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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, February 27, 2012

What's Awesome to You?

Take a look at the list at this website and then email me what is Awesome to you and I'll post them Hodgepodge.
(Put "Awesome" in the subject line.)

Here are some to get you started:
The smell of a baby after bath time.
Puppies and kittens first opening their eyes.
The the air after a summer rainstorm.
Finding the one last soda in the back of the fridge or piece of chocolate you hid in the freezer.
The crunching sound of walking in the quiet of new fallen snow.
Seeing you did actually did lose weight at the end of the week when you think you didn't!
Selling the family home to just the right person.
Having a tissue when you just sneezed and needed one.
Hodgepodge readers:
Clouds - any kind, any color, but especially in Texas where they're always on the way to somewhere else
The last hour before dawn...
Sleeping wee ones - babies, kittens, puppies
Live music

Finding the perfect person to adopt a rescued animal.

The look on a Cat's face lying on your chest as you massage his head.

Having someone really LIKE something I wrote.

The smell of new-mown hay or grass
The sound of a brook
The smell of a horse
The sight of sunlight glinting in the green of trees
The sight of a beloved’s face

The "first time" that, after an extreme summer or winter, you can open the windows, and air out the house.

Hearing "I love you" from someone under the age of 4

Weighing what I did at 19, 28 years later (despite everything being a little softer, lumpier and lower...) (A real cheerer upper site!)

Having any one of my 3 grown children ask for advice or ask how i used to cook certain things. and of course- meeting you, debbie!

finding a poem, a picture or a letter tucked into a book--it takes you right back to the moment it happened.

Awesome ... a soundly sleeping cat in a sunny window

Fireworks on a clear, windless night.
The stars, seen from a truly dark location.

Blooming daffodils in February
An unexpected hug-- just when I needed one
the blue of the sky and the white clouds
a full moon and stars at night

A grandchild asking for a hug.

My husband's smile.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Change For A Dollar

"Is he asking for Change, or is he asking for CHANGE?
Follow a man as he affects multiple peoples' lives with just one dollar,
proving that it doesn't take much to be the change in someone's life."
Something for you to think about during this season of Lent.
What little "change" can you make?


Monday, February 20, 2012

7 Health Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

By SHAPE magazine - Feb. 17, 2012
1. Sleep problems: One of the things people do not talk to their physicians about is their sleep problems.If a person has heart issues, diabetes, or high blood pressure and they have issues sleeping, snoring, or high levels of fatigue,they should talk to their doctor about it.
2. Vaginal discharge: Alyssa Phillips, physician assistant and bone marrow transplant survivor, knows firsthand what an abnormal vaginal discharge can tell you. "I didn't ignore or delay seeking medical attention when I began having a watery vaginal discharge that I thought was just a routine bacterial infection," she says. "Turns out, it was a really rare and aggressive type of cervical cancer called Large Cell Cervical Neuroendocrine Cancer." She was in Stage IV at the time of her first symptom and seeking medical care immediately saved her life.
3. Constipation: Did you know each of us should be having one to three bowel movements a day to be at our best? When you go several days without [going number two], it could indicate a blockage, tumor, or prolapse in the colon.
4. Headaches: We're all familiar with the occasional headache, but it can sometimes also indicate a serious problem like a brain tumor or meningitis. If your headache is accompanied by a fever, stiff neck, or vomiting or lasts an unusually longtime (more than a few days), it should be investigated.
Other symptoms that require medical attention:
*A severe headache that comes on suddenly
*A headache accompanied by slurred speech, vision problems, trouble
moving your arms and legs, loss of balance, confusion, or memory loss
*A headache that gets worse over a 24-hour period
*A headache that occurs with a head injury.
5. Tooth and facial pain: People who have had facial pain and were misdiagnosed going from dentist to dentist to find out they ultimately had shingles in the facial nerve. Because it wasn't treated quickly, it led to painful and permanent neuropathy in the face.
It could have ultimately also lead to blindness.
6. Diarrhea: If you're experiencing diarrhea for longer than a few days. This could indicate a serious problem, like a parasite, Crohn's disease, cancer, pancreas or gall bladder problems, and more. Simply taking anti-diarrheal medicine is not thesolution.
7. Acid reflux: Acid reflux can cause heartburn, dental erosion, and asthma-like symptoms when stomach contents are aspirated into the lungs. Plus, it can lead to esophageal cancer.
The quick fix of popping pills is only masking the condition. Acid reflux is a progressive disease and becomes wore as the anti-reflux valve in our esophagus deteriorates.
To see the article in full:


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


"GodVine is a Christian Web site that focuses on uplifting,
encouraging, and inspiring you in your daily life."
Need a "pick me up" for a bad day.
for sweet, tender, beautiful, touching, and amazing videos.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Listen to You Heart - Top 10 Signs of Heart Failure

Rebecca S. Boxer, M.D., senior medical editor,
and Melanie Haiken, senior editor
"Because the symptoms of heart failure (sometimes called congestive heart failure) can be difficult to identify and describe, it is often diagnosed quite late. If you or the person you're caring for has risk factors for heart disease, such as being a smoker or a former smoker and having high blood pressure or coronary artery disease (CAD), it's a good idea to be on the lookout for heart failure. Taken by themselves, any one of the symptoms listed here probably isn't cause for alarm, but two or more are good cause to call your doctor for an evaluation."

