Election Night 2012 – What will you be doing?

What will you be doing on Nov. 6, 2012 as the new President of the United States is chosen? Here are some ideas to spruce up your event – and some election facts too!

This great “Red State / Blue State” puzzle is one of many things you can do while you watch the results pour in. With two pieces, one red and one blue, you can construct the puzzle to match as the states’ go red for Romney or blue for Obama.

Election Night Puzzle

Election Night Puzzle

Each state has two pieces – one red, one blue, so you can put the puzzle together as election results roll in!

Want some more activities for Election Night?

50 States Game

Get out a timer, set it to six minutes, and give everyone a sheet of paper labeled 1-50. How many can name all 50 states without a map as an aide? You’d be surprised what people forget (especially if they don’t know that Alphabet State Game Tune)!

Presidential Playlists

Add a bit of fun to the night by creating and listening to playlists you imagine fits your preferred candidate. What do you imagine they listen to, or better yet, what kind of music would you recommend to them?

Red, White, and Blue Foods

Whip up some food and make it red, white, and blue to celebrate! (That link featured 100 different red white and blue recipes – don’t miss it!) If you’re feeling creative, make dishes that you know are Romney or Obama’s favorites — or foods that are considered the best from their hometowns. You can find recipes for past presidents’ favorite foods and cook up something rather presidential for your election night festivities.

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As you watch this nail-biter election, no matter what side you’re on, it might be interesting to look at some facts about the states with the most electoral votes and those that are considered swing states in this election.

THE BIG GUYS

CALIFORNIA
Has gone blue the last 5 elections

Current Electoral Votes: 55
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 55
Went Blue (Democrat): 40% of the time, with 16 elections
Went Red (Republican): 58% of the time, with 23 elections
Went Yellow (Neither Democrat or Republican): 2% of the time, with 1 election
Longest Blue Streak: 5 straight elections from 1932-1948 and 1992-2008
Longest Red Streak: 6 straight elections from 1968-1988
Last 10 elections: Went red 5 times, went blue 5 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 70% of the time
Likely Candidate for 2012: Obama

TEXAS
Has gone red the last 8 elections

Current Electoral Votes: 38 (up 4 from last election)
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 34
Went Blue (Democrat): 69% of the time, with 27 elections
Went Red (Republican): 31% of the time, with 12 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 0% of the time, with 0 elections
Longest Blue Streak: 14 straight elections from 1872-1924
Longest Red Streak: 8 straight elections from 1980-2008
Last 10 Elections: Went red 9 times, went blue 1 time, and went with the overall winning candidate 70% of the time
Likely Candidate for 2012: Romney

NEW YORK
Has gone blue the last 6 elections

Current Electoral Votes: 29
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 31
Went Blue (Democrat): 44% of the time, with 24 elections
Went Red (Republican): 36% of the time, with 20 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 20% of the time, with 11 elections
Longest Blue Streak: 6 straight elections from 1988-2008
Longest Red Streak: 4 straight elections from 1896-1908 and 1916-1928
Last 10 Elections: Went red 3 times, went blue 7 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 70% of the time
Likely Candidate for 2012: Obama

THE SWING STATES

FLORIDA
Has gone blue the last 1 election

Current Electoral Votes: 29
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 27
Went Blue (Democrat): 60% of the time with 24 elections
Went Red (Republican): 38% of the time with 15 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 2% of the time with 1 election
Longest Blue Streak: 12 straight elections from 1880-1924
Longest Red Streak: 4 straight elections from 1980-1992
Last 10 Elections: Went red 7 times, went blue 3 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 90% of the time

OHIO
Has gone blue the last 1 election

Current Electoral Votes: 18
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 20
First Election: 1804, started with 3 electoral votes
Went Blue (Democrat): 29% of the time with 15 elections
Went Red (Republican): 54% of the time with 28 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 17% with 9 elections
Longest Blue Streak: 3 straight elections from 1932-1940
Longest Red Streak: 14 straight elections from 1856-1908
Last 10 Elections: Went red 6 times, went blue 4 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 100% of the time

