Fun & Games, Mindfulness, Poetry

I Went Downtown — TBT

Child's drawing image
Photo: from Pixabay

On my way home today, I noticed some children in the school yard, laughing and singing while playing a clapping game in groups of two.  As their happy voices chanted a rhyming song, I was transported back in time (way, way back!) to my own school days, when my friends and I would spend recess jumping rope to a warble of skipping songs.

This is the song that came to mind as I passed by the kids in the playground. Do you remember this skipping chant?

I went downtown to see Mrs. Brown
She gave me a nickel to buy a pickle
The pickle was sour; so I bought a flower
The flower was dead; so I bought some thread;
The thread was thin; so I bought a pin;
The pin was sharp; so I bought a harp;
The harp played:
Johnny by the ocean,
Johnny by the sea,
Johnny broke a bottle and blamed it on me.
I told Ma,
Ma told Pa,
And Johnny got a lickin’, so hahaha!
How many lickins’ did he get — 1, 2, 3, 4…


Mindfulness Thought

The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter and the spirit heals with joy.
~ Unknown


Summer Days — TBT

These lazy days of summer are flying by in a blur of sunny afternoon skies and long warm evenings sipping sangria on the patio. As I sit sipping my cold, fruity wine, I listen to the sounds of the neighbourhood — children laughing, adults chatting and families eating dinner outside, steaks and hotdogs sizzling on barbeques.

This cacophony of summer sent me into a reverie of seasons past and my thoughts drifted to days when my daughters were still at home. The fun days at the beach — with a picnic lunch and and drippy ice-cream cones melting in the sun. I remember days that turned to night as we sat on the sand and waited for the sun to set so we could ooh and ahh at stunning firework displays.

TBT to the Summer of 2010

I miss those days for sure — but I am also enjoying these times that are spent with alone with my husband. Blues and jazz playing on the stereo, quiet talks about books, life and watching movies on Netflix. Life is quieter now, slower, simpler — until the girls burst in the door for pizza night!!



TBT — Remembering Elementary School

Blog Post #237

I barely remember my elementary school days. Oh, sure, I have memories of my younger days — vignettes of a time long ago, when innocence reigned and life was carefree with only a skinned knee or lost toy to mar that period of time. But most of the memories that I do have are small moments in time that stand out, sometimes for no apparent reason.

As I was leafing through some old photos (again!), looking for an idea for a “Throw Back Thursday” post, I found an old school photograph of me in the first grade. This was my very first school picture and I have a few crystal clear memories of that day.

School Photo

I remember with perfect clarity the colour of the shirt I am wearing. It was a pale green — not pastel green, but sort of a light, mossy green. I remember it clearly because I loved that top. I loved everything about it  — the light shade, the ruffles on the collar that continued down the front concealing the little buttons and also adorned the little cap sleeves. I can picture my teacher perfectly in my mind. Mrs. Romanow, who was adored by the entire class of 5 and 6 year olds. She combed my hair that day — it was never so neat, not then and not now!!

I remember other instances from those early school days. Dick, Jane and Sally — the children featured in the books that I first learned to read. Making friends with new kids, learning to ice skate at recess on the bumpy outdoor ice rink, eating bologna sandwiches on white bread for lunch, the little pink metal lunch box that held those waxed paper-wrapped sandwiches. The big red primer pencils that we all used in grade one, our plump little fingers curled around them, struggling to draw the ABC’s. My desk with the lift up lid that held a notebook, eraser and those fat pencils.

Laughter, fun, excitement, scraped knees, friends, family and bubble gum. These, like most of my memories of my childhood, while fuzzy and a little dim, still retain a sense of joy, innocence and happiness. I hope that holds true for my children and for you, as well.





TBT — A Walk in Bear Creek Park

Blog Post #306

One of our favourite spots to have a leisurely walk is Bear Creek Park. The gardens are delightful — it’s peaceful, restorative and scenic no matter the season. We love to meander through the different plant displays, admiring the variety of trees, shrubs and flowers, walking on the bridges and trying to spot the fish as they dart through the pools. Of course, when we finish our stroll, we always visit the art gallery to check out the latest exhibit before we head home.

