“Little Red Bear’s — Happy Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes Special II”

Welcome to Little Red Bear’s special “Happy Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes — Volume  II.”

Last year’s Halloween Treat Recipes were so well received that Little Red Bear felt we should do it again. If you missed last year’s “Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes”, simply tap here to find more fun Halloween recipes and ideas!


It’s Autumn and October,

Frightful things will soon be waking,

Rising from restless graveyard slumbers,

Craving tasty treats left for their taking!

So gather ye ‘round for recipes,

See what kitchen witches have in store,

‘Tis time to fire up kettles and cauldrons,

Ere hungry ghosts and ghouls be at the door!


Trust us. Being fans of eggs best used in omelets and toilet paper best stored in the linen closet and not on trees, it’s best to be prepared when little goblins come knocking on Halloween.

Some little treat and candy-craving spirits handle disappointment better than others. And you really do not want to be in the position of having to hand out pennies.

Or rocks.  Always try to avoid being in the position of having to resort to handing out rocks. Even if they are the fancy painted ones going around so popularly nowadays. No rocks.  Treats are always well received.



Accordingly then, here is an assortment of Halloween goodies to appease both adult partygoers and those wandering little treat-seekers that come knocking at the door on Halloween night.  Simply tap on either the link or image to find a recipe.

Proceed on, stirring spoon and bowl in hand if you have the courage, for spookily delightful Halloween recipes unearthed by Little Red Bear and his friends.


Halloween Ghost Pancakes

How to start a Halloween morning?  With Ghost Pancakes, of course! Featuring orange pancakes, a special dark chocolate ganache, and whipped cream ghosts.

Halloween Ghost Pancakes by The Novice Chef


Screaming Chocolate Pretzels

These chocolate-covered pretzels will be “howling” for attention at your Halloween party this year!

Screaming Chocolate Pretzels by Fun 365 Oriental Trading


Rice Krispie Treat Monsters

These cute little Rice Krispie Treat Monsters will be a colorful fun favorite for little ones and perfectly sized for small hands!

Rice Krispie Treat Monsters by “One Little Project At A Time”


Apple Pie Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples were a Halloween staple growing up in the midwest years ago. This recipe takes them to a whole new Apple Pie level for the Autumn Season, beginning with a caramel coating covered by a luscious layer of white chocolate, then rolled in a Cinnamon-Sugar mixture and drizzled with more white chocolate!  If caramel apples were a treat years ago, then this new version is treat-a-licious!

Apple Pie Caramel Apples by Leigh Anne Wilkes , “Your Homebased Mom”


Reese’s Peanut Butter Captain Crunch Bars

Made with peanut butter, marshmallows, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Captain Crunch cereal, topped with Reese’s Peanut Butter Pieces.  I love Halloween!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Captain Crunch Bars by This Is Not Diet Food


Everyone loves Halloween for different reasons. For me, the approach of Halloween each year ushers in the arrival of Candy Corn Season!  Like the poor little innocent but polarizing Peeps at Easter, varying opinions aside, I am an unapologetic lover of Candy Corn, and here are three Candy Corn inspired recipes for you too, if so inclined.

Candy Corn Swirled Fudge

If Michelangelo could have found Candy Corn Swirled Marble similar to this gorgeous fudge, just think of the masterpieces he could have created. As it is, we still have the fudge, and that works for me!

Candy Corn Swirled Fudge by The Café Sucre Farine

Candy Corn Poke Cake

Made in a 9″ x 13″ sheet cake pan, this simple but beautiful cake will serve many and is certain to be a talked about highlight of any Halloween event! Keep the recipe handy for when guests inquire.

Candy Corn Poke Cake by Wine and Glue

Candy Corn Jello

Candy Corn Jello?  Oh, someone pinch me — I must be dreaming!

Candy Corn Jello by Cincy Shopper


Peeping Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cute little Chocolate Chip Sandwich Monster Cookies for little ghosts and goblins!

Peeping Chocolate Chip Cookies by Cadbury Kitchen


Pumpkin Blondies

If you have been patiently waiting for a Pumpkin related recipe, your time has come! Pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice baked into a blondie bar for Autumn get-togethers and Halloween treats! Don’t you just love Autumn?

Pumpkin Blondies by Cookies & Cups


Witch’s Brew Brownies

If we have Blondies, then the Brownies cannot be far behind! Add all sorts of spooky and leftover candy toppings to these brownies to make them extra special.

Witch’s Brew Brownies by Home Made Interest


Great Pumpkin Cake

Everyone who follows me on Facebook and other sites knows that I am a life-long fan of the “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles Schulz, featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, and the gang.

And of course, Linus, who each year spends Halloween night in a pumpkin patch foregoing trick or treating with his friends to await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, who arises each year from the most sincere pumpkin patch to then fly around handing out toys to sincere and believing children on Halloween. It goes without saying that Linus is the only one who believes in the Great Pumpkin, yet remains steadfast in his beliefs and undaunted in his support, despite the withering criticism of others.

So, how could we not share a Great Pumpkin Cake for faithful Linus and Halloween this year?!?  Hint — You will need your most sincere fluted tube pan for this one!

Great Pumpkin Cake by Kraft Recipes


Brownie Cupcakes

With a brownie bottom and orange cake mix layer, these colorful cupcakes will be a Halloween party treat!  Be sure to add a candy pumpkin or sprinkles on top!

Brownie Cupcakes by Two Sisters Crafting


Boozy Pumpkin Milkshake

No longer the sole domain of youngsters, it seems that each year an increasing number of adults from all age groups seek to reclaim Halloween celebrations and fun.  The treats may have taken on a new flavor or two over the years, however.  Here is a little something for the older treat-seekers.  One may find several other party ideas on this site, as well. Just please remember to celebrate responsibly.

Boozy Pumpkin Milkshake by Wine and Glue


Halloween Trifle

As we have endeavored to point out, Hungry Halloween Spirits and Goblins are certainly nothing to be trifled with. Unless your trifle happens to contain a number of Halloween goodies inside it, of course!

Halloween Trifle by Dancing Through The Rain


Thank You for visiting with us!  Please feel to share this special Halloween post and our site with friends and family for their Halloween fun.

When out this Halloween, please remember to celebrate safely, drive carefully in neighborhoods, and watch for little ones on the roadways who most likely will not be watching out for you while rushing to the next candy stop.

And remember, if you happen across an unattended broomstick on Halloween, just leave it be.  We’ll talk more about that another time in our upcoming “Interview With A Witch”. Until then, just ignore the broom and pass on by.  Witches are not fond of walking, and we’ll simply leave it at that for now. Watch for the interview here soon!

Also please keep an eye out for our upcoming “Autumn Recipes” special soon, along with another fun little poem this week. Follow the blog now to be notified of every new post in your email box. Never any Spam. Little Red Bear only likes his Spam from the little can, never in the mail.

