6 Cheap Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

5 05 2011
Mother’s day is this weekend and if you have a mom who still treats you like you’re 5 years old, you should definitely be looking for a way to show Mom that you appreciate her. Now, if you want to appreciate her without breaking the bank, well, I’m sure she knows that it’s the thought that counts. Try one of these low-cost Mother’s Day gift ideas:

1. Lunch or Dinner Out aka. Lunner

Depending where you go, eating out wouldn’t qualify as a cheap gift idea per se, but on Mother’s Day it does. Find a restaurant that offers a free meal for Mom on Mother’s Day, that way, you can treat her to a tasty meal without running up a big tab. Having said that, it IS the busiest day in the year for restaurants. Make reservations, or cook her a meal (even if it’s not very edible) because after all, she’s been feeding you since you could remember.

2. Family Portrait/Scrapbook

Filter through your family photos until you find a real stand-out and order an enlargement. For a few dollars you’ll have a frame-ready family portrait. OR if you want to go the extra mile, go through family albums and get a bunch of pictures of your mom and if you have access to, her pictures of when she was young and put it into a scrap book.

3. A ‘Groupon’ book

Every frugal Mom has things that she loves and if she’s anything like my mom, don’t expect you to buy her anything which makes it impossible for me and my sister to get her anything that she’ll actually appreciate. So we got around that by giving her a book of coupons to do certain chores around the house or help her do certain things. Ie. Redeem for 1 free car wash, clean the floors, etc. Usually, she’ll forget to use them or better yet, lose the coupon book.

4. Flowers

Very typical, but go the extra mile and instead of a bouquet of flowers, go for a gift with longer-lasting appeal, choose a flowering perennial for her garden instead. She’ll enjoy your Mother’s Day year after year. For the ultimate cheap gift for mom, just place a packet of seeds inside a card, and schedule a time to help her plant them.

5. Customized E-Cards

I have gone the ultimate cheap step to send my mom an E-card which takes a couple of minutes to create and you can schedule when to send it out (Mothers day is on Sunday May 8th for those of you who are completely clueless). I like using jibjab  because you can personalize it. If your mom is tech savy, she’ll enjoy it. If your mom is like mine, just go onto her facebook, get the best picture from her albums, crop her face, insert it into a personable sendable video. A lot of them are funny and entertaining. It’s only $12 for a year membership, which means that this would cover Father’s day and their birthdays as well! Great touch!

6. A Special Outing

Give Mom a break from her day-to-day life by taking her on a special outing. Google free events in your area – concerts, plays, museum tours, parks, trails, fruit picking, etc. – and then pick the one that’s most in line with Mom’s interests.
Now go and love your mom as she loves you!

First Time Home Buyer Benefits

6 05 2010

First of all, the upcoming HST (July 1, 2010) will not be a major factor in the real estate market as it doesn’t apply to resale properties. It will however affect the taxes on the cost of services related to the real property transaction.

For first time home buyers, this process may seem intimidating and even stressful. Having said that, the government is trying to encourage those who haven’t owned an interest in property at all, anywhere in the world by giving a rebate of the land transfer tax for houses priced under $400,000. So this means that you won’t pay more tax than the current PST/GST system.

Buyers of new homes can get a rebate of up to $24,000 regardless of the price of home.

Another tip for first time home buyers, is that the government has also allowed you to use your RRSPs towards your downpayment of your house. Upto $25,000 in your RRSP reserves, you get 15 years to put it back into your RRSP tax free.

What are your biggest fears in buying your first home?

Food Fridays!

23 04 2010

Summer Salads

Great salads to get you salad-vating over all summer!


Flavours of pesto. Option to add chicken or fish with lemon vinaigrette.

You need:

  • 1 Lemon Vinaigrette, Below
  • 1 Baguette or french roll
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 small head of green leaf lettuce, torn (6 cups)
  • 3 cups fresh basil, torn
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved, or chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 oz. parmesan cheese, shaved

Lemon vinaigrette

In a small jar, combine 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel, 1/3 cup lemon juice (1 lemon), 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper. Cover, shake well.

Put it together!

  1. prepare lemon vinaigrette, set aside
  2. preheat oven 425 F. Split baguette in half. Combine olive oil and garlic. Brush onto baguette. Cut lengthwise into 3 or 4 bread sticks. Bake 3-5 minutes or until toasted.
  3. In large bowl, combine lettuce and basil.
  4. Layer greens, tomatoes, pine nuts, and cheese. Serve with bread sticks and lemon vinaigrette. And Enjoy!


