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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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Thursday, December 31, 2009


If one of your New Year's resolutions is to lose weight you might want to check-out this website:

It is a free diet & weight loss journal where you can track your foods, exercises, weight, and goals. View your calories, nutrition, weight loss and more.

By using your free online account to enter your daily foods and exercise, FitDay will analyze all your information and shows you:

Daily Calorie Counts
Carbs, Fat, and Protein
Weight Loss and Goals
Detailed Nutrition for 1,000's of foods
Long Term Diet Analysis
and much more...

Happy New Year's Everyone!

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Monday, December 28, 2009

How to Eat a Chicken Wing

Here's something for all those football fans watching their games and eating chicken wings. : ) (Put your sound on.)


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Click on the link: (Sound on)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

(By Francis P. Church, first published in The New York Sun in 1897.)

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

About the Exchange
Francis P. Church’s editorial, “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” was an immediate sensation, and went on to became one of the most famous editorials ever written. It first appeared in the The New York Sun in 1897, almost a hundred years ago, and was reprinted annually until 1949 when the paper went out of business.

Thirty-six years after her letter was printed, Virginia O’Hanlon recalled the events that prompted her letter:

“Quite naturally I believed in Santa Claus, for he had never disappointed me. But when less fortunate little boys and girls said there wasn’t any Santa Claus, I was filled with doubts. I asked my father, and he was a little evasive on the subject.

“It was a habit in our family that whenever any doubts came up as to how to pronounce a word or some question of historical fact was in doubt, we wrote to the Question and Answer column in The Sun. Father would always say, ‘If you see it in the The Sun, it’s so,’ and that settled the matter.

“ ‘Well, I’m just going to write The Sun and find out the real truth,’ I said to father.

“He said, ‘Go ahead, Virginia. I’m sure The Sun will give you the right answer, as it always does.’ ”

And so Virginia sat down and wrote her parents’ favorite newspaper.

Her letter found its way into the hands of a veteran editor, Francis P. Church. Son of a Baptist minister, Church had covered the Civil War for The New York Times and had worked on the The New York Sun for 20 years, more recently as an anonymous editorial writer. Church, a sardonic man, had for his personal motto, “Endeavour to clear your mind of cant.” When controversal subjects had to be tackled on the editorial page, especially those dealing with theology, the assignments were usually given to Church.

Now, he had in his hands a little girl’s letter on a most controversial matter, and he was burdened with the responsibility of answering it.

“Is there a Santa Claus?” the childish scrawl in the letter asked. At once, Church knew that there was no avoiding the question. He must answer, and he must answer truthfully. And so he turned to his desk, and he began his reply which was to become one of the most memorable editorials in newspaper history.

Church married shortly after the editorial appeared. He died in April, 1906, leaving no children.

Virginia O’Hanlon went on to graduate from Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts degree at age 21. The following year she received her Master’s from Columbia, and in 1912 she began teaching in the New York City school system, later becoming a principal. After 47 years, she retired as an educator. Throughout her life she received a steady stream of mail about her Santa Claus letter, and to each reply she attached an attractive printed copy of the Church editorial. Virginia O’Hanlon Douglas died on May 13, 1971, at the age of 81, in a nursing home in Valatie, N.Y.

To see a scan of the original:

(In the spirit of the holiday season - all 9 people that sent in their memories will receive tissure cozies!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Your Holiday Memories

Above is a Picture of a cardboard standup nativity I remember getting them when I was in grade school (19??) the nuns would give them out at Christmas time. Bobby
It's hard to pick just one! But one of my favorites occurred during the last Christmas my mother (who loved Christmas) was still living. She was quite ill, which we all knew, but she hid it so well. We were all over at my older brother's house and decided to watch Christmas Vacation which had just come out on video. We laughed all the way through it and even though it's been 19 years, I can still see my mother laughing. Each year, never tiring of it, we watch it again and always laugh...and I remember Mama.
I know I sent one already, but here's another:
We got married 36 years ago a week before Christmas the middle of our Jr. year in college. It was the weekend after our finals. We didn't have any money to go on a honeymoon, so we retreated to our married housing on campus which we had secured right before the end of the semester. The campus (a state Univ in a small town in KY) was deserted, since everyone had gone home for the Christmas break, so we had the place to ourselves. My grandmother had given us a box set of wooden ornaments to make and decoupage, so we spent the week working on them. In between we would take walks in the snow - so quiet - the campus was a real magical winter wonderland. One night we walked downtown - everything was closed up except a liquor store - we stepped in to get warm. The owner was serving egg nog to whomever happened to be out braving the weather. Right outside of town there was some land being cleared for a housing development, so one night we drove out and cut a tree (since it was going to be cut any way) and brought it home and decorated it with the wooden ornaments we had finally finished. To this day, each year I get at least a few of those ornaments out of their box to place on our tree and remember that simpler, special year.
Hi Debbie,
The best gift I ever received was my "Dennis the Menace Dentist Set" which came with a Dennis the Menace doll that you could fix his teeth. The neatest dentist chair with lots of little dentist tools. : ) : ) : ) : ) Not that I ever wanted to be a dentist or even liked going to the dentist it was just the neatest toy to play with which was in the late 50's when I was about 11. My parents were seperated and I was living with one of my Mothers sisters. Santa brought everything on Christmas Eve the tree, lights, presents everything. I even got a letter from Santa I was afraid he might not know that I moved with my Aunt and Uncle. :):):):) It was the most magical Christmas ever! Oh if I had only saved that toy......
Thanks for asking the brought back so many wonderful memories of that special Christmas sad as it was with my parents seperated.
Warmest Regards,
Kathy Brunner
(I was able to find this picture for Kathy of her favorite toy.)

