the simple hive

Cupcake Crochet Dishcloth

 

Cupcake crochet and flower dishcloths - the simple hive

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While perusing the yarn aisle at my local craft store, I happened upon a free crochet pattern for a cupcake dishcloth. The sign said “Take One”, so I did, because I always do what I’m told. Yep.

Then I got home and promptly put it away and completely forgot about it until a few weeks ago when I woke up with an excruciating pain in my foot. The first step out of bed and a severe pain in my foot told me I wasn’t going anywhere.

Because I have a difficult time not doing anything, I shuffled and crawled over to the yarn bag and came across this pattern by Twinkie Chan.  I grabbed my yarn and went to work

I think the name Twinkie Chan is partly why I decided to work up the pattern. With a name like that, surely it would be cute!

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Crochet Cupcake and Flower Dishcloths

Cupcake crochet and flower dishcloths - the simple hive

 Follow my blog with Bloglovin

While perusing the yarn aisle at my local craft store, I happened upon a free crochet pattern for a cupcake dishcloth. The sign said “Take One”, so I did, because I always do what I’m told. Yep.

Then I got home and promptly put it away and completely forgot about it until a few weeks ago when I woke up with an excruciating pain in my foot. The first step out of bed and a severe pain in my foot told me I wasn’t going anywhere.

Because I have a difficult time not doing anything, I shuffled and crawled over to the yarn bag and came across this pattern by Twinkie Chan.  I grabbed my yarn and went to work

I think the name Twinkie Chan is partly why I decided to work up the pattern. With a name like that, surely it would be cute!

Read More

Charlotte Mason Homeschool for First Grade

 

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Plan for First Grade

Around this time every year, when our motivation for homeschooling begins to fizzle, I look back over the year to evaluate our success in our current homeschooling plan.  I look at the year, without any biases, to see what worked, what needs tweaking and what needs to be scrapped altogether.

Since this year was the first official year of homeschooling for Baby Honeybee, we had a little more structure than the previous years when her learning was led by her interests.  For Kindergarten, I had a plan that was inspired by Charlotte Mason.  It was a good framework, but has evolved through the months to look slightly different from what I had envisioned.

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Christian Prayer Beads

Christian Prayer Beads - the simple hive

This happens to me all the time.  I’ll be in the middle of my prayers and suddenly a random thought crashes through the front gates of my mind like a runaway train and steals all my concentration as it leaves.

You, too?

I have used prayer holding crosses with some good results in the past, but they didn’t get me deeply into where I wanted to be.

As I was reading “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, I remembered I once saw some Christian prayer beads, sometimes called Protestant prayer beads, that caught my attention. Since I’m Methodist and not Catholic, I have never used a rosary in prayer, but I like the idea of a tool that helps guide the way through prayer.

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Cooking with Kids: Chapati Indian Flatbread

 

 

Cooking with Kids: Chipati Indian Flatbread

In many families in which parents educate their children at home, cooking is interwoven seamlessly into the school day. Math, reading, science and critical thinking skills are cultivated and honed through measuring, reading recipes, baking and substituting ingredients. Children becomes great home cooks at an early age and learn to clean up after themselves and appreciate their parents who loving provide them with food on the table and a roof over their heads.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

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Exploring the World with Little Passports

Little Passports - A Global Adventure

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on a link and purchase anything, I may receive a commission. Also, I will receive product compensation for this post.  The opinions are my own and I have only signed up as an affiliate because I believe in the value of  Little Passports.

I’ve been working on next year’s homeschool plan for Baby Honeybee and have been searching through mountains of curriculum to find the perfect resources to develop a love a learning.

I’ve been looking at all subjects, and for Social Studies, I am falling hard for Little Passports.  I have been on the fence for a little while, unsure of committing to a monthly subscription, but I have decided to take a chance.  After reading all about what is included in the service and each month’s adventure kit, I know Baby Honeybee will fall head over heels in love with it, too.  At least in deep like.  She’s too old to fall in love.  She’s five.

If you think it’s strange that a grown woman is gaga over curriculum, let me explain myself.

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Gluten-free Italian Wedding Soup

gluten-free Italian wedding soup | the simple hive Traditionally, Italian wedding soup contains meatballs and orzo, both which contain gluten. Therefore, this soup is off-limits for me.  Naturally, it would be the one soup I crave on these cold, rainy days that have parked themselves over Texas.