WISCONSIN
Went blue the last 6 elections

Current Electoral Votes: 10
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 10
First Election: 1848, started with 4 electoral votes
Went Blue (Democrat): 39% of the time with 16 elections
Went Red (Republican): 59% of the time with 24 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 1% of the time 1 election
Longest Blue Streak: 6 straight elections from 1988-2008
Longest Red Streak: 9 straight elections from 1854-1888
Last 10 Elections: Went red 3 times, went blue 7 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 70% of the time

COLORADO
Went blue the last 1 election

Current Electoral Votes: 9
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 9
Went Blue (Democrat): 32% of the time with 11 elections
Went Red (Republican): 65% of the time with 22 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 3% of the time with 1 election
Longest Blue Streak: 3 straight elections from 1908-1916
Longest Red Streak: 6 straight elections from 1968-1988
Last 10 Elections: Went red 8 times, went blue 2 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 80% of the time

IOWA
Went blue the last 1 election

Current Electoral Votes: 6
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 7
Went Blue (Democrat): 29% of the time with 12 elections
Went Red (Republican): 71% of the time with 29 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 0% with 0 elections
Longest Blue Streak: 4 straight elections from 1988-2000
Longest Red Streak: 14 straight elections from 1856-1908
Last 10 Elections: Went red 5 times, went blue 5 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 70% of the time

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Went blue the last 2 elections

Current Electoral Votes: 4
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 4
Went Blue (Democrat): 29% of the time with 16 elections
Went Red (Republican): 52% of the time with 29 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 19% of the time with 11 elections
Longest Blue Streak: 6 straight elections from 1832-1852
Longest Red Streak: 14 straight elections from 1856-1908
Last 10 Elections: Went red 6 times, went blue 4 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 80% of the time

Wow, all those statistics give you a lot to mull over! Which way do you think each swing state will go, and do you think their overall history gives you any indication, or should we just be looking at the last several elections?

Make sure to tune in Tuesday night to keep tally and see who makes it to 270 votes and see who will be the leader of the free world for the next four years.

For more information on elections and the electoral college, visit:
 Atlas of US Presidental Elections or 270 to Win

Holiday Gift Guide for Puzzles and Games

Nowadays, more and more people are doing their holiday shopping online. Finding gifts for everyone on your list can certainly be a challenging task. Jigsaw puzzles make great Christmas gifts because it’s a fun activity and you can customize based on just about any interest or hobby out there. For example, did you know we have nearly 50 different Quilting Puzzles? Or how about the Classic Coca-Cola images we all love around this time of year? Or for the lovers of pop culture, you’ll find Big Lebowski, Bob Marley and the Beatles, along with Cheers, Elvis and even TinTin in our Aquarius Puzzles selection.

But for some, sifting through hundreds of pages of products is just not appealing when trying to find gifts for all of your loved ones. That’s why we have put together a really handy Holiday Gift Guide that will show you only the Most Popular items in our Most Popular categories. Here you will find the Top 10 Gifts by Age, by Piece Count, and more. We even have the best selling gifts under $10!

Additionally, if you are looking for something specific, our search feature at the top of the homepage will find any puzzles by keywords – try Horses, Trains, or Hot Air Balloons – whatever you find most interesting, there is probably a puzzle waiting for you!

The Top 10 Best Gifts Under $10

The Top 10 Best Gifts for Every Age Group

The Top 10 Best Puzzles in Every Piece Count

 

Top 10 Best Large Piece Puzzles

Top 10 Best 1000 Piece Puzzles

Top 10 Best Holiday Puzzles

Top 10 Best Brain Teasers

Top 10 Best Board Games

Top 10 Best Kids Games

Top 10 Best Toys for Kids

 

Wedding Puzzles and Unique Fun Ideas for Your Wedding

It seems like everyone I know is getting married! My childhood best friend, two of my coworkers, and several people I went to high school with have recently changed their relationship statuses on Facebook to “engaged.” I always see new engagement photo albums and wedding photos popping up in my newsfeed. So, when I saw that we had this lovely and old-timey puzzle of a bridal shop, I decided to revisit some of the favorite wedding ideas I’ve seen on the Internet. If you’re planning a spring-time or summer wedding during these rainy wintery days, take a look at some of these unique ideas and also a handful of beautiful wedding themed jigsaw puzzles.

