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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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Saturday, December 30, 2006

"Srunch" at the Geranium Farm

Just a little brunch get together after Christmas Day church service.
Barbara, Joanna, and my brother John all serviced at the 10am service and Q assisted too.
Buddy had an early flight that got cancelled and changed to the late afternoon so he was able to join us after all. A blessing in disguise!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dog Tired!

I wasn't the only one exhausted by the end of the night on Christmas.
Here's Maggie at the end of the sofa all tuckered out!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

One of These Years We'll Get-It-Together (or Not)

After reading Barbara's Christmas 101 eMo I can sympathize. Now for the second year in a row Paul hasn't found the plastic tub with the "good" ornaments. These are the ones I sorted out years ago that were going to be the ones we'd always use. He found the snowman collection and other assorted big decorations but not the elusive ornament crate. All he found was what we put on last year. The shoebox full of Hershey collectible ornaments and some odds and ends. The tree is nicely lit with lots of white mini lights and the strand that softly twinkles, tucked deep inside the branches. There are also the large colored twinkle lights and as always, my favorites, the bubble lights of my childhood memories. They are newer ones now but all the same, special. An angel stands at the top holding glowing candles in her hands. Paul found her at a flea market . He was so thrilled with his find.
I'm not going to fret about it. In the spring there will be even more of a reason to get that garage in order. It is definitely in need of an intervention!

Hmmm....I wonder if that's why the neighbor's tree fell on our one shed a few months ago. So that we'd have to replace it with a bigger one, and that now some of the garage stuff can go in there! ...and who says God doesn't work in mysterious ways. Hee... hee....
(Of course, we've yet to remove the old dented in, tarp covered one, and order the new one.)

Copyright © 2006 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Friday, December 22, 2006

All the Best to Everyone!

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
- Charles Dickens

"Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas."
- Dale Evans

"Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it "white"."
- Bing Crosby

. . . and all the blessings and best wishes to you and your family for the New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Special One Time Tax Credit On 2006 Tax Return

Yes, this is true and it comes right from the IRS website!
(Thanks Carol (WOW) for pointing that out.)
"The Telephone Excise Tax Refund (TETR) is a one-time payment available on your 2006 federal income tax return. It is designed to refund previously collected long distance telephone taxes. Individuals, businesses and tax-exempt organizations are eligible to request it. This refund will be the most wide-reaching in IRS history - more than 159 million filers may request it."
To read more about it and how to claim it, go to:,,id=164032,00.html

For what Snopes says about it:

and another thanks to Dave for passing this along.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Look Back - A Review of the Year: 2006

Yahoo's look back at some of the year's top stories, people, and events.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shoes - Buy a Pair, Give a Pair (Free) to a Needy Child

I found this in my latest issue of Positive Thinking magazine (Nov/Dec 2006) and I thought it was worth passing it along.

What you do is buy a pair of these comfy canvas shoes and a pair is donated to a needy child. It's that simple! If you buy two or more, there's no mailing cost if you use regular UPS shipping .
They also have T-Shirts and $10 from the sale of each is donated to the TOMS Club Foundation, which helps in the facilitation of each shoe drop.

Check it out at:

Monday, December 18, 2006

Donors Choose

At this website teachers submit ideas for materials or experiences their students need to learn about. Then you choose to fulfill a request and make it a reality!

Teachers - Submit your proposals.
Donors - You can fulfill a request.

Check it out at:

You could use this idea for New Christmas Tradition for Thought (Hodgepodge posting for 12/11/06)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Three Baby Quilts

Copyright © 2007 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Angel Pancake Mixes

Here's a bunch of Angel Pancake Mixes all made up and ready to give out. I found a package of a dozen of little angel ornaments to adorne the packages that I tied off with paper twist by folding over the top and punching two holes and threading it through them.

To see the recipe and for the label go to:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Grandma's Cures

I make no claims for any of the following, I'm just posting them. Do you know of any others? Post them in the comments area. Thanks Dave for passing them along.

Did You Know that drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache pain almost immediately-- without the unpleasant side effects caused by traditional "pain relievers" ?

Colgate toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns?

Before you head to the drugstore for a high-priced inhaler filled with mysterious chemicals, try chewing on a couple of curiously strong Altoids peppermints. They'll clear up your stuffed nose.

Achy muscles from a bout of the flu? Mix 1 Tablespoon of horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as massage oil, for instant relief for aching muscles.

"Sore throat? Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and take 1 tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.

Cure urinary tract infections with Alka-Seltzer. Just dissolve two tablets in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka-Seltzer begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly-- even though the product was never been advertised for this use.

"Honey remedy for skin blemishes. Cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing. It works overnight.

Try Listerine therapy for toenail fungus. Get rid of unsightly toenail fungus by soaking your toes in Listerine mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic leaves your toenails looking healthy again.

Easy eyeglass protection... To prevent the screws in eyeglasses from loosening, apply a small drop of Maybelline crystal Clear nail polish to the threads of the screws before tightening them.

