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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, January 31, 2011

75 Surprising Expiration Dates

A handy keep-or-toss guide to 75 foods, beauty products, and household goods.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Maggie Having Dinner (Her Way)

"Mom, you didn't wet my kibble enough!"


Monday, January 24, 2011

20 Questions That Could Change Your Life

Finding the answers starts with posing the right questions—and Martha Beck has 20 to get you started. From O, The Oprah Magazine, January 18, 2011
"The 20 questions that follow are based on "crowdsourcing," meaning I asked a whole mess of actual, free-range women what they thought every woman should ask herself. Asking them today could redirect your life. Answering them every day will transform it."
Here are the questions but go to the link to read about them in full:

1. What questions should I be asking myself?
2. Is this what I want to be doing?
3. Why worry?
4. Why do I like {__________} more than I like {______}? (You fill in the blanks.)
5. How do I want the world to be different because I lived in it?
6. How do I want to be different because I lived in this world?
7. Are {__________} better people?
8. What is my body telling me?
9. How much junk could a chic chick chuck if a chic chick could chuck junk?
10. What's so funny?
11. Where am I wrong?
12. What potential memories am I bartering, and is the profit worth the price?
13. Am I the only one struggling not to {_________} during {__________}?
14. What do I love to practice?
15. Where could I work less and achieve more?
16. How can I keep myself absolutely safe?
17. Where should I break the rules?
18. So say I lived in that fabulous house in ________, with _______, a ________, ________, and ____________. . . then what?
19. Are my thoughts hurting or healing?
20. Really truly: Is this what I want to be doing?


Friday, January 21, 2011

One Purple T-Shirt = One Dress & One Pair of Shorts

From one purple T-Shirt I was able to make one Little Dress for Africa and one pair of shorts for "Britches for Boys".
To gather the fabric for the dress bottom check out this video:
Keep in mind the length of your dress based on the size of the T-Shirt you are using.
Directions to turn a T-Shirt into a dress:


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

T Shirt Shorts Pattern and Directions

Leave a little 1/2" or so opening in the center front to run your 24" elastic thru. After you tie the square knot in the elastic you can pop in back into the opening. Still confused? Check out the two previous postings for pictures and video. Now . . . . . . . . aren't you proud of yourself?!
P.S. - Keep the remaining top to make a little dress.
Check back tomorrow for some idea links.


Monday, January 17, 2011

T Shirt Shorts for "Little Britches"

A pair of shorts I made from a T Shirt using the instructions
from the posted video. This was very easy to do. I'll post my pattern tomorrow.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Britches for Boys

I spoke to Rachel ONeill of Little Dresses from Africa today. I found this YouTube video on "How to Make Baby Pants from a Tshirt" and sent it on to her. She said although the main focus are for the little dresses for the girls it would be nice to get some more little pants for the boys. This is an easy way to make them and recycle a T Shirt. Hmmm . . . . . now thinking that the remaining top of the T-Shirt could be a dress top. I'm going to have to work on that one.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter Tips

Keep your headlights clear with car wax! Just wipe ordinary car wax on your headlights. It contains special water repellents that will prevent that messy mixture from accumulating on your lights - lasts 6 weeks.

Squeak-proof your wipers with rubbing alcohol! Wipe the wipers with a cloth saturated with rubbing alcohol or ammonia. This one trick can make badly streaking & squeaking wipers change to near perfect silence & clarity. (Note: One website said the alcohol will dry out the rubber.)

Ice-proof your windows with vinegar! Frost on it's way? Just fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar to one part water & spritz it on all your windows at night. In the morning, they'll be clear of icy mess. (Note: One website said the following - "Adding anything to water will affect the temperature at which it freezes. The vinegar that you buy at a grocery store is only about 5 percent vinegar and will freeze at 28 degrees F. As a result, vinegar will not greatly affect the freezing point of water.") Also, I think you wouldn't want to get this on the paint finish of your car.

Prevent car doors from freezing shut with cooking spray! Spritz cooking oil on the rubber seals around car doors & rub it in with a paper towel. The cooking spray prevents water from melting into the rubber.

Fog-proof your windshield with shaving cream! Spray some shaving cream on the inside of your windshield & wipe if off with paper towels. Shaving cream has many of the same ingredients found in commercial defoggers.

De-ice your lock in seconds with hand sanitizer! Just put some hand sanitizer gel on the key & the lock & the problems solved!

Carry kitty litter in the car in case the vehicle gets stuck. Placing kitty litter under the stuck tires--which should have the snow cleared away to help free the car--will allow for better traction.

Do you have any other winter tips? Send them along and I'll add them to the posting.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Second Little Dress for Africa

Small - Size 3 - 19" long


Monday, January 10, 2011

Little Dresses for Africa

You may have already caught this story when it first aired on NBC Nightly News segment, "Making a Difference", but last Friday they had this follow-up on it. The dresses are very easy to make and can even be made from a pillowcase. I already made one dress on Saturday. (Some dresses are being distributed in the States also.) Having two boys I got such a kick out of making a dress for a little girl.

Read the Print Story and then Click on "Video" to see the report :

For the Website go to:

Here are directions from Nancy's Notions:


Friday, January 07, 2011

Front Pages from 833 Newspapers from 80 Countries

Just put your mouse on a city anywhere in the world and the newspaper headlines pop up . . .

Double click and the page gets larger . . . . you can read the entire paper on some if you click on the right place.

(Clipart from


Thursday, January 06, 2011

English Muffin Bread

I baked this last night and it made great toast for breakfast this morning. It was very easy to make.
(I made this in my KitchenAid Mixer but this uses a hand mixer.)
No knead, no worry! Recipe by: Carole Splater

1 packet yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
1 cup flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring
1 Tblsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 1/4 cup warm (not hot) tap water
1 3/4 cups flour, fluffed
Yellow cornmeal

In a large bowl, combine the yeast, 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and water. With a hand-held mixer, beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. (Time yourself, 3 minutes takes forever with such an easy job.) Add the remaining flour and mix until fully blended. If the dough gets so thick it wants to ‘climb’ the beaters, stop, remove the beaters, and use a wooden spoon to finish blending. The dough will be thick and heavy.
Grease a 1-1/2 or 2-quart casserole dish and dust with cornmeal (bottom and sides). Add dough and arrange evenly (it’ll be thick and heavy, this needn’t be perfect). Sprinkle with cornmeal.
Cover with a light towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 – 60 minutes, until bread roughly doubles in size. Some time midway, preheat oven to 400F. Remove the towel and bake for 30 – 45 minutes until top is golden. (Mine took about 25 minutes.) Turn onto a cooling rack.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 170 Cal; 5g Protein; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 36g Carb; 1g Fiber; 149mg Sodium; 0mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 3 points

Read more about the recipe here:

P.S. - I made a toast crunchy grilled peanut butter & jelly sandwich on this bread. Skippy Reduced Fat Super Chunk & Welch's Grape Jelly. : )


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