Happy Halloween to everyone!  Fire up the wood stoves and let the holiday candy and treat making begin! — Jim (and Red!)          


                                            “Halloween isn’t just about candies and treats.                                               No, wait — of course, it is.” — Little Red Bear

“A candy a day keeps the monsters under the bed away.” — Cinnamon Charlie


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

“A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.” — Erma Bombeck


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today, because together we can do so much!

With the help of patrons, last month we were able to donate six print copies of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” to a Senior Citizens Library and Residents!

Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes while sharing positive messages of happiness, inspiration, and kindness with everyone. We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the world!


“If you are out of treats, I would prefer cash.” — Slick the Weasel

“Keep calm, Trick or Treat, and carry on.” – Oliver Wendell Ghostbody



For Our New Readers Wondering — 

“Who is Little Red Bear?”

 Meet Little Red Bear and His Friends in this short introduction to the stories —  “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”



 

Little Red Bear’s Special Easter Recipes & Ideas To Please Everybunny!

When Little Red Bear and I are not trying to scrub Easter Egg dye from our hands (paws), we like to discover interesting and fun new recipes and treats to make for family and friends.

It has been a few months since Little Red Bear shared some of his special recipe finds with the holiday season so busy and everyone having their own family favorites, but with the Easter Bunny working overtime and the holiday drawing near he thought it a good time to get going again and share some Easter treats and information. Let’s get hopping!

Starting off with a healthier treat for the little ones because being about Easter treats and goodies it’s likely to become more sugary sweet as we go along.

As usual, simply tap on the link to view the original recipe and provider’s page.


Peep Fruit Kabobs

An alternative to sugary sweets, little ones should ‘Peep!’ with delight over these.

Peep Fruit Kabobs Recipe


Krispie Treat Goodies

Krispie Treats are among Little Red Bear and my favorites for Easter and any time of year!  Here are three different Krispie Treat ideas to make up for Easter.

Fruity Pebble Krispie Treats — My personal favorite kind of marshmallow cereal treat, made with Fruity Pebbles cereal for a different and fun take on the original.

Rice Krispies Treat Easter Eggs — Fun for the whole family!  Simply use plastic eggs to form the fun egg shapes for these.

Easter Rice Krispie Cake — Neither Little Red Bear nor I had ever seen a cake made from Rice Krispie Treats before and couldn’t imagine why we hadn’t thought of it sooner ourselves!


Easter White Chocolate Crockpot Candy Clusters

Creamy, crunchy, peanutty, and beautiful for a brunch buffet or candy dish. Three ingredients plus your choice of sprinkles, prepared in the crock pot while you do other things. What could be better?

Easter White Chocolate Crockpot Candy Clusters Recipe


Easter No Bake Birds’ Nest Cookies

Made with oats, corn flakes, mini candy eggs, chocolate and butterscotch chips, and peanut butter, kids (and adults!) will love this Easter treat.

Easter No Bake Bird’s Nest Cookies Recipe


Easter Sugar Cookies

Everybody likes sugar cookies! Wouldn’t the kids love to find a fun-shaped and brightly-decorated Easter Cookie in their basket? Little Red Bear wants one. Or, a dozen.

Easter Sugar Cookies Recipe


Easter Egg Cookie Dough Truffles

Another delightful and beautiful Easter treat to make up ahead of time for family and guests. And who doesn’t love cookie dough?

Easter Egg Cookie Dough Truffles Recipe


Easter Surprise Confetti Cookie Bars

Cookie Bars are always a perfect treat for buffets and treat dishes for holiday gatherings, a perfect “hand food” as they say, and able to be made ahead of time. These Easter Surprise Confetti Cookie Bars come with a sugar advisory — they are loaded!  Packed to the max with oatmeal, peanut butter, chocolate chips, M&Ms, springtime confetti sprinkles, and five (5!) different kinds of candy bars, this treat will not disappoint. You may want to put these delights up out of the reach of little ones if planning to get any sleep the next week. Little Red Bear is already busy whipping up a batch of these! I see some late night writing sessions on the horizon.

Easter Surprise Confetti Cookie Bars Recipe


Easter Trifles

Do you have a trifle bowl tucked safely away after the Christmas holidays? You may want to bring it back out for one of these delicious Easter Trifles!

Cotton Candy Easter Trifle — One white cake mix as the cake filling baked in separate smaller cake pans and dyed with food coloring, with cream cheese, whipped cream, and candy bits of your choice make for a colorful buffet presentation.

Mini Egg Trifle — Using brownies and chocolate pudding mixed with cream cheese and crushed Oreo Cookies, then topped off with whipped cream and mini eggs, this trifle will delight chocolate lovers.

Rainbow Peeps Trifle — This vivid trifle features swirled cake pieces, Cool Whip, lemon pie filling for a touch of spring freshness, and colorful Easter Peeps for decoration.


Chocolate Easter Eggs With Cheesecake Filling

I love traditional Cadbury Eggs and these remind me of those — with a creamy, lemony cheesecake filling and yummy apricot sauce for the ‘yolk’.  If the kids turn up their noses at these and opt for the sweet treats, that simply means more of these amazing creations for the adults!

Chocolate Easter Eggs With Cheesecake Filling Recipe


Easter Cathedral Candy

Another amazing no-bake recipe to prepare ahead of time, these beautiful candies require only three ingredients — vanilla flavored melting wafers or almond bark, colored mini marshmallows, and sweetened coconut.  Mix, chill, slice, and serve!

Easter Cathedral Candy Recipe


Easter Eggs and Creative Hunt & Craft ideas!

For anyone who may be new to hard-boiling (or struggling with it as we seemed to somehow always do each year) and coloring Easter Eggs, or who may be looking for some exciting and different new decorating ideas, check out the helpful links below.

How To Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

A Handy Food Coloring Custom Mixing Chart

Making Tie Dye Easter Eggs

How To Dye Easter Eggs with Kool-Aid

Decorating Natural Brown Easter Eggs

How To Make Marbelized Easter Eggs

How To Host The Best Easter Egg Hunt Ever

Tips for Dying Easter Eggs With Toddlers

More Tips for Dying Easter Eggs With Small Children

Fun New Easter Egg Hunt Ideas

Fun (and Educational) Easter Egg Hunt Ideas For Children

18 Simple Easter Crafts for Kids



Find over 600 more Easter Holiday features on my Easter Treats, Fun Crafts, and Activities Board on Pinterest. To find today’s features and all of the recipes we have shared so far, visit our Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Blog Recipes Board. Visit and Like my Writer’s Facebook Page to see daily recipes and features we share.

