Saturday, December 6, 2014

Have You Reached Your Friendship Quota?

My husband and I have had this conversation on many occasions, which has lead me to believe we can't be the only ones who are having it. 

Can you hit a limit on the amount of friends you can have? Have you reached your friendship quota?

     As adults, we all know forming new friendships is a whole new ball game. The delicate dance of adult friendships: awkward, off balanced, forced, scarey, nerve wrecking. The general consensus is that they are not as easy as a "I sit next to you in Chemistry and you have cool gen pens so I will be friends with you from now on". As adults our free time is limited. We have jobs. We have children. We have responsibilities and commitments. We like to be in bed by 10 pm. We don't like to take off our slippers and sweats if we don't have to. Our version of "going out" means running to the grocery store, which is a planned and a highly enjoyed activity when done alone.

     As social beings (Genesis 2:18) we thrive and look for companionship in others. We love our spouses but we like to talk, and be with others, as well. My husband believes that he has hit his friendship quota and is at max capacity. He talks about how a few times he has opened his friendship portfolio and let a new person in. How it pushed his limits but now he is now at his all time max.

     My husband and I have under 10 couples we consider friends (we don't discriminate, we have single friends too but this isn't post isn't about them okay). I am a highly social and talkative person. I thrive on human contact and interaction. Talking is my thing. My husband talks for a living as a salesman. He likes to not talk and not think when he is out of work. Not talking or thinking doesn't really scream "Hey! Let's be friends!" Often I will talk to a new potential friend, have a great time, and hit some fun topics. Later I will tell my husband about how much fun I had and how it would be fun to be friends with them. This is the point in the conversation where he points out that he has no more room for friends. He is happy with the friends he/we have and he has no more room for new friends. I, however, lean towards the Girl Scouts song "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the others gold". I will always have room for more friends. Facebook hasn't put a limit on my friend requests. Twitter hasn't capped my followers. I say: the more the merrier! He says "We barely have time to see these friends on a rare occasions, what makes you think we have time to see new people?" Fair statement. With all of our running around and other obligations, when do we really see our current friends? We do see them at fun annual events like an ugly sweater Christmas party, a surprise 30th birthday party, the 4th of July barbeques, helping them move...there are a handful of times we see them in a quality time setting. We are blessed that we have a weekly bible study that 80% of our previously mentioned adult friends attend. Our friendships stay strong because we see each other weekly and we have the common goal of edification. Those new friendships, even if we did try, would they last? Will the dwindle away? Will they work with our schedule and life? I say a resounding YES! He side eyes my enthusiasm.

     Occasionally there will be a time when my husband agrees that a couple seems nice and maybe we should try to get to know them and hang out. Then we think about the details of how an endeavor like this would pan out. Should we ask if they want to do a play date? This could work. We met because our kids are in the same swimming/dance/Gymboree/music (insert your expensive child experience class here) class. But, you don't want to use your child as a crutch in your efforts. Plus in reality its the adults you want to see. Should you ask them out to dinner? Whoa, that's forward. You don't want to come off too strong and scare them off.  Then there is the "We are going to the zoo/park/mall (large populated area that is easy to "lose" someone in) this weekend. Maybe if you aren't doing anything we could meet up there?" tactic. Safe. Social. No pressure. No bad feelings if things aren't reciprocal. If things get awkward you can say its nap time or "its been a long day for the kids" or your gout is acting up.

     Let's say that you do manage to hang out with these new people and you hit it off. You like each other. You get the excited fun goodness. Light inside jokes might start to happen. You plan another hang out. Then you start to think of the future. Can you afford to keep these friends? When old friends are getting together will they be cool with you bringing new friends? Will the old and new friends get along? Will they want to meet? What if they have nothing in common? How will you separate your holiday celebrations? Then those odd feelings of being a child of divorce pop in. I need to divide my time evenly.

    This is too hard. So I say, Babe, let's just watch Hell's Kitchen in our PJ's while eating cookies and pray that our kids stay asleep, it's almost 10 o'clock.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

$500 Holiday Cash Giveaway!

That's right ladies and gentleman! 500 smackers could be yours with just a few clicks of the mouse!

MamatheFox, and a handful of other bloggers, are sponsoring a giveaway for $500 (winners choice of PayPal or gift card).

