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Hodgepodge from The Geranium Farm

Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Monday, May 09, 2016

20 Ways to Use Epsom Salt Around the House By Angela Brown

Epsom salt isn't actually the table salt we all know. The mineral mixture, named for a saline spring in England, is actually a combination of magnesium and sulfate. This popular mineral is touted for its health benefits as well as uses in cleaning and gardening projects, according to
Epsom salt can be used in dozens of ways for health, beauty, and cleaning projects. Check out just a few of the beauty and health hacks you can do with this mineral, according to DIY &Crafts.

1. Clean your hair: If your hair is particularly greasy, you can pull excess oils right out by adding a bit of Epsom salts to your shampoo. Wash and rinse as usual. 
2.  Feet scrub: Winter weather leaves toes and feet dry, cracked and gross. Get rid of dry skin by combining a cup of Epsom salt with olive oil, castile soap and some essential oils and scrubbing your feet once or twice a week. 
3.  Bye bye frizz, hello volume: Mix equal parts hair conditioner and Epsom salts together. Heat the mixture into a pan. Then starting at the roots and working your way down, massage the mixture into your hair. Let set for 20 minutes and rinse. This works great for getting rid of frizz and adding volume to your hair.  
4. Wash your face: Mix Epsom salts with liquid soap or face cream. Rub gently into your skin and rinse. You'll get a moisture boost and remove dead skin.
5. Deflake the lips: Mix a bit of Epsom salt with petroleum jelly and massage it into your lips to remove dead skin. 
6. Ease a headache: If you have an aching head after a rough day at the office (or with the kids), try soaking in an Epsom salt bath. The salts help relieve tension in your muscles and can ease your headache. 
7. Nix tummy troubles: Help ease constipation symptoms by drinking a teaspoon of Epsom salts in a glass of water. The magnesium should help get things flowing again.
8. Have a better morning after: If you had a little too much red wine last night, you can ease hangover symptoms. Sip a teaspoon in a bit of water to help flush out toxins. Make sure to drink tons of water to stay hydrated though! 
9. Fade a bruise: Skip the raw meat compress and grab the Epsom salts instead. Mix two tablespoons of Epsom salts with a little water and apply it to the bruised area. 
10. Get more shut-eye: Soak in an Epsom salt bath for about 20 minutes before dozing off to help you relax and loosen up for a better night's sleep.
11. Ease muscle pain: Enjoy an Epsom salt bath after a hard day at the gym or working in the yard to alleviate muscle soreness and speed recovery. 
12. Remove a splinter: Apply salt to the skin over the splinter to help pull it to the surface. Bid a fond farewell to the painful tweezer method! 
Wellnessmama and offer a few suggestions for using Epsom salts around the house and garden:
13. Plant fertilizer: One tablespoon of salt to tomato plant soil can help give you bigger plants. 
14. Clean the bathroom: Mix one part Epsom salt with one part liquid dish soap, scrub grout and tile well. 
15. Water your houseplants: Mix a few tablespoons of Epsom salt with water and feed your plants as usual. 
16.  Deter Slugs: Sprinkle a bit of Epsom salts onto the patio to keep slugs at bay on rainy days. 
17. Boost your roses: Add a tablespoon of Epsom salts to your soil to promote healthier roses. 
18. Clean the Washer: Fill your washing machine with hot water. Add Epsom salt and run a regular cycle to get rid of build up on the insides of the machine. 
19. Protect your plants: Add Epson salts to your grass and plants to keep bugs at bay. 
20. Green up your grass: Add two tablespoons of Epsom salts to a gallon of water and sprinkle it on your grass to keep it green. The magnesium prevents yellowing.  

Friday, April 01, 2016

Hodgepodge Turns 11

In vain have you acquired knowledge
if you have not imparted it to others.

Deuteronomy Rabbah
(c.900, commentary on the Book of Deuteronomy)

Love sharing with you all these years!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

20 Questions That Could Change Your Life

Finding the answers starts with posing the right questions—and Martha Beck has 20 to get you started. 
Go to the link to see the questions:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

20 Important Facts About Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Bullet points are listed below but go to link to see slide show:

The energy vitamin - Vitamin B12 is a powerhouse. It helps make DNA, nerve and blood cells, and is crucial for a healthy brain and immune system. Your metabolism wouldn't run smoothly without it. 

Vegetarians and vegans are at risk - Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal products. So if your diet largely consists of plant-based foods such as fruits, veggies, beans, and soy, you're at risk for deficiency.

Adults over 50 are also at risk - As you age, the stomach produces less acid, and stomach acid is key for B12 absorption, says Middleberg. About one in 31 adults over 50 are deficient, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Early symptoms include weakness and fatigue - B12 isn't nicknamed the energy vitamin for nothing. Inadequate B12 intake makes a dent in red blood cell production, and some of the earliest signs of a deficiency include feeling dragged, confused, and weak. 

Heartburn drugs can cause it - Some prescription heartburn drugs suppress the production of stomach acid, which is needed to absorb vitamin B12. 

