Puzzling Therapy

It started about a month ago. I sat down at the kitchen table with my kids on a lazy Saturday afternoon and pulled out the 100 – 300 – 500 piece options we had in our Disney multi-pack puzzle box. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Image

A heap of pieces or mind-boggling quality time?

The kids were sporadic in their participation. Finding all the flat edges. Grouping like-puzzle pieces together. Sorting by color. Trying to imagine the finished product to mirror the box cover. Then they got bored and found something else to do…leaving mom to ‘clean up the mess’. Typical, eh?

So I finished the Mickey Mouse Soccer Star puzzle and moved onto to finish up Pixie Dust and Princesses. And when it was all said and done, I actually enjoyed myself in the process. Here’s what I gained:

  1. A true sense of accomplishment
  2. Quiet time to myself
  3. Ability to let my mind wander
  4. Creative inspiration
  5. A peaceful, uninterrupted mind game with myself and the jagged edges

It wasn’t until I found myself Christmas shopping a few weeks later that I realized how much I enjoyed puzzle therapy and wanted to share it with others. So, when my sister-in-law asked what to get my son, I recommended a puzzle. When I stood and watched my daughter achieve her first ever experience on ice skates in Rockefeller Center, I bought the puzzle to match as a stocking stuffer. And I could not resist a challenging gift from the lakeside cottages series titled “Rest Stop” for my husband…1,000 pieces and all.

And the rest is history. My husband and I enjoyed the 4-day long weekend anticipating the New Year with several hours together at the puzzle table. It was a challenge. A distraction. An escape. An opportunity to sit side by side. A chance to contemplate how the sky, flying geese, lakefront, landscaping and stone cottage was ever going to come together. Hours flew by. Pieces started falling into place. We’d stand up to stretch our backs and legs. Occasionally we’d make sure the kids and the dog had food and water. 🙂

And then the moment of truth arrived…we had 8 pieces left. And we could not wait to tell the kids it’s time to finish our work of art! We agreed both of them could simultaneously put the last 2 pieces into place. We cheered ourselves in victory and celebrated our accomplishment at 4:44 pm on New Year’s Day.

Puzzles are an addiction, but also a type of therapy at the same time. It was well worth the hours put in and I cannot wait to see what puzzling mind game comes next! And I do believe that I’ve started a New Year’s tradition for the Grom family.

Cheers to 2013!

Advertisements

Simplify. Simple As That.

It’s only after I had some quality time off to myself that I realized how cluttered and difficult life can be. With 12 more days off in my 28-day between-job hiatus, I’ve been thinking about how my routines, purchasing habits and tasks can be tweaked ever-so-slightly in an effort to simply simplify. Here are 9 recent discoveries.

simplicity on a fence

Word to the wise.

  1. Super shiny tinted lip gloss. It used to be full-blown lip liner, lipstick and a top coat of gloss. But why? A super shiny tinted lip gloss in a tube creates less mess in the purse/make-up bag and is a 3-in-1 no brainer.
  2. Dishwasher gel packs. No more messy, flip-top gel detergent. I explained them to my kids using the solid versus liquid science analogy and they got excited to help me do the dishes. WOW!
  3. No iron. No dry clean. No hand wash. No explanation necessary. Shop smart.
  4. Few or no throw pillows. There are days I just want to fall into bed without any more hassles. But I always have to clear away throw pillows first – which are only there for decoration anyway.
  5. Electric candle warmer. A good friend bought me one last year and when I think about it, I use it. NOW I’M SOLD!! No wicks, no smoke, no flame, less danger. Plus, constant scent management.
  6. Indoor griddle/grill combo. Perfect for our 2nd home out on the lake where space is tight but we always have time for great food and good friends.
  7. Organized linen closet. Roll the towels. Sheets inside pillow cases. Baskets for the little stuff. All thanks to Pinterest!
  8. Try the magic eraser first. Not sure how, but 99.8% of the time, this wizard of a product can get the job done – including ink pen on a sweatshirt.
  9. 12 uses for Vicks VapoRub. One jar can do all this? Can’t wait to try this on mosquitos and headaches.