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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.
Email: debbie@geraniumfarm.org

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Friday, April 29, 2005

David and Donny 3 - (The Meeting)



Time passes and I see an ad in the paper that Donny is going to be at a Costco near us to do a signing for a new CD and a DVD he did a song on. Naturally I have to take David. Before we can even get out the door he’s starting to gather up his Donny things.
David and I join the line with all the ladies there to see Donny. Of course while we’re waiting I get to talking to everyone standing by us in line and I tell them about David giving Donny the card at the concert and how everyone was so thrilled for him.
Later my dad and brother get there so he can take pictures for me. When it’s finally our turn I say to Donny, “This isn’t for me. This is for David. It’s all about David.” I tell him that David has watched the “Joseph” DVD so many times that we had to buy another one. I said, “I don’t know whether you remember or not but David handed you a card on stage during a concert at _______.” He said, “I remember. I remember him.” He autographs his things (Now I had managed to hide away some of the stuff David had grabbed up as you were understandably, were only supposed to get the CD and DVD autographed.) and I explain someone got us the “Joseph” photo and sent it to us. David has some character watch on and he shows it to him and he says he likes that one too. His assistant tells me to stand to the other side for a picture and after a couple of pictures Donny goes to shake David’s hand and give him a hug and I’m pretty sure David gave him a very hard hug, ‘cause that’s how David will hug you. Then just as they break away David gives Donny a kiss on the cheek…twice! The picture was taken just a second afterwards. I just love the expression on Donny’s face. It’s just priceless! It’s as if to say, “Oh you kid!” Just as we are about to leave I say to Donny, “Thanks so much, you make this kid so happy!” It was all that I could do to get the words out. With that tears well up in my eyes. I look at my brother and dad; they’ve got tears in their eyes, as do a number of other people who have been watching this whole exchange.

Some time passes and I compose myself. I take the Donny and Marie Thermos we got for David off eBay out to show my brother. David sees me and he points back to Donny. Someone sees what’s going on and they tell me to give them. It gets passed back to Donny and he autographs it to David. He is just the nicest guy!

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Do You Love Movies?

If you love movies or just want see all kinds of lists about them, then visit:
www.filmsite.org
Here you will find "Greatest" lists for Films, Directors, Stars, Quotes, Scenes, Songs and more. There is information on the Academy Awards and also all the AFI (American Film Institutes) 100 Years Series Lists.
Rainy afternoon, need an ice-breaker for a party, want to stump your co-workers or amaze your friends; you're sure to find something here!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

David and Donny - 2 (Second Concert)



Some months pass and Donny is appearing at a smaller venue not far from us. I, of course, have to take David to see him again. This time David makes a card for him on his computer and he sits through the whole first half of the show holding his card and pointing to Donny, like when can I give this to him. By the time the intermission rolls around, everyone sitting around us knows what’s going on. When the lights go up for intermission, everyone says you get him up there so he can give that card to Donny! I walk David up to the front and there is an extremely nice and understanding security guard by the stage and I explain the situation to him. I have my camera and I explain to him that I’d like to try to get a picture of David as he’s handing his card to Donny, but that David has seizures and has to be closely watched. He says no problem. When the show starts back up he walks David over to the stage and holds him by the waist. At first, Donny is on the other side of the stage. As he comes to our side he sees David with his outstretched hand and reaches down and takes the card, mind you he’s doing a song during this, only David doesn’t take his hand away, so Donny looks puzzled for a second and then he figures he wants a hand shake and does so. Thankfully, David took his hand back and we walk up the aisle to our seats. Now for the best part, people are smiling, applauding, and giving us thumbs up! They all “got” it! They knew how much it meant to this kid. After the show people came up to me and said how cool the whole thing was and several had tears in their eyes. I just tear up every time I think about it!

