No-Bake Healthy Energy Balls (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free)

Most kiddos will be back in school in just a few weeks and moms across the US will be searching for easy/health lunch and snack ideas! Yesterday we made one of our go-to snacks and I wanted to share because they perfect for school lunches, after school snacks or anytime you just need a pick me up! 

Image Source: Sweet Peas and Saffron

ORGANIC ENERGY BALLS (Gluten & Dairy Free) 
- 1 Cup Organic Gluten-free Oats
- 1/2 Cup Organic Ground Flax OR 1/4 Cup Organic Hemp Heart + 1/4 Cup Organic Chia Seed
- 1/2 Cup Organic Nut Butter
- 1/3 to 1/4 Cup Organic Raw Honey or Maple Syrup
- 1 Tsp. Organic Vanilla Extract
- 1 Tsp. Organic Ground Cinnamon
- 1 -3 Tlb. Filtered Water

- Mix all ingredients above together in a food proccesor or in large bowl by hand, then add in 1/2 cup of extras. We mix up our "extras" depending on what we have on hand. Some of our favorites are: Enjoylife chocolate chips, chia seed, hemp heart, shredded unsweet coconut, collagen peptides (for added protein), any nut or any dried fruit.

- Use a tablespoon to remove mix from bowl and form balls in hand. Transfer to container with lid and store in fridge. These will last up to 10 days or you can make a big batch and freeze them for easy access!

- TIP: To make the surface of the ball less moist/sticky, you can roll the ball unsweet shredded coconut, coca powder or macha!

* ATTENTION NURSING MAMAS: Add 3 Tbl. Brewers Yeast + 3 Extra Tbl. of the sweetener of your choice to help milk production.



Newborn Essentials Review: DockATot Deluxe

Happy Monday! Starting a new week is always easier when you know there is a holiday coming up! Do you have any plans for the 4th? We are loving these summer days outside and plan to spend the 4th in the back yard grilling and playing in the water!

For those who missed my last post, I reviewed one of the two newborn products I've received the most questions about, and today I'm excited to share the second of these, The DockATot Deluxe. This has been a staple in our house the last month and I'm excited to share a little more about it and our favorite ways to use it.

What is the DockATot Deluxe?
DockATot® is a multi-functional lounging, playing, chilling, resting and snuggling dock you can take anywhere. It was created in Sweden and focuses on safely allowing mothers to feed, soothe and bond with their baby. With two different sizes it will also transition with the child as they grow and the variety of designs make it easy to fit your style! We have loved the peace of mind it brings when we have baby in bed with us and when big brother is around ready to play! 

What is it made of and does it travel well?
I’m pretty particular about the fabrics I use with my kiddos and I’ve loved the DockATot sheets. They are 100% cotton, breathable and non-toxic. They are also so easy to take-off and pop in the washer to clean!

How do we use the DockATot Deluxe?
  • Sleeping: Our little guy doesn't co-sleep with us normally, however, it was very important for us to have a safe option available. Anyone who has been in the thick of late night feedings knows how easy it is to fall asleep while feeding or after before you have a chance to get them back down. Having this in bed with us not only gives me an easy way to transition baby before I fall asleep, but it also just provides an overall peace of mind knowing he has a safe place to sleep with us. 
  • Lounging: One of the biggest benefits of the DockATot is how easy it is to take around the house or on trips. The side handles make it a breeze for me or my toddler to pick up and move around. It creates an instant, safe place for baby to relax and hang while we are doing things around the house. We also love taking it outside to enjoy these summer nights!
  • One-on-one time with big brother: Anyone with multiples knows that sneaking in one-on-one time with the older siblings can be a challenge. Our oldest will be three in a few weeks, and this transition has proven to be a bit challenging for him. It is important that we still have little moments for just the two of us throughout the day, and I've loved using the DockATot for Lawson during these times. I can put him in it, turn on a mobile and know he is safe while I give my attention to Lincoln. This has been so huge for me! 
  • Tummy Time: Tummy time is such an important activity for all little ones but especially those with reflux because it helps build up the muscle that supports the maturity of the throat function. We have loved using the rim of the DockATot for Lawson's tummy time each day!
  • Travel: Who wants to travel with a big pack-in-play all the time?! This has been such a great alternative for sleeping while traveling. It is a breeze to transport and works well in almost all environments you will be in. 
Overall would you recommend this to friends and family?
Absolutely. This is far more than just a product for sleeping! It has given us the gift of overall safety throughout the day as our little one joins us in daily activities. It is worth the investment and I guarantee it will quickly become a favorite in your household! 

