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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, April 28, 2006

Cordless Doorbell

We've had one of these cordless doorbells for a number of years. If David needs assistance and I'm in another part of the house where I might not be able to hear him calling, he can have the button with him and I can have the chime with me. By adding velcro to the back of the button it can be mounted anywhere.
When my father came to need a home health aide, I got one for him.
Most recently my in-laws were in need of one as they couldn't hear the regular doorbell when they are in their den. This did the trick!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work

"Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® Day program was founded by the Ms. Foundation for Women to create an opportunity for girls and boys to share and communicate their expectations for the future. The national date for the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® program is on the fourth Thursday in April. Having a consistent date helps workplaces, parents, communities, and schools plan ahead to create a unique educational experience for girls and boys across America."
Have you ever taken your son or daughter to your place of work? Do they know what kind of work you do? My husband took our son Brian years ago to the school where he teaches.
So if you haven't done it before, you now have a whole year to plan to do it for next year!
To learn more about the program go to this link:

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Child Safety Toolkit

How current a photo and informatiom do you have on your child?
From the Duracell website at: you can take the Child Safety IQ test. There you can also download a Child Safety Toolkit. One of the most important things you can do is to take a color facial portrait of your child every 6 months. You can even sign up to get an email alert reminder to update your photo.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mc Cain Baby Potato Pancakes

These are easy to cook on the grill using Reynolds Wrap Release Foil. Nice with steak or burgers. Just brown on one side and turn. They came out better than the oven and faster. Onion rings worked well too.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Decorative Painting Techniques

These links will show you videos on how to do some decorative painting techniques.
(Note: If this is of interest to you check it out as links sometimes disappear in time.)

For walls - Parchment, Venetian Plaster, Crinkle Paper, Strie, Color Wash, Leather, Stencil, or Stripes

For Furniture - Distressing, Marbling, Mettalic, Woodgrain

Go to this link:,,HGTV_22056_41902,00.html

Friday, April 21, 2006

Directions to Make a Cloth Basket

Read these directions all the way through before beginning. If you're not sure you understand, practice first with some scrap fabric. You can email if you have a question. Let me know how you do and send me a picture of your completed project. Note: I would recommend a heavier weight fabric. The fabric I used was remnant, drapery or upholstery fabric.
Each tie is about 10" long.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cloth Basket Project

Last year on vacation I picked up the reversible cloth basket pictured above at a Cracker Barrel restaurant gift shop. I took a look at how it was made and figured I could duplicate it. I made a pattern, shown bottom right, a little bigger than the purchased one, big enough to hold a 9" x 9" pan. The one I bought had cardboard between the layers for stability but I wanted something washable. I used the extra firm plastic needlepoint canvas sandwiched between layers of craft foam. Ribbon or double fold bias tape (sew together) can be used for the corner ties. The one pictured below is the one I made.
It's a nice way to bring a dish to someone's house and then give the basket to your hostess!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Recently there's been a commercial running to have your home checked for radon. Radon gas causes lung cancer. If you'd like to know more about radon you can go to the U.S. Enviromental Protection Agency at:
You can get more information there and download a discounted coupon for a test kit. (limited time offer)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

SnackWell's Cookies

Tried these cookies and didn't like them, or like them but would like even a better way to enjoy them? Try freezing them! They really taste better frozen. I have a couple with a cup a tea in the evening when I sit down to relax.

Monday, April 17, 2006

April is National Autism Awareness Month

Some information about autism from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
"Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests. Other ASDs include Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS). Experts estimate that three to six children out of every 1,000 will have autism. Males are four times more likely to have autism than females.
There are three distinctive behaviors that characterize autism. Autistic children have difficulties with social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors or narrow, obsessive interests. These behaviors can range in impact from mild to disabling.

The hallmark feature of autism is impaired social interaction. Parents are usually the first to notice symptoms of autism in their child. As early as infancy, a baby with autism may be unresponsive to people or focus intently on one item to the exclusion of others for long periods of time. A child with autism may appear to develop normally and then withdraw and become indifferent to social engagement.

Children with autism may fail to respond to their name and often avoid eye contact with other people. They have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling because they can’t understand social cues, such as tone of voice or facial expressions, and don’t watch other people’s faces for clues about appropriate behavior. They lack empathy.

Many children with autism engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and twirling, or in self-abusive behavior such as biting or head-banging. They also tend to start speaking later than other children and may refer to themselves by name instead of “I” or “me.” Children with autism don’t know how to play interactively with other children. Some speak in a sing-song voice about a narrow range of favorite topics, with little regard for the interests of the person to whom they are speaking.

Many children with autism have a reduced sensitivity to pain, but are abnormally sensitive to sound, touch, or other sensory stimulation. These unusual reactions may contribute to behavioral symptoms such as a resistance to being cuddled or hugged."

To read more about the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and more go to:

You might also want to check out the Autism Society of America at:

Emma Hall has passed along the following:

I saw that your post is somewhat related to the topic that I am currently researching, and noticed that you’ve shared and included as a resource. Just thought that our updated guide on Autism Self Harm will be more beneficial and helpful for your audience.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Easter!

From the website here's some Easter crafts for the kids.

I've printed out these little baskets to fill with some candy and use as placecards for the dinner table. (When you go to print be sure to set it to just print page 1.)

Have a Happy Easter!