Be sure to follow MamatheFox on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ to keep in the loop and find out when more rocking giveaways are available.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
Open Worldwide! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Doormen to city blocks to mini malls to pastures

When people talk about where they are from they typically mention whether it is a suburb, the city life, rural, country, urban....whatever key word works for them due to their views of their habitat. In my mind I am from a north shore Chicago suburb. Born and raised with some very wealthy people. My family was never wealthy, we just happened to have a house there before it got like that. Because it became a more affluent area I was able to attend a wonderful schools, saw very nice things and went to a school where going to a musical on the weekend was the cool thing to do and international travel was what everyone did during the summer. I loved these affluent suburbs but it never felt like home. When I turned 18 I left my family behind and moved several states away, to Ohio.

In Ohio I chose a urban school. I wanted to live in a city life now. I didn't want to worry about being in the wrong area or right area so I wanted a city too small to really have definable zones. I choose Akron, Ohio. What a town. It has the urban feel without being too overwhelming. I was able to walk down blocks of city without my feet wanting to fall off like in a city like New York or Chicago. I could see the artsy areas and the ghetto areas all within a few blocks from each other. This was just what I was looking for. It was great for a college gal looking for a new adventure.

After college I needed to get out of the baby city and get into a suburbs. In the suburbs is where I will fit in perfectly.  I can get a nice mid size car, start my post college graduate career, find a husband, start a family! Boom! Did it!  The suburbs are great for popping in and out of mini malls. Man they are everywhere. You can find a mall within any 20 mile radius. Gas stations on every corner. And no where near as many pan handlers as Akron (I'm talking to you "Aliens stole my beer money" sign guy). Here in middle class suburbs I found a wonderful husband, a job I loved, accepted Christ as my Savior, had 2 beautiful babies and became a stay at home mom. Now that I am a mom and living in an apartment (as beautiful and safe as it was) it was too small for our growing Fox Den. My husband and I often took day drives (before children of course, no one with kids has time for leisurely drives through Amish country unless their lucky enough to have their kids all nap simultaneously which is the holy grail of parenting).  When driving through the country we always talked about how cool it would be to live in the country; the rural life.

After outgrowing out of our apartment we decided to rent a house in the country. We would love to buy a home but those roots are so permanent. Plus, what if we don't like rural living? Naw, renting a house would be the perfect move for restless Foxes. So we found a quaint 3 bedroom ranch in a small town about 15 minutes from a bumping suburban with a mall. This is the country! We have horses and a pasture in our backyard. I am writing this and while drinking my coffee and watching a pony and a horse (and a pony is not a baby horse, I have learned this recently) eatting grass in a pasture IN MY BACKYARD! Who would have thought I would be in such a picturesque situation. Some of the things I was unaware of (okay ignorant too) were the amount of bugs. Holy bugs Batman! I have never seen spiders this large and didn't know they come in so many forms (I double dog dare you to Google crab spider. They are what nightmares are made of). After moving in I promptly called out an exterminator (Alpha Pest in Cleveland, Ohio - Shout out to them, they were amazing). I am no longer living in constant killing bug mode. My 2 year old had not seen any bugs before living here. Fruit flies were horrifying to her. Being in an upper level apartment with 2 cats previously there was never a chance for a bug to live. When we first moved in she would scream with fear and cry when she saw them. I was so worried about her seeing one of those huge wolf spiders (yes, they are called that for a reason). Thankfully the exterminator did an amazing job and her bug induced scream fests have stopped. Being in the country you also hear guns. A lot. This is because a neighbor has a shooting range on their land. It's just them that use it and its not all the time. In the beginning I was like "someone was shot!" Then I remembered I am not in the city but the country. People shoot guns here even more then the city. It's also legal here. They shoot for fun and for sport. Surprisingly, I have quickly grown accustom to the sounds of gun shots. Now it can been soothing in the afternoon to hear the pop and echo of a barrel gun....says the girl who's driver instructor told her she didn't need to learn how to parallel park because "everywhere you go will have valet". Here I can let my daughter play in the muck (that is what she lovingly calls the dirt and mud). I can plop her in a sub tub and not have to take her through an apartment buildings common halls all covered in muddy mess. We have a field mouse living in our garage. All the rat poison is gone but the mouse is still here (there was a TON of poison. My husband and I think there is a mutant animal living on poison out there getting stronger and stronger...). We can yell and play outside and there is enough room between houses to where it doesn't bother anyone. We can burn our cardboard boxes for entertainment in our backyard without having the cops called out. My kids will learn how to ride a quad like other kids learn how to ride a bike. For this phase of life, the country is suiting us just fine. 