For more on the DockATot, visit their website and as always, please let me know if you have any other questions! I'm always happy to share my honest thoughts and feedback!

*This post is sponsored by DockATot but all verbiage and thoughts regarding this product are completely my own.


Newborn Essentials Review: The Owlet Smart Sock

Hello friends! Thank you for all the well wishes for new little one, Lawson! We are three weeks in and I'm starting to feel a little more adjusted to life with two boys and our new normal as a family of four!

A few weeks before we had Lawson, I shared my thoughts on what I was considering newborn essentials the second time around, and why I felt more selective and prepared for what we REALLY needed to take care of this new little guy. I received such great feedback on the post, and dozens of questions regarding two products in particular. The Owlet Smart Sock was one of these products, so I wanted to jump on and share a quick review after using it with Lawson and hopefully answer any additional questions you have!

What is The Owlet Smart Sock? 
The Owlet Smart Sock is designed to notify you if your baby’s heart rate or oxygen fall outside the preset zones. The Smart Sock comfortably wraps around your baby’s foot to track heart rate and oxygen levels using clinically-proven pulse oximetry. The base station, which we keep on our nightstand, glows green to let you know everything is okay, but will notify with lights and sounds if something appears to be wrong. Using Owlet's app, you can receive notifications and stream real-time heart rate and oxygen levels from your iPhone or Android device.

Why did you decided to use it with Lawson?
After the birth of our first son, we had dear friends lose their child at 5 weeks old. Going through such a horrific loss with them and knowing what anxiety we had already felt at night with our first son sent me on the hunt to find a monitor that would take live readings of their heart rate and oxygen levels. I researched a few options but was blown away from the feedback I received from friends who had use the Owlet Smart Sock with their children. After a little more research it became clear that The Owlet Smart Sock was what we were looking for, and I'm so very happy we made the decision to get one.

Is it easy to use? 
Yes, it is very easy to use. This was something I was a little concerned about because who wants to disrupt a sleeping baby?! The monitor comes with three smart socks to fit your baby as he or she grows. It can be worn on either foot, under their pajamas and is easy to put on and secure. Once on, you can update settings or track their real-time heart rate and real-time oxygen saturation levels via the app.

What benefits have you experienced having it with Lawson that you didn't have with Lincoln? 
The biggest benefit we've felt is the peace of mind we have when he is sleeping. Knowing that we are tracking his heart rate and oxygen levels in real-time and that we will be notified if something isn't right has allowed us to not only sleep better (in between those two-hour feedings), but it's also allowed me to spend little bits of quality time with our toddler while still knowing Lawson is safe. 

Overall, would you suggest this to family or friends? 
Tanner and I would 100% suggest this to any parent with an infant. The peace of mind it has provided us the last three weeks has been amazing. As new parents, with one or multiple children, your minds are filled with so much and your bodies are tired. Anything you can add to your routine to bring more safety into your home and help during those tender months is worth it! We have been so very happy with this product and I'm confident you will be as well.

For more on the Owlet Smart Sock, click here.

Please let me know if you have any other questions and I'll be happy to answer them for you! 

* Disclaimer: Owlet Smart Sock is not a medical device. Owlet is only intended to be a health and wellness device and does not claim to prevent or diagnose any medical condition. It should not be used in place of medical monitors your little one is on.  

