Paleo Pumpkin Mania! (AIP)

 

Fall Recipes Everyone Can Eat!

Fall Recipes Everyone Can Eat!

After canning 14 quarts of pumpkin puree, I got very excited about pumpkin recipes. I really went a little pumpkin crazy. I think it was the “fall” air. With the trees on ablaze with color, the cool crisp nights, and the crunchy sound the ground makes when you take a walk, It all makes me think about pumpkins. I have a few pumpkin recipes that are SCD, paleo, autoimmune protocol, GF, EF, grain free, dairy free, sugar free, really free of most allergens. You will be surprise at what is in them!

 

Yummy Pumpkin Cookies

Yummy Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies

  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 c honey (or 2 droppers stevia)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 drops vanilla stevia
  • 1/2 c carrot flour

Mix all ingredients. I use a stick blender to mix the cold pumpkin with the coconut oil. Use an Tbsp scoop to make mounds. Bake at 350 for 25 min. Wait until the are cool to move them. It is much easier. However, most of the time I gobble them up before that. The can be completely sugar free if you use 2 drops + 6 drops of vanilla stevia. (Now brand)

Carrot Flour: This is the carrot meal I get after I make my carrot juice. I dehydrate it and blend it into a powder in my Vita mix. It is really easy to blend. I am sure you could use a regular blender.

Pumpkin Fudge

Pumpkin Fudge

Pumpkin Fudge

  • 1 c. coconut oil
  • 45 cocoa butter wafers (The wafers are easier to use.)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 20 drops vanilla stevia (Now)
  • +/or 3 Tbsp honey (stage 3a)
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp carrot flour
  • 2 c pumpkin puree

Melt cocoa butter and mix all ingredients. Add pumpkin puree last. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and refrigerator. Cut into squares.

 

White Pumpkin Fudge

White Pumpkin Fudge

I just found another recipe at: FreeCoconutRecipes.com  For sugar/honey free…I used 30 drops vanilla stevia with white pumpkin.

 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Pumpkin Spice Muffins (No grain, no sugar, and no eggs…They are made with plantains!)

  • 5 mostly Green Plantains
  • 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 c + 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 8 drops vanilla stevia
  • 2 Tbsp honey (or  2 droppers stevia)
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda, heaping

Blend all together with a stick blender. Taste it because the ripeness of the plantains can change the sweetness of the muffins significantly. Grease muffin tin. Put one muffin scoop (I use an ice cream scooper) in each holder. Bake 350 for 30 min.

 

Pumpkin Curry Bisque

Pumpkin Curry Bisque

Squash Curry Bisque

  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 c cilantro
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 15 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 lg. sweet onion
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil + 2 Tbsp frying
  • 1/2 gallon bone broth
  • 1 qt. squash, baked and pureed
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ginger, fresh grated
  • 1 can coconut milk

Brown onions and garlic.  Add all the ingredients together except coconut milk. Bring mixture to boil and simmer on low for 1 hour, until everything is tender. Blend with stick blender and add coconut milk. Serve.

Paleo Prepping on a Budget

Rock Food Preservation

Rock Food Preservation

Storing food as rocks would be a very effective way to preserve food…forever and ever. Since you can’t eat it, it’s not very practical. What are your thoughts about “Prepping?” Prepping is the act of preparing for a disaster. It can be any type of disaster, from the apocalypse to a glitch in the supply for peanut butter. There are many thoughts on being prepared. Lots of them have at least passed through my mind at some point. I finally settled on the fact that my family has huge dietary constraints that put us at more risk than others. For example if the electric went out for a week for any reason, would you have enough food to not only wait for the electric, but to wait for grain free, egg free, nut/seed/bean free, dairy free and sugar free type of help. It would take a while for the speciality stuff to be restocked. FEMA is notorious for processed, GMO laden food supplies with all the good gluten-y stuff in it. “Better than nothing,” maybe good enough for some digestive systems but mine won’t survive. So the question that has been rolling around in my mind this week is, “how do I prepare on a budget.” Our healthy eating has already strained our budget. Now I am trying to shove at least 2 more months of food for 7 people into it. What to do?

