5.03.2018

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!
UNDER $35
- 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!
UNDER $55
- 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.
UNDER $95
- 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.

4.26.2018

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!

WEAR
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.
GEAR
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!

BLANKETS, WRAPS & COVERS 

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! 

BATH & DIAPERING

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!

FEEDING & PUMPING 

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.

ELECTRONICS & APPS
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!

4.12.2018

Fresh, Neutral Makeup Tutorial for Spring

Spring is officially here in Texas and we are enjoying the very rare weeks of 70-degree weather, cool breezes and sunshine. This is my favorite time of the year in Texas; everything comes to life again and the colors are so vibrant and fun. This may be why I always enjoy a bright, bold lip in the Spring and Summer months. Something about a fun pink or loud coral on my lips just seems to fit to the weather and my mood. With that in mind, I wanted to share a simple makeup look that will pair nicely with any bold lip.

Another plus to this look is that all the products I'm using are made with the safest ingredients. You don't have to compromise beauty for your health ladies! Find products that are free of the toxic chemicals that 99% of the beauty industry uses and tests on you everyday!

ENJOY!


Products Used:
  • Beautycounter Tint Skin Foundation in Linen
  • Beautycounter Concealer Pen in Fair
  • Beautycounter Bronzer #1
  • Beautycounter Blush Duo in Tawney/Whisper 
  • Beautycounter Brow Pencil in Light
  • Beautycounter Ultimate Nudes Pallet
    • Entire Lid: Mix Cashmere and Eggshell
    • Inner Corner & Under Brow:Cashmere
    • Crease & Lid from Middle to Outer Corner: Canyon
    • Outer Corner: Mix Rich Bronze and Gilded
  • Beautycounter Lengthening Mascara in Black
  • Beautycounter Color Intense Lipstick in First Date 

Please let me know if you have any questions on this look or would like more information on how to make the switch to safer personal care products! You can also learn more here!

4.10.2018

A Safer Switch: Laundry Essentials

I've been testing a few safer alternatives to the chemical-filled laundry products we use every week. I was looking for an easy, DIY laundry detergent along with a good store-bought option; I'm happy to report I've found great options for both!

Before we jump in, I wanted to share a little on why we decided to switch over our laundry products. Researchers from the University of Washington studied top-selling laundry and air-freshening products and found that they emitted dozens of different chemicals. All of them gave off at least one chemical identified as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, none of which were included on the label.

Morning and night we put clothes on our bodies and on our children, which means we are constantly absorbing the chemicals on these fabrics and submitting ourselves to the side affects they can bring.

For these reasons, I've been on the hunt over the last two months for a safer alternatives and can't wait to share my favorite DIY recipe and store-bought option! Let me know if you have any questions!


I double this recipe, which creates enough to last our family 1 1/2 to 2 months. The rating of this recipe on EWG.org is also an 'A', which I love, and the fact that it take me 10 minute to make is a total win in my book.

However if making your own detergent is not your thing, check out these three options below. They are all rated an 'A' on EWG.org as well:
  1. Moll's Suds Laundry Powder
  2. The Honest Co. 4 in 1 Laundry Pods, Free & Clear
  3. Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value 2X Concentrated Powder Laundry Detergent, Unscented
ALSO, THROW OUT YOUR DRYER SHEETS! We have replaced our dryer sheets with wool dryer balls and essential oil. You can find a ton of great options of these on Amazon and I used the same essential oil I use for our laundry detergent.


If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out! 

3.23.2018

Healthy Grain-free Granola


Happy Friday! We are getting ready for the weekend over here and part of our plans include this yummy, grain-free granola that has been on repeat the last few weeks. I should be a little embarrassed about how many batches of this I've had to make but it's so good I don't even care! Full recipe below friends, ENJOY!

Ingredients
2 Cups Slivered Raw Almonds
2 Cups Raw Cashews 
3 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal
1/2 Cup Roasted Pumpkin Seed
1/2 Cup Unsweetened coconut flakes 
1/4 Cup Raisins (no added sugar)
1/4 Tsp Pink Salt
1 Medium Very Ripe Banana 
3 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
3 Tbsp Manuka Honey
3 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and coconut oil.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine first six ingredients.
3. In separate glass bowl mash banana and then add honey, coconut oil, maple syrup. Heat in microwave until coconut oil is melted and mixture is warm (about 30 seconds).
4. Combine with vanilla and cinnamon then pour liquid mixture over dry mix and fully incorporate. 5. Spread evenly on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and add raisins. Use wooden spoon to incorporate fruit and break a part current mix. Then increase temp to 345 degrees F.
7. Bake for another 10ish minutes or until granola becomes crispy. It normally takes me around 35 minutes. Then remove from oven and cool completely. As it cools it will also dry out a bit (if it still feels sticky, don’t worry)
8. Store in mason jar or air-tight container and ENJOY over fruit, yogurt, salads or with a nut milk!

I’m honestly not sure how long it will keep because we eat it SO FAST!! This isn't a super sweet granola but you can increase the sweetness by adding 3 Tbsp of coconut sugar or honey. I hope you and yours enjoy this as much as we have!

2.12.2018

And Then There Were Four...

SURPRISE!
Our sweet family will be growing by one this May! We couldn’t be more thankful for God’s blessings and faithfulness over our family. We are already so in love with this precious child and are overjoyed to see Lincoln become a big brother! 

As you can tell, Lincoln was all about copying the Pinterest pose I saved for this photo shoot. He was so excited he added his own personal touches, like chewing the sonogram picture and trying to make it disappear in the wind. But I feel like his true excitement really showed in the last one- he’s going to rock this big brother thing!
We are just a few week shy of entering the third trimester and I'm already feeling like he is going the be a big boy, just like his big brother, and the pulls of nesting are coming on strong! I'll be sharing a post on the first trimester and second over the next few weeks but until then, take a look at this video to see what we are having!


FOR THIS CHILD I HAVE PRAYED | 1 SAMUEL 1:27
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