Watson & Mayberry

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motherhood

"Hey, Brown Sugar Lavender Syrup- GET IN MY COFFEE!!"

RecipesSteph SheratonComment
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Ah, springtime.

Yes, it snowed here in Seattle this week but we can't help but look forward to sunshine, Sunday morning runs to the Ballard Farmer's Market & dinners on the patio overlooking the sunset. But until then, this brown sugar lavender syrup in our coffee is EVERYTHING. And it's crazy easy.  

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking lavender
  • sauce pan
  • mason jar for storage
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract for added flavor
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Step 1: Add water, sugar & lavender to the sauce pan.

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Step 2: Turn stove on medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until mixture comes to a boil.  

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Step 3: Turn down heat & allow to simmer for 2 minutes. (tick-tock, tick-tock)  This is when to add the vanilla extract if you're wanting a sweeter syrup flavor!!

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Step 4: Strain lavender with a paper towel or spoon.  Let cool. 

Step 5: Enjoy a tablespoon (or 2) in your java & pretend it's spring:). Store in a mason jar (or tight sealing container) in the fridge. If sealed properly, it'll be good for up to a month!

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Looking for some at-home coffee suggestions??

I'm a self-declared coffee snob. Having worked espresso before, I can spot a good cup'a joe & a fraud from a mile away.

We gave up on expensive espresso machines (they were so... well... expensive. And the espresso always started to have a weird "espresso machine" taste instead of just the flavor of the bean shining through) & fell in love w/ aero press for pulling our own shots. We pull 2 shots of espresso, add a tablespoon of our Brown Sugar Lavender syrup, a splash of cream, & pour over ice. DI-VINE.

Roasters we currently love?

  • Stumptown - "Hairbender" roast... b/c it's SO YUM & comes in our Smith Brothers Farm milk delivery.
  • Bird Rock Espresso - a random find on a trip to SoCal in La Jolla. The won micro brewer of the year!

Bottoms up! Happy weekend!!

Woodland Tea Party- swoon fest for our Penelope June's 1st Birthday!!

Steph SheratonComment

Sunday, May 15th we rang in our sweet Penelope June's 1st birthday w/ all the bells & whistles... ok, maybe not bells & whistles, but most definitely lots of tea cups, bubble machines, copious amounts of fabric & lace buntings, & most importantly- obnoxiously large floral crowns.

We laughed & swooned the afternoon away, enjoying the company of close friends & family & feeling over-the-top... BLESSED.

Of course it had been yet another gorgeous week in Seattle, like, bathed-both-babies-in-the kiddie-pool-on-the-patio-every-night kinda gorgeous. Then Saturday? It down poured. It rained all day Sunday as well w/ the exception of our party & the hour before it- a true birthday miracle! But b/c of weather & our usual busy Sunday morning @ church, by the time we got everything out to our little slice of heaven in the woods? We had 30 minutes to set up & decorate- YIKES. Thank goodness for a few good friends & family members who helped pull it all together!

Being a maker & a mama on a budget, I wanted to share how we pulled off this little love fest & for under $150- true story.

Here's how we did it- ready for the secret???

WE MADE PEOPLE PAY TO COME!

Ok- definitely not:D!

Here's the breakdown of the different elements of our little shindig & then a glorious photo gallery @ the end to eat your little hearts out!:)

 

PHOTOS!! I really wanted to "be in the moment" & not worry about capturing the moments I'd miss trying to capture them:). Our dear friend Candace took a million beauties for us- she's a midwife-to-be who also does all our W&M shoots, fam shoots, & was even there @ Penelope's birth to capture our first moments w/ her. We're obsessed! We also passed around our camera & got a bunch of gems from my mom & mother-in-law:).

Because our little Woodland Tea Party was in fact "in the woods" we had to provide our guests w/ directions of how to find our little magical spot. My hubbs picked up some lumber & we rigged these simple directional signs up right quick that marked the trail. So simple, so charming, & SO cheap. Some quick paint & scrap fringe? Voila. Total cost? $5.

