Motherhood, mothers day, Uncategorized

Mamas and strawberry lemonade

My mom is genuinely my best friend. My husband jokes about the amount of time I spend with her…but I explained to him how she’s not like “most moms”. How she will stand with me in the pit at a concert drinking wine and dancing or go totally natural with our similar wavy hair or the way she chases adventure and gets me to teach her how to ride horses. I explained to him how she was just nice to be around, a kindred spirit now that I’m older and out of the house. We’re just enough different and just enough similar.

I’m an old soul and my mom and I share a love for antiques and nature. So we both enjoy reading the old timey magazine called Victoria magazine. I saw where I could send in a letter for Mother’s Day explaining what I loved about my mom. I saw this at 8 am and not even 20 minutes later I had written something to send in before work. It was so easy to write and recall all the ways she was a good mother. It got published in the magazine for the May/June issue along with many other women writing about their great mother’s. It was cool to see my mom’s attributes displayed in a magazine we both loved alongside so many other amazing tributes to women’s mother’s. It made me realize how powerful womanhood and motherhood is.

I thought I’d go ahead and share with you what I wrote in honor of Mother’s Day and in remembrance of all the amazing mothers out there who work so hard to cultivate lives full of joy and peace:

“As a child, I would always tiptoe down the stairs in the morning-greeted by the aroma of fresh coffee-to find my mother wrapped in one of her pink or floral robes. Before doing anything else, I would crawl onto her lap and rest my head on her chest. Planting a kiss on my forehead, she would ask me how I slept. She always smelled like peonies, and I think this was because she adored them. I believe that what you love, you in some way become.

Today, newly married, I have a painting hanging in my house of a woman with auburn hair smelling roses. Her eyes are closed, and her head is lifted, as if she is inhaling the best perfume in the world. This portrait reminds me of my mom because it captures her approach to motherhood: soaking it up for all it’s worth and savouring it completely. She cooked heavenly food, cultivated an inviting and orderly home, and loved us with grace and kindness. As I grow older, I realize what a job that was and how she took it on as her purpose.

She raised five women, all of whom have grown and are thriving but still dearly love their mom as a friend and confidant. I notice qualities my sisters inherited from our mother in the way Claire cooks, how Mary loves coffee and can brew the perfect pot, the way Lauren nurtured so tenderly, and how Cate loves to keep things homey and clean. And me? I love flowers. I pray everyday that when I have children, they will see things in me that make them feel safe and warm inside, just like we all feel with mom. But more than anything, I hope I will smell like flowers.”

Here’s a recipe to treat your special mom with a refreshing drink you can make on Mother’s Day. It’s a delicious strawberry lemonade that she will love.

Simply smash in a sieve 4 or 5 fresh, ripe strawberries or frozen, thawed, into a two cup measuring cup. Squeeze two lemons into the cup. Add three teaspoons of sugar or stevia ( I use Pyure) to taste. Fill with water and stir vigorously. Taste and adjust sugar and lemon to suit your taste. Pour into glasses, add ice and garnish with lemon slice and mint.

Serve immediately to your mom!

Family Life, Motherhood, soup, wintertime, Uncategorized

Instant Pot Harvest Italian Soup


In the fall and winter when I ask my family for ideas for dinner I usually get back, how about soup? Nothing is as cozy as a steaming bowl of soup at the table on a cold winter night but I don’t always have time. Soup in my opinion takes a little effort. When all the ingredients are sautéed before liquid is added and when it has time to slowly simmer, I find that brings out the best flavor.

I used to make a lot of soup in the crock pot but I would often get this strange metallic taste. Sometimes the taste wasn’t there if the onions, veggies and garlic were cooked well before being added to the liquid but who has time for that when you’ve just thought of throwing something together before going off to work in the morning?

And at night when I’m trying to navigate homework, baths, babies crawling under my feet and trying to get into the cat food dish, I don’t have time to deal with fry pans and simmering something for an hour.

So my Instant Pot has been so wonderful for this busy working mom. Only one pot to clean and while I still add each ingredient to the sauté feature it only cooks for about 30 minutes. But it tastes like it’s been simmering for hours.


