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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, May 30, 2008

Take Me Back To The Sixties

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

(Thanks Dave for passing this one along.)

For a trip back to the Fifties go to:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Responsibility Project

It all began when Liberty Mutual Insurance Company ran a TV commercial about people doing things for strangers. The response was overwhelming with thousands of emails and letters from people all over the country thanking them.

They thought, if one TV spot could get people thinking and talking about responsibility, imagine what could happen if they went a step further? So they created a series of short films. The website is an exploration of what it means to do the right thing.

They believe that the more people think and talk about responsibility, and even debate what it means, the more it can affect how we live our daily lives. And perhaps, in this small way, together, make the world just a little better.

Check it out at:

These films create a good point of discussion for home, school, or church groups.
Don't forget to check back for new films.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Free Quilt Patterns and Much More

Go to the link and then scroll down a bit to where it says, "Where do you want to go today?"
There are How-to pages, lessons, links, conversion charts, and more.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Now Where Did I Put That?

How often do you put something away and the next you need it, go crazy looking for it? To that end I made up this sheet that you can print out.
. . .and no, I'm not going to lose the sheet. : )
or you could get a address book from the dollar store and use it for this, and everything will be alphabetized!

Item Locator Sheet

P.S. - Now if I just followed one of my dads' favorite sayings, "A place for everything, and everything in its place" it would help, but then I still have to remember "the place"!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cocoa Mulch

Barbara has received an email from a Cynthia J. with warnings of the use of Cocoa Mulch and its danger to dogs and cats. I looked this up on snopes and here's the link so you can read about it.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Find a Fair

Whatcha Doin' This Summer?
When's the last time you went to a good old fair?
What! Your kids/grandkids have never been to one??
It's time to check them out and choose one for your summer vacation!
Want to know what's in your area or even in another state. You can check it out at:
or at:

Anyone out there have a favorite fair they've been to
and want to let other's know about it?
Email me and I'll add it to the post or leave note in the comment area.

"Our state fair is a great state fair,
Don't miss it, don't even be late.
It's dollars to donuts
That our state fair
Is the best state fair in our state."

Music: Richard Rodgers
Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II
(State Fair 1945)

HP reader comment: I don't know if you have any other subscribers out here in California, but the San Luis Obispo County Fair in Paso Robles California is one of the best. We get many popular country singers at our Concert Arena, and we also have all of the usual competitions (livestock, baking, cooking, quilting, etc...) We have some really great exhibitions too, and our Midway has a nice selection of rides and games. I haven't even listed everything that goes on at our fair. It is a really big deal! Y'all come! - Kristi Koon, Arroyo Grande, California

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Who Knew?

OK, raise your hands out there. How many of you knew that there's a little tab at the end of the foil/plastic wrap box to push in to keep the roll from popping out of the box when you use it? How could I have not noticed that after all these years?

(Thanks D. for passing this hint along.)


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Family Handyman Magazine - June 2008

Why this issue? Because this is a "Best of/Collector's Edition".
You could buy a subscription as a Father's Day gift.
Whether you do, or even if you don't, I'd say make sure to get a copy of this issue just to have on hand as a reference guide for everyone.

Just some of what's included in this issue:

Best carpentry tricks & advice
Job-site wisdom for faster, better building - and fewer mistakes.

Handiest quick repair products
16 essential items for your home repair arsenal.

Best garage organizing tips
More storage space and better work space - without losing parking space.

Best energy-saving tips
Real solutions that slash energy bills.

Expert lawn & garden tips
Our lawn and garden pros tell how to get a great yard with less effort.

Our favorite tools
10 uncommon tools we couldn't live without.

Best speed-cleaning tips
Favorite tools and products from a cleaning whiz.

Best storage tips
Clutter-busting strategies for every room in your house.

Best pro painting tips
Our veteran painter shares his tricks for a faster, neater job.

Best ways to cut repair bills
Quick, simple fixes that can save you the cost of a service call.

Best auto care tips
Little tricks and fixes that can prevent big repair bills.

Top 40 DIY rules
You can learn from our decades of experience-or learn the hard way. No, really, it's up to you.

Best Handy Hints®
Our (controversial) choices for the greatest hints of all time.

For more go to:


Monday, May 19, 2008

Some Gluten-Free Websites

(Hodgepodge reader Nicole sends along some Gluten-Free websites. Check them out even if you don't live in Michigan as some of the ship their products.)