Of course, when throwing a tea party, one must have a stellar table & spread!! We constructed ours in true Alice in Wonderland extravagance by connecting 2 long table & covering them with vintage floral sheets & table clothes (Total cost: $2). The table was sat with 6 chairs, each thrifted for $1/per & then painted or decorated. We also brought the 2 benches from our own farmhouse kitchen table to seat more buns. My favorite piece (still sitting on our patio since there's no spot in the house:D) is that wild floral chair!! I snagged it for $1.50 @ a Goodwill Outlet on a 1/2 price furniture day haha:). Here's how we decorated the table setting:

The table setting was basically a mod podge of stuff I just snagged from our house & threw in laundry bins. The different thing about throwing a party in the deeper woods is that if you forget something? There ain't no goin' back for it. But? That's SO much crap to carry!!! A few of the essentials I brought were some vintage floral tins, misc. mason jars we filled with fresh flowers I'd snagged that morning, & one of my fav details- 2 vintage egg baskets, each with an Anthropology Volcano candle burning in it so we can all agree- it smelt like HEAVEN in our little piece of the forest. We threw in lots of random things that I found charming- a vintage globe, some jadeite dishes & cake plates, & old Reader's Digest books w/ pretty patterned covers. Because it was a tea party, we obviously needed tea cups & such- not something I keep a million of around the house:). So here's what I did!! I thrifted them!! I snagged all of these for about $30 total (tried to spend no more than $1/piece). Another fun detail was the silverware. I snagged about 30 different silver forks w/ fun handles from a thrift store. It cost me about $4, so comparable to plastic flatware but was SO much more charming.

Everyone likes good food @ a party, am I right?! We lucked out a smidge in this dept. because our gathering was @ 3pm. We served up a tasty spread of gummy bears & peachios (that I purchased in bulk & my grocery checker TOTALLY gave me judgy eyes like I was just gonna sugar up my own toddler & bae w/ all that), homemade mini scones w/ jam (thanks to my baker-iffic sis-in-law), homemade lemon bars (thanks ma!), turkey wraps (thank ma-in-law!) & our party staple- cake pops. Here's my amazing life hack, fool proof, crazy-easy cake pop recipe:

World’s Best (& easiest) Cake Pops:
-1 package of oreos
-1 package of soft cream cheese
*Crush oreos (let your kiddo help w/ this by doing it in a large ziploc & letting them have at it!) & then mix in the cream cheese.
*Handle into small balls & allow to harden in the freezer
*Dip in candy chocolate, add a stick, & sprinkle!

We saved ourselves some major dimes by doing the cakes ourselves as well. I went super organic & cutting edge on these- or not so much. 3 boxes of Funfetti cake mix later, we had 2 2-layer cakes smothered in peach frosting & rainbow sprinkles- one for our guests & one for our little bae to smash to her hearts content:). We sugared everyone up w/ cake for less than $10.

DRINKS!! We set up our little yellow vintage table as the drink station. Because we're Seattle folk, coffee is always a must. We had a growler of cold brew (thanks Kels!!) w/ cream & homemade vanilla brown sugar syrup. We also served peach iced tea, water bottles & juice boxes b/c #kidparty .

The part I was most excited to see in action was setting up the "atmosphere". Ridiclous amounts of homemade fabric bunting, vintage quilt squares clothes pinned to twine draped between trees, & vintage doily dream catchers- every pop of color was so beautiful against the natural pallet of the forest. We also threw in a few chalkboards from home & took a few minutes to print off some pictures of this past year w/ our little dream girl. A simple element was a large wooden frame I snagged for $1 & spray painted gold. I push-pinned a few strands of vintage lace across the back & it provided the perfect canvas to display photos. The most magical additions were our lanterns. How to construct? I purchased 3 used lampshade covers ($6 total) & then cut off the fabric covering. I spray painted the structures gold & hot glued some vintage lace & random trims. Piece of cake!

At most kiddo parties, everyone gathers around for the present opening hay-day. To overcome this hurdle (& provide a cozy spot for babies to safely hang & crawl around) we laid out a waterproof tarp & then covered it w/ vintage quilts & cozy throws. Add a few pillows & it was basically glamping!!

 

Dressing the birthday girl- oh how i adored this part!!

