Simple Lunch: Spicy Coconut Chicken & Zucchini

This is a concoction I made with leftovers and pantry ingredients + some herbs from my (now end of season) garden (can I just say that fresh herbs are such amazing flavor pick-me-ups?).

Why do I have the Simple Lunch category? It reminds me that, instead of feeling dizzy and moving through my day with a hunger headache, I can actually whip up something quickly that I will enjoy eating. Most days, I have to get to the headache stage before I realize this. I’m getting better though!

I have a feeling many moms are the same way… going about their day, taking care of their children, and surviving on room temperature milk left in sippy cups and PBJ crusts. Shall we encourage one another to take better care of ourselves?

Spicy Coconut Chicken & Zucchini

Sauté minced garlic and ginger in a skillet.
Add cubed chicken (leftovers from that big batch of broth I made!)
Add chopped zucchini (mine was from the bottom of my veggie drawer, mushy parts cut out!)
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a pinch of curry powder
Stir the goodness together for a minute to distribute the spices
Pour in coconut milk (canned) to cover your chicken/zucchini
Simmer for a few minutes until the zucchini is tender and coconut milk thickens
Sprinkle on minced fresh basil and cilantro (I had leftover basil from our pizza last night!)
Plate and serve with lime wedges and Red Chili Hot Oil

..because Moms need to eat lunch, too!

Evel Knievel Had a Mother, Too

Evel Knieval had a mother, too. There are days I wonder how she coped when her son was doing daring things that surely had her scrambling to help him or clean up after him at some point in his youth.

Today, my Evel Knieval decided to put a large wad of paper on top of a lit candle and walk away from it. The candle was on the sill of a window, and the flames were as high as the bottom of the open wooden window. Another child saw it and screamed for help.

Last week, Evel decided to walk home after being dropped off at a babysitter’s and break into our locked house to get his new rocks from the Natural History Museum to show to his friends. Tom called my cell phone to say he’d received a call at work saying that the motion sensors in our house had been set off and that the police were on their way. I was almost to my destination, but turned around. I came home to find my child sitting on our front porch, crying, and a police officer walking up our steps and asking him if he was okay.

My child is brilliant when it comes to taking things apart, even if the deconstruction only occurs in his mind. When we were on the Shinkansen on the way to Hokkaido, he located the emergency door-control panels, fire extinguisher, English guide to the route, and bathrooms — all within the first ten minutes of boarding.

He also quickly wanders off on his little quests of discovery. My first good scare occurred when he first start crawling. We were at a wedding and he swiftly crawled away from the kids’ play area. My son had found a hidden door and crawled up the stairs leading to the balcony where the sound and lighting systems were housed. The reception dances screeched to a halt as a woman started yelling that there was a baby about to fall through the bars of the balcony. A whole story above us, my son was teetering between bars wider than his chubby little body, laughing. It took several moments for us to find the door to even get to him to rescue him. Another time, when he was all of four, he got lost in Tokyo and walked over a mile to find us on the other side of a very large park. I’m thankful that he seems to have an innate compass, and that while he wanders away, lost in thought, he at least can find his way home… although we did have a pretty close call with him when he disappeared and ran off to see where the train tracks went. His guardian angels certainly have to work for their paychecks!

But, he also has a very tender heart… if you can get to it. When he finally humbles himself and fesses up, he becomes a big puddle of tears and blames himself harshly.

Today I had to explain to him that he has a pattern of doing things without thinking them through. The answer cannot simply be, “I don’t know why I did that!” In the case of the candle fire, and in breaking into our house, and a few other named problems he’d caused (for instance, a hole in the plaster wall hours before our house was to be shown by a Realtor) that these things warrant being confronted. I’m not trying to personally attack him — it would be wrong for me to turn a blind eye to them. It’s for his own growth that I must talk to him about these things!

In response to his sobbing and his saying things like, “You think I’m stupid! You don’t love me! You hate everything that I do!”, I told him that I appreciated his mind, and that I am proud of him for wanting to understanding how things work. His skills are such a help to me for mechanically related projects — like taking apart our vacuum to thoroughly clean it out. I pointed out that, out of all of my children, he is the one for whom I have bought nice tools (not just plastic hammers, but the real thing — and nails to go with it!) and building toys designed for children way older than his age group. My goal is to encourage him in his endeavors… but with some boundaries.

I told him, “It’s not enough to simply ask, “I wonder what would happen if….?” He must also stop and ask these two things:

1. Could my actions endanger myself or someone else? (Yes = Need to ask permission!)
2. Do I have permission from the owner to tinker with this object? (No = Need to ask permission!)

And… if he is not sure of those two answers to please ask his parents.

For those who are tinkerers or have children who are — any advice or encouragement for me? :D

Takin’ Five and Thinking About Living in a Shipping Container House

I have a lot on my mind at the moment and not enough time to write down my thoughts!

Here are some random tidbits :

As of the last day of May, 2010, I am no longer in my 20s.

This week, I decided to color my hair not just for the sake of something new and wild (like pink highlights) but to color gray! I used an awesome organic haircolor called Organic Color Systems which I found through my friend Robyn at Shear Miracles.

One of my conversations with fellow blogger Megan Dunham at HalfPintHouse was quoted at World Magazine online!

Our time in Japan is just about up! I will miss the karate dojo where my children and I have been practicing Shotokan karate, the lush green plant life, our close proximity to the sea, and the peaceful lifestyle of not having to lock our doors. Details forthcoming as they solidify.

