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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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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Progress on 2nd Locker Hook Rug

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Perfect Chicken Soup

6 cans of chicken broth
1 pound of chicken backs, wings, necks
1 red onion, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
3 carrots
2 ribs celery
1 turnip or parsnip, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Put all ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Remove the chicken pieces and put on fast boil for 10 minutes to thicken.
(and of course you can add your noodles or rice there at the end!)

I don't remember where I got this. Not my title or recipe, but a good basic chicken soup for the cold and flu season!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Consumer Product Alert

"A hidden cancer-causing petrochemical has been found in dozens of children’s bath products and adults’ personal care products, in some cases at levels that are more than twice the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s lenient recommended maximum.
Contrary to what many consumers may believe, the FDA does not review or regulate cosmetics products or ingredients for safety before they are sold to the public and has no legal authority to require safety assessments of cosmetics."

Below is the list of products and to read the full article go to:

Baby & Children’s Consumer Products 1,4-Dioxane concentration

Disney Clean as Can Bee Hair & Body Wash (Water Jel Technologies) 8.8 ppm
Disney Pixar Cars Piston Cup Bubble Bath (MZB Personal Care) 2.2 ppm
Gerber Grins & Giggles Gentle & Mild Aloe Vera Baby Shampoo 8.4 ppm
Hello Kitty Bubble Bath (Kid Care) 12 ppm*
Huggies Baby Wash Shea Butter 4.0 ppm
Huggies Natural Care Baby Wash Extra Gentle and Tear Free 4.2 ppm
Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash (Johnson & Johnson) 5.3 ppm to 6.1 ppm
Johnson’s Kids Tigger Bath Bubbles (Johnson & Johnson) 5.6 ppm to 7.9 ppm
Johnson’s Kids Shampoo Watermelon Explosion (Johnson & Johnson) 10 ppm*
Lil’ Bratz Mild Bubble Bath (Kid Care) 3.7 ppm
L’Oreal Kids Orange Mango Smoothie Shampoo 2.0 ppm
Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath Gentle Formula with Aloe 1.5 ppm
Rite-Aid Tearless Baby Shampoo 4.3 ppm
Scooby-Doo Mild Bubble Bath (Kid Care) 3.0 ppm
Sesame Street Wet Wild Watermelon Bubble Bath (The Village Company) 7.4 ppm

Adult Consumer Products
Clairol Herbal Essences Rainforest Flowers Shampoo 23 ppm*
Olay Complete Body Wash with Vitamins (normal skin) 23 ppm*
Suave Naturals Passion Flower 2.0 ppm
*Product was at or above FDA maximum

Friday, February 23, 2007

Photo Gift Ideas

You can make a beautiful photo gift book. Go here to get some ideas:

If you are a Costco member go to Costco's website to receive 55% off orders over $100, 25% off orders over $50, and 20% off orders under $50 until 3/5/07.

What a nice way to:
* preserve all those treasured old black and white family photos.
* tell a wedding story
* save the memories of a special vacation
* create a special gift

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Six Ways to Avoid Identity Theft by David Bach

Posted on Monday, November 20, 2006, 3:00AM
Identity theft is a nightmare for its victims. Your personal data -- Social Security number, credit card numbers, and bank account numbers -- can be stolen by a thief posing as you who uses this information to spend thousands of dollars or more.
The damage goes way beyond money. Identity theft can have a devastating impact on your entire life, destroying your credit score and taking you months or even years to recover from the damage.

Some Surprising Data
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that an estimated 95 million Americans have been exposed to some risk of identity theft in the last two years due to breaches at companies, institutions, and government offices.
USA Today also reported that by year's end there will be 8.9 million cases of identity fraud, resulting in an average loss of $6,383 per victim. This crime is an epidemic, and has quickly become a billion-dollar crisis.
The Javelin Strategy and Research 2006 Identity Fraud Survey Report, believed to be the largest ever on identity theft, reveals some surprising results. Ninety percent of identity fraud in which the source can be determined takes place through traditional means, not as a result of the Internet.

Don't Be a Victim
Lost or stolen wallets, checkbooks, and credit cards account for 30 percent of cases in which identity thieves gain access to personal information. That's right, it's the most frequent way that identities are stolen -- more than online transactions, more than stolen mail, and more than computer hacking.
According to the survey, the No. 1 misperception surrounding identity theft is that consumers are helpless to protect themselves. The truth is that many causes of identity theft are beyond our control. But taking a proactive stance to detect fraud will keep you from being a victim.