This is my husband’s favorite. It’s like Italian wedding soup without pasta and the variations are endless. As long as you have a base of mild (or hot if you live on the edge) Italian sausage, white beans, rosemary, onions and garlic with tomato and greens, you can add from there. I like peppers and mushrooms. Sometimes kale sometimes spinach. Red wine or maybe a splash of really good balsamic vinegar. It tastes different each time I make it.

I’m not a big recipe follower and I hope if you make this and if you like it, you’ll do it again a different way, adding what you think might taste good. That’s the fun of cooking.

Of course if you don’t have an instant pot this can be made on the stove or the crock pot. You’ll still sauté everything but simmer on the stove for about one hour. In the crock pot it can cook for 4-6 hours on low. I don’t recommend cooking it on high as rapid boiling will break down the beans and greens too much. 
Here goes.


Harvest Italian Soup


  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage (I like the sweet variety)
  • 4-5 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 -14 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups shredded kale or spinach
  • 1- 14 ounce can white beans, drained
  • 3-4 drops hot sauce (optional)
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese (optional)


Pre-heat Instant Pot on the Sauté setting. When it says Hot, add olive oil and diced onion, with a light dusting of salt. Sauté until starting to sweat or becoming translucent. Add celery and green pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes. At this point you can walk away to pretend like you know enough about math to help your daughter with her homework.

Add mushrooms and sauté until they start to lose a little water. Add garlic and rosemary and stir just until you can smell the garlic. Don’t let it get any color. Don’t leave the area.

Add sausage to the vegetables and another light dusting of salt and brown the meat. When nicely browned, pour in the red wine and deglaze pan. Be sure to scrape any of the browned meat off the bottom of the Instant Pot so it doesn’t burn during cooking. This can take about a minute.

Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, white beans, kale and a generous amount of pepper. Add more chicken broth if the soup needs to be thinned out. Stir well. Set Instant Pot to high pressure and set timer for 25 minutes. You can now give the baby a bath and wrangle him into his PJ’s. When done, let the steam out and stir in hot sauce (optional).

Season soup to taste with salt and pepper if needed. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese and serve. Can serve with crusty bread. Also great the next day.



Nourish Me Tea
DIY, In the Kitchen: Recipes and More, Superfoods, Uncategorized

Nourish Me Tea & the Truth about Vitamins

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Have you considered all of the ins and outs of daily consuming a multi-vitamin?

Some of us are swallowing our vitamins incapsulated or trying to down them in powdered form. Have you ever tasted magnesium powder? Good gracious. Though it is an excellent way to absorb the vital mineral it sure ain’t easy. To this day, it is still the worst thing I have ever tasted. It’s easier to just swallow one pill that “meets” our dietary needs and be done with it but what if I told you that taking multivitamins may actually be doing more harm to your body than good?

Vitamins can be derived from plant or animal products or produced synthetically in a lab. Most commercial vitamins are made from synthetic vitamins. These synthetic kind are cheaper and easier to produce than natural derivatives.

Nourish Me Tea

Studies published in the Health Day News journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found that multivitamin and mineral supplements did not work any better than placebo pills. When you eat real food, you’re not consuming single nutrients, but rather a whole range of vitamins, minerals, co-factors and enzymes that allow for optimal use by the body. Without these additional compounds, synthetic nutrients are unlikely to be used by the body in the same way the body uses natural vitamins and minerals.

Our bodies aren’t absorbing the synthetic vitamins and minerals. 

What if you have an excellent brand, a whole food multivitamin? Surely you are good there? Well, it turns out it’s a little more complex than that. Here are just a few concerns…

  • We combine them with other supplements, foods or drugs that can block absorption.

You’ve really got to research when to take certain vitamins and figure out what your body truly needs. Calcium and magnesium can compete for absorption with one another. Iron cuts the absorption of zinc.

  • We can either be taking in too high of doses or too low of doses.

