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.

Kiva Kindness

When we did a gift exchange amongst Hubby’s adult family members it was always hard to know what to buy them. Thankfully now we just do a gift exchange among the cousins so I don’t have to stress about it. My question was always, what do you buy someone who has everything?

In steps Kiva “the change-a-life alternative to holiday shopping.”  A co-worker of mine told me that she buys either Kiva loans or Heifer International for her grown up nieces and nephews.  Another older co-worker of mine is the matriarch of the family, and in a single year their entire family went from buying a thousand dollars worth of gifts to donating together to a charity that the family would choose at Thanksgiving. That would go a long way with Kiva loans, plus each year the amount would grow as the loans are repaid.

I shared about my first experience of green giving  for Father’s Day, and explained the  concept of micro-lending . Not quite six months later, 45% of the one loan has been repaid and 20% of the other. With my “credit” I reinvested in a farmer from Tajikistan. 

It’s gratifying to think that such a small amount of money could help someone earn prosperity. In reality I’ve been materially successful in my life because I was able to get college loans, buy a house, buy a car…this list goes on. It’s really a great way of paying it forward. Recently, Kiva expanded it’s giving to college students, and you can choose to support true “poor college student”.

Do you have Kiva Karma?
Use this link to lend your first $25 for free!

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

Whole Living

My favorite magazine for several years now has been Body & Soul (now Whole Living). I first came across the publication while I was pumping milk on work breaks. There were tons of old parenting type magazines in the lactation room, but the articles were all so repetitive and thin. I also felt like I needed to focus more on my needs, not constantly trying to school myself on modern mothering trends. The magazine was like a breath of fresh air, and I inhaled every page.

I loved it so much that I kept talking about the articles with my Twin Sis. Then along came the holidays, and my desire to give something to share my love and appreciation (that’s not too inexpensive). So, for the past three years I’ve given Whole Living to my Moms and sisters (and myself!)…5 subscriptions cost only $30.  

Even though printed magazines aren’t exactly eco-friendly, I’ve gotten (and hopefully shared) such inspiration from the magazines that it’s worth the trade off. Plus, I always pass mine along to friends and hope they have a long happy life.

Do you subscribe to any magazines?
Do you give them as gifts?

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

Zulily Shoppping

OK, so I may not be a Black Friday shopper, but the lure of so-called Cyber Monday caught me. Recently I signed up for Zulily for “Daily Deals for Moms, Babies and Kids.” I was curious about what kind of deals they have, and the only way to find out it to sign up to  Zulily .

We had already decided that our gift for Big Guy should be tag along bike, since he has clearly outgrown his $10 second hand bike but isn’t ready to ride long urban trips yet. Plus he loves bike commuting, but takes up 2/3 of the space and is a 56 pound lead weight.

But I hadn’t figured out what could be equally appealing for our Girly. So, when Zulily had a 40% off sale on Smart Gear toddler bikes for $50, I couldn’t help but get one. She loves the walking tricycles at her school and over the weekend had a blast trying out a borrowed tricycle. The problem is that her hand-me-down trike of Big Guy’s ready never worked that great…either too small for it or suddenly too big! Plus, on our last trip to REI, we had to coerce her off the display bike! Plus, I’m pretty sure that once Big Guy is on the ridealong we’ll be able to fit the push bike in the trailer for some special trips and she can ride on safer paths and parks once she’s ready.

Zulily has lots of other eco-oriented toys on sale right now:

  • Green Toys – trucks, teacups, planting sets and more…(on the kids’ wish list!)
  • Wooden and cloth toys by Wonderworld, include a mini-ecocar
  • Le Toy Van wooden creative play toys
  • SIGG stainless water bottles for kids
The deal with Zulily is that products are on sale for only 72 hours (usually 30-60% of retail), so you have to buy when the sale strikes.

Are you signed up for Zulily?

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

Save the Season

I hope your holiday weekend was as relaxing as ours. It reminded me of how laid back I want our entire holiday season to be. Less stress, more fun.

I read a great article on our drive that sums up how important it is to simplify the season. Just like the story they share of the overwhelmed toddler, I remember a similar event and I keep that imagine in my mind when I get tempted to buy too many gifts. We’ve already adopted many of the ideas they discuss:

  • We did a gift exchange in my family growing up, I loved giving/getting one special present. Hubby’s family also did one, and now the cousins do a “Pollyanna”. It’s such much more fun for kids to be a part of the gift giving and too many gifts for a child can be really overwhelming.
  • Send a “wish list” to family members that includes experiential gift like a family membership. Also list items that are off limits, like video games or toy guns. If you don’t send some guidelines there a much greater chance of having a misunderstanding and hurt feelings.
  • Make gifts. We often made some gifts growing up. I definitely plan on making more gifts as the kiddos grow up. So far, I’ve been giving away my homemade jam as hostess/dog-sitter presents.
  • Adopt a family. My mom’s group is adopting a family for the third year. We buy gifts, clothes, and food for two families in need. By pooling our resources we’re about to do a lot more together. Last year I remember buying hats/gloves/scarfs for the family members. My kiddos were also in need, and I just couldn’t imagine not being able to just go to the store and buy them cozy essentials.
  • Support a toy drive. Sock drive. Food drive. We support as many giving efforts as we can during the holiday season. Last year I was so proud of our Big Guy picking out a Thomas train to give to a child in need that just the year before he had coveted for himself. This year he really seems to understand why it’s so important that we share during the holiday season.
  • Throw a party! We’ve thrown a Danish “julefrokost” for the past decade to share the festive traditions of Denmark with our closest friends. I cook a ton of Danish foods, and enjoy sharing some the culture that I love so much.

How do you plan to simplify and “save” this season?

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