Category Archives: planet parenthood

Pass It On

Lately I’ve started passing on our plethora of baby and kid stuff. A close family friend is due with a baby girl, and we had fun going through Girly’s clothes together. I also gave her our infant car seat, baby bath tub, bouncy chair and baby moses basket. At that point we were overwhelmed by all the stuff in the corner basement room, so we opted to pace ourselves and go through more another time. But it did remind me of the warm sentimental feeling I also got when I gave/got hand-me-downs from family friends as a kid.

I also offered by breast pump to a co-worker of mine who is planning to pump at work, and she’s also very grateful for my generosity.

At some point soon I’m going to try to muster the energy to do some consigning, which apparently has been very popular in Portland. I was only disappointed to see that I missed a big consignment sale

Do you pass it on or sell your kid stuff?

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

Zero Dollars Per Gallon

This has been an invigorating week for me, and it isn’t just the beautiful fall weather that has me beaming a little brighter. I’ve biked with the kids 5 of the past 6 days. 

As I wrote in late spring, I finally got myself geared up bike with a toddler seat. Well as much as the cheap bike seat worked for Girly, it left me with a Big Guy who still isn’t big enough to bike downtown. Plus, I really needed to be able to haul all the stuff that I typically tote on the bus every day. 

So, I was ever so grateful when my Father picked me up a Burley trailer from Craig’slist. It handles so nicely that I almost would never guess that I’m trailing almost a hundred pounds of cargo. It hooks on/off really easily and is light weight enough that I can lift it up the stairs by myself. I truly wish that I would have brought down and bought one years ago!

My best story of the week was when I was inching my way up the long steep hill home, and a huge red pick-up truck came along side me…I saw this buff guy’s arm come out and I wondered if he was going to yell some obscenity, but to my delight he smiled and yelled out “Way to go! Keep pedaling!” So when I slowed to a crawl today, my sweet Big Guy yelled out “Mommy, you can do it!”  Experiencing  bicycle culture  helps make any extra effort feel worth my while.  

While I’m not really saving any money by bike commuting instead of busing, we did save save a little gas money on our neighborhood trips over the weekend. Plus, it’s free exercise and a fun way to start and end my office work day.

I don’t know how much we’ll manage to bike once the weather turns, but I’m setting a goal for myself to get on my bike at least once a week. I used to bike in all weather, and I know the most important thing is to wear the right layers.

Lastly, if you want to pick up your own $0.00 9/10 shirt for yourself, I found a sweet one on Etsy.

Beyond the MPG, what benefits to find from biking?

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

School Choice

This is the first week of school for many. I know that all the advertisers want you to believe that it’s about shopping, but it’s really about engaging your child in a lifelong love of learning.  Yet, finding the right school is often easier in theory than practice. 
Since our kiddos are in the Wobbler and O.P. (Older Preschool) classrooms, my musings are more hypothetical. Next year will be our first big lesson in school choice. Unfortunately, our local elementary doesn’t have the best reputation, so I’m still not sure whether we will try it out.

I can hardly wait for our final child care “tuition” payments, so it’s hard to imagine paying for elementary school. 

Here are few articles that are helping shape my choice:
Finding a Great School
Public vs. Private
My Million Dolloar Question

Do you kids attend public or private school?
Is private school really worth the price?

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


Just a friendly reminder to turn in any flexible spending receipts by Sep 30th.  I know I should have really sent it in by July 1, but  I’m proud to say that I didn’t procrastinate to the 11th hour this year. I’m looking forward to my last sixty bucks being reimbursed.

As a follow-up on my post about Maxing Benefits, I have really been enjoying my flexing spending reimbursement credit card. It’s been as easy as I imagined, and I smile to myself every time I use it knowing that I’ve reduced my tedious paperwork.

Unfortunately, I’m home with my Big Guy for the second day of full blown strep throat. All night fevers are not my favorite way of expressing my motherly love. Sadly, any illness always reminds me of the true benefit I have of being able to take my kiddos to the doctor and buy insurance covered tax-free meds.

Do you feel grateful for your benefits?

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.