Here's to you Dads!

Father's Day is quickly approaching ladies and it's not too late to get shopping for your Dad or the Mr.! I am lucky to have married a guy that's easy to shop for...he likes nice clothes, golf, to eat out and to spend time with his family. He LOVES to spoil his loved ones, but rarely will spoil himself. I know not everyone got as lucky as me - some can be hard to shop for! I've put together some ideas to help get you started. It's this weekend, June 20th, so let's get to work (and select the two-day shipping option)!

Local finds

Howard Clothing Co., is one of my husband's go-to local men's retailers. It has a fantastic selection of men's clothing and accessories and the owner, Chris, is one of the nicest guys you'll meet. He builds relationships with his clients and cares about how they look. He notifies my husband when there is a new item he thinks he'll love, or a not-to-miss sale starts up. Chris stocks a wide variety of fashion-forward brands like G-Star Raw, Fidelity, Johnny Love, Nudie Jeans, Barbour and more. Everything from shaving products to watches, belts and shoes, Chris and his staff will make sure your man is looking fine. They are located in the busy Morgan Crossing shopping area, next to Steve Nash Fitness.

Chapter's Indigo is another favorite spot to collect random items that your husband will love. BBQ tools, cookbooks, journals, books, mugs, etc are beautifully displayed in stores now. They also have a great website featuring their "Top 10 Gifts For Dad". Check it out! Some are even on sale now!

Chapter's Granville Street

Chapter's Granville Street

And for some more inspo, here are some of my top picks from various retailers:

The more personal, the better, so zone in on his favorite things and hobbies. A guilt-free afternoon off from household responsibilities, perhaps with feet up on the couch and watching the US Open is also a nice way to spoil them. They really are pretty simple creatures after all. :) Good luck and happy shopping ladies!

A Little Birthday Love Featuring Some Local Momtepreneurs

I don’t know about you, but lately I have been loving all of the momtepreneurs out there who have started their own companies. I love that these mamas are sharing some of their God-given talents and creating strong and independent businesses. While I support all forms of small business, I definitely have a soft spot for the local artisans. Handmade, unique, and custom pieces made to order - can it get any better? 

These last few weeks I have been busy trying to organize my daughter’s second birthday party. I have great Pinterest dreams and have been known to pull off a killer kids party in my time; but one thing I was never good at were all the amazing DIYs. I am the person who goes to Michaels with good intentions, purchases everything I need to make fab things, and then has it sit in bags (probably in the garage) until I return it months afterward for less than I paid - eek! I have learned that my time is not my own these days and that is ok because I have found other mamas to support in their craftiness!

For this party, I just wanted to create something simple and sweet. We hosted it outdoors and I used some amazing local vendors and wanted to share their work with you. Trust me ladies, you will thank me later! (I have linked all of the shops through their names!)

Dorothy Ellen Designs

I had this adorable shop make the gorgeous, custom burlap banner with my daughter’s name. She handmade the beautiful, little white tutus on either side of the banner and added the perfect touch of sweet lace to ends. I cannot wait to hang this in Everley’s room!

dorothy ellen designs

dorothy ellen designs

Urban Walls

This amazing, local shop does incredible art decals (that are easily put on or taken off walls) as well as custom artwork. I have used the decals in the past and they are actually fool-proof! I contacted the shop and requested a custom design print that could be framed (so I could use it for the party and in Everley’s room afterward). Urban Walls came up with the sweetest design and I am so in love with how it turned out!

BC Baby Creations

When I saw the gorgeous cake toppers this shop made, I knew I had to have one! I chose the gold, glitter “two” as the topper for my daughter’s cake and it added just the right amount of sparkle. There are so many other sweet goodies in the shop and all of them are just as amazing!

bc baby creations - mary konkin photography

bc baby creations - mary konkin photography

Sugar Love Cookie Designs

I had this sweet shop design and make the most amazing cookies. They were hand-painted to perfection and even had splashes of glittery gold - seriously too beautiful to eat. But we did…and they were absolutely delicious! 