Here are six things you need to know to fight back against identity theft:

1. Keep your private information private.
Half of all identity theft in which the thief is identified is committed by a friend, coworker, neighbor, in-home employee, or relative of the victim. So make it a habit not to leave things lying around at home or in the office -- specifically your wallet, checkbook, or anything else containing private or financial information, including your mail.
Also, before you toss anything in the trash containing your private information, be sure to shred it. This isn't new advice, but I'd be remiss not to mention it.

2. Get a copy of your credit reports.
Often, victims of identity theft have no idea their credit is being used or destroyed until they apply for a loan and pull their credit score. So pull your credit report now, and make a plan to check it regularly.
By law, you're entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus -- Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion -- once every year. Go to and stagger your requests so that you'll receive one report from each credit bureau every four months. Put the dates on your calendar so you don't forget. Keep in mind that this is for your free credit report only, not your credit score.
For your credit score, you'll need to go to myFICO. While you're there, you may want to check out their Identity Theft Security Deluxe product, which monitors your credit score and credit report automatically for $49.95 a year.

3. Find out if your state has a credit freeze law.
Here's a virtually foolproof way to prevent a thief from stealing your identity and using your personal data to get approved for credit. With this new law you're able to block ("freeze") all access to your credit report and credit score.
It's not necessarily the most convenient solution to protect yourself from fraud. Anytime you need to have your credit checked -- for instance, if you're buying a car or cell phone or even interviewing for a job -- you'll need to lift the block ("thaw" your record), which takes about three days. But if you have real concerns about identity theft or perhaps are already a victim, this is an option you may want to consider.
Some states will only grant a credit freeze if you're already a victim of identity theft. Find out if your state has a credit freeze law, including what it costs, by visiting

4. Check your bank statements weekly.
One of the great things about online banking is that you can log on and check your account at any time. Make a point of checking your bank statement weekly to be sure there aren't any red flags.
The same goes for your credit card statements. In fact, you may want to consider canceling your paper statements altogether and opting for online statements. After all, you're more likely to have personal information stolen from your mail than from the Internet.
That said, be sure to always use a secure computer. Using a public computer, like one at your local library, is risky due to tracking software that thieves can use to steal your passwords.

5. Be computer savvy.
Even though a relatively small percentage of identity theft occurs online, you should still take necessary precautions.
In addition to being careful about surfing the web on public computers, you should also be aware of the risks involved when using a wireless connection. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are becoming increasingly popular, and as a result there's bound to be an increase in wireless hacking.
Wireless connectivity is the perfect platform for thieves to get your personal data. If you have a wireless network at home or work, make sure you're incorporating password-protection and encryption. When accessing public hotspots, use a personal firewall.
Also, keep your computer safe by updating your antivirus and anti-spyware programs regularly. Use passwords so that others can't log on to your computer, laptop, or even your PDA, and be sure to change your passwords often.
Be smart about phishing scams, too. That's when you're sent an email that requests your personal or financial information, or that prompts you to click a link to provide your personal or financial information. If you're unsure of the legitimacy of such a request, call the company that it was supposedly sent from. If an email seems suspicious, it usually is.

6. Be aware of "deleted" data.
The Washington Post recently ran an article on mobile phones -- specifically "smartphones" like the Palm Treo and BlackBerry -- that was quite an eye-opener.
According to the story, resetting your phone to wipe out personal data doesn't exactly delete information. It turns out that your phone's operating system never actually deletes data, only the pointers to where the data is located. Anyone with the right software can recover information that was stored on your phone once you sell or discard it.
You need to do is contact the device manufacturer for complete instructions on what to do to wipe your data clean. You can also visit for instructions. And think twice about what information you store on your device in case it's ever lost or stolen.

If Your Identity Is Stolen
Take the above steps and -- should you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of having had your identity stolen -- you'll commend yourself for being proactive enough to identify a problem before too much damage was done.
Don't waste a minute once you've discovered suspicious activity -- go directly to the website of the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint and access their comprehensive guide on the steps you'll need to follow to resolve the situation.