Thanks as always for spending part of your day with us! We would be honored if you recommended our site and pages to friends and family.  Little Red Bear and I look forward to your visits here, and hope that in our own way we help to make your day special, too! And if you are not familiar with Little Red Bear yet, I invite you to tap on the links below to find out more about Red and his family-friendly adventure stories.

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, and Happy Easter! — Jim  (and Red!)


“Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.” — Janine di Giovanni

“Easter combines the best of the present with the traditions of the past – like Cadbury Cream Eggs with hunting and gathering.” — Melanie White 


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly, Multi-generational Stories and Fun for All Ages!
~ About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends ~

“Easter is so disappointing. You suffer all the way through Lent, and what do you get for it? A ham.” — Garrison Keillor   


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today. Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes. Because together we can do so much!


             “Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.”        – Matthew Jacobson


 

 

 

 

Making the World Worthy: A Timely Reminder For Our Children and Us All — “You Are a Marvel”

Sharing an illuminating piece from Pablo Casals, applicable not only for guiding our children but for reminding ourselves, as well.

For those not familiar with the name, Pablo Casals was from Catalonia, Spain (December 29, 1876 – October 22, 1973), and is generally regarded as the pre-eminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest of all time. Also a composer and conductor, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy.

His comments seem especially relevant as so many search and attempt to find their way and place in today’s world.


“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France.

“When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them — Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michaelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.

And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel?

The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world will not be, another child like him.

You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.”

— Pablo Casals


These instructive words of wisdom seem very applicable today, as so many in our society struggle with self-image issues, self-doubt, personal worth, learned hatreds and prejudices, resulting in lashing out more and more frequently with heartbreaking episodes of violence, with families and communities shattered and forever changed.

People the world over share a desire for happiness and a better life for their families. If we truly desire a peaceful, kind, compassionate, and forgiving world, not only for ourselves but for our children and children’s children, then it must start now with each of us taking responsibility for our own actions and for the age-old resentments we harbor, continue to nourish and pass along to future generations. No one is born with hatred and prejudices — they are learned.

Leaders and politicians may bluster, give speeches, form committees and convene hearings. But change, true change in society never comes from the top because attitudes and morals cannot be legislated. True changes in society invariably spread and percolate up from the bottom.

Peace and kindness for our children and the world begin with each of us as we go about our daily lives, starting with how we view and treat ourselves, our families, and our neighbors.  We must step up and “Say ‘No!’ to Violence”, and become a kinder and gentler people. Because violence and hateful rhetoric are dividing and ripping us apart.

You, like a child and along with each and every one of us, are a marvel, unique in all the history of the world and time to come. There has never been and will never be another “You!” A gift to the world. A perfect marvel capable of so much more than we imagine.

You and I each have within us the power to change the world for the better or worse. It is up to us. Do we choose to allow our light to shine, encourage, and show the way for others, or to keep it hidden while those around us continue to stumble thru the darkness and our world becomes ever more violent and intolerant? Our country and the world are in urgent and dire need of more Light.

Thanks for visiting and spending part of your day with us.  Brighten someone’s journey with your smile today, share a kind word or gesture, and truly be the change you wish to see in the world. Lead with your light for others to follow, and help to make the world worthy of its children. — Jim (and Red!)


“In music, in the sea, in a flower, in a leaf, in an act of kindness . . . I see what people call God in all these things.” – Pablo Casals 

“When we see God in each other we will be able to live in peace.” – Mother Teresa


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly, Multi-generational Stories and Fun for All Ages!
~ About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends ~

                           “In this world, hate never dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate.                         This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible.” – Buddha


“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” – Gandalf, “The Hobbit” – J. R. R. Tolkien


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today. Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes.


                            “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace . . . . ”  – St. Francis of Assisi


Opting for Millstones or Milestones — “The Desiderata”

My first exposure to “The Desiderata”, an inspiringly beautiful piece written by the American writer Max Ehrmann, was when it became popularized in spoken-word recordings during my college years in the early 1970s. Written in 1927, the piece was largely unknown during the author’s lifetime, with it first being published in ‘The Poems of Max Ehrmann’ in 1948.

The title ‘Desiderata’ is Latin, meaning “Desired Things”. Approaching graduation from college and about to embark on a new career and adventures, “The Desiderata” was and still remains a hopeful and illuminating guide to shaping and living a life of peace and purpose.  The enlightened counsel contained within is certainly as applicable or more today as when first penned by Mr. Ehrmann over ninety years ago.

“The Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann —


The Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.  Strive to be happy.


Thank You for visiting and spending part of your day with us! We will always encounter pitfalls and obstacles as we go along. Do we view them as defeating roadblocks or opportunities to overcome, grow stronger, and learn? Do you choose to fill your life with Millstones or Milestones? How we choose to respond to life’s challenges is always up to us.  It truly is a beautiful world. — Jim (and Red!)


“You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars.” — Max Ehrmann

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in                    silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.”                — Max Ehrmann


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly, Multi-generational Stories and Fun for All Ages!
~ About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends ~

                                 “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness,                              the astonishing light of your own being.” – Hafiz


Like and Follow My Writer’s Page on Facebook For Daily Inspiration and More!


“Share your smile with the world. It’s a symbol of friendship and peace.” – Christie Brinkley


This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today. Patrons help to continue this as an ad-free site for everyone,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes.


“Peace, like charity, begins at home.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt


 

“Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes — Autumn Treats & Family Fun!”

When Little Red Bear and I aren’t debating whether Ichabod Crane’s ultimate fate was sealed by a broken heart or by a shattered pumpkin, we like to cook up seasonal Autumn treats and dishes while making holiday decorations and things on the side.

There were several favorites, but the recipes for Rice Krispie Treat Pumpkins and Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ghosts seemed to garner the most attention and comments in last week’s Happy Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes Special filled with Halloween goodies and treats. Take a look by tapping on the link if you missed it.

If you are new to our Sunday morning recipe sharing and missed the first Little Red Bear Recipes Post explaining what we are doing, simply tap on the link to check it out.

This week we found a few wonderful new Autumn recipes to pass along, together with a few more Halloween goodies to share! And, sharing some Halloween craft ideas for the little ones in the family, along with older children and adults, as well.


Caramel Apple Bread

A delightful fall quick bread recipe with Apples, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg, covered with a luscious caramel glaze.  Yes, please.

Caramel Apple Bread Recipe


Slow Cooker Caramel Apple Dip

Staying with delightful Caramel Apple flavors, how about a Caramel Apple Dip easily made in the slow cooker?  Dip Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Crisps, and it’s a delightful party or football afternoon treat all thru the season. The recipe includes instructions on how to make your own tortilla crisps, as well.  Party on!

Slow Cooker Caramel Apple Dip Recipe


Crustless Pumpkin Pie

When I read the title of this recipe, Little Red Bear picked up on the word ‘Crustless’ right away, being rather crust-challenged as we have discussed in prior weeks.  No crust with this one. A quick and easy mix, then bake.  Awesome!

