Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Man Who Planted Trees Movie Review

Once in a while I’ll add something random to my Netflix queue.  A B-rated horror movie…some crazy British TV show…workout videos I can watch while I snack on popcorn and chocolate chips…

I don’t really know what I was thinking when I added The Man Who Planted Trees into my DVD queue.  Perhaps I was interested by the plot (I’m a sucker for environmental movies), or maybe the colorful cover caught my eye…whatever the reason was, I thank my lucky stars that it ended up on my list.

The Man Who Planted Trees is a beautifully illustrated short film (it’s only 30 minutes) about a man with a mission to make a change.

The story is narrated by a young man who is taking a hike through Provence, France, seeming to marvel at the unspoiled wilderness around him.  He eventually comes upon a barren valley, void of water and plant life.  As a result, our narrator begins a never-ending quest for water, until he stumbles upon a shepherd (by the name of Elzeard Bouffier) and his flock.

The shepherd takes the narrator to a spring and gives him water.  Overtime, the narrator becomes curious about this lone shepherd and decides to stay with him a while.  They sit at the table, not speaking a word.  The narrator observes Bouffier diligently looking at acorns, setting aside the good ones to plant the following day.

Eventually the narrator leaves and returns home to fight in the First World War.  When he returns to Bouffier’s land ten years later, he’s surprised to see saplings taking root all over the valley and new streams running through a previously dry land.

Bouffier continues his planting for more than 40 years and eventually the valley begins to turn into something resembling the Garden of Eden.  When the “authorities” hear of what’s been happening in the valley, they assume it’s a bizarre natural phenomenon, as they are unaware of Bouffier’s diligent work to keep the valley flourishing.

Unlike many environmental movies, the authorities actually work to save the valley, protecting and cherishing it for years to come.

This is maybe one of the most touching and inspiring films I’ve ever seen.  The illustrations are simple, yet magical…and the story is one of hope and possibility.  Take 30 minutes out of your weekend to check out The Man Who Planted Trees.  It’s available to watch for free here:

“He who plants a tree plants a hope.”

–Lucy Larcom

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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15 Clever Uses for Coffee Filters

Think those super thin bowls are just for making java in the AM?  Think again…Take a look at what else you can do with coffee filters:

1.  Use them to clean windows, mirrors, chrome, etc.  Coffee filters are lint free so they will leave your windows sparkling and streak free.

2.  Protect your fine China by separating your dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.  You can also use them to wrap up Christmas ornaments and to protect other breakables.

3.  Use them to soak out the grease of your favorite foods.

4.  Use them as little prep bowls for spices, veggies, and other dry ingredients while baking.  They are easily disposable and it will save you from washing more dishes.

5.  They make great blotting tools for when you nick yourself shaving.

6.  Due to their super thin nature, coffee filters are great for tie-dying and crafting.  Tie-dye them to make beautiful butterflies and roses.

7.  They can be used to strain soup and to tie fresh herbs to put into soups and stews.  On that same note, put some spices or baking soda in them and tie them up to make your own little sachet for shoes and closets.

8.  Use them as a spoon rest while making soup or pasta.

9.  Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave to prevent splattering.

10.  They can be used to remove fingernail polish when you’re out of cotton balls.

11.  Use coffee filters to sprout seeds.  Simply dampen the filter, place the seed inside, fold it up and put it in a plastic baggie until they sprout.

12.  Break the cork in the wine bottle?  No problem!  Use a coffee filter to filter the wine and remove the cork.

13.  Use them as a bowl for chips, popcorn, etc.  It’s a perfect serving size and clean up is a breeze if you’re having a lot of people over.

14.  If you hate being a messy eater (like me!), use them to hold your tacos together.  They make great wrappers for messy food.

15.  Use them to stop the soil from leaking out of the bottom of a plant.  Line the bottom of the planter with coffee filters to prevent the soil from going through/clogging up the drainage holes.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.


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Scrabble-Inspired Wall Art

Tired of the same ol’ square framed art?  Having trouble finding a piece that “ties the whole room together”?  Have no fear.  Check out this funky art piece I made with simple wooden rectangles.  The best part is that you can customize it to say anything you want, making it a perfect addition for any room.


–Enough wood rectangles to spell whatever words you’d like.  For this piece, you’ll need 22 rectangles (I bought Lara’s Crafts Unfinished Wood Rectangles.  They come in a green package and have a heart saying “Lara’s Crafts” in the upper left corner.  I bought mine at Hobby Lobby, but you can find them at any craft store).

–Black paint

–Paint brush

–Letter stencils (or a very steady hand!)


–Hot Glue Gun


1.  After you’ve decided what words you want to create in your Scrabble art piece, stencil the letters on your wood rectangles.  You can buy letter stencils at the store or make your own by cutting out letters and tracing them on your rectangles.  If you have a steady hand, try drawing it on yourself.  Use a pencil before filling in the letters with paint.  Let dry for at least 24 hours.

2.  Once your rectangles are dry, lay them out in the arrangement you want.  Turn them all over so the painted side is face down (you’re now looking at the backside of the arrangement).

3.  Cut your felt strips about 4 inches wide and 3-4 inches long.  Use your glue gun to place one strip of glue on one rectangle and another on the rectangle right next to, above, or below it and then place a felt strip down so it reaches both glue strips and holds the two rectangles together.  Repeat until every rectangle is joined to all the rectangles surrounding it.  See this VISUAL.

4.  As for hanging it, I found the easiest way to go about it was to hammer small nails between the rectangles, through the felt stripping.  Look for nails with a small head and hammer them between the weak areas of the piece.  See below (the green circles are where I hammered nails to attach the piece to the wall).

