Author Archives: Darcy Cronin

About Darcy Cronin

I'm a Mother/Coach/Blogger/Business Adventurer from Portland OR. My family consists of my Hubby of 12 years, our 8yo Kieran, 5yo Makenna, and 1yo Teagan. I love dreaming about a better future, and making it happen.

Clear Choice

Monthly internet bills are one of those fixed expenses that we seemingly can’t live without these days…how else would you buy an Ecoist bag, watch the Story of Stuff, and give a micro-loan to a subsistence farmer from the comfort of your home? 


At our old house we were fortunate enough to have free internet for three years (especially since I was working part-time as a grad student!) Comcast service cost around $50 at the time, and the same month we were moving there was a Willamette Week article about a group trying to provide free internet to Portlanders (through this new thing called wi-fi!). Serendipitously, one of the board members lived three houses away and provided free service the adjacent park from his rooftop. He graciously helped me set things up for the cost a $50 buck router, and we proceeded to get free internet for the next three years. I also gave them a $100 donation when I moved as a thank you for saving us over $1500! Check out the Personal Telco node map to see if you frequent any of their hot spots…there are plenty of parks in Portland with free wi-fi from them.


Alas, when we moved two years ago there weren’t any free hot spots in our neighborhood…still none. So we reluctantly set about buying monthly internet service. I wan’t to avoid Comcast if at all possible, mostly because they are focused on providing expensive cable packages, and that’s not really our thing.


Clear was just hitting the Portland market and had tons of advertising, so we decided to check them out. Thankfully have strong coverage in our neighborhood, and they’ll check with you right in the store to see if they cover your home. We opted for the mid-range speed at a cost of $34.99 a month. After two years of service, we’ve been really satisfied with Clear. The whole point is that you don’t want to think about where you’re getting internet service, because there are plenty of better things to do with your time online 😉


Notably…right now Clear has a deal for a free month and free set-up if you book service online!


On a side note…I think our kids will truly wonder why we couldn’t save the world quicker with the pace they’ll know by the time they are in charge 😉


Who provides your internet service? 
What’s your monthly cost?


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

Neti pot investment

I became “neti pot curious” a few years ago, when my Twin Sis’ friend was advised to use a neti pot for chronic sinus issues

What is Neti Pot? For those still wondering what this is, the basic explanation is that you fill with warm water with a pinch of salt, and then pour into one nostril and out the other side.  If you are stuffed up, it might take a moment to drain, but you will feel immediate relief!

Thankfully, I’ve never had really painful sinus issues, but I was perpetually plagued with an on/off snuffy nose during the winter, and allergies in the spring. I had learned to live with it, but it was an annoying nuisance. So, I took the plunge and bought a ceramic neti pot at New Season’s for about $10 (or available on Amazon) My sis has an enviable cute blue one, (it is prettier than the picture!).  I also know others who have found a cute small Asian tea pot, but it would have to be the right design.


I’m happy to say, that in the past two years, minus a couple flu bugs, I’ve been able to breath clearly all winter with regular use on my neti pot. It only takes a couple of minutes, but the small time investment always pays back. I swear employers should give out neti pots as part of health benefits 😉


Even after two years, Hubby doesn’t quite get the whole neti pot idea (oddly since lately he’s been battling a true sinus infection and refuses to try it!) For the most part I try to do it while he’s walking the dog or already in bed, but when he does “catch” dripping salt water out my nose, he can’t help but give me a funny sideways look. But I refuse to let his taunting get interfere with my health…I don’t care how funny I look!


I do plan on teaching the kids to use the neti pot once they are big enough, and hopefully it will help them stay healthy for more of the year and avoid some of the childhood bugs.


EnviroMom covered this topic a few years back, and the reader comments reminded me that I use my neti pot in the spring to clean out pollen and prevent allergies.


Before trying my neti pot, I wanted a demonstration. So, I found this fun video of a furry guy with ginormous nostrils. If nothing else, I’m pretty sure you won’t look as funny as this dude using your neti pot 🙂





PS The last ten seconds shows a non-family friendly example of what you “shouldn’t attempt at home!”


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

Green Love

Romance and frugality don’t necessarily mesh in modern consumer times, but in reality love doesn’t cost money. Last year I wrote about how I would much rather get local tulips than expensive roses shipped from the tropics, and this year I told Hubby to just wait until he can pick me up some at the local farmer’s market.


I have a night meeting on Valentine’s, so I made our “romantic” dinner a night early. As usual, once I got into the thick of cooking, the kids started demanding even more of my attention…they seem to have a cooking radar! So, I asked Hubby to play with them. 


They came up with the idea of indoor bowling, using some big plastic summer patio cups and a few balls. They had a fantastic time rolling the ball from the kitchen island to the front door, and managed to stay thoroughly entertained the whole time I prepped dinner. I even managed to play the second round once things were in the oven. I also found my indoor bowling groove, and managed to beat the boys by a point. Our Big Guy was sooo excited about me winning the trophy, so I asked him what the “trophy” was after all, he excitedly exclaimed “Your trophy is the best family ever!!” Then we had a big family hug/kiss…where we lift the kids up and all exchange hugs and kisses…talk about romantic!


40 Ways to Give More Love – Becoming Minimalist
8 Essentials for a Successful Marriage – Becoming Minimalist


How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day?


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

Diary of a Worm a Spider and a Fly

I’m so excited to be going on a field trip with Big Guy’s older preschool class to watch the Oregon Children Theater’s production of a Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly.


The Oregonian’s theater review raved about the set, and how it’s built from 90% recycled materials. Another parent review said that most jokes went over her 3 year old’s head, but I think that’s partly why they recommend it for the 4+ crowd. The environmental and social moral of the play may be deep, but it’s never too early to start teaching green family values.


The class also checked Doreen Cronin’s book series from the library, and they are really beautiful and fun books. They were really captivated by them:


Diary of a Worm
Diary of a Spider
Diary of a Fly


One of my first memories is seeing Peter Pan while visiting my Grandmother in L.A., and I hope this will be a special memory for us. The play only runs until February 20th, so make your plans soon. 


Also, Big Guy’s school managed to get a weekday group discount for $7.50 per ticket!


Have you seen the play or read the books?


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