Crustless Pumpkin Pie Recipe


Cheddar and Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Bacon

This amazing sounding soup, as pictured, is served as an appetizer in Pretzel Rolls, hollowed out with the tops removed.  Perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and holiday season parties.  Make more, and it’s a delightful fall meal.

Cheddar and Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Bacon Recipe


Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls

Easily made using refrigerated crescent rolls from the grocery store, these will both smell and taste delightful for both chilly morning breakfasts and for a special treat later in the day.

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls Recipe


Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Pretzels

The Ghost Pretzels were another popular treat shared last week, and then Little Red Bear came across these fun little Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Pretzels, and we both thought they would be perfect for not only Halloween in a couple weeks, but for Thanksgiving side treats, as well. Maybe place one beside a slice of pumpkin pie on the plate, or tuck one into each slice of pie as a decoration. Propped up against the pile of whipped cream on top, of course!

Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Pretzels Recipe


Haunted Haystacks

And then we came across these fun and easy-to-make Haunted Haystacks for Halloween parties, made from butterscotch chips, peanut butter, marshmallows, and chow mein noodles. And don’t forget the candy eyeballs! Mixing different sized eyes makes them look like spooky fun for the kids.

Haunted Haystacks Recipe


Easy Cookie Candy Corn Bark

Candy Corn has always been one of my favorite Halloween treats.  Can you tell?  The Cookie Candy Corn Bark is so easy, simply putting down pieces of your favorite sandwich cookies, covering over with melted white chocolate, and then adding the various candy bits of your choice on top for a colorful Halloween goodies treat.

Easy Cookie Candy Corn Bark Recipe


Please remember, all of these recipes are added each week to our “Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes” board on Pinterest for you to access anytime and find those from previous weeks if you missed them.  I invite you to follow and check out my other Pinterest boards while there, including the Halloween Recipes & Ideas Board for many other great treats, craft, and decoration ideas.


Family Time is the Best Time!

On my Pinterest Halloween Board, you will find over 300 craft and activity ideas in addition to fun treats and goodies recipes.  Spending time together with family making holiday decorations is always time best spent.

Below are just a couple fun projects for the little ones, with much more on the Board for other family project ideas, from preschoolers on up thru adult craft ideas and door wreaths, most requiring only simple, readily-at-hand materials and supplies.

Here again is an informational link to the National Safety Council’s Halloween Safety Tips and Guidelines for children and motorists, alike.   Have a wonderful Halloween, keeping yourselves and the little ones safe this year. Remember — Scare Safe!

Cute and Easy Cotton Ball Ghost Craft for Preschoolers

Little guys should be able to just about make this whole project on their own after getting them started, and how proud they will be to display their own Halloween project for all to see.

Cute and Easy Cotton Ball Ghost Craft Project for Preschoolers

Spooky Leaf Ghosts for Halloween

Here is another fun project for little hands, painting fallen Autumn leaves white, and then adding their own ghostly features. These can be displayed in a number of ways around your home, even suspending on a string for a spooky ghost garland. Finding and selecting the leaves for this project will be fun all on its own.  If going to make a garland or suspend the leaves from a string, look for leaves with the stems intact for tying later. And be sure to make a wide variety of ghostly expressions — happy, sad, scary, angry. Imagination is the limit with these!

Spooky Leaf Ghosts for Halloween Project  

Here is a link to other wonderful Halloween Nature Crafts to make up with the kids.

“There is little in life that could not benefit from a little Love, a little Time, and a Stick of Butter.”


Thanks as always for spending part of your day with us! We would be honored if you recommended our site and pages to friends and family.  Little Red Bear and I look forward to your visits here, and hope that in our own way we help to make your day special, too!

We’ll be back next Sunday morning with more of Red’s selected special recipes for Autumn, so be sure to subscribe in the top right column and follow along to be notified of every new post.

Wishing everyone a wonderful coming week, full of treats and craft making!  We do not remember days, we remember moments. Create some special moments with your family, and be the reason someone smiles this week! – Jim (and Red!)


“Family is the most important thing in the world.” – Princess Diana

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly, Multi-generational Stories and Fun for All Ages!
~ About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends ~

“Never miss an opportunity to show your Love. Apart from Love, everything passes away.”   – Rumi


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This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today. Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes.


“Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes — Happy Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes Special!”

Welcome to Little Red Bear’s special Happy Halloween Spooktacularly Good Recipes!

We thought it good to share Halloween recipes now to give you ample time to assemble ingredients and get treats made up and ready for parties and trick or treaters.  Because by the time you hear hooves and feet dashing up the street —  it’s too late. And then a ghoulish trick may be your fate . . . .

It’s Autumn and October,

Scary things will soon be waking,

Rising from tortured, restless slumber,

To find what treats we have been making!

So gather ‘round for recipes,

Come in to see what we have in store,

It’s time to head into the kitchen,

Before hungry ghosts and ghouls are at the door!

The recipe for Caramel Apple Bread Pudding seemed to garner the most oohs and ahhs last week. Take a look by tapping on the link if you missed it.

If you are new to our Sunday morning recipe sharing and missed the first Little Red Bear Recipes Post explaining what we are doing, simply tap on the link to check it out.

We have a good assortment of Halloween inspired treats and goodies picked out this week for you, so grab your apron and let’s get started.  “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble,” as William Shakespeare put it.  Let’s get stirring, shall we?


Halloween Cupcakes

This recipe features five easy decorating ideas to make special cupcakes for coming Halloween parties and events.

Halloween Cupcakes Recipe


Rice Krispie Treat Pumpkins

Rice Krispie Treats are one of my favorite things, so making them up with the Mini Rollo stem and green M&M leaf is perfect for a Halloween party.

Rice Krispie Treat Pumpkins Recipe


Jack Skellington Oreo Pops

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a favorite movie here, so these Jack Skellington Oreo Pops are a sure hit. If you cannot find the special Halloween Oreos, any will do.  But the Halloween orange middles would be a fun surprise for little ones when biting into them.

Jack Skellington Oreo Pops Recipe


Halloween Candy Corn Fudge

Sharing two Halloween Candy Corn Fudge Recipes, one including the special Fall M&Ms for an added chocolate flavor, and the other cut into realistic little Candy Corn shapes for fun. Little Red Bear liked one — I liked the other — sharing them both!

Candy Corn M&M White Chocolate Fudge Recipe

Easy Candy Corn Fudge Recipe


Ghost Popcorn Balls

I honestly do not remember how many popcorn balls that I received trick or treating over the years, back in the day. But I know for a fact that none of them looked this cool.