Cool tools for the job: water filter, dehydrator, canning jar vacuum sealer, canning jars, pressure canner, rocket stove are all neat tools to have, but you can get by with only a few. Or you can barrow some from someone that is already “prepared.” The internet is full of instructions that can save you money! Did you know you can make a dehydrator out of a cardboard box and a light bulb? People are so created. Glean from their experience and save money too.

1. The most important rule to remember is that if you won’t eat something now…you won’t like it later either. It is true that hunger inspires taste bud adventure. However, the more likely event is that your expiration date will arrive before your inspiration to eat that food does. It is good to rotate the foods you have in storage every so often. So only store what you can and will eat (without too much perspiration).

2. Dehydrator: If you have one of these really cool devices, it will save you majorly. Find one at goodwill or barrow one for a month. When you are on a budget you need to know the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. Go to Costco with this list and check out the freezer section.  You can get 2 large bags of frozen broccoli really cheap. 2 bags frozen broccoli fits into 1 half gallon canning jar. Frozen food is already cut and washed for you. Just throw it on the dehydrator sheets and turn it on. I like to store my dehydrated veggies in canning jars with a suction sealed lid. I have to say…I’m sure the FDA does not approve of this method. So do your own research and figure out what type of storage method makes you comfortable. AzureStandard.com has great prices on dehydrated carrots ($12.35/lb) and celery ($11.90/lb).

3. Dry Oven Canning: I just found out about this amazing process from a friend. Note: This does not work for liquids, and it tends to burn veggies and high oil nuts. It works on things like Beans, crackers, almonds, rice…

4. Jar Vacuum Sealer: I am always looking for the best way to do things with the least amount of bulk. I found out you can use the Food Saver hand held device with the canning jar lid adapter. Check out my video. I sealed the bars into a jar at the end of the video. Those things that can’t be “Dry Oven Canned” can at least be protected from bugs, critters and staleness. This thing helps with juicing and traveling too. I seal my juices so they don’t oxidize. And so I don’t have to make juice several times a day. I also seal dinner jars for road trips. You still have to keep things that need refrigerated cooled. This just helps with spills and freshness.

5. Pressure Canning: This is a great thing to barrow, because few people use it all the time. This year I will be using mine a lot but usually I only use it at the end of the harvest season. Meat is going to be your biggest expense, especially good meat. Pressure canning is the only way to safely keep low acid foods like meat or squash. It is not that hard to can meat. I was thinking of canning meatloaf (11.00/qt.) and bacon bits/pieces (3.99/pt…..There is a lot of energy in bacon.). I will also be looking for meat that is on sale. You can even can Liver Moose. More on my resent liver fetish later.
Canning Bacon

Canning Meatloaf

6. Already canned stuff is great to store too, but expensive: Sardines ($33.45/ 12 -3.75 oz cans), oysters (Trader Joes), canned pastured chicken (at Azure Standards $25/12 -5oz. cans), Costco has wild Alaskan Salmon for about $12/6 cans. I figure if I just buy one set of cans each pay check I would have enough for 2 months in 3 years. Ok, that is a little slow. Perhaps I can double my effort? Remember if there is a disaster, everyone will be using twice the calories. It is really too bad I can’t eat rice and beans.

7. Rocket Stove for cooking and canning: I have been intrigued by these amazing stoves. I just saw one boil water with damp newspaper and 10 pinecones! Yeah, amazing! I know what you are thinking…I don’t have the money to buy “storage” food and another apparatus. Great news, you most likely have all you need right now to make one.
Check out this video …

This will save major money on your pressure canning fuel bill. It takes a lot of fuel to keep the pressure that high for 45 min. My electric stove struggles with just getting that huge pot to boil. I am going to make a larger one for canning.

