Google Docs Sharing

Documents may not be so inspiring, but they are oh so practical. In the new year I’ve become a huge fan of Google Docs. I feel like I’ve turned a new leaf in terms of my financial organization, and Google Docs become favorite tool. Being able to share a common document to share is pure genius, even if you just want to share it with yourself on multiple computers. Hubby and I finally have some key documents handy. It’s also been very helpful for sharing info with my Sis regarding the blog admin.


One of my first tasks in getting a handle on our finances was to create a document that lists every account we hold, including account number, password/login, and web page. I have to admit that up until recently I would repeatedly forget my login/password, and feel feeble and foolish every time. During my first maternity leave I would have placed a bet that my accounts had been flagged “lady who can’t seem to remember anything!” I feel so much relief knowing that I have the info at my finger tips and don’t have to waste my time with the hassle of resetting passwords. Plus, I shared it with Hubby via Google Docs, so now we both have all the info to deal with our finances (I’m sure glad that I didn’t get hit by a bus before drafting that doc! 😉



I created a handy document for “Home Carbon Stats” that includes all the standard info asked on carbon footprint surveys. It makes it much easier to fill them out and to make sure that my results are consistent. It will also help for longer term tracking.

I’ve also uploaded our 2010 Family Goals, which include our finances, recreation, community volunteering and home improvement goals.


I also got a tip from a co-worker Mama recently who has created lists for each of the grocery stores she visits for specific items, like Costco and Trader Joe’s.


I have two more documents that I’ll share more about later this week, one called “Wish List” and one called “Neighborhood Places.”


Do you use Google Docs? Let me know if you have tips of your own.


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

Reaching Goals

“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, learn about them, or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable.  Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.”
– Denis Waitley



A friend of mine recently started a blog dedicated to sharing her favorites quotes, Wise Word Bandit. While I can’t claim to have reflected about quotes as much as her, I’ve always loved the eloquence and timelessness of a great quote. The beauty of a quote is that it can be so simple, and yet resonate so deeply. This quote speaks so much to why I put my  last bits of energy into creating this blog.


For me, this blog is more than just about defining my goals and taking baby steps to achieve them. It’s also a process of learning, which I love. Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled to complete my Master’s and mastering motherhood has kept me plenty busy with its own learning curve. But I was starting to long for a deeper goal-oriented way of learning, and writing this blog has been successful on that personal level. I can only hope you’re gleaning some insight from our story.


Aspiring to reach your potential means believing in yourself, and trusting in the Universe. While I have my moments of doubt, I make an effort to listen to the mumbling of my brain and filter out the thoughts that leave me feeling unworthy. Believe me, my Twin Sis had to give me several pep talks before I was ready to launch my goals into reality.


So, let’s continue to dream and plan and share this adventure of sustainable abundance together.


How can I help you reach your highest goals?


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

Earth Opposites

I happened to be home for Earth Day, since our Girly was still sick with a stomach bug. Overall she was in good spirits, so I couldn’t begrudge this minor bout of ill health. A big part of living in abundance is being grateful. Plus, I got to work in the garden for a little while.


After a long day of toddler chasing, I took a rare break. Oprah had an Earth Day special with an eye opening comparison of two families, one family was recycle-energy crazed and the other was careless about their eco-footprint. You need to watch the segment to really see the extremes, but it was a stark contrast. The shocker was that the wasteful family had an electricity bill of $400-600 per month! The family from Portland spent an average of $33, our family spends $44 (so we have some room for improvement.) There were several key moments where you could see the families learning and changing, and the best was to hear from the kids. The Portland mom also did a great job of explaining why it matters and why she cares.


I saw several similarities between us and the Portland family. We also use the same shower timer, although we do not ration showers to two per week! I’m sure their water/sewer bill must be lower than ours. The Portland family was also much better about riding bikes as a family, that’s one area where I feel like I’ve been slacking a bit. We are great about taking the bus, but I haven’t quite gotten the kids geared up for bicycle trips yet (surfing Craigslist for a ride-along and baby seat if you have any leads…)


On a final note, I don’t want to sound “greener-than-thou,” but I have to say that while I find Oprah inspirational in many ways, I’ve been frustrated a few times by her previous lack of interest in environmental issues, especially climate change back in the Gore days. Knowing her influence on people, I’ve secretly hoped for years that she would see the “green” light. And even though I don’t watch with any regularity, I have seen progress in her mindset and awareness of issues. Oprah is a mainstream barometer, and after today’s show, I think more families are going to look to green solutions to save money and the environment.


Did you watch the show or check out the Web page?
How can you relate to the families?


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

40 Earth Days!!!!

I was delighted to watch the new American Experience film, Earth Days. Earth Days shares the revolutionary story of how the environmental movement began, why we should celebrate, and how we can work together to solve today’s global dilemmas. It’s an instant classic that should be shared in classrooms for decades to come! 


In case you missed it on your local PBS station you can watch it online, see you really don’t need cable!  The film is as entertaining and inspiring as it is educational.


As cliche as it may sound, Earth Day does matter. Hundreds or maybe thousands are inspired each year to commit to protecting the Earth. I was inspired to “grow up to be an environmentalist” when I wrote a research paper in junior high on the history of Earth Day. It wasn’t necessarily easy to be a tree-hugger during the spotted owl recession in the Northwest. While disappointing, I appreciate the way the Earth Days film highlighted how the movement did loose ground during the polarizing Reagan years by pitting jobs against the environment and insisting that we need to reduce our standard of living to save energy. Europeans have clearly shown that it doesn’t have to be that way, and are a decade ahead as a result.


Forty Earth Days later being “green” is no longer a fad, but a way of life. Our society is finally making decisions to make “Every Day Earth Day” and moving beyond the basics of recycling. Each day we vote with our wallets, and can make the choice to invest in future generations. If we invest wisely, we’ll have something to celebrate in another 40 years.


At age 13 I also created an art poster with a vow: 


I Pledge Allegiance to the Earth 
To Cherish Every Living Thing
To Care for Earth and Sky and Air
With Peace and Freedom Everywhere 


Today is our day: 4 Years. Go. 


How will your family celebrate Earth Day? 
Here’s online petition to Congress to get the party started!

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

Cable Costs

Want to save your family at least $500 a year? Cut your cable.


I have to admit that not having cable is pretty easy for me, considering I’ve never had it. With my back-to-the-land parents I was 7 when my family bought a used TV (ironically my parents do pay for satellite now!). Hubby grew up in a typical pop culture family, and his college football obsession has tempted him to buy cable before, but we’ve never succumbed.


It looks like more people are opting out of mindless channel surfing: 800,000 Americans cut their cable in the past 2 years! Living cable-free has perks, like with only five real channels we can see if something is on in about two minutes. 


Obviously this trend has more to do with the advent of online TV programming and Netflix.  We’ve been Netflix fans since our BigGuy was born, when we no longer had energy to walk to the video store. We haven’t gotten into watching much online, but I’ve heard from Mama friends that it can be a great way to limit so-called screen time.


Speaking of screen time, this week is the “Screen Free Challenge“. I was pretty blown away to learn that kids average 8 hours a day, that’s way more that ours get in a week! On a typical week they get to 2-3 hours, and while not always easy to resist whining, I’d rather have a fit before watching TV than after. Our BigGuy used to watch a bit more and he had awful meltdowns.


There’s a great essay of Barbara Kingsolver’s about the process of weaning her daughters from TV. Plus, there are so many more fun things to do than watch TV. Read some cost effective TV alternatives.


Does your family pay for cable? Are you ready to go screen free?


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