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Posts in category Holidays

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:

How Can You Hate Halloween Bats?

Halloween bats are not your biggest fear for tonight.

bat rescue babies on clothesline

How Can you Hate Halloween Bats?

Bats are night fliers, sure, but they don’t really bite humans, they only come out at night to eat bugs that bug you. Aren’t these cute? In a rescue clinic down in Australia, they place them in little mini-sleeping bags and hang on a clothesline while they grow up. Ah … how cute!!

Bats Get a Bad Reputation

Yes, I did have a friend who freaked out when a bat got stuck in her hair. But she was getting out of a pool at dusk when the bats love to swoop down over water surfaces. They use their radar-like aerial system to fly fast and avoid hitting objects. She got out of the pool just as the bats were arriving to dinner hunting time. They didn’t know she was a dinner guest.

Not a Halloween Bat in sight!

Then in a panic, she swatted at the bat that got tangled in her hair even more. Panic of the other gals screaming while exiting the pool just caused more hysteria. And sure enough, the little scared bat bit her. I won’t go into the details here — but she survived. Although she does avoid pools … at night … in the summer … in the desert.

They weren’t even Halloween bats.

Like I said, your biggest fear should be those smelly, lurking zombies.

What’s up with that?


Rusty LaGrange

What is Memorial Day All About?

Fireworks with flagMemorial Day is being celebrated in the high desert by many at the San Bernardino County Fair. This weekend holiday is a time for barbecues and partying as people gear up early for the summer. But what is the real meaning of Memorial Day?

Memorial Day originated on May 30, 1868 as an occasion to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. Twenty years after that the name was changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day. On May 11, 1950, Congress passed a resolution requesting that the President issue a proclamation calling on Americans to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer.

I wonder how many will unite in prayer tomorrow. A resolution  was passed by Congress on May 11, 1950 requesting a proclamation to be issued by the President for the people of the United States to unite in prayer during each Memorial Day.

Memorial Day, declared a federal holiday in 1971 by President Nixon, is now observed on the last Monday of May in honor of all who have died in wars.

Join with me in a moment of silence to honor men and women who died in wars so that you and I may be free and enjoy life.

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.

Last Minute Halloween Treats

All of us get overwhelmed with the events of life and find ourselves scurrying at the last minute to put together something to take to a Halloween Party or to feed guests that we invited over.  Sometimes, when the responsibilities of work take more time than they should,  I find myself at the last minute trying to hurry and put together something just for my family.

What follows are five simple ideas that I’ve found on the internet that I think can help solve the question of what can I make?  Warning:  I really like candy corn, so it may be unfairly featured here to the exclusion of other types of candy or food.

Harvest DecorThe first item in our roundup is a simple mixture of candy corn and nuts that I found  at Kitchen Hospitality. The combination is nearly addictive.  It can be placed on a table for guests to serve for themselves.

candy corn, a hug, and a pretzel make halloween candy.The next recipe is for a simple candy that ‘s great to make with your children because the ingredients are so simple to put together.  We found this combination of Candy Corn, Hugs, and Pretzels from Patty Cake’s Pantry, and it was a hit with everyone.

Monster mash snack mixHow about some Halloween themed snack mix?  Check out the recipe for Monster Mash Snack Mix at Our Three Peas.   This combination of treats is both delicious and scary. version of Monster Mash Snack Mix can be found  at In Katrina’s Kitchen.  This Monster Mash Snack Mix is composed of clusters.  They are delicious even if they look like melted chickens.

Ghosts in the Graveyard Image 1Lastly, I present my family’s favorite Halloween Dessert, Ghosts in the Graveyard.   The recipe can be found at  It goes by many different names.  Some people just refer to the recipe as mud, and as you may guess, mine is always topped with some candy corn, mallow creme pumpkins, and of course, cookie tomb stones.

We hope you enjoy this list of Last Minute Halloween Treats.  If you are looking for something a little healthier or with a little less sugar, try making the mud with sugar free Oreo type cookies and use sugar free pudding.  If you eschew artificial sweeteners and want more natural foods, check out our previous post A Healthy Twist on Halloween Treats.

Please leave a comment below and tell us about your favorite Halloween Treats.

**Patti, the author of this post, in addition to guest blogging at, is a frequent contributor at, a website dedicated to helping people make healthy food choices.  It features recipes,  many of which are gluten and dairy free.  She can also be found at where she tries to limit her blogging to stocking a pantry, budgeting, and recipes.  She isn’t always successful. 

Alternative Treats for Kids

Candy Alternatives

Candy and Sugar Highs

Trunk or Treat festivities have begun. You’ve already decorated your trunk, purchased several bags of candy, and helped your children choose costumes (or picked out your own). Right?

If that doesn’t describe your agenda and you are shopping at the last minute for a party on October 31st, then how about a totally out-of-the-norm candy substitute?

Did you ever wonder how candy became popular for Halloween? I was curious about it and did a little online research. According to, Halloween’s history can be dated back to All Souls’ Day (a practice of honoring the dead) that began on November 2nd in the year of 1000 AD. Poor people would visit wealthy homes and receive soul cakes (pastries) in return for praying for the homeowner’s dead relatives.

A type of community trick or treating became popular in the 1930’s. Then sugar rationing came with World War II. After the war, “candy” treating became popular for Halloween which is now the second largest commercial holiday with approximately $6 billion spent by Americans.

What if parents nationwide decided to rally together and begin a new Halloween tradition of candy alternatives that would minimize candy and promote family and nutrition? Imagine with me, and let’s come up with ideas. Send in ones you come up with in the reply/comment section on this page. I’ll start off the list of possibilities and alternatives.

