Posted by: pennysplayground | April 6, 2011

Stop and Smell The Flowers…

Ever since Penny was a puppy, she always liked to stop and smell the flowers on our daily walk.  I’ve seen dogs sniff the grass, sniff the ground where other dogs have done their “business”, but I haven’t seen too many dogs that like the sweet smell of flowers like Penny does.

Most times when the flowers are in bloom Penny takes great delight in stopping at each little bud and taking a deep whiff…so much so that I often worry that she will one day get stung on the nose by a bee.  I’ve even considered carrying Benadryl around with me just in case something like that ever happens on one of our walks.

Maybe I’m being a bit of a “nervous Nellie”…perhaps I should take a lesson from my little girl to worry less and once in a while just stop and smell the flowers more.


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Posted by: pennysplayground | March 25, 2011



If Roses Grow In Heaven
Author: Unknown

If Roses grow in Heaven, Lord,
please pick a bunch for me,
Place them in my Mother’s arms
and tell her they’re from me.

Tell her, I love her and I miss her,
and when she turns to smile,
place a kiss upon her cheek
and hold her for awhile.

Remembering her is easy,
I do it every day,
but there’s an ache within my heart
that will never go away.


"Love you Grandma..."



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Posted by: pennysplayground | March 18, 2011

Pray For Japan

What you can do to help:

The Red Cross has already launched efforts in Japan. Visit or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone.

UNICEF is also coordinating efforts to help the children of Japan. Use this form on UNICEF’s website to donate 100 percent of your desired amount to their fund designated for victims of the earthquake or text JAPAN to 864233 to donate $10.

The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund was launched at to garner funds that will be given to a variety of relief organizations helping victims of the earthquake. It has already raised over $100,000, particularly from concerned Twitter users around the world.

Salvation Army personnel are organizing efforts in Tokyo and will soon send a team to help the severely damaged city of Sendai, Japan. To contribute to earthquake relief, text ‘JAPAN’ or ‘QUAKE’ to 80888 to make a $10 donation or visit

Along with an appeal for monetary donations, Operation USA has also announced efforts to collect bulk corporate donations of health care supplies. If you are interested in donating bulk medical items, visit

The International Fund for Animal Welfare will soon be deploying a team to assess needs regarding animal rescue.    They are encouraging support through donations, which will be used to buy pet food, veterinary supplies, vaccines and other necessities for animals needing help.


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Posted by: pennysplayground | December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas…!

Wishing everyone a safe and very Merry Christmas…!


Santa's "Little" Helper

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Posted by: pennysplayground | November 20, 2010

What’s For Breakfast…?

We spent a lot of time researching and choosing just the right dog food for Penny and have been feeding her Artemis “Fresh Mix” for Small Breeds (Puppy and later Adult formula) for about 14 months now with great results.  She liked it so much that we could even use it as her treat reward whenever we were training.

Penny has never been a  finicky eater and would always gobble down her breakfast and dinner without hesitation.  We usually would have to tell her to slow down because she would eat her food so enthusiastically.

Recently though, we’ve noticed that she hasn’t had the same “gusto” when it came to meal time and in fact she would often look at the contents of her bowl and then look back at us, and then look back at the bowl and then either sit down or walk away.

At first I was worried that she wasn’t feeling well so I did all the normal “daddy” things and checked to see if she had a fever or was otherwise lethargic, but everything seemed normal.  As a test, I got out a small piece of her doggie biscuit and she woofed it right down.

I think in her own subtle way, Penny has been trying to tell us it’s time for a bit of variety in her diet or at least make meal time a bit more interesting.  I’ve read a number of articles online where some people feel that a dog should “work” for it’s food instead of always just having it served up on a silver platter (silver doggie bowl..?).  The theory is that by putting your dog’s normal meal portion in their favorite toy it will stimulate them mentally and also make it more of a physical activity.

