EcoMaids Chi

There’s no doubt I now have a favorite day of the month, which coincides with our EcoMaids cleaning service . It’s hard to put into words, but it’s such a relief to come home to a spotless house. It just puts my mind at ease for the entire weekend, and I simply don’t have the angst that I used to – either feeling guilty for putting off cleaning or too exhausted to clean in my precious spare time.

The monthly cleaning service doesn’t get me off the hook entirely, but it gives substantial relief. I am much happier to sweep regularly than to haul out our “beloved” vacuum and Shark steam mop

The irony is that my moment of cleanliness bliss is often abruptly stopped short by the inevitable kitchen spill or misplaced potty attempt (which despite a few floor accidents this weekend is still going very well). We tease each other about this fate, but I’d still much rather clean up a fresh spill.

It’s not even really the absence of cleaning that elates me, it’s how that time is freed up to do any given family oriented activity. For example, this weekend instead of cleaning together all day (yes, it does take all day with two small kids “helping”!), we were able to spend the morning at a t-ball breakfast fundraiser, then a t-ball game and after nap we headed to the Pearl to hit the REI member sale and grab some Cool Moon cones at Jamison Park…all before heading to a friend’s b-day party! It was a delightful day, and truly courtesy of EcoMaids.

Having a clean home also allows me to focus on the “feng shui” details that create a peaceful home. Instead of scrubbing the tub, I’m able to pay attention to accumulating clutter. It seems that we are constantly putting things back where they belong, but on our “clean” weekend I usually take on one type project to improve our “chi”. This time I put fresh flowers around our home and replanted our big front porch pot and hanging baskets for the season. Again, these projects simply wouldn’t get done if we had to spend our time off cleaning.

On a previous post, I was criticized for spending family money on such an ephemeral luxury, rather than saving/investing the money. I understand the argument, but at this point in my life I think it’s well worth the percentage of my paycheck. I’ve literally earned it. Although that’s not to say that we couldn’t live without it, and surely under the sugar mama scenario the service would be dropped until we could afford it. It’s not something I take for granted, but it sure is nice to look forward to each month.

Do you think a cleaning service is a worthy family expense?

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

Keeping up with the “Greens” – Personal Energy Reports

My grandmother’s maiden name was Green and married name was Jones, so I find it funny that “keeping up with the jones'” is so out nowadays. Whether we like it or not, peer pressure causes social change. Society is creating social pressure to be greener than your neighbor.

A friend of mine showed me a “personal energy report” she had gotten the mail from her utility, NW Natural. The idea of analyzing your own energy usage isn’t novel, but I find it really interesting that the utility would compare your energy usage to your own neighbors

As you can see, her energy usage is much better than her neighbors (she’s also single and energy conscious). Note the smiley faces…I’m curious if they are absent or greyed out when you are “more than average”:

They also showed her last year’s usage, and showed how much money she saved, which provides additional incentive to continue saving energy. $1,253 is sure worth it!

With a little searching, I found out that this is a pilot program, and these letters were mailed to 60,000 Portlanders at random. Here’s a quick news clipped where they interview the Energy Trust of Oregon about the pilot. I sure hope it turns into an industry standard!

Does your utility provide a personal energy report?
How do you think you’d compare to your neighbors?

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


In this mid-week phase (especially after having a sick family including myself last week), I need a little inspiration to get through this week. While I’m more in need of wrapping up lots of tasks, Ben Lee’s Begin always gets me going. 

The video isn’t what I envision for the song, but we each have our own personal spin.

I first got into Ben Lee by listening to Pandora, a great source of free music.

Ben Lee’s Begin video:

What are you ready to begin?

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

Grocery Delivery – is it worth the price?

I’ve raved often of my love for Spud, for our organic grocery delivery service. So, I was dismayed to discover they are going out of business in the Portland area, effective immediately.

Ironically, this past week I had been inspired by Parent Hacks printable grocery list and started a draft of our ongoing grocery list. I had smugly colored all the items that we got regularly from Spud. Yet, before my list was even print ready, the sad news was sinking in…I’m going to be heading to the grocery store a whole lot more often again.

Naturally, they recommended two other delivery options in the Portland area – Organics to You and New Seasons

Organics to You surely has great produce, but they lack the dairy/staples that I’ve grown to love from Spud. The other problem is that Organics to You operates essentially like a CSA – there are no substitutions for orders – if you don’t like brussel sprouts you’re still stuck with them. 

New Seasons is a full service market, but they charge $10 for each delivery I love New Season’s, but the closest one is a 15 minute drive and I almost always spend more than I expect. I suspect that the $10 charge may be worth the savings on impulse spending.

Update:  New Seasons announces that they will soon stop their  grocery delivery service

The other problem is that time feels like money, and I have a feeling that I’m going to spending more of my valuable free at the grocery store…

For tomorrow, I know I’m now out of cream for my coffee…

Do have your groceries delivered?
Is it worth the price?

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