I whipped up this darling sun suit for Miss P out of some beautiful eyelet lace my mom had snagged from Mood Fabric in New York & set aside for a special occasion. The matching mama-babe floral crowns I chose to purchase from a fellow mama & YOU GUYS. She was amazing to work with- I can't sing her praises enough. Check out her Insta @racooli.shop !!

Still reading? Here's a fun gallery of some special photos. What a perfect day for our little family!!

Sunday morning coffee & donuts

Steph SheratonComment
Grabbing coffee & donuts @ Fix Coffee House 

Grabbing coffee & donuts @ Fix Coffee House 

A long time ago, I remember feeling like God was challenging me to trust Him with my heart. Sounds whimsical, right? And if you're not religious it might sound downright weird. Fair enough. If you hang around any crew long enough, you start to pick up their lingo & the same can be true of the Christian church. Sorry:). For me, trusting God with my heart is to trust him w/ the core of who I am: my hopes, dreams, desperate passions- the details of my life. Back then they were fears of a college girl- “Will I ever get married? Will I be loved? Fulfilled? Do something significant with my life? “ And yet here we are years later- same question. But nowadays it looks a bit dfferent.

 

You see, at the wee hour of 12:11 a.m., tossing & turning, unable to fall asleep & allowing my mind to wander to all things here & there, I’m thinking about tomorrow. Picturing what tomorrow morning will hold: Like most Sunday mornings, it'll be coffee & donuts w/ my 2 healthy, vibrant babies before we join my husband at church where he'll have already been preparing & greeting for several hours. On Sundays the babies & I (often w/ friends & family) like to frequent local coffee & donut shops, finding new interesting cubbies in our city & new fav local haunts. "Maybe we'll walk to Broadcast Coffee where they have the donuts Tuck likes & the coffee I love. Maybe we'll wander down to Green Lake to Fix Coffee House where it's always busy & the people watching can be stellar. Or maybe it'll rain so we'll drive down to Whole Foods (where i can park my car in the free garage so we don't get wet unloading everyone from the car- GLORY!!) & I can get the baby scrambled eggs from the hot bar..." Such little, seemingly meaningless things, but these very things i'm realizing are everything. You see, I’ve just now realized that these simple Sunday mornings are in fact what I have dreamed of my whole life. Like- literally- this is it. I'm here. It's the abundance of love, of grace, of family I had always hoped for. I laid in bed tonight scrolling pictures on my phone- seeing the changes in my babies over even the last few months. My chest got tight. I could barely breath, overwhelmed with how much I love these precious babes in my care.

 

Yet here I am all these years later- same question: “Do you trust me with your heart?” Sure I do. But here’s the thing- game changer: My heart is so much THEM. My heart is my dreamy three year old son Tucker who’s footsteps padding across the kitchen floor when he’s coming to find me first thing when he wakes in the morning is a sound I’ll never forget. That little boy who finishes the songs I’m humming, always steals the last bites of my snacks (& laughs uncontrollably about it), who’s concerned for the feelings & well-being of the people around him. At three years old he gets that its important for the people around him to know they’re loved. My heart is my scrunchy-faced perma-smiler Penelope, only 9 months old but absolutely flawless, brave, & like waking up to Christmas morning everyday. Soft, warm cheeks, that press into my neck & chest when she’s being shy; eyes that light up when she sees her daddy- just like he’s always dreamed they would. Tiny, perfect dimpled hands, stronger that anyone would expect- I literally can not put into words how precious their tiny souls are too me. I value them before my life with zero consideration. I don’t fear for my life or safetly for the sake of that in itself but b/c I think “If I’m gone, will they be loved well? No one will love them like I do.”

 

Years ago before I had babies, I was making my mom a scrapbook & ran across a quote. Back then I found it to be cheeky & charming, but now it downright terrifies me:

“Making the decision to have a child- it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
— Elizabeth Stone

So sure God- I trust you. You have my heart & my attention- I understand that I'm not just a mom but that I have my own unique hopes & desires to deal with. But the real challenge now a days & true test of the depth of that trust is if i trust you with THEM. Do i truly? Helicopter mom tendencies & all aside? God, can you love them as wholly as I do? Do you have their best interests in mind? Will your heart hurt when you see their tender heart has been hurt by another silly little kid on th playground? Will you notice when Tuck is needing comfort & drawn near to him? Will you see the treasure that is our darling Penelope & protect her? I don't know if you're cut out for the job... surely no one can love them better than me.