8. Coconut Energy Bar Recipe: (These are super yummy and great for b-fast. )

  • 3 cups shredded coconut for coconut cream
  • 1/4-1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 c coconut, small flakes
  • 1/2 c dehydrated or freeze dried fruit

Blend 3 c coconut flakes and coconut oil until creamy. Add honey and cinnamon. Scoop into bowl. Quickly mix 1 c coconut until it is small flakes. Add small flaked coconut and dry fruit into bowl of coconut cream and mix. Line a loaf pan with wax paper or plastic wrap and pour the Coconut Bar mix into the pan. Score 8 bars and place pan into the refrigerator. When hard pop out of pan and place into a canning jar. I sealed the canning jar with the Food Saver and wide mouth adapter. I’m sure the FDA does not approve of this method. I will check the bars in a few months and let you know. They would ideally store best in a root cellar, since high heat will melt them.

9. Pemmican (An American Indian Meal Replacement Bar) I will have a recipe soon. This is on my to-do wish list. I am still trying to source the tallow. So far I dried about 15 pounds of tenderized round steak (about 3 pounds of fat/other stuff cut off- I cooked that up for dinner with some vegetables). It rendered about 1 gallon of dry beef powder. I’m going to dehydrate 2 lb of wild blueberries and blend them into a powder. The recipe suggests to add equal parts of beef powder and tallow. It doesn’t say anything about the berry powder or spices. I will have to experiment.

Pemmican Recipe (Click here to download the PDF)

10. Coconut milk: Cans of coconut milk is very expensive, but it would be useful in a disaster! Those healthy fats will go a long way.

11. Water: You don’t want to forget water! We have city water and have already found it important to filter the water (lots of chlorine and fluoride). But if there was a disaster, clean water would be even more of a challenge. Get a filter that can clean non-potable water without energy. I have a Big Berkey with four filters, and we are constantly filling it up. 1 gallon of water/ person/ day is a lot of water. Good Luck storing two months worth!

12. The water storage is a good segue into the last but most important prep…Spiritual Readiness. You can’t possibly plan for every contingency. Even if you had tons of money and time to do it. You could have a years worth of food storage and have to leave your house…on foot, perhaps in a hurry. There isn’t anyway you will be carrying a years worth of food along with you. God does tell us to get ready for what He wants to do in our lives, but it is Him we should trust in, not our ability to prep. So listening to Him, not out of fear that you need to have everything just so for any event that might happen, but respect for the one who knows all and wants good for you. I don’t know how God will use my unique desire to learn to live without electricity. I am obviously writing this post with electricity. I am not opposed to it. The non-electric thing is just a fun hobby I have always had. Just like I may find it hard to store 420 gallons of water for my 7 person, 2 month ration of water, I will find it hard to prepare for many other things too. The one thing I don’t want to fail to prepare for is my Spiritual Readiness. My trust belongs to the Lord. I now get to be prudent with the resources He has entrusted in my care.

Don’t go crazy with fear. Just do what you can to prepare for the “just-in-case.”

Journey of Gut Healing Part II

Feeling Better!

Feeling Better!

I have made some major progress and important discoveries since the last time I wrote on this topic. My life has been extremely fun and super busy, so I will try to keep this post just on my gut health. Part of the blessing and why I could even be “busy” is that my new level of health has given me the luxury of energy. Woohoo, I will tell you in a later post what I am doing with that energy. 🙂

I left off with me on the my version of the SCD diet. A version that I created from 3 diets and have since added a fourth. Well, truth be told, I had the fourth in there all along. The difference is that the Paleo Autoimmune immune protocol from ThePaleoMom.com gave me the “why” I couldn’t eat nightshades, nuts/seeds, legumes, eggs and dairy.  I haven’t been able to switch over to that diet because it doesn’t seem to work with my SIBO (even though it seems to be undercontroll). I now have a Autoimmune Paleo/SCD/FODMAP/GAP  diet that works quite well to control my SIBO and digestive disorders. I really need another more cleaver name for this diet. If any of you have a creative name for this please let me know. The diet helps me absorb as much of the nutrients as possible. In retrospect, when I switched from the gluten free vegan diet to the my SCD variation I had many people come up to me and comment about the positive change in my complexion. Honestly, I thought it was all the carrot juice I was juicing. I haven’t been juicing carrots much at all in the past 2 months. It must be the switch to healthy grassfed beef and pastured chicken fats. This SCD protocol helps me absorb a lot more of the nutrients I am taking into my body. I don’t think the diet alone would have eradicated the SIBO. I seemed to have been stuck at my modified version of stage 3. Dr. Seibecker (from SIBOinfo.com) put me on her antibiotic protocol. Along with my diet within the first 2 weeks the steatorrhea (fancy word for floating poop) I had for 3 years went away. It was working. The bloating went away too. And I could finally progress from stage 3 to a more full SCD diet -minus night shades, nuts/seeds, legumes, dairy, and eggs. I know that totally sounds like a lot of restrictions, but it was freedom for me! I had to proceed to be on 1 month of antibiotics (very specific antibiotics in combination with nystatin, anti-yeast, and a biofilm inhibitor…and major detoxifying). It worked. But every time I went off the stuff my symptoms would start to come back, even with the night time motor complex help (the motor complex helps to clear bacteria out of your sm. intestines while you sleep). I was then on the herbal antibiotic protocol for two months. I am now trying to come off of it. I have noticed that I can be off the antibiotics just as long as I keep my diet very clean. That means no experimenting! For anyone who knows me…well, that is not easy. I use the herbal antibiotics to get back on track after a failed experiment.