Sweetness by Lenka Achacoso

This lovely shop was able to create an insanely delectable cake that looked exactly like I pictured in my Pinterest-obsessed head and that is a feat all in itself! I chose a naked cake (no outside frosting or fondant) in a lemon flavour with cream cheese icing and then added my own pink peonies to decorate it.

sweetness by lenka achacoso - mary konkin photography

sweetness by lenka achacoso - mary konkin photography

Motherhood: Life With Four

Mary konkin photography

Mary konkin photography

Unless I am housebound for 24 hours, I don't think there is a day that goes by where someone doesn't ask me, “how do you do it with four kids?” usually followed by “you’ve got your hands full” or “you must be really busy”. It’s funny because all of those comments are valid and if I stepped outside my reality for a moment I would probably be asking or saying the same things to another mom. The funny thing is, I really don't know how to answer the question of how I do it. I just do. Probably because I don't have a choice and mostly because I ask God for his strength and patience every single day

In the midst of all the chaos I try to remember how blessed I am to have little ones and how quickly this time will pass. I often get down on myself for not being the Pinterest mom that I would like to be; capturing every moment through a lens and documenting it all. I wish I had a scribe like back in the day that could follow me around and write down all the memories that are being made. 

At the same time, I have yearnings to do things that are outside of my children. I have a drive inside of my head with many business ideas that I have put to the side for now. As funny as it sounds, I miss the moments of freedom and selfishness that existed in my life beforehand. Then, of course, even just writing those thoughts down, the guilt floods in. In motherhood there are so many things that make you feel guilty. It starts with being pregnant and your diet, then whether you choose to breastfeed, then how long you breastfeed, then how well behaved your toddler is, then how much time you spend with your toddler, etc. etc. etc. etc. It never ends. 

Just like there is an unrealistic ideal for women’s appearances, there is an unrealistic ideal for motherhood. The truth is, we all do it the best way we know how. We need to stop comparing ourselves and learn to embrace the season that we are in. Realize that the pictures you see of other moms are just pictures - little snippets of their life that most likely do not reflect the crazy moments before or difficult ones that followed. We need to learn to “do motherhood” in a supportive group of family and friends who encourage us, love our families where we are at, listen to our heartaches and frustrations and celebrate our accomplishments - even if that accomplishment was just a shower! lol

You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking ‘This is impossible - Oh this is impossible!’ And then you just keep going and keep going and sort of do the impossible.
— Tina Fey

Just a little video on motherhood...enjoy xo

It's a Peppa Pig Party!

Sugar love cookie designs

Sugar love cookie designs

My Sweet baby turned five! I see every birthday as a beautiful opportunity for fun and celebration. I love spending the time planning parties with my girls and the thrill on the birthday girl's face makes my heart happy. This party was no exception! I started by sitting down with Bella to decide her theme, we narrowed it down together based on her her current faves. We decided on the popular Peppa Pig. Then the fun began with a "girls meeting" (love that my girls share my love of party planning). We began by brainstorming all the important aspects of Peppa Pig; where do they play? what do they do?, etc..) We decided to transform our living/dining room into the Peppa Pig Village including Grandpa's garden, the row boat, family car, ducks in the pond, muddy puddles, picnic and Miss Rabbit's fruit market.

My inspiration for the party began when I came across Sugar Love Cookie Designs on Instagram. I contacted Stacie about Peppa Pig cookies, and she exceeded my expectations. Aren't they incredibly beautiful?! Her cookies are vibrant in colour and made fresh to order. Love Stacie's attention to detail. The cookies were almost to beautiful to eat; glad I got over it because they were delicious.

I kept the food simple as my experience tells me kids don't eat much at parties. We had a picnic lunch on the floor which was a little crazy. The kids seemed more confused than excited.

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The chocolate fountain was the highlight of the party. The kids and my floor were a chocolate disaster by the time the parents returned but it was worth the mess. Look at that happy face:)

Usually I make my own cakes but I was coming off of a super busy week and this mama knows my limitations; I didn't want to be in a straight jacket for the party. I had my amazingly talented friend from JayBird Creations make this adorable cake.

