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.

We’re All in This Together

While we make an effort to connect with our neighbors and create social capital, sometimes I feel isolated in our busy modern life. Some weeks I feel like we are our own island with unironed clothes and budgets to update.


This song made my morning, and I hope it will make your day feel little more connected. Ben Lee is a brilliant young artist, and I love his lyrics in “We’re All in This Together.”
 



How do you help your family feel connected?


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

Summer Reading

As I written about before, our local library is one of our favorite places. Participating in the summer reading program gives us another reason to plan a visit, and our Big Guy was thrilled to “earn” a pass to the Oregon Zoo for his first level prize.


Getting to the library can be an challenge for a family with limited means though, and the Children’s Book Bank is brings books to children in need. Plus, there are some classic books you just want to read again and again, and boy do kids love repeats 😉


I love going to the Goodwill for kids books, and when our Big Guy was first born I started stopping there on our neighborhood walks. We’ve found some family favorites, like Apples to Oregon for $1. We also love going to our county library’s secondhand book store, Tidal Wave, which is conveniently in walking distance too.

I’ll save some favorites, like my Mama saved Richard Scarry’s Best Picture Dictionary Ever for thirty years to pass on. But I’m definitely planning to donate many of our growing personal library to the book bank as our kids outgrown them. For now, we are enjoying some leisurely summer reading.


What’s your favorite summer kids books?



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

Managing Mint

I’ve read lots of online stories about 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 environment. While 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.


Initially, I didn’t have the capacity think beyond budgeting basics, and 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.










I was first turned on to Mint, the online money manager a few years back when it finally dawned on me that ought to take this finance thing a bit more seriously if I want to achieve our family goals. I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship. Initially I fell madly in love, then fell out of love when I had worked to set up all of my bills to view in the online budget only to find out that my bank was not compatible. I kept checking it just to get updates regarding Hubby’s separate bank account, but now that we have merged banks I don’t have to juggle multiple accounts.


Now I am falling for lots of new goal setting features that make online budgeting simpler than ever, plus it’s works with ShoreBank Pacific.



Do you use Mint to keep an online eye on your budget?


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

Melting Down

Soon after I wrote about our friendly debate about home improvement priorities, a higher priority need caught our attention. Our refrigerator is experiencing glacial meltdown at a faster rate than the planet! It no longer keeps homemade Popsicles totally frozen, and I hope we’ll manage to replace it before it becomes an emergency. 


When we moved into our home almost exactly two years ago, we instantly wanted to upgrade the fridge. It’s a Kenmore from the 80s and is on the smaller side. It’s had issues with general uneven cooling, and we’ve wondered from time to time why the sour cream was half frozen. Yet, replacing the vintage stove with manual pilot was a higher priority. Then insulating our home trumped splurging on a big ticket appliance. Tack on having another baby and keeping our little family boat afloat, and you can see why we have procrastinated for so long.


With a little research it’s easy to see why purchasing an Energy Star refrigerator will actually save us in energy bills. We’re likely to save $100 per year. The Energy Trust of Oregon offers $50 cash incentives, and the state offers up to $90 tax credit. Plus, you can get $50 for recycling your old fridge, talk about a bonus! All told, we stand to save $190 on our new fridge, and that’s not counting the energy saving.


We are still researching models, so if you have any tips, I would love them!


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