So what exactly changed? I got the SIBO under control, and I got a few key test results back! These were crucial to my current new level of health. I would have mysterious relapses that I just couldn’t figure out. Until that is, I got the Cyrex Lab tests back. Dairy, chocolate, coffee, and yeast are all true cross reactants to gluten.  There are many other cross reactants that are not “true” cross reactants that I hope to someday gain back. Yes, I was super sad about kefir (has yeast), kombucha (yeast), and coffee! Uhg! I was though, extremely happy to know the problem. When I took those out, I reached a new level of health and energy! It was worth it! (On a more positive note, I will most likely be able to have 24 hour yogurt at sometime in the future. That wasn’t one of my cross reactants.)

Tests everyone with mystery gut problems should have: 

  1. Three Hour Hydrogen Breath Test (Everyone with unexplained bloating and gut problems should get this test! Especially if you have autoimmune reactions to food. More then likely SIBO is helping to create intestinal permeability (leaky gut). If this is a problem you will continue to get more and more reactions to more and more foods.) The test evaluates 2 types of bugs (hydrogen and methane producing ones). Your healing protocol should cover both, plus biofilm inhibitor and something to control yeast.
  2. Cyrex Labs Gluten Sensitivity Test (The most accurate lab test available today for celiac. Even more accurate then biopsy. Since a biopsy is like taking two blades of grass, villi) from a tennis court size surface. Not to mention, it is nice to be diagnosed with celiac before you have complete villas atrophy.) 
  3. Cyrex labs Gluten Cross Reactivity Panel– The test is worth it’s weight in gold. Knowing is half the battle. (This will give you clues into why you may not be healing. For me yeast and coffee are recognized as “gluten” to my body. That means the kefir, kombucha and vinegar that I was consuming was doing more harm than good to me. Good yeast or bad yeast…it is all bad for me.) *Possible Gluten Cross Reactive Foods: Rye, Barley, Spelt, Wheat, Oats, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Millet, Amaranth, Quinoa, Corn, Rice, Potato, Hemp, Teff, Soy, Milk (Alpha-Casein, Beta-Casein, Casomorphin, Butyrophilin, Whey Protein), Chocolate, Yeast, Coffee, Sesame, Tapioca, Egg 
  4. Cyrex Labs Antibody Test (If you want to know what body systems your immune system is attacking, this is the test for you. Be aware, it is very expensive, even at its half off introductory rate. It was very informative to me. I have four. And they all line up with the symptoms I have. Thyroid- Hashimoto, Systemic Scleroderma (I knew about), Celiac (confirmed), and something else that is attacking my intestines (surprise, surprise)).

 Healing Gut Diet: 

The Diet will took me from a state of continued pain, deterioration and allergy reactivity to a positive healing trend. This is a combination of SCD (mostly)/GAPs (Chocolate)/FODMAP/Autoimmune Paleo(night shades, nuts/seeds, eggs, dairy, legumes). These are all homemade whole foods. There is no short cut to health. But the rewards are great!