Sounded good to me, so I went to one of our favorite pet boutiques (Bark Avenue) and picked up an interactive toy called the “Busy Buddy” that I’ve had my eye on for a while now.

It’s a simple toy…2 separate hollow disks with holes on the side that you put your dog’s favorite treat inside and screw back together.  You can change the height of the opening to adjust how easy or challenging it is to get the treats out.

"Hey..what's this...?"




It seems that there must be some truth in the theory because Penny had a lot of fun getting her “treats/breakfast” out of the Busy Buddy and she was munching away happily whenever a tasty morsel would pop out.  I think next time though I’ll put it in the kitchen so I won’t have to vacuum the living room every time we feed her.  


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Posted by: pennysplayground | October 26, 2010


Halloween is just around the corner and it’s time for all good little boy and ghoul doggies to get all dressed up and have some fun.  This is Penny’s first Halloween as a big girl so she is going to celebrate the occasion by wearing her favorite Minnie Mouse costume.

"I wanna be a Pirate...!"


Well, ok..maybe it’s not her favorite costume, but it is my wife’s favorite so I guess that’s close enough.  I have to admit she does look cute in it and she matches the red polka dot skirt rather nicely.

"Meh...I'd still rather be a pirate..."

We decided to go and do a trial run down at Ward Warehouse where Penny could walk around and get used to her costume a bit before the big night.  You wouldn’t think it, but there actually is a lot of preparation that goes into becoming “Minnie”.  First there’s the whole business of getting those trademark ears just right…


"That's better...!"

Penny is not much for wearing things on her head so I guess this year we’ll just have to be satisfied with going with her fluffy Bichon ears instead of the traditional Mouseketeer ones.  I have to say..they are a tad bit cuter anyway. 

"Trick or Treat...!"


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Posted by: pennysplayground | October 24, 2010


It’s important to stop every now and then and take a break from one’s busy schedule and pause to relax and smell the roses…or in lieu of roses at least take a quick peek out the window.

While some dogs like to lie and bask in the sun, Penny is content to just look outside and take in all of the beautiful scenery from our lanai window.  She’s made a habit of doing this every morning for a minute or two.  I guess it’s the next best thing to actually going outside for a walk with the benefit of not having to get all hot…plus you can’t beat the view…!  


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Posted by: pennysplayground | September 25, 2010

Kaki Goori (かき氷)- Shaved Ice 

Here it is the end of September with just a scant 3 months until Christmas, you’d think it would be starting to cool down a bit, but it feels like it’s still Mid-July.  It is hot…hot…hot…!   If you think it’s bad for us humans…try bearing the heat while wearing a fur coat that you can’t ever take off and you’ll understand how Penny feels.

Even though she just went to the groomers yesterday and got her usual puppy cut, she is definitely feeling miserable this morning and understandably a little bit cranky because of the heat.  She’ll come to me with her tongue hanging out and make soft complaining noises.

All my efforts to alleviate her situation like turning the fan on high or moving to a cooler part of the house are to no avail.   The only relief that she wants is for Daddy to make the sun go away so that she can lie down and take a nice comfy nap.

Unfortunately, short of going outside and doing a rain dance, I haven’t discovered a sure-fire way to make the weather cool down on command so I figured I’d use an old trick that my grandmother used to do to help keep things cool for all of us kids when we were little.

“Kaki Goori” or Shaved Ice is a treat that is enjoyed all around the world in one form or another.  Here in Hawaii, we are known for the very finely ground shaved ice that virtually melts in your mouth.   You can add a variety of different syrupy flavors, ice cream, azuki beans, etc to create your very own tasty treat.

While the traditional shaved ice is very colorful and appealing, I decided to go “old school” and make my own version of Kaki Goori for Penny (plus truth be told, it is way too hot to be driving all the way to the shaved ice store just to get a plain shaved ice).

A quick trip to the ice container in my freezer was all it took…and voila…Penny’s Special Edition Shaved Ice…!

