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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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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How to Peel a Potato

Sent along by HP reader Linda M. from her friend Linda!

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Monday, March 30, 2009

The Best Pretzels!

I don't usually repeat myself but I just happened to "Google" to see if Uncle Jerry's Handmade Pretzels ever got around to a website . . . and they have! Now all you need is a Visa or Mastercard and you can have these great pretzels on your doorstep, or see if they are sold in your area. You can still mail order them and there is a form you can download & print out for that too.

Original Hodgepodge posting:

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

(Sent along by HP reader R. Honey)

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Thursday, March 26, 2009


SafeLink Wireless is a government supported programthat provides a free cell phone and airtime each month for income-eligible customers.

How to Qualify

The process to qualify for Lifeline Service depends on the State you live in. In general, you may qualify if...

You already participate in other State or Federal assistance program such as Federal Public Housing Assistance, Food Stamps and Medicaid.
Your total household income is at or below 135% of the poverty guidelines set by your State and/or the Federal Government.
No one in your household currently receives Lifeline Service through another phone carrier.
You have a valid United States Postal Address. In order for us to ship you your free phone you must live at a residence that can receive mail from the US Post Office. Sorry, but P.O. Boxes cannot be accepted.
In addition to meeting the guidelines above you will also be required to provide proof of your participation in an assistance program, or proof of your income level.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009


"wikiHow is a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. With your contributions, we can create a free resource that helps millions of people by offering solutions to the problems of everyday life. wikiHow currently contains 52,443 articles — written, edited, and maintained primarily by volunteers. Please join us by writing on a topic not yet covered, or editing an article that someone else has started."

Here are the Categories that covered just to give you an idea of what you can find here.

Arts & Entertainment
Cars & Other Vehicles
Hobbies & Crafts
Sports & Fitness
Computers & Electronics
Holidays & Traditions
Education & Communications
Home & Garden
Work World
Family Life
Personal Care & Style
Finance & Business
Pets & Animals
Food & Entertaining
Philosophy & Religion

P.S. - There is an addition to the Healthier Pumpkin Bread Recipe:

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ask Dr. Sears

This website gives general advice on parenting and health care.
Some of the topics that are covered are:

Pregnancy & Childbirth
Feeding Infants and Toddlers
Family Nutrition
Discipline & Behavior
Fussy Babies
Sleep Problems
Childhood Illnesses
Medicine Cabinet
A to Z Index
GoFish Omega 3 DHA
Attachment Parenting
L.E.A.N. Start

Check it out at:

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Alice Squared!

When I saw this fabric I knew exactly who it was meant for and the design just popped into my head. Alice is my friend Diane's daughter, and I gave her the quilt last Friday before she returned back to college in Oklahoma from her spring break.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Fiber One Pancake Mix

I just bought this box of pancake mix the other day and tried it for the first time today. It made thin light pancakes which I like. The mix is made with water but milk can be used instead and for thicker pancakes stir in additional mix. You can also make waffles from the mix.
Note it contains wheat, soy, and egg ingredients.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Emergency Email & Wireless Network

This is a free public service that will notify you in case of emergency weather information, Homeland Security information, health alerts, and of your local emergency management.
All you have to do is go to the website, click on your area from the list and add your email address. You can repeat it for more than one area.
It says you can get notified by email, cell or pager.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Flannel Board

How many of you remember the old fashion flannel board from Sunday school?
Well, I've brought it back as a way to work on layouts for a quilt pattern. All you need is a foam core board (20"x 30") flannel, and some spray adhesive. After I cut off the excess I used a fabric glue stick and trimmed it with ribbon on the edges. Fabric shown is from a "wee play" charm pack, American Jane Patterns, from Moda fabrics.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Test your knowledge on the All Things Irish Quiz from the History Channel and then read more at the website to learn about this holiday.

Think you know all about the History of Ireland? Try this quiz:

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Aha Moment

What's an aha moment?
It's a defining moment of clarity where you gain real wisdom - wisdom you can use to change your life.
Mutual of Omaha is collecting stories of your aha moments.
Go to: to read others and to tell them yours.

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Friday, March 13, 2009


Did you know that 7 out of 19 kids are not properly buckled into their car seats?

At this website you can search the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) listing of child passenger safety seat inspection locations. Their certified inspectors can provide guidance on proper child restraint use and installation. You can enter your zip code to find a location near you.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quilt Commandments

Here's a fun list of Quilting Commandments from a Quilting Forum
and for the Table of Contents for free patterns and quilting techniques go here:

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Change your look, not your sole!

Here's a switch on plain old flip-flops. You choose your shoe and then the interchangeable strap for infinite possibilities. Such a cool and simple idea I'm suprised no one thought of it sooner!

Thanks to HP reader R. Honey of Haddon Heights, NJ for passing this along.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tips to Avoid Foreclosure Scams

Carol Stone of Ways of the World here on the Farm, alerts us to some valuable information she found from the Federal Reserve Board.