NOTE: This post contains an affiliate link which means if you click on it and make a purchase, I make a commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free, so thank you!

  1. Oranges
  2. Raisins (mini boxes)
  3. 100 calorie packets
  4. pretzels
  5. dried fruit
  6. coins
  7. glow sticks
  8. coloring books of popular kids’ movies
  9. toy cars and trucks
  10. Bubbles
  11. organic crackers
  12. red foam clown noses (fun for Christmas stockings, weddings,and  birthday parties, too)
  13. Glow in the Dark spider rings
  14. organic animal crackers
  15. fun stamps for kids
  16. whistles
  17. stickers
  18. crazy straws
  19. mini colorful containers
  20. smiley face squeeze balls

That’s 20 alternatives to candy. Now it’s your turn.

Hot Dog Plans for Labor Day

Labor Day hot dogs

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

The second week of August is making its way into three-digit temperatures in So Cal’s high desert, but fall is only a month and a half away. That means cooler days are coming soon – and so is summer’s last holiday.

Labor Day, only 27 days away, is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday of September 1887. Three other facts about the holiday are:

  1. It is the last day of the year to wear white, in high society at least.
  2. It is the beginning of NFL and college football seasons.
  3. Labor Day is the summer holiday famous for hot dogs.

How many of those facts were you aware of? My guess is two – Number 2 and Number 3. If those two were voted on by children and adults, Number 3 could easily be the winning choice.

Planning to serve hot dogs on Labor Day? Most people probably don’t plan what they will eat on the holiday this far ahead of time but run to the grocery store on the holiday weekend and grab whatever sounds good at the last minute. It’s smart to decide on the menu in advance so that you can take advantage of sales.

Blogger Patti Cake at states that her local grocery store routinely sells hot dogs for $.59 per package before Labor Day. She calculated how much she saves per year by stocking up on the hot dogs when they go on sale. Freezing them for later saves her family money throughout the year.

American families eat billions of hot dogs every year, especially between Memorial Day until Labor Day. There is even a poll on “What’s Your Favorite Hot Dog Condiment?”

Hot dog consumers have plenty of kinds to choose from. There are chicken, turkey, port, beef, cheese and mixed kinds available. If you’re concerned about how they are made, check out to learn what the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has to say.

Which of the following selections do you prefer with your hot dogs?

  • mustard and ketchup
  • mustard and relish
  • ketchup
  • onions, mustard, ketchup, relish
  • mayo
  • mayo, mustard, ketchup
  • mayo, relish, onions
  • grilled, wrapped in bacon, with your favorite trimmings

If you haven’t had that last selection – grilled hot dog wrapped in bacon, you’ve got to try it. It’s the best.


Bacon hot dogs on the grill

Sizzling Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

High Desert July 4th Events

July 4th Berries and Pudding

Kick off July 4th celebrations with a bang in the High Desert! Fireworks and other events are scheduled for Saturday at the following places:

High Desert

  1. Apple Valley – Lenny Brewster Sports Center
    21024 Otoe Road
    2 p.m. – 10 p.m.; fireworks at 9 p.m.
  2. Victorville – San Bernardino County Fairgrounds
    14800 7th Street
    Fireworks at 9 p.m.
  3. Adelanto – Maverick Stadium
    12000 Stadium Way
    Baseball game and fireworks
    High Desert Mavericks vs Modesto at 7:05 p.m.
    Stay for a special 4th of July fireworks show

Mountains near High Desert

  1. Big BearFireworks over Big Bear Lake
    Weekend spectacular July 4 and 5, Fireworks July 4 at 8:45 p.m.,
  2. Lake Arrowhead
    Flyovers begin at 5:30 p.m. and fireworks start at 9 p.m.
  3. Wrightwood                                                                              Old fashion community picnic. Admission is free. Gates Open at 10:30. Family Fun Event at the Wrightwood Community Center & Parking Lot. LIVE Entertainment – Music starts at 12 noon. Food, Beer Garden, Kids’ Zone, Bingo.

Got more events? Email us at to add yours.

Happy July 4th Holiday! Be safe!!

Mother’s Day is 11 Days Away

I’ve been a contributing blogger for several years now, so I figured you might like to know  that I’m a devoted fan of the Old West. I live on a rural ranch in the High Desert, love the ghost town trails and a bit of off-roading.

All it takes is a rustic bucket and a bunch of field flowers

All it takes is a rustic bucket and a bunch of field flowers

I collect almost anything rusty and rustic. While I do admit to having too many irons in the fire, one passion is bringing history to children in my traveling museum just for kids. In fact, my collection doesn’t fit in one car now, so I’m hoping to get some money together for a box trailer in which to haul my displays and Civil War tent.

Those who know me, weren’t surprised when I was elected as the President of our local museum association. I can be the curator of a large collection of outdoor farm implements and mining equipment — each one is rusty — so I’m in my element.

My husband has put up with my crazy need to share Old West history with everyone I meet. So after 34 years of marriage and Mother’s Day just around the corner, what does he think will be a good gift?

How about you? Does it get harder to find that something special for that special someone? Flowers are nice, but why not go the extra step and have a plant in a designer pot with a nice photo of you in the card? Take a “selfie,” print it out and attach it. It will mean that you took some extra time to really make a point.

Back to Mother’s day gifts. I’ll let you know what he sprung on me. Enjoy your Mom on this special day —  get her something nice and memorable.

Rusty Profile photo

Rusty LaGrange

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