Design

Three Playful Things

Food puzzles

Broccoli puzzle

Random question, but do you ever do puzzles? Lately, I’ve gotten into doing them in the evening, while chatting with Alex or watching Downton Abbey. They’re relaxing at the end of a busy day, and how incredibly adorable are these food ones? At 8″ x 8″, they take less than twenty minutes, and they’d make great little birthday or host gifts, too.

The Hunt show

After years of Peppa Pig and Bubble Guppies, the boys have finally gotten into a show that we’re all gripped by. The Hunt is a nature documentary series following animals, like polar bears, tigers and chimpanzees, as they target their prey. There’s so much strategy.

Side note: This morning, I walked Anton to school (no tears today!!!), and as we approached his classroom, his face lit up. “Look,” he whispered, pointing to his teacher. “SHE IS WEARING CHEETAH SHOES.” She had on simple leopard print mules, but in that moment she might as well have been in a full-on Halloween costume. :)

Joanna Goddard bedroom

A few years ago, Alex gave me a bunch of quirky socks for Christmas, and I’ve become hooked. It’s weird how such a little thing can brighten your day. Here are a few cuties out right now: face, dots, astrology and sheep.

What are you up to these days? Hope you’re having a good one. xoxo

P.S. How to introduce someone, and the hardest tongue twister.

(Puzzles via Swissmiss.)

  1. Hannah says...

    I lived in Alaska for most of my life and had a large collection of funky wool and cashmere socks. I moved to Hawaii 2.5 years ago and haven’t worn socks ONCE since living here. I miss my fun socks!

  2. Jane B. says...

    Have you ever heard of Little Miss Matched socks, Joanna? They are my favorite. When you buy a “pair of socks” you actually get THREE socks that “go together” but do not match. They are so fun to wear. And they have great tights for little girls, too. Super fun and silly. I thought you’d like this pair:

    http://littlemissmatched.com/products/nyc-taxi-knee-high-socks?taxon_id=260

  3. Kim says...

    I also love quirky socks, especially during the long Michigan winter. Right now I am wearing these NPR goodies:

    https://shop.npr.org/products/logo-socks

    So glad Anton is feeling better about school. Such a stressful transition.

  4. Cait says...

    Joanna! I love fun socks, too! They’re like my secret weapon some days.
    Some of my favorites are made by Blue Q socks: https://www.blueq.com/socks/

  5. Cassie F. says...

    My husband wears two different socks every day. Always silly ones, like pink bananas or neon rainbow stripes. He says it makes his day more fun.

  6. Last Christmas I asked my husband for a puzzle. He, in his usual fashion, thought “bigger is better!” and got me a 5,000 piece one. It was a painting of a florist in Las Ramblas in Barcelona, which I loved, and so I dove in without thinking whether or not it was sane. It took me 5 months, many weekend and evening hours spent listening to podcasts, and was a journey of its own. Equal parts frustrating, meditative, and fun, and was a great distractor during a stressful year. I was stoked when we got our office floor back though!

  7. Adina Applebaum says...

    WHERE in the world are those fab pillowcases from!

  8. Ani says...

    If you’re sons like The Hunt, then I highly recommend SafariLIVE! It’s a YouTube channel that live streams safaris twice a day from the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa, and viewers can interact with in real time with the amazing guides through the YouTube chat and Twitter. The channel sometimes do “school drives” for classrooms from around the world where the guides will answer questions from the kids.

  9. Shena says...

    Yay! Glad no tears for Anton. My 9-year-old nature girl watched The Hunt and I couldn’t watch it…too scary for me.

  10. Emily says...

    I love Anton’s cheetah shoes comment! When I taught kindergarten in NYC, I would dress for my students—shop for clothes I know they would be into—interesting textures, unexpected colors. My hot pink cords were a favorite but also a pair of lime green faux-snake skin flats. Those flats beloved by all. It’s seems superficial, but little people pay attention to so much of what you say and do when you’re a teacher. It seems only fair to keep them in mind when getting dressed to teach.

    • Brook says...

