower shape with letter Mm on it. We looked at these and said “Mmm-mushroom” and Mmm-monkey” and thought of other words that start with the Mmm sound.
We use (Amazon Affiliate link) Jolly Jingles phonics so we also sang the letter Mm Jingle.

letter Mm Mother Goose Time

Rhyme Time Poster

Materials provided: Rhyme Time Poster, Counting Monkeys

We talked about things that scare us. The 5 Little Monkeys are not scared! Look for letter Mm, Count 5 monkeys out and place on the table. Read the first verse of the rhyme and child takes away monkey. Count together the number of monkeys left. Continue with rhyme. I like how this activity incorporates literacy & math!

5 Little Monkeys Mother Goose Time

Bugs on a Vine

Materials provided:  Bug stickers, paper leaves, tissue paper, paper twist.

We made vines with the paper and leaves, adding bug stickers to the leaves. This goes wonderfully with the Bugs of the Rainforest song on the CD (also provided in the kit). It’s my favorite song this month! The chorus is the part I like:

One at a time (bum bum bum)

A bug crawls up the vine (bum bum bum)

One at a time (bum bum bum)

A bug slides down the vine.

Our vines look wonderful in the entry way!

bugs on a vine Mother Goose Time

We also danced to the Slow, Silly Sloth song, holding our new sloth puppet.

Day 5: Emergent Layer

Danger in the Rainforest

Materials provided: Chimidyue (chim-ID-yoo-a) Storybook. This beautifully illustrated and colorful book is a story from the Takuna tribe of South America. The Takuna live in the upper Amazon River area. They have a rich tradition of storytelling. The tale of Chimidyue is unique because it features a female as the main character. (partially taken from the back of the book)

Chimidyue book Mother Goose Time

Nest So High

Materials provided: Hexagon shape

Discussed why a bird would want to build their nest high in a tree. We took this art project outside! The kids gathered nature items from around the yard and glued them to their hexagon to make nests. They turned out beautiful.

Hexagon nature nest Mother Goose Time Hexagon nature nest Mother Goose Time Hexagon nature nest Mother Goose Time

Also included for Day 5 was a Chasing Butterflies Folder Game and pieces. We didn’t get to it yet, but we will this week so I can share it another time.

As you can see our days are full! We are richly experiencing many aspects of the rainforest right here in Wisconsin! The children are engaged in hands on learning and excited for our daily activities with Mother Goose Time. We did all these things and MORE. I will continue to share our Rainforest Adventure experiences – this was just week one!

Want more?

All of these bloggers are currently writing about their experiences using the same mateirals from the Rainforest Adventure Mother Goose Time curriculum:

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Rich, Savory Homemade Pumpkin Soup Pick ‘n Save Recipes #MyPicknSave #cbias #shop

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

at the pumpkin patch

One of my most favorite memories was this day, in the fall of 2005, when Brett was just 3 years old. We went to Edward’s apple orchard in Popular Grove, Illinois. We’ve been there many times over the years and it’s a family tradition we enjoy. When you go there, it’s really fall! There’s apples, gorgeous mums, produce of all kinds, the most amazing cider donuts! Foods, mixes, meats and cheeses you can buy. Beautiful decorative items and don’t forget to pick your own pumpkin and get a caramel apple to go. In the spirit of fall, Thanksgiving and pumpkins, I shopped  Pick ‘n Save, a Wisconsin Grocery, along with #CollectivBias, to create a pumpkin based soup recipe. It would be perfect with a holiday meal!

picking a pumpkin

Pick ‘n Save stores have all the ingredients you need, including fresh pumpkins for making the soup. You can also used canned if you prefer. I chose to use a whole pie pumpkin to make it this time. Check out the lovely produce areas!

Homemade Pumpkin Soup Pick 'n Save Recipes #MyPicknSave #cbias #shop

Homemade Pumpkin Soup Pick 'n Save Recipes #MyPicknSave #cbias #shop

Homemade Pumpkin Soup Pick 'n Save Recipes #MyPicknSave #cbias #shop

To make this rich, savory pumpkin soup, allow a little time. It’s worth it! Cutting up the pumpkin takes the most time.

Homemade Pumpkin Soup Pick ‘n Save Recipes

pumpkin soup recipe #MyPicknSave #shop #cbias

Simple ingredients are needed: pie pumpkin/canned pumpkin, or both, chicken broth, onion, butter, garlic, potato, sage and heavy cream.

Homemade Pumpkin Soup Pick 'n Save Recipes #MyPicknSave #cbias #shop

Prepare your pumpkin.