*Introduce a new food or herb every 4 days (except dairy, nuts/seeds, eggs, nightshades and more than 2 fruits a day–these can be tried after you heal and should be given a month or two. These are sometimes fast reactors, but mostly more healthy people notice a more slow deterioration of health from the introduction of these foods.

*Spices…Frontier makes SCD friendly spices. I have had problems with Oregon Spice Company, Trader Joe’s Sparkling Mineral Water and other random things like that.

 

Intro Diet -for 5 days-

  • **Carrot soup >3 cups/day
  • Carrots puree
  • Ginger (Juice and tea)
  • Bone broth
  • Chicken, fish, turkey
  • Butternut squash puree/mash
  • Salt (Himalayan) and pepper
  • Coconut oil, fish oil, olive oil
  • —-FODMAP Foods to avoid—
  • Honey (use vanilla stevia)
  • Apple Cider

Stage 1a  -Veggies and Fruits =Peeled, Cooked and Seeded-

  • **Carrot soup 3 cups/day
  • Carrots puree
  • Ginger (juice)
  • Bone broth
  • Chicken, fish, turkey
  • Butternut squash puree
  • Spinach puree
  • Zucchini puree
  • Salt (Himalayan) and pepper
  • Coconut oil, fish oil, olive oil
  • (vanilla stevia- limited)
  • ———New——–
  • Homemade coconut kefir
  • Grape juice and gelatin
  • Bananas (freeze dried)
  • —-FODMAP Foods to avoid—
  • Honey (use vanilla stevia)
  • Apple Cidar
  • (Homemade Pear Sauce 1st)
  • (Homemade Apple Sauce 2nd)

Stage 1b  -Veggies and Fruits =Peeled,Cooked and Seeded-

  • **Carrot soup 3 cups/day
  • Carrots very soft
  • Ginger (juice)
  • Bone broth
  • Chicken, fish, turkey
  • Butternut squash very soft
  • Spinach puree
  • Zucchini very soft
  • Salt and pepper
  • Coconut oil, fish oil, olive oil
  • Homemade coconut kefir
  • Grape juice and gelatin
  • Bananas (freeze dried)
  • ———New——–
  • Bananas fresh
  • Squash (Acorn Squash, Buttercup Squash)
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • —-FODMAP Foods to avoid—
  • Honey (use vanilla stevia)
  • Apple Cider
  • Homemade Pear Sauce 1st

Stage 2a -Veggies and Fruits =Peeled,Cooked and Seeded-

  • **Bone broth soup 3 cups/day
  • Carrots
  • Ginger (juice)
  • Bone broth
  • Chicken, fish, turkey
  • Butternut squash
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Salt (Himalayan) and pepper
  • Coconut oil, fish oil, olive oil
  • Homemade coconut kefir
  • Grape juice and gelatin
  • Bananas (freeze dried)
  • Bananas fresh
  • Squash (Acorn & Buttercup)
  • Sage (Fresh and rehydrated)
  • Oregano (Fresh and rehydrated)
  • ———New——–
  • Green Beans 
  • Pineapple 
  • Chives (plus green parts of green onions)
  • Cucumber
  • Water crest
  • Marjoram
  • —-FODMAP Foods to try—
  • Avocado (FODMAP but seem tolerable to many, a good place to start)
  • Homemade Pear Sauce 
  • —-FODMAP Foods to avoid—
  • (Homemade Apple Sauce 2nd)
  • Artichoke-french -2
  • Asparagus -2
  • Mushroom (and a fungus) -2
  • Garlic -2
  • Green Peppers -2
  • Plum -2
  • Peach -2
  • Apricot -2
  • honey -intro.
  • Apple Cider -intro. yeast

