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Posts in category Decorating

Frightening Food for Halloween

Family-Friendly “Frightening” Foods for Halloween

We’ve been cruising the internet and finding some awesome finger foods. Halloween offers great ways to be creative and entice new flavors to kids. Some are absolutely outrageous, some simple and tasty.

Check out these cool sites and remember these are suggested recipes and we are note responsible for the outcomes or have any direct connection to each website owner.

Baby Boo-nanas

Here’s one of the cutest little treats that toddlers will even enjoy.  With Halloween coming

Choco-covered Bananas

Little Baby Ghosts on a Stick are dipped bananas

soon, I thought I would share these cute, ghost-shaped Frozen “Boo”-nana Pops made with white chocolate and bananas. This is fun to make with the kids and what kid doesn’t like chocolate covered bananas.

Jack-O-Lanterns from Grapefruits

Every party needs a candy dish or simple way to share sticky foods,so you just disguise a grapefruit into a mini-pumpkin posed as a “jack-o-lantern”, so clever.

Grapefruit cups

Tiny Jack-o-Lanterns are made from grapefruit

Check out the carving details at their website for more non-traditional ideas, too.

You Can Eat Spiders!!

Yes, you can. A simple treat that youngsters can assemble as long as they don’t eat all the legs first. Round candies make the eyes on a chocolate donut body with pretzel legs.


Spider Donuts

Donuts with pretzel legs turn into spiders


One time I made a cemetery by using cottage cheese with green food coloring, vanilla wafers standing and tilting as headstones, and broccoli for trees. Nobody ate it.





Here’s Looking at You!!

Eyeballs are another treat that could backfire on your frightening foods creative adventure. By using food coloring or avocado in the stuffing, your teens will love the ghoulishness of it, but maybe not the adults. Try it out!

Halloween eyeball goodies

Creepy eyeballs staring back at you!! Ghoulish eyeballs anyone?  another source of creative holiday foods

Crazy Critters

I found these silly green apple bites to be the most clever and healthy for little tots. They get to munch on apples, pumpkin seeds, strawberries, peanut butter or “sun butter” is the glue and the eyes are confectioner’s sugar, or you can use some tubed frosting.

silly apple faces

Clever and silly apple critters

Find these silly apple bites at

And here’s some more resources you can checkout about safety when your little goblins are on the streets.    Traveling around the neighborhood with your ghoulish goblins? Here’s some interesting stats and resources about Halloween Safety:

Use Luminarias for Old World Charm

A contemporary design and a magical glow

A contemporary design and a magical glow

This time of year the crafty and creative minds abound. You see decorations that look like a craft wizard fabricated them — and usually overnight. But you think “it would take me weeks to do that.” And the expense! Who has that kind of money?

Luminarias are Old World

Old World Charm to line your walkways


Sometimes the cleverest ideas come from Old World history.

A simple idea that was practical back then is just as practical today. Case in point, the simple light from a luminaria. The charm of these outdoor candles come from as far back as the age of the Pharaohs. You might think it was the Spanish – Latin influences that prompted Mexican cultures to use them for commemorative events or for lining the paths to a family cemetery. You would be wrong.

We think of them as a décor item for the Holidays. Although that’s true, other holidays enjoy the radiant décor, too. When masses were conducted in Mexico, often an evening procession would be led by altar boys carrying lanterns on long canes. Once a long procession arrived at the church or an arranged location, luminarias would be placed along their walkway so no one would stumble or walk on the grave sites or the offering placed on the ground.

Modern luminarias can be made with metal or PVC pipe

Modern luminarias can be made with metal or PVC pipe

Luminarias, as simple as placing a votive candle into a paper lunch sack weighted down with an inch or so of native dirt or sand, have been used throughout history in a variety of ways. Easter candles are often placed on the altars but also as a colorful attractant to guide people to their church. Fourth of July celebrations use luminarias along a shoreline, in a park or along pathways. Many times floating lanterns limb into the sky — these are luminarias with a helium balloon or a sack tied up-side down. The hot air is trapped allowing it to rise into the night skies. Luminarias are used during October’s Halloween events and on porches to add a bit of scary lighting to a dull porch.

Since the glow of a simple candle can take on the shape of a large bag or jar, its brightness subdued yet its light travels very far in its defused state.