The part I didn’t tell you yet, was that while we were waiting for David to give his card to Donny, a young lady comes up to me and gives me her card and tells me to email her when I get home. It turns out that her name is Tracey and she is a part of astarfordonny.com and she wants to send me something for David. She sent David a Donny sweatshirt and an autographed book. Another time she got a picture of Donny dressed as Joseph, and she also had another fan send me some pictures she had of Donny for David. Donny has really nice people as fans!

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

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David shaking hands with Donny

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Attention Teachers & School Administrators

I found this on the HP (Hewlett-Packard) website

www.hp.com

At the website click on: Offers and Rebates, Go to the bottom Right Corner,You will see Government, Health, and Education. Click on: Celebrate you Success Teachers

Contest registration ends May 6, 2005
Essays must be submitted by May 27, 2005


HP and Riverdeep have joined together to offer a unique opportunity for K-12 customers and resellers. Just use Destination Success software for 30 days, then write and submit an essay that describes how the Destination Success software impacted the teaching and learning in your classroom to qualify for a chance to win...

Grand Prize - an HP Tablet PC Mobile Classroom, and a Destination Success Network version, 1 course of your choice, and 3 consecutive days of on-site professional development
2nd Place Prize - Free Destination Success Network version
3rd Place Prize - a Destination Success Lab Pack

Peachy Keen!



A new favorite tea – Ginger Peach Decaf
by The Republic of Tea. It comes in regular too.
Sweetening it to taste brings out the peachy flavor.
It would make a good iced tea as well.
The Panera Bread Bakery-Cafe's carry The Republic of Tea
if you'd like to try it out there first.
To find one near you go to: www.panera.com

Monday, April 25, 2005

David and Donny - 1 (First Concert)



Well. to begin with, if you have to ask, “Donny who?” then you’re probably below a certain age. I’m talking about Donny Osmond. Now why, Donny? David has been going to a local production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for the past 10 years. He loves it! When the Donny Osmond version came out on DVD my brother, John gave it to David. David has watched it gazillion times, so much so, that he got scratches on it and it kept playing certain sections over and over, so now we have our second one. All of this is all going back several years ago.
Now I see this ad that Donny is going to be appearing in the area and I say to my husband that we just have to take David to see him. He rolls his eyes a bit and agrees to go along.
We explain to David that this will be a concert and not a show of “Joseph” but he might do a song from it. During the whole show David’s eyes are transfixed on the stage. After a brief intermission, he has a Q & A segment and comes up the aisle right past us. This is so cool for David and when he does the “Joseph” number, coat and all, David is on Cloud 9 and was so for weeks afterwards.
Oh, and by the way, my husband had to admit that Donny was excellent and that he really enjoyed the show.

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

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Sunday, April 24, 2005

A-Pass-Along (Warm Up America)

An anonymous reader sent this to Hodgepodge. After I went to the site I had remembered seeing flyers for it in various craft stores. Thanks for the Pass-Along!

www.warmupamerica.com has some great projects for knitting/crocheting blankets for the homeless as well as projects for kids to tackle - good community service ideas!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Roxy Music - Avalon

Avalon was Roxy Music last release back in the 1980's. The title and cover art come from legend of King Arthur's final, dying voyage to Avalon. It has recently been remastered. It's just something I thought you might enjoy. Go to: www.amazon.com to listen samples and read reviews.

Friday, April 22, 2005

It's Easy to Share a Story

Did you know it's easy to share a story from Hodgepodge or More or Less Church? I had overlooked it until Matt, our Web-Wizard of the Geranium Farm, had pointed it out to me. You see at the bottom right-handed corner of each post there is a little envelope. All you have to do is click on it and you're on your way! ....Technology.....Isn't it wonderful?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Hunting for a Memory




No, I wasn’t on a safari, just a trip to a fabric shop. But this isn’t just any fabric store. This store has everything – everywhere. There are aisles and aisles of every kind of fabric imaginable. The fabric is stacked two high on both sides. It is then stacked on top of that and in front of each side on the floor making it so you sometimes have to go sideways just to get down an aisle. It’s hard work finding just what you want here, easier if you weren’t trying to find something specific, but today I am. I’m hunting for more reproduction fabric, reminiscent of that used by my grandmother to make everyone of her children, grandchildren, and I suppose a good many of her great-grandchildren, their very own special quilt. Now these weren’t the artful quilts that you see today. No elegant patterns here.
Just made with love for generations to pass down.