*This post is sponsored by Owlet Baby Care but all verbiage and thoughts regarding this product are completely my own.


Introducing Our Newest Family Member

Our family grew by one on May 23, 2018. I'm so excited to introduce you to, 
Lawson Tanner Vaughan. 

The labor and delivery were just what I prayed for and I can't wait to share his full birth story with you soon! We are so in love, enjoying our first few weeks at home and big brother is settling into his new role very nicely! 


10 Healthy Snack Ideas for Toddlers

Since having Lincoln, I've found a new passion for fueling my family with the right food. We are not perfect, pizza still finds its way on our plates and drive-through windows still happen every now and then, but we try to eat clean and whole 80% of the time. It's amazing how different a toddler's behavior is when they aren't getting the right foods in their diet.

I share our daily routine as it relates to food over on insta stories each week, so if you want ideas in real-time head there (@ashtonv), but today I thought it would be fun to share my top 10 snack ideas with you!

This is one of the questions I get asked the most on Instagram, so let's jump in! I've included a few that you can purchase pre-made and a few you can make yourself. ENJOY!

On-the-go Options

Kiddy Trail Mix: I love making this in big batches on Monday and packaging them up for a quick, grab-and-go snack. Feel free to switch out or add anything your little enjoys!

- 2 Cups Love Grown Power O's OR One Degree Organics Sprouted Honey O's
- 1 Cup No Added Sugar Organic Raisins (Any dried fruit that has no added sugar would work great)
- 1 Bag Happy Baby Coconut Creamies (These are dairy-free, but you can also freeze dry your own)

Fruit & Nut Bars: This is another grab-a-go favorite in our house and they will keep in the fridge for two weeks. You can also make them into balls! Don't want to make your own? LARABARS and Perfect Bars are favorites for my boys!

Apple Chips: You can absolutely find no added-sugar apple chips in the store, but they normally are pretty pricy for a small bag that you can blow through quickly. We get a big bag or organic apples at Costco and then make these chips at home. I love the way it makes our house smell and we ALL LOVE THEM!

Kale Chips: I know these might be a little of a stretch for some littles, so if you're looking for an alternative to kale chips, we love these green pea crisps and sweet potato chips.

Popcorn + Dried Fruit: We love plan organic popcorn with dried cranberries, blueberries or raisins. It's the perfect sweet and salty mix and is perfect for traveling!

Jerky + Organic Cheese Sticks: We get venison jerky made each year and it's become a favorite snack for our toddler with organic cheese. I love knowing where the meat is from and what was put in to season it. If you can't make your own jerky, look for options with little to no added sugars and nitrates; grass-feed (if beef) is even better!

At Home Options

Ants on a Log: You can never go wrong with this classic snack. If your child isn't a fan of celery here's a trick, cut them into the size you want then soak them in water until you serve them. It brings the taste down just a bit while keeping them crunchy! We use an organic almond butter and then raisins that have no added sugars to finish it off.

Nut Butter Rice Cakes: We love rice cakes over here and you can't go wrong by topping them with a nut butter! My favorite rice cakes are these!

Smoothie: On days when picky toddler eating is at it's worst, we opt for afternoon smoothies. I pack them full of fiber, protein, healthy fats and greens. Here are some of my favorite combos!

Mother's Day Gift Guide for the Beauty Lover

Beauty items are always a hit for Mother's Day, so this year I wanted to share my top 10 favorite CLEAN BEAUTY picks! What better time to treat you mom and special lady to something that is not only luxurious and high-performing but also safe?! There is something in every price range that can be paired with another gift, given solo or split up with siblings.