Luminarias are made from brown paper, reused grocery sacks, empty glass jar, tall tins with punched holes to let out light, pumpkins and gourds, and even small ceramic pots. As a modern version of this candle, PVC water pipe can be used with small drill holes placed in a pattern just like the punched tin.

Glass jars with a votive candle, a bale handle, and an etched surface is charming

Glass jars with a votive candle, a bale handle, and an etched surface is charming

As long as the wind cannot disrupt the flame, and the light and heat can escape, the luminaria can be placed on steps, in driveways, lining sidewalks, atop walls, and roof lines, creating a path, or any number of uses.

Let us know if you see any luminarias this season. Just drop us a comment.

Dining Out — Diner Guider

 One who Dines Out has a Family Event

Dining Out is Often a Family Event

We introduced “DineR – GuideR” just before Thanksgiving to help families find holiday meals. Since then we’ve decided to share other good dining experiences that you can find in the High Desert.

We’ll add to and update this list as a general guide for restaurants that have a standard American cuisine. As the list grows we’ll define other categories in foreign-themed cuisine.

The Coffee Bean Cafe features “The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf ” inside the roomy Green Tree Inn. Their recent remodeling has given the landmark Inn a facelift. The menu as well as the restaurant have changed. Find it at the corner of Palmdale Road and Greentree. 14173 Green Tree Blvd, Victorville,  760-245-3461 x 414

Marie Callender’s traditionally is known for its Americana flavors. Their specialty has always been a variety of homemade pies. Their Victorville location is: 12180 Mariposa Rd., Victorville, CA 92392, phone 760-241-6973. Don’t be surprised to wait in line to get a table. The dinner is very popular. While you’re waiting you can always buy a delectable  Marie Callender’s pie-to-go.

 The cozy cottage restaurant of Mimi’s in Victorville is open daily. Their signature  cranberry muffins can even make your own muffin tops — the one over your belt-line — look tiny in comparison. You can call in to Mimi’s at (760) 244-6888 and their address is 12032 Amargosa Road, on restaurant row in Victorville.


The Diner Guider is brought to you by

Any questions contact: Rusty LaGrange.

Take a Road Trip With High Desert Bloggers

Happy bloggers from across the valley met at Molly Brown’s Country Café near Helendale for  a terrific breakfast on Saturday. It was the first stop on our vintage-themed road trip. We know that bloggers tend to stay at home blogging but once in a while we just gotta get out and meet the others who we may have blogged with in the past.


High Desert Blogging friends meet at Molly Brown's Country Cafe

High Desert Blogging friends meet at Molly Brown’s Country Cafe

“What a great idea,” said Beverley, who was one of the bloggers arriving from San Bernardino. She was curious to learn more about the High Desert and getting out with her new blogging friends was just the thing she was looking for. “This way I also get to see some new areas that I never would have tried on my own.”

Main gate to the Bottle Tree Ranch on Route 66

Main gate to the Bottle Tree Ranch on Route 66

She joined Patty and Josef, Natalie and Joan, and Angie Horn, our High Desert Blogging creator and me, Rusty. Our road trips are a new feature that the bloggers are enjoying for 2014. Sharing some creative ideas plus doing a bit of adventuring helps to develop more blogging focus. The exercise is good, too.

After breakfast we caravanned down the road to Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch, an odd feature along Route 66. Elmer’s been crafting iron tree shapes to hang discarded bottles on for more than 15 years.

Elmer greets the Bloggers -- a rare treat

Elmer greets the Bloggers — a rare treat

Each tree is a wonder of color, collectibles, and weathered antiques. Not one word can describe it — entertaining, whimsical, and recycled art — are a few that come to mind. You just have to see it to believe it. The Bottle Tree Ranch has been featured in numerous papers, magazines, and captured on countless video cameras from visitors around the world.




Recycling Wonder at Bottle Tree Ranch

Recycling Wonder at Bottle Tree Ranch

Our bloggers had a rare chance to meet him and ask a few questions. He was recently interviewed by an LA Times reporter. But you’ll read more about Elmer’s Ranch from our other bloggers. Keep checking back.

Since this was a road trip, we had to move on to our next stop at Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures. The roadside vintage store is outside as much as inside. Her crafty repurposed creations are clever, entertaining, and useful.


A nook full of chimes and wind catchers

A nook full of chimes and wind catchers

Patio kitsch, chimes, trunks, and re-imagined furniture cover the outside walkways that twist and turn. Inside, the little shop is “floor to ceiling” with Americana, handcrafted items, dolls, glassware, and ornamentals. It takes more than one visit to really “see” it. Enchanted Treasures has been featured on High Desert Blogging before but it’s a shop that changes with the seasons. Worth a stop.

