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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, October 29, 2010

Telephone Shoebox?

What's that you say? Well, I was at my friend Helen's the other day quilting and it came up in conversation about how when the boys were little they would always be pestering me about something when I was on the phone. She said she never had that problem because she had a telephone shoebox. "What's that?", I said. She said she had a shoebox filled with play items that they could have only when she was on the phone. When she was finished with the call she took the box back. That's the REALLY IMPORTANT PART. You must take the box back when the call is done. Thus she solved the problem of being bothered when she was on the phone. "And You Never Told Me About This!" I replied.

For another type of shoebox see: Operation Christmas Child


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Magic Mineral Broth Recipe - from Guideposts Magazine

I found this on Guideposts online and thought it was a good thing to pass long. It is "A flavorful and nutritious addition to any soup or rice dish, especially for those with diminished appetites due to illness." It is high in potassium and has many trace minerals.
Go to the link to get the recipe by Rebecca Katz, San Rafael, California


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dancing at the Movies - Music Video

Here'something fun! Put your sound on.
A collection of dance clips from almost 40 movies from dance movies to comedies.
Dirty Dancing,Flashdance,White Nights,Perfect,Saturday Night Fever,Blue Skies,Pulp Fiction,High Fidelity,Clerks 2,American Pie,Billy Elliot,Footloose,True Lies,Grease,Honey,Phantom of the Opera,Step up,Step up 2,Moonwalker,West Side Story,Moulin Rouge,Mary Poppins,7 Brides for 7 Brothers,Rocky Horror Picture Show,Strictly Ballroom,Happy Feet,Singing in the Rain,Fame,Fame2009,Save the Last Dance,Mamma Mia,Mask of Zorro,Coyote Ugly,Wild Hogs,Get Smart,Airplane, A Knights Tale,High School Musical and Austin Powers

(Thanks Joan for passsing this along.)


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Sneakiest New Shopping Scams

Smishing - Instead of getting an email from a supposedly trustworthy source claiming a problem with your account and asking for your user name and password, you get a text message. (The word is a combination of "SMS," for short message service.) It works because people don't usually give their cell phone out and they figure if someone has my cellphone number it must be someone I know. If you get a text alert about an account don't respond before you can verify that it's legitimate.

Teeny, tiny charges -Theives get hold of your credit or debit card number and make small charges from 20 cents to $10. People didn't notice or bother to check into the charges because they were small. Meanwhile the criminals racked up millions of dollars in bogus charges.
To prevent it look over you bill each month carefully and question anything you don't recognize. Notify your card company as soon as possible, no later than 60 days. Debit card charges must be reported within 2 days or you could be liable for the first $500 in fraudulent charges. If you wait more than 60 days after your statement is mailed, you could lose all the money in your account.

Skimmers - These are the devices that thieves attach to ATMs or gas pumps to steal your debit account number and password that have been around for years.
To prevent it use credit cards and avoid noon-bank ATMs. Always carefully check the machine carefully and don't use it if there is a plastic strip or film sticking out.If your card gets stuck don't leave the machine. Use your cell phone and call the 24 hour service number of your bank to report the problem.

Membership programs - When you're buying from a reputable website and just before you click the "confirm" button for your purchase, you see a pop-up window or banner ad with an offer such as "$10 Cash Back on Your Next Purchase!", don't click on it. By accepting that "deal" you're agreeing to enroll in a Web discount program that's run by a completely separate company. Be wary of any pop-up windows or banner ads that promise you an additional discount before you complete the transaction.

Stripped gift cards - A thief can steal the card number and security code. Then all they do is call the 800 number shown on the card every few days to check the balance. Once a shopper has purchased the card and loaded it with a dollar amount, the thief can spend it before the purchaser does.
Only buy cards that are behind a customer service desk. Carefully inspect the magnetic or peel-off strip on the back to make sure it hasn't been tampered with. If you buy a perloaded card have the cashier check it to make sure the full value is on it. Also be sure to keep the receipt in case something goes wrong.

Counterfeit electronics - Look for a label stating that the product has been certified by CSA International or Underwriters Laboratory.
(Go to CSA -International. org and click on "Certification Marks" to see what genuine labels look like. At, go to the search box and type in "How to spot fakes.")

Other ways to protect yourself:

Get the right security software.Two great, downloadable programs that protect against viruses, spyware, and other online threats at no charge. Try Avira, at, or Microsoft Security Essentials, at

There are several useful resources for ensuring your online safety. The Federal Trade Commission's site has lots of fact sheets that tell you what to do you if you've been scammed. Under the Consumer Protection tab, click on "Consumer Information" and then "Shopping for Products & Services." Don't miss the helpful primers on what to do if you're billed for merchandise you never receive and "How to right a wrong." - This site is sponsored by the American Bar Association and is packed with advice on safe payment methods, protecting your privacy when you shop, and other need-to-know topics. - This site has tips on Internet shopping and is sponsored by government agencies. Quizzes test your knowledge of spyware, online auctions, ID theft, and more. - The Anti-Phishing Working Group, an industry-sponsored association, has a tip sheet on how to avoid being scammed. Click on "Consumer Advice," then "How to Avoid Phishing Scams."

