I am a huge believer in identifying what exactly causes the most stress in our lives - and then finding a solution for it. Here's two of my favorite solutions that make village life just a bit easier. These two are just to get us all started... add your comments, please! :-)

My number one every-day stress: trying to cook over a charcoal fire with a one-year-old into everything. OK, it's definitely not the worst thing ever. But day after day, it can get on your nerves. Especially for someone like me, whose food has a mysterious tendency to either burn, boil over, or just flop in general if I turn my back for so much as a second.

Solution #1. A baby swing. {My husband deserves all the credit for this - he came up with the idea AND made the thing out of bamboo from our back yard!} We hung this from the rafters on the veranda where I cooked. I used it EVERY day. She had a perfect bird's eye view of the cooking process, she could swing and get some breeze in the sweltering afternoon (I honestly got jealous sometimes, ha!) and she was safely contained. The neighborhood kids loved to come and push her - a good way for them to interact without a lot of oversight needed. This was a WINNER. Highly recommended!

Solution #2. A prayer mat. I was so amazed at how easy it was to teach my one-year-old to stay on a prayer mat for a certain amount of time. And we're not the kind of parents whose kids are just naturally obedient, ahem. But this works! (She still loves it at almost 3 years old). I set a timer and she gets some specific toys and books. She's right where I am, but I can work in peace for a little. This worked awesome too when we had a new baby and I needed to be able to nurse without interruptions.

SO, what are your little things that make a big difference?

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