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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, October 31, 2007

Minoan Settlements on Island of Crete

Round structures are silos for storing grain.
(The red isn't real in that photo.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

All in a Day . . .

Yesterday was David’s day off from his day program and I had just one thing set to get done with him that day and that was to go to Costco and get him his flu shot. They were to be given from 3pm -7pm. We left the house around two. He had had a bit of a late breakfast so I told him I’d get him Mc Donald’s on the way. He said he wanted it as I knew he also wanted the latest toy in the Happy Meal, but as we neared it, he said he didn’t want to eat, so I didn’t stop figuring he’d eat at Costco which he also likes to do.
Before we headed off for the flu shot I had an item to return. As we headed to the returns desk I looked at the little line and said to an employee, “Aw, jeeze, can I just go and get him his shot and then do the return?” (I think I must have been having a sign of things to come, which I often do.) She said, “No, sorry you’ve got to do it first. The line will go fast.” It did go quickly. As the transaction was being done I had moved around to the front of the counter where the person had gone, David was on the side, in his wheelchair, in my sight, but then in a second, out of my sight. I heard a noise and then I guess gasps, which is never a good sign, and I knew in a split second, it involved David. Well, he had had a seizure and had flipped his wheelchair on its side. I quickly went and put my hand under his head. I didn’t want his head to keep hitting the floor if he was flailing about. When this happens he’s dead weight, rigid, and impossible to move until it’s over. People rushed over and he was righted back up. There's a pool of blood on the floor about the size of a saucer with drops in a trail going to him. Knowing, that even the smallest cut on the head can make a lot of blood, I’m saying to myself, Oh, God please let it be a little cut! It was. It was only about an inch long. Phew! By this time 911 had been called, employees are rushing over, and a crowd of onlookers is gathering. I’m trying to calm everyone down and tell them, “It’s OK, he had a seizure. He has seizures.” “What can we get for you?” as paper towels are being handed to me. “Some ice” I say. In a second someone’s back with a good size ice bag. In time they hand me the phone with the 911 operator and she’s says the police are on the way and stay on the phone until I see them. A State Trooper arrives and gives me one of those squeeze ice packs. As he starts to take information, the First Aid Squad comes. So they both take down information together. Now in the back of my mind I’m thinking, Oh crap, another trip to the ER, and we didn’t even get the flu shot done. For a minute I’m debating do I really want/need them to take us to the hospital until he reminds me that I can get through a little faster coming in with them. Then he asks me which hospital do I want to go to? I ask him what are my choices, which if I had thought so a second I knew. So when he said one of them I said well, such and such hospital because we have a relative that’s a doctor in the ER there and hopefully she’ll be working today. I said let me give my husband a call (who I know was on his way from work to a doctor’s appointment) and let him know what’s going on. I tell him what’s happened and the first thing he says is, “Did you get him the flu shot?” “No.” “Can you get it?” “Ummm …the First Aid is waiting to transport him to the ER.” I say, I'm thinking, not to mention there’s this pool of blood on the floor, by now 2 State Troopers, a bunch of employees, and onlookers. He calls his sister at work, who in turn gets in touch with her daughter-in-law, and lets her know that David is on the way. (Before we leave I’m handed back my Costco card, credit card, and refund receipt.)
We arrive at the ER and all David wants to know is where is Liz? (Oh and of course TV, once he's situated.) Soon she comes to us and things start to roll. He’s wired up for vitals, cleaned up (actually twice), a turkey sandwich and ginger ale are delivered, medications given, an x-ray of his shoulder and CAT scan of his head are done (both OK), and Liz sutures his cut all in about 3 ½ hours! I know that has to be record time for us in the ER and we’ve been to the ER many times! (It, as the saying goes, "Pays to know people in high places!")
So it is . . . all in a day in a life with David!
Oh . . . and on the way home I did get him Mc Donald’s and he’s saving a sticker they gave him at the drive-thru window for Liz!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Never Give Your Dog Raisins or Grapes!