I think of the quilts I’ll make. Not fine or fancy, just cozy, becoming more beautiful as they age. Being used with love. That does it you know. Repeated washings, a little fraying, getting faded, like people… aging beautifully.

The quilt pictured above is just one of the many quilts my maternal Grandmother made.

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Sideways (in the Finger Lakes of Upstate NY)



With the popularity of the movie Sideways, about touring the Santa Barbara wine country, I thought that the other side of the country should have equal time. There are over 70 wineries in the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York. Go to: www.visitfingerlakes.org
Dr. Konstantin Frank is one of the more popular and award winning wineries in the Keuka Lake area. Find more information at: www.drfrankwines.com
The region is just beautiful!
But there are other things to do in this wine country and here are just some of my favorites that are in or about the area: You can hike through trails at the
Taughannock Falls State Park - with one of the highest waterfalls in the Northeast with a 215 ft. drop and 400 ft. high surrounding cliffs. http://www.taughannock.com (pictured above)
• Canandaigua Lady – a paddleboat tour on Canandaigua Lake
www.steamboatlandingonline.com/canandaigua_lady_defaultpage.asp
• Visit the Corning Glass Museum and go into the town where you can also see glass artists at work in some of the shops, as well as see the outstanding glassware for sale. www.cmog.org
• Watkins Glen State Park - The Gorge at this park is something not to be missed with its 19 waterfalls, it’s just breathtaking! Park at the bottom and take the shuttle bus to the top. Have your camera and a bottle of water with you. Even though you are hiking down it is tiring, but well worth it. Afterwards you can take a swim in the Olympic sized Swimming Pool in the park.
http://nysparks.state.ny.us/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/nysparks/parks.cgi?p+50
• Esperanza Mansion – Not only for the view on the Bluff overlooking
Keuka Lake but also for its outstanding food. www.EsperanzaMansion.com
• Garrett's Chapel - on the bluff overlooking Keuka Lake
www.winecountrycabins.com/parks/garrett-chapel
• Windmill Farm and Craft Market in Penn Yan has Amish/Mennonite specialties. www.thewindmill.com
• Miller's Essenhaus restaurant features many dishes and baked goods inspired by the area's Mennonite community. It is located 2 miles north of Penn Yan on Route 14A
• Skyland Farms Craft Gallery & Café in Hector, NY


Skyland Farms

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A-Pass-Along (All Purpose Cake)

The following is from a reader, Sue Doohan.

We grow most of our food and make everything from scratch. This recipe has been a real time saver.

ALL PURPOSE CAKE

In mixer bowl beat on low:
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs + 1 egg white
5 tbsp. olive oil (or whatever shortening suits you)

Mix in 1 cup yogurt ( plain or vanilla works best)

In another bowl sift together:
2 1/4 cups flour ( I use seven-grain flour)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
Whatever spices seem compatible to the flavor you choose for your cake.

Mix sifted ingredient combo into batter.

Lower speed and stir in two cups of whatever you've got to create the flavor (now's the time to add in vanilla if you used plain yogurt). We've used all kinds of chopped or pureed fruit, nuts, raisins, shredded zucchini or other squash, sliced bananas, chocolate chips ... our favorite is 1 cup white chocolate chips and 1 cup grated parsnips (don't knock till you've tried it!).

Bake at 350 (I've used bundt, tube, or loaf pans) for about 45 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, invert, remove from pan when cooled completely.