If you have any questions on color matching or what skin care might be best for your mom, please just email me! I love talking about safer beauty products and I'd be happy to help!
- Hydrating Body Lotion in Citrus Mimosa ($25): This lotion smells like fresh citrus and leaves your skin moisturized without feeling greasy or sticky.
- Any Lip Product ($29-$34): You can never go wrong with a great lip. Choose from a Sheer Lipstick, Color Intense Lipstick or Lip Gloss; there is a wide variety of colors perfect for any skin tone!
- Sugar Body Scrub in Lemongrass ($40): This is my secret to the perfect sunless tan
- Countermatch Recovery Sleeping Cream ($55): This night cream has quickly become a customer favorite and there is no need to wonder why. It's advanced blend of hyaluronic acid, plum oil, and tara gum creates a protective layer to help replenish hydration and revitalize skin while you sleep. The result is a youthfully, smoother, softer, and more radiant skin by the morning.
- Body Luxuries Gift Set ($70): This set includes some of my favorite body products and is perfect to prep your skin for Summer! It includes the Sugar Body Scrub in Lemongrass, Citrus Mimosa Body Butter and our cosmetic bag!
- Cleansing Balm ($80): This multi-tasking balm is brimming with uses and benefits. It's a nourishing daily cleanser, a melting makeup-removing balm, and a deeply replenishing overnight mask. It also hydrates with nutrient-rich raspberry and cranberry seed oils and promotes a brighter complexion with radiance-boosting vitamin C. This is absolutely one of my favorite clean face products to use! 
- Ultimate Nudes Eyeshadow Palette ($88): This is a great all-you-need eye palette. The 18 colors are perfectly designed to create countless looks and the double-sided brush makes application a breeze!
- No. 1 Brightening Spa Set ($89): The spa sets are the perfect was to sample our advance skincare add-on lines. Each set addresses specific skincare concerns and will be the perfect addition to their current routine. I love the number one line for brightening; the face oil is a product I will never live without!
Sets $100+
- Flawless in Five ($150): Get her this set to create a complete makeup look with safer, long-lasting products. It includes six full-sized products at a savings of almost $50.
- A Complete Skincare Set (Ranging from $200-$320): Let me help you pick the perfect skin care set for her needs. This would be a great set to spilt among siblings!
Are you feeling nervous about giving a beauty item? DON'T BE!! Every order comes with a free return shipping label and 60 days to try the product and determine if they are a good fit!
Again, please let me know if you have any questions on why safer personal care products are important for you and your family! For more on these products or to shop them visit: https://www.beautycounter.com/ashtonvaughan.


Top 30 Newborn Essentials

We are a month away from welcoming our second little one into the family and the excitement is building with each little onesie and blanket I fold. We've been pretty focused the last few weeks on getting the house ready and all those newborn essentials prepped for use.

I had to laugh with my husband about how different our preparations have been the second time around! With our first we followed all the recommendations on what gadgets and items to have on hand, and everything from the nursery to our hospital bag was ready a month in advance.

This time around I have so much more confidence in what we actually need to take care of him and have done my research on what new items I truly feel are essential and worth the investment. With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to share our TOP 30 newborn essentials for any first-time mamas that are preparing for their little one to arrive. I've grouped similar items and provided a brief description below on why I selected the item for your reference.  I hope this will help you and please let me know if you have any questions!

We received so many cute and stylish clothes for our first born and while they were absolutely adorable, I found myself really wanting him to be in pieces that were very comfortable and functional. We honestly only put him in a handful of the 25+ outfits he received! This time around I focused on organic pieces when available that were extremely soft, temperature appropriate and easy for us to take on and off for diaper changing. Here are my top picks:

1. Zippered Long-sleeve PJ: Even though I have summer babies in Texas I still opt to put them in long-sleeve because we keep our house pretty cold (I run much hotter when i'm breast feeding than when I'm pregnant). My four favorite zippered long-sleeve onesie brands are Aden + Anais, Hanna Andersson Organic Line, Old Navy and Gerber Organics.
2. Organic Long-sleeve Onesie: You can never have enough of these and I love the built-in hand covers and soft fabric of these!
3. Organic Gowns: Easy access which is so nice for those middle of the night changes!
4. Socks: Keeping socks on a newborn is near impossible but these were by far the easiest!
5. Hats: I'm a huge believer in keeping hats on little ones while their bodies learn how to regulate their temperature better.
This is one area we went crazy on with our first. We had a four different sleeping options, two swings, three carriers, etc. We found most to be redundant and just really not needed. This round we decided to stick with the basic items that our first son used the most with the understanding that if this little one is different and needs different items, we will borrow and try out alternatives from friends before we purchase new. Borrow before buying is my biggest tip! There were several very expensive items I borrowed with my first that he ended up not liking at all. I was so happy not to have wasted the money!