Vintage wedding shop in a quaint town, 500 piece puzzle.

500 piece jigsaw puzzle called “Rue L’Amour” by Cobble Hill Puzzles.

 

This Harry Potter Wedding features all the details for an elegant and magical wedding, including candles, pumpkins, trunks, and the best drinks around: pumpkin juice, butterbeer, polyjuice potion, and even a bit of liquid luck! Looks like Neville’s toad Trevor even made an appearance. A truly beautiful wedding!

 

 

This Lord of the Rings Wedding features a Tolkien-esque road map of directions to the venue. The Ring makes an appearance, and the groomsmen are dressed up like fancy Hobbits. With the lovely autumn colors, it truly is a wedding to Rule Them All.

 

 

Kapow! These Superhero Weddings look like they’re straight out of a comic book. While the men look like they’re business casual, underneath it they’re hiding those costumes to help them save the day should anything go awry. My favorite touch from the superhero getup is the nametags for all the guests.
 

 

 

 

Forget about Cupid’s Arrow: this Hunger Games Wedding features the arrows and decor of the fierce heroine Katniss Everdeen. The table decorations have the balance between nature and elegance, like the contrast between Katniss and Peeta’s home and the capital.

 

The pink dress, the mushroom decorations, the clouds hanging above the guests’ heads—this Mario Bros. Wedding is going to make you think you’re actually in the Mario Bros. world! Join Peach and Mario on their big day.

 

 

Do you know what this is? You might say “Willy Wonka Wedding” but you’d be wrong! As Wonka himself would correct you, it’s the most amazing, fabulous, sensational wedding in the whole world! The invitations are on a Golden ticket, there’s a chocolate bouquet, and bright sparkles everywhere. Pretty sure this wedding is going to have the best edible goodies around, too.

 

Though Thing 1 and Thing 2 didn’t make an appearance at this Dr. Seuss Wedding, there was a Bar 1 and Bar 2 with specialty Seussian drinks, each table had a Seuss book theme, and the whole thing was decorated in beautiful pastels. Who knew a children’s book wedding theme could be so classy?

 

Other great unique weddings to check out:

Disney’s Up Wedding

Alice in Wonderland Wedding

Zombie Engagement Shoot

Beatles Wedding

We also have some more great wedding-themed puzzles including wedding cakes, and kids puzzles with wedding dress up.

Wedding Cake 550 piece jigsaw puzzle

Sensational Cakes by Sylvia Weinstock series! Each puzzle is 550 pieces and measures 20″ x 20″ when complete.

Wedding Cupcake Jigsaw Puzzle

Can you find 18 hidden objects in the puzzle? This series offer an extra challenge with hidden images. Dream Day series celebrated being in love. This image is Dream Day Wedding – Married in Manhattan! 1000pc Puzzle.

 BRIDE AND GROOM MAGNETIC DRESS-UP TOYS

Special Bride and Groom magnetic dress up dolls have 30 pieces of clothes, 2 dolls and 2 doll stands. Sure to bring hours of fun to your little wedding planner!


Teaching Kids Diversity and Tolerance with Puzzles

Recently the “R-word” was used to insult the President on Twitter by the political commentator and author Ann Coulter. Understandably, the improper and condescending use of the word upset many people, but none expressed so elegantly why the misuse of the word was hurtful as Special Olympic athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens, who found these words to describe his feelings:

“After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me.  You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV. I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash. Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor. No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.”

Both special needs and cultural diversity are important topics, and sometimes they’re difficult to talk about with children. As this article mentions, sometimes we can be hesitant or worried to talk about these issues because we don’t want to come off as discriminating. But we can’t pretend there aren’t any differences between people, because there are, and all these differences should be celebrated, but more importantly, respected.

Puzzle Warehouse has some great puzzles, music CDs and activity books that can help you get the conversation started teaching your children about different cultures and countries. If you don’t know a lot about these places, you and your child can have fun learning together!

CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD - FLOOR

48 piece puzzle introduced kids to various cultures.