Michigan Cel-Kids

Michigan Celiac group

Camp Manitou-Lin

Gluten Free Sensational Tasting Kalamazoo, Michigan

G/F Coco Charlotte Gourmet Bakery Grand Rapids, Michigan

G/F A Piece of Cake Bakery in East Lansing, Michigan

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Stop Carrying Home All Those Plastic Bags

The red shopping bag is one I purchased at Target.
The blue one is one I made.
Why? Eh - just because I could.
Materials - 18" All Purpose Polyester zipper, 3/4 yard fabric, 1 1/2 yards twill tape for handle*
I'd suggest if you want to try this you get the one from Target to use as your pattern.
Note the piece on the outside is open on the top to form a pocket.
*The extra twill tape that was left over from the handles I put inside, centering it to give the handles something more to be stitched onto than just the fabric.
Now the question is . . .
Who's up for the challenge of getting that zipper stitched in place? LOL
(Hint: It's easiest to stitch the zipper to the pocket first and then re-stitch in place onto the outside.
Hodgepodge reader Jenny sends along this website as a place to buy fair trade eco-friendly bags:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time

OK, just in case you missed it yesterday when you were checking out Rolling Stones Top 500 Albums of all time, go back and check out their list of Top 500 Songs of All Time.

What are your favorite songs?

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rolling Stone's List of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time

Just a little something to get you thinking . What's your favorite album?
Here's Rolling Stone's List of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time:

This isn't my list but something I came across on the Internet.
Here's one guy's opinion of The 25 Best "Best Of" Albums.
To read more about this list go to:

25 Nirvana--Nirvana
24 Greatest Hits--Eagles
23 The Best Of Blondie--Blondie
22 Back To Mono--Phil Spector & Various Artists
21 Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy--The Who
20 The Kinks Kronikles--The Kinks
19 The Motown Box--Various Artists
18 Chronicle Vol. 1--Creedence Clearwater Revival
17 Echoes--Pink Floyd
16 Staring At The Sea--The Cure
15 Louder Than Bombs--The Smiths
14 The Chess Box--Chuck Berry
13 We Sold Our Souls For Rock N' Roll--Black Sabbath
12 The Very Best Of--Prince
11 The Very Best Of The Doors (2CD)--The Doors
10 The Top Ten Hits--Elvis Presley
9 Mania--Ramones
8 Smash Hits--Jimi Hendrix
7 Greatest Hits, Volume 2--Bob Dylan:
6 Greatest Hits--Al Green
5 Decade--Neil Young
4 Greatest Hits--Sly And The Family Stone
3 Star Time--James Brown:
2 Hot Rocks--The Rolling Stones:
1 1--The Beatles

You can post some of your favorites in the comments area.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Simple Modern Squares Afghan

This afghan is super simple to make and you can complete in a short amount of time. It is made in half double crochet strips and then they are joined together. (That's the point that I'm at with it now.)
I did it in the colors as shown with the directions given at:
or at:
but you could do it in and color combo.
If you'd like to buy all your yarn at once at a discounted price you might want to try:
$3.84 a skein and $5.99 flat rate shipping on all orders.
I bought mine yarn one skein at a time at A.C. Moore with a coupon and then bought 2 colors I couldn't find anywhere else from the Of course now A.C. Moore is carrying those 2 colors, now that I'm all done. Isn't that the way it always is? LOL
Want to find hundreds of free patterns? You can Search by Category. Try this:

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Touching Them All

Here's what true sportmanship is all about. What a wonderful story.
(Thanks Carrie for passing it along.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Little Blessing for Mothers

A Prayer for Mothers

Lord and True Giver of Life,
We ask your blessings on the mothers of the World;

Mothers who are with us, and mothers who are no longer;

For those who have borne children, and for those who have opened their hearts to children borne of another woman’s body, known or unknown;

For those who wish for children, (for they are mothers also, as mothers themselves are born and not made) and for those that wish they had not;

For mothers of animals, both wild and tame;

For mothers who have borne children but cannot keep them;

For the numerous “other” mothers of our children -
teachers, scout leaders, coaches, pastors, doctors, and nuns;

For single mothers, step-mothers, and fathers who are both father and mother;

For tired mothers, depressed mothers, frustrated mothers, and cross mothers;

For radiant mothers, patient mothers, loving mothers and expectant mothers;

For mothers to one, and mothers to entire communities;

For grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and Godmothers;

We praise you for these strong, courageous, and loving women in our lives.