I haven't made chocolate cake this way. Our favorite for chocolate cake is a sourdough recipe. WARNING: the flavors of chocolate chips and pasnips do not make an appealing combination.

I often make triple batches because the cake freezes well.

Enjoy!
Sue Doohan
www.hearthstoneministries.net

Monday, April 18, 2005

Baby Magic



Baby Magic Calming Milk Bath with Lavender and Chamomile is a really nice soap for your shower or bath. The lotion is great for your feet, legs, and elbows.
If you finish the soap before the lotion, which you probably will, you can switch the pump to it. Just keep the flip-top cap so when it gets to the bottom you can store it upside down to get whatever is left in the bottle.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Shoebox Lifesaver

Some years ago my friend Hope was frequently traveling several hours back and forth to visit her ailing father. Knowing how draining this can be, I figured she could use a little something to make the trip easier. I purchased a plastic shoebox and filled it with assorted goodies: lifesavers, gum, breath mints, Tylenol, snack foods, juice boxes, and bottles of water. I also put in some markers, pens, paper, and card games for Lucy and Harrison, and last but not least some nice calming music to listen to for the ride.

Sometime later she told me that the kids got a kick out of that little box and that as things were used up they’d replace it. She also said that whenever my name comes up when she talks to her mom, her mom says, “Is that the girl who gave you the box when Dad was sick?"
Funny the little things people remember……

What kind of “lifesaver” can you be for someone who is going through a stressful time?
Sometimes just a small gesture can ease the way.

It doesn’t have to be big or “perfect”. As Nike commercial says, “Just Do It”!

There is a place right here at the Geranium Farm where you can go in a time of need; Vigils offers a place where you can light a virtual candle and say a prayer and if you would like the help, support and prayers of others the Farm message board provides a place for that too.

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Friday, April 15, 2005

When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie...



Here are a few tips I found out by trial and error that help in making homemade pizza.

 I use pre-made frozen dough. You can defrost your dough covered with plastic wrap in a lightly greased bowl overnight in the fridge. Then when you want to use it put the bowl on the counter and bring it to room temperature. If it is still cold it will be hard to stretch it out.
 Spray your pizza pan with Pam. Mine is Teflon-coated and has holes all over the bottom.Preheat your oven to 400’ while you are spreading your dough onto the pan. Sesame seeds can make a nice addition the crust. (If you have a pizza stone put it in the center rack at this time.)
 When it has reached 400’ put the dough without toppings on the top rack of the oven for approximately 5 minutes. This will vary depending on how thick you’ve made the dough. It shouldn’t get browned at all but be firm enough to transfer to the pizza stone if you wish to do so.
 After this remove it from the oven and add your sauce, any toppings, and cheese. It is important to lightly drizzle a little olive oil over the cheese as this will stop the cheese from browning before the crust is done. If you have the pizza stone slide the pizza onto this to bake.
 Bake for about 10 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it as ovens vary.

In the picture the top part of this pizza is regular mozzarella cheese and the bottom is from a fresh braided mozzarella that was marinated in oil and herbs.

...and to help you in making your pizza...



Note the pizza pans have holes. The 2 cheeses are herb-marinated in oil. The smaller one is a sun-dried tomato and basil flavor and the larger, from Sam's club, has herbs and red pepper flakes. The bottle with the pouring spout makes it easy to lightly drizzle the olive oil over the cheese. The sauce is probably what most pizza places use as you can buy a huge can of it in the warehouse clubs.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Baby Sign Language

You may have been hearing a lot lately about teaching your Baby Sign Language. Speaking from experience I highly recommend it. When our son David was a year old he started having ear infections. This went on for several months. Every time he had an infection with fluid in his ears he wasn't hearing clearly, like what it would sound like if you were underwater, anyway without hearing clear speech he couldn't imitate speech and make his needs known. We could see he was frustrated. After he had tubes put in his ears, the infections stopped. With other diagnosis' of developmental delays being made, he started O.T., P.T. and Speech Therapy. He took to it like a duck to water. What a blessing. I'm pretty sure "more" was the first sign he learned. What kid doesn't want more of something? There were maybe a dozen or so signs he, and we learned, as well as supporting family. In time he had to make an initial sound with a sign to get what he wanted and then eventually say the word.

