Saturday, May 25, 2013

Month 7: Debt Repayment Update

Month 7, as expected, wasn't quite as fruitful as expected for debt repayment due to a number of things like the boys birthday party, an impromptu kitchen floor renovation, and an emergency surgery for DH which had him off work (and not getting paid) for a week. I did delay this post one week since last weekend we were finally getting back on track from DH being off work. Last month we were at $54,506. Since then, we're down another $709 which brings us to:


I had hoped this number would be well above $1000 but life happens and thankfully we could still contribute to principal debt repayment despite a one week set back. I read somewhere that disturbingly, most families could not deal with a one week delay in their pay. This means they couldn't even turn to credit to cover their bills. It feels pretty darn nice to have weathered that situation successfully. 

For Month 8, my focus is effectively reducing our household energy consumption. On average, our household consumes approximately 600kW of electricity per month. Usually half of this consumption is off-peak while the next largest proportion is mid-peak and the smallest proportion - usually in the 100 range is peak time consumption. In the Summer, the  number skyrockets to around 1000 due to air conditioner use. This summer I want to cut the a/c use in half as well as reduce consumption in general by improving efficiencies - more caulking, insulating our garage better, window treatments, etc. We have a room above the garage that is basically unusable in the winter and summer due to the garage being below so this summer we'd like to fix that. Reducing air conditioning consumption will be challenging as most of our family suffers from allergies and having the a/c going helps with those tremendously so it will be a balance. 

For Gas, we usually average between 60-70 cubic metres per month (gas furnace, gas water heater - rental, gas stove). I have already turned our heat setting down on the water heater by one setting. I am really going to try to be more conscious about my use of the stove - batch cooking will help to reduce overall cooking time since reheated meals won't take as long. I am also going to try to eat more meals that don't involve use of the stove. I'm assuming most of the efficiencies here will show in the winter from insulation and caulking. 

How does our household energy consumption relate to yours?

Monday, May 20, 2013

An outdoorsy birthday for two!

I've just accepted that we will have a joint birthday party for close family and friends for the boys since their birthdays are 10 days apart. Once they get a little older we will likely have separate smaller parties for school friends but since B didn't receive any invites this year, we were in the clear!

We had a fabulous little lunchtime party for the guys (ages 2 and 5) in our backyard a couple of weekends ago. A few friends couldn't make it being Mother's Day weekend and all but it was perfect. There were 6 adults and 7 kids so 13 in total.  

For the invitation, we used a camping themed Evite. 

Our decor consisted of mostly things we already owned like camping chairs, plastic kiddie chairs, backyard fire pit, picnic table cloth ($3 - will be used again), play tent and tunnel, cooler, and roasting sticks. Once again our trampoline - a birthday gift for the boys last year - was a highlight and well used by the kids. 

The kids roasted their own "spidey dogs" and s'mores over the campfire and snacked on fruit and potato chips. 

The adults enjoyed some BBQ hamburgers with the fixings and store bought macaroni salad.  

Cake and icing were Duncan Hines bought on sale ($1 and $1.50 respectively) along with crushed chocolate wafers ($3 for box) and gummy worms ($1.27 package). The kids loved the worms. Candles were from the cupboard.

I loved this party. It was so stress-free and fun. 

Since we did everything on the cheap, we could afford to spend a little more on the loot bags which included for the big kids: a glowstick, a foam airplane, Batman tattoos, bubbles, marbles, Playmobil figure, and a magnifying glass. For our baby guest, we had a maraca  and a mini beach toy set. I shopped for these at Party City and Mastermind.

Cost break down:

Decor - $3
Food - $60 
Loot bags - $70

Total Cost: $133.00

For whatever reason a couple of the photos appear stretched. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Last week DH had to have emergency surgery (nothing too serious) but it put him out of commission all week. 

Lots of updates to share soon. Between finishing school, surgery, renos, and birthdays we've had quite the exciting few weeks. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

BBQ Breakfast

Decided on a whim to redo the kitchen floor this weekend. Found a great deal on tile at Home Depot.

Kitchen is out of commission for a little while but the boys don't mind eating outside.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Upping the Curb Appeal

Last summer we built a deck in our back yard.

I'm all about doing renovations where the kids won't beat them up..too badly. So we set out to give our exterior a little face lift. DH got to work as soon as I brought some materials home so I couldn't get a decent before shot but the first one is with just the doorbell and part of the numbering replaced.

The (somewhat) Before:

The After:

- Tarnished gold house numbers replaced ($18) - $6 a piece for stainless ones to match our door hardware
- Crappy door bell replaced ($8) - new one even has a "fancy" light up button
- 2 new outdoor light fixtures ($34) - noticed the price was higher for the black fixtures than the white at Home Depot and asked the guy and sure enough he marked them down for me
- Paint for front door, garage doors, and trim ($50). Had a couple brushes and a roller kicking around.

Sorry the photos are only of the front door. The garage looks great too but the front entrance really looks much better now.

Of course taking down the Christmas lights in April is something you can always do absolutely free and will greatly help in this department.