It can be mistaken for dementia - "Symptoms of a deficiency often mimic those of dementia, such as memory loss, disorientation, and difficulty thinking and reasoning," says Middleberg. It can be hard distinguishing deficiency from dementia, especially since older folks are at risk for both.

The best sources are meat and fish - Beef liver and clams are tops in B12, according to the National Institutes of Health. If you're not a fan of either, plenty of good options abound. Beef, turkey, oysters, chicken, trout, and salmon are B12 superstars; a serving of each delivers close to or more than 100% of your RDA.

 Fortified foods and supplements can help - Both can help vegans, vegetarians, and older adults and others who are unable to absorb naturally occurring B12, says Moon. 

Heavy drinking increases your odds - More than a few drinks on average each day can cause gastritis, or irritation of the stomach lining, and this can lead to low stomach acid and reduced B12 absorption, says Middleberg. 
It can trigger a false positive on a Pap test - Low B12 levels can change the way some cervical cells look, potentially triggering a false positive.

It's linked to pernicious anemia -There's a specific type of anemia that's triggered by a B12 deficiency. 

It can be hard to recognize a deficiency - "Because the body can store B12 for three to five years, early symptoms of a deficiency usually appear gradually, so you're unlikely to notice them," says Middleberg.

It's linked to immune system issues -"B12 plays an important role in white blood cell production, and white blood cells are essential for proper immune system functioning," says Middleberg.

Digestive problems can cause it - People who deal with GI issues are at a higher risk of a B12 shortage because digestive problems can make absorbing the nutrient more difficult, says Middleberg.

It can happen after weight loss surgery - "Some surgeries that affect the GI tract, like gastric bypass surgery, make it hard to absorb B12," says Moon. 

It can cause tingling, weakness, and balance issues - Depletion of your vitamin B12 stores leads to nerve damage. 

Babies can get it too - In infants, vitamin B12 deficiency is serious—it can lead to symptoms such as anemia, problems with movement, difficulty reaching developmental milestones, and failure to thrive, which may be fatal.

 Visible signs include pale skin, a sore tongue, and mouth ulcers - Paleness; mouth sores; a red, swollen, beefy tongue— are some of the visible signs of a B12 shortage. 

It might cause permanent damage - Vitamin B12 deficiency that persists for years can cause severe, irreversible neurological damage—think memory loss, disorientation, and an inability to concentrate. Other side effects listed in link. 

It's hard to overdo vitamin B12 - Unlike fat-soluble vitamins that accumulate in your body and can have side effects in excess, B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning your body only absorbs a small amount and the rest is excreted through urine.




Monday, March 14, 2016

49 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child by Renee Jain, MAPP

"It happens to every child in one form or another – anxiety. As parents, we would like to shield our children from life’s anxious moments, but navigating anxiety is an essential life skill that will serve them in the years to come. In the heat of the moment, try these simple phrases to help your children identify, accept, and work through their anxious moments."
Check out the list here: 49 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Vitamin D Deficiency: 7 Signs Your Levels Are Too Low

Here are 7 warning signs you shouldn’t ignore…
1. Your Bones Ache
2. Your Muscles Are Weak
3. You’re Depressed
4. Your Head Sweats
5. You Have Chronic Health Problems
6. You Feel Exhausted
7. You Have Dark Skin

Monday, March 07, 2016

Do You Know the Warning Signs That a Loved One Needs Assistance?

(Click on picture to enlarge.)
For caregiver's tips check out this website:

Friday, February 26, 2016

Minatur Wunderland - Largest Model Railway

Check out a video about it here. Audio on.

Monday, February 22, 2016

9 Things to Remember When You Feel Like Quitting

Here are 9 things to remember when you feel like quitting:

 1. Remember the things you do well
 2. Remember a list of things you can improve on
 3. Don’t sell yourself short
 4. Keep a positive attitude
 5. Have encouraging friends
 6. Stop beating yourself up over supposed shortcomings
 7. Don’t give up
 8. Remember that you can always learn something new
 9. Get rid of negative influences

To read in full go to the link:

Friday, February 12, 2016

What's Your Biggest Regret?

Strangers Wrote Their Biggest Regrets…They All Used The Same Three-Letter Word.

"Often times when people are asked about regrets the response is a rehearsed, “I don’t have any regrets.” In reality, we all have and carry feelings of things we should have done or said but simply did not. How many times have we taken the safety route for fear of failure or thinking we were not good enough, only to realize the easiest decision ends up being the hardest one to live with."
Check it out here:

Email me yours and I'll list them anonymously below.

From HP Readers:
 Not being able to have children or adopting.
 Not getting more education in psychology or counseling.
 Not going to college
Not having children
My Divorce
and this from a reader:
When I get up each day I say the following and repeat it several times during the day.  It is a quote from Psalm 51
     "Create in me a clean heart, O God and
       renew a right spirit within me.
       Cast me not away from your presence
        and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
        Give me the joy of your saving help again
        and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit." ​

This has been a part of me for over fifty years.


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