Raisins and grapes cause acute renal failure in dogs, with even as few as 7 raisins or grapes being able to be toxic. If you don't have a dog, this is worth passing on to friends who do.

To learn more about this go to the "Snopes" link:

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Design Your Pumpkin's Face . . .

here first, before you cut into it.

Go here:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Barbara & Q's Vacation Pictures

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Barbara & Q enjoying some R & R

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Quinoa is a grain that comes from the Andes Mountains of South America and was one of the three staple foods of the Inca civilization along with corn and potatoes.

*contains more protein than any other grain
*is a complete protein, with an essential amino acid balance
*is high in lysine, methionine and cystine.
*is an excellent food to combine with, and boost the protein value of, other grains.
*also provides starch, sugars, oil (high in essential linoleic acid), dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron
*is light, tasty,easy to digest, and quick to prepare.
*can be substituted for almost any grain in almost any recipe.
*is an excellent source of nutrition for infants and children.
*is gluten free

For more information:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In with the New

That is, in with new plants from Charlotte and Chuck's yard. So this is my "C & C" garden. Now, if I can just get Maggie to stop running through it chasing the squirrles up the tree!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Out with the Old

Back on September 3rd I posted pictures of Charlotte and Chuck's garden and wrote about a tree that would have to come down. Well, last week it was removed. A good part of the garden was cleared to get out all the large roots that they had just planted around. Charlotte was (understandably) upset Chuck said. I said perhaps they could try seeing it as having a large fresh canvas to work with in the spring. Before the tree was removed I had stopped by and Charlotte had given me a whole bunch of the plants that would have been destroyed in this clearing. So, now have my very own "C & C" garden in the shade of a large maple tree in my backyard.
Next spring I'll give them some plantings from my garden to kick start their new one!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Information About the Flu & Where to Get a Flu Shot

For more information about the flu go to:

For where to find Flu Shots:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Have Hodgepodge Emailed Right to You!

Barbara has now announced it in her latest eMo, and some of you have found it on your own, thanks to Matt our Web Dude you can now subscribe to Hodgepodge and have it emailed right to you!
Go to link below and you can also sign up for Barbara's eMos and Deacon Joanna's More or Less Church too. Go ahead, give 'em a test run. (You can always unsubscribe at anytime.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vaccines for Adults

When you hit adulthood you probably figured that you were pretty much done with vaccines, except for the occasional flu shot. But experts say the right vaccines can prevent pain, misery, and could even save your life.
They say don't be hesitant or worried about the side effects. Here's the shots they say you need, and why you want them.

Tdap booster: Prevents whooping cough, diphtheria, and tetanus
Experts now realize that neither immunization nor infection provides lifelong protection. In fact, immunity wanes within 10 years, says the director of the CDC's National Immunization Program and that's why there's been a massive resurgence of pertussis over the past 20 years.
The next time you're due for your 10-year tetanus-diphtheria shot (Td) — which you should be getting a tetanus booster every decade — ask for the Tdap booster, which includes protection against pertussis. Get the shot now if you're in close contact with a baby or someone whose immune system has been weakened by age, chemotherapy, or HIV infection — they might not survive if you pass pertussis to them. (You can get a Tdap booster as soon as 2 years after a previous Td vaccine.)

MMR: Prevents mumps, measles, and rubella
This viral infection is making a comeback. "In adults, mumps can be serious: 1 in 20 women develops swelling of the ovaries; 1 in 5 men, inflammation of the testes. Rarely, adult mumps can cause potentially deadly encephalitis (an infection of the brain). If you were born between 1957 and 1967, you're particularly susceptible to catching mumps, because the version of the vaccine your pediatrician gave you wasn't effective enough to provide reliable lifelong protection.Protect yourself: If you're not sure you had mumps or received two MMR doses after 1967, get this vaccine ASAP. (Kids need two shots 28 days apart; as an adult, you'll get only one.)"

