Getting our hands dirty with a back-to-basics birthday on the farm

Anne Cutler children's farm birthday party

Pinterest has to be one of the best and worst things to ever happen to parents.  The website has a million creative ideas for birthday parties, but the pressure to make them perfect is stronger than ever.  It feels like the world's going to end if your photo booth doesn't have the right props, your straws don't match your napkins, or God forbid, your food doesn't have darling, witty labels!  OH THE HORROR!

This year, we returned from a jam-packed Christmas in California and I just didn't have the time, money or energy to do weeks of crafting and decorations.  Instead, I kept it simple.  I found the most wonderful non-profit farm just outside of town.  It's called "Sugar Roots" and hosts field trips and birthday parties, teaching children about farm-to-table eating.  It's a real, working farm... outhouse and all!

Children's farm birthday party

Our decorations were as basic as it gets... galvanized buckets from the storage shed, wooden boxes I scrounged up around the house, tablecloths borrowed from my neighbor and hats that doubled as party favors (an early gift from Grandma Cece.)

I did make two things from Pinterest: kettle corn "corn cobs" and a picket fence cake.  I'm not gonna lie, the corn cobs were a pain in my ass.  Thanks to pre-made kettle corn, along with some help from my husband and Beau, we were able to knock them out.  The cake, on the other hand, was surprisingly easy.  I stacked four layers of funfetti with store-bought chocolate icing, then stuck Kit Kats and crumbled Oreos on the sides.

Children's farm birthday party

The highlight of the day, without a doubt, was seeing the pure joy on the kids' faces.  From the rope swing to the chickens, they reveled in the freedom to simply run around and get dirty.  Beau even got to ride the Sugar Roots miniature horse, yelling "Yee Hawwwww" the entire time.  I'll treasure the memories, made even sweeter by the fact that we didn't stress out and focused on what's important.

Happy 4th birthday, Beau. I love you more than you know!

Children's farm birthday party

Mother turns heartbreaking loss into personal mission to help others

They say not all superheroes wear capes.  That couldn't be more true for Georgia Boswell.

I had the honor to meet this local superwoman, who gives area children the opportunity for a brighter future, through music, as she carries on an important legacy of her own.

You see, Boswell's musical mission is the result of heartbreaking tragedy.

On March 12th, 2014, Boswell's son Drew, died.  He was a victim of 'sudden unexplained death in childhood' or SUDC.  Drew was just 15 months old.

"Your children make you braver, your children make you better, your children make you stronger.  Although I couldn't ever do anything normal parents do for Drew, I wanted to do something and that something was spreading his love to other kids," explains Boswell.

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On the very day he died, Boswell made an unexpected decision.

"Even though he was here for such a short time, he was nothing but love and I don't need to turn to hate even though this terrible thing happened to me."

In her darkest moment, Boswell channeled her sorrow into a mission. The organization she dreamt up is now a non-profit called Drew's Tunes.

Since that fateful day, it has raised $162,000 to fund SUDC research and provide instruments for music programs at schools across New Orleans, like the 'Marching Beavers' at McMillian's First Steps.

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"More than any dollar amount or number of instruments, just to see kids smile, that may not have." She says, "Drew always wanted everybody to be happy and I know that he is very proud of us."

Drew Boswell would have turned 5 years old last month.  While he's gone from this earth, his short life is living on, through the beautiful gift of music.

If you'd like to contribute to his cause, click here to donate to Drew's Tunes.

 

Sanitize like there's no tomorrow. Thank me later.

Babyganics hand sanitizer

It's flu season, y'all!  Duh Duh DUHHHHHH!  Both of my kids have had their flu shots, but those germs are downright evil this time of year and the shot doesn't always cut it.

For my role as a Stroller Traffic scout, I was recently sent a boatload of Babyganics sanitizing products to test.  I'm a huge fan of the line already.  It's organic (win).  It's available at Target (win).  And a lot of their products have foaming pumps, which means you use much less and it lasts forever.  Our last bath soap lasted TWO YEARS!

It's funny, because I've never been big on hand sanitizer, but when I have it around, I use it.  I've stuck a bottle by the changing table and another upstairs for the boys.  I have a tub of wipes in the kitchen and the individually wrapped ones in my car, purse and diaper bag.  Basically, there's no excuse not to use it, which means I do use it.

I rub the stuff up to my elbows, and on the baby's hands and feel.  It smells great and doesn't have alcohol, so it won't dry out our skin.  The wipes are perfect for Beau's hands and face after a messy meal and who doesn't love individual wipes when you're in a pinch?

This line is great and I'm thrilled to be stocked up on this good stuff.  Flu season, you ain't got nuthin' on the Cutler house!

Babyganics hand sanitizer

So Much to Celebrate as Holiday Season Gets Underway

Brook's Baptism

Whew, it's been a whirlwind few weeks in the Cutler house!  Our last guest (Grandma Cece!) departed yesterday, after hosting a slew of family members for Brooks' baptism and Thanksgiving.

We baptized our sweet boy the weekend before last in quaint St. Mary's Chapel on Jackson Avenue.  One of the most special moments was when Father Richard asked how many people had been here for Beau's baptism and almost everyone raised their hand.  It made me realize what an incredible support system our family has here in New Orleans.

After the baptism, we returned home for mimosas, a table full of food, sweet treats and Joe's famous seafood gumbo.  The entire celebration was a heartfelt and joyous occasion!

As if we hadn't stuffed ourselves enough Saturday, we hosted an early Thanksgiving dinner Sunday.  At one point, there were 6 women cooking together in the kitchen.  Each one brought our own special dish to the meal.  It was comfortable, casual and overflowing with delicious food and wine!

Just when we thought we couldn't eat another bite, we planned another celebration for Thanksgiving day, with my immediate family and co-anchor Jacki Jing.

There are so many times in life I get stressed, overwhelmed and focused on all the wrong things. Sometimes all it takes is family and food to remind me of what's really important.

Brook's Baptism
Joe and Brooks
Mimi steals a kiss

Review: Kismet Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick

anne cutler kismet liquid lipstick

If you're wracking your brain as to where you've heard the name Kismet Cosmetics, it may be on TV!  The Louisiana company isn't a huge national brand (yet!), but did gain national attention on CNBC's Billion Dollar Buyer.

The product that caught the eye of host and billionaire hospitality mogul Tilman Fertitta was Kismet's liquid lipstick.  He even puckered up on TV to try it out himself!

I've been wearing a lot of their products lately and their entire line is fantastic, but the liquid lipstick really is a standout. 

My favorite shade is "Elope."  It's a beautiful pinkish brown hue, which is so trendy right now, but it's neutral enough that I can wear it just about anywhere.  I've been living in it for fall!

The color is rich and long-lasting, even though the formula feels more like a gloss that you'd expect to wear off quickly.  I also like that it's nourishing and doesn't dry out my lips.

You can by Kismet's liquid lipstick in select boutiques and online.  It retails for $22.

anne cutler kismet liquid lipstick