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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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Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day - Poem


Friday, May 28, 2010

A New Addition to the Geranium Farm Family!

We are proud to announce that Matt the Web Dude
and his beautiful wife Jenn
have had their first little dude,
Cameron McAllister Gai.

(Check out the picture of him next to Matt's baby picture.)


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Backpacks for Haiti

At St.Luke's in Metuchen, NJ I had a collection taken up to fill Backpacks for Haiti. We filled 31 backpacks in all. Twenty-seven for men & women and someone made one for a child. We filled three other backpacks just with surplus goods. There were even extra supplies beyond that! There is a nursery school in the church and they also contributed backpacks. In the end we filled 10 boxes to be shipped to: Agape Flights,Inc., 100 Airport Avenue, Venice, Florida 34285
They will fly them to Haiti. Could your church or group do the same or make a donation? You can use the poster above. Every little bit helps. Check out the website for other needed items.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Joint Commission-Quality Check for Health Care Decisions

Are you new to an area or in need of a specific health care provider? This website can help you in your search to make quality health decisions. Quality Check® is the most comprehensive listing of health care organizations available today. It now lists both Joint Commission-accredited, certified, and health care organizations not accredited or certified by The Joint Commission. Their accreditation/certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality and safety that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.

If you are traveling outside the U.S. you can see a listing of accredited health care organizations in different countries listed there too.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Circle Rules Football

“Many new sports players like the fact that you don’t have to have decades of experience to play these games. Unlike a recreational soccer league, where someone may have played on their high school or college teams, newly invented sports offer participants a relatively level playing field. New York University experimental theater alumnus Greg Manley invented Circle Rules Football to do just that.”
– Laurie Rich, Columbia News Service

“Seeing a sport in its infancy when literally anyone can show up to play, provides an excellent reminder of why we love games in the first place” - Zach Dundas, Good Magazine

Circle Rules Football is played on a circular field (~40 meters diameter) with one goal in the center (2-4 meters wide, 3 meters tall), and a 55cm yoga ball. Scoring is through opposite directions of the goal.

To find out more about this game go to the federation website:

For a video of the game being played go to:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Saving Money on College Textbooks

For better deals than the campus bookstore check out: - where you can rent, buy, or sell a textbook - buy or sell your used textbooks here

Also there's, a textbook rental site with an approach similar to that of Netflix.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Bagster-The Dumpster in a Bag

You can buy the Bagster® bag at your local home improvement retailer, including participating locations of The Home Depot. Store. It's compact, always on hand and ready to take on your project waste.
Bagster® is the perfect cleanup solution for many types of projects, including:
•Organizing a garage or attic
•Concrete and stone work
•And much more

But before you run out and buy one throughly read the information on the website and make sure it's available in your area for pick-up and what the collection fee is. Also there are specific details as to what can and can not go into the bag and where it must be placed for pick-up.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Morgan's Wonderland

World's first completely wheelchair-accessible theme park, at a nice price
Bonnie McCarthy
May 6th 2010 at 1:00PM

There are 8.3 million disabled children in the U.S. between the ages of 5 and 17 (NHIS, 2007) who have limitations on their physical abilities, and exactly one innovative, 100% wheelchair-accessible theme park designed for special needs.

Morgan's Wonderland, the new, 25-acre attraction in San Antonio, Tex., is devoted to leveling the outdoor playing field for people with disabilities.

"[It's] a special place where anyone can have fun," said Gordon Hartman, founder of the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation and visionary behind the new wheelchair-accessible park, "but it was created with special-needs individuals in mind. We've taken an abandoned rock quarry in northeast San Antonio and transformed it into an outdoor recreation oasis for those of all ages with cognitive and physical challenges."

Ultimately, Hartman said, "Inclusion is the overarching objective." In fact, the theme park is just as helpful for parents who use wheelchairs and would like to participate in the play with their kids.

Inspired by the challenges and spirit of his own 16-year-old daughter, Morgan, who has autism spectrum disorder, Hartman set out to make a change. His passion was contagious, and last month the dream became a reality.

Although Morgan's Wonderland doesn't include death-defying roller coasters or scary "screamers," guests will be able to choose from attractions including the Adventure Ride, in which kids of all ages can "drive" a wheel-chair accessible car around a track (a ride Hartman is encouraging other theme parks to consider installing); a 1930's-style train that travels the perimeter of the lake; therapeutic riding horses at the "stable"; a vintage-style carousel equipped with the usual assortment of horses as well as animals outfitted with seat backs to support guests with low muscle tone, and wheelchair-accessible chariots that go up and down. Sensory Village is an indoor play area that allows aspiring Grand Prix racers to virtually "drive" a cherry red BMW, or experiment with green screen technology to create their own video.

Other recreation experiences include a water play area, complete with shade canopies and cool-water misters to combat the Texas heat; a main playground featuring wheelchair-accessible swings, a play structure with ramps, slides (with controlled speed), a wheelchair-accessible see-saw; an elevated sand box; a wheelchair basketball court; several gardens and "Pirates Wharf," an eight-acre fishing lake with remote-controlled boating and water cannons.

