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.

Portlandia Bubble

We live in the “green bubble” of Portland on purpose. 

Hubby grew up outside of Philly, and after discovering his environmental/city planning passion, he moved to Portland without knowing a sole…over 12 years ago before that was popular! I happened to grow up in rural Southern Oregon, but as far as cultural geography goes, it’s a different world. We intentionally chose to settle down in Portland, largely because we see it’s potential for creating a sustainable urban society…or at least having fun while trying.

So that’s why I can’t help but share Portlandia, a new IFC comedy TV series that makes fun of all thing “Portland.” I’ve only checked out a few short promos, and it’s hilarious! I don’t know if all the inside jokes will translates to viewers outside the proverbial bubble, but I think the entertainment value is pretty universal.

I know that sometimes I can take myself too seriously, and the show provided me with some good belly laughs. I hope you’ll get a laugh too:

What do you think of the Portlandia bubble?

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 Christmas So 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?

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

Cost of Christmas

Christmas already feels like months ago, but our family budget is just bouncing back. We tried to keep our expenses reasonable, and bought gifts we hope will entertain, educate, and endure for years to come.

We also had lots of fun signing carols, exchanging cookies, and spending time together.

The grand total did surprise me though, perhaps because I’ve never actually calculated the cost of the holidays. I don’t feel any real buyer’s remorse, and some of our “expenses” were for charity. But I do plan to get creative next year to cut down the tab…

Big Guy
WeeRide Pro-Pilot Bicycle Tandem Trailer  – on sale for $99.99
Frosty the Snowman – $9.99
Green Toys Jump Rope – $8

Smart Gear Smart Balance Bike (on sale from Zulily) $49.99
Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star  – $5.99
The Animals’ Advent – $4.49

Oregon football hat – $22.98


Eco nail polish $14
Adidas workout outfit – $52.50 (Hubby)
Kitchen Kabooble – food processor – $46.80 (Kiddos)

Twin Sis’ stocking
Eco nail polish $14, World Map notebook $10
Second-hand outfits $40

Cousin’s gift exchange
Ecoist clutch – $35.84

Christmas Charity
Toy Drive  $10 (two puzzles from Ross)
Sponsor-a-family clothes $65.95 (coat, hoodies, jammies from Ross)
Extra tithe for Grace – $100
Plus canned food drive

Christmas tree permit – $5
Holiday cards – $131.25 (Hubby loves his traditional cards, but next year we’ll either make them or go electronic…)
Annual julefrokost – $230 (lots of food and booze, but lots of fun too 😉

TOTAL: $1018.24 ($446 on gifts)

Note – the total is approximate…p lus stocking stuffers…p lus Christmas dinner…

Do you know how much you spent on the holidays?

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

Skamania Get Away

As an early b-day present, and last holiday hurray – Hubby and I headed out to a night sans kids at Skamania Lodge in the Gorge.  We thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful view of the Columbia River, and it was a wonderful way to start the new year…I soaked in the spa and sweat in the sauna, while Hubby indulged in new year’s day football – so we got the best of both worlds. Plus we went on some beautiful hikes the next day. 

I splurged on a “deal” at Skamania Lodge through LivingSocial, which cost us $169 and was valued at $339. We received a $35 bottle of wine, $25 breakfast, and $25 resort credit on top of the accommodations.

In theory, it was a good deal with these add-ons, but you always need to read the fine print. Taxes and resort fee were not included. Neither of us were in the mood for a spendy new year’s day dinner or a huge brunch, so our meals weren’t too much. For dinner, taxes and the resort fee, we spent an extra $63.17. But I roughly calculated that if you splurged on dinner, brunch and a single spa service, you could easily walk away with an extra tab of $175 plus.

We also paid for gas and lunch on the way out, so our whole trip cost us about $270 In my mind this was more of a luxury get away than a bargain, but it was certainly worth it.  Funny enough, we were both a bit boozed out after the holidays and opted to save the bottle, so we still have it to savor.

The real highlight of the weekend was having real conversations over meals…I love our kids, but uninterrupted conversations is not part of our daily reality! 

Do you spend weekends without your kids?
How much do you spend?

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