1. Shortness of Breath - One of the characteristic symptoms of heart failure is waking during the night or in the morning feeling as if you can't breathe deeply or can't catch your breath.
What it feels like:
A feeling of compression in the chest and lungs, making it difficult to take a deep breath, particularly during exertion or when lying down.
Why it happens: Because the heart's ability to pump is weakened, blood backs up in the blood vessels that return blood from the lungs to the heart, causing fluid to leak into the lungs. When the head is elevated, gravity helps ease blood flow to and from the lungs, reducing the feeling of breathlessness.

A feeling of chest pressure or "drowning"
What it feels like: It may feel like a pressure or heaviness in the chest, or a feeling akin to drowning or being compressed by a heavy weight. Some feel chest pain but not everyone does, so a lack of pain doesn't rule out heart failure.
Why it happens: Fluid overload throughout the body affects both the chest cavity and the lungs. Fluid in the lungs can feel like drowning when drawing a breath, and congestion in the chest and abdominal tissues can make the lungs feel pressure from outside, as they might deep under water.

3. Clothes and shoes that feel tight
- Fluid retention with swelling is one of the primary symptoms of heart failure.
What it feels or looks like: There will be tightness in clothes and shoes, or the skin will look puffy. A relatively sudden increase in girth is a telltale sign of heart failure.
Why it happens: Reduced blood flow out of the heart causes blood returning to the heart to back up in the veins. The fluid then builds up within tissues, particularly in the abdomen, legs, and feet, a condition known as congestion (not to be confused with nasal congestion). Also, the weakened heart can't pump enough blood to the kidneys, which become less efficient at flushing sodium and fluids from the body.

4. Heart-rhythm problems:
It's common for people with heart failure to experience palpitations or changes in heart rhythm.
What it feels like: Someone with heart failure may complain that his heart is racing or that it feels like it's beating too hard. Often, a fast or irregular heartbeat is accompanied by a jittery feeling, similar to that experienced during a panic attack.These problems can be dangerous if left untreated, so it's important to tell the doctor of any heart-rhythm problems.
Why it happens: The heart tries to make up for weakness in pumping by beating faster and harder. As it tires, the heart can't keep up a regular rhythm and skips beats, or beats with varying strength.

5. Loss of appetite:
This lack of appetite may start gradually with your loved one eating smaller portions and feeling full faster, or it may come on suddenly, making you wonder if she has an upset stomach. You may also notice her eating more slowly when she does eat.
What it feels like: A sensation of being full, even when it's been a long time since a meal. You might also notice nausea, constipation, a general feeling of being sick to the stomach, or abdominal pain and tenderness. In addition, the heavy feeling in the chest and abdomen can make it unpleasant to eat. Fatigue can cause someone with heart failure to eat less simply because of fatigue; even chewing can be exhausting.
Why it happens: Fluid buildup around the liver and intestines interferes with digestion. Decreased blood flow to the stomach and intestines slows the entire digestive process, causing problems like constipation and nausea. Also, heart failure causes people to feel full quickly because of fluid retention and swelling.

6. Dizziness and light-headedness
-Complaints of feeling faint, light-headed, and dizzy are among the most common problems for people with heart failure.
What it feels like: A sensation of being dizzy, faint, and light-headed, or as if "the world's spinning." Nausea or the feeling of carsickness is common, too. If these feelings are associated with palpitations or arrhythmias, it's important to call the doctor right away.
Why it happens: There are several ways heart failure causes dizziness: Inadequate oxygen in the circulatory system causes cells to become oxygen-deprived. Heart-rhythm abnormalities and narrowing in one or more valves restricts blood flow through the heart. Changing levels of chemicals in the blood, such as sodium, can cause confusion and disorientation. Standing up too quickly can cause a rapid drop in blood pressure called postural hypotension.

7. Anxiety
- an often missed but most telling clue.
What it feels like: Fast, shallow breathing, racing thoughts, sweaty palms, and a rapid heart rate are all signs of a heightened anxiety response. People with heart failure often mistake these feelings for anxiety and stress.
Why it happens: Congestion around the chest and lungs causes strange sensations throughout the body that are confusing and frightening. Lack of oxygen in the bloodstream causes weakness and dizziness and may also produce disorientation and memory loss, which exacerbate anxiety. And a racing heart can feel like an anxiety attack.

8. Coughing
- one of the primary symptoms of heart failure.
What it feels like: A tickle or irritation in the lungs, or fluid in the lungs that needs to come up. The cough associated with heart failure is less likely to be felt in the throat. You may notice the cough worsening when your loved one is lying down or when he first gets up.
Why it happens: Fluid builds up in the lungs because the heart's pumping capacity is weakened. The fluid can cause irritation and infection and can lead to pneumonia. If your loved one complains of not being able to draw a breath because of fluid, or you hear the telltale chest rattle of pneumonia, call the doctor right away.