Ghost Popcorn Balls Recipe


Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ghosts

These are just too cute (and delicious!) for Halloween guests to leave out. And as a bonus, there are links to Halloween Eyeballs and Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treats included at the bottom of the recipe, as well.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ghosts Recipe


Ghost Pretzels

These yummy little pretzel treats are so easy to prepare and cool looking for Halloween parties.  Better make a bunch and then watch them disappear!

Ghost Pretzels Recipe


Paranormal Pretzel Cookies

While in the snack aisle of the grocery store picking up a bag of mini pretzels for the Ghost Pretzels, pick up a bag of the little square pretzels to make up these ghostly-themed chocolate chip cookies, too. Mini pretzels dipped in white chocolate riding on a chocolate chip cookie.  Guaranteed to warm the hearts of little ghouls and goblins!

Paranormal Pretzel Cookies Recipe


Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Treats

Doing a two-fer here.  Both recipes feature Creamy Smooth Peanut Butter as the main ingredient, one to make delightful little Pumpkin Bites and the other to make really scary looking Zombie Eyeballs for teen boys and those that are into that sort of thing. You could do the Pumpkin Bites for Thanksgiving, just as easily. Not so sure about the eyeballs.

No Bake Peanut Butter Pumpkin  Bites Recipe

Peanut Butter Zombie Eyeballs Recipe


Halloween Harvest Hash Chex Mix

We always make up a Chex Party Mix for Christmas and New Years, and love the idea of this Halloween mix with not only my favorite Candy Corn, Candy Pumpkins, and Reese’s Pieces treats added, but also incorporating a brown sugar, butter, and vanilla extract mixture to flavor it all with.  Oh, we are definitely going to need to find some bigger snack bowls this year!

Halloween Harvest Hash Chex Mix Recipe


Halloween Swirl Cream Cheese Brownies

That title about says it all — a dark chocolate brownie covered by a layer of orange cheesecake. All swirled together to make it look spooky for Halloween.  It’s always good to have some special treats for the grown-ups, as well.

Halloween Swirl Cream Cheese Brownies Recipe


Halloween Marshmallow Pops

Little Red Bear thinks these Halloween Marshmallow Pops are the coolest things for a Halloween party or get-together!  Easy to prepare and fun.  Please note that the recipe calls for the large size, Campfire Giant Roasting Marshmallows.  You could use regular ones, too. They would just be smaller, of course.

Halloween Marshmallow Pops Recipe


Halloween Spider Cookies

This delightful Halloween treat is a peanut butter cookie with a Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on top, decorated with candy eyes and melted chocolate for the legs. Little Red Bear reminds — each spider has eight legs.  If you just make six legs then it’s technically an insect.  And who wants to eat a bug for Halloween?  Well, zombies maybe.  But who really wants those fellas hanging around?  Be safe — eight legs.

Halloween Spider Cookies Recipe


If you enjoy these weekly recipe features, please tap the Like button below and feel free to Comment and let us know, and we will be on the lookout for more interesting and fun recipes to share with you each Sunday morning as we go along.

And remember, all of these recipes are added each week to our “Little Red Bear’s Hand-picked Recipes” board on Pinterest for you to access anytime and find those from previous weeks if you missed them.  I invite you to follow and check out my other Pinterest boards while there, including the Halloween Recipes & Ideas Board for many other great treats and decoration ideas.


Family Time is the Best Time!

Trick or Treating is not the same as when we did it as small kids years ago. With a small group of close friends, we would head out together as it was beginning to get dark like a band of tiny pirates with the whole subdivision lying ahead of us to plunder and loot for goodies.

Homemade treats were the norm then, coming home with bags of homemade cupcakes, brownies, cookies, popcorn balls, caramel apples, loose candies tossed into our bags, and more. And slices of cake wrapped in plastic wrap. Those never survived the trip home intact and I wondered then and still do what those people were thinking. But, cake crumbs are cake nonetheless, so nothing ever went to waste!

Pre-packaged candy bars were rare, and treasured! And then there were the helpful grandparent types handing out apples, oranges, bananas, and pennies. And an occasional pencil, believe it or not.

So much has changed. We liked to imagine spooky dangers lurking around every corner, and never thought of them being real or having to go thru and inspect our treats for hidden hazards, or to have them x-rayed. The only reason we dumped our trick or treat bag goodies on the floor upon our return home was to let our parents have a chance to grab some and share in the bounty. On a good night and in fair weather, we sometimes came home, unloaded a heavy bag and headed right back out the door again for more!  After 3rd grade or so, we never felt the need to have our parents accompany us for safety.

But as I said, times change. All of the treats above are clearly for home parties and family in today’s world, not intended to be distributed at the door any longer.

Here is an informational link to the National Safety Council’s Halloween Safety Tips and Guidelines for children and motorists, alike.   Have a wonderful Halloween, keeping yourselves and the little ones safe this year. Remember — Scare Safe!

“There is little in life that could not benefit from a little Love, a little Time, and a Stick of Butter.”


Thanks as always for spending part of your day with us! We hope you enjoyed the special Spooktacularly Good Halloween Treats this week and would be honored if you recommended our site and pages to friends and family.  Little Red Bear and I look forward to your visits here, and hope that in our own way we help to make your day special, too!

We’ll be back next Sunday morning with more of Red’s selected special recipes for Autumn, so be sure to subscribe in the top right column and follow along to be notified of every new post.

Wishing everyone a beautiful coming week. The leaves here should soon be changing colors, maybe they already are in your area. Speaking of changing,  dare to change a life. Be the reason someone smiles this week! You may even end up changing your own.   – Jim (and Red!)


“No amount of money or success can take the place of time spent with your family.”

“A full bag, tired feet, dry socks, and sticky fingers meant it was a Happy Halloween.”– JRM


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly, Multi-generational Stories and Fun for All Ages!
~ About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends ~

“A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.” — Erma Bombeck

This is a purposefully non-monetized, ad-free site to be able to offer the most enjoyable reading and viewing experience for everyone, with all content freely shared, and generates no income to offset the costs of maintaining and operating. If you enjoy your visits and time with us, Join our new Patron Community today. Patrons help my friend Little Red Bear and me to continue this as an ad-free site,  dedicated solely to entertainment and educational purposes.


Sunday Family Day — At the Pumpkin Patch!

Shhhh! . . . . .    Quietly . . . . .   Listen . . . . . .    Wait for it . . . . . .

Do you hear it?  The almost imperceptible sound of a straining vine under pressure.  A snapping and heavy rolling along the ground.  And . . . . the ever-so-soft sound of dried hay, tumbling to the ground off a wagon . . . . and wheels . . . . tractor wheels rumbling along a dirt road.  Could it be . . . .  a hay ride?  Dry, rustling leaves in the breeze.  And crows.  Do you hear the crows, caw-caw-cawing from a field along the stream bank?

