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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fun with Penguins

This was an especially fun day at our home.  We have been looking forward to a visit from some fellow penguin lovers.  These two young ladies are the daughters of a wonderful couple from our church.  They joined this congregation the same day we did.  The dad happened to be one of the residents on the team of doctors that saved Gene's life back in 2007.  When I met his beautiful wife and realized who her husband was, I offered to baby sit any time she needed.  After all it was only with the support of her that he could do what he did.

Fenton penguins from my husband
These two little girls, 5 and 7 years old now,  have been a delight to watch over the past few years.  As our grandsons are two states away, we do not get to enjoy children nearly enough.  We look for chances to be with young children.  We both love the honesty and pure joy of children.

My favorite cue ball ;  )
A "for instance" of the honesty of children came from the younger of the two sisters one Sunday morning.  She was probably less than three when she saw Gene.  She leaned over and noted to him, "when you do not have hair on your head you should wear a hat."  The parents were horrified and apologizing.  We were both in hysterics!  Gene, of course, is as bald as a cue ball!  To honor her observation, he placed the church bulletin on his head.

Tiny and fragile penguins
Today in preparation of the afternoon visit, shortbread cookies were made and baked.  Half of the cookies were flavored with orange zest and chopped crasins, the second half with toasted almonds.  In addition, a batch of homemade dough was ready to be punched down and made into some dinner rolls or cinnamon rolls.  Of course, we would need to be properly attired as we did the kitchen work so the penguin aprons hung at the ready!  And Mr. Gene had repaired the penguin that sits on the front porch inviting visitors to come in and chill out.

The girls and their mom arrived just after school.  Dad and the younger brother were off to get haircuts.  The younger sister brought her newly made penguin project.  It was a water bottle filled with cotton balls.  There were black wings and feet she had taped on the bottle.  Of course there was a face with a headband and the cutest little feather.  We let it play with the other penguins on the table while we inspected and touched and squeezed all the other penguins on the floor and in the chair.  There are penguins that shake, walk, sing and wiggle.  A penguin music box and snow globe all provide plenty of hands on fun for the girls.  Both girls' eyes were alight with pleasure as they explored the penguin world before them.
Penguins atop the fridge

In the kitchen we girls shared cookies and milk along with orange and apple slices.  Rolls were "rolled" and piled in a pan.  A cinnamon ring was shaped and placed in a box to rise.  One last portion of the dough was shaped into a cinnamon filled sock by the girls.  They decided to leave it here as a surprise for Mr. Gene.  The girls whispered and giggled preparing the surprise.   I think they enjoyed smearing the butter onto the flattened dough before shaping about as much as anything.  And that is the pure joy we love.

Once the workup of the bread dough was complete it was time to do some exploring.  One two foot tall penguin that was near the Christmas tree needed to be carried around for a while.  After all there were other rooms with snowmen and Charlie Brown stuff to be inspected.  One needed a penguin to accompany the tour.  They found Mr. Gene in his office where it was just fine to not have on a hat on his bald head today.  He was good for helping operate the crank handle powered radio.  The little blonde's smile was ear to ear showing adorable dimples as she played with Mr. Gene.  He had a pretty big smile himself.

The penguin tree
My 56 year old Revlon doll enjoyed being held and inspected by young hands again.  We even pulled out some other clothes for her.  Nothing like a change of cloths to brighten an old girl's spirit.  She now is wearing a coat for the winter months.  The older sister ran to the car and brought in her new twin dolls she had received for Christmas.  We spent some time admiring these two lovely dolls.

Too soon it was time for the visit to end.  The dough items along with cooking instructions were waiting in a covered box with some cookies and chocolate kisses for the guys at home.   Snack dishes were placed in the sink by sweet, little hands.  Coats were found along with shoes that had all been discarded upon arrival.  Aprons for all three children along with one for mom were placed in arms for safe keeping.
Some of the lights in our back yard.

The sun was near setting so one last look at the view into the back yard brought more dimpled wisdom.  "I like your very nice house but I like your back yard best!"

Julie asked early in the visit what was my first penguin.  I narrowed it down to one that looked as if it had slipped on ice and its legs were spread apart.  The second was a tree covered with penguins and finally a penguin in a fishing outfit.  Once the word got out to friends, as the saying goes, the rest is history.  Never did I realize the day I fell in love with that first penguin what joy was ahead.  Old surrogate Grandma, a young mom, two sweet little girls and so much fun with penguins.

A couple of the first in the collection along with walk about penguin.
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