Category Archives: cost of kids

Potty Talk

Our Girly is growing up fast, and I’m proud to report that this weekend every poop went in the potty! She’s had three successful weekends of consistent potty use…so I’m finally ready to share without feeling doomed to jinx our good fortune. Now we’ll just need to practice some patience until she transitions to a classroom with a potty (although her teachers are willing to try potty visits). 


After two years of washing two loads of poopy diapers every week, I am more than ready for her ditch her diapers!


But as you can see by her proud smile, we can’t claim too much credit for her potty readiness…it really is her choice. We also give my parents full credit for potty training Big Guy, we called it potty boot camp: he went to visit for five days and he never went back to diapers!


I do have a few pointers thought for parents who haven’t been through potty training yet:

  • Splurge and buy a true potty and a toilet seat ring – some kids highly prefer one over the other, and you just don’t know until they try them out. Plus, if you have a second bathroom, buy a second set – chasing after a potty is the last thing you want to do with a ready/willing potty user!
  • Stickers aren’t exactly eco-friendly – I think they sure beat the options of buying/washing diapers. We sure don’t scrimp on stickers and always put one on the potty chart and one on their hand to remind them of going potty.
  • Potty books are a big must, and we have a few in each bathroom. I bought a few new, but I’ve found several more at the Goodwill for $.50! There are lots used online too. These are my favorite potty books:
  • Buy second hand – like everything, potty training is a phase that won’t last (we all hope!), so splurge on books and stickers instead of a new seat if you can avoid it.
  • There are a few eco-friendly potty options now too: who knew you could buy a Bamboo Potty Seat? It’s also nice to see that the Eco-friendly 3-in-1 Potty and “Natural” potty are quite a bit cheaper than the conventional plastic potties.

We do use disposable diapers on between diaper washes and on trips, and I prayed the last time I went to Costco that it would be the last pack I would ever buy!!


Lastly, while not a prerequisite to potty training, both our kids are still enamored by our new water friendly Toto toilet. The high efficiency flush is certainly more impressive and the slow self-closing toilet lid seems to work like magic!


What are your potty tips?


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

Just Between Friends sign-up

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m buried in outgrown kid clothes/stuff and am anxious to purge them (even though it is hard to let go a cute outfit like this one). Some of the clothes and gear I’ve already passed on to friends, but honestly there a lot of value still left in them and I’m reluctant to pass them all on without recouping some of cost. Any way about it, it’s going to take a big effort, but I want to be as efficient as possible and get the most return for my time, energy and kid stuff. Plus, any proceeds from my sale are earmarked as spending money for our Denmark trip, so I’ve got an incentive.

So, I had heard about the Pass It On sale from my friend Stacy, and was about to research it some more when I was on UrbanMamas and saw an ad for Just Between Friends at the Portland Expo, April 30th – May 1st. This one appealed to me more, since it’s on the MAX line, so I’ve signed up as a consignor and a volunteer.


My goal this spring was hold a huge yard sale, but honestly the idea of sitting around all weekend hawking kid stuff isn’t my idea of relaxation. I’ll probably still do a household porch sale, but at least I won’t be buried in kid stuff. Plus, I don’t really think I would be able to get the same volume of sales as at a huge consignment sale, like Just Between Friends.


Also, the idea of selling at consignment stores was even more daunting. I’ve taken a some clothes to Bella Stella, but out of several bags of high quality in season clothes, they took about a 1/2 bag. Then in order to get the credit I have to go back and shop within six months…which reminds me that I need to shop soon!


“Just between friends” if you’re interested in getting first look at some of my stuff, get in touch. Also, let me know if you’d like to shop together for sale itself.


Have you consigned, shopped or volunteered at a consignment sale?


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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.

Sound Roots Birthday Party

Our once little guy, Kieran Adams turns 5 today!
Happy Birthday Big Guy!!


We celebrated the kids’ birthdays at Sounds Roots, but before I share more about the celebration, there’s a bit of a back story.