Glass menagerie line shelves in a nook trailer at Linda Marie's

Glass menagerie line shelves in a nook trailer at Linda Marie’s


Our last vintage stop was the old-timer — Antique Station. It’s been an active antique store for many years. The old warehouse, L-shaped, building houses dozens of consignment nooks with different themes and collected items from various decades. A casual walk through time turns into extended hours of recalling historical events, childhood memories, and wishing that you had more money to spend. They do offer lay-away in some cases.

Our road trip came to an end but not our shopping time. Several of us stayed on to roam the entire building, others scouted the outside porches, while a few made their way home. We are now recharged with many blogging posting stories to share with you.

As we gain more guest bloggers and regulars on the site, the plan is to bring more benefits to bloggers. “We’ve updated some of the benefits for our group,” Angie noted. “Soon we’ll have memberships and discounts on services that bloggers and businesses will find in common.” Advertisers can extend their exposure to attract more customers and bloggers will be linking to other blogs through linking and marketing strategies.

Stay tuned for more road trips and inspiring stories to help your blogging become more creative and valuable to a wider readership.

Rusty LaGrange

Learn Tole Painting at the High Desert’s Kreative Klutter in Apple Valley

A little hide-away spot in Apple Valley’s Old Town on outer Hwy 18 is a treasure trove of boutique goodies. It’s Kreative Klutter. Once you walk through the doors your eyes are mesmerized by all the holiday décor, figurines, glassware, crafty tole designs, and much more.

Kreative Klutter Halloween 2013 _01

My favorites are the deep tone wind chimes.

Debbie Ragains, owner of Creative Clutter here for six and a half years, is also a tole painting teacher with new classes forming. Ask her about the next class taught by Barbara Putnam Underwood on November 9th from 11 to 5. Paint a Santa and Polar Bear motif. Call 760-247-2600 to join the class. If you love what you see in her shop, and wish to learn how to craft your own tole and decorative paint items, then taking a class is the easiest way to begin. Be sure to call Debbie, 760-247-2600, to learn about class arrangements.

Local shopper in blue speaks to Owner Debbie on left

Photos of her extensive store inventory pales in comparison to actually being there. She displays her collectibles and new items in inviting niches and small rooms, having recently expanded her store’s square footage to accommodate more craft students. Halloween items are now deeply discounted while she makes room for more holiday-themed decor. 

Many items to enjoy as you browse

Many items to enjoy as you browse

Store location is a short ways east of Navajo Road at 21810 Outer Hwy 18. The entrance is toward the back of the store complex but there is ample parking in the rear. Debbie “plants” festive garden stakes, signs, and flags in the lawn to mark her entrance.







Rusty LaGrange

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Tomorrow is Father’s Day.  That’s the day we honor those father’s and all that they do for us.  Yep, they are amazing.  Hey, contrary to what the news tells us everyday, the economy is still not flourishing.  I listen to those words everyday as I travel the three hours one way to work and I wonder who has money, extra money?

We can still give our fathers a great day.  Here are ten very reasonably priced presents we can give him:

1.  Breakfast in bed.  (Cost, price of breakfast, the same price you would spend anyways.  A little pampering is appreciated.)

2.  Before breakfast, bring in a pan of hot water and a washcloth.  Give his face a wakeup washing, gently now, he’s not all the way awake.

(Cost, a small amount of water, an item added to the regular washing.  Loving gesture appreciated).

3.  After he eats his breakfast, lead him to his favorite chair and hand him his newspaper.  Make sure he has thirty minutes at least uninterrupted

with his reading.  (Cost:  Quiet time cannot be measured especially if his children are toddler age.)

4.  When you look over and see that daddy has fallen back asleep, let him.  He’s done reading the paper, gets up every day at four to go to work

almost never gets a nap.  (Cost: Zero.  Benefit:  A less cranky dad.)

5.  Get out the lotion and see if he wants a back rub.  Yes, use the lotion because we want it to feel good.  (Cost:  A handful of lotion.)

6.  Make him his favorite peanut butter sandwich.  Don’t forget the jelly.  Present it on a paper plate, he hates dirty dishes. (Cost:  You’re mom

already bought the ingredients.)

