Happy October 1st! I am super excited about the upcoming Halloween season, and thought it would be fun to host a giveaway. This year I have started collecting Disney Tsum Tsums, I think they are so cute. Each month they come out with a new set, last month's set was The Nightmare Before Christmas. I thought that would be fun for the Halloween season, so I decided to host a giveaway for one set of all 8 Disney The Nightmare Before Christmas Tsum Tsums. :) Here is a picture of all eight Nightmare Before Christmas Tsum Tsums.
You can also check out my YouTube video below where I reviewed my set of Nightmare Before Christmas Tsum Tsums. Check out my other videos on my channel April's Home.
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Fall is my favorite time of year, I love the change in the weather, as well as the focus on getting back to a routine after a busy summer. I always start out the fall season with a nice deep cleaning of our home, similar to a spring cleaning. I wrote a post a few years back about my Big Fall Clean Up. I love getting everything cleaned up and ready for a new season.
The garden had some nice fall offerings this week. I went out and picked all of the mini pumpkins that I grew this year. I ended up with two little orange sugar pumpkins and four little mini white pumpkins. I love little pumpkins and was exited that I was able to grow some this year. Next year I plan to plant even more! The marigolds and snapdragons are still blooming and are just perfect for fall color. Next year I plan to add quite a bit more snapdragons, they do so well in our garden and provide blooms for such a long time compared to some of the other flowers. I love all the oranges and yellow and coral colors of the fall flowers. :)
Another exciting thing this past week was the lunar eclipse. This eclipse was the last of four eclipses in a row, and I was able to see all four. I wrote posts of the last two as well, the one earlier this year, the April 2015 eclipse, and the one last fall the Eclipse of October 2014. Here are pictures from this year. The moon was really low as the eclipse began and hadn't risen high enough to see at first. I was unable to watch the eclipse at the beginning stages as I had been able to easily do for the other three. We decided to drive to a better viewing spot at a nearby park, and were able to see it just as it was completely eclipsed. It was really difficult to capture any photo, but it was a wonderful dark red color. We went back home and watched the eclipse pass and the moon return to normal, the moon had risen more and we were able to see it perfectly from our backyard. Thankfully the sky was clear and we had a lovely view! :)
Last night, although the moon was not full, it was still very large and bright, and looked very cool through the clouds in the sky. Definitely looks like a fall night sky!
I have been having a lot of fun finding new decorations for fall, I found a bunch of cute decorations at the Target discount section. You can check out my video below if you would like to see some of the decorations I found.
Here is another video with all the decor and fall soaps and candles that I found at Target and Bath & Body Works when I went back for another round of fall shopping. I have found so many cute decorations, I love updating our holiday decor from time to time, and am super excited to start decorating for Halloween and fall this week.
I am hoping to finish my fall cleanup and decorating soon so I can post pictures. I hope everyone else is enjoying the fall season! Here is one last picture of one of my tiny pumpkins, this one was such a perfect vibrant orange color!
Come back on October first for a fun Giveaway. I thought that it would be fun, in honor of the Halloween and Fall season, to giveaway a set of Disney's The Nightmare Before Christmas Tsum Tsums. I have been having so much fun collecting Tsum Tsums this year, and I thought this was such a fun set for the Halloween season.
Last weekend we had a really fun time with all of the buzz around the new Star Wars movie that will be coming out this coming December. I was a huge Star Wars fan as a child. I was a child in the 70's and 80's when all of the original Star Wars movies were being released, and my kids were children when the three prequel movies came out. I am really looking forward to the new movie - Star Wars - The Force Awakens, which if I read correctly, takes place something like 30 years after The Return of the Jedi. So when I heard about various stores hosting Force Friday, the midnight release of the new toys and merchandise for the new Star Wars movie, I knew I wanted to check out all the new Star Wars things.
I decided to go to the Toys R Us midnight Force Friday event, and it turned out really fun. There were lots of people waiting in line, and at midnight everyone entered Toys R Us to see all the new toys. I was most excited to check out the new Micro Machine play sets, Micro Machines were popular in the late 80's and early 90's and I enjoyed them back then a lot. I love collecting miniature toys, so Micro Machines are right up my alley, tiny toys are easy to store and I just love looking at miniature little scenes. So I bought some of the new Micro Machines as well as cute fluffy Chewbacca dolls for me and the kids. It was a really fun evening.
Then Sunday after church I decided to head to Target and see if I could spot some of the Star Wars Cambell's products. I was excited to have found Chicken Soup with all the different Star Wars labels, and some Star Wars Spaghetttios. We aren't huge fans of canned food, but it is nice to have some things like this in the pantry and how fun to have Star Wars labels on some of our pantry goods. These cans definitely reminded me of something we might have had when I was a kid. Since the new movie is coming out in a few months, I decided it would be good if we watched through all the Star Wars movies, the kids haven't watched them since they were younger, and it has been awhile for me and Gary as well. We decided to watch them in chronological order verses release order so that we would end with Return of the Jedi and hopefully that will make sense with where the new movie picks up. I love having family movie night, I like to fix a good dinner and plan something for dessert or snacks after like popcorn or ice cream.
