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.

Paternity Leave Finances

Figuring out your family finances during paternity can be complex and highly personal. Often it can make you question whether you are financially prepared for a child, and all the pressure that comes with parenthood.


With my first pregnancy I was working for a small non-profit, and quickly realized I was not guaranteed any leave under the FMLA policy (not even unpaid with workplace under 50 employees). Yes, U.S. maternity leave ranks the same Ghana, Swaziland, and Zambia. As a result I opted to leave my job, and hope to find a position that would work with motherhood.


The next big question was, “How the hell were we going to manage an unpaid maternity leave?” So, I remember creating a spreadsheet of various timelines and how much we could manage to scrape by on. Perhaps our saving grace was that I had been making very little in my part-time non-profit gig through grad school, so we were used to paying the bulk of our bills on Hubby’s paycheck. Sadly and honestly, the only way I managed to stay home to raise our Big Guy for his first four months was with a small inheritance of a few thousand dollars. As it was, Hubby only managed to take a week of vacation time off.


Fortunately, our financial circumstances improved substantially between our first and second children, so at least I didn’t have to wonder whether we could afford our mortgage and groceries. I still had to figure our finances out to see how long we could manage on a single income, turns out that I started working part-time from home when Girly was six weeks and returned to full-time when she was eight months when I drained every last hour of unpaid leave. Hard to believe that this wouldn’t have been possible if our family wasn’t covered by Hubby’s employer paid health insurance.



How did you manage your finances during your family leave?


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

Supportland

I am super excited about the debut of the new supportland local rewards card, and hope the Mercury was correct in announcing the official launch today. Since I already try to shop mostly local, I’m really looking forward to trying it out. 


The basic gist is that you earn reward points by shopping local, and local shops will offer ways to “spend” the points you earned by shopping locally with freebies! Sounds ingenious to me.


Even if you’re not from p-town, you should be excited, because they have plans to support buying local across the nation. Who knows maybe the idea will globalize local, wouldn’t that be ironic?!


Here’s a quick video that explains how the program will help you save money while supporting local businesses:


Tell me your stories about using supportland!


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

All in This Together



I’m home sick today, so I’m sharing this little pick-me-up. This song always make me smile, and the lyrics are a good reminder of how we are all connected:





What helps remind you that “we’re all in this together”?


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

Kitchen Kibitzing

My kitchen often feels like a personal temple. It’s where I can pour glass of wine and pray that  dinner will made before my family throws a hunger strike. My kitchen is where we exchange our daily stories. It’s where I reflect on my day or plan for the next as I try to maintain chaordic balance


Tools for the task at hand are critical, and Hubby’s Mama is famous for her “magic sponge.”   Probably just out of habit, I’ve always used a unnaturally bright blue sponge/scrubby. Lately I’ve been trying out some more natural alternatives:

  • Twist’s natural loofah sponge – it’s plant based and totally compostable.
  • Twist’s euro sponge cloth – it’s like a sponge the size of a paper towel, you can reuse it about a thousand times instead of just once.
  • TJ’s natural pop-up sponge – small and simple, but does a great job cleaning
  • OXO soap squirting brush – couldn’t find any eco-features about this one, but I think it does cut down on the water needed for scrubbing down high-chair trays and pots
  • Plastic scrapper – I remember being skeptical when I first came across one at a kitchen store checkout “what are they trying to sell now?!” – but these are indispensable for removing food scraps (into your compost or worm bin, of course!)
These trusty tools can really help you save water and reduce landfill waste for a minimal “investment.” Plus, each time you use them you’ll be reminded that you are living your values! 

For Portlanders, I bought the Twist products at Portland’s new One Stop Sustainability Shop. I also stocked up my one of my all-time favorites, Dr. Bronner’s castile soap. Here is a great recipe for making your own dishwashing liquid.

Lastly, I’ve been loving an easy kitchen counter cleaner that I made myself! Find some terrific and easy recipes “Never Pay for Household Cleaner Again!


What are your favorite green kitchen cleaning tools?


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


“Spring” cleaning

So I know it’s June already, but the rainy Portland weather has me “spring” cleaning into what ought to be summer. Plus, as a working Mama, it really does take me the whole season to get through the basics and by the time I’m “done” it’s almost time to start again…


My dirty secret is that up until last year, I used a disposable “Swifter” mop and duster. While it probably wasn’t the most toxic habit out there, it sure was wasteful and costly! 


I’m happy to share that I have found two alternatives that actually do a much better job cleaning:

  • Shark – I was tipped off about the “Shark” steam mop system by my Grand-mama who swore by it. I love the fact that it simply heats water, and uses micro-fibers to lift off sticky messes. No cleaning residue or smell. I’ve been really impressed by how well it works on different surfaces, and our home is almost all hardwoods.
  • Mystic Maid – My favorite reusable microfiber duster is by a Portland-area company, bought at another local store, Kitchen Kaboodle. It does a terrific job picking up dust and when it’s freshly washed, our Girly loves dusty the baseboards and radiators.

When I add our new beloved Simplicity vacuum to the mix, it makes cleaning in the rain a little less of a dreary task. 


There are a ton of green cleaning tips on the Green and Clean Mom blog, but I hope my “secrets” will inspire you to make the switch. 


What are your green cleaning secrets? 
How do they save you money?


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