Stage 2b Veggies and Fruits =Peeled,Cooked and Seeded-

  • **Bone broth soup 3 cups/day
  • Carrots
  • Ginger (juice)
  • Bone broth
  • Chicken, fish, turkey
  • Butternut squash
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Salt (Himalayan) and pepper
  • Coconut oil, fish oil, olive oil
  • Homemade coconut kefir
  • Grape juice and gelatin
  • Bananas (freeze dried)
  • Bananas fresh
  • Squash (Acorn & Buttercup)
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Marjoram
  • Chives (& green part of onions)
  • Cucumber
  • Green Beans 
  • Water crest
  • Cilantro
  • Pineapple
  • ———New——–
  • Fennel (cooked in soup)
  • Cinnamon
  • Cocoa butter
  • Plantains
  • —-FODMAP Foods to try—
  • Avocado 
  • Homemade Pear Sauce
  • Pears
  • Homemade Apple Sauce 
  • Apple cinnamon gelatin
  • —-FODMAP Foods to avoid—
  • Artichoke-french -2
  • Asparagus -2
  • Mushroom (and a fungus) -2
  • Garlic -2
  • Green Peppers -2
  • Plum -2
  • Peach -2
  • Apricot -2
  • honey -intro.
  • —-Hard to Digest, avoid—
  • Red Peppers -Nightshades
  • Tomato -Nightshades
  • Blanched Almond Better
  • Pecan butter
  • Sprouted pumpkin seed butter

You should be feeling better by now. If you are interested in the whole program, I am hoping to have it done soon. (Let me know.) The Quick Reference sheets should also include recipes to use on each stage, along with tips and ticks. My recipes are scattered, so it is taking some time to gather them.

Here is a very important recipe to start with:

Chicken in a Crockpot with Broth (Intro)

  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, about 1 cup
  • 15 carrots (medium), peeled and halved
  • 5 celery (3rd phase)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 whole organic chicken

-Place veg. and herbs in the bottom of the crockpot container. Be sure there is enough to keep the chicken from touching the bottom.  Rub olive oil and salt between the chicken breast and skin. I keep the chicken’s insides inside the cavity. Just be sure to remove any paper or plastic. The chicken should be sitting on top of the vegetables with the breast up. Cook for 5-7 hours. Place under the broiler for 10 min until chicken is browned. Pull off all of the meat and scoop out the carrots.

Bone Broth: Place everything else(bones, skin, guts) in a large pot. Whatever the chicken remain’s height, triple the water over it. Add juice of one lemon. Boil for 6 hours or over night in crock pot. Not in crock pot: Keep adding water back. Strain the broth and store. It can be used fresh or frozen. Makes 1-2 gallons

Carrot Chicken soup (Intro)

  • 6 c chicken broth
  • 6 carrots, ends and skins removed
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c spinach (2nd stage)
  • 1 c. chicken or any meat (or 1-2 fish)

Boil carrots, spinach, and salt for 2-4 hours (depends if you are on the intro/phase 1 or phase 2 one) Blend soup. Add cooked meat and (1 Tbsp marjoram -stage 1a)

**2nd step add 2 c spinach to boil with the carrots.

Outside Contaminants: Anything that touches your skin or lungs

Water: Chorine kills all bacteria and fluoride is a poison especially to your thyroid

Shampoo: All types of chemicals including but not limited to gluten! I have been using raw honey and essential oils.

Disinfecting all purpose cleaner: Orange Vinegar Water (Let orange peels sit in vinegar for a few weeks. I just keep adding them until the jar is full. Dilute 50/50)

Shea Butter, organic: great for chapped lips. Put it in a little container and take it along.

Honey Hair Recipe: 4 washes

  • 1/4 c raw honey
  • 3/4 c water
  • 10 drops rosemary, lavender and lime organic essential oils

Mix. Wet hair, rub honey hair into the scalp. Let set for 5 min. and rinse very well with cool water.

 

 

DITIR Grading System and Planning

Simply Planned Planner

Simply Planned: A Practical Homeschool Planner

It is time to start planning for the school year. I love this part. Honestly, my planner helps me love it more. It reminds me of all the things I need to think about while I make my children’s home education plan. I am quite excited about the planning because my oldest child is joining our homeschool setting this year. I will have a highschool/college student along with the young ones. I needed to start planning early this year. I want to just give a little insight into how I grade using my Simply Planned Planner. I use the DITIR system to focus my energy on mastery instead of completion.