      My friend who is a 6’3″ tall man became a kindergarten teacher and found that little kids were intimidated by his height. He started dressing for his students. Their favorites were his silly socks (often mismatched on purpose), his colorful pants, and the wooden tie he would wear into the classroom daily and then take off once they started their day. They were so tickled by that and every single kid seemed charmed by it. It’s so important to pay attention to the little things you can do to connect with little people. They do notice so much.

  11. I’ve always wanted to get into puzzles with my husband! Early in our marriage, though, I bought a puzzle that was a peaceful woodland scene with trees and deer. Lots of muted greens and browns. One problem: my husband is colorblind. He literally could not tell the pieces apart! We just ran into the same problem trying to play my old favorite camp game, SET. *Sigh* Back to Netflix…

  12. Tiffany Frias says...

    My son (4 and a half) has started watching the Netflix series Dragon Prince. He LOVES it. And I am so happy with the character diversity in the animation. Plus there is an underlying message of the dangers of stereotyping, talking without listening, and letting your ego take the lead. Check it out :)

  13. Fun socks all the way! I’m in stripes today and yesterday I wore my Frida Kahlo socks. I have some I call ‘tea time’ socks cause they have a teapot and cup and saucer on them, and I’ve worn them to tea shops just for fun.
    Re puzzles – We’ve had a few in our family for when we have reunions, it is fun for everyone, even the little kids, to work on.

  14. Tammy says...

    I got SUPER into puzzles last summer during some cottage time. I was hoping my girls (5 and 7) would join me, but it turned out they got JEALOUS of the puzzles! Now when I start a new one they say, “You love the puzzle more than you love us!” They’re just joking, but some days…

  15. Kelsey says...

    Puzzles are my zen. My husband bought a folding wood square card table and a puzzle roll bag for me for Christmas a few years back and I highly recommend this set-up if you’ve got climbing babies.

  16. Jess. says...

    Currently bringing me joy (especially today!) is my new rain gauge. We live in a 3rd-floor apartment in Harlem, with no access to any surface with unhindered rain-gathering capabilities. So my 11-year-old and I hung a wall-mounted rain gauge on the chain link fence of an empty lot between our house and the train. We used paper clips. And now, on super rainy days, we know exactly HOW rainy, and it is making me stupid happy. It was already 4/10″ this morning on our way TO the train. I cannot wait to see what it reads on the way home!!! xox

    • Meghan says...

      I love this!

  17. Abbey says...

    Our dog, Romeo, LOVES The Hunt. He never even acknowledges the TV normally unless there are dogs barking and his ears perk-up a little bit. We started watching The Hunt one night and was glued to all the chasing scenes. He would follow the animals with his little head and even sit up or lay down depending on the scene. We sometimes put it on for him when we go out… crazy dog people… I know.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh!!! that is so so cute.

  18. Jess says...

    OMG my son hasn’t cried for two days in a row, progress!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, jess!!! what a brave little hero. xoxo

  19. India says...

    YES to puzzles!!! I’m in the middle of one right now after a looong break and I’m loving it! I find them to be a good mindfulness activity and help with my anxiety, maybe you find the same thing? I also find that my colour perception (not sure if that’s the right word??) is getting better and I’m getting better at picking up a piece and thinking “that will fit just *there*” and then it actually does, I get so excited haha. Yes, I admit I’m a puzzle nerd :/
    I’m also so surprised to see all the puzzle comments. I don’t know anyone IRL who openly admits to doing puzzles so I always feel like such a granny but now I’m feeling a bit more proud of my hobby so thank you :)

  20. Marlena says...

    One of my favorite memories as a child was sitting down with my dad to watch “Wild America with Marty Stouffer” (I can hear the theme music as I type this). It showed wild animals living their very real, and sometimes very brutal, lives. And I LOVED it. I never had to ask how babies were made. I witnessed it on Wild America! Ha! And my dad always used the hunting scenes to teach me about balance and nature and instinct. It was never, “Oh poor Bambi!” but rather “That gazelle is going to feed that cheetah’s family for weeks.” The lessons those shows taught me have served me well over my life and still do.

