When her three young sons started going to school in the mid-1990s, Evergreen resident Helene Hughes began leaving notes in their lunch boxes. After a while, those midday “I love you” messages began to feel too routine, so Hughes collaborated with a co-worker and artist, John Higby, and created Symbuzzles—word puzzles using symbols that function like playful calling cards. An example: “U R A QT” combines with a picture of a pie to communicate, “You are a cutie pie.” The benefits of these cards are twofold: The child gains satisfaction from solving the puzzle while also receiving the gift of your affection. “These are about staying connected to your kids during the day,” Hughes says. Of course, in this era of smartphones, regular communication is easier than it was two decades ago. You might even say Symbuzzles were a precursor to the emoji. To keep up to date, Hughes has launched a Symbuzzles app, where, with a tap of a finger, you can make someone smile.