You can always check sellers before you do business with them by going to the Better Business Bureau, at Grades A to F are based on how long the seller has been in business and how good a job it does resolving complaints. Other sites that are worth a look include,, and, for its user reviews. Also do a Google search of the site or retailer and the word "complaints."

To read this article in full go to:


Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Cyber Hynmal

In Barbara's eMo NEW OCCASIONS TEACH NEW DELIGHTS , she mentioned a "hymn-a-day meditation". With that in mind I found this website THE CYBER HYMNAL. You can sing along to a hymn as it is being played.
This site has over 8,200 Christ hymns, Gospel songs from many denominations with lyrics, sheet music, audio, pictures, biographies, history, and more.
Forgotten the lyrics to a favorite hymn? Can't remember the tune? Want to learn about the history of a hymn?
Check it all out here:


Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's the 60th Anniversary for Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF

You can pick up Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF boxes at Toys-R-US or Babies-r-US.

To learn about how it all began go to:

The website also has iPhone apps, games and much more. Check it out at:

Some of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF's Quotable Notables
"The children, through their schools, were given containers which they carried on their ragamuffin, trick-or-treat tours of their neighborhoods. So, instead of the inevitable Halloween deviltry ... we saw well-behaved children everywhere asking for gifts to help other children throughout the world."
Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt

"UNICEF has caught the imagination of our people—especially our nation's children whose Halloween collections have become a symbol of concern and an expression of tangible aid. I urge all my fellow citizens, young and old, to support UNICEF generously again this year."
Former President John F. Kennedy

"It's the most exciting thing in the world. Kids are very moved by the fact that they can do something to influence a child's life somewhere in the world. It is, I think, a remarkable beginning of people learning to live with each other and learning to help each other."
Entertainer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Kaye


Monday, October 18, 2010

The YOU-Q Test

In a new book (You: Being Beautiful with Michael Roizen, MD), Oprah's favorite doctor, Mehmet Oz, serves up a revealing beauty quiz and gives advice on how you can achieve a more magnificent you. If you've already taken the test and want to improve your score, along with your appearance, health, and sense of purpose, get 6 Essential YOU-Q tools.

Go here to take the Test:


Friday, October 15, 2010

Real Computer Virus Warning

You may receive an apparently harmless email titled "Here You Have It", "Just for You", or "Here It Is". If you open the file, a message will appear on your screen saying: "It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful...."


(Thank you HP reader MV for sending this warning along.)


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Is That Plastic Container Safe?

Back on 9/29/08 I posted this picture of my assortment of plastic containers. I just went through them all and more so the other night to rid out what was worn out or didn't have a matching lid or bottom. I came across this article on the safety of plastic food containers and thought there was some good information to share.
From an article by Diane Blahut, Woman's Day - 9/2/2010 Is That Plastic Container Safe?

She suggests these 6 tips for reducing your exposure to the harmful chemicals in plastics.
1. Know the code. The number in the little triangle of arrows on the bottom of a container is a code that indicates the type of plastic you are using and clues about its safety. Generally 1,2,4, & 5 are considered the safest. Avoid plastic with 3 or 6, ( & 7) as they will leach chemicals. A number 7 is another category that includes BPA-containing plastics called polycarbonates. These should be avoided and will have the letters PC printed under the 7.

2. Reconsider the microwave. Generally the experts advise to keep plastic out of the microwave all together and don't put plastic wrap over your food when you microwave it as it can melt.

3. Use it for its intended purpose. Some plastics are intended for a single use (as those with a #1 on them) and then should be recycled.

4. Wash by hand. Only put them in the dishwasher if they have a dishwasher safe label. Exposure to the detergents and heat will accelerate the leaching process.

5. Do not freeze. "Only put plastics in the freezer if they have a freezer-safe label. Freezer temperatures can cause plastics to deteriorate, which increases the leaching of chemicals into the food when you take containers out of the freezer to thaw or reheat."

6. Don't panic. By cutting down on your exposure to these potentially harmful chemicals in plastics can be a benefit to your health.