*Work only with a non-profit HUD-approved counselor. For a list of certified counselors visit or call 877-HUD-1515 (877-483-1515). If the name of the organization you are working with isn't on the list, then switch to one that is.

*Don't pay an arm and a leg. Most housing counselors provide no- or low-cost counseling services. You should not have to pay hundreds, or thousands, of dollars for assistance.

*Be wary of "guarantees." No one can ensure you good results.

*Know what you are signing. Don't let a counselor pressure you into signing paperwork you haven't had a chance to read thoroughly or that you don't understand.

*If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

To read more go to:

If you feel you are a victim of foreclosure fraud, trust your instincts and ask for help. Report suspicious schemes to your state and local consumer protection agencies, which you can find on the Consumer Action Website.


Monday, March 09, 2009

The Toxic Twelve

Did you ever wonder about the chemicals that are in the everyday skin, hair, and make-up products you use? Here's a list of ones you should look out for and what they can do to you.

1. Benzoyl peroxide
2. DEA (diethanolamine) and MEA (monoethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine)
3. Dioxin
4. DMDM hydantoin and imidazolidinyl urea
5. Synthetic Colors and Pigments
6. Parabens (methyl, butyl, ethyl, propyl)
7. FEG (polyethylene glycol)
8. Phthalates 9xenoestrogens)
9. Propylene glycol and butylene glycol
10. Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate
11. Sunscreen chemicals like avobensone, benzphenone and PABA
12. Triclosan

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Friday, March 06, 2009

T-Mobile Dance

Put your sound on.

Just something fun to watch, sent along by Hodgepodge reader, R. Honey of Haddon Heights, NJ.
and to see how it was made go to:

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Skeptic's Dictionary

My husband came across this website that is kind of like

The Skeptic's Dictionary is a website and a book. Each features definitions, arguments, and essays on occult topics ranging from acupuncture to zombies, and provides a lively, commonsense trove of detailed information on things supernatural, paranormal, and pseudoscientific.

Dozens of topics in logic, perception, science, and philosophy are also covered to help explain the appeal and popularity of occult beliefs and to provide a guide for critical thinking.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

How to Say No

This is from
54 Ways to Get Out of Doing Anything You Don't Want to Do

There are scripts that help you to say no friends and family who want too much a restaurant
...when salespeople attack the bedroom the office
...anytime, anywhere

Also see: Ten Etiquette Rules for Children

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Maggie Maze

After the snow storm we had here yesterday Paul made pathways in the backyard for Maggie. Before he had gotten out with the snow blower she wouldn't venture out past under the deck. It is so bitter cold here today that I was just able to run upstairs to the deck to snap this picture as she was already headed back to the house as I got there.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Two 3-Day Challenges

These come from HP reader Mary S. of Richmond, VA who got them from a doctor.

(Note to Diabetics: If you are currently being treated for diabetes, and are on any kind of diabetic medication, insulin or pills, DO NOT try this challenge without talking to your doctor!)

For three lousy days, do not eat anything with added sugar. You can have all the sugar substitute you want. But no sugar in tea or coffee, no cookies, no cake ... you get the drill. Three days only. At the end of three days, make a mental note of how you feel. Do you have more energy? Are you breathing better? Do you notice fewer muscle and joint aches and pains? Do you have a more optimistic feeling about Life and the World In General?

Now, then ... on the fourth day, eat ONE chocolate chip cookie. How long does it take for you to feel lousy, all over again?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(Note: sudden cessation of caffeine causes headaches in many individuals, but nothing an OTC pain reliever won't take away.)

And in a month or so (I'd hate for you to deprive yourself of too much, too soon), do the same thing, except eliminate caffeine from your diet. NO caffeine at all. No coffee, tea, soft drinks, cocoa ... you get the drill. Three days only.

At the end of three days, make a mental note of how you feel. Do you have more energy? Are you breathing better? Do you notice fewer muscle and joint aches and pains? Do you have a more optimistic feeling about Life and the World In General?

Now, then ... on the fourth day, drink one cup of coffee or have one soft drink. How long does it take for you to feel lousy, all over again?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Both of these Challenges work on the premise that ANYBODY can do without ANYTHING for three lousy days, and you will be AMAZED at the difference in how you will feel by eliminating these two things from your diet. It's also a lot easier to give something up entirely when you KNOW FOR CERTAIN that you will feel so much better once you do, and taking these two challenges is the proof you need. From here on out, it will be easier for you to push away that soda-pop or that piece of pie!

To go along with this you can also checkout Sugarbusters:

or here:

or how it got started:

What experts say about it on WebMD:

I think no matter what the experts say we all know that we eat a lot of the wrong foods and not enough of the right foods. It's just a good challenge to eat the right stuff for 3 days!

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