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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, November 26, 2008

The New-England Boy's Song About Thanksgiving Day

OVER the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way,
To carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather's house away!
We would not stop
For doll or top,
For 't is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
With a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark,
And children hark,
As we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play--
Hear the bells ring
Ting a ling ding,
Hurra for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood--
No matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get
The sleigh upset,
Into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all,
And play snow-ball,
And stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Trot fast, my dapple grey!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound,
For 't is Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood,
And straight through the barn-yard gate;
We seem to go
Extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait.

Over the river, and through the wood--
Old Jowler hears our bells;
He shakes his pow,
With a loud bow wow,
And thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood--
When grandmother sees us come,
She will say, Oh dear,
The children are here,
Bring a pie for every one.

Over the river, and through the wood--
Now grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurra for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurra for the pumpkin pie!

- Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880)

(Many of us know this poem but I bet have never heard all the verses.)

To read a bit about the author go to:

The Grandfather's House, beside the Mystic River, Medford, Massachusetts.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Overlooked Fat Loss Factors

Here’s a summary of an article I came across on that I thought you might find of interest.

Overlooked Fat Loss Factors
By Joel Marion

When determining the effect of your eating on diet, we're often told you simply need to burn more calories than you eat and you’ll lose fat. However the truth is that the actual “number” of calories you consume is not the only factor that affects your fat-loss efforts. There are other things that should be considered that are sometimes overlooked as fat loss factors.

1- The thermic effect of the food you eat - measures the amount of energy that is required to support the processes of digesting, absorbing and assimilating food nutrients as well as the energy expended as a result of the central nervous system's stimulatory effect on metabolism when food is ingested. Of the three macronutrients, protein carries the highest thermic effect. Eat more protein; burn more calories.

2- The fiber content of the food you eat - Due to its chemical makeup, fiber is classified as a carbohydrate; however, it is unlike other carbohydrates in that it is an indigestible nutrient. Even though each gram of fiber contains four calories, these calories will pass through your intestinal tract undigested.

3- The glycemic and insulin indices of the food you eat - are scaled numbers that refer to how quickly a particular carbohydrate source enters the bloodstream as sugar and how much insulin is needed to rid that sugar from the bloodstream, respectively. When high levels of insulin are present within the blood, fat burning is halted.

4- The different macronutrients present in the food you eat - Since eating carbohydrates stimulates a large insulin response and fat ingestion gives rise to blood lipid levels, when the two are consumed together, they promote the greatest fat storage.

5- The size, frequency and time of the meals you eat - Eating smaller, more frequent meals will result in an increase in metabolism and utilization of the ingested nutrients. If you consume large, infrequent meals you will tend to promote storage of the ingested nutrients, as the body is unsure as to when the next feeding will take place. Large amounts of carbohydrates before bed spikes insulin, deters nocturnal thermogenesis, and increases fat storage during sleep. Calories early in the day does not bring about this problem and are more ikely to be used as energy to support daily activities.

So . . . . you could be eating a small amount of calories daily, but at the same time be promoting a great deal of fat storage by:

1) Making poor food choices
2) Combining macronutrients in a nonproductive fashion
3) Consuming food infrequently and at inopportune times

Joel Marion is an internationally recognized fitness expert and the author of The Cheat to Lose Diet (Random House, 2007). To learn more about Joel’s top-rated Body Transformation Coaching program and to download a free copy of his latest fat loss report, The Secret Fat Loss Hormone, visit

To read the full article go to:


Monday, November 24, 2008

Coupon Codes for Online Savings

Here's another website for online savings. is an easy way to find coupon codes when buying items on line. Just follow the instructions given here:

For others that were previously posted, go to:

(Thanks to HP reader Jeanne M. P. sending in this money savings link.)

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another Memory

This "Another Memory", is an email follow-up from Dee that she received from a friend.

Debbie -
The following comes from my dear friend of 39 years, Mary Verni; we were neighbors as young wives and mothers in Utica, N.Y. - Mary's hometown. Now she lives in Massachusetts near Hyannis and is a remarkably fine nurse at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. I think what she had to say to me this morning is worth your reading. She was younger than me but her experience was a little more personal. I imagine you'll get several different slants from people. We'll see what happens. - Dee

"It was a horrible day that will live in my memory forever. I was 13 when JFK came to Utica to campaign. We were dismissed from De Sales(School) early and ran down to the Memorial Auditorium to see & hear him. I shook his hand and was in awe of this great man that I, too felt would take care of us.