Perhaps the best gift I ever received were home-made cookies from Aunt Lill. They were layered in wax paper in a Louden Hill butter box. My brothers and I would swap each other for our favorite flavors. As years went on she knew our favorites and the swapping ceased.
The best gift I ever gave may have been a rocking chair to my then boyfriend (now husband)...did I know that someday we would rock our babies (and now our grandbabies)?
Mary Stasko
Christmas 2008 was one of my favorites. I got my granddaughter Emmie an easel and she said "Thank you, Nana, for my WEASEL" !
Linda M.
My favorite holiday memory is from 1940. I was four years old, and had a song to sing to a doll while sitting in a rocking chair for the church holiday pageant. I was given a beautiful doll that evening, and had to give it back after my part was over. But guess what, that doll was sitting under the Christmas tree in my home on Christmas morning just, just waiting for me!! Helen
Favorite holiday memory - Coming home from Midnight Mass on a white and snowy evening with the sky so clear and dark the stars seem to dance along with some beautiful music. "Christ is come," they seem to sing. "Joy, joy!' Jack H.
The Midnight Service, Christmas Eve, 1978 (or thereabouts). St. Andrew’s Church, Albany, New York. The Rev. Bruce Gray opened the service reading from John, Chapter 1. What makes this such an enduring image is that the church was illuminated with a single spotlight on the pulpit, with Father Gray resplendent in the white Vestments of Christmas. The glorious mystical quality of this passage from scripture was beautifully enhanced by the presentation of the reading. To this day, I visualize that scene whenever I hear “In the beginning was the Word”. Bob B.
My favorite Christmas memory is looking at the city that my Grandmother and Grandfather would build under the tree every year. There was a gate with an arch and a hand carved Santa with toys on his back, one foot down and the other up as in a running pose. Santa had a red suit and white trim in all the right places.
The village had a church, several houses, a barn complete with animals that blended into the Nativity scene. The town had sidewalks and a skating pond that was really a mirror with skaters going round and round. It had cotton snow and sparkly snow and I would look at it for hours and make imaginary stories about the village in my head. The village buildings had signs: Library, Barber Shop, Market and such.
It is the one memory that will not fade.
Thanks for this opportunity to share my memory.
Fran Malone


Monday, December 21, 2009

What's Your Food I.Q.?

Can you speak coffee talk?
Are you a master of fast food slogans?
How midwestern or southern are you (in your food knowledge)?
What's your sandwich,coffee,wine,beer,cheese or chocolate IQ?
Test your knowlede of Girl Scout cookies!
Food Myths: Fact or Fiction?

For these and more test your knowledge at:


Friday, December 18, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

In this most wonderful time of the year what is your favorite holiday memory or the best gift you ever received? (You can read some of my favorite Childhood Christmas Memories on the 12/26/05 posting on Hodgepodge.)
Email them to me for posting. Deadline Wednesday, December 22nd
I'll draw one email address out of those received and send you two tissue cozies!

It's the most wonderful time of the year
(Most wonderful time)
With the kids jingle-belling
And everyone telling you
Be of good cheer
It's the most wonderful time of the year
(Wonderful time)

It's the hap-happiest season of all (wonderful time)
With those holiday greetings
And great happy meetings
When friends come to call
It's the hap-happiest season of all

There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for roasting
And caroling out in the snow (out in the snow)
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories
Of Christmases long, long ago

It's the most wonderful time of the year
There be much mistletoe-ing
And hearts will be glowing
When loved ones are near
It's the most wonderful time of the year, ooh ah

Woah, there'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for roasting
And caroling out in the snow (out in the snow)
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories
Of Christmases long, long ago

It's the most wonderful time of the year (most
wonderful time)
There be much mistletoe-ing
And hearts will be glowing
When loved ones are near (loved ones are near)
It's the most wonderful time (wonderful time)
It's the most wonderful time (wonderful time)
It's the most wonderful time of the year
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Charity Finances: A Resource for Year-End Giving

Carol Stone, of Ways of the World here on the Farm, has done some research into charity finances and has a write-up I think you'll find of interest. Check it out on her column at:


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quilter's Cache

This website has tips, calculating & conversion charts, free block patterns, how to's and lessions. When you get to the website look down to the middle of the page and you'll see -"Where do you want to go to today?" and go to the drop down listings there. Lots of good information!
Happy Quilting! : )

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Gluten-Free Products on has many Gluten-Free products you can purchase.
Go to the link to see what's available.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009


GoodGuide provides the world's largest and most reliable source of information on the health, environment, and social impacts of the products in your home.

At you can:

*Find safe, healthy and green products
*Search over 70,000 food, toys, personal care, & household products to see what's really under the label
*Get expert advice and recommendations on products & learn the impacts of what you buy
*Find better products based on what's important to you
*You can create a personalized favorites list of the products that are right for you

I believe Dr. Oz is going to be talking about celiac disease on his show this Thursday.


Monday, December 07, 2009

Wild Wackey Wedges Quilt - Done!

41" x 52"

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Friday, December 04, 2009

TV Dinner Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for the church Christmas Fair bake sale table.
I saw them being made by a guest on Paula Deen's cooking show.
(Oh, and the magazine ad is from 1956!)

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Don't Gross Out the World

Here's something a little different.
Let's see how you do on an International Dining Etiquette Quiz:

By the way - My friend Helen left for her trip to Tibet over the weekend.
There's some pretty interesting stuff posted there already.
You can catch up on her adventure at:

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Cards That Give

At Cards That Give you can go through galleries to look for cards that you like or you can even search by type of charity. You will know how much the cost of the cards benefits the charity and whether the cost is tax-deductible.

Check it out at:

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