Thill and excitement fill smiling faces of young adults enjoying a seasonal hay ride. A scene of wholesome outdoor entertainment for a group of well dressed group of four people. Action filled shot as man on left throws hay into the air to the others surprise.

Family Fun on a Hayride (via GatlinburgLodgingGuide.com)

And do you smell it?  It’s very faint in the breeze . . . . the unmistakable scent of apple cider being poured into a glass.  And, oh!  Did you hear that?  And again?  The undeniable giggles and squeals of children playing and having fun.

country-autumn-via-the-homespun-wife-uncredited

Happy Autumn!  Getting full swing into the beautiful autumn season now, with only eight days to Halloween.  Time to round up the family and head to the Pumpkin Patch!

It’s a beautiful autumn day to track down that perfect pumpkin for the front porch and partake in that grand old tradition of carving a pumpkin with the kids.  Carefully opening the top, scooping out the seeds (be sure to roast them and let none go to waste!), coming up with a design and carefully carving an eye-popping Jack O’Lantern for Halloween to summon the little Trick-or-Treaters next week.

holiday-halloween-smiling-pumpkin-3

But first, a visit to the Pumpkin Farm is in order to locate the ideal pumpkin.  Rows and rows of pumpkins patiently awaiting your arrival, each hoping to be the one selected for the ride home.  Tractors bumping along dirt roads and thru the fields, pulling wagon-loads of laughing children and families on hay rides.  Face painting.  Refreshing apple cider.  Delicious apple butter and more for sale.  Corn mazes and hay castles to crawl thru and climb.  Good times!  Fun times with the family!

Make this Sunday a family day and head out to the local pumpkin patch for a healthy  day of fresh air, exercise and delightful family fun, good times and memories.

Creating Memories at the Pumpkin Patch (via WoodTV.com)

Creating Memories at the Pumpkin Patch (via WoodTV.com)

Wishing everyone a beautiful, Sunday Family Day!  —  Jim (and Red!)

The Smith Family, by Sarah Whitwell Photography (SarahWhitwellPhotography.com}

The Smith Family, by Sarah Whitwell Photography (SarahWhitwellPhotography.com}

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Sunday Family Day — Putting “Family” Back Into Sundays!

Things tend to change over time.  Oftentimes for the better.  Sometimes not.

Sundays were family days a while ago.  Back in the days before over-hyped sporting events and media distractions began to dominate the scene and steal away quality time.  Sundays were spent relaxing from the weekly routine, the hustle and bustle, from the work grind and stress.  Reconnecting.  Spending time together. Going for Sunday afternoon drives thru the countryside.  Looking forward all day to Sunday dinner. Sundays were for staying in touch, returning to our center and to what is truly important — Family.

This is the first in a series of weekly Sunday posts dedicated to returning Sundays to Family Days.  Spending quality time with loved ones.  Each of us only gets so much time in our life and no one knows how much.  We can choose to invest the time given to us wisely, into what is most important to us and to the future of our children, or to fritter it away in frivolous pursuits which yield nothing but empty minutes passed and a longing for something more substantial  and connecting in our lives.  So many feel disconnected today.  Be and stay connected — with your family.

picnic-31-via-google-via-123rf-images-site

It is easier to withstand the storms of life, not being blown over by the random winds of misfortune, when we are grounded, anchored and held secure by family and loving roots.  Sundays are made for grounding and staying connected.  Our society, with so many challenges confronting families today, ranging from rampant drug use to negative social media influences and divisiveness, perhaps now more than ever, needs to rekindle that spirit of family togetherness and bonding.

The autumn season, with its refreshing and crisp air, is a perfect time to get the family together for a picnic.  Take a trip to the park and kick around a soccer ball.  Launch a Frisbee thru the air.  Play hide and seek.  Or even spread a blanket on the ground in the backyard and just have a fun time together tossing leaves about and grilling up some hot dogs or marshmallows.  If inclement weather, take that same blanket and make a tent in the family room. Spend the time together, and have Fun!  Experience, share and enjoy the Peace, Joy, and Love. They aren’t just words on a page.  Give them true life in your family, making lasting loving memories while forming the connections which strengthen and hold us together.

(Image Credit: Tori Watson Photography, The Haggards Family)

(Image Credit: Tori Watson Photography, The Haggards Family, blog.tori-watson.com)

Family time.  Together time.  Fun time.  Quality time.  The best time!  To be in our children’s memories tomorrow, we must be in their lives today.

children-parenting-time-spent

Thank You for stopping by to visit!  I hope you enjoy this new Sunday feature, and follow along each week as we work together to bring Family back into Sundays.  Spread the word to family, friends and neighbors.   What does your family do to stay connected?  Please feel free to share in the comments!  We are all in this together, after all.

Happy Sunday!  Happy Family Day!  Wishing everyone a beautiful autumn and family Sunday — together!  – – – Jim   (and Red!)

(Image via CanberraYourFuture.com)

(Image via CanberraYourFuture.com)

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

 

Breaking All The Rules With Little Red Bear!

Bending, breaking and shattering rules today.  Careful where you step, they’re everywhere. Breaking one of my own right off the bat — I do not write about writing. Most importantly, I do not feel qualified to offer advice about writing. So, I don’t. And secondly, I found that when I am writing about writing or talking about writing, I am not actually writing.  Stories, that is. And that’s what we do here.

But today is an exception, focusing on the writing specifically of the Little Red Bear stories. Keep your wallet in your pocket, there is no advice for sale here today. If there is any disquietude or anxieties concerning “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” with regard to breaking writing rules, I thought it might be a good idea to just talk about it all up front so no one is shocked, surprised or gets their feelings hurt when they get into the backwoods with the book.

“The Adventures of Little Red Bear” is a collection of six short stories featuring, as you probably guessed– my very good friend Little Red Bear. Or “Red”, as he is known by close friends. And when accompanying him on an adventure that will surely include you too, of course. Red enjoys meeting and making new friends. Just please don’t ask Red or I to follow a bunch of rules set down by other folks about writing our own stories.

Getting to it then, this is about the writing of the stories, so I’m just going to lay it out there– we don’t care. About following others’ rules, that is. The myriad rules, suggestions, pronouncements, advice and fads put out from so many sources about the mechanics of writing. To me, it seems like storytelling, the real art and heart of the matter, has been set to the side nowadays in discussions focused more on process.

Character building. Story arc. Simple Steps to Write a Bestseller. Style. Popular genres that sell. Story length. Story detail. Pinch points. Character action beats. Target and write to your market. Point of view. Story structure. Terrific hooks. Four ways to cut unnecessary. Creating unbearable tension. Story conflict. Conflict resolution. Eliminate backstory. Build up your protagonist. Ace your climactic moment. Prevent your protagonist from being boring. Golden rules to follow for a good plot. A great start sells the book! It’s all about the ending! Epic plot fails. Crafting a dynamic antagonist in three easy steps.