(Written by - Heather Ryan-Sigler)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Central

All kinds of information for and about Mother's Day:

The Mother's Day Blog
Mother’s Day Dates Around the World
Other Resources

Friday, May 09, 2008

What Hodgepodge Readers Learned From Their Moms

Debbie - thanks for this opportunity. I learned a million things from my Mom - however, the one which has given me the most fun is "how to have adventures - not to be afraid to step up and take that chance which can lead to seeing and doing the unusual." Dee in Las Cruces

Hi there!
I enjoy reading your emails, and wanted the opportunity to reply to this one.
My mom passed away in 1999, at 84 years old. I still miss her.
Things she told me:
1. You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.
2. You have to suffer to be beautiful. (She always wore high heels, even though she had polio as a child and walked with a limp.)
Thanks, have a great day!

Dear Debbie:

I learned how to find the humor in everything from my Mom, even in the face of adversity. I also got my love of books from her.
Holly Kuehn
Arvada, CO

The most important thing my mom gave me was a deep love for God and church. Without that...well the brightness of love & life would not seem so bright. To my mom I am eternally grateful.
Tanya Rau

Buy cookies; knit sweaters! In other words, use your time to make something that will last.

From my Mom, Lorain Cawthorne, I learned that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. She always said that.

Debbie-- I learned So much from my mom-- as much by her example as by her words.

1. INVITE ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE INTO YOUR HOME- understand that they love your company and hospitality more than a gourmet meal or elegant surroundings.

2. ALWAYS GIVE BACK TO THOSE LESS FORTUNATE THAN YOU. Volunteer work is our "dues" for our own good life. Do it generously and without a superior attitude.

3. VALUE FAMILY. Stay close and show that you care for each other always. No matter what. Communicate! And especially be a loving and fun grandmother. The BEST role in life! (I have 4 grandchildren whom I adore now!)

4. MAKE UP YOUR BED AS YOU LEAVE IT EVERY DAY. Your day will be more peaceful and your room will look MUCH better!

That's only the tip of the iceberg-- she was a wonderful fun mom whom I miss. She died at 86 about 5 years ago.
Dorothy Schmidt (Kerrville, TX)

I learned that you should listen to your mother as she is very wise.
I had been working for a company that decided to relocate to another state so I was out of a job.
I worked as a temp for a while and my mom had told me to go to the local hospital and apply.
I didn't listen to her for a while but finally I applied and got a job and have been here for over 10years now.
I even went back and told her she was right and I should have listened to her all along.
Catherine Ragsdale

I learned so much from my Mom. One of my first memories is of sitting in her lap or lying beside her in bed as she read to me, or sang songs. I still love to read. The most important thing I learned from her though was that a Mother's love can endure forever. She died three days after my fourth birthday, and I can still feel the power of her love for me. (That was 53 years ago)
Jan M.

What I learned from my mom - was really what I learned from my grandmother. I lived her until I was 19 and while my mother lived in the same house, it was my grandmother that raised me. My grandmother was a good and wise woman, opened her home to my parents and four kids. While my parents worked, my grandmother became our mom. This all happened over sixty years ago. My grandmother taught us:

1. If you can't say anything nice about someone, then don't t say anything about them at all.

2. No one is better than you - and you are not better than anyone else.

3. You can be anything you want to be - if you just put your mind to it.

4. It is much better to be positive than negative - easier on your spirit and easier on those around you.

5. Be truthful.
Carol Thompson

My mother taught me to never be so busy that I can't stop long enough to marvel at how beautiful a butterfly is and to know that when I do, I've been touched by God's own hand.

What a loaded question that is for me. My Mother of 91 died just a few weeks ago. I shared her home with her for over 30 years and without using many words her life and the way she lived it taught me volumes. She had a quiet faith and was a woman of grace and gratitude. She showed her love by what she did not so much as what she said. She loved to cook and one way she showed her love was by giving her family those "Martha Stewart" dinners. She showed her love of beauty by the way she tenderly took care of her garden. She was a woman unbowed by age and was still driving at 90 a very independent lady. I think I'm the only 62 year old who would get "lunch money" from their Mother. :):):)
What did I learn from my Mother? To have faith to be kind, forgiving and loving if only I can be half the woman she was......
Thanks for asking the question.
Warmest Regards,
Kathy B.
York, PA

Dear Debbie,

What I learned from my Mother came last Saturday in a conversation over the phone.
She told me that after my Father had a Stroke he was difficult to care for at times.
Her greatest lesson learned from this experience was that when my Father was "Most Difficult to Love"
that was when she needed to "Love him most".
My Father died in December 2007.
I think we would both agree that we would do anything to Love him now.
Last Saturday I learned that a very dear friend of mine has cancer.
Saturday afternoon I already experienced the time when I needed to "Love Him Most."
I will never forget these words, especially as I try to Love, through the tears and to the end.
Catherine Stanke

