Monthly Archives: May 2010

Unfurling Finances

I’ve read lots of online stories about Green Mamas who turned an eco-leaf with the new role of motherhood. It’s really a no brainer that you want your kids to have a healthy environmentWhile it should be just as intuitive to manage your finances as protect the environment, for whatever reasons, I first started caring about our finances once we became a family.

I still consider myself a financial novice. The point is that I’m trying. With patience, my best effort is getting better. Some day my investment of time and energy will pay off, hopefully before the kids hit college.

My financial strategy is to simplify, and Hubby and I are inching closer to finally merging all of our finances. If I’m not mistaken, the only lingering bill is my student loan which needs to be mailed the old fashioned way. Then we’ll be ready to close our old accounts and celebrate.

I also try to celebrate the small financial successes, like updating our new budget template. Once I finally get all this management stuff dealt with, I can promise you we’ll be celebrating our next financial goal…


When did you decide to focus on your finances?
How do your prioritize your family finances?

~*~*~*~*~*~ 
Green Mama 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Eco-healthy Child Care

Before becoming a working Mama, I would have never imagined forking over half my salary for quality child care. Yet, for us child care is an investment in my career and our children that I’m not willing to scrimp on. Obviously with this type of expense, you want to make sure that you are “investing” in your values.


Fortunately, when I started searching for child care I had a wonderful resource. The Oregon Environmental Council had just started a program certifying eco-healthy child care centers. The program has gone national, and become a powerful resource for parents and care givers.


I would agree with the critique that some of the voluntary measures aren’t ambitious enough, but it at least sets a bar for caregivers to aspire to and the resources to learn how their business practices impact the children they serve. I’m certain that no caregiver would ever want to harm a child, but with all the toxins in the world today some education is required, not just good intentions.


How do you make sure your kids are in a healthy environment?


~*~*~*~*~*~ 
Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Pop Culture

For better and worse, pop culture is part of American society. Culture unconsciously shapes what we value, and how we feel about the environment and each other. In part pop culture has created a demand for “bling” and a desire for materialism. Yes, I grew up when Madonna’s Material Girl was on the lips of every girl.


So, without getting too heavy on you, I want to share a fun little video of a Ben Lee song called I Love Pop Culture. The lyrics include references to global warming and consumption, and yet it is so upbeat that you can hardly help but smile. I couldn’t get a grin off my face the first time I heard it. I hope this makes your day. 🙂





Do you think pop culture can spur sustainability?


~*~*~*~*~*~
Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Blue Sky & Smart Energy

Each month we choose to put our money where our mouth is by opting in to our local power utilities’ renewal power option. The Blue Sky program helps purchase renewable power projects that would otherwise come from non-renewable sources, like coal. 


The program is tiered with support levels to chose from. It’s not going to bust your budget, my last bill added $4, but it does help support projects that wouldn’t be possible without such voluntary demand.


For us the grid doesn’t end with power, since our home is heating by natural gas. NW Natural has a newer Smart Energy program, where I you can offset all of your usage by sponsoring a new biogas plant to turn cow patties into . When you sign up they have an estimator tool to be able to see how much it would add to your bill, ours will add about $7. It will actually probably be less, since we just completed our Clean Energy Works insulation project.




The Oregonian’s PDX Green blog just wrote about why it’s an easy and important step toward reducing our collective carbon footprint. I love that she managed to sign up with a pleading child in the background; I can relate. I’m not condoning putting your “green” needs before your child’s, but your children will thank you.

Do you participate in voluntary programs?


~*~*~*~*~*~ 
Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Baby Biking

I took a baby step toward reducing our carbon footprint while enjoying some family time by finally mounting a baby seat to my bike for the Sunday Parkways event. When Girly began waving her hands as the wind blew her curls, I instantly wished that I would have broke down and got a seat years ago…here’s my saga.


For whatever reason, I always felt like I needed to get some expensive trailer to hit the bike lane with a child. Then when we were thinking of number two, I suddenly “needed” a double bike trailer. Then when our BigGuy got truly bigger, I thought to myself that we could only manage with a tag-along bike. Then a sales guy almost had me sold on buying a xtracycle, which is terrific for cargo commuting, but no necessary for green recreation.


Yet, I wasn’t quite ready to lay down a ton of cash just for a cruise with the kiddos. I also kept assuming that somehow I’d come across the perfect kid-bike gear at a yard sale, or Craigslist or as a hand-me-down. Yet, nothing seemed to give.


So, I finally checked out how much a simple new baby bike seat would cost me, turns out they are $28! I have no knowledge about the story of how it was created. Yes, it is plastic and made in China, but I hope it will have a long happy life as a baby bike seat! But I finally decided that I couldn’t stay stuck in my effort for a sustainable life.


Do you have a good family bicycle option?
Do you get stuck trying to “sustainable” purchases?


~*~*~*~*~*~ 
Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.