Pronouncements and others’ rules about how writing should be done. Formulaic, mechanical writing by the numbers. Follow this list and check mark your way to success! We appreciate that so many take the time to offer their advice and suggestions, but feel that is what works for them, and not necessarily for us here in the backwoods.

It calls to mind the old gold rush days. The vast majority of the actual miners went broke and never made a dime. It was all the shopkeepers, merchants and those supplying goods, services and equipment to the miners who made off like bandits and struck it rich. With so many new writers mining the literary gold fields today, well . . . . it just brought that to mind is all.  It’s a wonder how Poe, Hemingway, Twain, Faulkner, Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau and others all made it without the “simple-easy-step” plans to follow.

Rules by their very nature and purpose are confining and intended to ensure conformity to a standard, legislating and enforcing boundaries, and in the case of the arts, with the risk of restricting creativity and expression. I consider creative writing to be an art form, and it’s only by pushing the boundaries that creative growth is achieved. If we all do the same thing in the same way where’s the fun, excitement, creativity and expression in that?

So I don’t follow or feel encumbered by others’ writing rules or formulas for success. Neither does Little Red Bear. But of course, he is a bear after all, accustomed to freedom and making up his own rules as he goes along. I suppose some of that strident independence must have rubbed off on me. We’re simply telling his stories for fun here. Not planning on entering any “Examples of Great Literature Contests”, or any other for that matter. Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway can relax, with their reputations secure.  We openly listen to all suggestions, but are pretty selective and particular about what we pick up and put into the shopping cart.

Quote- Art and Boundaries

The Oxford Comma debate, for example. Some strongly advocate using it, or suffer being misunderstood. Others, just as notable, say do not use it. If I think a comma helps the reader understand a section better, or a comma helps set the pace of conversation or storytelling in a more realistic way, I will use one. If not, I don’t. I don’t feel obligated either way. My laptop is a comma safe zone. The Oxford Comma debate? Don’t care. (On a separate note, I am a noted squisher of colons, however. Can’t really explain, just don’t like them. Think the feeling is probably mutual, because they don’t come around to visit very often.)

“The pace of the story must be dynamically structured to hold the reader’s attention.” Here’s the deal on that one. I’m willing to bet six acorns and a pinecone that whoever said that never wrote a story with a bear sitting next to them. If Little Red Bear wants to take time out from the story action to stop for a few paragraphs and talk about a wildflower or explain how to make a bamboo fishing pole or extoll on the beautiful song from a Wood Thrush, I’m not going to be the one who tells him he cannot do it. Generally of a very benign and gentle nature, Red does outweigh me– by over 500 pounds. We wrestled for fun once. Let’s just say it was a lot more fun for him, and leave it go at that for now. Someone else’s advice about “story pace” is not going to be the reason I wrestle him again. Just sayin’.

They are Red’s adventures after all, I’m merely typing them into the keyboard as he relates them to me. Honestly, if it weren’t for his overly large bear paws making typing on a laptop or writing with a normal sized pencil so frustratingly difficult for him, he wouldn’t even need me around. He talks. I type. It’s a job.

“Alliteration is out of style.” Hogwash. I like alliteration and think it makes it more fun for young readers. And again, we’re dealing with the feelings of story characters, and some are fairly sensitive. I am not going to be the one to tell Bitterroot Bob, Packsaddle Pete or Bobo the Balancing Black Bear that they have to change their names because someone else doesn’t want us using alliteration in the backwoods anymore because it’s not trendy. Nope. I’m not going to be the one to hurt their feelings or chase good characters out of a story. So I don’t care what anyone thinks about alliteration. Not even a tiddly bit.  And as an added note, Bobo is even bigger than Red, and not quite as well-dispositioned. So there’s that, too.

Bear- Shakesbear 3 without verse

“The story must build to a climax, and then end right there, not drag on. Avoid irrelevant endings!” Personally, I think the people advocating that one were probably watching Peter Jackson’s final “Lord of the Rings” movie, “The Return of the King”, and had to go to the restroom very badly. I myself was in that predicament, wondering how many endings the movie was going to have and taking odds from those around me on whether the movie would end or my bladder burst first. In case I needed to cover hospital bills. But I made it thru the seven or eight endings okay and didn’t go make a new writing rule about it afterwards. There were a lot of storylines and themes that needed to be tidied up at the end and I understood that. I simply learned not to take a soda or water bottle with me into a Peter Jackson film next time.

After an action-packed, nail-biting climax, sometimes it’s best to take a moment and catch your breath. And for younger readers, slow it down a step to let them catch up to a message now and again. And if it’s a scary story, like the time when Red and the others went into the Broken Hill Mine, it can be good for us all to put a little space between the climax and pillow, if you know what I mean. So once again– “Build to a climax and end it!” Nope.  Don’t care about that rule, either.

“Never use the word ‘very’.” And about forty more like ‘somewhat’, ‘really’, ‘behind’ and others. I just used the word ‘very’ in a preceding paragraph. Did you trip over it, fall and hurt yourself? If one has to go to the restroom ‘badly’, it’s uncomfortable. If one needs to go the restroom ‘very badly’, chances are there’s a lot of jiggling, crossing of legs and theater seat bouncing going on. There’s a difference. If I think the story is told better with ‘very’ or any other newly prohibited word, I will use it. Could we find a five dollar word to take the place of ‘very badly’? Sure. But I am neither trying to impress anyone with my vocabulary nor wanting to send readers scrambling for a dictionary every two pages. What the rule makers think? It’s a chance we’ll take.

And while we’re talking about it, what did ‘very’ do to upset people so? It’s a nice, hardworking, little four letter word that as far as we know, never harmed anyone. Dutifully serving to make the word following more enhanced. Sounds noble to me. I can think of a number of other four letter words that will never, ever see their way onto a page in one of Little Red Bear’s stories, yet folks seem to have no issue freely tossing those around. Foul language must have a stronger lobby at the writer’s guild.

“Character back story doesn’t matter, don’t bore your reader with it.” I don’t think it’s important for us all to know what a particular character had for lunch the previous day either, unless it’s an important part of the story to explain the insufferable heartburn or infirmities they may be experiencing. Roadkill can have that effect sometimes. But if their behavior and actions are influenced by events from their past, I think that’s something you should know about. So another– don’t care.

Dog - Sick as a Dog, In Bed-- Pinterest uncredited

“Do not use adverbs.” I like adverbs. Always have. They are modifiers for verbs. If nouns are allowed adjectives, why should verbs be shortchanged? As the name implies– adverbs add to the meaning of accompanying verbs. “He whispered” is supposed to be better than “He spoke quietly.” To me, they are not the same thing. If Scritch the Chipmunk whispers into Little Red Bear’s ear, no one else is going to hear him. If he speaks quietly to Little Red Bear, chances are  a sneaky weasel hiding in the brush is going to overhear what he is saying and that could greatly impact the story. So, like commas, adverbs have a welcoming home here. Sneaky weasels, not so much.