It can be detrimental to your health to take high doses of vitamin A and vitamin E. Taking more than 3,000 international units of vitamin A daily can increase your risk for osteoporosis, the bone-eroding disease.

  • We may be taking in a poor choice of carriers.

Tablets may not dissolve completely—and you can’t absorb any nutrients from a pill that doesn’t dissolve. They may also contain binders, fillers and other additives.

Nourish Me Tea

Now, I don’t want to scare you into stopping your intake of multivitamins. What we are all about is really encouraging you to focus on receiving all of your vitamins and minerals from your diet and to search out your own needs where supplementation may be needed.

This leads me to share with you this very nourishing herbal blend of tea

Stinging Nettle. Alalfa. Dandelion Leaves.

These are powerful plants that God gave us for healing and thriving. They are nutrient dense, packed with vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals along with a TON of potent phytonutrients including deep-green chlorophyll and carotenoids. These dried leaves contain up to 40% protein, more than any other known leafy green—and as a source of essential amino acids, stinging nettles are comparable to beans and chicken meat.

Why do we drink this tea?

The benefits from drinking this herbal blend make it obvious as to why we would want to include it in our diets. The really awesome thing is that when added to a clean, whole food diet we can almost achieve our daily requirement for vitamins and minerals from this tea alone and guess what…as a whole food alternative, it is all easily absorbed by the body. Here are just SOME of the benefits of this tea…

  • Detoxifies the body
  • Improves metabolic efficiency
  • Boosts immunity
  • Increases circulation
  • Improves energy levels
  • Manages menstruation + minimizes menopausal symptoms
  • Aids in skin care
  • Protects kidneys and gallbladder
  • Decreases oxidative stress
  • Pain relief. Nettle tea has analgesic effects
  • Decreases inflammation. Nettles work as a natural anti-inflammatory through a number of different mechanisms, such as decreasing nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) binding activity to DNA. Nettle extract, used to treat arthritis, has been shown to decrease levels of pro-inflammatory compounds such as interleukin-6 and • C-reactive protein. <—(Yeah we definitely didn’t know that until we did deeper research)
  • Lowers blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol
  • Fights infections. Has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal effects
  • Fights cancer
  • Heals stomach lining. Helps heal the mucosal lining of the stomach in the case of ulcers or stomach irritation

Nourish Me Tea

How do we use it?

Make an even mixture of the alfalfa leaves and the dandelion leaves. Add twice as much stinging nettle as the amount of alfalfa and dandelion.

“One ounce of plant material per quart of water is generally thought necessary to provide a sufficient quantity of minerals if you drink one quart of tea daily. Consider this: an ounce of dried herb is roughly equivalent to four ounces of fresh plant and although not all the minerals are 100% extracted into the tea, this mineral beverage is like a liquid salad.” Mother Earth News.

For maximum benefits the leaves should be covered and steeped for a minimum of a few hours or better yet, overnight. Allow it to come to room temperature before straining and refrigerating. The long steeping time allows for a more nutrient-dense tea, while the hot water and the cool water pull out different constituents from the herbs.

Or use one heaping tablespoon per eight ounces of hot water.

This tea is very mild in flavor and tastes wonderful complimented with lemon, or peppermint, fennel oil or cinnamon and orange oil. Enjoy this hot or cold.

Nourish Me TeaNourish Me Tea

Where do I get it?

I sure hope that you give this tea a try! Be careful how you buy your tea leaves. It’s not a great idea to buy in store bins where people may be continuously opening the bins and there is really no telling how long the leaves have been sitting there. It’s best to buy in bulk from a trusted source. I bought mine from Frontier Co-op.

How do I store it?

Store your tea in a dark, dry place around 75 degrees fahrenheit. Keep it out of the sunlight. For optimum potency use within one year.

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I sure hope that you enjoy steeping and sipping on this herbal blend. It has become a favorite of mine! Have you created your own herbal blends?

Share with us some of your favorite ways to get your vitamins!

