Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Puzzles & Pie

Tonight's Family Night is going to be full of firsts. Firstly, it's the first time I've ever made Shepherd's Pie. 
The last time I ever ate Shepherd's Pie was in Quebec, Canada, almost 20 years ago. It's about time I reintroduce my taste buds to meat pie encrusted with potatoes. I can't wait! Hopefully I don't screw it up. Because, you know, I have a tendency to do that. When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. Well, what if life hands you burnt mashed taters? What then? 
HERE is the recipe I am using. It's in the crockpot now. Drooling will commence soon.

Also tonight: It'll be the first time our family has ever attempted to construct a puzzle containing over 100 pieces. Up to this point, we've maneuvered child-friendly interlocking pieces illustrating the likes of Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse.
I LOVE doing puzzles! But you would never be able to tell that I do. The Mr. & I were on a rare date back in '06-ish & we happened upon a game store in a mall. (Because we, silly us, apparently like to go to crowded places with screaming children being tugged along by frazzled parents, when we don't have our own littles with us.) By "game store", I don't mean video games stocked on shelves for every game console on the planet. I mean BOARD games. It was an amazing little shop filled from floor to ceiling with pretty much any game you could think of. We purchased a puzzle. It is 1500 pieces & is entirely covered in buttons. All colors, shapes & sizes of buttons. 
And it's still in the plastic wrap. 
Maybe I was a wee bit nervous to give it a go: Little ones + crazy giant puzzle=missing puzzle pieces. But now that my tiny humans have grown up a bit more, it's time for some puzzle action.
The puzzle we'll be attempting tonight is from 1965. It's "The Last Supper" by Leonardo Da Vinci. Goodbye Mickey Mouse! Hello Italian Renaissance! Did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci began working on that famous painting in 1495, & finished it in 1498? As I researched I found out that Leonardo was a known procrastinator with a marked tendency to leave projects unfinished. 
WHAT?! Procrastination just took on a...Whole. 'Nother. Meaning. 
Who knew that me & Leo had so much in common?
My mind is blown. Seriously. Blown.

Aside from all that, I just hope it doesn't take us 3 years to finish this puzzle. Because that would be the most extensive Family Night activity ever. In the history of puzzles.

This afternoon, I decided to open up the puzzle for the first time. To scope things out. (And maybe spy some corner pieces for future reference.) The thing about this puzzle is that it is used & I purchased it from a thrift store a couple years ago. So, who knows if all the pieces are there. Who buys puzzles at thrift stores??!! I guess I do. I don't make a habit of it though.
So, I open the box, & I see a gallon-sized Ziploc bag with 2 pieces of paper inside, along with a handful of puzzle pieces. Then I see another sandwich-sized plastic bag holding some more pieces. The bottom of the box is filled with plenty more puzzle pieces. I am afraid to disturb the bags---I better leave the pieces inside. What if there is some sort of reason the previous owners did that? Maybe it will help us, who knows. Then, I look at the papers. 
There are numbers, like math problems, scribbled & crossed out all over. Hopefully they're not trying to calculate how many pieces are missing. 
I see a phone number or two also. Good! Maybe we can call if we get stuck. 
Finally, there are two messages written on the back side of one of the pages: 

I picture this woman, scooping oxygen out of her car as one might, with a bucket, if they discovered a hole in their sinking row boat. There is oxygen all around us, lady. You're gonna be there a while.

GET A MAMMIOGRAM SOON! <––( puffy exclamation mark)
(The misspelling was theirs. But I think from now on I will always  pronounce the word "mammogram" that way.)

These are the bits of randomness that I live for! 
And the beginning of a memorable Family Night.


  1. haha Nikki. Great post. My mom pronounces it "mammiogram" and I've finally gotten mature enough in my old age to not correct her, but it drives me crazy!!

  2. Oh my goodness! That is full on randomenss treasure, finding things like that truly excite me! We are moving house soon to a tudor home and I imagine that I will find loads of really cool little notes and things left behind but I expect it will mostly be junk mail I find! :) Shepherds pie is really nice, how did yours go? I have a recipe for a good old English one if you want it? I hope you enjoyed family night and completed the possibly not complete last supper!

    Jerra xx

  3. That's an awesome story!
    I always buy thrift store puzzles. They are cheaper and usually have all their pieces. In fact I recently bought 2 that were still in the shrink wrap (both from the 70's). And I also bought one puzzle that is 4000 pieces - I don't even own a table big enough to hold it.
    I've never found anything interesting in the boxes though - one did have a note that says 'one edge piece missing'.

    We always write on the back of the box when it was done. If you collect puzzles like I do, it's interesting to look at them and remember all the good times!

    Happy puzzling!

  4. If you have any extra pieces, there are a ton of fun puzzle crafts you can do with them. I remember gluing puzzle pieces to picture frames, then painting them a nice neon color. Awesome.


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