We made a row boat out of a Rubbermaid container wrapped in paper and ducktape. We used the remaining paper rolls as the ores. We placed it on our blue sleeping bag with a blue tablecloth on the wall. Voila! Cost $3.00

For Grandpa's garden we filled a container with dirt from our garden and added dollar store flowers, shovels and worms. It wasn't as messy as I thought it would be and the kids had a blast digging in the dirt.

I picked up this market stand at Ikea for $12.99 and filled it with food from our playroom. The stand in sturdy and super easy to assemble. The kids had fun organizing and taking turns being Miss Rabbit.

Peppa Pig spends a great amount of time at the duck pond so naturally we needed one in our living room.

Daddy pigs famous red car! To make the car I covered my coffee table with a hot pink fitted sheet (Not red, but it was close enough). I cut wheels and headlights out of construction paper and attached them with safety pins. Bella had the idea to use a pot lid as the steering wheel.

The girls loved the pig cups that my daughter created!

We made a photo background with plastic table cloths, thumb tacs and dollar store fence and butterflies. I found the grass throw rug in the clearance section at Ikea. Win!!! It was the perfect finish.

As you can tell from her ear to ear grin, this little lady had a fabulous imaginative party. Thanks to the help of dollar stores and little workers the party was creative, fun and didn't break the bank. Party planning brings me so much joy, I can hardly wait to start planning my daughter's Soul Surfer party!!!! T-133days!!!

The Bunny Brought It!

With this being the week of Easter, I thought it would be fun to share with you 50 Easter basket fillers your kids will love!  In our house, the Easter bunny comes on Saturday morning. My girls wake up to find a basket at the foot of their bed filled with goodies. Then the hunt begins to find chocolate filled Easter eggs hidden throughout the house. In order to keep it fair and challenging for each child, I (er, um, I mean the Easter bunny) hides different coloured eggs for each child. This year my oldest will have turquoise, middle purple and youngest pink.  We have so much fun hunting for eggs together. I know one may wonder how the one who hides has fun hunting? After 3 kids, my memory is not what it once was; even with my help we’ve been known to find eggs in June. 

As a child I loved the tradition of waking up to my plastic Easter basket at the end of my bed. Every year my basket looked the same: Easter grass, socks, Easter hat, skipping rope, silly putty, underwear & a chocolate bunny. It was predictable, practical and oh so special.  That’s what I want to create for my kids: memories that still bring a smile to their face 30 years later. It wasn’t about the items but about the thought and care of my parents that made it special.

It’s not about filling our kids baskets to the brim with random trinkets.  Instead, choose items that promote creativity and connection, create memories or fill a practical need for your child. 

  1. Sandals
  2. Sunglasses
  3. Nail Polish
  4. Underwear
  5. Diary
  6. Hat
  7. Swim Suit
  8. Beach Toys
  9. Mini Baby Dolls
  10. Bubble Bath
  11. Ear Phones
  12. Lego Friends
  13. Mini Monster Trucks
  14. Bubbles - Link to mess free bubbles perfect for toddlers :)
  15. Side Walk Chalk
  16. $5.00 Menchie's Gift Card
  17. Gift Certificate for Later Bedtime, Mommy or Daddy Date or Electronic Time
  18. Magazine Subscription
  19. Stuffed Animal
  20. Stickers
  21. Teether
  22. Frisbee
  23. Thermos Bottle
  24. Star Wars Silicone Molds
  25. Tattoos
  26. Skipping Rope
  27. Movie Passes 
  28. Bubble Gum
  29. Flip Flops
  30. Alarm Clock
  31. Scratch Art
  32. Beach Towel
  33. Hair Accessories in plastic eggs
  34. Woopie Cushion 
  35. Book Mark
  36. Easter Book
  37. Piggy Bank
  38. Character Bandaids
  39. Markers or Crayons
  40. Seeds to make seed bombs with mom & dad
  41. Note Book or Colouring Books
  42. Washi Tape
  43. Play-Doh Eggs
  44. Silly Putty
  45. Wet Brush
  46. Watch
  47. Gift Certificate to choose the 1st song in the car or sit shotgun
  48. Lip Gloss
  49. Apron to bake with mom
  50. Family Charades Game

Happy Easter!