Trees at Bear Creek Park


A Look Back — the Historic Stewart Farm

Blog Post #292

One of my favourite place to visit is the Historic Stewart Farm. Located in the heart of South Surrey, the farm belonged to an early pioneer family, the Stewarts, from 1880 to 1994. Today the heritage site with its farmhouse, grounds and outbuildings is a vibrant tourist destination. The farm depicts life of Surrey long past complete with heritage activities, and events such as their annual Strawberry tea. In fact, at the end of this month I will be attending a book club at the farm — we will be discussing Jane Austen’s Emma, and enjoying tea and treats in the farmhouse.

Historic Stewart Farmhouse

The sprawling grounds are perfect for a lovely walk, with beautiful flowers, plants and lots of scenic views.

If you haven’t been to this historic site — you should go. Find out about all the events and programs on the City of Surrey website.


TBT – When We Went to the Zoo

Blog Post #278

A visit to the petting zoo — this is something we did often when my daughters were small. Simple pleasures that brought a lot of joy into our little girls’ lives.

Miss B and a little kid photo

When I think back to those days, I am sometimes filled with a sense of longing — a longing for those halcyon days when it was an uncomplicated matter to live in the moment, to enjoy our daughters’ childhoods. Or does it just seem so because I am looking back and the problems and challenges from that time have dimmed my memory of the stresses and tensions of raising a family?

It doesn’t matter now, does it? That little girl in the photo has grown up. She is a young adult going about the business of building her life — bringing her dreams to reality, finding her place in her world. My memories of my daughers’ childhoods are sweet and funny, filled with love and happiness. I know that we had our worries, our hard times, felt anxiety and fear —but when I look at the old photos, I remember the joyful, days when their giggles, smiles and lilting voices were heard throughout our home.

I remember love.


A Stroll Down Memory Lane — TBT

Blog Post #167

I was leafing through some old photo albums the other day. Looking at pictures of my girls when they were babies, toddlers and school children.

That brought back so many lovely memories — moments of joy, laughter and yes, even, tears. They are both young adults now, so there are a lot of family stories and favourite events that come to mind.

I was reminded of the  Christmas when Bailey got Ernie and Bert dolls from Santa. They were her favourite characters from the kids’ show Sesame Street. She loved them both, but Bert was definitely Number One, She would happily share Ernie with anyone — but no one was allowed to play with Bert — he was hers alone.


I had almost forgotten how much Brynne loved the swings in the playground — she would grin from ear to ear when she was swinging back and forth, but the tears would start the minute we tried to take her out of the seat — that kid LOVED the swings (still does as far as I know!)


I was deep into nostalgia as I peered over every photo in the book — it was pleasant way to spend a bit of time remembering my daughters when they were young. I miss those days a little.

Just as I picked up one last album, a photo slipped out from between the pages. It was an old, grainy, black and white photo of me! I looked to be around 2 years old and I’m laughing at the funny antics of a puppy that I see in the distance. I’m holding a ball in my hand. Of course, I don’t remember that at all, but I recall my mother telling me the story. When I look at this photo, I can almost envision that silly puppy!


My daughters love to go through our family photographs. Every so often, when we are all together, we drag out all  albums and look at them while remembering and retelling the stories. We each add our remembrances and fill in the blanks as we point out where we were at that moment — describing the scene in detail. These are the stories of our lives, who we are and what we mean to each other. Every photo has a tale to tell and we never tire of hearing them over again.

Those albums — they are a testament to our family— to love, laughter and life.






Throwback Thursday — Summer 2011

Blog Post #154

A trip to the Olympic Village to browse around the Portobello West Market with my friend Kath.

An outing like this included, not only the craft fair, but also an exploration of the village which was built for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Vancouver’s Olympic Village has since been converted to a mixed-use space nestled in the iconic False Creek area and is one of the greenest communities in the world.

Our day was filled with shopping and browsing through beautiful artisan jewelry, clothing, accessories and tasty handcrafted edibles like gorgeous chocolates and delectable savouries. After we had shopped our hearts out, we walked around the village, sipping coffee, and enjoying the views of the water, the city and the art and nature that adorns the community.