“Do not burden your reader with great detail. Tell them only what is critical to the story. Avoid unnecessary filler!” This is a corollary to the “bare bones” literary structure style. “Just the facts, ma’am, nothing but the facts. Move the plot forward. Move along now. Nothing to see here.”

I always enjoyed watching ‘Dragnet’ with Sergeant Joe Friday, but even as a kid thought his manner a bit brusque. Little Red Bear’s stories are about adventures with his numerous friends, both critters and humans, in the beautiful and scenic Ozarks Mountain Country. Inherently, a good deal to do about nature, taking your time, relaxing and enjoying the journey and quality of life. It’s not about a race to the finish, increasingly brought about by the electronic age and decreasing attention spans as everyone keeps one eye on the clock these days and the other on a web screen. Incessant visual stimulation with instant fulfillment and gratification. It is getting increasingly difficult to not only get someone’s attention, but also try to hold it for more than a few seconds. That’s why blog posts are supposed to be short, because they say — people do not have the time or attention span to read long works anymore. That’s what the experts say, not us. Red and I decided that’s a race and competition we’re just not even going to try to compete in. Little Red Bear’s adventures are old-fashioned stories and we are not going to strip away enriching sensory detail, or turbo-charge them so they run faster around the track.

I was heavily influenced by William Faulkner’s writing early on, famous for his long and sometimes run-on sentences. And we’re dealing with a loveable, but long-winded bear who tends to ramble on when telling his stories. So please be advised and cautioned upon entering.  On the one hand, we have — “Red and friends looked for honey.” Short, snappy, to the point. Bare bones. Tells you all you need to know about the action. “See Spot run.”

On the other hand, we have– “Little Red Bear and his friends,traveling around the southern end of Big Bend Mountain in search of honey after depleting their pantry following a breakfast of hot country buttermilk biscuits and tea, strolled leisurely next to a softly babbling brook, soothing streams of cold spring water gently washing and rippling past smoothed-over pink, grey and moss-covered river rocks, a Red-winged Blackbird calling from rustling cattails at the stream edge on a cool spring morning with a bit of wind-blown mist in the air as the sun struggled to peek from behind greying clouds while still managing to intermittently spotlight the sheen of a rainbow trout, patiently and hopefully stalking a newly-emerged Mayfly at the water’s edge.”

I cut that off for brevity just then as merely an example, not even describing the enchanting blackbird for you, but Red and I both agree that we would be remiss not telling you about how beautiful it was that day by simply telling you they went looking for honey–  period. And we didn’t even touch on the sweet smell of Honeysuckle vines perfuming the air as the morning breezes whiffed past, or the pink and white dogwoods beginning to blossom and flower on the hillside, gently sloping as it does until blending seamlessly into the Sweet Clover meadow below with its yellow, glistening dew-tipped flower tops stretching to reach the morning sunlight, waving and undulating back and forth caressed by the wafting breezes along the edge of Pickleberry Creek as it winds its way around granite boulders overhung with wild lilacs in bloom and past the thicket of Mountain Laurels at the end of Persimmon Holler.

Ozarks- Wild lilacs by stream. Barbara Woodall.

Image courtesy of Barbara Taylor Woodall, author of “It’s Not My Mountain Anymore”

We advertise these stories as “old-fashioned storytelling” and we put it right on the back cover for all to see, so readers have some idea of what they are about to get into. Little Red Bear wants you to know what he and his friends are seeing, feeling, tasting, hearing and smelling, and to be as close to being there with him in the Ozarks Mountains as you can be reading a book. If that’s too much detail in the story for the ‘hurry-uppers’ nowadays, well, Red suggests they wait for the CliffsNotes version, and  I’m just not willing to wrestle him over it. If you’re looking for a fast race to the finish, check out NASCAR. Red’s stories are written at what we describe as “Country Comfortable” speed, a lower gear setting which we feel to be much better on reader mileage. We take our time, do things a little slower here, and tend to average more words to the period.

I respect Edgar Allan Poe, the short story master, a great deal. In his essay, “The Philosophy of Composition”, he stated that a short story should be read in one sitting, one to two hours. Some now say a contemporary short story can range from 1,000 – 20,000 words. Others say, hold on– if it’s over 7,500 words or more it’s no longer a short story– it’s a “novelette.”

By that new standard, technically only one of Red’s six adventures is a short story then, and even that one is a close call, with the rest all being novelettes, and a couple almost reaching novella status! (One story goes all the way to 14,000 words– almost two stories!  Red wore out my fingers on that one.)  I suppose  you should know that, about the lengths and all, because we’re not describing the book as “A Collection of Novelettes.” That’s silly, and Red thinks it makes him sound like a sissy, so not going to do it. We’re sticking with Edgar Allan Poe on this one– Short Story Adventures. Some longer than others.

Although Brooks the Badger, our esteemed attorney, does make the strong argument that readers may think they are getting more bang for the buck by describing them as novelettes as opposed to short stories, thereby increasing their perceived shelf value and market appeal. A valid point perhaps, but still not going to do it. We never started these stories to win any sales contests or awards.  They’re Short Stories. End of discussion.

Now, we don’t want to leave you with the wrong impression, that we’re a bit cavalier regarding the writing process. On the contrary, Little Red Bear and I care a great deal about his stories and have worked tirelessly to relate them to you as close to how his adventures actually took place and happened in the best way we can.  We just tend to focus a little more on the storytelling and less on the mechanics of doing it. And we truly hope you like them. (That ‘truly’ there is another on the “do not use anymore” list. But then again, so is “there.” And “that” come to think of it, too.  There are probably a number of uneasy words filled with trepidation in the dictionary these days.) We’re just not overly concerned about how the rule makers and grammar police feel about it. I suppose if they really (another “do not use” word) feel bothered by it all, then they can come wrestle the bear themselves. He’ll be waiting. Red’s always up for a good tussle. Just not going to be with me again. Not over someone else’s rules, anyway.

Thanks as always for reading and following along, and please know we’re just trying our very best here for you. (There’s that pesky “very” word again. Hope you didn’t hurt yourself.)  “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” will be released for Kindle on June 23rd and is available for Pre-order on Amazon right now. Paperback versions are available immediately.

It’s a fun and entertaining collection of old-fashioned, family-friendly, nature-oriented Short Story Adventures with themes of positivity, kindness, family values and helping others. Told with a little tongue-in-cheek humor here and there.  Featuring my very good friend, Little Red Bear. And his backwoods friends.  Both critters and human folk.  Suitable for General Audiences and entertaining for all ages.  But you probably get all that by now.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  — Jim (and Red!)

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