7.  Let him watch, what he wants to watch on TV.  No nagging about yard work, housework or daddy work.  Even if you detest golf, or any other

sport, he likes it.  (Cost:  A little extra electricity.)

8.  Make him his favorite dinner.  Yes, his favorite dinner, not what you think he enjoys, what you know he enjoys.  (Cost:  Arbitrary, what you

have already incorporated in the grocery price this week).

9.  Give your dad a hug, pretend to hear the interesting story he has to tell you.  (Cost:  A little ear wax.)  Remember don’t turn up your Ipod to

drown out his words.

10.  Keep a smile on your face all day. No whining, no complaining, no yelling, no hitting your brother or sister, no tattling, and no crying. (Cost:

peace of mind for your father.)


These are some tips that can make a better day for your dad.  He works hard to make sure that we are clothed, that we are properly nourished

and that we have all that we need.  Most of all a simple I Love You can go a long way!


Another week has come and gone and there is no rain.  Everywhere in the rest of the country people are wishing for relief from the water, from the rain and the flooding.  Here in the High Desert, we’re parched.  Plants look thirsty, the sky is blue, clearly hot and even the white clouds which float by look like cotton balls in the sky.

I remember back to my childhood and it seemed that California had it’s share of rain.  As a matter of fact the year we arrived in California it rained for many days.  I was in kindergarten and we lived in Downey, California.  It rained so hard my first school day that the streets were flooding.  I stood on the corner and waited for my aunt to pick me up from school.  I looked over from my perch, as I patiently waited, and she could not go through the wall of water with her car.  I remember thinking, I’ll go to her.  I stepped off the curb and from a distance I could see the horror on her face.  The water was moving.  Yes, I had my little rubber boots on but they were quickly filled with water.  I was five.  She stopped her car in the street, got out of her car and proceeded to rescue me.

Growing up I reminisce about many rainy days.  Now it seems that when we have a drop of water, we complain about the traffic, the difficulties, the being late to work.  I for one, look around me and wonder, “Where is the Water?”  It’s hot, it’s getting hotter and my plants are thirsty for some of Mother Nature’s natural sky water.  Oh well, we’d better give them another drink because I don’t see any rain in the sky today.

There’s a reason why traditional works

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day weekend and all over the high desert you can see vendors selling their wares for those who haven’t already purchased a gift for that special person. As for myself, I go with the standard gift, flowers. They’re a traditional way to say I love and appreciate you.

There are quite a few locally owned florists, such as Allen’s Flowers & Plants and Fairy Tales Flowers & Gifts (both have been serving the High Desert for many years) with a variety of bouquets and plants to choose from and helpful staff members ready to assist in finding the right gift.

Another couple of options for fresh flowers would be going to local Farmers Markets or reating a bundle of posies from your own garden.

Simple Bouquet

Simple Bouquet

We have Farmers Markets during the week (Hesperia – Wed, Victorville – Thurs, and Apple Valley- Fri). Unfortunately, I missed them all and quite frankly, I was worried about the flowers not staying fresh till Sunday.

Yes, flowers have become the stand-by gift for Mother’s Day but there’s a reason why.

They’re a handful of joy, a rainbow of colors, and nature’s own perfumes being bestowed upon someone as a token of affection.

Should an arrangement of flowers be considered a trite gift?

I think not.

For more information or to get to know Just a HD Mom you can follow me on Twitter @MGEdwardsWrites and/or join my blog

Kid-Friendly Gardening in the High Desert


Gardening with Toys

Recently, I drove over to one of my favorite antique shops, Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures. Camera in hand, I was ready to capture blogging inspiration. That happens to me when I walk through Linda Marie’s mini outdoor vintage village. I tell her, “LM, your shop is like a playhouse for all the little girls at heart.” That goes for us grandmommies, too.


Grandma's Are Just Antique Lil' Girls


That inspiring moment happened when I met a young lady who had found a rooster treasure. She was passing through on Route 66 and couldn’t resist stopping by the enchanting vintage shop. Commenting on the unique vintage roosters she was carrying, I further asked, “Do you mind if I ask what you’re going to do with the roosters?”

“I don’t know. I’m taking it back to my shop.”

“So where are you from, and where is your shop?”

“Vancouver, British Columbia.”

While I was taking a picture of Anna and her cute little rooster group, she introduced me to her shop partner, also “Anna” who had also discovered a unique vintage find. The two Anna’s were enjoying their shopping trip, and it was a pleasure to get to meet them.