With a great starting point like puzzles, music and games, it’s easy to get the conversation started with your children. With the help of some article research (find links below), here are 10 things to do to teach your children about diversity:

  1. Don’t be blind to differences. Be honest about them.
  2. Recognize that you may consciously or unconsciously harbor negative feelings, biases and prejudices about others.
  3. Point out stereotypes, acts of prejudice and bias depicted in TV, movies, computer games and other media. Read books or watch videos with tolerance, diversity and multicultural themes with your children.
  4. Integrate culturally diverse artwork, literature or music in your home.
  5. Teach them that a disability is only one characteristic of a person. People have many facets: likes and dislikes, strengths and challenges.
  6. Teach them that children with disabilities can do many of the things your child does, but it might take them longer. They may need assistance or adaptive equipment to help them.
  7. Encourage your children to find common ground with everybody.
  8. 8. Teach them that it’s okay to ask others questions, so long as their questions are considerate and respectful.
  9. Discuss weaknesses and strengths of people who have different abilities.
  10. Remember that talking about tolerance and diversity is an ongoing process. Lead by example.
FLAGS OF THE WORLD - 1000pc Jigsaw Puzzle

1000pc puzzle with flags from all over the world.


Here are some articles that expound on how you can help your children learn about differences in a positive way:

Mental Health Answers – Taking to Children About Diversity

PBS – Teaching Children About Diversity

Care.com – Teaching Your Child about Peers with Special Needs

A Look at Impossible and Extremely Difficult Puzzles

For the avid puzzlers – we are always looking for a new challenge. For some, increasing the piece count is enough – moving up from standard 1000 piece or 1500 piece puzzles into the giant masterpieces like a 9000 piece Underwater Paradise or even bigger like the world’s largest puzzle at 32,000 pieces. For others, it’s not just about the piece count, but adding some other kind of dimension to the puzzle that makes it more difficult to solve. Today, I’ll take a look at a few specialty puzzles you’ll find at PuzzleWarehouse.com, and why they have the thrill you’re looking for in your next jigsaw.

 

Most difficult jigsaw puzzle with no edge pieces

Raining Cats and Dogs – an Impossibles with extra pieces and no edges.

Impossible Puzzles

University Games has come up with a few unique obstacles that are sure to throw a wrench into your typical idea of puzzling. Their Impossibles series are puzzles with no edge pieces (which means there is no border to help guide you), and also FIVE extra pieces in the box that don’t fit any other piece. And then, if you do manage to solve the puzzle without a flat edge for a clue, there are also hidden images in the completely puzzle to find within. The puzzles are only 750 pieces – but don’t let the size fool you – aside from the extra pieces and no edges, the images are also very repetitive – with similar colors and objects that make assembling the pieces even harder.


Non-Interlocking Puzzles

Scramble Squares - Classic Cars Puzzle Brainteaser

Scramble Squares – Classic Cars.

Don’t the simplicity fool you – just because these puzzles only have 9 pieces does not mean they won’t be a challenge! The object is to arrange the nine squares into a 3×3 square so that the graphics on the edges match perfectly all the way around to form a complete design in every direction. Scramble Squares slogan? “Can you unscramble the squares without scrambling your brain?” They even have an in-store challenge – if you can solve one in under 5 minutes, you get a free puzzle! Not many do!

 

Wasgij Puzzles

WASGIJ? MYSTERY - DRAMA AT THE OPERA

WASGIJ? MYSTERY – DRAMA AT THE OPERA

That’s right – jigsaw spelled backwards, or Wasgij, is a whole new way of puzzling. Created by Jumbo brand puzzles and drawn by artist Graham Thompson, these creative jigsaws are not what you’d expect. The puzzle you put together is not the same as the image you see on the box – in fact, solving the puzzle is part of solving the mystery! To complete the puzzle, you have to imagine what the character on the box image sees, or in come cases, will see! The puzzle art is bright and colorful along with humorous cartoons. Can you imagine yourself as part of the picture and put together what you might be seeing?

 

For even more specialty puzzle types – like ones that glow in the dark or feature hidden images and creative shapes, visit our website. Have you done one of these types of puzzles – tell us what you thought in the comments below.

Happy Puzzling!