Flu vaccine: Prevents flu — and potentially deadly pneumonia
"The bug behind those drug-resistant pneumonias is a new and nasty strain of Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA — and researchers say flu raises the risk of catching it. There are plenty of other reasons to avoid the flu: 36,000 people die each year from flu-related complications. That's why the CDC now says that all adults should get an annual flu shot."
"Protect yourself by getting get a flu shot or a spritz of the new nasal vaccine, FluMist (approved for adults up to age 50). It's best to get immunized in October or November, but immunization as late as January is still worthwhile — the flu often peaks as late as March."

Zostavax: Prevents shingles and postherpetic neuralgia
When you turn 60, get a dose of Zostavax, which was approved by the FDA last year. "One in four people who have had chicken­pox eventually develops the blistering rash of shingles — caused when the chickenpox virus, Varicella zoster, is reactivated. Around 40% will go on to suffer what's been described as the worst kind of pain imaginable. Called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), it is so agonizing that it's been known to lead some people to suicide." If you never had chickenpox then you should also get the chickenpox vaccine, Varivax. Adult chickenpox has a higher risk of complications, such as pneumonia and potentially deadly encephalitis.

HPV vaccine (Gardasil) for women: Prevents cervical cancer
Consider getting the three-shot HPV series if you've been mutually monogamous — or abstinent — but are now dating again you should also think about getting a hepatitis B vaccine
as that sexually transmitted virus sometimes causes liver cancer. If you're over age 26, your insurance may not cover the $350 cost of the series, at least until Gardasil is approved for older women or a similar shot, called Cervarix, gets okayed, one or both approvals may happen soon.

To read more about this and put vaccine fears to rest, go to:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Halloween Hangman Game

He's back!
The Halloween Hangman Game, with the wise-cracking skeleton.

Thanks Joan for reminding me.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Magnificent Seven

It has occurred to me that we have not yet featured any zebras! This next shot may look as if they were quite tame and posing for their yearbook photo. What was really happening was that they had just picked up on the scent of a group of 5 lions directly behind us. Time and again, we learned that if all the animals were facing in a given direction, it was likely that one of them had picked up on the scent of a predator. Enjoy! Laura

Can you find the hidden one?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Laura's Lions

If I had to pick a day that was truly special, it had to be the morning we entered NgoroNgoro Crater. The light was gorgeous that morning and life was teeming all around us. There was also an opportunity to really observe the animals' behavior. As you know, we had followed a small pride of lions down the shore. As they finished their walk, they burst into some very affectionate, playful activity.

These two shots capture not only two of the lions nuzzling one another, but also the other lioness just rolling on the beach and enjoying the cool wet sand. Of course there are some gorgeous flamingos looking on . . . enjoy!! Laura

Here Laura Heid shares some more pictures from her trip. To see her other photos go to Hodgepodge posting on 9/20/07. Thanks again for sharing Laura.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fire Safety

This is my fall public safety announcement. Not only check your fire alarms to see they are in working order but also your carbon monoxide detectors. If you don't have carbon monoxide detectors, get them! I can not stress this enough. Years ago when we lived in a condo and were first starting up the heat for the season, ours went off the next morning after we had just bought it the previous night! The furnace had a cracked heat exchange. We turned off the heat and opened all the windows, got out of the house, and called the fire department.
(See posting on 9/7/06 for more about this.)

Here's a place to go that's full of fire safety information websites.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

You may have seen this commercial but if not, it's not a bad idea to check out this website especially the Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more. You may just be surprised to learn some things you didn't know. If you have elderly parents it wouldn't hurt to go over some of this with them as they are a large portion of the population that is preyed upon with these scams. Oh . . . .and you know, those teenages that know everything.


FAQ Page:

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Select a Candidate Quiz

Are you thinking about next year's election . . . already made up your mind, or still trying to decide? Try this fascinating website that only takes a minute or two.
It will compare your answers with ALL candidates.
You may find it does not select the candidate you had expected!