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7-Day Countdown to Easter

Easter is the most important holiday in the Christian faith but is easily overshadowed by the excitement of Easter egg hunts and chocolate bunnies. This year I wanted to offer a way to stay focused on Jesus, how he lived a perfect life, died on a cross and rose again to redeem the world from sin. I thought it would be fun to do a daily countdown from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday with my girls.

My plan is to have them hunt for an Easter egg each day. Once found, the egg will be opened as a family to reveal an Easter truth. We will then read scripture and engage in an activity together to focus our minds and hearts on the importance of the item. It's easy to put these eggs together. I used some items from my set of Resurrection Eggs (donkey, cup, praying hands) and added some items of my own (cloth, light, rock, cross).  This set can easily be put together with items from around the house or use pictures. 

I've included a plan with links to activities and music.  Take the following suggestions and tweak them to best engage your kiddos (my oldest cringes at the songs but my younger girls love them).

Get the whole family involved and have fun!


Day 1 - Palm Sunday – "Donkey"

Scripture: John 12:13-19

Summary: Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem and many people saw him and hoped that he would become their new king, they waved branches and shouted Hosanna which means "save us now".

Activity: Make palm branches from green paper. Act the story out. Be the donkey and let the kids take turns being Jesus and waving branches shouting “Shout Hosanna”


Day 2 – Monday – "LED Light or Tea Light"

Scripture: John 8:12 / John 12:35-36

Summary: Jesus had referred to Himself as the Light of the World. Then after he rode through Jerusalem on a donkey he tells His disciples, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you still have the light. Do this before darkness catches up with you. Anyone who walks in the dark will not know where he is going. While you have the light, put your trust in it. Then you can become sons of light." When we follow Jesus we are in the light, when we don't then we are living in the darkness.

Activity: Turn off the lights. It's so dark. Turn on the led light or tea light. Crazy how a tiny light can illuminate the whole room and help us see.  How can we be a light in the world? How can we be light to those around us? Most importantly how can we lead others to the Light (Jesus)?


Day 3 – Tuesday – "Cloth"

Scripture: John 13:1-17

Summary:  In Jesus' time being a foot washer was the worst, lowest class job. It required a person to wash feet covered in dirt, mud and even poo. Ew!! Jesus surprised his disciples by washing their feet. In this act, Jesus was selfless, showing them how to serve one another in action. How can we serve one another in love?

Activity: Wash your kids feet; let them wash your feet.


Day 4 – Wednesday – "Cup"

Scripture: Matthew 26:26-29

Summary: The cup reminds us of a special dinner that Jesus had with his best friends, the 12 disciples. Jesus knew he was going away soon and that this would be his last supper with his friends. While they were eating, Jesus took bread and gave some to his disciples and said, "Take this and eat it. This is my body." Then he took a cup of wine and said, "All of you drink from it. This is my blood of the new covenant. It is poured out to forgive the sins of many. Here is what I tell you. From now on, i won't drink wine with you again until the day I drink it with you in my Father's kingdom." He didn't mean they were actually going to eat his body and drink his blood. It was a symbol of his broken body and shed blood (his sacrifice) and the promise he was making to them and to all people.

Activity: Take communion as a family with grape juice and crackers if your kids are already Christians and fully understand and have accepted what Jesus did for them.


Day 5 – Thursday – "Praying Hands"

Scripture: Matthew 26:36-46

Summary: Why are these hands folded? What do you think they are doing? These hands remind us of what Jesus did after the last supper he had with the disciples. The bible says, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray because he was sad about what was going to happen on the cross. "My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But it's not as I want but as you want, may your will be done."  Do you ever feel sad? You can always do what Jesus did and pray and tell God exactly how you feel. He always listens. Jesus wanted to do what God asked of him. Jesus said Yes.