A shout out for you folks dealing with mountains of snow right now: I wish you the best.  I don’t know how you do it.  I would break.

Thankfully, I had the ingredients on hand to make some turkey meatballs and satisfy the need for the aforementioned soup.

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Herbal Cough Syrup and Throat Soother

make your own herbal cough syrup | The Simple Hive

This post contains affiliate links.  Whenever you click on a link and purchase anything at all, I receive a small compensation.  This helps the hive to thrive.  Thank you!

I’m not mentioning any names, but one of my dear family members brought a cold virus into my safe haven. Last week, everyone else in the house was miserable, except for me. I was the last one standing.

This morning, I awoke with scratchy throat that was dying to betray me.

Nope.

I can’t get sick. I’m a homeschool mom. If I get sick, it can turn into Lord of the Flies around here pretty quickly. So, I turned to kitchen from which all things comforting and good come and made an herbal cough syrup to sooth my ravaged throat.

Last month, I ordered some bulk herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs to help heal us when we are sick and avoid over-the-counter medications whenever possible.

I love it when a plan comes together.

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Gluten-free and Vegan Coconut Sugar Cookies

 

 

 

Vegan and Gluten Free Coconut Sugar Cookies | the simple hive

Because my issues with gluten and Baby Honeybee’s severe egg allergy and mild milk allergy, I have made it a priority to figure out this whole gluten-free and vegan baking thing. In the past, when I bake cookies for the family, my focus has been on egg-free, not necessarily dairy or gluten-free and I often get left out.  No fair.

That all changed when I came across this recipe for gluten, dairy and egg-free coconut sugar cookie recipe from yammiesglutenfreedom.

The recipe, as written, accommodated all our needs without any substitutions. She is awesome.  I might cry a little.

Seriously, she is an amazing young woman.  Check out this About Me page on one of her blogs.  Impressive.

I could ramble on, or I could move along to the recipe.  That’s really why you are all here, anyway.  Well, there may be a few of you who love to read the ramblings of a lunatic. You know who you are.

 

Coconut Sugar Cookies

What you need:

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. coconut oil

1/3 c. coconut milk, full-fat

2 tsp. vanilla (make sure yours is gluten-free)

3/4 c. white rice flour

1/3 c. coconut flour

2 Tbsp. potato starch

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

coconut frosting (recipe follows)

What you do:

Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.

Cream together the coconut oil and sugar with an electric mixer. If your coconut oil is too hard, soften it in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds, then add the sugar and mix.

Add the coconut milk and vanilla and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a third at a time, mixing thoroughly.  The mixture will be moist and fluffy.

Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let sit at room temperature while the oven preheat to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Use a small scoop or your hands to roll 1.5″ balls of cookie dough.  Do not flatten the dough and you will get a nice, soft cookie.

1.5 inch balls

Bake for 11-12 minutes, rotating the trays halfway in the cooking time.

Let cool for about 3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Frost with the following recipe when completely cooled.

 

Coconut Frosting

1/4 c. coconut oil

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar (the original recipe calls for 3 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, but I needed much less)

6 Tbsp. full-fat coconut milk

 

Sift the powdered sugar through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps.

In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut oil and vanilla.  Alternate adding the powdered sugar and the coconut milk, mixing well.

coconut frosting | the simple hive

Spread the frosting on each cooled cookie.  The coconut oil give the frosting the consistency of buttercream, so you can use a pastry bag to make them as fancy as you like.

gluten-free and vegan cookie love | the simple hive

Now go on.  Make these and share the cookie love.

The Simple Hive on Pinterest

 

This post is linked-up with The Art of Home-Making Mondays.  Hop on over to the party at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth for other great blogs.

Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

DIY Chalk Painted Dresser

diy chalk paint

My world has been rocked. It has occurred to me that I need to change the names of all my kids.

Originally, I started this blog with College Bee, Teen Bee, Tween Bee and Baby Honeybee. Now it all must change. You see, College Bee graduated and landed a great job in a fun city and moved out. I don’t what to call him anymore.

Teen Bee is now a in his final year of homeschool and it taking dual-credit classed at our local community college. Should his name be College Bee now?