It happens that five kids have birthdays within two weeks of each other in his class. I should have known it, but it turned out that three parties were planned for the same day! After considering my options, I ended up calling one of the other mothers to see if she was open to joining forces for a combined party. Thankfully, she said that she had thought about asking earlier, and they were happy to celebrate together.


We shared expenses and hosting duties. I brought snacks (pirate booties, Barbara’s cheese puffs, pretzels, raisins and yogurt covered raisins). I also brought our supply of reusable plates, cups, and silverware. The extra bonus was that she is way better at cupcakes than I am, and the kids loved the chocolate on chocolate with sprinkles! She also brought coffee for the adults, which was much appreciated.


But it was the music that was the highlight for everyone! 


We had Mo Phillips, and he’s just the guy you want for a rockin’ party. He really does a great job of getting to know his audience, and engaging the kids in whatever they are into. He takes all the crazy kid energy and turns it into music. They have lots of tambourines, shakers, and hand drums for the kids to play themselves too. He sets up a couple of microphones for the kids to sing along with, and our Big Guy belted out “The Yellow Submarine” a couple of times. Then, after getting them buzzed on sugar, they opened up their adjacent blue room. There the kids could jam on electric guitars, keyboards and a big drum set. Fair warning – it can get pretty loud, but the cacophony is worth seeing them all live out their young rock star dreams! 


Quick low down on the cost – $150 for 2 hour rental, after 8 kids each extra is $13.


Like last year, we did a book exchange – which is a great way to avoid the chaos and clutter of presents. If you’re in b-day party research, I wrote more about celebrating a “green” birthday last year. 


Next year I hope to make some reusable party napkins too!


How do you celebrate your kid’s birthday?
How much do you spend?


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

Birthday Gifts

Happy Birthday Girly – Miss Makenna Rose!!
Today is our Girly’s 2nd Birthday! 


It’s a work/school day for us, so our festivities will be limited to birthday cake for today. Our Big Guy turns 5 next Monday, so we’ll be hosting a combined party this weekend, and I’ll share more on that soon…also, I’ve never shared our family blog, Cronin Clan, but you can check out b-day photos/stories there if you like.


If you looked at our toy bins, you wouldn’t know it, but we really only buy toys for birthdays and ChristmasSo I always feel like I need to find toys that will give us the most bang for their buck in terms of age-appropriate development. I put a fair amount of research and thought into our choices. I really like the Fat Brain Toys site, which shows toys according age, which is where I first found the Wobble Deck. My Twin Sis is also very thoughtful, and last year she bought a Fisher-Price Bounce & Spin Zebra for Girly, this smiley video how much she loves it!


But this year Girly is really enjoying her well stocked homemade kids’ kitchen, so I went pretty simple for her this year. Lately Big Guy is addicted to playing cards, especially Animal Rummy. Surprisingly, he’s super excited about our summer trip to Legoland, but he hasn’t asked to even play with his one Lego set in at least a month! Funny, because his buddies are gaga for Legos, just goes to show you how different kids’ interests can be…yes, Big Guy did ask for the yoga mat!


Girly’s Gifts for #2 B-day
Charlie Harper flashcards/floor puzzle from Black Wagon

Broom/pan and nesting bath ducks from Mississippi Tree House
Mini Adidas soccer ball

Pink Gaiam yoga mat


Big Guy’s Gifts for #5 B-day
Wobble Deck (on sale from Zulily)
Flashcard games from Black Wagon
Green Gaiam yoga mat


I also bought most locally, and got Supportland credit! 


I coordinated gifts with my Twin Sis, and she got them more learning games from Black Wagon and a fantastic book series she found on ZulilyWhat Does It Mean To Be Green?What Does It Mean to Be Global?What Does It Mean To Be Present? Thanks Sis!


My Mom used to over indulge kids with gifts (as Grandmas are known to do!), but she has respected our family “gift policy.” She hand felted Girly a few animals and is buying them their next pairs of shoes come spring (and no doubt a few handmade summer dresses :-). Thanks Grandma!!


Hubby’s parents sent some adorable cards and checks that will be deposited into new kids’ accounts…yes I talked about doing this last year, but this year I promise to save it!


What kind of birthday presents do you buy your kids?


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