August 29, 2013

The Versatile Blogger Award

So guess what?  I was nominated for another award!  How freakin’ excited am I?!  This time, Tarana from Sand in my Toes (don’t you just love her blog name) nominated me and I am beyond honored!  It’s such an amazing feeling to know that someone thought of you, and that little ol’ blog of yours, especially when you least expected it!  And to be nominated for being versatile, is especially wonderful!  Makes me happy, for once, not to have limited myself to blogging about one topic like maybe I made the right decision about branching out!  So thank you Tarana for recognizing me!

August 28, 2013

A Pasta Recipe for your Picky Eater(s)!

Do you have a picky eater in the house?  If so, I’m assuming they are somewhere between the ages of 3 and 8?  I have a 3 year old and she has been quite picky in the past to say the least.  Just when I thought I was understanding her taste, it would change drastically.  First she was interested in tasty foods with lots of spices, then it was bland foods like a piece of white wonder bread or plain chicken.  Today, I am happy to report she is more open minded and will eat a variety of foods with only a little coaxing!  If you can believe it, I’ve been feeding her foods like cereal, scrambled eggs, or French toast for breakfast, salami and bread or chicken nuggets for lunch, and pork tenderloin, lamb chops (her favorite), steak, chicken cutlets, sweet potatoes, broccoli, corn on the cob, or spaghetti for dinner. 

For those of you that are still dealing with a picky eater, more importantly one that would prefer more bland than tasty foods, I’d recommend my linguini dish.  Of course, it doesn’t have to be made with linguini.  Any pasta would do.  It’s a simple recipe with only few ingredients. 

August 26, 2013

Katherine’s Corner

I’ve got a great blog site recommendation for you today! For those that aren’t familiar with Katherine over at Katherines Corner, trust me you need to check her out!  If you didn’t you’d be missing out on some wonderful and yummy recipes, fun photographs, giveaways, product reviews, and life stories!  Katherine also shares blogging tips and has a weekly blog hop on Thursdays called FAVORITE THINGS!  Additionally, as if that weren’t enough, Katherine also offers custom blog design services

August 25, 2013

17 Fall Fashion Finds!

I have something a little different for you today!  I thought I'd switch it up a bit and share some of my Fall Fashion Finds!  If you are familiar with my blog you’d know I've published posts in the past providing you with children's clothing and shoe recommendations, but never a post on women's attire, accessories, shoes, etc.  What a drag right?  Go ahead, you can say it!  I don't get offended easily.  Promise. 

I'm a HUGE Fall lover.  It's my favorite season!  I love the foliage, crisp air, smell of burning wood, apple picking, and curling up on the sofa with a mug full of hot chocolate and whipped cream.  Mostly, though, I love Fall apparel and the look and feel of layers!  I would be lost without warm and comfy oversized sweaters, a pair of knee high boots, legwarmers, newsboy hats, and the wrapping of beautifully patterned thin knit scarf around my neck.  And the colors!  Don’t even get me started on all the beautiful colors of Fall!  Colors like rich plum, cranberry, sienna, cream, taupe, burnt orange, bright green, and deep yellows are some of my favorites to wear! 

August 22, 2013

Want to contribute to Cropped Stories? (oh, and enter a GIVEAWAY)?

It’s a new day.  It’s an EXCITING day!  Why you ask?  Well because today I’ve decided it would be fun to have interested parties contribute content to Cropped Stories!  Why contribute?  Well let’s see…

In addition to getting to work with me (by the way, I’ve been told I’m extremely fun to work with) and building a new friendship, how about free exposure for your website?  Interested to know how much exposure?  No worries, I would want to know too!  Check out my blog stats currently updated specifically for this post:

August 21, 2013

Princess party decor!

Last weekend we had a party for Alivia’s 3rd birthday!  I still can’t believe my baby turned 3!  It seems like yesterday I was holding an infant in my arms mesmerized by my doe eyed girl looking curiously back at me!  I remember her blinking slowly until they became fewer and far between and the next thing I knew she had drifted off to asleep.  I didn’t think anything could top those moments of mother daughter bonding as I held her close to my chest and watched her for hours.  It was then I realized I was truly happy!

Yet each day she continues to amaze me. And although I try to prepare myself for the milestones, accomplishments, efforts, silliness, passion, curiosity, and everything else she has grown to be in the last 3 years, I realize it’s an impossible and unrealistic task.  And I’m okay with that.  In fact, I’ve come to love the spontaneity of it all!

August 20, 2013

We can all benefit from eye exercises; especially our children!

Maybe you guys have been following my Intermittent Exotropia journey with Alivia, maybe you haven’t.  Regardless, though, did you know eye exercises are extremely beneficial even for children that don’t have an eye condition?  Even if your child has pretty good vision (meaning they don’t require glasses) there is always room for improvement.  Eye exercises, in addition to improving vision, can also improve hand-eye coordination, inattentiveness, and depth perception!