Homemade Pumpkin Soup Pick 'n Save Recipes #MyPicknSave #cbias #shop

Cook the pumpkin.

Homemade Pumpkin Soup Pick 'n Save Recipes #MyPicknSave #cbias #shop

Start the broth with butter, onion, garlic and potato.

pumpkin soup add broth

Puree the mixture.

Homemade Pumpkin Soup Pick 'n Save Recipes #MyPicknSave #cbias #shop

Beautiful smooth homemade pumpkin!

Homemade Pumpkin Soup Pick 'n Save Recipes #MyPicknSave #cbias #shop

Add cream, additional pumpkin and sage if desired. So delicious! See the full recipe below.

Homemade Pumpkin Soup Pick 'n Save Recipes #MyPicknSave #cbias #shop

Homemade Pumpkin Soup #MyPicknSave #cbias #shop
Homemade Pumpkin Soup Pick 'n Save Recipes
Servings Prep Time
8 20
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
8 20
Cook Time
Homemade Pumpkin Soup #MyPicknSave #cbias #shop
Homemade Pumpkin Soup Pick 'n Save Recipes
Servings Prep Time
8 20
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
8 20
Cook Time
  1. Wash pie pumpkin. Cut in half. Remove seeds. Cut into wedges. Peel or cut off outside of pumpkin. Cut into chunks. Boil to cook, like potatoes.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter.
  3. Add potato, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until potato is tender, 10-12 minutes.
  5. Drain water from pumpkin. Transfer to blender or food processor. Drain potato, garlic and onion, reserving the chicken broth. Add potato, onion and garlic to pumpkin and finish pureeing.
  6. Combine smooth pumpkin mixture to the chicken broth. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and nutmeg. Add sage if desired. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Add canned pumpkin to mixture for desired thickness, color and taste. (I used 3/4 of a 15 oz can.)
  8. Stir in cream and heat thoroughly. To lighten up soup, substitute low-sodium chicken broth and use only 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Coconut milk can also be used instead.
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Minted Holiday Cards

The following is a product review of Minted and will reflect my personal opinion and endorsement of their products. I have been offered a promotional item for this post. 

Soon you’ll be seeing holiday cards in your mailbox and if you’re like me, you’re opening each one thinking “Ohh, neat! I wonder where is this from??” and why didn’t I take the time to send some out..  Now is the time to get your holiday photos and cards ordered so you can remember your family and friends with a beautiful holiday greeting.

I haven’t personally ordered from Minted, yet, but plan to.

With my first glance at the website, my thought was “These are gorgeous!” Such stylish and unique options. They are not the same cards you see everywhere.

Minted has a new Holiday Card Collection for 2014


A few of my favorite Minted Holiday Cards

Fun Facts

What I like: The unique layout. A simple update from your family that includes a photo, greeting and news. This card has room for it all. Very current styling.

Consider: Making this a New Year greeting. Reasonable price as a flat, non-foldable card.

card fun facts

Snow Child Christmas Photo Cards

What I like: The shape! So different and pretty. Simple and yet gorgeous. Truly a keepsake. This design can also be made into a foldable card. Beautiful envelopes too!

Consider: Extra postage is required for this card/square shaped envelope. Worth it? Probably! :)


 Insta-book Holiday  Minibook™

 What I like: I’m all about Instagram so this one is appealing to me! A photo is worth a 1000 words so if there’s 7 pages of fully customizable space for photos and text, there’s lots of room to share with family and friends!  Minted’s Minibook™ cards are 5×7 and do not require extra postage.

Consider: These babies are expensive. No other way to say it. But AMAZING!


My thoughts: Stylish, original and current designs. Lots of ordering options/additional features. Fully customizable. Quality papers. Pricier than other popular card sites but look for coupon codes and promotions. Recipient addressing looks amazing.

As you can see, there’s many options for stylish Christmas, holiday and New Year cards. Find yours on Minted!

Minted Christmas Cards

Minted Christmas Cards

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Using Mother Goose Time Curriculum: Getting Organized

I received curriculum from Mother Goose Time for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences in using the curriculum. I applied to be an official Mother Goose Time blogger and will continue to share my experiences throughout the 2014/15 school year.
MGT Profile

It’s always exciting to find a Mother Goose Time box on the front step! It feels like a fresh start with new materials and exciting kits to open each day.  For a while I struggled to find a good way to organize it, that would work for me. Then I came up with this system: Organizing Curriculum and it’s how I still do it. This 10-drawer cart holds all my daily kits and any extra materials I want to include for that day. Larger items can be put in the basket on top.

