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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Island Coconut Loose Tea Blend


Island Coconut Loose Tea Blend

Because it’s cold outside and hot tea is the only thing right now that keeps me from going into total hibernation, I’ve been tinkering in the kitchen with some new loose tea blends.  I stocked up with some organic herbs earlier in the year to help us live healthier and improve our overall well-being.  Herbal tea soothes the soul, folks!

Soul-soothing is what I need.  Always.

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Because I’m cold-natured and long for a sunny, beach destination any time of the year, I made this tea blend.

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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.


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.

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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.

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Easy Nut-Free French Macarons


Easy nut-free French macarons - the simple hive

Over the summer, I took a break from the blog to spend time with my kids and to catch up on many neglected projects around the hive. It was a good change of pace and I have many things to share. What I’m trying to say is…I’m baaaack!

I’m not sure if you should be happy or afraid. Your pick.

Because I have a sweet tooth and I want to go to Paris someday, I made some French macarons. The trouble with macarons is that they are made with almond flour and I’m allergic to almonds.

Let’s all take a moment to throw a tiny pity party for me.

That was fun.

So, being allergic to almonds, I had to find a substitute. Naturally, I turned to sunflower seeds. They are my go-to nut replacement. I use them to make peanut-free peanut sauce, or “unpeanut” sauce as we now refer to it, homemade sunflower seed butter and all sorts of delicious treats. More on those later.

Today, we focus on the lovely French macaron.

gluten-free, nut-free French macarons - the simple hive

Just a side note: A macaroon is a coconut concoction and macaron refers to this heavenly French delight.

Moving along.

These were surprisingly simple to make. And that is dangerous, my friends.


You will need:

1 c. powdered sugar

3/4 c. sunflower seed flour (or almond flour)*

2 large egg whites at room temperature

1/4 c. white granulated sugar

1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

food coloring (optional)

*To make your own sunflower seed flour, place roasted sunflower seeds into a food processor and process for about a minute.  The mixture will look coarse and crumbly.  Resist the temptation to go longer, as the blade will heat the oil causing the mixture to become sticky.  Sift the mixture through a fine sieve.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
  2. Pulse powdered sugar and sunflower seed (or almond) flour in a food processor until combined.  Sift with a fine mesh sieve into a separate bowl.
  3. Whisk egg whites with a mixer on medium speed until they are foamy.
  4. Add cream of tartar and mix on medium speed until soft peaks begin to form.
  5. Add the granulated sugar and mix on low until incorporated and then switch to high speed and beat until stiff peaks form.
  6. Add flour mixture to the egg whites, half at a time, and fold gently until mixture is smooth and glossy.  If using food coloring, add it at this step to ensure it is evenly distributed.
  7. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag  or a quart-size zip top freezer bag.  If using a pastry bag, use a plain 1/2″ round tip.  If using a zip top bag, snip the corner to make a small hole. Err on the side of a smaller hole rather than larger.
  8. Pipe onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 1″ apart.  Tap the baking sheet on the counter top to get rid of air pockets and let stand for about 10 minutes.
  9. Place in oven and reduce to 375 degrees F.  Bake for 10 minutes, rotating halfway through the cooking time, until they are firm and crispy.
  10. Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes and transfer to wire rack. If they stick to the parchment, lift the parchment at one end and drizzle a few drops of water underneath the paper.  This causes steam from the hot baking sheet to release the macaron.
  11. Using 2 macarons that are the same size, sandwich with one teaspoon of your filling of choice.

Filling Options:

  • buttercream
  • chocolate ganache
  • chocolate hazelnut spread
  • seedless raspberry jam
  • dulce de leche

Today, I went for a classic vanilla buttercream.

easy nut-free French macarons

For a chocolate version:  Substitute 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder in place of 1/4 cup of the sunflower (or almond) flour.

If you have a favorite macaron flavor, leave a comment and send me back to the kitchen!

Gluten-free and Peanut-free Peanut Sauce

Untitled design (3)


Say what?! How can peanut sauce not have peanuts? By simple definition, it would be a sauce made with, or containing, peanuts.

Not in this house, it doesn’t. And…it’s gluten-free!

Three of my four children are peanut allergic so “peanut” is a four-letter word in our house. Yes, I know the word peanut actually has six letters, but you know what I mean. Or, maybe you don’t. Maybe I’m confusing you. I’m confusing myself. It happens all the time.

Before I completely loose my marbles, let me pass along one of the tastiest UNpeanut sauce recipes that I have ever tasted. I should have titled this post “Unpeanut Sauce”. That way people would be buzzing about the new unpeanut sauce in town. It’d be all the rage. I’m sure it would go viral.

To clarify, I have tried many different variations of sauces to mimic peanut sauce for my gluten-free chicken imperial roll recipe, which was recently pinned by BlogHer on Pinterest, by the way (*cough*shameless plug). Actually, they pinned the old blog post, but whatever, I’ll take it!

Since sunflower seed butter is our go-to replacement for peanut butter, I tried subbing it, but the sauce always fell short of my expectations. For the most part, I settled into thinking I would be stuck with only plum sauce in which to dunk the delicious rolls.

Last night, I was a woman on a mission. I blended and tweaked until I came up something that took me back in time to my peanut-eating glory days!

I didn’t take pictures of the process because it was really very simple. I threw all the ingredients in a regular mason jar, screwed on the blender blade and ring and let it whirl. I did stop once to scrape the sunflower seed butter off the sides and then blended it again.

Here’s what you need to make the “unpeanut” sauce:

2/3 c. gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
2 TBSP. rice vinegar
2 TBSP. apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. grated ginger
1/4 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. sunflower seed butter
Sriracha to taste*

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and there are no visible chunks of garlic.

*If you have many people in your home with varying tastes for spicy, the Sriracha can be left out of the original blend. When serving, add a dollop of Sriracha on top of the sauce in individual bowls.


Serve it up with these lovely rolls, which were pinned by Blogher on Pinterest.  Did ya hear?


TheSimpleHive on Pinterest