Did you know… about New York City?

New York by Naoki TanakaIn six years [2024] the people of New York City, specifically those on the island of Manhattan, will be celebrating the beginning of the city when Dutch colonists first settled the island of Manhattan and called it New Amsterdam in 1524. Later, in 1664, when the English took over, the city was renamed New York after King Charles II’s brother the Duke of York, who later became James II.  Manhattan was the first of the five boroughs of New York city to be founded and Queens was the last one in 1683. The five boroughs of Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens were consolidated into the City of New York in 1898.

According to Wikipedia, it has the largest city in the United States since 1790. It has over 8,600,000 people in an area of over 300 square land miles. This makes it an extremely dense area of 28,458 people per one square mile! An example of this denseness would be Times Square. For miles, the area is filled to overflowing with people, lights and sounds. The City is the cultural, financial and media capital of the world and is the 9th largest megacity in the world.

It also has one of the largest natural harbors in the world which is key to it being a major port city for industry, tourism and immigration. There are 3.2 million people living in the City who were born outside of the United States speaking around 800 different languages. This makes New York City the most linguistically diverse city in the world.

It is also the most photographed city in the world. This puzzle by Naoki Tanaka entitled “New York” shows many examples of places that have been visited and photographed over the decades. As you and your loved ones assemble this puzzle, it would be an excellent opportunity to see how many landmarks you can identify. You can find it and other city village or map jigsaw puzzles at A+ Puzzles, Etc.

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Celebrating Wolves in the National Parks

Wolves in the National ParksAt first glance, this seems like only a pretty picture about some wolves in a National Park. But some simple research shows that this topic is by no means a pretty or easy topic.

According to Wikipedia, in the United States, the oldest National Park is Yellowstone. It was created in 1872 but by 1926, the gray wolf had been eradicated within the park. Local ranchers wanted them gone because the wolves would attack local cattle herds. Hunters obliged by getting rid one of the major apex predator in the area. But while local ranchers were relieved that their livestock were safe, others started to notice over time that another problem was occurring – the Elk population was growing because its main challenger was gone. This led to serious disruption in the surrounding ecosystem.

Starting in the 1940s, conservationists and others started campaigning for reintroduction of the gray wolf in the park. It did not happen overnight. In 1973, the Endangered Species Act started the legal ball rolling to allow them to be eventually reintroduced in 1995. As of 2016, there are around 100 wolves in the park, but they are of a different species and size than the original. Some claim that the introduction of a species a bit larger than the extinct original means that the ecosystem still will not be at the optimal best. Safety of cattle is no longer guaranteed. With wolves being taken off of the endangered species list, who knows what will happen with the ecosystem in and around Yellowstone National Park?

There are no easy answers, but as you and your loved ones assemble this jigsaw puzzle entitled “National Park Wolves”, it would be a great time to learn more about and discuss solutions. You can find this puzzle and other Wolf/Coyote Puzzles at A+ Puzzles, Etc.

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Who loves Puppies and Christmas?

Twas the Night Warm Winter CuddlesSanta Clause is usually said to live at the “North Pole”, yet as anyone who has looked at a globe knows, there is no actual land at the north pole for Santa and his reindeer to live on. Instead, this picture is probably located in the area of northern Scandinavia where an indigenous group of people called the Sami live. Another name for the Sami is Lapp which is why some people call this area Lapland although the Sami refer to their homeland as Sápmi. The Sami raise reindeer and have traditional dress similar to what we see here.

In the Artic Circle where Sápmi is located, you can find a variety of climates. Near the coast there will be mild winters but in the interior, the winters will be very cold [ex. in Jan the average low can be -18 F]. One thing that all parts of the Sápmi region in the Artic Circle have in common is what is called “Polar Night”. This means that there will be a slight bit of blue light during the day but the sun does not actually rise above the horizon.

By now, most of the readers of this blog are shivering at the thought of such cold and darkness. This is why Santa Clause [or Father Christmas or St. Nicklaus] is cuddling some warm puppies and kittens while eating seasonal goodies. Artist Liz Goodrich-Dillon has beautifully and tenderly portrayed these playful creatures in this jigsaw puzzle entitled ‘Twas the Night:Warm Winter Cuddles. In fact, she has done such an expert job that it makes one want to cuddle some puppies and kittens regardless if you are in the Artic Circle or not.

This holiday season as you and your loved ones spend quality time together, assembling a puzzle like this one from our Christmas jigsaw puzzles would be a great way to have a “warm” holiday season.

 

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What are Your Yuletide Traditions?

Country ChristmasAccording to the Thomas Kinkade website, one of the treasured childhood memories of Thomas and his sibling was going out each Christmas with their small hatchet to find a tree to grace their living room. This picture was created as a fond tribute to that memory.

In this jigsaw puzzle, entitled Country Christmas, we see a father and daughter proudly bringing back a “7 footer” while the snowman and the mother smile in approval. That night’s festivities would include hanging ornaments and tinsel while drinking hot chocolate. The beautiful aroma of the evergreen tree will fill the house all season long as this family celebrates the season of peace, joy and love.

This Christmas season, as you and your loved ones assemble one or more of our great Christmas jigsaw puzzles, you can share with each other your fond memories of Christmases past and present. Merry Christmas!