Vintage Roosters

Anna's Vintage Roosters





Vintage Roosters

Anna with her new roosters

Anna and Anna, Duchesse Vintage and Such shop owners from Vancouver, British Columbia

Anna and Anna, Duchesse Vintage and Such shop owners from Vancouver, British Columbia

Vintage whiskey treasure from Linda Marie's Enchanted Treasures, Oro Grande, CA

Anna's whiskey treasure from Linda Marie's Enchanted Treasures

Vintage roosters and whiskey treasures

Anna and Anna with their rooster and whiskey treasures from Linda Marie's Enchanted Treasures in Oro Grande, CA, Route 66

The next time you go on a road trip to British Columbia, visit Duchesse Vintage and Such and see what interesting treasures you might find. Perhaps you’ll meet Anna and Anna – and possibly rooster and whiskey treasures.

Before I met the two Anna’s that day, my intentions were to find toys used in a garden setting. Linda Marie is exceptional with her gardening ideas. She comes up with fun ideas for flower planters, and I was on a mission to find garden toy planters. Kids love to dig in the dirt. Kids love to play with toys. Combine the two, and teach them how to create their own little gardens with toys that need to be replaced. Don’t trash the toys. Use them in a garden, and let the kids plant the flowers.

Toys for Gardening

Wagons, tricycles, bicycles with training wheels, and doll cribs could make a fun kid’s garden. If you have young children, or grandchildren that visit, look around for toy ideas to make a flower garden. No toys on hand? You’ll find plenty at yard sales for a minimal purchase price. Choose a couple of vintage toys you like, and create a toy garden for your own fun and fond memories to cheer that antique lil’ person in you.

Bicycle with Training Wheels

A Girl's Bicycle with Training Wheels

Red Tricycle

Garden with a Tricycle

Garden Wagon

Garden with a wagon

Doll Cradle

Garden with a doll cradle


Wagon and Dump Trucks for Boys

Gardening for little boys with wagons and dump trucks

Wagon Hayrides

Garden Inspiration: Hayrides and Wagons







































I’d love to hear your own creative ways to garden with toys and how you include your children and grandchildren when you garden. Take a moment to comment about your own kid-friendly gardening.

California’s Old West Route 66 Antique Shopping

Source: via Angela on Pinterest


Antique shopping in So Cal’s High Desert should definitely be added to the things-to-do list for visitors to southern California. There are antique and vintage shops to keep one busy for a day or two at least. When a road trip between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is on a traveler’s vacation agenda, shopping in the Victorville, Hesperia, and Apple Valley area will be worth the stop.

Owner Linda Marie of Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures often meets visitors from all over the world that travel the famous Route 66 who stop by her quaint vintage shop. Her shop is not far from I15, and Antique Station is next door. P’s & Q’s Antiques is not far from these two shops, and Vintage Gypsies vintage shop is on Highway 18 in Apple Valley located in the Historic Roy Rogers Apple Valley Inn. Carriage House Antiques in Hesperia only takes minutes to get to from these other shops and definitely is worth seeing.

High Desert Blogging’s featured antique shop this week is Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures. Last weekend one of her new vendors held a grand opening, the Deadwood Mercantile. Browsing the vendor shops outside is what one could imagine taking a shopping trip back to the Old West or to the 1950’s would be like.

A visit to Linda Marie’s shop on Facebook makes it easy to keep up with current vintage finds. The photo collage below captures vintage variety finds the day of March 16, 2013 Deadwood Mercantile grand opening. Guests signed up for giveaway prizes near the gate entry where Nerium Oleander anti-aging treatment cream was displayed by Brand Partner Angela Horn.


Vintage Shopping at Linda Marie's Enchanted Treasures

Linda Marie's Enchanted Treasures, Oro Grande, CA

High Desert Antique and Vintage Shops:
Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures
19222 National Trails Hwy
Oro Grande, California 92368
(760) 484-6300
Antique Station
19176 National Trails Hwy
Oro Grande, CA 92368
(760) 951-2421
P’s & Q’s Antiques
15080 7th St, STE 11
Victorville, CA 92395
Carriage House Antiques
11370 Hesperia Rd
Hesperia, CA 92345
(760) 948-5577
Vintage Gypsies
20601 Hwy. 18 Cottage 302
(Located in the Historic Roy Rogers
Apple Valley Inn)
Apple Valley, CA (760) 221-4600

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