I posted an article similar to this before but I thought it was worth repeating.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Baby Quilt with Little Ducks

This is one of those baby quilt kits from Rag Shop.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sacrifice or Offering?

Today is Fat Tuesday, and for some, the last time to load up, on whatever they give up for Lent. From the time I can remember my brother has always given up chocolate. (Hey, males can do this. Any women out there that can? LOL) I think I can unequivocally state that he has never cheated on this. He being a bit A.R. on certain things, as anyone who knows him can attest. As for myself, I don't remember ever really doing it.
But then, does it just have to be giving up something? Why not offering something instead? Offer your time by helping out in a soup kitchen, an elderly neighbor with errands, reading to get the idea. . . . and might I add one more thing?
From now until Easter save all your pennies and any other change you can spare. Then write out a check in the amount you saved to Episcopal Relief and Development. Write "Pennies from Heaven" in the memo. It can be a family project. Check it out on Geranium Farm homepage.
Go to the ERD's website and you can pick out "Gifts for Life":

What could you give up from now until Easter and put that money aside for ERD?
a movie, Starbuck's coffee, manicure or pedicure, fast food, car wash, buying new clothes, eating out, dry cleaning......what else can you think of?

Copyright © 2007 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Friday, February 16, 2007

Burma Shave Signs

My friend Joan had sent me a link about old cars and on it were some Burma Shave signs. I thought I'd look for some more and see what the history was behind them. Here's what had to say:

Way back in 1925 young Allan Odell pitched this great sales idea to his father, Clinton. Use small, wooden roadside signs to pitch their product, Burma-Shave, a brushless shaving cream. Dad wasn't wild about the idea but eventually gave Allan $200 to give it a try.

Didn't take long for sales to soar. Soon Allan and his brother Leonard were putting up signs all over the dang place. At first the signs were pure sales pitch but as the years passed they found their sense of humor extending to safety tips and pure fun. And some good old-fashioned down home wisdom.

At their height of popularity there were 7,000 Burma-Shave signs stretching across America. The familiar white on red signs, grouped by four, fives and sixes, were as much a part of a family trip as irritating your kid brother in the back seat of the car. You'd read first one, then another, anticpating the punch line on number five and the familiar Burma-Shave on the sixth.

The signs cheered us during the Depression and the dark days of World War II. But things began to change in the late Fifties. Cars got faster and superhighways got built to accomodate them. The fun little signs were being replaced by huge, unsightly billboards.

1963 was the last year for new Burma Shave signs. No more red and white nuggets of roadside wisdom to ease the journey.

A visitor to The Fifties Web contributed this story of a set of signs found in the Oregon wine country as late as 1986. She wrote me that "...two of the five signs were lying on the ground, and one was face down. I hoped the bull guarding them would be friendly as I reached through the fence to turn it over. (He was.)" The signs said, "Farewell O verse, Along the road. How sad to see, You're out of mode."

As befits such an important part of American culture, one set is preserved by the Smithsonian Institution. It reads:
Shaving brushes
You'll soon see 'em
On a shelf
In some museum

Now to read the signs go to:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Carol's Quilt

This is the quilt I made for my friend Carol as a birthday gift.
I lined it with fleece blaketing instead of polyester batting to make it heavier and warmer.

Copyright © 2007 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Label for Carol's Quilt

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Quotes About Love

"For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul." -Judy Garland

"Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so." -David Grayson

"You don't love a woman because she is beautiful, but she is beautiful because you love her." - Anon.

"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get--only with what you are expecting to give--which is everything." -Katharine Hepburn

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Pictures from the Dinner/Sock Hop

Copyright © 2007 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Monday, February 12, 2007

St. Luke's Spaghett & Meatball Dinner/Sock Hop

The dinner dance was great!
My thanks to all that attended and those who helped out to make it a huge success.
It was a lot of fun and we did make a profit.
I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Friday, February 09, 2007

When You Most Need It To Go Right . . .

