Playing the golf ball as it lies…

Meauring the DistanceIn the spirit of the 1993 movie “Grumpy Old Men”, this jigsaw puzzle entitled “Measuring the Distance” takes a humorous approach to amateurs playing the sport of golf. As I examine this picture, I can definitely see my octogenarian father down on his knees measuring the distance for his ball. I say this because a) like the people in this picture, he hasn’t fully grown up yet (love you Pop!) and b) he and my mother would do this all the time when I was a child. Although, often the pose that I saw them in out on the hot, sunny golf course was down on their knees looking for their golf balls in the woods, sand trap or pond! Thankfully, golf is one of the few sports that allow people of all ages to participate in.

As you and your loved ones assemble this Sunsout puzzle by Susan Brabeau, you could have fun discussions about which character fits your personality. You could also discuss some of your fun or frustrating times trying to play the sport of golf.

 

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What are these Bear Cubs Doing? See How They Are Taking Delight in Summer

Summer DelightsIn this tranquil summer scene, we see three playful bear cubs who are out having fun playing alongside a creek. The way they are staring forward at the artist, it is as if they are wondering if he will be joining them soon. The artist is Kevin Keathly, someone who has been an avid artist for most of his life. According to his website, he wants his paintings to “inspire people to be still, to listen to that quiet voice, and then rise up assured that they are a part of something bigger than their schedule.” The lush greenery with the babbling brook and soft light shining down certainly gives one a sense of time moving at a slower pace.

As you and your loved ones assemble this nature jigsaw puzzle entitled “Summer Delights”, it would be a great time to discuss what scenes in nature give you a sense of serenity.

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We the People…

InConstitution the United States, I think all of us can recall the birthdate of the nation [4 July 1776]. It is the day in which the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. But not many can say the same about the Constitution.

After the end of the Revolutionary War or American War of Independence in 1783, the national government of the USA governed based upon a document called “The Articles of Confederation.” It didn’t give the federal government much power nor the ability to raise much money. Finally in the winter of 1787, Congress met to discuss revisions which later on became a draft of a new constitution all together. The first draft began to be written on 25 May 1787. Less than 4 months later on 17 September, the final draft was signed and ratified by the delegates. While the delegates to the convention had ratified it, it couldn’t become the new law of the land until all of the states’ assemblies had ratified it. The first state, Delaware, ratified it on 7 December 1787 and the 13th state, Rhode Island, ratified it on 29 May 1790 a little over 3 years after the first draft was written. When the 9th state, New Hampshire, ratified it on 21 June 1788, it was the last state needed to cause it to become the official Constitution of the United States of  America. It has been continuously in force the last 230 years, making it the oldest written constitution still in power in the world.

For our jigsaw puzzle today, entitled “The Constitution“, the artist decided to also include a scene from Joe Rosenthal’s iconic WWII picture featuring the raising of the US flag at Iwo Jima by 6 Marines during the Battle of Iwo Jima in February 1945. By putting both strong patriotic symbols together into one scene, it gives a sense of how Americans have fought for liberty for centuries.

As you and your loved ones assemble this patriotic jigsaw puzzle, it would be a great time to research and discuss more about Iwo Jima and the Constitution [especially read the Federalist Papers]. They are both significant periods of American History.

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Dogs Spending the Summer on the Porch

Summer on the PorchSummer is a great time for the dogs and other animals of the neighborhood to explore their area. This summer, I have seen all the dogs of my growing neighborhood roaming past my house [with their human friends].

One of them, Daisy, loves to watch the new houses being built. She is utterly fascinated by all the trucks and builders making noise. She wants to do a good job of protecting her territory. And then there is Drew’s little terrier, Jack. Jack loves to go for a walk with Daisy so that they can explore their area together. Jack also loves to investigate the deer in the neighborhood. Except the deer don’t appreciate this and will stomp their feet to try to intimidate Jack. Both Jack and the deer don’t realize that the other can see right through their acts of bravado.  Meanwhile, Samson and Dante down the street love to smother strange, new humans [who are innocently strolling the neighborhood] with their exorbitant love that their human “friend” has to do all that she can to hold them back.

The animals, especially the large dog, in this dog jigsaw puzzle look like they are waiting for you and your loved ones so that they, too, can shower you with all of their love. As you assemble this puzzle entitled “Summer on the Porch” it would be a great time to discuss the antics of your neighborhood dogs, your own dogs, or maybe previously owned dogs of yours.

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The Dove of Hope

Dove of HopeAs you look at this picture, the first thought that you might be thinking is “What does a dove have to do with hope?” That’s easy to answer. There are two Bible verses in which a dove is seen as a symbol of hope.