August 19, 2013

2 Giveaways; 1 Post!!!!

Now I’m sure crazier things have happened, but certainly not better than this:


That’s right!  That means not 1, but 2 chances to win something amazing including a $200 Amazon Gift Card and a box of 6 Woolzies (see below for more details)!  How amazing is that?
Speaking of giveaways: need an extra $100?  In case you missed it, don’t forget to check out my current giveaway for your chance to win a $100 Virtual VISA Gift Card!  You still have time but, I’d hurry, it ends on the 2oth (yeah, that’s tomorrow)!

August 14, 2013

Stay connected with these must have apps!

When a blogger goes on vacation, their smartphone gets some serious use! While Cropped Stories is away, I volunteered to guest post for her. I, too, was away on vacation. I blog over at Krystal’s Kitsch, and I am happy to share some iPhone apps for those well-connected bloggers.

We hit up a beautiful beach on the Atlantic coast of Florida, and enjoyed the very HOT weather! Bloggers love to share photos, document their trips, and stay connected to their readers. I have compiled a list of must have Blogger iPhone Apps for those writers on the go!

August 13, 2013

Our “just because” $100 Giveaway!

It’s a Tuesday and something about today is special but I can’t remember what!  I know it was supposed to be a Tuesday unlike any other, but I can’t remember why.  It’s weird.  You know that feeling I’m talking about?  Like you had something important to say, but you can’t remember what.  It’s really rather frustrating.  I just know I’m forgetting something….  Wait, I think it’s coming back to me.  It’s on the tip of my tongue I swear!

August 12, 2013

Cheesy Chicken and Rice!

Hey everyone! Hope your weekend was fantastic!  I’ve got some wonderful Guest Bloggers lined up for you this week and:


So don’t forget to come back for your chance to win $100!

Julia is a busy mom of twins, a wife, and an accountant. In her "spare" time, she scrapbooks, makes cards, designs jewelry, and sneaks naps. She blogs about life, scrapbooking, card making, blogging, crafts, recipes, reviews, giveaways, social good, and anything else that makes her laugh. A Global Team of 200 moms and a Shot@LIfe Champion, she has written for US Aid, Feed the Future, Sverve, and other websites. You can join her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest.    

August 9, 2013

MIA? Maybe a little.

If you’re a dedicated reader of Cropped Stories,  I’m sure you’ve noticed the amount of times I’ve been posting has been getting fewer and fewer.  Don’t worry I may be “Missing” (so to speak), but definitely not “In Action” in that  I’ve been working behind the scenes over here on a very BIG project for all of my lovely readers!  As promised per my ADVERTISE page, a short term goal of mine was to roll out a Blog Hop by the end of Summer!  If you missed my BIG Blog Hop announcement, feel free to catch up (just click on the button below).  Trust me, you will NOT want to miss out!  My Blog Hop comes with a HUGE incentive for participating including the opportunity to get your content pinned a minimum of 31 times, drive more traffic to your website, and increase your page views and rank with the added benefit of meeting new people and making some friends! 

August 6, 2013

Watch out blogosphere; there’s a new Blog Hop in town!

Have you heard the buzz?  NO?  Well then, it just so happens that you’ve come to the right place to hear the news! 

There’s going to be a new BLOG HOP in town!  That’s right!  And not just any ol’ Blog Hop, but one with a HUGE incentive for participating.  What’s the incentive you ask?  Great question.  How about the opportunity to drive more traffic to your website, gain new followers, and increase your page rank and views?  All this and the additional benefit of meeting new people and making some friends!  You may be asking yourself “is she for real”?  I’m happy to say “YES I AM”!  I’m also extremely excited to introduce The PINcentive Blog Hop!

August 5, 2013

Your kids will burn up with these HOT Back to School supplies

I feel like a ridiculously premature Fall clothing line in a one of your local retailers (you know the ones that had their Fall clothing line available at the beginning of the Summer)?  Now I walk into stores and there’s limited Summer apparel but boat loads of clothing I can’t even wear yet unless I’d like to sweat my hiney off in a pair of corduroy pants and a thin knit sweater!  It’s sort of a pet peeve of mine.  And now here I am publishing this post on back to school supplies and we are barely into August.  I’ve just become my worst nightmare!


Nah, I’m just kidding.  I’m well aware of the benefits of being proactive (since I am myself) and feeling the satisfaction of crossing off an item on your to do list.  For those out there with school age kids that haven’t shopped for back to school supplies yet, I hope you’ll find this post helpful!  You’ll find my list of items are affordable, fun, trendy and, like my post title describes them, HOT! 

August 1, 2013

LeapFrog Learning Activities by MEGA Brands

I have a wonderful Pre-K educational product recommendation for you today!  I received a LeapFrog Product Kit by Mega Brands in the mail several days ago and I was very impressed with the learning assortment they provided.  The activities were both fun and educational at the same time.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only one that thought so.  Alivia, my 3 year old, has been asking to use it everyday!  I don’t think “obsessed” is too dramatic of a word when referring to her persistence to use the products on a daily basis!  In fact, her enthusiasm for learning is more than I could ever imagine!  She especially loves the activities like the Colors, Shapes & Numbers Book and the Dry Erase Practice Board that require the use of dry erase crayons and a marker!  The dry erase writing utensils easily wipe clean from just about any surface including your child; a SUPER bonus!

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