The day he was killed, I was taking a "final" in Anatomy & Physiology. One of the nursing students ran into the classroom, tears streaming down her face and cried out," President Kennedy has been shot!" I finished my test and went to chapel which was filled with students, patients, nurses & doctors. Each taking turns & time to pray. As were the nation, I was glued to the TV for the entire weekend.

When I returned to school, I felt compelled to write to Mrs. Kennedy and I did. I wrote a poem & letter & mailed it to her. She answered my letter and thanked me. I was told it is in the JFK library archives along with thousands of letters the family received.

Ironically, we were in Hyannis the day John Kennedy, Jr.'s plane crashed. We were having dinner at an outside bistro and the silence of the town struck me. You could have have heard a pin drop.

I think of Caroline with her entire family gone. She is becoming more like her mother every day...graceful, shy, mysterious.

Now we are praying for Ted Kennedy for the courage and strength to face his demise. With all of the criticism, this family has given a lot and endured a lot for our country." - Mary M.V.

Here's another memory that was sent to me.

Hi Debbie,
"I've really enjoyed reading your messages about the Kennedys. My parents are probably the biggest Kennedy fans alive. My dad says that the day John F. Kennedy was killed was the saddest day of his life, after the days he lost his parents. I remember many times growing up that he'd talk about that day and get tears in his eyes.

I was born in December 1968, at the end of such a tragic and tumultuous year. My parents supported Robert Kennedy, of course, and were again devastated when he was killed. I've been thinking about that year a lot as I prepare for my 40th birthday. I think that this country has come so far, especially with the election of Barack Obama. I cried on election night as I thought about the people who have gone before us and who have helped make this country so great."

Thanks again.
Take care,

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Friday, November 21, 2008

November 22nd, 1963

These extraordinary pictures were taken by Hodgepodge reader Dee from Las Cruces, NM and she writes about this day:

The JFK Funeral

November Autumn days in northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. are phenomenally beautiful.The skies are deep, clear blue and the sunshine is intense and soul-raising. Most trees have lost their leaves but there is that last blast of glory which invades the spirit. Such was the day of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s funeral. It was as though the earth had opened up to send her native son to Heaven where it was certain he would live after such an ending here below. The day of his assassination was rather cloudy and dreary; certainly, as a young teacher in charge of 50 4th graders in Ramsey Elementary School, Alexandria, the last thing on my mind was the amazing horror which would transpire. It was the end of the week; we were finishing up our classwork and all was quiet. I stepped out into the hall for a 5-minute break. My friend Suzanne Flory, speech therapist for the school district, had arrived upstairs from the office and she looked as tho’ someone had smacked her. She quietly said to me, “John Kennedy has been shot and they say he will not live.” That’s all. Nothing more All was quiet and dark. It remained for me to inform the children who indeed thought of Mr. Kennedy and his family as near relations; they saw the Kennedys all the time, watched Caroline riding through the White House grounds on Macaroni, her pony; glued themselves to the television whenever Jackie glided into the situation looking spectacular but most of all, they and indeed all of us young adults, felt that John Kennedy knew US – that he cared about our existence as fellow citizens and human beings. It wasn’t only to do with politics – it had to do with person-to-person. Those of us who lived close to the White House felt that we could visit there and, should he come into the hall or room and speak to us, it would be as a friend welcoming us to his home – not the leader of the free world.

And so….he died. The children’s only response was that we should all be praying for him in case it might help him live. They didn’t really want him to leave us but this was what they could do on the moment to help. Those children are now 53 and 54 years old – I hope they know how impressive they were in their response and how they stood up to this grizzly situation.

We all felt a responsibility to “be there” for him as he made his last journey along the streets of Washington that gloriously sunny Autumn day. There were thousands of people lining the routes his caisson took. We knew it was a never-to-be-repeated moment in history. The most touching things in my own memory were two: the riderless horse with boots backward in the stirrups – a very beautiful black stallion who was the picture of excellence and grandeur representing the fallen leader. And the silence. No audible talking; only the muffled drums of the Scottish and Irish Guards as they accompanied John Kennedy through D.C. It’s very daunting to be part of such an immense crowd when noone is saying anything. Respect; grief; awe – permeating our minds. With all the attention paid to Mr. Kennedy, we can also never forget the immense dignity with which Jacqueline Kennedy accompanied her husband until the very last possible moment. Altho’ just the night before, she had written a quiet midnight note to her God which simply said, “Dear God, please take care of my husband.”, she nonetheless led us all by her example the next day, head up, position and responsibility taken seriously. And then….when all was done, we thought, she went home to give her 3-year-old son a birthday party. There’s only one word for that: guts. Love and prayers to all 5 Kennedys now gone –and to dear Caroline who is the only one left.

