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.

Child Care & Illness

Every working parent is warned about how kids in child care centers have perpetual runny noses, but until you get dreaded “sick call” again and again, you just can’t relate to how much stress it causes. We are lucky to have pretty healthy kiddos, but those calls still come far too often. We rotate our on-call parent duties, but it’s a stress on the whole family.


I was fed up this week when my Girly was sent home with a low grade fever and a cough (we’ve also been dealing with dietary issues, so this pushed me too far). I certainly don’t want my kids spreading diseases, but common colds are called that for a reason. Our kids attend a wonderful child care center, and I know they genuinely care for their health. But the national accreditation has strict requirements and little room for flexibility. In my frustration I did a little Googling, and it turns out that a recent study showed that 50% of child care directors sent children home with mild illnesses. 


I consider myself “lucky” enough to have sick leave, and a policy that allows me to use up to 40 hours of my own sick leave for my children year (the quotations are supposed to hint at my disdain that Americans haven’t caught on to the whole European safety net idea!) But I wasn’t surprised that between two kids, my 40 hours maxed out in September (so Hubby’s been on full-time sick call.


Oregon has a better policy than most states, but many families still aren’t using/aware of the leave. I also appreciated this quote about how deep rooted this problem is for family finances:


“The majority of our work force lives paycheck to paycheck; taking a day off is difficult and the fear of losing a job is huge,” said Leslie Hammer, a professor of psychology at Portland State University who is working on a study of how supervisors affect an employee’s health and ability to care for their families. The solution is not just about money, but a combination of training supervisors to support family-friendly policies and give employees control over their work time to solve problems themselves.”


And yes, there are some days where I relish being able to stay home a snuggle a sick child, but I’d rather save that for true illness.


How do you deal with absences due to sick kids?


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

Conflict-free Camera

In follow-up to my post yesterday about the Story of Electronics, I’ve been searching for a conflict-free camera to replace our obsolete one. 


While the demand is growing, there are currently no actual verified conflict-free cameras on the market (or laptops, phones, ipods, etc).  There’s only camera one that I managed to find that is so-called “eco-green,” but I couldn’t find any information about what makes it’s design environmentally benign. 


I’m aware of the extreme atrocities in the Congo, because my Twin Sis was there for most the past six months. She was there helping rape victims who are being threatened from their villages which may hold more conflict minerals. Here’s a quick video from the Raise Hope for the Congo campaign, which mocks the feud between Macs and PCs while spelling out the conflict in seriously simple terms.



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

Story of Electronics

I’ve felt empty-handed in past few months, ever since my digital camera went kaput. First the flash started going, then the digital screen died, and it was clear that our camera was terminal. 


We bought our digital camera as our first “family” gift for the holidays right before our Big Guy was born. It’s become part of the family, always at all our special occasions. It even helped me earn my pet name of “Mamarazzi”. But with our 5 year anniversary around the corner, it seems like camera manufacturers planned on our camera’s demise.  


Unfortunately “planned obsolescence” appears to be unavoidable. Yet, it wreaks havoc on our environment and breaks the bank when you suddenly have to replace your electronics every few years.


Today the brilliant folks at the Story of Stuff are debuting the “Story of Electronics.” They will no doubt explain how planned obsolescence came to be the modern-day norm, and hopefully they’ll provide some tips about how we can shift the consumer demand.


How much does planned obsolescence costs your family?


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

Small Change

Last week I was excited to have my first interview as a blogger, especially since it’s for an upcoming article in Metro Parent magazine. The writer and I chatted on the phone for nearly an hour, and I was amazed at how quickly the time passed. I realized how reticent I am to give advice, because every family is so unique. My approach has been to simply share our story, and hope that I can relate in a way that helps you think about what actions you can take. My only true advice is just begin where you and start with small steps, don’t waste time and energy feeling like your family should be greener – either in the eco or cash department.


Naturally after my interview I continued to think about things that I could/should have said, but not in a bad way though, because it got my creative juices flowing. Then I got a chance to read an article a friend had shared with me from Family Circle. Small Change includes some great tips, since I truly agree that the best money strategies are all in your head!  I love this quote:

“The people who feel the best about money aren’t the ones who have a lot of it,” says clinical psychologist Maria Nemeth, Ph.D., author of
The Energy of Money: A Spiritual Guide to Financial and Personal Fulfillment. “What they do possess is a knowledge of how to earn and spend that reflects their deepest values.” While there are countless factors beyond your control, a few simple changes will allow you to have power over your outlook and attitude. And that’s priceless.

The article also reminds you to:

  • reflect on how your parents’ attitudes about money influence your own
  • admit your mistakes and then move on
  • play out the worst case scenario (but just once!)
  • take a gut check on your deepest desires
  • keep your goals handy with a photo of your goal in your wallet
  • take one action a week!!!

Lastly, thanks Courtney for getting me the interview and sharing your magazine!


What small changes do you take to keep your attitude positive?


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