There are different habitats for different animals. There are different environments for each person. We may grow up and stay in one town our whole life. We may move across the global. We may be without shelter or home to live in.  The concepts are endless.

I have moved 23 times now in my 32 years. Some may call me a drifter, but I know my real home was never meant to be on earth. Hebrews 13:14 "For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come". 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Win a $5 Starbucks Giftcard!

Check out MamatheFox's Facebook page for a chance to win a $5 Starbucks Gift card! 
Click HERE for the link
Post by MamatheFox.

*This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook or Starbucks or their affiliates respectably

Friday, October 10, 2014

Kiss Me Organics Matcha Tea Review

When people see 'Matcha Tea' typically they think
What is Matcha Tea?!
Oh yeah, hot tea...isn't that Japanese or something?
Now THAT is how I feel great!

Matcha tea is what is used in the traditional Japanese hot tea ceremony called, chanoyu (which means hot water for tea in Japanese). I have never had the pleasure of experiencing a real chanoyu with fancy hand movements and the proper preparation with a tea whisk, but I have had a few cups of it before. It is definitely a strong tea. What is great about this tea it that you don't have to just drink it to get the full benefits....benefits you ask? Oh yes, here are some:
  • Increased Energy and Focus
  • Calorie Burning Booster
  • 137% More Antioxidants Then a Regular Cup of Green Tea
This matcha tea is the entire leave ground up into a powder, therefore containing more antioxidants than a regular cup of green tea (1 cup of matcha is equal to 10 cups of green tea). This dramatically increases the nutritional content. Now you might be thinking, "I have heard of antioxidants, but what are they?"


According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, "Our bodies are battlegrounds against infection and diseases. Normal body functions such as breathing or physical activity and other lifestyle habits such as smoking produce substances called free radicals that attack healthy cells. When these healthy cells are weakened, they are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers. Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E and carotenoids, which include beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein, help protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals."

As I mentioned before, there are many uses for Kiss Me Organics Matcha Tea.
  • Lattes
  • Smoothes
  • Baked Good
 If you do choose to make a simple cup of hot tea use 1 teaspoon of tea to 8 ounces of hot water. I use my Keurig for procuring hot water for my teas.
Once the water is added to the powder whisk until frothy. Add sweetener if desired.

Mint Matcha Milkshake

  • 1 teaspoon Matcha tea
  • 2 teaspoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup of mint ice cream
  • 4 mint leaves (washed and dried)
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of mint chocolate chips
1. Combine warm water and Matcha tea, stir until blended
2. Add remaining ingredients into a blender and run until smooth.
3. Pour Matcha mixture into mixture and blending again for another 5 to 10 seconds (or until mixture is a nice green color).
4. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Enjoy! 

(Yields 1 serving)
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ebook Review - Terry Treetop Finds New Friends

When raising a child there are so many morals and values we try to instill. Throughout our daily lives, as we interact with each other, we are showing our children how to behave. They roll play and imitate our every move. Therefore, we need to be sure to expose them to positive and constructive situations and experiences.

Terry Treetop Finds New Friends is a book which allows your child to step into the life of Terry and learn with him. In this Ebook they learn the importance of being self motivated and how not to give up. Children (and us adults!) easily become discouraged when things get hard. Terry shows our children the importance of persistence.

My daughter loved reading this book with me. The colorful pages and bold pictures made her excited with every turn of the page. She loves pointing to the pictures and telling me what she saw.

This is a fun and easy to read book, but most importantly, it has a wonderful lesson for your little one to learn.

notice her smiling cheeks

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Animals Tails a book By Dan Jackson - Review

Once children hit a certain age they become curious little sponges. They ask questions like, "why?" 500 million time in a day. As a parent you want to supply those little growing minds with all the best information and answers. Now if your kids are anything like my daughter, then they LOVE animals. Looking at them, touching them, but especially learning about them.