Simply Planned Homeschool Planner (click link to get more information)

Grading with a DITIR system:

When I first started homeschooling, I thought I would have no need for a grading system. The “Do It Till It’s Right” plan means that they will always get an A. As they have gotten older I have realized that in the main subjects it is nice to track their DITIR. I started recording their grades on the calendar day they complete the test. The grades don’t have to be in a row since they will be As. Calculating As is considerably easy. How do they always get As? They take the test/quiz once. I grade it and go over the answers with them. If they get below a 92%, I have them do the section, in which they had the most trouble, over again. They can get half the points they missed back. If they get a B, they repeat the test. If they get a C, or they continue to get a low grade after I’ve explained things to them, I may have them repeat the section of the workbook that is giving them the most difficulty. With a D, they should repeat the entire workbook. We use Christian Light for language arts, and it is easily broken down into small manageable sections. My goal is mastery. I want them to master the concepts of a lesson. A test just allows me to identify where a child needs extra help. After I tutor them in that area, they should master the concept. This system seems to work well for the younger grades. We will see how it works for the older children.

Make planning fun. Go to a coffee shop and have a parent teacher meeting with yourself. Or stay over night at a hotel while you go to a homeschool conference. That intense planning time can do a lot for your morale and anticipation for the coming year. Most of all be encouraged that you are doing the best for your children, even when you feel discouraged. Our job is to plan and implement, it is God who make the whole thing workout. So prayer is the most powerful thing we do as parents. Be blessed and enjoy praying, planning and playing this summer.

Homemade Coconut Milk and Kefir

Yes! I have finally made a video on how to make Homemade Coconut Milk (from dehydrated flakes) and Homemade Coconut Kefir. I have been wanting to do this for a long time. But really, I had to workout the details. I make this stuff all the time and the kids love it. There are just a few quirks about Homemade Coconut Milk. It tastes best when used right away. When you put it in the refrigerator, the fat will float to the top and harden. I just take it off and place it in a bag in the freezer for later. I like to use the fat/coconut cream for frostings and ice cream. Now your milk has a lower fat content (if that is what you are looking for).  The lower fat content is best for the Coconut Kefir made with homemade milk. The quirk about this type of kefir is that the fat will float to the top in the refrigerator like the milk.  It is a very wonderful yogurt-like food that my little ones see as a treat. I scrape it off the top for them to eat (mixed with vanilla stevia). The resulting coconut kefir made this way is a more clear beverage.  Kefir has amazing benefits for the intestines. Right now it seems to be the key to helping my little ones stop bedwetting. I know that sounds slightly strange but the high amount of probiotics helps the kidneys/bladder as well as the intestines.

Coconut milk:

  • 1 1/2- 2 cups dehydrated organic coconut
  • 10 (-ish) cups filtered water (be sure your filter gets out chlorine)
  • Hemp or cotton nut milk bag (I got mine at New Seasons. I think it is really a hemp produce bag.)

Place coconut into the blender and add water until you have 6 cups total. Blend until the container is warm to touch. Pour milk into a nut milk bag. Pour 4-6 additional cups of water into the blender and quickly blend. Then add the water to the nut milk bag. Grab the top of the bag. Turn and squeeze until you get as much water as you can out of the mix. I dehydrate and blend my pulp to make coconut flour. Drink right away or refrigerate.

Homemade Coconut Milk Kefir

  • 7 cups homemade coconut milk
  • 1 package of rehydrated water-based kefir grains
  • 1/4 cup pasteurized honey
  • 40 drops trace minerals (1 squirt)

Place coconut milk, kefir grains, honey and trace minerals in pint jar.  Mix and cover with a cloth and rubber band.  Place in warm spot for about 4-6 hours.  The time will depend on how warm it is. You are waiting until it smells like butter milk-ish. If it still smells like coconut milk..it’s not done. When finished, strain all but one cup of kefir. Place the kefir-making jar (with 1 cup starter and grains) into the refrigerator with the cloth and rubber band secured on top. It will be OK here for a week or two. When you want to make kefir again, just add your milk to the starter with the honey and trace minerals.

Put a lid on the coconut kefir and keep it in the refrigerator. We like it with vanilla stevia. About 6oz. coconut kefir/ 8 drops french vanilla stevia (I like NOW brand).