My mother taught me that we're not promised tomorrow so live our best today!
Mary M

Thursday, May 08, 2008

ERD is Getting Help to Myanmar

You may have heard that many countries are trying to get help to Myanmar after the recent cyclone there devastated the country but the military junta was not allowing the aid to go through. Carol from Ways of the World here on the Farm passes on the following information.
Because Burma was a British colony and has an Anglican church, Episcopal Relief and Development was already on the ground there right away. Here is the operative paragraph from Monday's story: "Working with its partner, the Church of the Province of Myanmar, ERD is sending funds to secure shelter, food water and other relief needs for people displaced by the Cyclone. As part of a long-term strategy, ERD has been working for the past two years with five dioceses on economic development including agriculture, livestock, and micro-loans, clean water and education programs."
To make a donation go to:

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Just a Mom?

(This is one of those things going around the Internet that my Aunt Sylvia passed on to me and I thought it was a good one for Mother's Day.)

A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk 's office,
was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation.

She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

'What I mean is," explained the recorder, "Do you have a job or are you just a ...?"

"Of course I have a job," snapped the woman.

"I'm a Mom."

"We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation."

"Housewife covers it," said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like, "Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar."

"What is your occupation?" she probed.

What made me say it? I do not know. The words simply popped out. "I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations."
The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right.
I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.
Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.
"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in your field?"

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply,
"I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn't) in the laboratory and in the field." (normally I would have said indoors and out).
"I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family) and already have four credits." (all daughters).
"Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it) but the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money."
There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she
completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3.
Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby) in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.
I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!
And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than "just another Mom."


What a glorious career!
Especially when there's a title on the door.
Does this make grandmothers Senior Research Associates in the Field of Child Development and Human Relations?
And Great Grandmothers Executive Senior Research Associates?
I think so!!! I also think it makes Aunts Associate Research Assistants.

Please send this to another Mom,
Grandmother, Aunt, and other friends you know.
May your troubles be less,
Your blessing be more,
And nothing but happiness come through your door!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

What Did You Learn From Your Mother?

Mother's Day is this Sunday and I was just wondering if Hodgepodge readers would like to share something they learned from their mother. It doesn't have to be worldly or profound, just something you'd like to pass along. Email it to me at with "Mom" in the subject line and sign it as you want you name to appear, or no name. Meanwhile here's what Elizabeth Peale Allen had to say she learned from her mother,
5 Things I Learned From My Mother, Ruth Stafford Peale, the First Lady of Positive Thinking

Update: I've already started hearing back from you and your responses are great. Keep them coming! I'll post them on Friday.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Spice It Up!

Hodgepodge reader Barbara H. is on the hunt for a chart she found in a magazine years ago that showed how to make casseroles from leftovers. It had a column for a pasta, then the soup, meat and spices. She really liked the way the spices were listed for each casserole. Does anyone out there have something like that?

Here are some spice charts I found:

HP reader Allison K. sends along the following:
A friend recommended Robin Miller from the Food Network. She specializes in taking one main meal item, and then reusing the leftovers in creative ways all week long.,2757,FOOD_23676_4737564,00.html

Friday, May 02, 2008

Black & Decker Gizmo Twist Mixer™

Here's a handy little item I picked up sometime ago and find most useful.
(It's also supposed to come with a drink mixer, mine didn't, but then I had picked it up in Value City for less than half of the advertised retail price.)

Here's what they say about it on the Black and Decker Appliance website:

Gizmo™ Twist Mixer™
(SKU: GM200)
Here's a simple twist on a great idea: a 3-in-1 mixer with a twistable head for a variety of uses. That's the fun and innovative design the cordless Black & Decker Gizmo Twist Mixer™ offers you!

3-in-1 Cordless Mixer with a simple twist, go from a drink mixer to a hand mixer and it can also whisk eggs
Includes 3 attachments for every mixing need: Whisk, beater and drink mixer
The two power settings let you mix, stir, beat or blend at high or low speed
Stores conveniently in a mountable base along with attachments
All detachable parts are dishwasher safe
The Gizmo Twist Mixer™ has a High/Low/Off switch, a twistable head, a twist control button and an ergonomic handle

Thursday, May 01, 2008

More 3-D Paper Tole Pictures

Here are two more 3-D paper tole pictures completed by my mother-in-law, Ruth Loeb.

Some flowers for May Day!

For more see:

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