You need:

  • 1 ginger-soy dressing, below
  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 1 3.75 oz package of bean threads or cellophane noodles
  • 2 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 2 cups torn bok choy or baby bok choy
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 recipe wonton crisps, below

Ginger-soy dressing

In a jar, combine 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3 tbsp. lime juice, 3 tbsp. grated fresh ginger, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper. Cover and shake well. Cool.

Wonton Crisps

Line baking sheet with foil. Coat with nonstick cooking spray. Place 12 wonton wrappers on baking sheet. Brush tops of wrappers with 1tbsp. sesame or peanut oil. Bake in 425 F oven for 5-6 minutes or until golden. When cool, break into pieces.

Put it together!

  1. Prepare ginger-soy dressing.
  2. preheat oven to 425 F. Line a 15″x10″x1″ pan with foil; set aside. Trim fat from pork; place in prepared pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes.
  3. Brush with 1 tbsp. of the dressing the last 5 minutes of cooking. Cover with foil, let stand 15 minues. Slice thinly.
  4. Prepare noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cool water, drain well. Snip noodles in shorter lengths with scissors. Add cabbage, toss.
  5. In a large dish, layer noodle mixture, carrots, pork, and radishes. Drizzle with half of the ginger-soy dressing. Top with bok choy and cilantro. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. Serve with wonton crisps

9 Steps to buying your first home!

13 04 2010

The benefits to owning your own home:

– The satisfaction of owning your own home

– Say goodbye to your landlord

– Start building equity

Owning your own home can be exciting and stressful. The 9 steps:

Step 1: Make a decision of whether you want to own a home or not

– How long do you want to live there for?

– Does buying make financial sense?

– Can I afford the house I need?

– Am I planning on having children?

– Am I going to start my own business?

– Neighbourhood and schools I want to live in/near?

– How’s the real estate market/economy that we’re in? Is it a good time to buy?

– Do we have time to maintain and upkeep my home?

Step 2: Seek professional advice

– Contact loan officer/bank/mortgage broker, to see how much you can afford. Its the biggest investment you’ll ever make, so choose someone who you trust. Perhaps seeking a second or third opinion to see whats the best rate you can get.

Step 3: Get pre-approved mortgage

You need:

– Credit scores and credit history to determine amount approved, interest rates (2 years of credit history, 3-4 tradelines on credit report, maintain good standing in your credit history)

– Employment history: Two-year job history

– Personal Assets: Bank accounts, stocks, mutual funds, RRSPs, etc. Also have 2 months worth of savings for closing costs or emergency.

– Property value: The purchase price of the home you’re looking and the loan amount  must be suitable to your income. The debt-to-income ratio will determine pre-qualified loan amount.

– Additional documentation: Two years of T4’s, last few pay-cheque stubs and/or two months bank account statements.

Step 4: Start house hunting!

– Research based on the criteria you set for where you want to live, search online/newspapers/mls/craigslist/kijiji, etc.

– Once you’ve limited your choices, set up appointments to go see these properties with your real estate agent.

Step 5: Find your dream home!

Make a list of “wants” and “don’t wants” so you get a better idea of what you should get.

– Refine your search, somethings are more important than others.

– Goals of achieving your dream home can depend on each individual.

– Remember: You may move 2-3 times before you reach your actual dream home.

– Save up for your downpayment! Should be at least 5% of the purchase price.

Step 6: Negotiate the deal!

– Your real estate agent will help you with the negotiations.

– Before negotiating, set your limits of how high or how low you will go.

– Detach your emotions from house for now, as buyers remorse and stress can result unnecessarily.

Step 7: The closing period.

– Work with mortgage broker to close the loan.

– You will need the proper paper work for the property so that the broker can close the loan.

Step 8: Close the deal

– Prepare for closing costs. Have some reserve funds for lawyer fees, moving costs, taxes, etc.

– Agree upon a closing date, be respectful of the seller as they may be closing on a new home or waiting for kids to finish out the school year.

Step 9: Move In!

– Congratulations! You own your first home!

– Make sure you get enough help to move into your new home!!

13 04 2010

Loving the weather! Time to wash the car, turn the flower beds, and prune the trees

12 04 2010

Started my blog Ho’s Homes!
Check it out: Stevenhorealestate.wordpress.com

Hello world!

12 04 2010

First time blogging and I am royally confused with how to get started. I picked out a theme and trying to figure out what this wicket thing is…

tips are welcomed 🙂