    • Sasha L says...

      I loved that show too! Thank you for the memory.

  21. Lindsay says...

    First…puzzles, YEAH! I really never do them but love them. I notice sometimes if I start an activity and don’t call my kids over to join (ages 11 & 8 aka the all-knowing too-cool got everything age range) that they come over out of curiosity and start participating.

    Also wanted to say how I love the way you describe your boys’ reactions to things. I can hear their wonder as I read the words.

    • Gina Dwyer says...

      Love doing puzzles! I notice the same thing, Lindsay – if I were to ask my son to do a puzzle, he’d be all, “Um, no thanks! I’m good!”…but if I just start doing it, I usually find him wandering over to “help me” ;)

  22. I have color socks for boys! And I love puzzles too!

  23. Erin says...

    I love fun socks! Something I’ve always done is wear a favorite pair when I go to the doc/midwife for my annual well-woman checkup… when you’re stripped down to just a robe or a paper sheet, you still have something that feels like you and adds a little levity to the exam.

  24. Susannah says...

    I love colorful socks…for all of the obvious making-feet-fun reasons but also because it makes it so much easier to find the matching friend in the laundry!

  25. Samantha says...

    My husband and I find and bring back a pair of silly socks for the other when we travel solo! It’s a fun and usuable trinket that always prompts a fun story from the trip we wouldn’t otherwise think to share!

    • Hita says...

      Such a great idea!

  26. my aunt sends me themed socks for halloween, valentines day and hannukkah. when i finished college and moved to NY, i didn’t receive my socks. when i called to ask where they were she said thought i grew out of them. no way! i’m 38 and can often be found wearing my halloween socks in march. in fact, today i’ve got on valentines day hearts!

  27. Laura Wilder-Senger says...

    So silly, but to me walking around with crazy socks hidden in my shoes is like having a fun secret nobody knows!

    • Laura C. says...

      That is not silly, that’s cute! It’s like wearing chic lingerie under a pair of jeans, a big jumper and a pair of Doc Martens ;)

  28. Ramona says...

    I wonder how your kids handle the reality that some animals eat other animals. A friend had said that he was watching the new episodes of “Planet Earth” on Netflix with his young son, and I mistakenly assumed that it was made for kids and turned it on to watch with my daughter. Of course we saw about 5 seconds of cute little lizards hatching from eggs before they were all devoured by giant, horrifying snakes. Yikes! I turned it off because I didn’t want her to have nightmares, but I wonder if she would have been less freaked out by it than I anticipated? I think sometimes I underestimate her capacity for understanding.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s such a good and interesting question. i’ve been kind of amazed by how accepting they are of the food chain. they really don’t blink. it’s very suspenseful watching the seal on the ice chilling out, while a polar bear slowly swims up behind him. they understand that’s it’s natural/fine/expected that the seal will be eaten for lunch. kind of fascinating, right?

    • Sasha L says...

      Ramona, I think it’s good to just follow your child. My kids didn’t want to watch animals being eaten, it was too sad for them. Even as older kids who certainly understood that everyone and everything has to eat, they didn’t want to actually see it, neither do I. I am vegetarian and our children were raised this way too, so different ideas from the norm in our family about animals in general. No matter your values, I would just follow child’s lead regarding what they are ready for.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sasha, that’s really great advice. thank you.

    • Connor says...

      There is a good Neil Gaiman quote about how kids love scary things and it’s the adults who took all the bloody bits from fairy tales — I can’t find it now so maybe it isn’t actually Neil Gaiman or something, but the point stands.
      Kids are accepting of scary things more often than adults are.

    • Lily says...

      Sasha, my daughter is the same way. (Coincidentally, we’re also a vegetarian household.) I thought she’d get a huge kick out of seeing animals on the safari, but she absolutely hated it. She started bawling when the little lizards couldn’t skitter away from their predators.

      I should have known better, seeing as how she was the kid who found a spider in the window, named it “Webby,” and always greeted it on her way up and down the stairs. Webby unfortunately passed (RIP Webby), and she still talks about that spider to this day (it’s been two years…).

