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.

Cash, Debit or Credit?

Perhaps the prevalent financial question I ask myself on a daily basis is “cash, debit or credit?” It’s so routine that I barely give it a thought.

For small things I wonder whether I have enough cash on hand. I go back and forth between thinking that it’s important to have cash available and knowing that if I don’t have it, I won’t spend it.

Yet, it’s far easier to hand over a debit or credit card than to unclench a fist full of cash. Cash keeps your spending in the moment, rather than thinking ahead to when your next pay date/bills are due.  Cash is hard to track in your budget though, and that’s why I limit my cash use. 

Cards are best for things you may need to reward. I’ve been guilty of losing a receipt or two before, but almost all stores can now swipe your card to get your purchase history. Yes, kind of scary!

Suze Orman has a Back to Cash challenge encouraging us to “get reconnected with your Benjamins!” Aside from my autopayments, I’m ready to take the challenge for a month to see if it impacts my spending. Now I just need to hit the ATM…since I don’t have a dollar to my name 😉

How do you make the choice? 
Would it be a challenge to live on cash?

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


I was the first kid I knew to boycott McDonald’s, and I still don’t believe in eating in a car. But our family has a soft spot for  Burgerville , the local reincarnation of fastfood.  I knew I was hooked when I was 8 months pregnant and deeply disappointed that the Walla Walla onion rings were no longer available. Thankfully, the chocolate hazelnut milkshake was there to console me.

Their sustainability marketing worked on us, and I first started going there after they started sourcing meat and produce locally and in season. I love the fact that they compost everything, and the employees are even willing to dumpster drive a bit to make sure things are sorted properly.

Burgerville certainly isn’t cheap for fast food, but I feel like the quality is worth it. Plus, it’s very family friendly. If I’m going to compromise a home cooked meal, I’d rather eat at Burgerville. Plus, tonight I have an extra excuse, 10% of proceeds go to Project Grow and Hubby has a night meeting!

Here’s a fun little video on the making of seasonal pumpkin shakes:

Here’s a great quote:

“It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car.”
-Michael Pollen

Does your family eat fast food?

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

Heating Up

Inspiring action is not easy when we are pressed by the daily logistics of running a family. We don’t see our impact on the future in the moment, which makes complacency an easy out. It’s easy to be selfish and hope others will take action.

This summer I’ve been a bit complacent. I skimmed news about climate legislation, sent a few e-actions, and simply hoped that our leaders would finally step up and deal with climate change. When they fumbled once again, I felt the perpetual disappointment that haunts climate policy.

Bill McKibben reminds me that we can’t rely on our government for a quick fix. We need to speak up louder about global warming, and create a movement that won’t take inaction for an answer. I believe that our movement needs kids and families to inspire creative action.

I’m planning a family friendly climate action on 10/10/10 in North Portland. The plan is to have fun, but we’ll also roll up our shelves and show how much we care.

Is your family planning to attend a climate action on 10/10/10?

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

Family Camping Gear

This weekend we’ll be heading to great outdoors, and in our preparation I started thinking about all the things I didn’t mention in my first post about Frugal Family Camping .

Hubby found a great article about Babes in the Woods, which shares some of the tips I gave and several others that I would agree with. They even has our same REI Hobitat tent. Like the family profiled, we’ve also become fair weather family campers, that’s why our first big alpine adventure is in August. We opted for yurts and cabins in the early spring season. 

As part of my follow-up, I realized that I only alluded to bringing basic gear and didn’t go into too much detail. In reality we bring a lot of “essential” items to our home-away-from-home-in-the-woods. Like most stuff, we’ve accumulated our gear over a decade, so I forget that we actually have a ton of gear. In case it helps here is our inventory:

Camp Gear:
Tent – REI Hobitat, tarp, 
Sleeping Bags – Sierra Designs, North Face and REI
Bedding – sheets, blankets, pillows
Mattress – queen air mattress, 2 thermarests, hand air pump
Headlamps, candle lanterns, hatchet, matches, newspaper, kindling, wood
Camp chairs, baby backpack/Ergo, hiking poles, solar shower
First aid kit, sunscreen, bug juice, TP, maps, guide books, directions/reservations

Camp Kitchen:
Cooler – Freeze milk/soda jugs for ice and extra camp water
Stove, fuel, coffee maker/filters, coffee/tea/hot chocolate/chai
Water – water roller (for sites w/out water, holds 8 gallons), metal water bottles, camelbacks
Picnic table cloth, dust broom, Dr. Bronner’s, dish tub, wash clothes, hot pads, dish towels
Skillet, large pot, small pot set, cutting boards, knives, cooking utensils, eating utensils, plates, bowls, cups, mugs, sippie cups

Camp pantry – Salt, pepper, sugar, oil
Breakfasts – Coffee, cream, sugar/honey, bagels/muffins, butter, eggs, yogurt, granola, sausages/turkey bacon (my “boys” can’t survive w/out)
Lunches – Peanut butter/jam, cheeses/meats, bread/bagels
Dinners – Easy pre-made things – Pasta, sauce, pre-cut brocolli – frozen chili, hot dogs, cornbread – Mexican fixings, chips/salsa
Snacks – Fruit, crackers, granola bars, fruit leathers, string cheese
Drinks – Water, milk, beer, sometimes Hansen’s
Desserts – S’mores, brownies

Personal Stuff:
Jackets, fleeces, pants, shirts, socks, undies, pajamas, shoes, hats, swimsuits (x4!)
Toiletries, towels, sunscreen, diapers (not next year!)
Books, magazines, t oy bin (football, frisbee, catchers), games, kite, camera

One last note of camping stuff, you can never bring too many socks…I found this out the hard way last summer when I foolishly thought that 6 pairs of socks would last 3 days, big mistake!

I also couldn’t help but share a photo of our Big Guy at 7 months on one of his first camping adventures in the North Cascades National Park, I swear he had a smile on his face the whole weekend. Truly a happy camper!

What gear keeps your campers happy?

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