Using Mother Goose Time Curriculum: Getting Organized

MGT cart

The drawers hold a month’s worth of curriculum kits. We started this month’s theme on Monday, November 3rd, so I put the Day 1 kit in the top Monday drawer. Then every kit follows in order, unless I’m closed a certain day, then they shift. The 3rd & 4th weeks kit bags, are put underneath weeks 1 & 2.  Hope that makes sense!  Then I can open a drawer and prep a bag for the next day or week.

MGT cart drawer

First thing I do is print the daily activity calendar. I print two pages/1 sheet so it looks like this (below). Then I put it back through the printer again and print my logo, title and important dates along the side. (An editable/printable version would be ideal!) This is what I provide to my families in the child care so they know what we will be doing. We don’t do all the activities listed everyday or we may do them in a different order, but this offers a scope and sequence for the month. The parents love this. I used to create my own calendar every month but I love that this is offered in the member resources now so it’s one less time consuming task for me!


I’ve also started creating a weekly lesson plan sheet. I have a licensed family child care that participates in YoungStar, our state’s quality improvement program for regulated child care centers.  I am currently a 3 star center, working a on 4 star.  While all that I teach through Mother Goose Time is acceptable, there’s a certain amount of documentation required, in a specific way. Basically, I’m doing the work, now I have to do a bunch of paperwork! I was pleased to see the Planning Journal included in the kits this year!

I haven’t found a way to make that work 100% with my documentation process since I’m so much better typing on the computer rather than writing it out. I love the layout of it though, that helps me plan write out the goals and note which standards are the focus. The following is my current system for documenting my lesson plans and planning centers for YoungStar. There’s several other parts that include screenings, assessments, goals and a page that coordinates with this one, that shows what lesson is planned to help specific children’s goals.

MGT Weekly Lesson Plan

Other Tips for preparing to use Mother Goose Time curriculum:

  • Put the CD in the CD player. I have one for the children to use. I put red tape on the on/off button so they can turn it on & off themselves. This works very well! We get to know the CD word for word!  The Mother Goose Time CDs are high quality – with a different style of music each month. Very enjoyable!
  • Hang the theme poster and put out the “magnifying glasses”.
  • Put up the calendar and punch out the date cards. They are rubber-banded and put in the pocket by the calendar.
  • Laminate the shape piece and clip it up.
  • Hang the flag.
  • Hang the rhyme poster.
  • Assemble the letter/sight word flowers and put them in the pot on the wall.
  • Put out manipulatives – like the math pieces in the math center baskets.
  • Put the book on our library shelf.
  • Laminate the puzzle and put magnets on the back for our magnet board.
  • Put out toys from Mother Gooose Time toy bins or rotate toys on shelves.
  • Rotate library books.

MGT curriculum pattern cards

By putting these materials out right away, it draws the children’s interest and gives us the maximum amount of time to explore and actually use the materials.

This is a lot of work so I won’t claim to do this all before the 1st of each month! That is my goal, but I’m not there yet…I’m just thankful for those days when I’m so behind that I can just grab a kit and get going on the activities included!  I do feel that I’m more prepared and that we get more out of the curriculum if I’m more organized. I tend to have a lot of ideas that crop up but don’t have time for if I’m not organized. Because I have a full day child care program and  have children in my home from 7:00 am-5:30 pm, I usually add my ideas to the Mother Goose Time theme. Really, there’s enough to do without adding more, but this is what I like to do and what works for me. Yes, I usually over-plan! Sometimes we do more, sometimes we do less. Our first week of the Rainforest Adventure has been very successful! I will share pictures in my next post about Mother Goose Time.

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Cranberry Apple Crisp Recipe

This is a wonderful twist on an old favorite.  Cranberry Apple Crisp is a little sweet, a little tart and all yummy! This recipe is perfect for a fall gathering, a warm dessert on a cold night or even for Thanksgiving.

cranberry apple crisp recipe

It’s very easy to make. Combine old-fashioned oats, flour, sugar, butter and salt for the streusel topping. See the link at the bottom for the full recipe.

cranberry apple crisp recipe

Combine brown sugar, apples, cranberries, and apple cider.Cranberry Apple Crisp filling

Boil to cook down. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan.

cranberries & apples

Add streusel topping.

Crisp streusel

Bake about 40 minutes and serve warm. Preferably with vanilla ice cream. This is a keeper of a recipe for sure!

Cranberry Apple Crisp dish

Full Recipe on Epicurious

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