Here's one article I found that I thought was pretty good:
UCB Parents Advice about Babies: Baby Sign Language

Michigan State University Communications Technology Lab has an American Sign Language Browser here: MSU Sign Language Browser. It's a good place to find a signs. You don't need a lot to start. Of course if you do a search of "Baby Sign Language" you'll find all sorts of information.

I think it might be a good idea for sign language to be offered in schools as a "Foreign Language" option and in speaking to my friend Carol she said it is starting to be offered in some schools. Perhaps that's because she lives in upstate NY not far from Rochester, which has the highest per capita population of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in the United States. The Rochester Institute of Technology is an the ideal place to begin your study of sign language because there are numerous educational and social resources for this in this community. To learn more about their program click here: Rochester Institute of Technology

Carol emailed me the link to excellent article that just appeared (Monday, April 11, 2005) on the Finger Lake Times Online - Geneva, NY. It is: All signs point to understanding: Visual clues help kids communicate before they can talk. Click here for the article: Finger Lake Times Online

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

PB and J - Twisted

No, not "twisted", I just wanted to get your attention. What we're really talking about here is grilled.I know it may sound gross, but it's really good. If you looked at the menu for the Circus Drive-In, it's there in the kid's menu. One of the few places I've ever seen it. It's one of my all time favorites, although I haven't tried it here, Grilled PB and J. Yes, that's right. Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly. My version - Grape Jelly and Reduced Fat, Super Chunk Skippy, good bread, fresh rye is really good and please grill it! That doesn't mean toast it. It means melt the butter in a pan and brown it on both sides. You can put a pot on it and squish it down a little too.
Oh...and...pleeze...don't email about it not being healthy...if you're looking for healthy, chances are you're not going to find it here!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Circus Drive-In



OK, not everyone will be able to take advantage of this one but if you should be visiting the Jersey Shore you just have to stop by the Circus Drive-In on Route 35 in Wall. It's been there since 1954 with Car Hop Service as well as casual dining with table service. The menu is affordable and huge and there are nightly specials. It's like a step back in time.

The website mentions a value card and locals also checkout Valpak for coupons. You can call to find out which night is "Cruise Night" with the old cars.
They are closed on Mondays and it is of course a seasonal place so don't expect it to be open in the winter.

Visit their website at: www.circusdrivein.com for phone number, times, directions, menu, and more pictures!

Do you have a really cool place in your area you'd like others to know about? Pass-it-on!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Hot Potato, Hot Potato!




Cracker Barrel restaurants sell this seasoning made for Baked Potatoes but we've used it on other vegetables as well steak and other meats.
To find a Cracker Barrel near you, go to: www.crackerbarrel.com
Note: Cracker Barrel no longer carries this product.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Genius Loves Company

No, I'm not the genius, Ray Charles is, and this the last CD he recorded before his death. He sings with guest artists, Natalie Cole, Elton John, Norah Jones, B.B. KIng, Gladys Knight, Diana Krall, Michael McDonald, Johnny Mathis, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, and James Taylor.
To give it a listen go to: www.amazon.com
Click on Music on the top bar, then on the left under SEARCH select Artist Name and type in Ray Charles. When you see the CD at the top, click on it. (Picture or Title) At the bottom of the new page you'll see: Listen to Samples
Check it out!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Tips on Keeping Track of Your Quilt Fabric




I scan my fabric on my computer scanner. Your fabric can be arranged by color families, project, or group purchase (with place indicated on the back, after the print is made), whatever works for you. I've found this method comes out better than photographing it. I crop, color correct, and save it to disk. I then take the disk to a Kodak machine that will further let me color restore it and make a real quality print, better than my printer. (Note – Not all machines let you make adjustments to your photos.) Yes, I could just cut swatches and glue them to a file card but I like this better.