Activity: Listen to this song. Hold hands and pray together as a family. What is God asking you to do for him?

 

 


Day 6 – Good Friday – "Cross"

Scripture: Matthew 27:29-50

Summary: From the beginning God loved us and wanted each of us to be his child and live with him forever. But because of sin, the bad things we think and do, we were separated from God. He wanted to make a way to be with Him. Jesus came as a human being and led a perfect life, then was crucified on a cross. We know that because Jesus is the Son of God that he could have stopped the men from crucifying him but he let them because he was taking the punishment for all the wrongs that anyone had every done. This includes you and me. 

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Everyone sins, even mommy and daddy & everyone needs to seek God's forgiveness. If we ask, he will forgive and wash our sins clean.

Activity: Cross Craft


Day 7 – Saturday – "Stone"

Scripture: Matthew 27:59-66

Summary: After Jesus died, his friends wrapped him in a cloth and put his body in a tomb. The Pharisee's were worried that Jesus' friends would take his body so a big stone (probably as heavy as a car) was rolled in front of the opening. Special soldiers stood guard. It was a sad day for Jesus' friends.

Activity: Take turns wrapping each other up in toilet paper; reenact the story.


Day 8 – Easter Sunday – "Empty"

Scripture: Matthew 28:1-10/16-20

Summary: God's angel caused an earthquake and the stone was rolled away. The guards were so afraid they fainted.  Remember how heavy the stone was? It was no match for God's power. People call Easter 'resurrection day' which means "back to life" or "lives again". Just like the egg was empty, the tomb was empty. Jesus was alive! That was the promise Jesus told his disciples at the Last Supper. He told them He would die but would come back to life to show those who believed in Him that he was the Messiah and that they would live forever with Him. Do you believe in Jesus?  Explain to your kids when you made the decision to follow God and make Him the treasure of your whole life.

Activity: Dance and follow the actions in Mighty Resurrection Day. Get crazy with the kids, somersault whenever they sing "stone was rolled away!"

Here is one more catchy song for preschoolers that helps summarize the Easter Story:

Donut You Love Donuts?

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day! Eek! Isn't it crazy how holidays are on the same day each year yet they always seem to sneak up on us? You planned to make this Valentine's special for your family, now you find yourself scrolling Pinterest looking for something fast that will make people think you slaved all weekend. Donut look any further! (Ha, see what I did there?)

I had grand plans of making donuts from scratch for our Valentine's brunch, but who was I kidding? I am a busy mom of three girls, I don't have time for all that. Instead, I picked up a couple dozen old fashioned plain donuts from Tim Horton's and whipped these together in minutes. Literally, minutes. What's lost in nutrition is certainly made up in time.

For the icing I used candy melts. They can be found in a variety of colours or can be coloured with Wilton icing colour. Walmart has a great Wilton selection. Candy Melts can be melted on a double broiler or in the microwave. Once heated, stir until smooth then dip the donut until evenly coated and set to dry.

Kids can help with adding the final touches. The coconut dip were a favourite at the girlfriend's brunch!

Or add some melted candy melts to an icing bag or ziploc, cut a small hole in the corner and add xo's or swirls. So simple and oh so lovely!

I'm not sure what my kids liked more, making the donuts or eating them. Either way, they were a hit for adults and kids alike.

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What are you waiting for? Go get your Martha on, and don't worry, if you don't tell how easy these donuts are to make, neither will I :)

A Valentine's Affair

Ah, love day! A day dedicated to showering those dear to your heart with everything sweet and sentimental. One thing we love here, at Oh So Lovely, is a simple and beautiful table setting.

We love to host all kinds of events but with our collective crew of 10 children, a beautiful table setting can be challenging at best! We wanted to create a setting perfect for a girlfriends’ brunch that could be easily converted to a little girls lunch - because 8 of our 10 children are girls!