9. Tiring easily or feeling exhausted all the time
- there are some specific clues that heart failure's the cause.
What it feels like: Being unable to catch one's breath during and after exertion. Someone with heart failure may complain of being too tired to walk somewhere or to get up and fix a meal. You might notice a cycle of sleep problems and fatigue.
Why it happens: When a weakened heart can't keep up an adequate blood supply, the body diverts blood to more vital organs such as the heart, brain, and kidneys. This deprives working muscles of oxygen, so they tire more quickly. Lack of oxygen can also cause faintness and an overall feeling of fatigue. In addition, if the kidneys aren't removing waste products as efficiently, this contributes to a feeling of exhaustion.

10. Any unexplained changes in behavio
r - notice the ways in which your loved one's symptoms affect her participation in day-to-day activities.
What it feels or looks like: Changing habits or routines.You might also notice your loved one starting to reduce her activity level in subtle ways, such as saying she's too tired to attend an event or activity that previously was important to her. Another red flag is if she starts to sleep in her chair rather than her bed.
Why it happens: Because fluid buildup and lack of oxygen affect all bodily systems, a person with heart failure may unconsciously make changes to compensate for the discomfort without realizing she's sick.

To read this article in full go to:

For: 10 Heart Attack Symptoms You’re Most Likely to Ignore - Go to:


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

12 Ways to Never Get Diabetes

By the editors of

This condition is growing at a scary rate,
but it’s also one of the most preventable diseases around.

"Nearly 25% of Americans are thought to have prediabetes—a condition of slightly elevated blood sugar levels that often develops into diabetes within 10 years—but only 4% of people know it. What’s worse, of those who are aware, less than half really tried to reduce their risk by losing weight, eating less, and exercising more. These are just a few of the good-for-you habits that can reverse prediabetes and ensure you never get the real thing, which can mean a lifetime of drugs and blood sugar monitoring, an increased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other scary health threats. Read on for 12 simple tricks everyone can start today."

1. Nudge the Scale - Shedding even 10 pounds can significantly slash your risk.

2. Pick the Right Appetizer - Eating greens with a vinaigrette before a starchy entrée may help control your blood sugar levels.

3. Ditch Your Car - Walk as much as you can every day. You’ll be healthier—even if you don’t lose any weight.

4. Be a Cereal Connoisseur - Selecting the right cereal can help you slim down and steady blood sugar.

5. Indulge Your Coffee Cravings - If you’re a coffee fan, keep on sipping. The beverage may keep diabetes at bay.

6. Ditch the Drive-Thru - You might get away with an occasional fast-food splurge, but become a regular "fast feeder" and your risk of diabetes skyrockets.

7. Go Veggie More Often - Consider red meat a treat—not something to eat every day.

8. Spice Up Your Life - Cinnamon may help rein in high blood sugar.

9. Unwind Every Day - Chronic stress can send blood sugar levels soaring.

10. Get a Perfect Night’s Rest - There’s a sleep sweet spot when it comes to preventing diabetes.

11. Keep Good Company - Diabetes is more likely to strike women who live alone.

12. Have a Blood Test - Many diabetes symptoms are silent.

To read the article in full go here:


Friday, February 03, 2012

Hodgepodge Index 2011

The 2011 Hodgepodge Index

For Indexes of other years:
2005 - 1/9/06
2006 - 1/16/07
2007 - 1/18/08
2008 - 1/5/09
2009 - 1/27/10
2010 - 12/31/10


Thursday, February 02, 2012

Save the Children - Valentine's Day Cards

When you donate $25, today, you will receive a set of 30 limited-edition Valentine’s Day Cards (6 cards of each design), perfect for children to send to their classmates. Or use them yourself to add a touch of whimsy to your own Valentine’s Day greetings, especially to children who are important to you.

Your donation will support Save the Children’s work to help children living in poverty in the U.S. Give children a lifelong love of reading, and you give them a chance to breaking the lifelong cycle of poverty.

This limited-edition set includes cards designed by your child's favorite children's book authors and illustrators: Ian Falconer (Olivia!), Kevin Henkes (Kitten’s First Full Moon), Leuyen Pham (Freckleface Strawberry), Brian Selznick (Wonderstruck) and Mo Willems (Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!).

To ensure delivery of your card set(s) by Valentine’s Day, order by February 6.

Click on the link to order your cards:


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Children Full of Life

Children Full of Life: Moving documentary about kids
and their homeroom teacher.

“We come to school to be happy, so let’s all be happy together!” This is the vow made by Grade Four, Class One and their teacher Kanamori. Each day, three children read letters to their classmates, talking honestly about their feelings for each other and events in their lives. The class searches together for ways to understand and cope with troubled relations, unhappiness and loss of loved ones. In the course of the year, the children’s characters develop naturally as they share their experiences, and grow to understand the value of life and of caring for each other’s feelings.

Click on the link to see a clip from this documentary:


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