I put all my photos in a small album that I can keep in my purse. You can also put pictures of quilts you want to make or have made in here too, to reference. You can also add cards of quantities of fabric you have or a project requires, colors of thread in your stock, or any notions you need or have.

Will this idea work for some other craft, hobby, or collecting that you do? Let me know or post it in the comments area.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Calling All Readers!

What are your tips on over coming procrastination? and....since procrastionation often leads to clutter, what have you done to solve this? Do you set a timer for 15 minutes and attack the kitchen junk drawer? Please send your solutions and I'll post them.

A-Pass-Along (Procrastination)

What's A-Pass-Along? A new feature here to pass on articles or something from someone else that I think you might like. I thought this was so well written, I just had to pass it along. First I'd like to start with a quote from the author.

"No one is born a procrastinator, he or she becomes one. Procrastination is not a character flaw. It's a habit, one that can be broken."

This is from the April 6th, 2005 issue of Guideposts magazine. The article by Mary Ann O' Roark, Roving Editor, is entitled, ASAP - Procrastination a problem? Better read this article quick. It is found on page 50. Go to the Guideposts website to see the whole article. (Click on where it says - In this Issue) www.guideposts.com

I'd like to add one more to her list.
5. The Sidetracker - You do actually start the task, but then get sidetracked by another part of the task, and then start on that one, or just jump to something else altogether. That's me!

Just a note - The Guideposts website has an Archives section. Right now it says it's presently being updated and you can't sign up for it, but you might want to check back and sign up for it in the future.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Simple Baby Quilts



If you don't do much sewing or don’t know anything about quilting, but would like to make a nice handmade quilt as a baby gift, I found these 4 links that had some simple ones. I made the first one listed for a friend’s first grandchild and I bet you could do it too.
The second one listed is a smaller one for preemies.

(If this interests you print out the directions as
sometimes links disappear after time.)

http://www.silverwing.net/cabinquilter/charities/01.html
http://www.silverwing.net/cabinquilter/charities/02.html
http://www.silverwing.net/cabinquilter/charities/03.html
http://www.silverwing.net/cabinquilter/charities/04.html

The baby quilt pictured above made of soft flannel,
was created by my friend Helen for a gift.

It is just little stuffed squares, stitched together with love.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Why the Hedgehog?

I figured sooner or later someone is going to ask me, "Why the Hedgehog?" Well, when I first thought of Hodgepodge as the name for this column, somehow a hedgehog just seemed to go with it. Now the more I think about it, it would be unusual to find a hedgehog in most any garden, but then the Geranium Farm isn't just any garden, and Barbara isn't just any "gardener".

A hedgehog is a quirky and unusual little fellow to stumble upon in your garden, as is the Hodgepodge. This is a place on "the farm" where all kinds of ideas and exchanges will be able to be cultivated and grown.

It's a smart farmer that knows that there's more than one way to till the soil.

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

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Monday, April 04, 2005

What is a Blog?

A reader asked me, "What is a Blog?" Funny you should ask, because before I started writing this one I didn't much know myself and I'm still learning. Anyway...to answer your question if you go to the following link I think it will help:
www.blogger.com

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Orange You Liken’ It?


Whereas some puppies have to grow into the size of their paws,
Westie’s have to “grow into their ears”!

When our little Westie, Maggie, was in “Puppy Training” she had her crate in the kitchen and was sometimes gated in there. At some point she started teething on the bottom of my kitchen cabinets. I had read that dogs don’t like the smell of citrus. I took out a bottle of orange extract, used in baking, and dabbed some with a cotton ball on the cabinet bottoms. She took one sniff of it and sneezed! That was the end of that. Once in awhile I had to reapply it.