    • Sasha L says...

      Lily, what a sweet child!!

      My daughter had a pet ant named Djinn. It was just whatever ant she happened to see at the moment, but she was quite convincing to other children who might want to stomp ants. “That’s my fwiend Djinn! Don’t kill him!”

    • Ramona says...

      Thanks, everyone, this is super helpful and interesting. I do suspect that our kids can tell when we are lying or covering something up, and that ultimately not being told the truth by a parent might make kids more uneasy than finding out that snakes eat lizard babies. :)

  29. Danielle says...

    Years ago my grandparents got really into puzzles. They always had a card table set up with at least one and anytime someone stopped by they would work on it a bit. On holidays when people were off school and work (lots of postal workers in my family, ha) they would have a “puzzle party” and have multiple puzzles set up and everyone would hang out and eat and move from puzzle to puzzle. It was a nice way to chat with different family members without as much small talk pressure. My grandpa would modge podge favorites and hang them on the gallery wall in the dining room.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i LOVE that, danielle.

  30. Every December my partner and I buy a new holiday themed puzzle and attempt to finish it before Christmas Eve. It’s such a fun tradition!

  31. Claire says...

    I have not done a puzzle since I don’t know when. But along similar lines- I love to doodle and draw, and I have a box of colored pencils and a notebook in our living room. I find it very calming. I also have Jenny Lawson’s coloring book, You Are Here, which is charming and unique.
    Our family tv shows lately have been The Office (my son is 17), and Chef’s Table.
    Bomba’s is my favorite for socks lately.
    Love the story about Anton and the cheetah shoes!

  32. Jennifer P says...

    Check out Chasing Monsters on Netflix with the boys. My 4yo LOVES it! Adding The Hunt to our to-watch-next list.

    • OH. EM. GEE.

    • T says...

      Riggggghtt!!? I’ve done one and loved it!

    • Amy says...

      Thank you for sharing! My eight year old always puts “tricky puzzles” on her Santa list. She’s currently working her way through a 2000 piece puzzle, but I think she would love these.

    • Tracey says...

      No worries Amy. Hope she loves it!

  33. sam b says...

    hey jo! love these puzzles so much! I work at eeBoo- we’ve been developing jigsaw puzzles geared toward the adult market for a few years now. In doing so, I’ve personally gotten into puzzles! I used to think that they were so difficult, and never tried one. My husband Dave on the other hand, is a genius at them, and has been doing them his whole live. we have had a 1000 piece puzzle on our dining room table for most of the year. I love these little food puzzles, as they seem like they will not linger on our table! I need to get one- thanks for sharing!
    Puzzles have really helped me relax and put my phone down! It’s a nice activity to connect with a partner and to accomplish little tasks piece by piece. love that sense of getting something done! I recommend that everyone try one, at least once!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so cool, sam! i love that you guys could just sit down and work on it, piece by piece, over the year. that sounds so meditative. and i agree — it’s such a good way to do something with your hands instead of just being on your phone.

    • Carrie says...

      Aren’t puzzles so fun? You’re brave to take on a 1000 piece, I have to stick with a 500! It’s the right size to be a challenge but not take several weeks (usually about 1). I find myself looking forward to sitting down without distractions to put it together. Add in a glass of Cabernet and you’ve got a pretty great Friday night.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “Add in a glass of Cabernet and you’ve got a pretty great Friday night.” = <3

    • Rachel says...

      eeBoo makes such great (beautiful, well-made) kids puzzles! Can’t wait to see how the adult ones turn out! Keep up the good work, and happy puzzling! :)

  34. Nina says...

    My son loves colorful socks. And undies. I just bought him a pair that had $100 bills all over them…he was in HEAVEN. They are fun to buy, too. They had a pack of socks at Target with every day of the week on them covered with different animals and he was so thrilled. Sadly they were too small so we gave them to the neighbor’s boy – he was also thrilled.

  35. Amy says...

    Jo, the rug in your old bedroom is INCREDIBLE! Do you remember the details on it? It would be fabulous in our dining room I think…. And also I love everything in this post, as always.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for asking! it was actually from ebay years ago.