Why, is it when you most need it to go right, it goes wrong? Yesterday I really needed for David to get to his day program. I had to get to Costco to buy large quantities of hamburger to make the meatballs for this Saturday's Spaghetti and Meatball Dinner and Sock Hop at St. Luke's. The initial sign-up was 70 that went to 90, then 100 and last count was 120!
Well, just as we are going to get coats on to head out the door David trips forward hits his face on some shelves. His nose is bleeding as well as his mouth. He got some cuts in his upper lip and broke off part of a front tooth, which of course I couldn't find. It was OK though because it was one he had broken off before so it was just bonding. So, I call his day program to let them know what's happened and we head off to the dentist.
By the time we get out of the dentist we need to get some lunch. We're right near David's barber and he's way over due for a haircut, so we do that too. After that we head off to Costco. I get 8 packages of meat (about 5 1/2 lbs. each) and eggs. We go home and I'm able to get 2 packages made into meatballs. I then have to head off to go to Restaurant Depot with Nancy to pick up some other supplies we'll be needing.
I get home around 7pm, warm up a slice a pizza for dinner, and start making meatballs again. I get 4 packages done and it's 11pm. I clean up the kitchen, finally get to the computer for a quick check of emails, and then off to bed.
So . . . that's why I never got around to posting anything yesterday!

This morning I got David off to his program, came home, made the last 2 packages up into meatballs, and now I'm headed off to the church kitchen with my 400 or so meatballs! Yeah, we could have gotten the frozen, rubbery, pre-made ones, but do you really want to eat those?
I'll let you know next week how it all went.

(Oh, and to top it all off, yesterday after I took David to the dentist and was getting him into the car, the alarm which was disengaged over 10 years ago and I no longer have a clicker for, goes off! Thankfully it stopped on its own and the car started.)
Copyright © 2007 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Now that we're a little ways into the new year . . .

Here's a few quotes to get you thinking about how you approach life and the new year. . .

"Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, stiff around a bit, and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these." - Susan B. Anthony

"If I had my life to live over again...I would have more actual troubles and less imaginary ones. Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else, just moments, one after another." - Nadine Stair

"Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference" - Virginia Satir

and lastly. . .

"Life is like a ten-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use." - Charles Schulz

How many gears do you use?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

No Sting!

I tried this today and it seemed to work. After shaving under your arms, apply just a bit of hand or body lotion before applying deodorant and it won't sting.

Monday, February 05, 2007

History of American Football

Ok, Superbowl is over, but did you ever wonder how football got started?
I did.

Walter Camp is known as the "Father of American Football" By 1892 Camp had almost single-handedly fashioned the game. Its rising popularity was in a large part his doing. He took the game of rugby and changed it into an American game. He did this all by the age of thirty-three, just twelve years after graduating from Yale. For almost 50 years, Camp served on the various collegiate football rules committees that developed the game of football. His contributions to early football included the introduction of the scrimmage, the number of players, the forward pass, and the introduction of the now standard offensive arrangement of players (a seven-man offensive line and a four-man backfield consisting of a quarterback, two halfbacks, and a fullback).

Camp knew that developing the game was not enough and in order for it to catch on, the word had to spread. With a full-time job at the New Haven Clock Company and being advisor to the Yale football team, Camp still managed to write articles and books on football and sports in general, having written nearly 30 books and more than 250 magazine articles before his death. His stories also appeared in major New York City and Philadelphia daily newspapers as well as national periodicals such as Harper's Weekly, Collier's, Outing, Outlook, and The Independent. They also appeared in juvenile magazines such as St. Nicholas, Youth's Companion and Boys' Magazine.
According to his biographer, Richard P. Borkowski, "Camp was instrumental through writing and lecturing in attaching an almost mythical atmosphere of manliness and heroism to the game not previously known in American team sports." He wrote to instruct Americans on his beloved game of football, becoming one of the highest paid non-fiction writers in America.

Rutgers University and Princeton University played the first game of college football on Nov. 6, 1869 in New Brunswick, N.J. Rutgers won that first game, 6-4.

For more information as to the origins going back to the very beginning go to:

or for more answers:

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sand Fantasy

Ilana Yahav draws on sand, using only her fingers. She weaves together sand and lighting, creating incredible vistas with musical accompaniment resulting in powerful and moving images.
I think I can safely say this unlike anything you've ever seen before.

Click on the link and check out a video clip. Don't forget to have your sound on.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Free from Barilla - Celebrity Pasta Lovers' Cookbook

Go to the link below to download this free cookbook through February 2007. For each person who downloads a copy of the cookbook, Barilla will donate $1 to America's Second Harvest - The Nation's Food Bank Network, with a total donation up to $100,000.

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