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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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Friday, March 31, 2006

Email from author Faith Andrews Bedford

If you go back to 12/29/05 post you'll find: "Guess It's About Time For The Kids To Be Writing Those Thank You Notes". In it I passed along a story by Faith Andrews Bedford entitled, "Thank you, Uncle Arthur". Well, the following is an email I received from the author herself and I thought I'd share it with you!

Dear Debbie,

While Googling my name, which I do from time to time to see what people having been doing to it, I came across your Geranium site and your mention of my story "Thank you, Uncle Arthur." It is one of my personal favorites. Thank you for mentioning it. It is included in my latest book, Barefoot Summers. I'll be touring and doing signings this summer. Perhaps our paths will cross. Check my personal website for dates and places - that is when my dear webmaster brings things up to date!

Faith Andrews Bedford

Be sure to read Faith's latest book, Barefoot Summers: Reflections on Home, Family and Simple Pleasures (Sterling/Hearst) available wherever books are sold. Signed copies can be found on Faith's website.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Happy 1st Year to M.O.L.C.

Today is the first Anniversary of More or Less Church by Deacon Joanna Depue. Click on MOLC and send her your best wishes.

Happy First Anniversary DJ from Debbie and the "boys" and little Maggie too!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quotation on Friendship

The following quote came through on an Oprah Newsletter as the "Thought for Today".

"In each person I catch the fleeting suggestion of something beautiful and swear eternal friendship with that."
—George Santayana

Well, it got me to thinking about the unique characteristics that I love about my friends. I'm glad they have varied interests. It's nice to be able to enjoy different things with each of them. We give and take from each other that which makes us special to one another.

Copyright © 2006 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Revolution Tea

This company makes some very interesting teas. The one pictured above is their Honeybush Caramel Tea. It tastes to me, like the dessert, creme brulee, as a tea.
If you know a tea lover you can have their teas sent as gifts. You can also order variety packs so you can sample their wide array of teas.

Visit their website at:

Monday, March 27, 2006

Baby Quilt - White, Pink, Purple

Here's a picture of a new baby quilt I made for a gift.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Baby Magic

I had previously recommended this Baby Magic with Lavender and Chamomile. It now comes in this new bottle. It's not just for babies. Adults will love its calm soothing scent too!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

T-Shirt Throw or Duvet Cover

Hey, here's something to do with those cherished, but maybe not worn any more, T-Shirts that you've collected over the years. I just bet some of you have your most special rockin' T's from your youth that you were never able to part with, or not an old rock n' roller then perhaps you have a collection from your favorite sports team. Well, there is this company called stitch'T that "specializes in designing and manufacturing handmade throws and duvet covers in a wide spectrum of colors and a countless variety of themes. stitch'T will also craft custom designed throws upon request using your own t-shirts."
So if you're really stuck for a special gift it might be something to look into, but just make sure it's OK that those old T's get cut up.
You can get information on pricing and see samples at their website:

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Reality Check

OK, I'm on my soapbox again. If you look back to the 3/7 post, "Cancer Sticks", you know just how much I hate smoking and yes I did send out my postcards, for all the good that it will do, but it makes me feel better. You see it's not just because I see smoking as a disgusting habit, but I am also repulsed by the way the scheming tobacco companies do their filthy business. Go to the follow link to learn more:
There you'll see the quote by a tobacco industry executive, "If you are really and truly not going to sell to children you are going to be out of business in 30 years."

Here's some other facts from the site:
*The tobacco industry spends $11.22 BILLION a year trying to get us to smoke.
*Smoking kills more people than aids, murder, drugs, suicide, alcohol and car crashes.
*The number of people that start smoking at or before the age 18 is almost 90%.
*Ammonia is added to cigarettes to make the nicotine reach the brain faster to make people crave it even more.

You see.........the way they do business is just as horrible as the addiction they are peddling.
Big money equals no conscious.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Prayer in Spring - Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orcahrd white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
To which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends he will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Update - Locker Hook Rug

Almost done.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Irish Blessing

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS -1895

The following is one of those things that's going around the Internet and I'm posting it just as I got it. Being that my mom was from Kansas, I just had to pass it along. I wonder if my grandparents or great-grandparents took this test.
(See 8/31/05 for a 4 generation picture of me with my mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother from Kansas.)

See added note at bottom.

All this and no computer to find the answers?
What it took to get an 8th grade education in 1895 .
Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895?
This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, Kansas, USA.
It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS -1895
Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts

of "lie,""play,"and "run ."
5. Define case; Illustrate each case.
6. What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words
and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of

Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of
wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel,
deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary
levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for
5. Find the cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.0 0 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90%

9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, t! he distance of which is
640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United State s.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849,

Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology,
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals,
diphthong, cognate letters, linguals
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.'
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under
each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in
connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign
that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare,last. 9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign,
vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by
use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
3. Of what use are rivers! ? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America & gt;
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba,
Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources
of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete.
Gives the saying "he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?

Note: (3/20)
I just looked this up on:
and it says in part, that this purportedly final examination test is "supposed to be documentary evidence of how shockingly our educations have declined over the last century or so." This is why it says false at the top of the page. The false is refering to this test as proof as to a decline in standards, not as to whether this was a true test or not. Looking down the page a bit and you'll see a certification examination for prospective teachers, prepared by the Examiners of Teachers for the Public Schools in Zanesville, Ohio, in the late 1870s. Some of it is similar to the above test.

Thanks Carrie for passing this along.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

John C. Campbell Folk School

Here's a different vacation experience!
The John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, is situated on 380 acres in a rolling valley. The Folk School offers visitors a blend of history, art and natural beauty in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Here is a list of classes they offer:
Basketry, Beads, Blacksmithing, Book Arts, Broom Making, Calligraphy, Chair Seats, Clay,Cooking, Crochet, Dance, Dolls & Bears, Drawing, Dyeing, Enameling, Felt Making, Gardening, Genealogy, Glass, Jewelry, Kaleidoscopes, Knitting,Lace, Leather, Marbling, Metalwork, Mixed Media, Music, Nature Studies, Needlework/Thread Art, Painting, Paper Art, Photography,Printmaking, Quilting, Rugs, Sewing, Soapmaking, Spinning, Stone/Sculpture/Mosaics, Storytelling, Surface Design, Unique Offerings, Weaving, Woodcarving, Woodturning, Woodworking, Writing

Wow, so much to choose from. I'd love to take quite a few of these classes.

To learn more go to their website at:
You can order a catalog there.

John C. Campbell Folk School
One Folk School Road
Brasstown, North Carolina 28902
Toll-free 1-800-FOLK SCH (365-5724) or 828-837-2775
(Fax) 828-837-8637

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Flavored Waters

There has been on the market for quite awhile packets that you can add to your bottled water to flavor it, but they never used Splenda until now. Kool Aid and Country Time Lemonade have come out with these that use sugar, sucralose (Splenda), and the Kool-Aid also has fructose. The Kool-Aid comes in Grape and Tropical Punch Flavor as well. They are 30 to 35 calories per 8oz. serving. The lemonade is to be made with a 16.9 oz. bottle of water while the Kool-Aid an 8 oz. bottle.
My favorite of the flavored waters is Peach Propel. I also like the Wild Berry Aquafina water.
I know it's best to just drink plain old water but the new flavored waters greatly reduced my soda intake, so that's a good thing! Baby steps.

Peach Propel

Monday, March 13, 2006

Test Your Senses

Here's a cool link to test your senses. Give it a try.
Thanks Don for passing this along.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Locks of Love

As the story goes, back when I was just a little more that three years old, my mother took me for my first haircut. I looked at the beauticians in their white uniforms, as they wore back then, and would have no part of it! She brought me back home, took pictures, braided my hair, and then cut off the braids. They stayed in a long Arnold Constable's necklace box, labeled in faint pencil, "Cut Debbie's hair April 4, 1955 3 yrs 2", for over 50 years.
I finally put the pictures and braids together and now have a loving memory of the time and care my mother took to record this special moment.

Copyright © 2006 Deborah Sharp Loeb

If you have long hair you'd like to donate to be made into wigs for financially disadvantaged children ages 18 years old and younger that have hair loss due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, go to:
There you can download a donation form and find out all the information. Don't have hair to donate? There are other ways you can help.
(The minimum length is ten inches. My braids were only eight.)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Quotation - Leo Buscaglia

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
-Leo Buscaglia

How often do you think about in the day to day exchanges you have, not only with family but also with anyone you may come in contact with, how you may make a difference in their life? Think about kindnesses that have been bestowed upon you, in even the smallest gestures, and how they made you feel at a given time. As you go about your day is there something you can do to make a difference in someone else's? My challenge to you is to try to bring this more to the forefront of your mind, and think about it as you go through your day. Each time you have an interaction with someone is there just a little something you can do? It can be ever so small as just a smile or a nod. Whatever you do, it may be just the thing, that helped brightened that person's day or made a difference in their life.