    • Carissa says...

      I was going to say the same thing about your floral pillowcases – so gorgeous! Where are they from? Also, Love your post (as always!).

  36. Rue says...

    My mom and my sister and I have always been fans of goofy socks. It turns out that my boyfriend of just a few months also likes wearing creative socks. My favorite pair of his has oysters on it, and he jokes that he needs to get a bunch of wears in before I steal them from him. On a fairly early date, he and I were at a local outdoor store. I was buying new running socks, but I also kept eyeing these non-technical, just-for-fun goat socks. He offered to buy them for me and I demurred at first but he was like, “please let me buy you these goat socks.” So I let him. And just last week it was FINALLY cool enough to want to wear socks for a little bit inside, and those goat socks brightened my whole evening, both the pattern and the gesture of the gift. I really don’t want to jinx things but this guy, he is wonderful, and I can see this working well/lasting for a long time. Here’s to plenty more socks!

    • sabrina says...

      Aww, this is very sweet! I wish you guys all the best!

  37. Rebecca says...

    We love doing puzzles as a family, but I struggle on what do with them in the “during” process. We live in a small city row home and have only one large table- that we use for everything under the sun. Anyone have a solution?

    • t says...

      You can get rollup felt mats for this, just google puzzle or jigsaw mat.

    • Sarah says...

      Puzzle roll up mats!
      https://alljigsawpuzzles.com/products/puzzlematespuzzle-rollupto3000pcs
      Our family does a 2000 piece puzzle when we rent a cabin every Thanksgiving or Christmas, and always used this. I also just discovered that press-n-seal wrap onto a cardboard works really well, then slide it under a bed– not sure how reusable it is, though. Happy puzzling!

    • sam b. says...

      we put newspaper over our puzzle on our dining room table and eat/live over it until we’re done. mostly because we have cats! It works for us. We are interested in one of those puzzle mats, but haven’t made the purchase yet.

    • Mims says...

      I had same problem. I used a largish wooden board 2 by 3 feet covered in a piece of rubberized carpet padding we had leftover. I would lay a bathtowel on the table, then place the board on that. We had room to stage our pieces and assemble. When we were done for the day, or needed table for dinner, homework I would carefully carry to the sideboard and stash underneath. It just fit.

    • Emma says...

      We have a large board with an edge (kind of like a big picture frame) and when we’re not using it we slide it under our couch :)

  38. Melissa says...

    I love love puzzles but what do you do with them after your done? Give them away? Save them to do again (is it fun to do again??)

    • Nina says...

      I would give them away. In fact, why not start a puzzle exchange group at work or with friends or family?

    • Anna says...

      When my husband was in grad school, people started bringing puzzles in and leaving them on a large table in a common study area. At first it was only one or two, and people would work on them when they had a free moment. But puzzles kept appearing, and before long there were LAYERS of completed puzzles covering the whole table!

    • Kile says...

      A thrift store near me has a big puzzle section and the puzzles are checked by a puzzle volunteer who puts together each one before it goes into the store. Not a bad gig!

    • Libbie says...

      Melissa, some libraries have puzzles you can check out! You can see if your local library would take them?

    • Rebecca says...

      The kids in my neighborhood all belong to a puzzle swap. Every month or so we all swap our puzzles. Its been great!

  39. I saw Jessica Valenti post a photo of this puzzle, and then immediately bought it for my best friend: http://shop.eeboo.com/p/women-march-500-piece-round-puzzle

    Also, in my family we always give fun socks in our Christmas stockings! Then last year I didn’t buy any (I waited too long, the store I went to didn’t have the selection I was hoping for, I convinced myself we didn’t need socks every year) and my husband and his family were like “WHERE ARE THE SOCKS???.” So this year I bought them in July.

    • sam b. says...

      hi! I’m sam and I work at eeBoo- I had the pleasure in watching this puzzle be designed from scratch. our founder and team will be so happy to hear this! march on! xx

    • Nina says...

      haha funny. Ross always has a good selection of crazy socks and undies.