If it all gets a little overwhelming, the park offers the Garden Sanctuary, a quiet place to retreat and rest. Park amenities also include 18 ADA-compliant restrooms, signage in Braille, healthy snacks at reasonable prices, free parking, and the green light to bring in your own food and drinks.

In addition, the designers wanted to establish safeguards for families worried about wandering kids. Guests each receive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) wrist bands that track visitors within the park. Families can use one of five kiosks throughout the park to swipe their wrist band and find each member of their party on the touch screen. Another plus: kids are not allowed to leave the completely enclosed park unless accompanied by an adult with a matching RFID.

So how much should parents expect to shell out for all this thoughtful planning, innovation and accessibility? The answer might surprise you. People with special needs are admitted for free and each accompanying friend and family member pays $5. If a party does not include a special needs guest, admission is $15 dollars each. Reservations are strongly recommended. Go to, or call 210-637-3434.

The park has a capacity of 1,000 people, so if you have not registered ahead of time and just show up at the gates, you may not get in.

No one's trying to get rich here. In fact, the park operates as a non-profit called SOAR (Sports and Outdoor Recreation) and according to Dream Come True: An Amusement Park for Special Needs Kids, by Hannah Diller of Parent: Wise Austin, 60% of the staff will be volunteers. Paul T. Shattuck, Ph.D., reported in a 2008 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics that the overall percentage of U.S. families caring for children with special needs experience an added financial burden of 91.2 %. Other studies have estimated that the cost of raising a special needs child is three times that of an average child.

Morgan's Wonderland is subsidized by the nearby STAR (South Texas Area Regional) Soccer Complex. The venue offers 14 lighted soccer fields for tournaments, instructional clinics and special events. Proceeds from STAR benefit the operation and maintenance of Morgan's Wonderland.

Although there are other vacation destinations specializing in guests with special needs, such as Moody Gardens, a 242-acre wheelchair-accessible nature park in Galveston, Tex., the Schlitterbahn water parks and Vacation Village in Kansas City, Kans., and South Padre Island, Tex., that both feature a "Transportainment" floating system; and the Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort in Utah -- there was nothing like Morgan's Wonderland. Until now.

Hartman hopes, it will be the first of many, "Our vision is to play a pivotal role in helping establish more ultra-accessible family fun parks throughout the nation." Party on.

See full article from WalletPop:

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Nike recycles their shoes! Go here to see how it works (Sound on):

Text ColorFor Drop-Off Locations go here:

Want to host your own Reuse-A-Shoe drive?
Then go here to see what you need to do and what not to collect:

Thanks to HP reader Janice L. for telling us about this.

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Friday, May 07, 2010

A Tiny Apartment Transforms into 24 Rooms!

April 22, 2010 — In Hong Kong, because of the space, apartments are small and expensive. Gary Chang, an architect, decided to design a 344 sq. ft. apartment to be able to change into 24 different designs, all by just sliding panels and walls. He calls this the "Domestic Transformer."
Put your sound on.
Thanks Christine T. for sending this along.


Just One More Reason Why We Support Episcopal Relief and Development

ERD has received its third consecutive 4 star rating from Charity Navigator.
"Awarded annually, ratings reflect an organization's accountability, transparency and quantifiable results in comparison with other non-profit organizations."
"Only 14 percent of the charities we rate have received at least three consecutive 4-star evaluations," said Ken Berger, Charity Navigator's president and chief executive officer, in a press release. This rating indicates that "Episcopal Relief & Development consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way, and outperforms most other charities in America. This 'exceptional' designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Episcopal Relief & Development from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust."

To read the rest of the article go to:

To see the Charity Navigator report go here:

For ERD's website go to:
Thanks ERD President Rob Radtke!

Our thanks to Joanna Depue from More or Less Church here on the Farm for bringing this to our attention.

. . . and just one more thing:
You can use Good Search to help support ERD when you are searching for something on the internet. Just set it up and each time you do a search, ERD will get a donation!

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer. What does prayer mean to you?

“Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God.” - Diana Robinson

"Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” - Mahatma Gandhi “In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” - Martin Luthr King, Jr. "Pray and let God worry."

“I have had prayers answered - most strangely so sometimes - but I think our heavenly Father's loving-kindness has been even more evident in what He has refused me.”
- Lewis Carroll

“It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel toward our distant goal.” - Helen Keller

“Prayers go up and blessings come down.” - Yiddish Proverb

“I believe in prayer. It's the best way we have to draw strength from heaven.”
- Josephine Baker

“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” - Saint Augustine

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Copy Machines Pose A Security Risk to You!

I had posted something way back about this on HP but reader Terry W. sent this along and it bears repeating. Be careful where you make your copies of sensitive information!
"Nearly every digital copier built since 2002 contains a hard drive - like the one on your personal computer - storing an image of every document copied, scanned, or emailed by the machine."
Check out the article and video here on:
Digital Photocopiers Loaded With Secrets - Your Office Copy Machine Might Digitally Store Thousands of Documents That Get Passed on at Resale;videoMetaInfo


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