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What Are You Doing The Night before Christmas?

Jane Wooster Scott Spirited SpritesThe name of this series of Ceaco jigsaw puzzles is called “‘Twas the Night…” and is based on Clement Clarke Moore’s poem The Night before Christmas or A visit from St. Nicholas . The words of that poem are:

 ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.

When I look at Jane Wooster Scott’s puzzle entitled ‘Twas the Night: Spirited Sprites, I wonder if maybe these spirited sprites were more interested in getting in some spirited fun before they nestled in their cozy beds. This puzzle shows all the fun that children can have especially in areas like Canada, New England and the Upper Midwest of the United States once schools have started their holiday break. It looks like so much fun, that I wish I could join them in their winter fun.

As you and your loved ones rest and relax this Christmas season [or any snow days this winter], you can assemble this Christmas jigsaw puzzle and discuss your plans for later on playing in the snow.

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Silver Bells… , Silver Bells…

Christmas Streets Silver BellsA favorite activity of many on the day after Thanksgiving in the United States is to participate in “Black Friday” sales at local stores. Some of my friends love Black Friday because of all the great deals while some of them love the excitement and energy of the day spent with eating out with friends. Of course, none of these friends work in retail. Those friends of mine have other thoughts about Black Friday!

As I look at this puzzle entitled “Christmas Streets”, and think about Black Friday, I am reminded of this fun song from 1951 written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

Silver Bells, Silver Bells
It’s Christmas time in the city Ring-a-ling, hear them ring Soon it will be Christmas Day
City sidewalks Busy sidewalks Dressed in holiday style
In the air there’s A feeling of Christmas
Children laughing People passing Meeting smile after smile And on every Street corner you’ll hear Silver Bells, Silver Bells It’s Christmas time in the city Ring-a-ling, hear them sing Soon it will be Christmas Day. 

Regardless of how you spent “Black Friday” on this day after Thanksgiving, assembling a great puzzle like this Christmas jigsaw puzzle would be a relaxing way to reconnect with your loved ones.

 

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Native American Indian Pots based on Totem Tales

Totem TalesThe native Americans of the southwestern part of the United States are known for beautiful artistry with their jewelry, sand paintings, weavings and pottery. Their creative knowledge has been passed on for generations over a thousand years.

While many native Americans made their own pottery for in-home use, the best pottery for commercial use comes out of the Pueblo tribes of New Mexico, specifically San IldeFonso, Santa Clara, Hopi, Zuni and Acoma, as well as the Navajo. The most famous artisan was Maria Montoya Martinez who relearned her pueblo’s knowledge of making “Black on Black” pottery. Her craftsmanship is so superb that her pots can sell for thousands of dollars.

Assembling this puzzle, entitled Indian Pots, which is based upon a painting by Roberta Wesley named Totem Tales, would be a less expensive way to celebrate and explore the world of Southwestern pottery. You can find this and other Native American jigsaw puzzles at A+ Puzzles, Etc.

 

 

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Candlelight Vigil

Candlelight Vigil Terry DoughtyA vigil is a period of keeping awake during the time usually spent asleep, especially to keep watch or pray. In this peaceful scene by award winning wildlife artist Terry Doughty, we are given a glimpse into the end of the artist’s autumn vigil. After a long night awake with candles burning, the morning sun and singing birds greet the person keeping the vigil, offering a new perspective on the day.

As you and your loved ones assemble this Autumn jigsaw puzzle entitled Candlelight Vigil, you can reflect on times in which you may have held a vigil, whether it was for religious reasons or other reasons, and how it was meaning to you.

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Nature’s Paradise in Autumn

Thomas Kinkade created many beautiful nature scenes that depicted the different four seasons of the year. This one shows the peaceful paradise of nature during autumn. It shows the mountain leaves turning a beautiful red, yellow, purple and orange while the turkeys, ducks and deer are out enjoying the cool air. Wouldn’t you love to be out on the water in your canoe?

For those who don’t have access to this refreshing cabin in the mountains in which to get away from the hectic pace of society, assembling this Autumn jigsaw puzzle entitled Nature’s Paradise would be a worthy substitute.

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Nothing says Thanksgiving Like Turkeys and Pumpkins

Gobbler Farms Dona GelsingserArtist Dona Gelsingser has created a great visual representation for us of what most North Americans love to have on their Thanksgiving Table. Both are native to North America so it would make sense that they would be the hallmark of a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner. The only thing missing in this picture is the cranberry dish.

Turkey has a special place in American history and in Benjamin Franklin’s heart. According to Wikipedia, American Statesman Ben Franklin considered the turkey a better choice for the national bird of the new nation. The turkey is also special for Native Americans. It was used for food and used in their traditional ceremonies.

Something interesting is that of the six subspecies of wild turkey, the one that most of the United States and Canada eats for Thanksgiving is a domesticated subspecies from Mexico.

As you and your loved ones wake up from your Thanksgiving Day nap, you can assemble this Autumn jigsaw puzzle entitled Gobbler Farms and have more pumpkin pie or turkey leftovers. It would be a great time to also discuss what things you are all thankful for this year.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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