The first one is from the book of Genesis, chapter 8. Verse 11 says, “When the dove returned to him in the evening, there was a freshly plucked olive leaf in its beak! Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth.” Noah, his wife, sons, their wives and all the animals two by two had been living in the Ark for almost a year (after it rained for 40 days and nights) waiting for the waters to recede from the earth after flooding it. Because the dove was able to bring an olive branch to Noah, that meant that enough waters had receded for things to grow once again. Now, the humans and the animals could leave the ark and begin their new lives on the earth.  You can see this scene symbolized in this jigsaw puzzle with the dove holding an olive branch in its beak.

Some of the other scenes in this puzzle entitled “Dove of Hope” are from the Bible as well. It shows the Star shining down on the baby Jesus to show the Magi from the east where to find “Hope”. And then another scene shows the place where Jesus ate his Last Supper with his disciples before his Crucifixion. The upper section depicts Jesus as the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah” and Jesus as the Light of the World.

Since the rest of the puzzle includes scenes from the life of Christ, I’ll mention the second verse about a dove and hope which is from Matthew 3:16. This verse says, “After Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him.” Since Jesus says in John 14:16 that this Spirit of God is also the Comforter or Advocate, we can make the connection that this Dove, which stands for the Holy Spirit of God, brings hope as well as comfort.

As you and your loved ones assemble this Christian jigsaw puzzle, it would be a great time to discuss what gives you hope.

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Check out these Pandas in their Garden!

Fuji FloraSometimes the titles of paintings really do not tell us very much, but other times the titles can tell a lot. In this instance, this jigsaw puzzle entitled “Fuji Flora – Japanese Panda Floral Garden Mountain Scene” tells us three things. First, it is a scene from Mt. Fuji in Japan. Secondly, it is type of Japanese Garden (there are three types) and thirdly it is about Pandas, which are from China.

Mt Fuji is one of the three most sacred mountains in all of Japan. It’s also the highest peak in Japan and is a World Heritage Site. The choice of Mt Fuji for this painting shows that this landscape is very special to the artist and the intended audience. At the foot of the mountain, there is a floral garden. Japanese Gardens are different from western gardens. According to Wikipedia, while western gardens are created for visual appeal, Japanese gardens are created out of spiritual and philosophical ideals. Essential elements in these gardens are: water, rocks, sand, bridges, fences, gates, water basins, trees, fish and then flowers. I remember visiting a Japanese Tea Garden when I was touring San Antonio, Texas one summer. It was so very peaceful, serene and green.

Normally, I would not expect Pandas to be in this scene since they are native to China. But back in the 1970s, China gifted the United States and Japan with some Pandas. I remember trying to see them once when I was at the National Zoo in Washington DC but they were napping so we couldn’t see them. But now, thanks to two webcams, anyone with an internet connection can see them. Currently, the Chinese government will allow international zoos to have their national treasures “on loan” for a fee.

Assembling this Sunsout jigsaw puzzle with your loved ones can give you an interesting opportunity into Japan’s geography, culture and sense of style. This would be a great time to discuss where to find the nearest Japanese Garden and plan your visit.

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The Little Church in the Wildwood

Little White Church Sandra BergeronEven though this pretty scene is of a white church, I can’t help but think of another church, one that has been popularized by William Pitts since 1857. It is the “Little Brown Church in the Wildwood” which is located in Nashua, Iowa. Here are some of the lyrics –

There’s a church in the valley by the wildwood,
No lovelier place in the dale
No spot is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the dale

CHORUS
Oh come, come, come, come
Come to the church in the wildwood
Oh come to the church in the dale
No spot is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the dale

How sweet on a clear Sabbath morning
To listen to the clear ringing bell
Its tones so sweetly are calling
Oh come to the church in the dale

As you and your loved ones assemble this Christian jigsaw puzzle entitled “Little White Church“, it would be a great time to think of some older, popular songs that you like or some beautiful churches that you’ve visited.

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Exploring the Great Northwest along the Yukon River

Along the Yukon

Along the Yukon

The title of this jigsaw puzzle, “Along the Yukon” is rather interesting. The phrase “The Yukon” could refer to the Yukon River or to The Yukon Territory. The picture doesn’t help me identify the possible subject. Indeed, without the title this could be a general picture of the northwestern part of North America during the mid-20th century.

As the third largest river in North America, the Yukon River starts in northern British Colombia, goes through Yukon then cuts horizontally through the middle of Alaska until it empties in the ocean. According to the website Yukoninfo, in Canada “during the Klondike Gold Rush the Yukon River was one of the principal means of transportation. Paddle-wheel riverboats continued to ply the river until the 1950s, when the Klondike Highway was completed.” It is also a major avenue of transportation through the center of Alaska. In Alaska, it connects some small indigenous towns which have less than 1,000 people in them. Thus, the picture could refer to the towns along the river that benefit from its resources.

