Geranium Farm Home     Who's Who on the Farm     The Almost Daily eMo     Subscriptions     Coming Events     Links
Hodgepodge     More or Less Church     Ways of the World     Father Matthew     A Few Good Writers     Bookstore
Light a Prayer Candle     Message Board     Donations     Gifts For Life     Pennies From Heaven     Live Chat

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.

Subscribe for HP via email

Search Hodgepodge...

Thursday, June 30, 2005

A-Pass-Along (The Small Tree)

The following is one of those stories
that gets passed around the internet.
I thought it was worth posting.
Thanks Carrie, for sending it on to me.


I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job: a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric drill quit, and his ancient one ton truck refused to start.

While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.

When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

"Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied "I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing's for sure, those troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children... So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them. Then in the morning I pick them up again." "Funny thing is," he smiled," when I come out in the morning to pick 'em up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."

We should all have one.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Butterball - It's Not Just Turkey Anymore!

From those folks that make the Butterball turkey
there are Chicken Breast Strips in 5 flavors;
Oven Roasted, Grilled, Italian, Southwestern, and
pictured above, my favorite, Honey Roasted. All
are precooked and ready to eat and come in a reusable container.
The website: even has some recipes
you can make with them and of course they also make oven roasted turkey strips!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Pictures from our "Geraniumfest"

If you haven't read Barbara's eMo about our little "Geraniumfest" get together it was posted on June 21st. Pictured below is the famous Noodle stalking through the hosta's plants just to tease Deacon Joanna's dog. As she emerged from her jungle she crept under David on the lounge chair where he was holding Emmy-Lou. It looks like she's got her eye on one of E-L's doggy toys!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Another Graduation - Revisited

Yesterday we had a family party for Brian's graduation/18th birthday (and it happened to be on held our 28th Anniversary, he being born a day before our 10th). It got me to thinking back to David's graduation from High School. You can see him in the picture below being led up to receive his diploma by his teacher he had for those 6 years, Chris Graham. It warms my heart and still brings a tear to my eye as I remember how he was cheered by his classmates. We kept David in High School until he was 21 as the law allows, as with him being unable work, we knew the only thing that awaited him was a waiting list. His name sits on a waiting list with thousands of others for a day program that is DDD (Department of Developmental Disabilities) approved and that they will pay for. I found a wonderful adult program for David in a special needs school that was similar to his High School program. In January he started going one day a week and I drive him there and back. In September he'll go 2 days because one day they go bowling and he was exciting about doing that. For now we will pay out-of-pocket for it. I'll have to check back to see if it got on DDD's "approved list".

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Friday, June 24, 2005

A-Pass-Along (Untitled Poem)

The waves tug at us,
moving us forward, backward,
as we travel at the whim of the wind.

Black and forboding,
clear as azure,
the colors of the sea in the eye of the sailor.

Storms come and go,
leaving disaster in their wake,
but also granting us a new beginning.

Some hold onto driftwood,
barely hanging on,
While others walk on the water,
pure confidence.
And only those who hesitate begin to
As we sail the sea of life.

Margo' H. Smith

My question of the day: are you walking on the water or sinking?

Thank you Margo for your contribution to HP!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

VNS Therapy

In Barbara's eMo (6/21/05) she mentioned David having a medical device for his seizures. What he has is a Vagus Nerve Stimulator or VNS. You can read more about it here:
or any number of places over the internet. This particular website is that of the manufacturer of the device,Cyberonics, Inc.
Over the years David has been on many seizure medications. The pattern is that they will work for awhile, a "honeymoon" period so to speak, then levels are raised as high as can be tolerated, as being over medicated will cause him to have seizures as well. Finally he'll have to move onto something else with his body having built up a tolerance to the medication. There were even a few meds that we noticed a change in his personality like him becoming nasty or angry and had to be stopped.
We even used the special Ketogenic diet for seizures for a short time while we were waiting for David to be approved for a trial for a new medication years ago. The diet helped briefly but was extremely hard to manage as David was older at the time, and it wasn't attempted when he was younger as he was a fussy eater and would even gag on some foods. (I believe some due to his neurological problems.)
David still is on a combination of medications. The VNS implant was added in the summer of 2000. (We were running out of medication options that would work effectly for him.) He had had a Grand Mal seizure on Super Bowl Sunday of that year. David has all types of seizures but that was the first time he had ever had one of those. As you can imagine, it really freaked us out to say the least. These still aren't the most frequent of his seizures but the VNS is really helpful in "stopping them in their tracks". You see in addition to the device going off every 5 minutes for 30 seconds, to help "break" seizures, there is a very strong magnet that can be passed over the device to turn it on just a little stronger during the onset of a seizure to help stop it. We have found it to be most helpful for David's bigger seizures.

The VNS device is also being used to treat some forms of depression and you can find out more about that on the Internet or find a Neurologist that specializes in VNS Therapy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A-Pass-Along (Pet Finder)

In Deacon Joanna's posting on 4/19/05 in More or Less Church she mentioned her adopted dog Emmy-Lou. What she didn't mention is how she found her. Well, there is a website where you can enter: the type of pet you are looking for, breed, size, age, gender, state and range to search. The site is:
So before you think about purchasing a pet elsewhere look here and maybe you can find just what you were looking for and rescue a pet in need.
Thanks for the info DJ!
Pictured below: Deacon J with her adopted dog, Emmy-Lou taken during our little Geraniumfest get together.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

High School Graduation

My "baby", Brian, he'll be 18 on Saturday, just graduated from High School last night. I think back to when I graduated, 35 years ago. Some girlfriends and I were talking about it. At that time things still hadn't "opened up" much for women. You basically had 4 choices: teacher, nurse, secretary, or stewardess (as they were called back then). We all think how great it is now that there are so many more choices for women and wonder what we might have done if things had been different and how it would have shaped and changed our lives. But then so it is for each new will they see their future?
As for Brian, he'll be off to the local community college for the next 2 years. You see, he hasn't figured out just yet what it is he wants for his future. But then that's OK, he has time......and choices......

The picture below is of Brian when he was in Kindergarten and has been on the front of the refrigerator all these years. I think I'll keep it there... somehow I just can't take it down yet.

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Monday, June 20, 2005

A-Pass-Along (Tapestry Crochet)

I was in the craft store the other night and got talking to another customer there. I saw that she was buying a set of small metal crochet hooks and crochet thread. Being naturally curious as I am, I asked her what she was going to make. She told me she came across a website for something called Tapestry Crochet. The website can be found at:
It explains that "Tapestry crochet is similar to regular crochet, except that one or more yarns are carried while another is crocheted. The finished pieces look woven instead of crocheted."
There are 2 small projects you can do to try it out. One is for a spiral basket and the other is a necklace pouch. If you look at the directions be sure to click on "rounds" for further directions to help you.
Now the author of this website and a book on Tapestry Crochet has another site that has links to all kids of arts and crafts from around the world that you may find of interest. You can find this at:
Thanks Elaine F. for all the information and interesting conversation!

Friday, June 17, 2005

A-Pass-Along (Dancing Deer Baking Company)

Today's Pass-Along comes from our own Deacon J of More or Less Church. She says,"A few years ago my sister sent me a tin of molasses cookies from this company and they were chewy, with some zing, and absolutely wonderful. Check out this website..... maybe you might want to order something or pass on the tip."
The website is:
I checked it out and their stuff looks yummy and wouldn't you know it they just happen to be having the First-Annual Keith's Year-End Bake Sale where you Save 30% on anything and everything shipped before Friday, June 24th! It says to just enter coupon "YEAREND05" at the shopping cart page to receive discount.
Thanks for the tip Deacon J!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A David Moment (G & G)

Last Saturday I was gone all day. I went to a quilt show in the morning and when I returned home in the afternoon I was only home briefly before I headed out again to visit old friend from out of state. My in-laws are here most every Saturday to visit with David and when my mother-in-law said to David, "I guess you're hanging out with your Dad today", he replied, "No Grandma. I'm hanging out with you and Grandpa".

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Peach Melba Tea

Ahh...a new favorite tea. This one is from Eastern Shore Tea Company in Lutherville Maryland 21093 Phone: 1-800-823-1408 or on the web at:
They make all kinds of unusual flavors of teas in regular and decaf.
Eastern Shore Teas can be found at all Wegmans Stores, and all Dean & Deluca Stores or you can order them from The Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company, Inc. 1-800-823-1408
This company has all kinds of different teas and coffees so you may want to go back to their home page and look around more if you plan on placing an order. They carry Benchley Teas and their Strawberry Decaf was my very favorite for years. They stopped making it in bags but I'm able to purchase it locally, loose along with their others in little 1 oz. bags, and I mix the different fruit flavors together.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Debunking Urban Legends and Such

Is your email loaded with strange news stories, the stuff of urban legends? Do you wonder if the old wives' tales you've heard are true? ...and what about that celebrity gossip and rumors you've heard, wondering if they're true? Well, there is a place to check it all out and more. So before you hit the forward button, check it out first at:
This site will debunk the folklore and set you straight on whether or not that latest piece of information it true or not. Check it out. It's an interesting website.

Monday, June 13, 2005

AFI's Top 100

On the post for 4/28/05, Do You Love Movies?, I told you that one thing that that website has are the various AFI (American Film Institute) lists on movies. On Tuesday, June 21, check your local listing for time and channel, they present their top 100 of famous lines from the movies. If you miss it or would like to see the list, or other top AFI lists the place to go is:

Friday, June 10, 2005

3-D Paper Tole

Paper Tole is a 3-D Decoupage paper craft. It is the art of re-creating a frame-able art picture in three dimension using various cut-outs taken from 5 or more of the same print and building them layer upon layer.
Here’s a link from the Carol Duvall Show from the DIY Network that will tell you a little more about this craft.,2045,DIY_15079_3091858,00.html

It's hard to see with a photo but the pictures are in layers and have a 3-D effect.
The pictures shown were done by my mother-in-law, Ruth Loeb.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Fruit Dip

Beat together: 1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme and 6 oz. soft cream cheese

Fold in: 3/4 cup Cool Whip or whipped cream

Add in: 1 Tablespoon Orange Juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated Orange rind

Thanks to cousin Dawn for this recipe!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A David Moment (New Friend)

Some time ago David and I went to take my Dad out to lunch with my brother. Now we had been up there before since my dad's new Slovakian aide had started but David hadn't really met her. This time after we got back from lunch we went inside my dad's house and David spent sometime with Bozena (pronounced Bojenna). She put him on the stair chair lift and had him ride up and down the stairs many times. Seeing that David was disabled she asked me if he had born that way and I said yes. She put her head down and her eyes filled with tears. She said to him over and over again, "David you and I are friends, yes?" and hugged him. He gave her his special hug which is very hard.
Later that night I went into check on him in bed. He was awake and he looked at me with a big grin and said, "I have a new friend."

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Dreamin' Again

Coney Island Waffle Cone
Vanilla Ice Cream with caramel swirled through it
with bits of chocolaty dipped pieces of sugar waffle cone.
One of Edy’s Dreamery selections.

Monday, June 06, 2005

English Paper Piece Quilting

"Paper Piecing is an old method of quiltmaking which is still being used today. The cut paper piece is the finished size. You add the seam allowance as you cut the fabric, using the paper as a guide. The fabric is then basted to the paper pieces. After basting, the pieces are sewn together, edge-to-edge, with the paper inside to hold the accurate shape. Once the block is completed, the papers are removed. Complete step-by-step instructions come with each package of Paper Pieces."

"Paper Piecing allows you to carry a project with you at all times tucked in a corner of your purse or a small bag. You can piece in airplanes, in waiting rooms, at hospitals, at sporting events, and traveling in the car. If you have a few minutes, you can easily take it out and work on it. No need for a special place in your house where the sewing machine can be set up. You can have a basket of fabric and Paper Pieces by the sofa or your favorite chair."

"Paper Pieces are measured from point-to-point along an edge. They can be combined in an endless variety of ways, tape two pieces together to create new pieces, or split them to suit your own ideas. Use Paper Pieces for traditional quilt patterns or experiment and design your own."

"Paper Pieces are reusable. Quality paper stock allows you to reuse each piece a number of times. Once you no longer need to sew to a piece, just pull the basting threads and the papers come out the back side of the block or quilt top. Papers in appliqued pieces are removed by removing the basting stitches, cutting the foundation fabric away from the back, inside the sewing line, and pulling out the Paper Piece, leaving a single layer of fabric. Instructions are included with each package."
The description of Paper Piecing is reprinted with permission from:
Paper Pieces
PO Box 68
Sycamore, IL 60178

FAX 815/899-2900

I have just started this method of quilting and I absolutely love it. It is so easy, comes out very neat, and it goes so quickly! The best thing is, is that you can take it and do it anywhere. No more having to sit over the sew machine for hours on end.
The picture below shows the back of a piece of the 1 inch hexagons joined together.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream Chocolate Frosting

This is a family favorite from the time I was a little girl. I think it is best when used with a dark chocolate cake mix.

Whipped Cream Chocolate Frosting

2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
(Optional: add just a touch of instant coffee for a slight mocha flavor, perhaps a 1/4 teaspoon)

Mix (do not whip) all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and set in your refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. Longer is OK. (Place your beaters in the freezer.) Then beat the mixture until it is so thick it holds its shape and will stand in peaks.
This makes enough frosting for the top, sides and between the split layers even if you use a generous hand.
Allow the cake to chill well through before serving.
Garnish with grated chocolate or chopped walnuts.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream, for Ice Cream

Luckily for my youngest he has a June birthday. Why lucky you ask? Because this mom, instead of sending in cupcakes or doughnuts for his birthday went to school every year from the time he was in kindergarten, and taught the kids how to make vanilla ice cream. Those kids loved Brian’s birthday! By 5th grade, his last for that school, we called the principal to come down to the classroom and presented him with a gift for the school of a brand new ice cream machine.

Oh, and we did do it just one more time, for the entire 6th grade!
(I also did it for quite a number of David's classes as well.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


When we finally sold the condo and moved into a house we got the dog we had always promised the boys. Her official name is Maggie May Mc Neal, but but most often you can hear me calling....."Baby Girl". She's a Westie – A West Highland White Terrier - Extremely Smart – and has us well trained!
*When she was about 6 months old she used to try to "trade" her puppy Milkbone biscuits for Brian's toast after her morning walk. I'd give her the biscuit and she'd drop it by Brian's feet and then stare at the toast in his hand.
(She'd also give it back to us to break it into smaller pieces for her.)
*At about the same age she decided she wanted her dry kibble wet. She’d take her nose and flip the water to the other side of the bowl to wet her food and then wait until it was the consistency she wanted and then would go back to eat it. When she figured out that by bumping the bowl across the kitchen floor achieved better results to get the water to the other side she did that. I put a stop to that quickly as I'd have a trail of water going across my floor.
*She "talks" - "coughs" or "hacks" in that order - to get our attention when she needs to go out.
*She barks at car-carriers when they go by - she knows which they - and has been doing this since she was a puppy and we haven't a clue as to why.
*She naps on our bed if I haven't made it yet. Once I make it she's not interested and moves to Brian's bed.
*She can jump on our bed, but if I'm already in it at night she makes me lift her up onto it.
* Also, if I feed her bits from the table and then show her "empty hands" and say "All gone - no more" - she'll try someone else or leave. She doesn't "beg" - just sits there and looks at you and takes food very gently.
*If you ask her to find her ball she'll usually track it down and then wants to play "fetch". If you're at the bottom of the stairs she push the ball with her nose to drop it down the stairs. She sometimes even "throws" it to you.
*If you don't give her a treat after she's been out - she'll follow you around to you do.
*At dinnertime if you haven't put her food in her bowl she'll "talk" or bark at you to let you know she want's to be fed.
*About 2 years ago when we had so much snow, Paul made trails for her in the backyard with the snowblower. Being that it was so deep she stayed in the trails and we didn't have to walk her. As the snow melted she continued to stay in the backyard. Then one day Paul thought Brian had let her in, and Brian thought Paul had let her in, and when they realized what had happened, Brian ran to the front door put on his shoes, and was about to head out, and there she was sitting on the front porch looking at the door.
*When Paul comes home she runs to him at the top of the stairs and "talks" to him and gives him “kisses”.
What a character!
That's my (hairy little) girl!

Oh, and her adorable sweater was made by my childhood friend, Carol. Now that’s a friend ...taking time to knit a sweater for your dog!

Copyright © 2005 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Copyright © 2003-Present Geranium Farm - All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any materials on this web site for any purpose
other than personal use without written consent is prohibited.