Go to the website:

Thanks Dave for passing this along.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Big Apple

No, not New York City but the "Big Apple" as found at The Original Pancake House* where we make our Michigan cousins take us just to get this special treat. I like to have my with a side dish of vanilla ice cream. It helps balance out all that yummy cinnamon.
In case you were wondering, yes, it did cover the entire plate and yes, I did take home the rest to eat the next morning for breakfast!
Now that it's fall and apple picking time it's a great time to make this recipe . . . and just awhile back I happened to find this posted on Yahoo:

The Ultimate Apple Pancake
Posted Mon, Sep 24, 2007, 3:20 pm PDT
By Michelle Greenwald
"Growing up in New York State, the second largest apple-producing state in the country, I craved fresh apples as soon as September rolled around. My family had a ritual of driving upstate to an apple farm and picking fresh apples off the trees. Then we'd go home with our barrel and spend a fun afternoon making applesauce and apple pies.
When I was in graduate school outside of Chicago, I discovered the spectacular German Apple Pancake at The Original Pancake House, which was and still truly is a marvel. People were always waiting in a long line to get in. Here's a version that's the closest I've come to replicating that luscious pancake. It uses a lot of cinnamon, which is what makes it so special.
For best results, use a nonstick, ovenproof skillet. Next best would be a cast-iron skillet. Third choice is either a glass pie plate or a regular skillet you can place in an oven. Once you try this German puff apple pancake it's bound to become a fall family tradition. It makes a really special and memorable weekend breakfast. "

German Apple Puff Pancake
(serves 2)
1 large or 2 medium, firm apples such as Fuji, Braeburn, or Delicious
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
3. Peel the apples and cut into 1/4-inch slices.
4. Melt the butter in a skillet that's 8 or 9 inches at the base. Add the apple slices so they cover the bottom of the skillet completely. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the apples. Saute the apples about 4 or 5 minutes, until they soften and become light golden brown on both sides.
5. Pour the batter over the apples and place the pan in the hot oven.
6. Bake approximately 18 minutes. Don't open the oven door while it's baking. Turn on your oven light to see if it's done. The pancake should no longer appear wet on top.
7. To serve, invert the pan over a large round plate. If using the pie plate or regular pan, run a spatula under the pancake before flipping to make sure the apples don't stick to the pan.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Helping to Fund Free Mammograms is Only a Click Away!

OK, I know I have mentioned this before (and I've tried hard not to repeat myself) but this time I'm going to ask you to:

#1 - Go to the pink link below.

#2- Save it to your favorites (making sure to put it near the top of the list)

#3 - Each day when you first go on your computer go to the site and click to fund a free mammogram, helping a woman who couldn't afford it.
(you could even do it as a way of remembering someone)

Wow, you helped a cause for FREE just with the click of your mouse!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Praying Mantis

I found this praying mantis over the weekend in a dwarf alberta spruce tree in the front of our house. As I held the camera above him he reached up to grab it. Those photos came out too blurry. When I held my hand out, it climbed onto it. Later on in the day he was right by the front door.

To learn more about the Praying Mantis:

When I was in elementary school I had brought in a praying mantis egg case in a jar so we could watch it hatch. From what I remember it happened over a weekend or a vacation time. I guess the holes in the jar were too big and they got out and into the room the teacher had told me. I guess they looked liked the little ones in the pictured below. Anyway they were gone when we got back to school.
Click on the mantis nymphs 2 picture to see what they look like:

Copyright © 2007 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Mom Song

This showed up on Yahoo yesterday, too funny not to share. Enjoy!
The Mom Song sung by comedian Anita Renfroe.
A day in the life of a typical mom in 2 minutes and 55 seconds, set to the William Tell Overture.
Make sure your sound is on.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


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Body and Soul - 2007

This past Saturday was the 2nd Annual Body and Soul Health Expo at St. Luke's, Metuchen, NJ. This was Barbara's idea and you may have read about in her eMo so I thought you might like to see a few pictures from it.

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