(Our thanks to Dee for sharing her rememberances and photos from this most sad day in our nation's history.)

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Old Farmer's Almanac

Hey, I bet some of you remember The Old Farmer's Almanac. Well, of course it's on the web.
You'll find information on Weather, Gardening, Astronomy, Food, Advice, Community, Press (with the history of the Almanac) , and a place to Shop too.
Check it out on:

(Thanks to HP reader Lynda H. for passing this along!)

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Camelbak Water Bottle

Now we all know we should drink more water and not buy it bottled already. Well, I came across this "Better Bottle" by Camelbak. It's BPA free, has a Flip, Bite, Sip & No Tip to drink from valve, a handy carrying handle, fits in most cup holders, comes in three sizes & assorted colors, and best of all, it's spill-proof!

To learn or about it or where it's sold in your area go to:

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Light Lemon Cake

This recipe is from Woman’s Day Magazine – 4/1/06

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
¼ cup lemon juice (grate zest first)
1 1/3 cups sugar
5 Tbsp plus 1 tsp (1/3 cup) butter
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs plus white of large egg
2 ¼ cups cake flour

1. Preheat oven to 350'. Coat a 12-cup bundt pan with nonstick spray.

2. Mix yogurt & lemon juice in a small bowl until blended and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with mixer on medium speed to blend (mixture will resemble damp sand). Beat in eggs and egg white until smooth. On low speed mix in yogurt, then flour, until just blended. Scrap into pan; smooth top.

4. Bake 30 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in a pan on wire rack 15 minutes before inverting on rack. Serve warm or cool.

Of course being one to have to change it up a bit, I made it a second time and used fresh orange zest and juice instead of the lemon and also adding 1 cup of mini chocolate chips. (Pictured above.)

Like the orange and chocolate combo? See my cookie recipe for Sweet Dark Indulgence.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Simple Secrets to a Happy Life

Something to start off your week . . .
Beautiful photographs, set to music, with thoughtful quotations.

(Thanks Carrie for passing it along.)

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Postcard Computer Virus

This was around before but has resurfaced again this time most often saying you have received a postcard from Hallmark. DO NOT OPEN ANYTHING THAT SAYS YOU HAVE RECEIVED A POST CARD FROM ANYBODY!! It is a really bad computer virus! DELETE IT IMMEDIATELY!!
Here is the link to snopes so you can read about it yourself so you can see what form it might come in.

I have actually been getting the Hallmark one lately and knew better than to open it. Thanks Carol (W.O.W) for reminding us all about it again.

This just in from a reader: There is another that surfaced a few weeks ago in my company. It says it's from Delta Airlines thanking you for your purchase of tickets and that the full amount has been charged to your credit card. It says you can review the invoice which is included as an attachment. If you open the attachment, it unleashes a terrible trojan that you cannot get rid of without reformatting your hard drive.

Update: Another virus which appears to be an email coming for UPS or Fed Ex


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Barack Obama's Slideshow on Flickr

Behind the scene pictures from election night.

(Thanks to HP reader T. Riley for passing this along.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

5 Dumb Car Shopping Moves

1. Don't: fall in love with a car - Wait until you can drive some competing models and get a sense of whether it's really all that terrific. Wait until the price comes down. Dealers often tack on premiums, charging more than full sticker price for brand new models they know will be in high demand from day one. So, if you rush to be the first one on the block with the hottest new model you may spend thousands of dollars more. Then there will just be you, the car, and those car loan payments.

2. Don't: Take that long, long, long, long loan - Super long car loans may seem like a painless way to get a new car with low monthly payments but there are 2 things to remember. First you're paying more. Secondly, if you want to trade your car in in a few years and haven't paid off a big chunk of your loan by that time, you could end up "upside down" in your current car, meaning you owe more money than the car is worth.

3. Don't: Negotiate trade - in and purchase at the same time - Negotiate the price of the new car first, getting that number down to something you're comfortable with. Then negotiate your trade in and get that number as high as you can, or if you still feel like it's not enough, take the car elsewhere or sell it yourself.

4. Don't: Negotiate in person - Most dealerships have salespeople, or even entire departments, that specialize in dealing with customers over the phone and by email. Negotiating over the phone or by email keeps you in your comfort zone - not the dealer's showroom. When you're done negotiating, ask them to fax you the deal in writing so there will be no surprises when you arrive to get your car.