6. UPPAbaby Vista System: This was by far our most used baby item with our first son. In my opinion it is worth the investment. To my surprise, we used the bassinet that comes with this system in place of a traditional bassinet. The ability to push it back and forth in the middle of the night without getting out of bed was amazing. I also love that I could transport him around the house in it safely and the huge storage basket was the perfect place to keep extra diapers, wipes, blankets, etc. While this is not a trail stroller, we've taken it to all our local hike and bike trails and Colorado without issue.
7. MESA Carseat: This snaps right into the stroller with no needed attachments. The only thing I will say is that if your baby has reflux or colic, the positioning of this seat might be an issue.
8. Fisher-Price Deluxe Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleeper: This was the other item our first slept in until he was right at the weight limit. It rocks on its own, holds them securely and is perfect for reflux babies that can't be laid on their backs.
9. DockATot Deluxe: We didn't plan on co-sleeping with our first but there were many, many times where the extreme fatigue took over and I woke up with our son in bed with us or on my chest. This time around I wanted a safe option for us to use in bed and in our living areas to keep him safe and secure. I love the breathable fabric used for DockATot and how easily it can move with you and baby around the house and on trips!
10. Boppy Nursing Pillow: Some don't require nursing pillows but for me, finding the perfect position proved to be very difficult and this pillow made it much easier. As our first got older, it was also a great way to practice tummy time!


11. Wildbird Ring Sling: The benefits of baby wearing are endless and this time around I wanted an option that was easier to navigate and use than the wrap I used with my first son. Wildbird is an amazing company with a beautiful mission and product. I can't wait to use it with this little one!
12. Swaddle Sacks: My first loved to be swaddled and the Halo SleepSack and the Love to Dream Swaddle Up Organic are by far my favorite options. TIP: Find an option that is easy to swaddle with one arm out so that in later months your little one can get used to sleeping "free".
13. 5-in-1 Multi-Use Cover: I love finding brands with functional, quality products and Copper Pearl is one of those companies. This product replaced three that I kept with me all the time with my first. It will serve as a nursing cover, car seat cover and cart cover. The prints are just beautiful and the fabric is so soft!
14. Swaddle Blankets: Copper Pearl and Aden + Anais make my two favorite blankets. They are extremely soft and hold up great in the wash!
15. Burp Cloths: Another Copper Pearl winner is their burp cloths. You can never have to many and these don't hold stains which is a huge plus! Click here for my all natural laundry detergent we use! 


16. Boon Naked Collapsible Baby Bathtub: Our sinks are not deep enough to use an insert and our oldest enjoys his water temperature warmer than what we are comfortable with for a newborn so we needed a counter top option and I loved that this one is collapsible and easy to transport.
17. Beautycounter Baby Line: What we put on our children's skin will absorb into their bloodstream in 22 seconds. The US has almost no regulations on the personal care industry or the ingredients they use in their products. Most of the products we use every day contain ingredients that are known to cause cancer, hormone disruption, skin irritations, etc. After some health issues I started researching a few of the products I used on myself and my boys and was shocked at what I found. I was unknowingly putting so many harmful chemicals on my son and decided to make a switch to safer alternatives. Beautycounter was by far the best company I found and I've loved using their kids and baby line over the last year. We will use their baby wash in place of traditional baby soap, their oil in place of lotion and their balm in place of Aquaphor.
18. Nail Clippers: Out of all the grooming available, this was by far our most used!
19. Hooded Towels & Wash Cloths: Loved these organic bath towels and cloths from Burt's Bees Baby.
20. Nasal Aspirator: We have loved the BoogieBulb with our first. It does a great job clearing out the mouth and nose and it is extremely easy to clean!
21. Pampers Pure Diaper and Wipes: We tried just about all the disposable diaper brands the first time around and pampers ended up fitting our son the best but at the time their safest option was from their sensitive line. This is the newest line by pampers and I'm very excited to see a safer option that is free of bleach, chlorine, fragrance, parabens and latex!