We created a palette of soft pinks and peaches and mixed in some splashes of copper and rose gold. Totally not traditional Valentine’s colours but we wanted it to be soft, airy and modern.

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We accentuated the setting with gorgeous flowers from Ocean Park Flowers - they have the most amazing selection and fabulous floral arrangements!

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While the children hurried in from activities, we were able to switch up the table to child-friendly in a matter of minutes! Out goes toasted coconut donuts and maple glazed grapefruit (what was left of it!) and in comes sprinkled pretzels and heart-shaped cookies from a trendy local deli, Malones.

We removed the glass vases as well as the vintage stained-glass german flutes and replaced them with milk jars and straws, paper napkins and water jugs - the girls were over the top excited looking at their beautiful table and special lunch!

Butter Baked Goods

To celebrate our launch we made a trip into the city for tea at the famous Butter Baked Goods. If you have never been, you are missing out!  It is the sweetest bakery nestled in the quaint neighbourhood of Kerrisdale. When you walk into Butter Baked Goods, you cannot help but feel joy and nostalgia of childhood. The colours and warmth invite you in, mesmerized by the beautiful displays of delicious treats, all baked fresh on site.

After much contemplation we finally decided on a variety of cupcakes. Erin has a slight obsession with cupcakes! The flavours were pure and rich, leaving you full but craving more. 

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Butter Baked Goods is famous for their homemade marshmallows. They come in seventeen different flavours and packaged so beautifully, making it a lovely hostess gift. Rebecca's favourite is the toasted coconut.

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We each paired our sweet cupcake with a pot of Butter Baked Goods' blended teas.  Our favourites were the Mackenzie Black Maple and Buttercream blend.

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Before leaving, we chose treats to surprise our kids. Carrie's daughter has an egg allergy and was thrilled to find Butter Baked Goods has the cutest eggless sugar cookies.

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What a lovely girls day out with beautiful friends (and Rebecca's handsome guy). It was a perfect location to celebrate the launch of this new adventure. We raise our cups and saucers to Oh So Lovely. May we always share a love for all things lovely!

Valentine Pallet DIY

I love a good DIY project! I like taking old things and making them new or spending very little for supplies to make something unique and special. I'm a very spontaneous DIY'er; when I get an idea in my head, I just go for it. It always ends up a little different than I originally envisioned but the process always brings me joy.

We used to have a chalkboard wall in our house that I would post this Valentine verse every year. Our current home does not have one so, I thought it would be fun to turn the verse into a pallet wall hanging that I can display each February.

This was an easy project that cost less than $20 and brings a smile to my face every time I go out the front door.

As I said, I don't pre plan my projects, which makes me look extra blonde at the hardware store. I have to lay every item out on the floor to visualize what I want and use a lot of hand gestures to explain to the confused clerk what I "may" need.

With the help of my 4year old, I purchased four 1x4x8 trim at Home Depot. I had them cut each board into 3 equal pieces (they will do this at no extra charge). I lined up my 12 pieces on the floor and had them cut a 1x3x8 to the length of the boards to brace the picture together.

I started by screwing two brace boards to each pallet and added a hanger on the top of each brace. I held it up to look at my masterpiece and every board fell off. Minor setback... Back to Home Depot for screws long enough to hold it together. Phew, back on track!

I found white paint in my garage from another project, yay! Love when project materials can be used in multiple DIY's. I painted the pallet solid white.

I knew I only needed 9 pallet lines for the Valentine verse so I used the top 3 for design. I wanted to keep it simple, but you could add any design. I traced a heart and filled it in with red folk art paint from the dollar store. Easy Peasy!

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Next, I free handed the verse with a pencil then traced over with paint (Another option would be to stencil the letters). I recommend self medicating before attempting; it is tedious and hard on your back :).

The perfectionist in me cringes a little at the printing, but I believe the key to a successful DIY is to not take the project or myself too seriously. I think it's special that my kids will see my printing as they read this truth. Another DIY success; my family loves it and my husband never questioned my choice of DIY'ing in the middle of our living space. Love that man!

Happy DIY'ing!!!