    • Emily says...

      Yes! The DC Women’s March Puzzle is amazing — personally I am fan of the diversity of issues represented by the signs.

    • That’s so cool, Sam B!!

  40. Nicole says...

    Oh my goodness, puzzles are my favorite way to relax! I’m glad I’m not the only one because my friends tease me when we are out, and I say, “oh, I can’t wait to go home and work on my puzzle.” It’s both calming and satisfying. Just beware of puzzle neck- it’s real:)

  41. Laura C. says...

    Tears on the way to school… My little one is also 5 but she goes to school since she is three, same school and same teacher and same friends… But it’s incredibly annoying, she doesn’t want to eat her breakfast or wear her uniform or wash her teeth or go to school… Almost every morning is a mess. I have printed some “morning instructions” to follow every day and I did pictures of that, if they do well they’ll get a “Brilliant!” stamp and at the end of the week they’ll have a treat like a Kinder Egg. But it worked only a couple of days!
    There is no magic formula, just be patient I guess.
    Joanna are you the next Justin Trudeau? The socks are great! 😂😂

  42. My Husband LOVES fun socks, he gets complimented daily at the office on them, apparently it’s become quite the “what socks are on today?” query in his work haha!!

    Rebecca

  43. Sydni Jackson says...

    Also… My husband calls them elaborate socks. We joked about them with a group of friends during The Game of Things and “elaborate socks” kept coming up as an answer multiple times in the same round. It made us laugh so much that everyone gave each other elaborate socks for Christmas :)

  44. Sydni Jackson says...

    I only wear fun socks :) It’s fun to realize what my mood is like by seeing which pattern I gravitate to in the morning.

  45. Maggie says...

    Yay!! I’m so happy for Anton, what a brave little guy. School can be tough. I just love the rug in the last photo, where is it from?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you! it’s vintage from ebay.

  46. T says...

    Puzzles and/or the thought of doing a puzzle stresses me out. What does that say about me? I know so many people who love doing them!

    • sam b. says...

      I used to feel the *exact* same way. I tried a 500 piece one day with a design that had seed packets in different colors, and somehow that opened the door for me. I found that sorting by color was relaxing, and that by focusing on the areas as if they were their own mini puzzles, I was able to actually feel the “benefits” of puzzling! Looking at an entire puzzle is actually still hard for me- and I always have my husband do the borders.

  47. Marissa says...

    Ahhh anton! Happy to hear there were no tears today :) keep it up buddy!!

  48. Robyn says...

    Oooh! Added The Hunt to the queue – we’ve been loving the Planet Earth and similar shows over the past year or so but we haven’t come across this one yet.

    It’s been a blast to geek out over nature and animals with my oldest (6).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! it’s so much fun when they get to the age where their interests intersect with adult interests!

  49. MKW says...

    Ha! Loved the school story. I sub as a para at our school. One dear little guy who does not speak just beamed and pointed to my cheetah shoes. We were fast friends and co-workers the rest of the day.

    • Sasha L says...

      I love this story so much ❤️

  50. Mary says...

    Speaking of shows for kids, has anyone watched Ask the Storybots on Netflix? I don’t even have kids and I somehow started watching it, it’s so good!!

    • Em says...

      yep, my three year old loves it!

  51. Caitlin says...

    Fun socks are such a happy maker! Life is too short for boring socks, I now believe. I always make sure toll my pant legs up just enough to let my mermaids, cheeseburgers, or whatever colorful patterns peek out. My coworkers now try to guess during our meetings what socks I’m wearing. :)

  52. Cynthia says...

    I like fun socks. I have lots of penguin socks, because I love penguins, some chihuahua socks because I have a chihuahua mix, and even some corgi socks because I thought they were cute.

  53. Kate says...

    Sometimes when I know my sister needs a pick me up, I will mail her a funny pair of socks. She now does the same for me – it’s such a small thing but a huge week booster too! Fun socks are the best (sisters too).

  54. Amy says...

    That story of Anton’s teacher made me smile. I have to wonder if she wore them for that reason!