The funny thing now is she’ll sit up and beg for a piece of orange or a slice of a Clementine.

Warmth from a Woodstove



I know it's spring and hopefully the warm weather we keep getting teased with will stay, but back in the fall of 2004 we starting using this new Woodstock Soapstone Woodstove. I can't say enough good things about it. It's in our downstairs den and it heats our whole house. Sure we've spent money on wood but our gas bills have been much lower. We like the constant heat along with a beautiful fire to watch, and with the long burn time this stove provides, we've been so pleased with this purchase. It has many more great features and you can read up about this quality woodstove at the: www.woodstove.com website
They have special sale prices from time to time so if you get in touch with them you'll get that information as well.
Our model is the Fireview with blue paint on the metal.

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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Parental Involvement = Good Student

You would think this would be a” no-brainer” but unfortunately it isn’t. I spoke with a friend who has been teaching second grade for a few years. She has a reputation as being tough, not only with the students, but with the parents as well. Each year she sends home a contract for the parents to sign and in part it says how the parents need to be a part of their child’s education.

Now jump ahead a few years, junior high age, and many years ago for me.
I can think of no better instance to illustrate this point than the following:
It’s back-to–school-night. I have four classes that are “Fundamental Skills” classes and one high level class. Can you guess the ending here?
Well, I had more parents show up in that one high level class than in the four other classes combined.

I can not stress this enough. There is a direct relationship between how well your child does in school and how involved you are as a parent.

- Read to your kids when they are little. Let them read to you.
- Set a good example by having them see you read.
- Take them to the library to pick out books.
- Help and check homework as needed.
- Quiz them on their spelling words, basic math facts, etc.
- Go to back to school night or those “open school” days when
you can sit in the back of the classroom. If you can’t go,
send their grandparent, Aunt or Uncle.
- Attend parent conferences and if you can’t, request a phone conference.
- Be an aide on a class trip, bake the cupcakes, make the costume,
read a story, give a lesson, in short, ask the teacher if there is something,
anything you can do to get involved in your child’s class.

Yes, that’s right; the school can’t do it alone. It’s a partnership. When your child sees you care from the beginning, they’ll do better in the end.


Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Friday, April 01, 2005

What to Expect Here

When Barbara sent out the first email saying she had been thinking about some people she wanted to join her website it wasn't until I scrolled down a bit and realized she meant me. Duh! You see over time I had sent her recipe here, a quip there, thoughts about things I felt strongly about, or a story about a friend or family member. I sent music I thought she'd like, shared information about something new I tried, and when her story popped up about the "Princess Chains" which I had already been making and giving to friends, I knew I had to send one of those along as well.
So......when Barbara asked me to write this column I said then what you want from me is a "Hodgepodge" of stuff and the name stuck. It was a perfect fit for what this will be!
I hope you enjoy this journey with me and maybe you'll have something to share and pass on as well. Debbie

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

15 Minutes of Fame

Many of you have heard of the late artist Andy Warhol’s saying that everyone sometime during their life will have their “15 Minutes of Fame”. Mine was 35 years ago when I was a senior in high school. You see during those melancholy years of teenage angst I had given my English teacher some poems I had written. She liked them and I thought that was the end of that. At the end of the year there was the Senior Awards Assembly. As the announcement was made for the Norman Stateman Poetry Award, all eyes, including mine, turned to this girl who was known for writing poetry. Only her name wasn’t announced, mine was. I was in shock. There was a bit of a buzz and I was asked to read a poem or two in class, but being too shy and self conscious I declined.

Well, fast forward, and now Barbara has honored me for my second chance for my “15 minutes of fame”. I guess the moral of the story is that when your 15 minutes come, grab ‘em, bask in them, and enjoy because you never know if (or when) you’ll get the chance again.

So thanks Barbara for the opportunity. I’ll try to do you proud!


Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb



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