Cleaning liquid that doubles as bug killer ... If menacing bees, wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets get in your home and you can't find the insecticide, try a spray of Formula 409. Insects drop to the ground instantly.

Smart splinter remover .just pour a drop of Elmer's Glue-All over the splinter, let dry, and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter sticks to the dried glue.

Hunt's tomato paste boil cure ...covers the boil with Hunt's tomato paste as a compress. The acids from the tomatoes soothe the pain and bring the boil to a head.

Balm for broken blisters... To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine ...a powerful antiseptic.

Use Vinegar to heal bruises. Soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.

Kills fleas instantly...Dawn dish washing liquid does the trick. Add a few drops to your dog's bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly. Rinse well to
avoid skin irritations. Good-bye fleas.

Rainy day cure for dog odor .Next time your dog comes in from the rain, simply wipe down the animal with Bounce or any dryer sheet, instantly making your dog smell springtime fresh.

Eliminate ear mites ...All it takes is a few drops of Wesson corn oil in your cat's ear...Massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 days. The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites, and accelerates healing.

Quaker Oats for fast pain relief... It's not for breakfast any more! Mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly, and apply the mixture to your hands for soothing
relief from arthritis pain.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pie Baking for the Homeless

This came from a Mary Lloyd to Barbara and she asked me to post it to Hodgepodge. They sure look like they had a lot of fun baking all those pies!

Photos from our pie baking for the homeless. We are blessed with a beautiful kitchen that my son helped design and my husband oversaw and did much of the labor. Our Rector's wife Marla, an artist, painted the tiles and chose colors, cabinets, counter tops, flooring, lighting etc. It is residential style with three Bosch dishwashers, two ranges, double wall ovens, two sinks, steam tables and so on. We partitioned off space and made a room for our freezer, wine refrigerator and Bosch front loading washer and dryer...our Altar Guild loves that! My husband is on the left in the first photo and I am manning the KitchenAid and wearing pumpkin. The kitchen is used for parish breakfasts on fifth Sundays, the Men's Club monthly dinners and the Women's group and 20s and 30s group monthly dinners, small meetings, Parish gatherings and so on. A lot to be grateful for!

Monday, December 11, 2006

A New Christmas Tradition for Thought

My Aunt Sylvia passed on this email circulating the internet to me and I wanted to share it with you . . .


It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas -- oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma -- the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended.

Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids -- all kids -- and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball, and lacrosse.

That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition -- one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year due to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us. May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always.

God Bless! -- pass this along to those friends and loved ones who you know are the givers who understand the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Friday, December 08, 2006

In the Womb: Animals

This Sunday, December 10th at 8pm Eastern and 9pm Central on the National Geographic Channel (#162) see a baby elephant, puppy, and dolphin in the womb.
If you don't get the show at least you can see a preview by going to:

It is amazing!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Thousand Marbles

I've gotten this a couple of times now as it circles the internet, but for those of you that haven't seen it go to:

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

K.I.S.S. - Holiday Gift Wrapping

The Keep It Simple Solution to Holiday Gift Wrapping.

OK, you've got all the gifts but how are you going to get them all wrapped?
A year or two ago I went to my local dollar store and bought an assortment of those boxes that are preprinted with holiday designs. Just add a little tissue paper and a piece of tape on 2, or all four sides, or ribbon to seal and you're done.
Pick up at your craft store or whereever you can get them a quanity of the white, solid colored, or just plain brown paper handled bags in different sizes. Have the kids glue the recycled holiday card fronts to them with a glue stick. They could also rubber stamp or sponge paint them. You can buy cheap sponges and cut them into the shapes you want. You can even use your holiday cookie cutters as templates. Put the gift in the bag, top with tissue paper on top. Staple or tape close to edge if you've got "peekers".
Both can be saved and reused again!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Is it a Cold or the Flu?

The common symptoms of the flu include:

Fever (usually high)
Muscle aches
Extreme tiredness
Dry cough
Runny nose may also occur but is more common in children than adults
Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, may also occur but are more common in children than adults

You don’t need to experience all of these symptoms to have the flu. If you have one or two, it’s recommended that you see your doctor.

To find out alot more put your sound on and go to:

Here's a great place to track where and what the latest flu strains are:

Monday, December 04, 2006

What's Your Brain Train Age?

Brain Train Age trains your 5 abilities of Illation, Memory, Analysis, Intuition, and Count featuring activities designed to help stimulate your brain, like solving a series of simple, rapid-fire math equations as fast as possible, counting interesting icons and many other easy, but interesting and helpful games. It's a PC game for you to exercise your brain in a simple, efficient and fun way.

You can give it a try out for free at:

Friday, December 01, 2006

Beware of Gift Card Fraud

Be careful this holiday season and anytime you purchase gift cards.
Before you buy, get all the information at the following link:

Thanks Joan for passing this along.

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