With fall just around the corner and cooler temperatures starting to show up more frequently, I have been baking quite a bit more. With all this Star Wars nostalgia reminding me of my childhood, I decided to cook one of my childhood favorite meals that was always a really great treat when my mom made it for us, classic Hamburger Pie! Hamburger Pie is also a favorite of my whole family, we all love it. So I thought I would share this simple recipe.
Hamburger Pie (recipe for 1 pie)
1 1/2 pounds hamburger
1 Tablespoon dried minced onion
1 can drained corn
1 can Campbell's condensed tomato soup
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground oregano
double unbaked pie crust (homemade or store bought refrigerated crust)
Brown, cook thoroughly, and drain ground beef, then mix in all ingredients thoroughly. Put your pie crust in the pie pan, then fill with hamburger mixture. put on the top crust, seal the edges, and poke holes in the top of crust like shown below. Bake at 400 F. for about 25 minutes or until crust is cooked through and golden brown. This recipe is for one pie, I often double the recipe and make two pies because we like left-overs. Let the pie cool for 5-10 minutes so it is easier to cut. I like to serve this pie with a simple green salad.
This is a very yummy dinner, and everyone always enjoys it, a perfect fall dinner!
Every year for back to school week I make a batch of cookies, one of my favorite cookies to bake this time of year are Molasses Cookies. This year my kids are both college age, and won't be headed back to school until the end of September. However, my son's girlfriend's little sister, who visits here often since our home is so close to the school, and they are often back and forth for soccer and cheer practice, she started school this past week, so I thought I would still make our Back to School week cookies. :) I love this time of year with all of its baking and harvesting out in the garden, and I am looking forward to beginning my fall decorating at the end of September as well.
I hope everyone has a great weekend. Are you excited about the new Star Wars movie?
Here is the video I made about Force Friday if you want to get a closer look at some of the Star Wars toys found. :)
This past week the rain finally returned, and it was very welcome. The weather has been so hot this summer, and even though I love sunshine and warm weather, I was very happy for a nice pre-fall rain storm. We had lots of wind and rain and the clouds were beautiful, it was nice to get a little taste of fall like weather. Here are some of the pictures I took of our cloudy and rainy weather, we had the most beautiful full rainbow over the neighborhood, my camera had a difficult time catching its beauty, but it was quite a beautiful sight.
I really loved this picture, the tree looked really pretty against the stormy clouds.
My garden was also happy to have a bit of rain. Fall is starting to show its signs out in the garden. The birds have planted sprays of millet everywhere, I pull them up selectively and leave some to watch turn beautiful colors in the fall. The succulents have done really well this year, my hens and chicks are really spreading nicely, and are starting to turn a reddish orange on the edges. The Nasturtium and snapdragons are rambling through the flower beds and I love their bright autumn colors.
The maidenhair fern did really well this summer, I would have thought it wouldn't do so well in the heat, but it actually grew really well, the top right bright pink flower below is my favorite new flower this year, it is a sedum that has flowered almost all summer, I will definitely be planting more of it next year. The bright purple petunias, at least the ones that survived the heat, are very pretty right now as well. I also spotted some morning glories that have planted themselves in the holly bush, I will have to watch that they do not strangle my holly or get too out of hand, but morning glories used to grow everywhere when I was a child and I loved looking at them, so I was surprised to see some had made its way into my garden.
My little pumpkins are doing nicely and starting to turn a nice color of orange, and I have two little white mini pumpkins growing nicely that will be really cute as decorations. I love seeing pumpkins out in my garden, next year I hope to grow more. :)
Speaking of decorating for fall, this past week we have had some early Halloween fun. Long time readers of my blog may remember from years past that I collect Yankee Candle Boney Bunch Candle Holders. You can see some in my Halloween Home Tour from last year. Anyway, every year in August, Yankee Candle has a premier party to kick off selling their Halloween candles and Boney Bunch products. Usually it is in early August, this year it was at the very end of August, which was nice since it closer to fall. Every year there are a few pieces that I am excited to add to my collection, and some years the favorites sell out pretty fast. I was very excited about the phone booth candle holder as it reminds me of vintage Doctor Who Tom Baker, with his long scarf, so I knew I really wanted that one. The glittery bat cat sold out online rather quickly, however since I arrived at the preview party early, I was able to get one of the three that they had in the Yankee Candle store, which made me really happy. I originally wasn't planning on getting the cat, but he was so cute, I'm glad I did, he will look really nice in my Halloween display this year. My daughter got the Piano Boney Bunch since she loves music, and we got some other pretty Halloween candles. I am looking forward to decorating the house for fall and Halloween next month.
