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.

Green Giving

I don’t know about you, but I always find it a challenge to buy gifts for adults. T here are lots of great green gifts out there for grads and dads, but honestly I’m not sure if they really need any of them.   What do you give someone who has everything?

This year I decided to give my Dad and Father each a micro-loan through Kiva. You can give true gift certificates, but I wanted to be thoughtful about it so I chose.

For my Father, I found a woman in El Salvador, Ana Vilma Gomez, who needs funds to support her kitchen that serves traditional meals. I was actually looking for someone with a bee-keeper business since my Grandfather kept bees, but she came up when I searched for honey and seemed like the right recipient for my Father since he traveled through Central America before I was born.

For my Dad I found a mechanic from Bolivia named Luis who is building his business with his wife. I liked is hard-working profile and how he poised to prosper if he can secure a relatively small loan.

I wrote about Kiva and posted a video that you can check out too.

Have you given a loan/gift of Kiva?
Use this link to lend your first $25 for free!

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

Green News

My Hubby happens to be a news hound, and the Sunday paper is sacred in our household. He religiously culls the ads and shares the comics with our BigGuy. Sadly, anyones who reads the news knows that the atrocious gulf oil spew and need for climate legislation top the headlines.

We are like many “sustainable” families, and  opt to only get the Sunday news in paper form. The rest of the news we read online.

Here are my two favorite places to get green news:

  • Sightline Daily – I’ve received this daily digest in my inbox for almost a decade, and it’s a great quick way to keep up on environmental news from a regional perspective.
  • Grist – They provide a nationally focused environmental news digest, but with a satirical twist. All the news titles have clever/humorous (or really not so funny) titles.
While technically not news, I’m also a fan of several green news blog, like Green from the New York Times and the Huffington Post I find that the fact of the news is most interesting when captured in a cultural context.

Here’s my short personal commentary on recent news: My only hope is that in calamity there can be found opportunity and political will to finally pass national climate legislation. Fiscally conservative skeptics claim that climate policy will have steep economic costs. Yet, the EPA estimates that the climate bill will cost families than than a postage stamp The real question is whether we want to pay the tab today or pass the bill to the next generation at the expense of species, cultures and global stability. 

How do you prefer your news? 
How green do you like it?

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

Mowing a Lawn

Now I hate to seem sexist here, but in all households there needs to be a division of labor to managing it all (bless you single Mamas/Dads!). Mowing the lawn is a responsibility that my Hubby seems to relish, and the instant gratification cannot be denied. How can you make the task more sustainable and save your family money?

  • Get Reel – Reel lawnmowers have made a real comeback for households without acres of lawn. This is the best option for not relying on smelly/spendy/polluting fuel, the biggest downside is that you have to be willing to mow more often or face an exponential task.
  • Go Electric – While not the cheapest up front, you’ll save money in the long run. I’ve been intrigued by the Neuton mower and secretly hope to get one when our mower finally dies.
  • Share – For several years we shared a mower with our neighbor with a simple agreement that included us always filling up the tank.
  • Old Fixer – Our mower was refurbished by my mechanically-minded Dad, but works like a charm. There are plenty of old mowers out there and any decent repair shop should be able to get/keep yours running for less than the cost of a new one.

Is mowing the lawn a “Dad” job in your family? 
Do you pay teenagers to tackle the task?
What’s the greenest choice for you?

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

Green Grilling

Last year Hubby was elated to get a quintessential Father’s Day gift: a grill. Hubby did the research and new that he wanted wanted quality over lots of bells and whistles that we’d never use. So he asked for a Weber, but the only problem was that they cost about twice as much as I wanted to pay for a grill.

I opted to search Craiglist, but it turns out that June isn’t the time to find good second-hand grill. I ended up finding the perfect grill/price, but after not hearing back for a few days I thought it was long-since sold. Yet, I had all the luck, because when seller finally took a moment to listen to all his messages, he choose me because I sounded the nicest! I’m sure I got extra points for saying that it was a Father’s Day gift. 🙂 

Now on to the green part of grilling. I was stoked to find a great article comparing the carbon footprint of grilling options. Believe it or not there are hybrid grills available for the green gourmet.

Grilling in the Pacific NW often includes salmon, and the beauty is that it’s so easy to grill up a delicious balsamic glazed salmon fillet for family and friends. Make sure to always buy frozen salmon, because it’s really the best choice for the environment and is usually cheaper too. Wild salmon may cost a premium, but the food chain will thank you. I’m also going to challenge myself this summer to grill my first portabello mushroom, I love them in restaurants but have never grilled them myself.

What’s your favorite grilling recipe, I’d love some new veggie ones?

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

Ode to Green Dads

I guess the cards must have been stacked in my favor from the beginning, because I was raised by two “Dads.” Actually my Mom married my “Dad” when my Twin Sis and I were two and we’ve always had a friendship with our biological father.  As it turns out, they both fit the “Green Dad” title in their own unique way. 

My father was a tree planter for 25 years, and planted thousands of trees across Oregon and Washington. He was actually the President of Hoedads Cooperative for several terms. During the summers, he often took contracts to pick cones needed to grow the tree seedlings. He scaled giant fir and pine trees from Kodiak Island to the Redwoods. My father didn’t get rich from his career as a tree planter, but he offset his own carbon footprint before society realized the need.

My Dad was a car mechanic, and has always had a passion thinking about how to fix things. His van has over 300,000 miles on it and he kept my parents washer running for thirty years! The Berenstain Bears are smart enough to know that “everything needs a fixer,” but sadly in our throw-away consumer society fixing things is almost a lost art. My Dad reminisces fondly about when my family lived off the grid, with spring fed water and a root cellar to preserve food for the year. They lived off the land and not much else, but they were happy.

Both my “Dads” are innately frugal and eco-conscious, no wonder I’m on this path. Thanks!

Do you have a “Green Dad” who inspires you?

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