To see this article in full go to:


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10 Tips for Making Your Stuff Last Longer

Some ideas to save money by extending the life of what you already own.
By Tom Barlow-WalletPop

1. Quit washing your jeans -
Heat, water and detergents can make those new jeans look old in a hurry. The most enthusiastic denim lovers will wear their new jeans six months before the first washing, then three months before a second washing. Carl Chiara of Levi Strauss and Co. says that at the six-month mark, he soaks his jeans in the bathtub with some very mild soap and lets them air-dry.

2. Dry your razor blades - Oxidation of the steel blade can dull the cutting edge quicker than wear and tear against your facial hair. To extend the life of your blade, dry it carefully after use and store it in a drawer away from the sink and shower.

3. Coddle your tires -
•Keeping them inflated to the proper psi; check weekly.
•Rotate your tires every 5,000-8,000 miles.
•Use the tire size your car was designed for; smaller tires will wear more quickly.
•Keep your car aligned; misalignment will show up in unusual tread wear.
•Avoid quick starts and stops.
•If you store tires, stack them on their side in a dry, cool place, no more than four high.

4. Keep your shoes pristine -
•Buy good quality shoes.
•Alternate your shoes.
•Dry them completely if you've gotten them wet.
•Clean them thoroughly before polishing, and polish often. It protects the leather.
•Buy shoes that can be resoled.
•When buying kids new shoes, have them wear heavy socks to reserve a little room for
their rapidly growing feet.
•Break the habit of wedging yourself in and out of shoes without tying or untying the
•Use a shoehorn for those that fit tightly.

5. Make your perfume last -Perfume goes through three stages after it is applied to your skin: the top note, the middle note and the dry-out note.
You can also extend the life of your perfume by applying it properly by using a non-scented moisturizer on those parts of the skin when you are about to apply it to help it last longer.
Apply the perfume on parts of the body insulated with a fat layer like your upper arms, or your outside thighs and not your pluse points where the blood flows closer to the skin and is warmer.

6. Keep that Christmas tree green - Buy fresh, cut off an inch from the bottom, keep the water reservoir full of water, and additives aren't necesary to keep it green. Of course keep it away away from heat sources and direct sunlight.

7. Make your clothes last -
•Line dry rather than tumble dry and don't use dryer balls as they soften by beating the fibers so shortening the life of the clothes.
•If you can treat spots rather than wash the whole piece of clothing it will help that piece of clothing will last longer.
•Sniff first, then hang and/or fold your clothes to prevent wrinkling so as not to easily toss in the wash basket when they don't really warrent a washing.
•Reserve a set of clothes for dirty tasks.
• If you can maintain your body weight you won't be changing sizes before your clothes wear out.

8. Extend the life of produce -
Rehydrate: Vegetables like lettuce, spinach and celery can be brought back to life when they begin to wilt by soaking them in cold water. Dry well afterward.
Sequester: Apples will stay edible in the crisper section of your refrigerator for a long time in a perforated bag. Keep them away from other fruit and vegetables as the ethylene gas the apples give off will hasten the ripening of other produce.
Refrigerate: Some fruits do just fine left out on the kitchen counter, but some are best kept in the fridge. These include berries of many types, grapes, cherries, apricots, and vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, mushrooms and sweet corn.
See chart:
Freeze: If you find you aren't going to be able to use peaches and green peppers, for example, before they go bad, toss them in the freezer.
Chill: Some vegetables like potatoes will last a long time in a cool, dry area, perhaps like the far end of your basement or an attached garage.
Breathe: Onions and garlic should have room to breathe.

9. Save that fine wine -Basically, oxygen is your wine's enemy, and the less oxygen you can allow to come into contact with your wine, the better it will retain its character. The simplest and least expensive solution is to put any leftover wine into a smaller container.

10. Scratch-proof that smart screen -There are a number of third-party screen overlays such as the Zagg Invisibleshield that are virtually impervious to scratches for your phone or iPod Touch. Hint: You might find a better price buying through Amazon than through Zagg's website.

To read this article in full go to:


Monday, October 11, 2010

Homemade Microwave Potato Chips


Friday, October 08, 2010

What Is Your Risk For Breast Cancer?

Pass this on to all the women in your life.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

They Met the Challenge!

These school supplies for Haiti were collected by Hodgepodge reader Gail's Monday night Cursillo reunion group. Seven members of the group collected 33 pounds of supplies!
She says "Thank you so much for making us aware of this need.
It was a wonderful blessing to us and we pray it will be a blessing to a few children in Haiti.
I remember how wonderful it was to get new school supplies before school started each year."
Thank you for taking me up on the challenge.
I just know you have put smiles on many little faces!


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

What Do Color Choices Say About You?

Just click the word start once at the site, click on the paint roller, then click on the paint can color you choose then clink on the object to be painted.
See what the colors say about you at the end.


Monday, October 04, 2010


HP reader Sally R. sends along these photos she took of her recent hummingbird sighting.


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