December 2019

December 1, 2019

Happy December! It’s been a wonderful first few months at QPP! With the holidays upon us I thought I’d share some of my favourite healthy treats after important messages from our executive and teachers!

Message from our Executive Board

Happy holidays everyone! December is such an exciting time with little ones in the home. A reminder to all that last day of classes for 3’s is December 19th and last day of classes for 4’s is December 20th for a one hour potluck. 

We want to extend a big thank you to the City of New Westminster for awarding us a grant this year. We were able to upgrade our outside space with the addition of new mulch and a safe bridge, as well as several gross motor toys inside. Thank you! 

Message from our Teachers

3’s Class

In our 3’s classes after a beautiful show-and-tell of two perfect seahorses we continued following our interest in ocean animals and various ways of exploring, including water-colour painting of sea horses and crayon-rubbing art using ocean-life stencils. This led to the felt story ‘Slippery Fish’ and many renditions of the song ‘Baby Beluga’.

Our applesauce making day was a sticky fun mess that resulted in a delicious applesauce we enjoyed taste testing together. We are learning some simple sign language together! We know the signs for apple, tree and bird! We also planted our apple seeds! Will they grow? We don’t know, but it is just so much fun to dig in the dirt! Our 3’s are proving to be budding gardeners for sure!

It is so fun to wear our pajamas to preschool. Too bad we don’t get to wear them to school every day! Pj’s and hot chocolate and whip cream? Awesome!

Baby bathing was one of the most popular activities this month…but you are not surprised to learn this are you?

During the month of November it has been a busy and exciting month of exploring gross motor skills using our balance beam, boat and Jump-A-Roo inside and outside of the classroom. What!? Is it possible that the Jump-A-Roo can be taken outside? Yes it can!

Important Dates for December:

  • December 12th fire drill
  • December 17th art gallery visit
  • December 19th one hour winter potluck party

* What’s happening in December? Perhaps Christmas tree decorating, surprise gift making, light and shadow play, alien exploration, baby care, forest animal exploration, hibernation, bears and weather to name just a few inspirations. Let’s see where the children’s imaginations and interests take us…..

4’s Class

During the month of November in our 4’s classes we continued to explore dinosaurs, vehicles, skeletons, construction vehicles and rocket ships to name a few activities. Some of us did body tracing.

An interest in light prompted us to bring out the flashlights and explore a darkened classroom! We also brought out our light projector! Magical! The exploration of light is sure to continue as the days grow shorter and darker and winter approaches.

As some children are expressing an interest in aliens we have been going on some walks hunting for signs of aliens! Watch for slime making, and funky alien creatures via crafts to emerge in the month ahead.

Did you know that four-year-olds are wonderful pizza makers? Our 4’s loved creating pizza and eating it at snack time!

Also in the month of November we had our ever popular pajama and hot chocolate day. Cozy and delicious.

We visited the art gallery this month and viewed fabric art by Mardell Rampton.

The new bridge and a repositioning of our old bridge has provided the children with new opportunities to move through our yard space using the bridge for dramatic play and as a ramp for large vehicles. The creation of an ever changing obstacle course gives the children a great deal of opportunity to navigate logs, tunnels and cones. Together we are challenging our bodies and cheering one another on!

Our big soft blocks were reintroduced after a short hiatus and continue to be a challenging and enticing open ended material which promotes gross motor, large muscle movement as well as diverse dramatic play opportunities!

Important Dates for December:

  • December 13th fire drill
  • December 18th art gallery visit
  • December 20th one hour winter potluck party

*What’s happening in December? Perhaps Christmas tree decorating, surprise gift making, light and shadow play, alien exploration, baby care, forest animal exploration, hibernation, bears and weather to name just a few inspirations. Let’s see where the children’s imaginations and interests take us…..

December Nutrition Column: Holiday Recipes!

There are two treats that always make an appearance every year at Christmastime at our house – I always make Almond Gogi Berry Truffles from Nourishing meals and my husband makes a steamed Christmas cake (nut-free) adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s traditional Christmas pudding to make it a little more healthy. See recipes below! The truffles are super easy and the steamed cake is a little more involved, but worth the effort – both are crowd pleasers!

Almond Goji Berry Truffles

Goji berries are a remarkable superfood. Ounce for ounce goji berries contain more vitamin C than oranges, more beta-carotene than carrots, and more iron than spinach. They also contain over 20 trace minerals and 18 amino acids! These beautiful truffles contain a flavourful red filling and a rich chocolate exterior, making them a special festive treat! (Nourishing Meals).

Note: I made these truffles with a silicon mould which is why they look so perfectly round – you do not have to do this! See simple instructions below.

1 cup dried goji berries
½ cup creamy almond butter
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon almond flavouring

Chocolate Coating:
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla, optional

Place all ingredients for the filling in a food processor fitted with the ‘s’ blade. Process for a few minutes until ground and sticky. Roll filling into small balls and set onto a parchment lined plate (note, they will be oily!). Set aside while you prepare the chocolate coating.

Using a double-boiler or a heat-safe small bowl placed over a slightly larger saucepan filled with a few inches of water, melt the chocolate coating ingredients over a very low heat – keep stirring until completely melted and then turn off the heat.

Drop the truffles one-by-one into the chocolate and gently swirl the melted chocolate over it using a spoon. Once covered, lift it up with the spoon and place onto the prepared plate with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining truffles.

Once you are finished, place the plate with the truffles into the freezer to set the chocolate for about 30 minutes. Once set, remove truffles from plate and place into a sealed glass container and store in your refrigerator for up to a week. Source:

Steamed Christmas Cake

Note: this is a stock photo! I couldn’t find a picture of ours, so unless you use a mould that has this type swirl design, yours will look more like an upside-down cake. If you want an orange slice on the top, simply replace the bay leaves for this – see below for instructions!

¾ cup grass-fed butter, softened, plus extra to grease
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
3 tbsp maple syrup, plus optional extra to drizzle
3 bay leaves
2/3 cup maple sugar
4 large pastured eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sprouted spelt flour (or other wholegrain flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cloves
pinch of fine sea salt

Orange spice cream:
1 cup organic whipping cream
finely grated zest of 1 orange
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Grease a one and a half litre pudding basin (that has a lid) with butter, scatter the orange zest in the bottom and pour the maple syrup on top. Put the bay leaves in the middle and press down. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and maple sugar together. With the motor running on low speed, slowly add the beaten eggs.

Stir in the flour, baking powder, ground cloves and salt and fold through with a spoon.

Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin. Lay a piece of parchment paper on top of the bowl and cover with a lid.

Stand the dish on an upturned ramekin in a large saucepan. Pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the basin and bring to a simmer. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over a low heat for 1.5 hours, checking the water level every 30 minutes or so and topping up with boiling water as needed.

Meanwhile, for the orange spice cream, whisk the cream with the orange zest and cardamom until soft peaks form.

To check that the cake is ready, unwrap and insert a skewer into the middle; it should come out clean. Loosen the sides then invert a serving plate over the cake and turn it over to unmould onto the plate.

The cake will be very moist! In the UK where my husband is from, they call this a Christmas pudding – this is our family’s healthy rendition.

Happy Holidays!

QPPS Newsletter Editor

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