A Puzzling Dilemma

How do you feel about puzzles? I often thought this was one of those long ago past times. 
My father was an avid puzzle fan. I assumed he found it relaxing and a good way to get his 
mind off the stresses of the day. I always enjoyed the times when I was able to sit with him and 
pop in a few pieces. There is something very calming about tackling a puzzle, it absorbs you.

I had an idea a few weeks ago on ways to improve quality family time. I poked around
 in the garage for a while and found an old puzzle. I popped it on the dining room table,
spread out a few pieces and waited. It was like bees swarming to honey. First my son,
and then Mr. H and they have been at it ever since. Working side by side, they talk, 
strategize and sit in contemplative silence...together.  Except, now I have a problem.


 Mr. H is looking for greater challenges. A package arrived the other day with a 3000 piece puzzle 
of an African safari scene and our dining room is now a puzzle shrine. The table, the side table 
and a few trays  are covered in masses of puzzle pieces representing zebras, lions, giraffes 
and a host of other animals. He is now captain of his puzzle domain. He is on a mission and 
I fear next, he will set out to conquer the world.

It is a puzzling dilemma. I think it is time to set down some rules.
Any suggestions? Do you have any puzzle fans in your family?


  1. Clever and funny post, Jeanne.


  2. My mom and I love puzzles - it is an easy way to chit chat or have silence. We haven't done one together in years - good reminder :)

  3. How funny Jeanne, my mother who is visiting with us, was talking about puzzles yesterday, and one of my daughters revealed that she loves them too. Apparently there are puzzle cases, allowing you to put the puzzle away now and again, without taking it apart.

  4. Oh I wish I had seen your face when he showed you the box!!!! Now that is priceless!! xx

  5. Jigsaw puzzles were one of my great childhood loves. I used to do them all the time. The 3000 piece ones were a bit of a challenge! Perhaps you can have a rule that puzzles only come out during the holidays Jeanne? But that's probably not much fun. Go on, let them play :))

  6. ah! maybe purchase one of those inexpensive work/card tables as a dedicated puzzling spot!

    Happy Easter wishes to you and yours Jeanne!


  7. I always take a puzzle to the beach. It is fun to set it out on a random table and everyone works on it when they want to. It is usually finished by our last day. It is a great bonding activity.

  8. Hmm puzzles, like most people we tend to bring them out at holiday time and everyone has a go at them. Once the holiday is over it goes away until next time.

    Perhaps a designated puzzle table.

  9. Ah, a classic dilemma, Jeanne! I used to do them as a child. Never the big ones, though. Of course, the pixies have become interested and I've helped them 1000s of times.

    Then after a break of about 30 years, I started doing them again myself when staying at the Mother Baby Unit. It was such a fabulous activity to bring the mums together and the sense of satisfaction and the joy of teamwork were unexpected delights.

    I agree - buy a card table! J x

  10. We love puzzles in our family. When our kids were teenagers, we started a 1,000 piece puzzle on Wed during the Thanksgiving week, and would have it all done by Sunday evening. Putting the last piece was a celebrated event we celebrated with apple cider (and champagne for my hubs and I). A real honor for one member of the family (took turns each year). I know, yes, we are geeks.

  11. I don't know whether you would buy this but I have never done a puzzle. I should try it atleast now. I see that you are quite creative in keeping your family engaged in a very productive way. Three cheers for you.
    Maybe you should have a room in your house called "Recreation Room" with strict timings. Your family can go in there whenever they need to have a break. But meal times should never be in that room :)
    I wish you the best in this puzzle affair.

    Joy always,

  12. My father used to love them too and our dedicated place was a card table. It can be moved if need be and is out of the way of a major eating area.
    That globe is a fascinating piece. It will be neat when it's done! Fun post, Jeanne!

  13. I love puzzles and like Bonnie, I think of the beach, rainy days, winter nights. Did you know that there are these wonderful contraptions that "hold" a puzzle in place while you work on it? They're made of wood with a plexiglass top. Keeps things neat and tidy (wink!) and the cat isn't tempted to bat the pieces all over the place. I'm not sure who carries them and my google search only came up with patent information.

  14. My son (4) adores puzzles. He's up to 100-piece puzzles now, and I love the serious look he gets on his face when he's enthralled in one. My challenge is getting them put away before his little brother wakes up!

  15. We often have one spread out on the hexagonal table that sits in the middle of my office. Right now, we seem to be addicted to Scrabble!

  16. I love puzzles and frequently have one on the dining room table. Although I put them out for me, I often find that my husband and the guests that come for visits often do more of it than me. It is also a wonderful family tradition that we have at Christmas, we always have a stack one on the table and in a week together go through at least 4 of them.
    Hope you had a wonderful holiday.

  17. I used to make puzzles whenever I studied for an exam - everytime I became frustrated or anxious reading, remembering etc I went to the table and worked on the puzzle - it had such a calming effect on me.

    I can totally relate to your image of 'bees swarming to honey' - puzzles always have that effect.

    I can't help smiling at the thought of your puzzle central. But if it creates family time and father-son collaboration, I would definitely let it be for now...

  18. I can't say I have the same problem. At least, not yet. We'll see what happens when my son is a few years older.

  19. My 21 yr old and I are huge puzzle fans. However, since I work 9-5, Christmas is usually the only time we indulge. And perhaps one during the summer.

  20. Hilarious! No formal dinners for the time being...! Could be a good thing?

  21. I had to add to this Puzzling post! My whole garage (okay it's only a two-car garage) is entirely covered in completed puzzles. I wish I could say we performed this task ourselves, although 95% of it was done by the previous owners. The puzzles tell a story of the favorite places they have been as well as the period of time that they started to age, as some were hung upside-down. I love it and we have added to the puzzles in the garage as the years have passed. We are running out of room and will have to start placing them on the ceiling!

  22. We all love them - the harder the better! But they don't want me to do it with them unless they get stuck because then they get mad at me for doing it. Afterward they always pretend they did it all anyway! ;)

  23. Hee hee - I love puzzles too. You might like to look at my series on solving cryptic crossword clues. It has now turned into a daily clue series. This is where you can find the very first one http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2012/01/cryptic-crosswords-solving-hints-1.html
    If you aren't already into this sort of puzzle, give it a go. I find them much more satisfying than ordinary crosswords.


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