Ok..maybe it doesn’t look as pretty as the store bought type shaved ice, but she seemed to like it and appreciate all the effort I took in “making” her beat-the-heat treat.


"Ooooh....nice and cool...!"


"Oops...I forgot one...!"

I’m happy to announce that the shaved ice did the trick and my once miserable little girl is now nice and cool and taking a nap.  Hmmm…think I need a little Kaki Goori so I can cool off…a nap sure sounds good bout now.   

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Posted by: pennysplayground | September 19, 2010

We All Scream…For Ice Cream…!

I love ice cream and when the mood hits me, I could probably eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (I don’t, but I definitely “could”).  One of our favorite ice cream parlors to go to here on Oahu is Bubbies “Homemade Ice Cream”.

Bubbies is a really popular spot near the University of Hawaii where people of all ages go to get their quick fix of creamy, delicious ice cream.   You can stop in and do take out, but if you have the time to sit down and relax, the inside of the shop has a really nice, quaint ambience that fits right in with all of their homemade ice cream delights.

They have a lot of the standard flavors like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, but they also make their own specialty flavors like green tea, lychee, and azuki bean which are really great.  There are so many different flavors and treats to choose from that sometimes it’s hard to decide what to get.  I usually end up sticking  with the “ol’ reliable” Oreo Cookie which is my favorite.

The nice air conditioned indoor seating is rustic and intimate and is always a popular late night “date” spot or after the movies stop over.  We happened to be in the mood for ice cream one night so we all piled into the car and drove on over.


As usual, Penny was quite well behaved, content to sit quietly in her bag on the chair next to me, although I do think that even she wanted to see what all the fuss was about over this “I-Scream” that everyone was talking about.

"Wot's Dat...?"

"Can I haz some please Daddy...?"

Now, I don’t really know if Bubbies is “pet friendly” per se, but no one really made a fuss that Penny was there and we did kinda sneak her in (Sorry Mr. Bubbies…!), but the people sitting around us did think she was really cute poking her head out and looking at everything going on.

While we do give Penny yogurt occasionally, ice cream is a definite “no no” because of the added sugars, etc.  I know that some people feed their dogs ice cream with no ill effects, and I’ll eat it by the gallon (not at one sitting of course), but we try to limit the type of “human” food that we feed Penny.  To her credit, she never begs or barks…she’ll just wait patiently or take a nap until we’re finished.

" cream....omnomnom...zzzzz"

Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream
1010 University Ave. #B4
Honolulu, HI  96826
Tel: 808-949-8984
Hours: Mon-Thu

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Posted by: pennysplayground | September 13, 2010


We all know that yogurt is a great digestive aid and a good addition to your daily diet.  In fact, my wife and I have been making our own yogurt for the past year and a half and eat it on a daily basis.

At first I was a little hesitant when my wife told me about this yogurt starter that her friend had purchased in Japan that you use to make your own yogurt, but after we made our first batch and I tasted it, I was hooked.

The yogurt is called Caspian Yogurt and can also be purchased online either from Japan or from distributors here in America.  What I like about it is that it is very easy to make, and easy on the wallet because once you get the starter culture going, all you need to buy is fresh whole milk and you’re in business.

It is all natural and doesn’t have any added preservatives, sugar, or artificial flavors.  I have never been a fan of plain yogurt but once I tasted the Caspian yogurt I can’t imagine going back to store bought flavored yogurt ever again.

My wife will eat her yogurt with fruits and granola, but I use it to make a healthy breakfast smoothie with  spirulina, protein powder,  banana, and strawberry.  Add in a couple of ice cubes, blend, and you’ve got a quick, instant energy “meal” that will get you through the morning.

We told our vet about it, and not only did she say it would be a good thing for Penny to eat a small bit of yogurt every day, but she also tried the yogurt for herself and is now as hooked on it as we are.  

Even Penny likes the taste of the Caspian yogurt and will come to the kitchen every morning for her special “treat”.

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