From the Mouths of Little TCKs + Two-Ingredient Pancakes {The Grove: Children}

I was hesitant to sign up for this week because my kids are young (9, 7, and 4) and I didn’t know what they could bring to the table of TCKs. Turns out, they’re hilarious, insightful, and see things I didn’t know they understood. Sounds about right for a TCK, right?

I kept their answers pretty close to what they actually said to keep it extra authentic. J is my 9-year-old son and M is my 7-year-old son. I left the 4-year-old out of this because her answers would probably revolve around unicorns and purple things.

*Side note: We are currently on home assignment in the US. We left our company when we left China last summer. We’ll return to the same city, but with a new company (read: new home, new friends, new colleagues, new almost everything).

Tell me about the people in China.

J: They have different ways of doing things, different foods—but really, really good. They all have black hair. When a kid falls, they help them up quickly. They don’t just say, “you’re fine.” (Have I created wounds here by making them be tough and get up on their own?! I’ve definitely received my fair share of scoldings from Chinese grannies for not being compassionate enough!) They can write some really hard Chinese characters. They give us a lot of gifts and always want to have a conversation with us because they don’t know what foreigners are like so they want to learn more. They have a saying, “the fatter you are, the happier you are.” That’s why a lot of the buddhas are fat.

M: They sometimes take pictures and talk about how cute I am in Chinese.

What are some things that you enjoy about living there?

M: I like exploring on our bikes. The food is pretty nice and tastes pretty good. We get to try new foods. I like seeing nature like the red trees in the fall and the pink spring flowers on the trees. I like the beautiful mountains. (Amazing to me that they notice the beauty in the Land of Concrete! I suppose it does stick out more against a sea of grey.)

J: I like the food and hiking the small mountain by our house, getting to the top and seeing the view. I like playing with the friends that live in my stairwell.

Where do you feel most at home and why?

J: I like our current city the best because I had the most friends there. We just made the best of it there because our “backyard” was just a concrete alley, but we still had fun every day.

M: I like our current city because I liked going to the MK school and doing art. I also liked Kids Night (one evening a week the teens on our team did something fun with the younger kids)—there was a surprise every week. My favorite one was the night we did science experiments with dropping eggs from the 6th floor.

What do you find quirky about your passport country (America)?

J: There are more manners in America. There are less in China, so I’m working on those. (This one cracks me up! So true that in China he doesn’t have to worry about no elbows on the table or not hunching over your food to shovel it in—because that’s how locals eat!) America is more dangerous so we can’t go out by ourselves too often. There’s more meat; we eat lots of veggie dishes in China.

Is there anyone or anything that you miss right now?

J: I miss my friends in China and the food.

M: I miss our home. (Breaks this mama’s heart to see the struggle of the straddle. We’ve been feeling it a lot lately, watching some of our closest friends meet up in Thailand–which we’ve done with them for the past 7 years. One sweet friend put together a thoughtful care package–including notes from several people–that made us feel so special and loved!)

What kind of food do you enjoy where you live?

M: Brown tofu (dried tofu soaked in a salty sauce), sweet chicken (could be so many dishes!), and meat dumplings.

J: Dumplings, tofu and cucumbers (slices of dried tofu and shredded cucumbers, like a salad), chicken and green beans (I just don’t know how they make the sauce so good!).

What were some of the most beautiful places you’ve visited? Why do they stand out?

J: The beach in Thailand—blue skies, we get to play in the sand, and there’s nothing to worry about. (What do you worry about, little one?)

M: Niagra Falls—It’s like going through water (we took a boat into the Falls) and it was fun to see all the seagulls. We don’t usually get to see those things up close. Good thing there wasn’t any hail!

Do you think you’ll live abroad when you’re an adult? What do you hope to do or become?

J: I want to become a scientist but I don’t know what God will tell me to do, so I just have to go with the flow.

M: I want to be an engineer. No, I don’t want to live in a different country. I want to live in China the rest of my life and just take a few summers in America.

What insights have the little TCKs in your life made that may have surprised you? Feel free to ask these questions or similar ones to your TCK and share. I love seeing kids’ perspectives on life!


I’m currently focusing more on what I’m eating. Let’s just say I noticed the furlough few (pounds) adding on. It’s so easy to do when surrounded with so many wonderful food options! So many dinners out! So many parties! But, I’ve had to reel it in. This super simple breakfast has been my go-to lately. Who knew sweet, soft, crepe-like pancakes could be made with just a banana and a few eggs AND keep me full all morning?! Maybe it’s old news. I tend to miss out on trends while out of country. I’m sure you understand. Enough rambling. Let me know if you try these and if you like them!