    • Sally says...

      It wouldn’t surprise me at all!
      As a teacher myself, of small people, I’ve bought and worn clothes I’ve known some kids would get a kick out of.
      For example, a couple of years ago, I had a little boy with Autism, who was very, very sensory, and liked to stroke unusual fabrics because they calmed him down. At the time we were also working on getting him more used to being physically near, and in contact with, other people.
      One day, I happened to see a dress in a store that was super-soft and fluffy. I knew it would be perfect, so I got it. When I wore it into school, this boy made a bee-line straight for me, and immediately began to stroke this dress.
      It was the first time he’d willing made physical contact with another person, beyond his parents. Then we were able to start making contact in other ways.
      It was magical.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sally, that is so so thoughtful and sweet.

  55. Abigail Phoenix says...

    OMG. I recently saw this (on another blog, I think!) and it’s been both an amazing stress relief for me and possibly an obsession (I’m limiting myself to two a night for now): you can do jigsaw puzzles ONLINE.

    https://www.jigsawexplorer.com/

    • SHEILA says...

      Oh dear. I didn’t need to know about online puzzles. I’ll be addicted soon, I fear. I just finished a 2000-piece puzzle of a Van Gogh, and it nearly drove me mad…so many different shades of green, blue and yellow!!! But that sense of accomplishment when I was done was PHENOMENAL!

    • great. now I’m stuck with it. and I really should be working… ;)

    • Nina says...

      When I worked for the health department in Utah I was amused and then happy every break area had jigsaw puzzles and a separate table to do them. So much more fun to do that then social media at lunch. people would have meetings at the tables while working on the puzzles. Another worker and I would cheer for each other when we found a particularly elusive piece. I never realized how relaxing they were until then.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so charming, nina!

  56. Olivia says...

    The fun sock thing is so true! I was the proud owner of boring white and black Costco socks for years, but last Christmas—instead of our usual “buy anything” gift exchange—our family did a fun sock-themed Pollyanna. We each had to buy a family member a pair of socks and we were in tears of laughter when we opened them. Some where hilarious, some were sweetly meaningful, some completely random. The ones I were given are now my favorite things to wear when I’m cozied up in comfy clothes, and I smile every time I look down at my feet.

    ps. It’s also such an affordable idea to do with co-workers/friends!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oooh yes, would be a great gift for co-workers!

  57. Whitney Olson says...

    Your room is different from the last time you did a home tour. Now you need to show it to us again!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you’re so sweet for noticing, whitney! this is actually our old apartment, back when alex first gave me the socks :) https://cupofjo.com/2015/03/our-brooklyn-apartment/

  58. t says...

    We are still having tears at kindergarten drop off :(. Any tips?

    • Emily G. says...

      Us too. Although, today (day 11) was the best so far! We’ve been reading ALL OF THE BOOKS about Kindergarten, growing up, separation anxiety, being shy, etc. Our favorites have been The Little Tree by Loren Long, Captain Starfish by Davina Bell, and The Invisible String by Patrice Karst. Hope your buddy feels better about it soon!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      T, i’m so sorry to hear that! i don’t know if there’s a magic formula. i wish there were! anton has been so teary. one thing that helps is that, on the way to school, i talk about what we’re going to do AFTER school, so he can see clearly that — no matter what — he will come home, be with his family and have a chill evening. he does seem to relax a little when we talk about taht?

    • Valerie Pipano says...

      My youngest would sob at drop off. It was horrible for him and me. No promise of my return or story book helped. Finally one day, on the walk home, I just asked him if he could tell me why he was scared. I don’t know why I hadn’t before. I suppose I just assumed it was separation anxiety. Or maybe I thought he was too little to articulate it.

      It turns out that it wasn’t that at all. He told me that he just didn’t know what he was supposed to do exactly. The class had all types of stations for playing (art table, legos etc.) but having to choose was too much pressure at the start of the year – even if I was trying to help him choose. I talked with the teacher and she gave him a “job” when he came in every day. He had to hold the folders, or pass out the lunch menus, or put out the markers. Once he had a clearly defined purpose, he was fine after a couple of sniffles. And once he was comfortable in the classroom, he didn’t need a job anymore. I don’t know if your child has the same anxiety has mine, but maybe just try asking him or her if you haven’t already. Sometimes the issue isn’t what you think and the solution might be more clear when you ask and understand.