You can also try hanging it with picture hanging hooks (see below).  This was my first idea but I found that the hooks were too weak to hold the piece.  I left them up and hammered the nails between the rectangles and I can guarantee that thing isn’t going anywhere!  🙂

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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Phenomenal Woman, That’s Me

During my first year of college I took a class in modern poetry.  One of our assignments was to chose a poem from our collection and completely tear it apart, looking at phrasing, word choice, and even doing research on the author to see if we could determine any inspiration behind the poem.  We were told we had to write a paper about it and then be prepared to present what we found to the class.  Simple enough, right?

Well on the day the papers were due, the professor collected them and called us up one by one to read the poem we chose…but we had to read it in a way that conveyed what we discovered in our research.  As we made our way around the room, it was easy to see that many people had connected with their poem on emotional and spiritual levels, myself included.

For this project, I chose a poem by my favorite poet, Maya Angelou, titled “Phenomenal Woman.”  As I did my background research on Angelou, learning all about the abuse and ridicule she had to endure from members of her own family, it was easy to see that this poem was not only a testimony for womankind, but also a reminder to herself that, no matter what life throws at her, she is a powerful and strong woman.

Like many women out there, I’ve been blessed with a curvaceous body.  I used to be ashamed of myself, thinking of myself as fat and overweight and frumpy…but this poem completely changed my perception.  It invigorates me.  So I have hips.  So I have boobs.  So I have a pooch.  So what?  This is who I am.

When I got up in front of the class to read this poem, I started crying.  I got to the point where I wasn’t reading it for them, I was reading it for me.  I was reading it to myself.  That was the day my life changed.  That was the day I learned to be phenomenal.

This poem has been hanging on my wall ever since.  Print a copy out for yourself and make a point to read it every day to help remind yourself of how truly amazing you are.

Phenomenal Woman
By Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.


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Salmon Rolls

If you like tuna salad, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this recipe.  It’s light and flavorful and simply a breeze to make.  I made this over the weekend and it’s only the second time I’ve ever cooked with salmon.  I followed the time measurements exactly and the fish was perfectly cooked.

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I will make it known that, even though this is a RR recipe, I will refuse to use the terms EVOO, Yum-O, and Garbage Bowl.  Okay, moving on…)

1 pound salmon fillets (I used 3 fillets and that was plenty)

Salt and Pepper

6-8 Hot dog buns or rolls of your choice

2 ribs of celery

4 scallions

¼ cup mayonnaise

Juice from 1 lemon

Salt and Vinegar potato chips

  1. Chop the celery and scallions into small pieces and toss in a medium sized bowl.  Want to make it easier?  Buy a pair of scissors for kitchen use only and snip away.  Set aside.
  2. Preheat the broiler*.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and cook skin side down for 3 minutes.  Flip the salmon and cook through, about 4 minutes.  Be careful when cooking the fish since the olive oil tends to spatter.
  3. Spread the buns open slightly and toast under the broiler, about 2 minutes.  Remove the skin from the salmon and discard.  Using a fork, pull the salmon apart into small chunks and dump it in the bowl with the celery and scallions.  Add the mayonnaise and lemon juice and mix until combined.
  4. Fill the toasted buns with the salmon salad and serve with potato chips.

*Note that this recipe can also be made on the George Foreman Grill if you don’t have an oven.  Preheat the grill and cook the salmon first, seasoned with salt and pepper.  Take the salmon out when the middle of the fillet is light pink and the fish flakes when pulled with a fork.  Set it aside and put the buns/rolls on the grill and toast for about 2-3 minutes.

SERVES 6-8…depending on how much salad you put on each roll.


Extra Virgin Olive Oil:  FREE…I had this in my kitchen already

Salmon Fillets:  $6.00 (I bought frozen salmon from the grocery store in the frozen food section.  It came with 3 fillets in a bag).

Salt and Pepper:  FREE…I had this in my kitchen already

Rolls:  $2.00

Celery:  $1.00

Scallions:  $1.00

Mayonnaise:  FREE…I had this in my kitchen already

Lemon:  $0.40

Salt and Vinegar chips:  $2.50

TOTAL COST:  $12.90

This recipe can feed 6-8 people, so cost per mouth is $1.61 to $2.15 per person.  Not too shabby!

Did you make this recipe?  Let me know what you think!

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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And So it Bee-gins…

Hello!  And thank you for checking out The Hob-bee Hive.  I have a lot of great ideas to share with you and I’m really excited to get going!

Both for my reader’s sake and my own (more so for my own OCD problems), I came up with a plan of attack:  a schedule of daily themes to help my readers know what’s coming and keep me motivated to keep writing.


Monday: Let’s start the week with some food, shall we?  Join me on Mondays for recipes that are both easy in the kitchen and on your wallet.  Most of them will involve the “chop n’ drop” method…saving you time and dish-washing detergent.

Tuesday: “Cupcakes and puppies and Websites with shopping…stories and craft time and ice cream with toppings…Colorful items and earrings and rings…These are a few of my favorite things!”  Tune in Tuesday for my favorite weekly thing.

Wednesday: Get out that glue gun and those scissors, because Wednesday is craft day!  On Wednesdays I’ll share ideas about how to decorate your living space, how to make something old turn into something new, or even how to take up a new hobby.

Thursday: What can you do with a left over egg carton?  Is there any other use for coffee filters?  How do I get this stubborn stain out of the rug?  Join me on Thursdays to find out which common items around your house have uncommon uses that could be beneficial to you.

Friday: Friday is all about indulgence.  Stop by The Hob-Bee Hive before your weekend starts for book reviews, movie suggestions, restaurant suggestions, good deals, and more.

So, there you have it.  I hope you all enjoy your time here at The Hob-bee Hive and thanks again for stopping by!

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