It’s always fun to stroll around the city exploring the neighbourhoods like False Creek. These are a few photos of our adventure from the summer of 2011. Enjoy!

electric vehicle charging station
You can charge your electric car at these charging stations in the village. Part of the sustainability features of this green community.


Sparrow Sculpture
A giant sparrow stands in the plaza in the Village. One of the art installations here.



Dragon Boat practice and a view of BC Place with the roof retracted



Dragon boat, kayaks, an Aquabus and a view of BC Place and Roger’s Arena


A view of Science World — and a Dragon boat practice







TBT — A Jam Session

Blog Post #102

There is nothing better than spreading some homemade jam on your morning toast. And when that jam was concocted together with a good friend, the taste is nothing short of heavenly.

Many summers ago, my lovely friend, Dani invited me to join her in her kitchen to cook up some apricot jam.  She had baskets of locally grown apricots and some of them were earmarked for the jam pot.


Soon we were chopping up a storm, laughing, chatting and having a blast! The afternoon flew by, that old adage is so true: “time flies when you are having fun”

Chopping fruit

When the simmering was done and the cooked fruit was ladled into jars, the scent of apricot and spices filled our senses — we ambled out to her lovely back yard to sip lemonade and play with Chloe, her lazybones kitty.

jam cooking



Later, at home, I admired our handiwork as I placed my share in the pantry. The golden-hued jam was like summer in a jar!

The jam, of course, didn’t last long — its lime-tinged sweetness added a delicious zest to our morning toast that brought the summer back with every bite. The memory of the jam-making session, however, still lives in my memory — a day of friendship, harmony, and love.



Throwback Thursday – A Party!

Blog Post #54

I just celebrated my birthday on Sunday — it was a lovely day — quiet and low key. Bruce and I went for a beautiful walk on the beach, he made dinner (chili, his specialty), and the girls came over for cake and presents. Low key, but intimate and sweet!

I mention my birthday because I was flipping through some old photo albums today and I came across this picture. I think it’s my seventh or eighth birthday. Looking at the photo, I have some vivid and fond memories of that party.


My mom had put strict restrictions on the invitation count for this party because the year before I had invited every kid in my class! Well, in my defense, she did say that I could invite ALL my friends — and I didn’t want anyone to be left out, so… we had cake for 20!!

This birthday, I was allowed to ask 7 or 8 kids only, much more manageable!

I remember the dress I am wearing — my mom sewed it herself — it was an orangey-red colour with black rickrack on the white collar, waist and sleeves. Don’t you love those calf-length white socks I’m wearing?

All the guests fashioned their own party hats out of construction paper, with pipe cleaners, and little stars for decoration. Then we wore them!

The little table that my gifts are piled on stands out distinctly in my memory. It was made out of metal and the top was white with multi-coloured polka dots on it. It had two little matching folding chairs. The perfect size table for holding birthday gifts!

And the cake! I remember it was chocolate with chocolate frosting. The birthday cake moment was special because not only was there cake, but there were also a few coins, wrapped in wax paper, stuffed inside that cake. There were nickels, a couple of dimes, and one quarter. Yep, this was a tradition — coins hiding in cakes, kids’ birthday cakes!! It was expected, we all knew the money was there, and we were all hoping for the quarter!! Some moms actually folded the wrapped coins into the batter and then baked the cake. My mom slipped the coin packets into the cake after it came out of the oven and then frosted it, thereby hiding the insertion points.

I was so disappointed that I didn’t get that quarter. Shouldn’t the birthday girl person get the quarter? Hmmph — I thought that was only fair!!

Apart from the fact that I only found a nickel in my piece of cake, this party was so much fun and a hit with my friends! I remain grateful to my mom for that party and for every other amazing, delightful party she held for me!

Oh, if you are curious — no…I never hid coins in my daughters’ cakes! I wonder, though, is this still a tradition? Did you have a birthday cake with money inside? Have you baked your child a “fortune” cake?


Brynne’s Daily Drawing #54

Brynne's Daily Drawing #54