I was blessed with the opportunity to review the book Animals Tails by Dan Jackson.  This book is just filled with facts and beautiful pictures. Best part, it's digital! So when I need to entertain the kids while out and about and don't have wi-fi, we have books for them to read on the tablet; it's still "playing with the tablet". These kids now-a-days are tablet obsessed. We want them to learn the technology and to grow, but need them to be tools of growth and development, so this is when a book like Dan Jackson's Animals Tails is the perfect solution.
My daughter loved pointing out the different body parts and tell me what they were.

By viewing real animals she is able to see the anatomy and true nature of each creature

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sweet'N Low Party

As the child of a diabetic mother I grew up using Sweet'N Low as our household sweetener instead of table sugar. My mother is unable to have very much sugar, but as we all know, you need some sweetness in your life! So for our cooking, drinks and now coffee I choose to use Sweet'N Low. I not only grew custom to using their product but have acquired a preference for their product. I have tried all the other new and old sugar replacement sweeteners but always go back to old faithful: Sweet 'n Low.

I was chosen to host a party on behalf of Sweet'N Low. I was supplied with complimentary products and some recipes to help assist me on their behalf. What a great experience it has been. I was able to gather 11 of my closest friends and easily talk them into having a party during our normal bible study meeting time. We all bought food and I supplied the sweetest and most refreshing drinks you can imagine! We snacked on hotdogs, chips, dips and homemade cookies but the hit of our party were to drinks.
Here are the recipes for the drinks we sipped upon:

Strawberry Granita Freeze:

  • 1 package (16 oz) frozen strawberries
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/4 lime juice (I used 2 fresh squeezed limes)
  • 16 packets of Sweet'N Low zero calorie sweetener
Place frozen strawberries, water and lime juice in a blender and mix until well blended (about 30 seconds). Garnish with fresh strawberries (they are out of season in here...I looked at 2 places for fresh strawberries, sorry readers).

Sunny Citrus Soda:

  • 2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice (4 limes)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice (I did more with 4 lemons)
  • 24 packets of Sweet'N Low zero calorie sweetener
  • 1 1/2 liters of club soda, chilled
  • Ice
  • Lemon and lime wedges

Mix all ingredients over ice. Garnish with lemon and lime wedges or circles.

Both drinks were a hit! and didn't last long at all. All the husbands loved having a fun and sweet drink with dinner. The lemons even inspired an impromptu lemon eating competition! A bunch of them put a while wedge of lemon in their mouth and whoever ate it fastest won...rind and all! It was a hilarious memory we will always cherish and are so glad Sweet'N Low was what brought us together.

So swing by your local grocer and pick up a box of Sweet'N Low to try out these drinks for yourself! 

...Don't forget, they are husband approved

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ellie's Best 'The Bigger Better Nut Milk Bag' Review

Can we all say multifunctional?
When I received this bag from Ellie's Best to test I got so giddy with the possibilities. This bag is made of a material that I compare to a cleaner and easier version of cheesecloth, which as a mom and a cook, has endless uses. The three uses I will be showing you in this article are:
  •  Almond Milk
  •  Elevated Hot Apple Cider
Almond Milk
Making your own home made almond milk is not only good for you but it's fun and easy too. Making your own almond milk you are able to control all ingredients and the quality of your drink.

  • 1 cup of fresh organic almonds
  • 4 1/2 cups of filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3-4 prunes (pitted; for added sweetness)
  • Pinch of salt
  • One Ellie's BIGGER Better Nut Bag 
  • Blender

1) First you need to soak your nuts (::giggles::). For almonds you need to soak for at least 10 to 12 hours, but no more than 2 days. This will soften your nuts and prepare them for blending. As your nuts soak they will make the water look 'dirty'. This is because the skin is softening and the shell is breaking apart slowly. Some dirt may be on the nuts and this bath will also clean the nuts.

2) Drain and rinse nuts.

3) Add nuts, filtered water, salt, vanilla extract and prunes to blender. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes.

4) Place Ellie's Best Nut Bag over a bowl. Pour the mixture into the bag, allowing the liquid to pass through the bag into the bowl. Squeeze the contents of the bag to get all milk out of bag.

5) Enjoy! Put in fridge and can be enjoyed for up to 3 days.