Currently, I am…

-Working on my full accreditation through the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth… over 100 essay questions!

-Eagerly awaiting the arrival of our Veritas Press homeschooling curriculum for the 2010-2011 school year! Micah is officially starting school this year, although we’ve been working on his reading and math skills these past two years ;)

-Preparing for our upcoming month-long home leave to the US, just a few weeks away!

-Researching housing made out of storage containers (We are considering building our own house when we move back to the US!)

Check out these links on storage container housing:

The Cordell House – Numen Development (Model we like best so far!)

Shipping Container Housing Guide

Qwik House

Intermodal Steel Building Units and Container Homes


What do you think? Could you live in a house built of shipping containers? Why does or doesn’t it appeal to you? What features would you want included in your home?

… and now, I will fall into my bed and hopefully sleep through the night without anyone tearfully sleep-walking into my room or mistaking my stack of cloth grocery bags in the foyer for a potty!

Eternally Thankful : Guest Post at

Pregnant!!! by DDanzig via Flickr

This past week, I commented on What I Want, a post at There Is No Wealth But Life about expectations and parenting. The post began, “When I say that I do not want to be a stay at home mother, it is because I want something else…” and it drew me in.

At the end of her post, Rae (Twitter @nowealthbutlife ) asked, “What do you want? If you are already a parent, how has reality changed your plans and dreams?”

Rae asked if she may use the comment as a guest post.

I said yes.

An excerpt:

I found out I was pregnant in the midst of big deadlines at work at the bank. I didn’t even tell my husband I had bought the test. Why should I? It would be negative anyway.

I took it after work, still wearing my snappy navy dress suit and classic leather heels.

My expensive woolen executive armor didn’t shield me from the truth in the urine.

You can find the rest of the guest post as well as Rae’s thought-provoking blog here.

How would you have answered Rae’s question?

The Anti-Supermom Trend : Healthy or Dangerous?

In this YouTube clip, I discuss both the positive and negative aspects of the anti-supermom trend and what it means for women. While the focus in recent years has been on becoming a domestic diva, some moms are proudly headed in the opposite direction. Here, I offer some analysis as well as a few thoughts to help women find their identity and maintain their voice in the crowd.

How to Shop With Children: My Three Rules


When you’re shopping with five small children, the trip can often be deemed successful if you leave with the bare essentials on your list, nothing in the store gets broken, there are no potty accidents on aisle five and nobody gets injured in the parking lot on the way to a car. (Thanks again, Stranger Who Saved the Day, for the bandages from the glove box of your NRA tagged pick-up when Micah’s pinky fingernail was ripped clean off, in the pouring rain, by the wheel of a shopping cart.)

Just because you can’t predict what’s going to happen with all of the variables present (um, that’s a euphemism for children), it doesn’t mean that you can’t try to have some semblance of order.

Here are my three shopping rules:

1. Reverse single file. This means to form a line behind the parent-in-the-lead in reverse age order. This way, the oldest child (my Thomas is eight) can help keep an eye on the middle children and is bringing up the rear so that we don’t have any stragglers. Especially on smaller aisles here in Japan, where two people are the equivalent of a road block, in this formation we can maneuver quickly and without crashing into any old ladies. If someone wants to look at something, they can ask me and we’ll go over and look together. If Tom is with me, especially in very crowded places, one of us will lead and the other will bring up the rear. ( You might laugh and call me militant, but have you ever lost a four year old on the subway in Tokyo? Yeah. Thought so.)

2. Hands behind your back or in your pockets. I inherited this rule from my father. He is a woodworking artisan. When my siblings and I were young, my dad used to take us with him to art shows and antique stores while he met customers and solicited new business. He knew the shop owners and, so long as we promised to obey this rule, they’d let us into their stores even when there were “No Children Under Age 13 Allowed” signs posted. (Oh yes, these signs do exist!) This rule works just as well in an aisle of glass jarred condiments as it does in a curio shop. If one of my children would like to touch something, they can ask me for help and we can look at it together… after I peek at the price tag first!

3. Ninja Stealth Mode. My kids came up with this name. It means to be quiet in the store, and to walk in a way that no one can hear you. This is the shopping version of The Quiet Game. If you aim for total silence, you’ll probably end up with “indoor voices”, which works just fine. (The children are convinced that no one can see or hear them while they’re in Ninja Stealth Mode. If you tell them otherwise, I’ll have to kill you.)

Being respectful of the store and other customers is something many adults have never learned. It’s important to teach children how to behave when they are young so that when they’re old, they’re only playing Monkey in the Middle if they can afford to buy every item on the aisle!

Humor aside, please don’t drag your children along on “shop until you drop” excursions or be insensitive to your children’s basic needs while you’re out and about. If a long days of errands simply cannot be avoided, be sure to plan for snack and potty breaks. You may be able to survive 10 stores in a row without emptying your bladder or stopping at the vending machine for some juice re-hydration, but your dear children cannot. In my post about biting, I addressed how unmet physical needs can contribute to bad behavior. The same ideas apply here.

By the way, there will be times that you’ll follow all the rules and you’ll momentarily lose a child or someone will steal a pack of orange Tic-Tacs. These incidents make for tender teaching moments for the whole family… not to mention great blog fodder. Remember: God is merciful, and He’s still in charge even when you kid yourself and think you have it all together, but don’t.

What are you tips for shopping with children?

Photo credit: “Just Sayin'” by Divine Harvester