22. Medela Bottles: Even if your plan is to breastfeed, I think it is important to have a bottle option to try in case breastfeeding doesn't work for you and baby or to have available to introduce at 4-6 weeks to help baby learn to take breastmilk from a bottle. While I have another bottle option to try in case our newest doesn't like the feel of Medela, I originally went with their bottles because they made pumping to feed so easy. If you working and want to continue to breastfeed after you go back, I think it is critical to find a pumping, storage and bottle system that makes your life easier! Below is the pump I used.
23. Boon Lawn Countertop Drying Rack: This was a life saver to dry all my pump parts, bottles, nipples and pacifiers.
24. Pacifiers: We used a pacifier from the very start and never had an issue with nipple confusion or feeding issues because of it's introduction. Our first loved Avent and MAM the most.
25. Kiinde Kozii Breastmilk Warmer: If you are planning to pump exclusively or even feed using a bottle a few times a day, I would reccomend a bottle warmer. This one is one of the best for breastmilk.
26. Medela Pump in Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump: Make sure you go through your insurance to get your pump; most models are free! A double pump was critical for me since I pumped at work for almost 6 months 3 times a day!
27. Sterilizer: I tried using sterilizer bags a few times but I was pretty picky about how often I wanted to clean his pacifiers and pumping parts and the bags just were not practical. I ended up using a sterilizer until he was almost two for his pacifiers and bottles. If you are going to use bottles at all, I think a sterilizer is the way and there are plenty of options to fit whatever bottle you select. I enjoyed having a tiered, taller option that didn't take up a ton of countertop room and had specific places for bottle, nipples, pacifiers and accessories.

28. Owlet Care Smart Sock: Like many parents with their first child, we spent almost every night checking our little guy constantly to make sure he was still breathing and safe. I remember how overwhelming it felt, and how much more scared we were after he left our room and started napping and then spending nights in his crib. At the time, we didn't have any sort of monitor on him other than video, so the moment I found out we were expecting our second child, I knew we needed to find a better solution. After much research and talking with friends who had health monitors, we found the Owlet Care Smart Sock was by far the most recommended. It is designed to notify you if your baby's heart rate or oxygen levels fall outside the recommended present zones. All the settings are managed through an easy-to-navigate app, and the smart sock itself can be worn on the left or right foot depending on your babies comfort. Of all the products we are adding to our home for Baby #2, this is by far the one we are most excited about, and I can't wait to share more with you on our experience with it. [Disclosure: I've partnered with Owlet Care to share this product, but all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own. Disclaimer: Owlet Smart Sock is not a medical device. Owlet is only intended to be a health and wellness device and does not claim to prevent or diagnose any medical condition. It should not be used in place of medical monitors your little one is on.]
29. Sprout Baby App: I had the hardest time remembering what side I feed on last or how long he ate. I knew I needed one place were I could track everything and this app lets you track all details around your babies feeding, sleeping and diapering.
30. Tinybeans App: This online photo journal is the perfect place to store all those sweet moments you capture and safely share them with family. When the time comes, it also makes it super easy to print them all in the photobook! Total mom win in my book!

Alright ladies I'm sure this goes without saying, but these are the products we have chosen to use based on our experience with our first. Every child is different and every home needs different items to run at it's best. I hope this will serve as a good starting point and I wish you the best in your preparations!
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