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Showing posts from March, 2019

Jalie 3461: Éléonore Pull-on Jeans

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I'm so excited about Jeans again!! Well mainly because these aren't real jeans, but rather pull-on jeans that I've been jealous that my kids have. I gave up on my pairs when I gave up my maternity jeans. But I finally made the Éleonore jeans pattern which I bought about a year ago. I was scared about how it would fit given my hips and slightly larger tummy (thank you 3 pregnancies). I wasn't sure how to adjust for a full belly so this pattern sat.

I had even bought some fabric to make a test pair, but then I worried it didn't have quite enough stretch and frankly I didn't love it. Back in January I bought some stretch denim to try which at $14 didn't think would be the end of the world if it failed. Just a minor annoyance. 
So having a bit more time on my hands lately, I've decided to focus on filling the whole in my wardrobe and well jeans are what I wear every day given the choice and are currently severely lacking in my closet. 
First pair of test Él…

Upcycling T-shirts with Love Notions Vanguard Kit

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Catching up on old projects. Made this one March 2018.

My son loved this Spiderman T-shirt that had gotten too small and had a few holes. Most of his old clothes are passed on to his cousin, but I thought I could upcycle this one using the Vanguard Kit from Love Notions. It is perfect for panels and well, saving too small shirts.


For the second colour I used this larger shirt I'd picked up at a second hand store.

The shirt came together very quickly and easily. I used some better quality cotton lycra for the neckband and salvaged the cuffs from the orange shirt for the cuffs on the new ones. Bonus for using 2nd hand shirts? Didn't need to hem it as I kept the hem off the orange shirt.


I love how the shirt came out, and was able to add some much needed long sleeves to my son's wardrobe. However, mental note for next time... he's refused to wear it because he doesn't like the seaming on the sleeves. Either I'll leave this off next time, or topstitch it down first…

Should I take 12 or 18 months Maternity Leave?

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Just after I took maternity leave with my last baby, the government of Canada began to allow families to take up to 18 months of paid leave rather than the 12 previously. Great news right? Definitely for the additional job protection this provides women wanting longer leaves. Financially, I don't think it's worth taking the extended leave option provided by the governement. I'll explain below.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves lets get some terms down.
Maternity leave: available only for the person giving birth for a total of 18 weeks. 
Parental leave: available for the parent staying home with the baby for a total of 35 for standard parental benefits or 61 weeks for extended parental leave.

So how do the new programs work out financially?

From what I gather from the program, (please do your own research to confirm) is that the maternity benefits portion remains the same and 55% of your salary (to a max earnings of  $53 100) therefore a maximum of $562/week is pr…

What the FI Journey with Kids has Given Me

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I recently read a post about how the FIRE journey is easier without kids on the Escape Artist. And while I agree with the author's points that it is easier, I'd argue that children often increase the motivation for the freedom while perhaps changing the trajectory a bit.

As mentioned in my last post, when I first heard about FIRE a light bulb went off, realizing that if we just buckled down for a few years we could hit it. The reality of having kids meant I needed to adjust my goals compared to if we'd started this journey pre-kids. As much as I'd love to hit our number and both of us retire, I realized quickly on the sacrifice required of time with our kids was too great. Fortunately, the knowledge that the FIRE community has provided me with has given so much more freedom than simply reaching our FI number would.  It has taught me that we simply need 25-30 x our annual spending to retire and about the rule of 72. This gave me  an immense sense of freedom realizing th…

Sewing Patterns: Why I've switched from Paper to PDFs.

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When I started sewing paper patterns were the only option so I had gotten used to tracing off the size I needed and then sewing. About two years ago I really wanted to sew some new tops for myself but all my paper patterns were in storage and we'd moved far from Quebec where I could easily buy Jalie patterns in store. Have I mentioned my love for them lately? I decided to try the PDF option available from their website. I did enjoy being able to skip the tracing step and just printing off the size I needed, but quickly realized how tedious the taping stage can be when making a garment in various sizes. With that and working through the next 36 or so patterns I've accumulated over the last couple years. I've also developed a storage and organization system that I'm quite proud of. Can you tell I'm not overly organized in my life in general?

Basically I make myself the paper pattern to keep for future sizes.
Here's what I do:
Print off all sizes of the pattern an…

The Journey to FIRE and Putting it all Together

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I've always been frugal and saving and delayed gratification has come naturally. My Dad always told me that if I saved 10% of my income and invested it I'd be a millionaire by the time I hit 40. Likely one of my biggest financial mistakes was just believing that blindly without doing the math. The reality is you need to save much more than 10 % or perhaps have the 10-15% interest rates of the 1980s when he told me that.

So based on that, I set up automatic withdrawals to my RRSPs of roughly 10% and figured I was set. If I want to dwell on the missed opportunity part we could have easily saved more in various investment accounts and made massive returns during the 2008 downturn. I started working in 2003 and as long as I'd been able to stay steadfast and not panic, while focusing on investments we could potentially have been much farther ahead. Being debt adverse our main strategy was paying down the mortgage and a little bit of real estate. So definitely not terrible overa…

Spending Re-cap: February 2019

Our spending re-caps for the months will focus only on our variable spending and include the following categories:
Family (includes all the stuff we spend on the kids such as activities anything we buy them and their education savings. Any graphs I may post with include daycare, but the numbers will not)Home Expenses (anything we spend on the house for the maintenance, taxes and insurance. I'm not including mortgage payments or interest as that will not be included in our final FI number so I want to be able to track what life costs without that. Keep in mind graphs will include the mortgage, but not in the numbers)Transportation (all car related expenses such as gas, maintenance, insurance)Utilities (heat, water, electricity, Internet, phone and cell phones)Health Spending (Life insurance, dentist other health related costs. This is pretty low because we live in Canada)Enjoyment (Gifts, Entertainment, Vacations, Hobbies, Restaurants, Alcohol, etc.)Routine Expenses (Groceries, Clot…

Capsule Wardrobe: Swim Suit Edition

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Prior to leaving for Mexico I began the mad dash of sewing up a few mix and match swimsuits as the last one I had never looked that good and well definitely could do with replacing.

I had planned make a Diane suit for me initially but opted for the tankini for ease of wearing with a swim top as my pale skin starts to burn in under 10 minutes.  I also liked the coverage of it.

I had attempted to make the Tankini (Jalie 3023) in the summer just before leaving on a trip to Calgary but ran out of time and put it aside for about 6 months. Nothing like adding a little stress before a weekend away.


After a mad dash to the fabric store with a decent selection of swimwear fabric locally I picked up these three with the plan to use the leftovers to make some rash guard shirts for my youngest son. I ended up finding a swim top and bottom on sale for $8 at superstore and that won out versus the effort of making him one. I do try to avoid cheap fashion, but will get suckered in by a good deal espe…

Meal Planning: Oups! Too Much Food!

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Prior to leaving on our trip to Mexico I realized we had way too much food to eat in time. As one of my frugal goals this year has been to keep our food costs down I didn't want to waste a bunch before leaving. We were only going for a week so I could have chanced it and most of it probably would have been ok when we got back, but instead I got to doing a bit of batch freezer cooking to preserve the food.  Part of the problem was also taking out some meat I'd planned to cook for dinner, but we had car troubles that day so were were running around getting that sorted out and by the time we go home, everyone was starving. So I didn't end up making the sweet and sour pork I'd planned and ended up with ham and veggie omlette.

With only 1 meal left to prepare for the week my fridge looked like this:


After dinner was done and the kids were playing I made a quick plan and got to work. I cut up some sweet potatoes, carrots and some of the left over rutabaga and made some orang…