I'm so excited to share a resource with you today! I was recently searching for online resource for parents of TCKs, and came across an amazing SIL website. There are hundreds of resources here - books, articles, websites, and so on, addressing nearly every area of raising TCKs. I hope you can be encouraged, instructed, and blessed by this website!

 

SIL's resources for families overseas

 

I also want to share a short list of books for TCKs or their parents. Some of these books are not written by Christians, but are still helpful in understanding the TCK experience. Please use your own discretion.

 

The Expat Bookshop

 

 Happy Clicking! :-)

This is a dish which we continue to enjoy regularly in the States - in fact, I just made it for supper last night! When we lived in W. Africa, we couldn't get regular potatoes, but we could get sweet potatoes at certain times of the year. Boy did we enjoy them! Baked fries is my favorite way to make them.

 

The Method:

 

Wash & peel your potatoes. Pat dry. Cut into wedges or long fries. Spread on a baking tray in a single layer. Sprinkle with olive oil, melted butter, or whatever you have available. Then sprinle generously with seasonings of your choice. Just salt and pepper is enough! But you might also like to try -

garlic powder

onion powder

cumin

paprika

curry powder

chili powder

Last night, I used a light sprinkle of cumin and curry powder and a generous sprinkle of salt and garlic powder. They were delicious!

 

OR for a sweeter snack, sprinkle with a cinnamon-sugar mixture after removing from the oven!

 

BAKE at 400F for 30-45 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fries). Serve hot, with ketchup if desired. My whole family loves these.

 

 

A fact about sweet potatoes that you might not know - they are a great starch for diabetics, weight loss programs, or anyone who is trying to avoid the blood-sugar spikes usually caused by sugar & starch. So you can enjoy them with a clear conscience! :-)

I don't remember when I first came across the idea of being a household manager, but it changed the way I looked at my role. It was also kind of a "duh" moment for me. Being a homemaker is really much more than being just a maid - I am managing the basics of life for a household of people! Of course, we all know that a mom wears many hats - and a mom living overseas might even wear a few more than she would in the States. But I had never seen the drudgery and chaos of motherhood in the light of being the household manager. The idea was refreshing and empowering.

The title of "manager" especially felt appropriate when we moved to the capital city to run our organization's guest house. Suddenly I was not just taking care of my own household. I was overseeing and directing the work of those "under" me - the boy who mowed the lawn, the boy who ran errands, the housekeeper who prepared the guest rooms, and the girl who hung out the laundry. It required me to take my job even more seriously and be more organized than I might have just for my own family.

I have certainly found, as every mother has, that there are some ways to make home life smoother and more pleasant for everyone involved. I am not an excellent homemaker by any means. In fact, I write this article for myself because I need the encouragement and reminder. But here are some things that are helping me to be a better manager of my home.

1) Set achievable goals. First of all, do set goals. If you are not aiming for improvement, you will not achieve it. But secondly, make sure they are achievable. Start with one thing at a time. Especially if you are feeling overwhelmed with your life & responsibilities, don't try to change everything at once. Set a few small, achievable goals. Once you are well on your way to accomplishing those, you can set a few more.

2) Identify your "sore spot" and work on that first. What area of household management is causing the most trouble for you? Is it not having church clothes ironed on Sunday morning? Is it the mess your husband comes home to in the stressful "supper time crunch"? Maybe it's not having a quick lunch to prepare in the middle of a home-school day. Identify your recurring "sore spot" and then sit down and consider what changes you can make to relieve this stress point. Make that your first goal to work towards.

3) Be focused. If you had a 9-5 office job, you wouldn't take an hour mid-morning to browse Facebook or Pinterest. Consider the home and family your "work", and stay focused there throughout the day. Granted, motherhood often has strange hours, and perhaps your baby's mid-morning nap is your only personal free time. Then take it without guilt! But if overall you're staying focused on your responsibilities and not getting distracted by technology, social media, or whatever it may be, you will find it easier to be productive and organized.

4) Make a schedule and/or routine - but make it work for you. There is a lot of freedom in having a flexible schedule that allows you to make changes as necessary, but still make sure the basics of life get taken care of.

 

5) Develop systems - again, systems are for your benefit. They work for you, so that you're not constantly faced with a myriad of decisions from day to day. This can include meal plan systems (Mexican every Friday night, pasta every Tuesday), housework routines (laundry every Wednesday) and so on. It also includes things like having an "inbox basket" where all mail is deposited so that mail isn't scattered throughout the house, having a place for schoolbooks and papers waiting to be graded, and so on. This is helpful because it saves you the constant questions from children coming to you ("here's my paper, Mommy, where should I put it?") as well as making it harder for you to misplace things!

 

6) Make lots of lists - and categorize them - and keep them all in one place. I have a "To Do" list, a "To buy" list, a "To Write" list, and a "To Talk About with Hubby" list, just to name a few! :-) For me, it works well to keep these on a note app in my phone, so that they are always with me.

 

7) Delegate. I have been realizing lately how many chores a four-year-old is capable of doing. Even my two-year-old helps me put away dishes and straighten up the living room. Yes, when they are preschoolers it is definitely more work to let them help you than to just do it yourself. But it won't be long before they can actually be a big help - especially if you are willing to lower your standards a little, and let the job be done "good enough".

 

Help me out here! What are some tips you've learned for keeping up with your responsibilities as a household manager? Please share in the comments!

 

This is an all-time family favorite from my childhood, and was one of the best deserts we could make overseas. Who doesn't love the chocolately goodness of these cookies? What a bonus that they're so fast to make!

 

There are two recipes here. The first is the traditional, rich, sweet candy-like cookie. The second is a slightly healthier version which I developed to avoid using margarine (which tastes strange in Africa) and to cut down on the sugar. It's not that different from an protein ball, really. :-)

 

Original Chocolate No-Bakes

2 c. sugar

1/2 c. cocoa

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c. margarine

1/2 c. milk

1/2 c. peanut butter

3 1/2 c. quick oats

1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, cocoa, salt, margaine, and milk in a saucepan. Heat slowly, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. remove from heat and quickly add peanut butter, vanilla and oats. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper-covered trays. Cool 1 hour or until set.

 

"Healthy" Chocolate No-Bakes

1 c. sugar

1/3 c. cocoa

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 c. milk powder

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. peanut butter

2 - 2 1/2  c. oats

1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, cocoa, salt, milk powder and water in a saucepan. Heat slowly, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, remove from heat, and quickly add remaining ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper-covered trays. Cool 1 hour or until set.

 

One more tip: Since we didn't have wax paper, I would cut open plastic bags and use them to line my trays!