Smash a ripe (over-ripe makes it sweeter!) banana and mix with 2 eggs.
I love adding cinnamon to mine! You could also add vanilla, cocoa, nutmeg, etc.
Make sure to cook until brown on the first side. If you flip too early, they’ll fall apart.
I usually get 6 small pancakes out of the batch. It seems like a lot, but they’re so light that I can usually eat them by myself (with my kids stealing bites, of course).

Two-Ingredient Pancakes 

Serves: 1

Ready in: 10 minutes

Banana, ripe or overripe

2 eggs

Oil spray or light splash of oil

Additions: Cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, cocoa, etc.

Spray/splash a little oil (olive oil, butter, coconut oil) in a skillet and turn heat to medium. 

While pan is heating, in a small bowl, use a fork to smash banana thoroughly. Mix in two eggs. Stir together well. Add any additional ingredients and mix well. 

When pan is hot, add 2 Tablespoons of mixture per pancake. Keep the pancakes small so they will flip more easily. Cook 1-2 minutes and check for doneness, then flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Cook in batches of 2-4, depending on pan size. 

These are sweet on their own, but you could top with a little syrup or honey, peanut butter, fresh fruit, whipped cream, etc. Enjoy!


We invite you to share in The Grove. You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.

Inlinkz Link Party

Share your images on this week’s theme with #VelvetAshesChildren. You can add yours!


  1. Robyn February 14, 2019

    My kids are the same age, so it was interesting to hear what your kids said. Funny thing – as I am reading this I am making my similar breakfast! Mine is 1 banana, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup of oats, mixed together and fried as 1 big pancake.

    1. Michele February 15, 2019

      I also make them with oats and a little bit of baking powder if I want them a bit fluffier!

    2. Ashley Felder February 17, 2019

      I’ll have to try them with oats–yum!

  2. Annalisa February 14, 2019

    Ahahahahha! I love it that he doesn’t see either China or the US as a “different country.” I hope my little one feels the same (about Guatemala) when she’s old enough to have an opinion.

    1. Ashley Felder February 17, 2019

      Funny, right? I didn’t respond to that when we were chatting. I think the innocence is super sweet. 🙂

  3. Rachel February 15, 2019

    Wonderful. I wonder if perhaps you don’t have a worrier and it’s someone older they notice has no worries at the beach? ♥️ I would love to hear the four yr old answers! I have a unicorn fan too ? Fabulous kids xxx

    1. Ashley Felder February 17, 2019

      You’re probably right. Or maybe he’s just super glad he doesn’t have to do school while there. 😉

      Here are my 4yo’s (adapted) responses:

      What do you think about the Chinese people?
      We love them and they’re our family.

      What do you like about living in China?
      My pink room and my toys. (ha!)

      What food do you like in China?

      What do you want to be when you’re an adult?
      A helper. I’m gonna cook food.

      Will you always live in China?

  4. Michele February 15, 2019

    I love that J is waiting to see what God tells him to do before he gets fixed on one plan for his life! Seems like he’s been making observations of how things going for the grown ups in his world! I also love the idea of the teens planning activities for the younger kids- so fun, and somehow so tck!

    1. Ashley Felder February 17, 2019

      I pray he keeps such perspective!

      We had some amazing teen TCKs that were troopers in giving us parents a night off while making it super fun for the kids. Some strong bonds were made on those nights!

  5. Grace L February 15, 2019

    Loved your sharing what your kids think about being so cross cultural. And I was so inspired about your two ingredient pancakes, that I messaged my husband, who was out at the time, to stop and pick up some bananas so we can try them in the morning. Can’t wait for breakfast! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ashley Felder February 17, 2019

      How did they turn out? I’ve learned that if the bananas aren’t almost overripe, they’re not sweet enough (for me) and I have to add something on top…honey, syrup, or even a dollop of whipped cream. 🙂

      1. Grace L February 18, 2019

        They were delicious! We had them for Saturday morning breakfast. My husband loaded up his with his homemade strawberry jam, but I enjoyed them plain and thought they were plenty sweet enough. It does take more work than an oatmeal breakfast though. But I love the idea and we will make them again soon!

  6. Danielle Wheeler February 15, 2019

    Love the interview and real life answers. J’s answer about how they don’t tell kids “you’re fine” when they fall was so interesting and true! Also excited to do these pancakes.

    1. Ashley Felder February 17, 2019

      He may have heard that story from me quite a few times. ha! He’s probably wondering why we’re not the compassionate parents helping them up after each tumble. They’ll understand when they have their own kids, right!??

  7. Sarah Hilkemann February 15, 2019

    I’m so glad you shared these answers with us, Ashley! 🙂 And I would love to try the pancakes!

    1. Ashley Felder February 17, 2019

      Let us know how they turn out and if you make any revisions! We’re happy about our new simple meal. Somehow they seem so much easier than regular pancakes, that I’m willing to make them several times a week!

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.