❤ Cate

essential oils, In the Kitchen: Recipes and More, Superfoods, Uncategorized

Skin Healing Strawberry Starburst Smoothie

There is something that we at Iris+Hart do every day. Yes, we brush our teeth and make our bed, at least I do, do you Cate? We do lots of the same things every day, but this is something we choose to do each day. We choose to make healthy choices when we eat and/or cook. It’s just something we do because we feel better when we do and we know that we are worth that. And it doesn’t mean we have a special diet we follow, although we are partial to THM. But we love to eat homemade food. Id rather eat something I have cooked than go out to eat. I know what is in my food and I also by quality ingredients. I choose to put my money towards our grocery bill, for health and for taste and for enjoyment. Yes, we both love to cook, its fun for us.

Now I know a lot of people don’t like to cook or have a lot of time to cook. We overheard a conversation between two women at church one day, while waiting for the service to start. One woman was talking about her kitchen renovation and how she loved her new stove. The other lady said,” How nice, now you will enjoy cooking on it”. “No way,” said the first woman,” I just store my kitchen towels in there”. No kidding! So obviously some people just don’t like to be in the kitchen other than for simple tasks or to admire the beauty of it! But eating healthy doesn’t require a lot of time or culinary school knowledge. A simple salad of organic lettuces, vegetables and perhaps a piece of grilled chicken on top. (maybe you have someone in your family who will grill) and voila…. you have a meal better than Chik fil a! Our goal is to give you some of our favorite and simple recipes over the next few weeks.

Here is one that we like to have in between meals or after a workout. Cate created this, so here she is to tell you about it…

“This is a simple smoothie but it’s not just any smoothie. This smoothie is both tangy, sweet, energizing and tastes just like one of my favorite candies. In my humble opinion it tastes even better than smoothie king but without the yucky syrup! It is a great choice for a protein packed, energizing and nourishing snack but the BEST part about this smoothie? It nourishes your skin from the inside out. Yes-it’s a health and beauty drink.



First-I named this smoothie Strawberry Starburst because it tastes exactly like a strawberry starburst candy. I couldn’t believe it!! It might be the best smoothie I’ve ever had and I just stumbled upon it while experimenting. I so encourage you to give this one a try! Especially because it is loaded with vitamin C. The vitamin C in this smoothie is key to its tangy yet sweet flavor.

Vitamin C is essential to our wellbeing. Most mammals produce their own vitamin C however we are one of those that require it through our diet.

Adding as much whole food C to our diets as we can is one of the BEST things we can do for our health. Even better, we can supplement with more potent forms of vitamin C like Ascorbic Acid. In this powdered form, it is vitamin C that occurs naturally in nature but just very concentrated. If taken to bowel tolerance it will donate electrons to free radicals throughout the body and help heal all kinds of illnesses, repairing the body at a cellular level. Not only will it take care of the oxidative stress throughout your body, it will be the BEST thing for your complexion.

You may notice the whites of your eyes are brighter, your skin is tighter and brighter as well. It heals on all levels. Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis and maintenance of collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body.

These are some of the benefits for your skin that I’ve experienced from higher dosing vitamin C!

  • Helps protect the skin by promoting the production and migration of fibroblasts that support normal wound healing.
  • Protects against skin wrinkles seen in premature aging.
  • Increased vitamin C uptake by vascular smooth muscle cells increases the synthesis and maturation of Type I (aka Type 1) collagen.  Type I collagen accounts for about 90% of the body’s total collagen content.
  • High concentrations of vitamin C stimulate synthesis of Type IV collagen, which has important filtration characteristics in the kidney, the blood-brain barrier, and the arterial lining .