Copyright © 2006 Deborah Sharp Loeb

(Note: Blogger was doing a check for spam and no posts could go up until it cleared through.)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cancer Sticks

Cigarettes, that's what I call them, cancer sticks. This morning they claimed the life of another, Dana Reeve, the wife of Christopher Reeve died of lung cancer, yet she never smoked. When she was first diagnosed she figured it was due to all the years she spent as a cabaret singer, singing in those smoky lounges. How many more have to die before the tobacco companies get out of the business. I guess when big money is the bottom line you just don't have a conscious. I know there was one family member of one of those companies that left the business. Good for him. I guess the others just don't care that they are peddling illness and death. Those farmers could just as well be growing corn and those companies could be making ethanol gas.
My dad smoked for 60 years up until he had congestive heart failure at the age of 80. Being that he was in and out of the hospital so many times, and couldn't smoke, he finally stopped. He "crossed over to the other side" as we like to say. He finally "got it". He saw how pleasant it was to sit in the non-smoking section when we went out to eat. No longer did he and his car reek of smoke. Of all his health issues, the one thing that is the worst, is his trouble breathing.
During World War II the tobacco companies gave the servicemen cigarettes for free. Real nice of them, huh. How many of them got hooked and have died since of tobacco related illnesses?
When my mother would watch the boys she'd say, "I washed all their clothes for you" and if there were plastic containers those too. I'd have to rewash everything. It smelled like an ashtray. She still smoked close up until she died.
Back when my brother-in-law was living and smoked and the boys were little, there were times when we thought twice about going over to visit. You come home, your clothes smelling, and you're going to put your kids to bed with that stench of smoke on them? NOT!
You smoke? Wonder why people don't visit?
When I see people huddled outside buildings smoking, it just looks like a bunch of drug addicts to me shooting up without a needle.

Here are the addresses of some of the major tobacco companies. Send them a postcard. Tell them how you feel. Send this to everyone on your email list. Wouldn't it be great if they got flooded with them?
Don't know what to say? Perhaps just one bold line like:

Smoking killed my ______________
Cigarettes kill people!
Get out of the business of peddling illness and death.

Copyright © 2006 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Philip Morris USA
Consumer Response Center
P.O. Box 26603
Richmond, Virginia 23261

R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
Consumer Relations Department
P. O. Box 2959
Winston-Salem, NC 27102-2959

Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.
N.G. Brooks, Chairman
PO Box 35090
Louisville, KY 40232
401 South 4th Avenue, Suite 200
Louisville, KY 40202

Liggett Group, Inc.
John Long, Vice President & General Counsel
Liggett Group, Inc.
100 Maple Lane
Mebane, NC 27302-8160

Lorillard Tobacco Company
Ronald S. Milstein, Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary
Lorillard Tobacco Co.
714 Green Valley Road
PO Box 10529
Greensboro, NC 27404-0529

Monday, March 06, 2006

NJ Quiltfest

This is one of the quilts that was on display and I thought it was a really cool idea to make a copy of an old postcard and use it to display photo's from a state. What a neat way to remember a special trip you've taken or you could even do one of your hometown. I wish I had pictures of my hometown back from when I was growing up. Many of the old businesses from Main Street are no longer there. I do have one old color postcard of Main Street. It would be a good place to start. I'll add it to my list of future projects!
(I was able to find some old photo's on the Internet!)
Note quilt description and credit below.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Take Me Back to the Fifties

Turn on your sound and click below for a nostalgic trip back to the fifties:

Thanks Joan for passing this along.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Chicken Piccata Made Easy

This is sold at Sam's Club and I thought I'd pass it along as our family enjoys it. I make thin spaghetti as it's cooking and then toss it all together. The other night I even tossed in thin lemon slices.
I have found it is best to just put a small slit in the center of the plastic top and only microwave for 14 minutes. More exposure or microwaving longer will result in dry edges on the chicken. (Of course all microwaves vary.)
Don't belong to Sam's Club, perhaps you have a friend that does and can pick it up for you!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Internet Movie Database

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is a vast collection of 6.3 million individual film/TV credits information. There are pertinent details about movies, from who was in it, to who made it, to trivia about it, to filming locations, and even where you can find reviews and fan sites on the web. You can also look up information on TV shows.

There is so much information here you just have to check it out for yourself:

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