Toddler Approved

Elevated Hot Apple Cider

We all love a warm cup of hot apple cider in the fall and winter. Its such a comfort drink that is safe for the whole family to enjoy at a special occasion or at the fun gathering. It's easy enough to make right before an event and takes hardly any prep work at all (which is what us moms need sometimes). Leave it on during a party to make the whole room smell nice and festive.

  • 3-4 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1 Tablespoon of Whole All Spice
  • 1 Tablespoon of Whole Cloves
  • 1 Gallon on Fresh Apple Cider
  • 1 Ellie's Best BIGGER Better Nut Bag
Simply pour your cider into a crock-pot.

Measure out your spices and add them to the nut bag.

Tie off the nut bag by wrapping the extra cord around the top too keep the spices in.

Place bag into crock-pot and cook on low for 3-6 hours (or keep on 'warm' during a party to keep warm and allow the room to be aromatic). 

Enjoy with a cinnamon stir stick if desired.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gold and Three Promotional Giveaway

Gold and Three is a company owned by a mother of 3 fabulous children. She specializes in making custom products: oneies, water tumblers, decals to decorative tiles and more. She is always looking to expand her product line, so feel free to ask her if you don't see a product that you would be interested in personalizing; it cant hurt to ask! Just private message Gold and Three on Facebook with any questions and to place orders.

Gold and Three is based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are able to ship anywhere across the globe (shipping costs are paid by customer).

When I first heard about Gold and Three I placed an order for a custom water tumbler. This water tumbler is a matte aluminum made for cold drinks. I had it made with the International Baby Wearing logo and my name (Wear ALL the babies!).

She has tons of color combo options too, which makes designing your own just that much more fun (You pick the bottle color and the writing color).


Here are some examples of custom items which were recently designed for customers:

Onesies are available in multiple sizes (newborn to 24 months). Custom prints are also available on toddler and adult shirts.

Everyone has inside jokes or sayings that you and your friends/family say all the time. Why not make that saying into a car decal to brighten up your car?!
 (Or any other item! Decals have endless opportunity in placement)

Birth Announcement Tiles are SO IN! I am part of multiple mom groups and these are the hot thing all new moms want. These announcements are extremely versatile and have tons of custom options. You can change the colors, fonts, set up. These are truly a classic gift to treasure and will be loved by the child from birth into adulthood. 

Now here is the awesome part! Gold and Three would like to offer you the chance to win a free custom onesie! 
That's right, shipped right to you for FREE! 

This onesie can be yours (you would pick the size and print color)!!!

If you just cannot wait and need to place an order right now use the code MamatheFox for an additional 10% off your first purchase (code expires October 30th, 2014). 
a Rafflecopter giveaway  This giveaway is open to continental US residents 18+ from 1 am September 15th, 2014 and close at 12:59 am September 30th, 2014. No PO Boxes. Winners will be drawn using Rafflecopter's Random Number Generator. I will notify winner via e-mail and they will have 48 hours to reply before I am forced to redraw winners. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. This contest is not affiliated with Facebook in any way.

Welcome to the #JustBecause We Can Giveaway Hop, brought to you by The Hopping Bloggers and Up All Night Blogging! We are a group of bloggers that specialize in giveaway hops - so stay with us and you will have many chances to win some amazing prizes! Each of the bloggers participating in this hop has a giveaway with a prize value of at least $20 - and some are much more than that! Be sure to visit them all - there is no limit to how many prizes you can win! Good Luck and Have Fun!

Friday, September 12, 2014

How to Make Skillet Chili Mac

1 cup of cheddar cheese
1 - 1 1/2 lb of ground beef
1 1/2 cups of pasta shells (medium)
1 or 2 cans of Rotel with green chilies
1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce
1 can kidney (red) beans
1/2 tea dried oregino
1/2 tea cumin
1 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder
1 tea salt
1 tea of garlic minced
2 cups of water
1 bell pepper (chopped)
1 med onion (chopped)

*optional toppings can be: green onions, sour cream, additional cheese...

1. Chop your green pepper
2. Chop your onion
3. Saute your onion and green pepper in oil until light browning occurs. Then add raw ground beef and continue to saute until meat is fully cooked (no pink).
4. Add in to skillet: cumin, chili powder, oregano, garlic, salt, shells, Rotel, kidney beans, tomato sauce and water. Mix well and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or until shell are fully cooked.
5. Once fully cooked add in the cheese and stir well.
Additional toppings are optional.