Well I've got babies on the brain these days (something about having a newborn!), so let's talk about doing cloth diapers overseas. Before I moved to West Africa with my 3-month-old, I wrote to one of our colleagues there who had used cloth diapers for both of her babies. She sent me an email packed with lots of advice, and I wanted to share it here today! This is written from the perspective of someone living in a remote area, doing laundry by hand. Not all of it will be applicable to every situation, but I think you will still find her recommendations helpful.

Here's Charity:

I have used cloth diapers for my boys and really liked it, but I certainly understand why someone may choose to use all disposable. I kept some disposable on hand and used them if I was having a really busy day, or maybe I was sick, or we were traveling. I also used disposable for the first couple months after they were born. I liked cloth in the village because I found the disposable not so disposable in a village setting. Especially in the rainy season they don't burn the greatest and if you had a lot of observers when you burned trash, it was a bit embarrassing to have this huge pile of diapers. And to just let them pile up until you can drive them away to the dump can get pretty smelly!

Here is the diapering system that I came up with and felt like I could handle. I was given some diapers as a gift in the States.The ones that I prefer are the long thin cotton ones that needed to be folded. Some people don't like all the folding, but they washed out SO much more easily than the pre-folded ones that I would choose them any day over any fancy, thick prefolded or pamper shaped diapers. They dried so quickly even in rainy season that I never had a problem of them getting smelly. There are likely rubber pants here, but not good quality. I would bring some. Bad rubber pants can give you a bad diapering experience. My preferences on rubber pants are called "Doppi". I would NOT recommend Gerber. They get holes in them so much faster and are much more "plastic-y" and hot. The "Doppi" brand is so nice and soft and have lasted a long time. Remember that you will need all sizes and I would bring a couple packs of each size.

I also made diaper liners out of old cotton sheets and shirts. I lined each diaper when I folded it, then if it was just wet, the liner got washed, and the messy ones got thrown away and burned. It saved a lot of washing. I kept a bucket of water with disinfectant in it, and put the wet diapers in there. If they were extra dirty I immediately rinsed them out in some other water and then put them in the disinfectant water. I washed the diapers at least every other day, so they didn't get so smelly. Unless they were unusually dirty, I simply wrung them out of the water they were soaking in, then rinsed them twice and hung them out in the sun. They have stayed amazingly white and smelling nice. If you use laundry soap, you have to make sure they get rinsed VERY well, as the detergent can be harsh on the baby's skin. Occasionally, I felt they needed the extra cleaning and did use the soap, but the disinfectant really did a good job for the most part. As far as how many diapers, I'm trying to remember, but with washing them every other day, I probably didn't use more than 12-15, but you may want to bring 2 doz. just in case you don't want to wash them as often.

I used diaper pins for awhile, but found something here that I like WAY better. It is Snappi Cloth Diaper Fasteners. They work SO well and pins can be such a pain.

A couple things that I would add from my experience - instead of using traditional plastic pants, I used 'Thirsties' brand diaper covers. They worked great for me, and almost never leaked! I also had a friend give me homemade flannel diapers - long, thin ones (like Charity mentioned) but made of flannel. These are super easy to make, soft for Baby, and very absorbent!

So what is your experience? Have you tried cloth diapering overseas? What tips do you have, or what brands/supplies would you recommend?

I am thrilled to announce the arrival of MARK AUSTIN, born August 19th, weighing in at 8lbs 4oz and 22 inches long!

He is happily welcomed by two older brothers, who are already smothering him with love and kisses!

Thanks for your understanding if things are a bit quiet around here for the next week or two. I have some newborn baby cuddles to enjoy! :-)

As moms of third culture kids, perhaps we've all done a little reading on the subject. Maybe we own a book or two about raising TCKs or being a TCK. We've probably seen lists of characteristics of TCKs, or challenges that TCKs often face.

Or maybe our children are young enough that it hasn't made much difference in their lives yet. We know that someday, if we stay overseas long-term, it will affect who our children are. But right now they don't see color and culture, and they don't know that they are growing up between worlds with the mysterious designation of "TCK".

My little ones were so little, and my experience was so limited, that I would love to hear more from other moms about the challenges you've walked through with your children, and what it means to be a TCK. To kick off the discussion, I want to share an excellent article from an overseas blogger on the subject of being a TCK. It was written about a year ago, but the message is timeless, and it gives a beautiful visual that I won't soon forget.

Please go here to read the "purple people" article.

Then come back over and share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's talk about homeschooling today! As I'm preparing to start K-4 with my oldest, I've been doing a lot of researching and exploring. I have the great advantage of being in the US right now, where I have access to a wonderful library and a teacher's resource store. But I still find myself doing lots of searching online for ideas and especially for free worksheets and lesson plans. If you have good internet access, there is so much available online!

Just typing in a Google search for "free worksheets" or "Kindergarten lesson plans" can be really overwhelming. Who has hours and hours to sort through all those links and websites? So today I want to share a few of the favorites I have found. These are mostly at a preschool/Kindergarten level, since that is where I'm at with my little ones. But if you have a favorite website, please share in the comments below. Let's help eachother out!

Free Homeschool Deals - this website is completely packed with great deals for all ages - lots of free or very cheap material, including Kindle books of all kinds, worksheets, lesson plans, organization ideas, and even Amazon Deals that are applicable to homeschoolers. Just this website alone can be overwhelming, but if you enter your email address in the box at the top of the home page, you'll get a daily email of current deals. I've downloaded many free worksheets and Kindle books through these daily emails!

Three Dinosaurs - this is a cute website full of great free worksheets for preschool through 2nd grade. Of all the free worksheet packs I have looked at, these are my favorite, and she thoroughly covers every subject area!

1+1+1=1 is another website packed with printables and ideas, for ages 2 and up. Only visit this site if you can be inspired (rather than intimidated or discouraged) by seeing how creative some moms are with their homeschooling!

Are We There Yet? - this is another website that collects freebies from all corners of the web, as well as offering some of her own free printables. She also has links for completely free curriculum that is available online! All ages are included here.

One more that I have to mention is the beautiful printables on Ann Voskamp's website. These are not specifically homeschool related, but her daily planner is very detailed and really helped me get organized at a time in my life (the birth of my second child!) when everything felt out of control. If you haven't been on her website, it's worth a look if you have good internet. It's VERY photo-intensive, so if you don't have good internet, you will be waiting all morning for each page to load!  At least check out the daily planner here.


So there's a few of my favorite homeschool websites. What are yours? Do any of you ladies have websites to recommend for children older than 2nd grade? Please share your links below!