      Hope that helps. My heart goes out to you!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, valerie, that is the sweetest.

    • Sasha L says...

      I don’t know if this helps, but just in case.
      1. Rehearsal: have your child know clearly, exactly what will happen at drop off, and what will happen next. “I will give you a big kiss and hug and say goodbye! Then Ms. Alice will take your hand and you will put your things in your cubby. After school, we’ll have cookies 😊”
      2. Short goodbye. See rehearsal above, stick to it, even if it means tears. The tears stop so much faster, child is able to connect to school/teacher/other children so much more quickly, the quicker you go. Once tears=more hugs=more begging Mommy don’t go= more tears, a very difficult cycle to end, and it’s so much harder on child. If you stick to short goodbye via rehearsal, your child really quickly adapts and begins to feel confident. They know exactly what to expect if you are consistent. If you take charge, they can relax and trust and follow your lead.
      3. Confidence!! On your part. The more you have and express worry about saying goodbye, child being ok, the harder it will be for child to feel confident that they will be ok. They are looking to you for clues about how to react. If you can model a solid *you are 100% ok at school!* it really helps them believe it. I know you might not quite believe it yourself, it’s ok, do your best.
      Hugs to all the moms and dads and little ones doing their best.

    • Rue says...

      My mom sent me to school for the first several weeks of kindergarten with a sealed envelope of hugs and kisses for me. I am now 31. My mom found one of the envelopes still sealed and tucked away somewhere several years ago. She labeled the envelopes, which I think is a sweet gesture whether your child can read yet or not. Old school mom tricks that worked for this well-adjusted adult!

    • shade says...

      My friend’s son had a lot of tears the first 10 days of Kindergarten. Then she decided to switch and try having her husband do the drop off. It worked. A little apprehension from their son, but no more tears. Could be something to try maybe?

    • t says...

      Thank you so much for all these tips! We have the invisible string and it hasn’t been a favorite but I am going to pull it out and read it and remind our daughter that we are always connected. And I love the idea of asking why she is upset. I actually did and she just said that she wants to be with me but maybe I will ask again and she can articulate a little more why she wants to be with me.

      One of the hard things is I am not the one that picks her up (my wife does) but our daughter is in a phase where she is clingy to me (mom) and not my wife (mama) at the moment. Our daughter tells me that it takes SOOOO long for me to come home. I will ask my wife what their afternoon plans are so I can set her expectations for the day and will remind her I will be home in time for family dinner. I think setting the days’ expectations is a huge stress relief for everyone and even though my wife and I are good about keeping things pretty consistent during these first few weeks of school (family dinner every night, etc) our kids don’t know that; i need to tell theme each day so they know what to expect. Of course!

      And OMG an envelope of hugs and kisses? Our daughter would love that. It is going in her bag tomorrow. I will keep you all posted. Thank you!!

  59. Danielle says...

    Oh my gosh that Sartorialist picture from “How to Introduce Someone” was one of my favorites years ago. It almost gave me butterflies to see it again!

  60. Lesley says...

    Anton is a gem!

  61. DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE DOWNTON MOVIE!? I’m so excited! I also personally would love a prequel featuring the manor during Robert’s late teens/early twenties. (Carson as an underbutler! What’s the deal with Robert’s sister? Who was she married to? Robert meeting Cora. The possibilities are endless!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!!!!! i’m so so so excited to see it! i would also LOVE to see a prequel — that’s such a great idea.

    • Heather McMunigal says...

      Joanna are you watching Downton for the first time?!?!? Or is this a rewatch?

      Katie, I LOVE your idea of a prequel!!!

  62. Jen says...

    Does The Hunt feature gory deaths and dismemberments? Or is it mostly uplifting? I can’t handle any more trauma in my media!