 

Oh wait.

 

Except YOU.

 

After all:

Who better to protect our hearts than the one who made them & loves them most. 

 

Xoxo, S

 

"These are a few of my favorite things..."

Favorite ThingsSteph SheratonComment

I spend a ridiculous amount of time cleaning my home. But here's the thing: if you dropped in on me? I'd probably be embarrassed by the toys strewn across the floor, dishes in the sink, & a pile of clean laundry on the couch waiting to be folded. The second everything is in it's place, the counter tops wiped, & maybe even the victory lighting of my favorite Anthropology Volcano candle- IT happens. THEY want to play again. THEY want dinner. The nerve, right?! I follow a wonderful mama on Instagram, @mytinytribe . She's a cali native, mama to 3 girls, & what intrigues me about her is that she's a minimalist. She quoted a statistic a few weeks back that families who choose to live with "less stuff" spend 40% less time on housework. This struck a nerve with me. I'm a work-from-home-mama, a wife to visionary, hard-working pastor, & an individual who thrives on having purpose. That 40% less, whether that be even just an extra 5 minutes a day should be spent having face time with my kids. It should be spent growing & engaging the business & dream I love. Reading. A million different things.

I'm not a minimalist. I would probably freak out in a home w/ no pictures of our family displayed, not a single vintage book w/ a beautiful aged color on it's spine, & no egg basket filled w/ a few of my favorite cook books & some jadeite. I want my home to be refreshing. I want it to be "us." I've come to a place in my life where I want less "stuff" & instead, a few favorites. I'll trade my collection of 8 flannels I like for 2 that I love & feel killer in.

This has begun a long & slow process in my home & in my life to eliminate the clutter & narrow down our life to things we truly love. OUT w/ the cluttered basket of random kid toys & puzzles missing pieces & IN to a few classics my babes can find easily & engage with daily. When I say it's been a slow process, it's because it's not a journey just for me. My toddler & baby are growing by the day & their clothing & entertainment need are changing frequently as well. My husband has a right to what he want to keep & what he can let go of. It's OUR home. But you guys- I'm just So. Over. Stuff. 

I'll continue to share this process here w/ ya'll as I grow & learn & stretch, but for now, I wanted to share a few of my favorite things. I had so many clothes when I started this process that i'd actually forget what I had & would be pleasantly surprised when I'd find a cool shirt squished in the back of my drawer I'd forgotten about. I want to know what I have & use it wisely. The rest I don't need! So here are a few of my current favs; things I use & wear frequently & things I love. Enjoy!!

 

*BDG Olly Flannel Shirt (currently on sale for $39!!) This was a Christmas gift from my hubbs & I may or may not have worn it over Christmas weekend for 3... maybe 4 days in a row. It's that perfect. & don't judge my lack of showering- it was Christmas break so i took a break:D

http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=36179117&category=W_APP_BLOUSES&color=060

*Free People Grey Sweater Leggings: (currently unavailable but here's a similar pair. Bought mine for $30 & wear them All. The. Time.)

http://www.freepeople.com/shop/better-late-than-never-legging/?c=leggings

*Free People Voile & Lace Trapeze Slip: This piece was a splurge when I had some fun mull come in. Worth. Every. Penny. It's divine on it's own or layered with chunky sweaters. Even under thermals & flannels! I picked mint- no shocker. LOVE. Shop the link below:

http://www.freepeople.com/shop/voile-and-lace-trapeze-slip/

*Slouchy Tribal Sweater: Brand: Koto. Scored it @ a consignment store but this brand carries tons similar & available ones online! Urban Outfitters carries the brand as well.

*Steve Madden Tribal Moccasin Booties: I bought these YEARS ago & I can't believe I haven't completely run them into the ground. I'm also not sure what i'll do when I eventually wear 'em out or have finally spilled one too many iced espressos on them! Available online through diff vendors- give 'em a Google!