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.

Eco St Patty’s

Our family has strong Irish roots, my Grandmother’s maiden name was Green. We visited Hubby’s Great Great Grandparents homestead in Ireland before getting married. He has several second cousins in Ireland, and one even works for the Irish EPA.

So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve done a little research on all things eco/sustainable.

Boycott Cheap Holiday Decorations 

Eco-crafts for St. Patty’s

Eco-responsible Drinking

10 Eco-friendly Ways to Wear Green

Our green family action will be taking the bus to/from our favorite local Irish pub: County Cork. They also recycle all of their kitchen oil into biofuels!

Do you celebrate St Patty’s?

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

Low Tech Family Fun

I hate to admit it, but my well intentioned birthday gifts have been mostly a bust. I envisioned our Big Guy showing us his moves on the Wobble Deck and Girly giggling like she does when anyone dances, but it’s truthfully gone almost entirely unused. I’m hoping that as Girly gets bigger it will peak their interest, but at this stage games need to be a family affair to keep their attention.

All fun was not lost…instead our Big Guy invented his own version of indoor bowling from four big tumbler glasses and the two Sky Balls Santa brought them. After a weekend of playing it BigGuy was just giddy, and the next day at school he was telling his teachers about how he couldn’t wait to go home and play more indoor bowling. Naturally, in this day and age she assumed that he was talking about wii bowling, and was surprised that he was so excited by such a low tech game. 

On top of the kids getting lots of energy out, literally running back and forth across the house to collect balls and set up the “pins,” our Big Guy is also advancing his math skills. Maybe he would have been learning regardless, but since we started playing we’ve seen a marked increase in his addition skills. He’s now adding up the score each time, and calculating how many each player needs to get to win.

The real test is time though, and two months later he is still captivated. Soon he’ll start t-ball and we can finally play outside again, but I have a feeling that indoor bowling will become a perennial game in family…returning when the rain and darkness come…

While on the birthday topic, I want to share how close friends of ours saved on their son’s birthday party. Like us, they didn’t want to exhaust themselves with all the set up and clean of hosting a party. So they decided to “hire” their teenage niece and family’s exchange student. The girls came the night before and helped clean the house, they put together a puppet show, did face-painting, a standing version of musical chairs, and a piñata. Then they helped clean up after the party, and earned themselves each $50. We don’t have any older cousins in town, but this option sure does seem like a win/win. 

Lastly, I haven’t regretted the other gifts, but I am starting to purge a lot of unused toys…there comes a time when parents need to let go.

Do you ever have birthday remorse?
What do you regret?

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

Considering Carless

As I shared yesterday, on my “sugar mama” post, we are planning to sell our car very soon…s o, if you are in the market for a well-loved   2008 Subaru Forester with less than $25k   miles, you know where to find me 😉  

The biggest reason we are selling our car is because we don’t use it enough to justify the expense…when we bought our car we were using it on a daily basis, our commute wasn’t long, but we were using it regularly. But in the past 2 1/2 years our average use is twice a week. So each time we get in the car is costs us more than $50 a trip! Obviously this is too much.

We are also seriously considering going carless. At a minimum we will do a one month challenge, but if we can at all manage, we’ll stay carless until the fall. We have plenty of other options for getting around that are much cheaper.

Instead of driving, we’ll ride the bus/max or bicycle together. When we decide we do want to use a car for an excursion, we’ll rent a Zipcar. Within a 10 minute walk we have several vehicle options, including a few mini-vans. We also anticipate that we’ll rent a car for camping trips during the summer, but we typically plan these out far in advance and the extra cost will still be less than a car payment. For the occasional festivity, we’ll plan on taking a cab, which will be make the designated driver choice pretty easy. 

So, yes, this is a big experiment, and maybe we’ll fail miserably and decide that we need a car to get around as a family…but I figure now is the best time to try it out…

Is your family carless? 
Could you manage without a car?

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

Sugar Mama Scenario

My latest finance endeavor has been to create a budget scenario for becoming the “sugar mama” for our household.  Hubby is facing a potential lay off , and we are preparing ourselves for the potential of surviving on a single salary . Apparently we’re not alone, and the recession has created a rise in sugar mamas.

Truth be told, Hubby has always wanted to start his own business, so this could end up being a financial opportunity in the long run.  But in the near term, it means deeply assessing our expenses and separating the fixed/unfixed/discretionary/non-discretionary spending. 

From my initial scenario, my salary could just barely cover our monthly spending. There are two significant catches though:

First, it covers no child care costs. I’ve talked about child care costs being equivalent to a second mortgage, and since our mortgage has gone down our monthly child care tab is now more than our mortgage Our child care expenses will be going down significantly in the fall when  Big Guy will start Kindergarten…down to $335 per month since Oregon doesn’t fund full day Kindergarten! 

Second , we’d have to   sell our car …more on that tomorrow.  

Personally, I’m more concerned about the family impact of having no child care more than selling our car. It’s not that I don’t trust Hubby to be a wonderful Daddy 24/7…it’s really that there would be very little time for him to focus on starting the business that he’s anxious to get started. Any stay-at-home parent can attest to the challenge of accomplishing much beyond the rigors of childrearing. There other factor is that I think Girly really benefits from socializing in her classroom, and it would be a big adjustment for her. Although, in reality it would be a big adjustment for all of us.  

We tease that I was the sugar mama when Hubby and I first met, since I was making more than him at my part-time job. I paid for a trip to Utah for spring break, and the nick name stuck for a while. But becoming the primary bread winner is a whole different situation, and even though I know several moms in this situation, I’m still playing out the various scenarios in my head…surely more update to come…

Are you a “sugar mama” for your household?

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