Friday, April 14, 2006


First let me say I know nothing about wine and seldom ever drink alcohol but I had some of this wine last weekend when we out for a family celebration and liked it. It wasn't too sweet or too dry. It comes in a frosted bottle with a "window" in the center which shows a landscape. The bottle says: Moselland - Arsvitis - Riesling - Qualitatswein
I bought this bottle to have with Easter dinner.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Maundy Thursday

The word "Maundy" comes from the Latin for 'command' (mandatum). It refers to the command given by Jesus at the Last Supper, that his disciples should love one another.

and from website:
"The word "maundy" may have come from the maund (or mand) basket used by the fishermen in the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. Centuries ago, there was a fair held on this day in Norwich (Norfolk), at which vendors sold horses, cattle and general merchandise. Some of the fisher-folk brought their maund baskets filled with items to sell, including fish. Clothing and hats were sold, as it was customary to buy a new item of clothing for Easter Sunday. This may well have been the origin of the Easter bonnet and the notion of wearing new spring attire for Easter.
Maundy Thursday may also have come from the Latin word mandatum, meaning "commandment," as in the Biblical words of Jesus:
"A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34, NIV)
Many Maundy Thursday services begin with these words."

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Enchanted Learning

I came across this website and I think it offers lots of good activites for kids. It says at the site:
"Enchanted Learning® produces children's educational web sites which are designed to capture the imagination while maximizing creativity, learning, and enjoyment.
Ease of use is a hallmark of our material. Children need the clearest, simplest computer interface, and our material is created so that the navigation and controls are intuitive. Our mission is to produce the best educational material, emphasizing creativity and the pure enjoyment of learning."

If you are a teacher or home school your kids you can find many things here that you could you to enhance your lessons. You can become a subscriber for $20 a year but there are tons of pages for prospective subscribers to sample!
Even if you just want some rainy day activities this is a good place to look!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bunny Cut-Up Cake

1 pkg. (7 oz.) BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut (2-1/3 cups), divided
2 baked 9-inch round cake layers, cooled
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Strawberry Whipped Topping, thawed
Suggested decorations, such as licorice, assorted ring-shaped candies, gumdrops

LEAVE 1 cake whole; cut remaining cake as shown in illustration. Arrange cake on serving tray as shown in illustration, using small amount of the whipped topping to hold pieces together. Frost cake with remaining whipped topping.
SPRINKLE coconut over bunny's head and ears. Decorate with licorice and candies. Store in refrigerator.
Prepare as directed, using regular COOL WHIP Whipped Topping and tinted coconut. To tint the coconut, mix 1/2 tsp. water with a few drops of food coloring. Add to coconut in resealable plastic bag. Seal bag; shake until coconut is evenly tinted. Sprinkle center of bunny's ears with tinted coconut.

We made this cake when I was a kid without the coconut and just covered it with vanilla icing and decorated it. I made it for my boys when they were little for Easter.
This is from:
Search for - Bunny Cut-Up Cake
To see how to cut it up more clearly go to the link and click in the recipe where it says Bunny Rabbit Cut-Up Cake.
What are your special Easter recipes, traditions, or stories? Pass them along to be posted.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Software Easter Eggs

What are software Easter Eggs might you ask? Go to the link below to find out!®ioncode=NA&cat=tafriend

Friday, April 07, 2006

Life Lesson

When putting the canned dog food into the bowl, this would not be a good time to sample the just baked meatloaf, while answering the phone. Why may you ask? Umm...because you just take a mouthful of dog food by mistake! That's what my husband did the other night. Ugh! Of course he spit it right out .......... after noting it was dry.

Meatloaf .... the way I make it.

In a large bowl.
ground beef - pound or more. 80/20 Break the meat apart.
8 oz. can tomato sauce (Hunt's makes one with basil, garlic, and oregano that's nice. I never use ketchup.)
1 envelope of Lipton Onion soup mix
1 egg
garlic powder and fresh ground salt & pepper to taste
parsley flakes
bread crumbs - seasoned or unseasoned - whatever I have on hand. I don't measure. I just sprinkle them over the meat to lightly cover. Too much will make a mushy meatloaf.
You can add a little basil and/or oregano if you like.
(or other spices you like for that matter.)
I sometimes add some finely diced carrots and celery.

Mix everything together with a fork until well combined. Now put a wire rack in a 13 x 9 pan and cover it with foil. Reynolds Wrap "Release" Non-Stick Grill Foil is excellent for this. Form the meat into a loaf that's about 1 1/4" - 1 1/2" thick. Put water in the pan to catch the drippings.
Bake: 375' for about 45 minutes or desired doneness. We like ours to the browner side.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Be Careful Where You Stick Your Nose...

... because you just never know what might end up on the end of it! It's seems Maggie found a little velcro ball to a target game. I had one heck of a time getting her hair detangled from it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


This pass-along comes from my friend Diane. It is for the website:

Here's a story I found there about a seizure alert dog.

Our little Maggie will at times bark wildly while David is having a seizure, and will often lay beside him while he is recovering, ocassionaly sniffing his head or licking his face.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Rug is Done!

Finished size 34" x 29 1/2". I've started on a second one. David thinks it looks like Joseph's coat! The picture below shows a close up and how I finished off the back with iron-on Bondex rug tape.
To see the second completed rug go to the April 18th, 2007 posting.

Monday, April 03, 2006


"April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory out of desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in a forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers."
-TS Eliot, The Waste Land

Saturday, April 01, 2006

No April Fool's

Today completes the first year of Hodgepodge. I think Barbara would agree that the following quotation is a good discription of me and that's why Hodgepodge is a "perfect fit"!

"Nothing will ever please me, no matter how excellent or beneficial if I must retain the knowledge of it to myself. No good thing is pleasant to possess without friends to share it." - Seneca

That quote pretty well encapsulates my philosophy of what Hodgepodge is all about. Sharing. I can't believe a year has already passed. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep it going but you, my faithful readers, have been a great support. I couldn't do it without you! Please keep "passing-along" all those things that you want to share too.

Hugs to you all,

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