So, I definitely recommend upping your intake of vitamin C and not just in whole food form! Whole food form is a wonderful way to get the benefits of vitamin C but it’s not enough to repair on a cellular level. You need something like AA to accomplish that! Or eat 200 oranges at once! Here is a link to the brand that comes recommended by doctors and that my family and I have been using with great results! (Click image)”

Skin Healing Strawberry Starburst Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk 39777279_225806624782138_5965305984657129472_n
  • Handful frozen strawberries
  • Few ice cubes
  • 1/2 tsp of glucomannan powder (optional, but it’s rich in fiber and makes this smoothie ultra thick and luscious.
  • 2 tsp baobab powder (PACKED with vitamin C and TONS of antioxidants)
  • 1 1/4 tsp Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C)
  • 3-4 pinches of 100% stevia powder (or 3 tsp of Super Sweet).
  • 2 TBSP Collagen Peptides
  • 1 drop grapefruit essential oil (or your favorite citrus oil of choice or citrus extract of choice)
  1. Add all ingredients to your blender and blend really well until smooth, pour and enjoy!

DIY, essential oils, In the Kitchen: Recipes and More, The Creative Home, Uncategorized

DIY All Natural Magic Eraser + DIY Natural All Purpose Spray

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase items through our affiliate links, we receive a small commission but your price doesn’t change.

19You’re most likely aware that there are really harmful chemicals in our cleaning products and it would be disastrous if you were to accidentally get these chemicals in your eyes or if a small child should swallow them.

However, when we use these products we are still allowing them to get into our bodies and our loved ones’ bodies just by having them in our home and using them to clean! These days, we are learning more and more just how harmful chemicals like Phthalates, Ammonia and Triclosan are for our bodies.

Phthalates are found in most anything with a fragrance! Most cleaning products have these chemicals and many more toxic ingredients! Cleaning ingredients vary in the type of health hazard they pose. Some cause acute, or immediate hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns while others are associated with chronic or long-term effects such as cancer. 

It’s our passion to keep our homes a place of healing and rejuvenation. It’s a great idea to invest in some essential oils to create an all natural household all purpose cleaner that is antiseptic and antimicrobial. The best part about this DIY household cleaner is that it’s contents are actually good for you and SHOULD be ingested! How great is that!


We give a short tutorial here on how to make TWO different cleaners. The first is essential oil based and the second one is DIRT CHEAP and works like a MAGIC ERASER!!



DIY Natural All Purpose Spray

  • Servings: 16 oz
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

What you need:

  • 40 drops of clove 100% pure therapuetic grade essential oil
  • 35 drops of lemon 100% pure therapuetic grade essential oil
  • 20 drops of cinnamon bark 100% pure therapuetic grade essential oil
  • 15 drops of eucalyptus 100% pure therapuetic grade essential oil
  • 10 drops of rosemary 100% pure therapuetic grade essential oil

TIP: To avoid deterioration and protect the aromatic and therapeutic properties of your essential oils, store them in amber or cobalt blue bottles. Dark glass such as amber or cobalt helps to keep out deteriorating sunlight.

  1. Fill a 16 oz spray bottle with distilled water.
  2. Add oils to a spray bottle 1 drop per ounce or 1 drop per half ounce depending on what type of potency you prefer.
  3. Shake bottle before use.

DIY All Natural Magic Eraser

  • Servings: 1 gallon + 4 lbs
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

What you need:

  • 1 gallon jug of vinegar ($2.48 from Walmart).
  • 4 lbs of baking soda ($1.98 from Walmart).
  1. Generously sprinkle area of concern with baking soda.
  2. Pour vinegar over baking soda and let fizz for a minute.
  3. Take cloth or paper towel and wipe away.

Online Shopping:

523957_10100663549199438_515622313_nLauren is Nancy’s daughter and Cate’s sister. She is a Young Living Distributer who has linked up with us and an excellent resource for buying your oils, knowing your oils and loving your oils. She will gladly guide you through the process.

If you are a member of DoTERRA we have a wonderful friend, Jina who distributes for DoTERRA and can do the same! 27973599_10213555090366151_6944561211227833768_n

If you would like to learn more about becoming a member of one of these therapeutic grade essential oil companies please contact us and let us know and we can set you up with either Lauren with Young Living or Jina with DoTERRA. It’s great to be a member of one as you can earn loyalty rewards and receive special gifts with certain orders and receive all of your oils at wholesale value. 

Contact Us

But if you are not interested in becoming a member right away we list the oils one by one on Amazon: