What are snowy days good for?
Working jigsaw puzzles.
(How old am I?)
What can I say? I LOVE working jigsaw puzzles. When I was a kid, every winter my dad would drag the big "puzzle board" out of the garage -- it was actually a large 3'x 5'(or so) sized piece of pressed board that he had painted -- and put it on the carpet in front of the fireplace. There was always a puzzle set up to work for anyone who wanted to work on it. This is one of my absolute favorite family memories.
I still remember my favorite puzzles from childhood as well. The more pieces in the puzzle, the better. It had to be at least 500-pieces to be worth working at our house, and preferably 1000-pieces and up. My absolute favorite one was called "Wee Folk" and was set in the forest with lots of tiny fairies and gnomes and mushroom houses, etc. My brother and I would practically fight over who would get to put in specific pieces of the cutest characters in the picture. My mom informed me the other day that she accidentally sold it in her last garage sale. Accidental, my foot. I think I might actually start scouring eBay for that one, I liked it so much. And my other favorite was a picture filled with stuffed animals -- and hiding in the sea of stuffed animals was E.T.! A child of the 80's, that I am. I know there were other puzzles that were favorites. I'm not as much a fan of real landscape puzzles, although I'll still do them. Most of ours were whimsical or paintings of make-believe landscapes.
So for Christmas, I asked for puzzles. No joke. My mom picked up three $4 puzzles from Target, and I was as happy as any little kid with my Christmas loot! And my husband bought me one of those "puzzle saver" mats. Talk about someone making money -- basically it is a big piece of felt with a telescoping cardboard tube and oversized ponytail holders. Dang, why didn't I think of that?
Here are the three 1000-piece puzzles I did all by myself since Christmas:
Well, actually the little man helped some. His idea of "helping" was to hide the last piece (grrrrrrr...imagine my frustration) so that HE could put it in. I know it's juvenile of me, but I was a tad irked that after putting 999 pieces together, someone else got to stick the last satisfying piece in there. But of course, I put on my big girl panties and allowed him the pleasure. And thank goodness I got over myself because I think I've created a puzzle monster in the five-year-old! I picked up a couple of 100-piece puzzles for him at the dollar store (including a United States map puzzle), and he's been in heaven. I'm pretty happy about that. I've been telling him that working puzzles is super good for your brain, and he's thrilled about that, as am I.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that I have him good and well trained, too -- always work the outer border first, then tackle the insides...