Tween Bee is the one that is most rocking my world right now. She just turned thirteen. Since she is my oldest daughter, this is the first time to cohabit with a teen-aged girl. I’m not sure how we can both survive this.

Finally, Baby Honeybee isn’t really a baby anymore. She wasn’t even when I started this blog, but she’s my baby and always will be, so Baby Honeybee remains Baby Honeybee and that’s final.

Now that I’ve muddied the waters in regards to my growing children and the names by which they are known, let’s move along to the real reason for this post.

Chalk paint.

Specifically, a DIY recipe for chalk paint.

With all these kids wrecking my house on a daily basis (homeschooling is hard on a house, folks!), I needed an easy way to revitalize my home without spending much money. In perfect timing, my awesome sister-in-law passed along her childhood furniture to my girls.

Enter this dresser.

1017

 

It really isn’t missing a drawer.  I just forgot to get a BEFORE photo.  I’m a dork.

After seeing on Pinterest all the colorful ways people have revamped this style of dresser, I opted for a more classic approach. After all, we know from the intro of this post, these kids aren’t staying the same age, no matter how hard I try to keep them small.  Sure the aqua dresser would be cool now, but what about in five years when their tastes change, or in five minutes when they change their favorite color. It happens.

So, I went with white. But, with a twist. The top is stained dark brown and slightly distressed. I figured I would get a head start on the wear so when they girls scratched and dinged the furniture it might look intentional and I might not let it bother me as much as if it were perfect.  That was a very long sentence and probably grammatically incorrect, but I don’t care.  What I’m trying to say is, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Onto the extremely easy chalk paint recipe:

1/4 cup Plaster of Paris
1/4 cup water
1 cup latex paint

I used a fine mesh sieve to make sure the plaster of Paris was free from any lumps. This made a big difference in the end result, so I would recommend it.

plaster of paris

Add the water to the plaster of Paris and stir thoroughly to combine.

Add this mixture to 1 cup of latex paint. Stir to combine. The paint will begin to thicken. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add more paint.

This recipe is very forgiving and the amounts don’t have to be exact, but this is the recipe I found I liked best.

Before I began painting, I had already stripped and sanded the top and applied 2 coats of Minwax gel stain in Hickory.  I forgot to take a picture of the stained top, so let’s pretend this beautifully sanded dresser top has a dark hickory stain.  Thank you .

sanded dresser top

To work the chalk paint into the details and crevices, I used a 1.5″ sash brush then I rolled over the whole area with a foam roller for a smooth finish. The beauty of chalk paint is that it dries quickly if applied thinly, so after I completed one coat I was able to begin the next within a few minutes. Overall the dresser took 4 coats of paint.

I let the final coat dry overnight before sanding. I used a fine grit sanding block to lightly sand the whole dresser. I first sanded the dark top and hit the high spots to reveal bare wood to bring out the details. Then I flipped over the sanding block to a clean side and sanded the body and drawers.

After sanding, I thoroughly wiped down the entire dresser and drawers with a damp cloth.

For the finish, I used a paste wax. for the top, I mixed a small amount of gel stain into the clear wax. I wanted to lessen the contrast between the stain and the areas I sanded to reveal bare wood. For the white areas, I used the clear wax straight from the can.

Minwax gell stain and finishing pastedark wax

I applied the dark wax with a piece of cotton t-shirt material. After the wax began to look hazy, I used a clean rag to buff to a shine.

Since the body of the dresser has several recessed areas, I applied the wax using an angled, round fitch brush. I found mine at Home Depot for about 8 bucks near the Ralph Lauren paint display with their faux finish paint tools.

wax brush and buffer

After the first coat of wax was applied, I used a mushroom buffer by Ryobi that I attached to a drill. You can buff by hand, but this attachment made quick work of getting into the crevices.

Finally, because I wanted a slightly warmer tone to the dresser, I took the same dark wax I made for the top and wiped it all over the dresser, concentrating on the recessed areas. I worked quickly, not letting the wax dry. I buffed the dark wax into the paint, wiping off as much as possible. I didn’t want the dresser to look dirty or too old, as the teen-aged girl child would have definitely given me grief about that. She’s a little opinionated.

So that’s how this:

1017

Became this:

after

chalk painted dresser with dark top

after

And now I need a nap.

 

 

before and after

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