But the title could refer to the major communities of Whitehorse and Dawson City in the Yukon Territory in Canada. Along the way, the Yukon River goes through Whitehorse which is the largest city in Northern Canada and only city in Yukon. In fact, 65% of all Yukonites live in Whitehorse. Whitehorse became the territorial capital in the 1950s with a population of almost 3,000 people. Before that the capital had been another community along the Yukon River named Dawson City [which is not currently an official city], but with the construction of the Klondike Highway the population shifted to Whitehorse. Both municipalities in the Yukon Territory could fit this picture due to their buildings’ architecture and to having paved streets. The towns along the Yukon River in Alaska, such as Fort Yukon and Pitkas Point, have always have been very small with buildings and streets that do not resemble this picture.  They also were not connected with the Klondike Goldrush like Whitehorse and Dawson City were.

The Klondike Goldrush existed for a few short years in the 1890s in this area but according to Wikipedia, gold mining is still in the top 2 for industry in Dawson City. This would make sense since the goldrush started here upon the discovery of an excellent form of gold. To this day, the architecture of this town still must resemble that of the 1890s. This is because the other main industry of this town is tourism. Tourists love to visit the area where the goldrush started and brought tens of thousands of prospectors around 120 years ago.

Did you know? American author, Jack London, lived in Dawson City during this time, too. He wrote Call of the Wild and White Fang while he was there. Based on all of this information, I suspect that the theme of the picture refers to life in Dawson City during its heyday in the mid 1950s.

As you and your loved ones assemble this car jigsaw puzzle, it would be a great time to research more about Alaska, Yukon Territory, the Yukon River, the Klondike Highway, the Klondike Gold Rush and Jack London to help get a real feel for the background of this picture. If you have loved ones who love great adventure this would be a great springboard for discussions about exploring the great Canadian and Alaskan north.

 

 

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Everything is Bigger in Texas!

TexasThose of us who grew up in the 1980s are probably humming the theme song to the TV show Dallas right now…. For me, the best part about that show was the theme song. I especially loved how the camera viewed the ranch high up in the air giving viewers an awareness of just how big that ranch really was. Well, if I thought that ranch was large, the state is even larger.

Texas is so large, that it would be very difficult to describe it in a blog so I’ll give a few examples to try to create a picture of how large life is in Texas. It is the second largest US State in size and in population. Alaska is the largest in size while California is largest in population. Three cities [Houston, San Antonia, Dallas] each have over a million residents. And in comparison to other cities in the USA, Houston is the fourth largest, San Antonio is the seventh and Dallas is the ninth. Texas is surrounded by four American states and four Mexican states. To drive from the western tip to the east would take 14.5 hours and Brownsville north would take 15.5 hours. According to Wikipedia, there are 10 climatic regions, 14 soil regions and 11 distinct ecological regions. There is a desert region, as well as hill country, plains, grassland, forests, prairie and coastland. Culturally speaking, the state is influenced by Southern culture, Western or frontier culture and  Southwestern or Mexican culture. There are an abundance of natural resources which has contributed to Texas’ booming economy. It also has a rather unique history in that 6 nations have ruled over Texas – Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States of America and the United States of America.

As you and your loved ones assemble this map jigsaw puzzle entitled “Welcome to Texas“, it would be a great time to do more research about one of many topics relating to Texas. You can find this puzzle on our website.

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Ships Ahoy from Ireland!

This colorful picture looks like a simple, bucolic seaside town, but dig deeper, and you’ll see that this pretty scene holds a lot of significance in the history of Ireland and even the United States.

This is St. Colman’s in Cobh, Ireland in County Cork. This church is the second tallest church in Ireland. Its construction was completed about 100 years ago. The town where it is located was once called Queenstown from 1849 to 1920. It was so named in honor of a visit to the town by Queen Victoria.

This area has natural protection of its harbor which means that cruise ships, naval ships and other large ships can dock easily. According to Wikipedia, it was the point of departure for 2.5 million [out of a total of 6 million from 1848 – 1950] Irish who immigrated to the United States. It was here that the Titanic was docked before it left for its fateful journey across the north Atlantic in 1912. It was the major port of departure for convicts from the British Isles to the penal colony in Australia. And it was a naval base for the Allies during World War I.

Thus, if you are one of the 36 million Americans who claim Irish ancestry as your primary ethnicity, you will be especially interested in this jigsaw puzzle entitled “Bon Voyage Travel Photos – Ireland“. You can find it and other 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles on our website.

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