Friday, January 09, 2015

Wall Hanging

I still love using felt for crafts.

(And, yes, I've used this pattern before.)

Friday, January 02, 2015


We had our traditional Countdown to 6 p.m. Party on New Year's Eve. I even got a chocolate fountain for the event. (It was messy, but appreciated.)

On New Year's Day, the boys & I started a puzzle that I've had down the basement for years. (It may even be older than Henry.)

I let them stay up late to work on it, and we finished it up the following day. Sammy uses it as the stronghold for a giant plastic beetle.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Stained Glass Sugar

When we got back to Rochester, we attempted a couple experiments from the Steve Spangler Science website. (Dousing candles using carbon dioxide was a hit, the popsicle stick chain reaction thing just couldn't work for us.) We also tried making Stained Glass Sugar:

We did succeed in making it, but it took several hours of stirring until the temperature was high enough to pour. After it had cooled, it *really* stuck to your teeth. (Henry actually has the smile he has in this picture because he has a piece stuck in his mouth. It didn't stop him from going back for several more pieces. (Truth be told, it didn't stop me, either.)) We're not likely to try this experiment again. It was pretty, though.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Botanical Gardens

Saturday, Mike came back from Rochester and we went with Mom, Mary & Jonathan to the botanical gardens, where they had a Christmas tree & gingerbread house display. Henry insisted on riding the little train for the kids.

And at the very last second, Sammy decided to join us as well.

(At least the weather was somewhat mild.) The train looped through the gardens and several light displays.

My favorite tree was one where they provided paper ornaments for people to write their wishes down. Henry, of course, wished for something food-related:

Sammy, on the other hand, wished for his current obsession:

(There have been many mornings where he wakes me up, asking to go to London.)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas was a whirlwind affair (quite similar to Thanksgiving). Mike worked a half day on Christmas Eve, then we headed to Mark's house for dinner. (The usual -- pierogies and fish for dinner. We brought our traditional Christmas spring rolls. :) )

Christmas dinner was at Mom's house and was somewhat low-key (which is nice). The boys even helped with dishes after dinner (without too much complaining).

Mike had to leave after dinner so that he could work the next day, but Karen, Kevan, Maya & Zeke came by on their way to visit with Kevan's parents. (We did some shopping before they arrived since Henry packed very few pairs of pants. (And I wanted to see what sort of sales were happening (I was disappointed.))

We spent most of the day visiting with them. The kids liked being able to see their cousins and play some of their new games together.

Zombie Salt & Pepper

One of the stranger gifts exchanged this Christmas was a zombie salt & pepper shaker holder that Kristen got for my mom. We used it when we had lots of guests over the day after Christmas.

Big Table

The day after Christmas, in order to accommodate 18 people for dinner, we took over Uncle Gary's living room. We set up lots of tables in order to make it work, and no one could move anywhere once they were in place at the table, but it was nice to have everyone together.

It's rare that all the Szczepanik/Penvose/Stringer cousins are together, and they had a good time playing games. (Henry's been addicted to Heads Up, so we played several rounds of it over the weekend.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


One of my favorite traditions about Christmas is the sharing of oplatki. There are a couple explanations of rituals on

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


This is the result when you run out of Hanukkah candles before the end of Hanukkah. (Which sometimes happens when you switch boxes from previous years.) Henry & I were giggling like crazy while we set this up. :)