5. Don't: Take a 'great deal' on the outgoing model year - Be careful about taking a deep discount on an outgoing model year car. It will be worth less as a trade in.

To read more go to:;_ylc=X3oDMTE5OWZ2dGZpBF9TAzI3MTYxNDkEc2VjA2ZwLXRvZGF5BHNsawNkdW1iLXNob3BwaW5n


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

There's No One as Irish as Barack Obama

by Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys

This was forwarded to me by a HP reader with this comment: "Sent to me from Ms. Holly O'Neill, who tells me that this has become an (embarrassingly) big hit in Ireland. No joke."

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Quilt is Nice

My friend Helen found this blog. Check out the bright, beautiful, and quirky quilts. There are even some instructions to make your own!

Please don't forget to vote for the Geranium Farm. Yes, you do have to register at the site, but you can always remove yourself later. Just be sure to uncheck the box to get updates. This is where you can use a second email address. Don't have one? Get a free one at Yahoo, AOL, or MSN (Hotmail), just to name a few. It a handy thing to have when you don't want to give out your primary email address.

So . . . show everyone how much you love the Geranium Farm by clicking on this link & voting:

Voting ends Nov. 30th.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

A Visit with David's Doc

Today Paul was able to go with me to a doctor's visit with David's neurologist which always isn't the case. He asked us how David was doing since his last visit in order to see if we needed to tweak his seizure meds. He wanted answers more from me than my husband saying that he trusts a mother's intuition. He said even when his own kids were little he trusted in his wife's observations about certain things with them, believing that a mother has those strong gut feelings about her children. David's first and long time neurologist always trusted my instincts. (It was very hard for me to have to switch to another after him. He was one in a million.)

Over the years we have seen a lot of doctors for David. The best were always the ones that listened. If you have a doctor and they are not listening to you, the person that is with your child, day in and day out, it might just be time to find a new doctor.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Help in Making Sense Out of Medicare

The Official U.S. Government Site for People with Medicare is at:

Just some of what this website can help you with:

Medicare Premiums and Coinsurance Rates
Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage & Plans
Medicare Health Plans -
Lower Your Costs During the Coverage Gap
Learn More About Plans in Your Area
Most up-to-date list of all Medicare-approved suppliers in your area
Hospital Compare - A quality tool for adults, including people with Medicare
Medicare Eligibility & Enrollment Date: This calculator will provide you with your dates of eligibility and enrollment for Medicare.
Order a Medicare Replacement Card Online
- plus other information. provides direct Internet access to your Medicare benefits, eligibility, enrollment (including prescription drug plans) and preventive health information - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit the site, sign up, and Medicare will mail you a password to allow you access to your personal Medicare information. also allows you to view your adjudicated claims information, access online forms and publications, and receive important messages from Medicare.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008


“People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing. A leader's job is to help people have vision of their potential.” - John Porter

"Change is the process by which the future invades our lives, and it is important to look at it closely, not merely from the grand perspectives of history, but also from the vantage point of the living, breathing individuals who experience it." - Alvin Toffler, Future Shock

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
- Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987), The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

"I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better." - G. C. (Georg Christoph) Lichtenberg

“When you're finished changing, you're finished.” - Benjamin Franklin


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The First Presidential Election in the United States of America

The United States presidential election of 1789, the only one to not take place in an even numbered year, followed the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788. The polls opened on December 15, 1788 and closed on January 10, 1789. In this election, George Washington was elected for the first of his two terms as President of the United States, and John Adams became the first Vice President of the United States.

There was no chief executive before this election. Previously under the Articles of Confederation,the national government was headed by the Confederation Congress, which had a ceremonial presiding officer but no independent executive branch.

The enormously popular Washington ran unopposed with the only real issue being who would be chosen as vice president. Under the system then in place, each elector cast two votes; if a person received a vote from a majority of the electors, that person became president, and the runner-up became vice president. All 69 electors cast one vote for Washington. Their other votes were divided among eleven other candidates, with John Adams receiving the most and becoming vice president. The Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1804, would change this procedure, requiring each elector to cast distinct votes for president and vice president.

To see the other canidates for VP for this election go to:,_1789

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Monday, November 03, 2008

How Old Is Your Brain?

Sound on:
1. Touch 'start'
2. Wait for 3, 2, 1
3. Memorize the number's position on the screen, then click the circles in order from the smallest number to the largest number.
4. At the end of game the computer will tell you how old your brain is.

Click on the link below ...

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