If all of that early Halloween shopping wasn't enough, today the Disney Store released their newest little dolls called Tsum Tsums, which are darling tiny little stackable plush dolls. Most are in classic Disney characters. I have been collecting them for a few months now. Anyway, every month on the first Tuesday (Tsum Tsum Tuesday) they release a new set based on a line of characters. This month was A Nightmare Before Christmas the classic Tim Burton movie. We are big Tim Burton fans around here, so I knew they would be fun for Halloween. Last night we watched A Nightmare Before Christmas, which has such a great bunch of music and is actually really interesting, although a bit creepy for little ones, we all enjoyed it. Then this morning I was again at the mall before they opened, waiting in line for our Tsum Tsums. I love our Disney store, the whole store is decorated in animated displays that are really fun to look at!
I was happy to have arrived early as the set sold out online very quickly, as well as in stores quite early as well. They are a little spooky looking for sure, but they will be fun to have around for Halloween. My favorite is the little ghost dog ( bottom left) named Zero, he is cute. Most of the Tsum Tsums are of course quite a bit cuter, being as they are based on characters like Pooh and Mickey and Chip and Dale and what not, but these Nightmare Before Christmas ones do match the spookier tone of the movie they are based on, and will go quite well with our Boney Bunch candles and other Halloween decor.
In keeping with the Halloween theme, I thought I'd share about our fun anniversary day. Last month we got to go to a wonderful show, we had purchased tickets to see the Broadway show Wicked a while back, and the show date happened to coincide with Gary and my 21st anniversary. So on our anniversary we all got dressed up and drove into Portland to see this wonderful show. Wicked is the untold story of the witches of Oz, and is a wonderful musical Broadway show. The songs were all catchy and fun, very wonderful music and performance. The lighting and effects were also really well done. The whole family really loved it.
We brought home some fun souvenirs. We save all of our programs from the shows we see, I like to find a nice magnet for our fridge to remember the occasion, we got some pins and buttons as well as the soundtrack, and my daughter got a nice key chain. I splurged and got the plush dragon puppet, I don't collect too many larger plush dolls, but this dragon was a pretty gold color and was a really well made doll and hand puppet. I thought he would be a fun reminder of the event. Overall it was an amazing show, I would highly recommend Wicked to anyone who has the opportunity to see this show if it comes to a city near you.
My sweet hubby is always surprising me with flowers, I had to take a picture of this bouquet because the colors happened to remind me of fall. I love all of the vibrant orange and the bright green Bells of Ireland. Flowers always cheer up the house. :)
When Gary and I were grocery shopping the other day we even spotted Halloween Oreos which Gary decided to bring home to snack on. Even though Halloween in almost two months away still it seems as if we have definitely turned toward fall. It is so strange not having school age children any more, all of our kids are college age now and they don't start school for almost a month. So it is weird seeing all of the back to school things going on, our local high school football even has a home game any day now! Usually I am in back to school mode, so now I will have to make new traditions. I love the this time of year as fall approaches, I am looking forward to my favorite season. The cooler weather has already prompted me to make a big pot of homemade soup, which everyone really enjoyed, and getting back to baking is on my agenda for next week.
I have also recently started a new hobby. I have always collected little toys, I love miniatures, and toys that remind me of my childhood. I love collecting little figures and things. One type of toy I have been collecting for years but haven't discussed much on my blog are Japanese miniatures called ReMent. The are extremely detailed little tiny miniatures, most often of food or household objects. I used to have fun setting up little dioramas or scenes, sort of like little dollhouse rooms. I thought I would share a little about my miniature and toy collections, but rather than just blog, I have had fun learning to make videos. I love learning new things, and have just started learning about video editing and such, I am not technical, so some of the editing process is a bit tricky, but definitely fun and challenging. Reviewing toys provides information for other collectors who are building their collections, as well as allows one to connect with that collecting community, so it has been a pretty fun new hobby.
Here are a few pictures of my newest little Re-Ment miniature set. This set is a Sanrio set and based on the character Gudetama, who I shared a little bit about in my post about the Hello Kitty Super Cute Friendship Festival, Gudetama is a little lazy egg character and slightly odd but very cute.
You can see some of the detail in these miniatures, they are very fun to look at and collect. This set is supposed to be a little cafe, with lots of cute miniature foods.
I made a video of me opening up and unboxing this miniature set if you would like to get a closer look. Mind you, I am still very much learning how to film these videos, so it isn't as smooth as I would like, but it was fun to make. My niece and nephew love to watch videos on YouTube of people reviewing toys and talking about games and such, that was also part of what inspired me to try out vlogging a bit.
So that is what we have been up to around here. Lots of fun pre-fall activities, and definitely enjoying the cooler weather. This week I am starting to tackle the garage organization, we got so much decluttered this spring, but never completed the garage, in the summer it is too hot to organize the garage, so with cooler temperatures this week I decided to get started. Already I have sent off a small load to the Goodwill in my continued goal to declutter and keep things organized. The garden will be next on my list, definitely time to start prepping for fall, finish off the harvesting of the summer garden, get some things planted for fall, and finish up weeding and pruning. With a new season comes new household projects. :) What are you up to this time of year, has the weather started to turn in your neck of the woods?