Ontario Election 2018: Thoughts


Don’t we tell our children to go to school, work hard, get good grades, go to University, work hard, get good grades, graduate, and then with all that effort and knowledge, they can make as much money as they want?

With tax rates shooting up under the Ontario Liberal government and set to go up even more under the NDP government, if elected, do we really want to tell that to our kids any more?

Or should we clarify or amend that for 2018 and beyond to something more like this;

 

Go to school, work hard, get a solid education then go to University or College, and get a better education then go out and make a ton of money because if you make a lot, you’re going to be paying more than everyone else in taxes, and you’re ambition, skills and success are needed to pay back a massive debt and deficit that previous generations of government have created so that they could stay in power.

Congratulations, future generations!  The future is here and your earning power is needed more than ever to pay for mismanagement of financial resources and bad spending.

Earn more, and pay more.

Where is the incentive?

It’s likely there will be parents telling their kids that the sweet spot is now $42,000 in Ontario.  Under $42,000 and you pay 5.05% in provincial tax.  Earn more, but don’t report it.  Or don’t earn it and let those foolish ambitious people pay almost 3 times what you do in tax for earning less than 3 times what you make.

The system is broken.

And if another person tells me that “balancing the budget is not that important”, I’m going to lose it.

I’d like that person to run their household the way the Liberals ran this province and the way the NDP would run the province for just one year and see what they’ve got at the end of the year.

It won’t be a guaranteed job, with a guaranteed salary.  It’ll be bankruptcy or homelessness.

What ever happened to not purchasing what you cannot afford to pay for??

Shame.

#onpoli

Advertisements

Ontario Provincial Election Primer 2018. Undecided? Read This!


On June 7th, 2018, Ontarians will get an opportunity to vote in an election which will shape the way our province runs for the next 4-years.

The decision we make, has to be made based on what is best for the collective whole, what is best for us, and what is best for the next generation of Ontario Taxpayers, and not based on what people will say about us, our Province, our Premier or our Prime Minister.

The task is a tough one, but let’s try to shed some light on the platforms and what to expect for the next 4-years, and see if that helps you decide who gets your vote.

In 2014, the Ontario Liberal Government made these promises;

Personal taxes

Liberal 2014 pledge was to “Raise taxes on top 2% of Ontario earners”

In order to see how they did, I pulled the Ontario tax rates from the Canadian Tax Returns from 2010-2018.

Ontario tax rates

2018: 5.05% on income of $42,960 or less, 9.15% on $42,963-$64,077, 11.16% on $64,077-$70,000,  12.16% on $70,000-$220,000 and 13.16% on income over $220,000.

2017: $42,201 or less @5.05%, $42,201-$84,404 @ 9.15%, $84,404-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$220,000 @ 12.16%, over $220,000 @ 13.16%

2016: $41,536 or less @ 5.05%, $41,536-$83,075 @ 9.15%, $83,075-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$220,000 @ 12.16%, Over $220,000 @ 13.16%.

2015: Less than $40,922 @ 5.05%, $40,922-$81,847 @ 9.15%, $81,847-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$220,000 @ 12.16%, and income more than $220,000 @ 13.16%

2014: $40,120 or less @ 5.05%, $40,120-$80,342 @ 9.15%, $80,242-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$240,000 @ 12.16%, More than $220,000 @ 13.16%

2013: $39,723 or less @5.05%, $39,723-$79,448 @ 9.15%, $79,448-$509,000 @11.16%, over $509,000 @13.16%

2012: $39,020 or less @ 5.05%, $39,020 – $78,043 @ 9.15%, $78,043-$500,000 @ 11.16%, More than $500,000 @ 12.16%.

2011: $37,774 or less @ 5.05%, $37,774-$75,550 @ 9.15%, More than $75,550 @ 11.16%.

2010: $37,106 or less @ 5.05%, $37,106-$74,214 @ 9.15%, More than $74,214 @ 11.16%

 

As you can see, the tax brackets move year over year, and there have been additional tax brackets added. Here is how much Ontarians earned, according to Statistics Canada census.

According to Statistics Canada

Individuals by total income level, by province and territory (Ontario)
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
number of persons
Total, all income groups 9,741,870 9,743,420 9,867,280 10,083,520 10,157,280
Under $5,000 872,840 799,690 805,190 855,500 764,990
$5,000 and over 8,869,030 8,943,730 9,062,090 9,228,020 9,392,290
$10,000 and over 8,155,630 8,245,590 8,375,390 8,562,450 8,748,520
$15,000 and over 7,219,670 7,322,660 7,457,070 7,655,920 7,878,190
$20,000 and over 6,301,960 6,416,620 6,545,820 6,745,310 6,974,390
$25,000 and over 5,530,610 5,645,750 5,772,340 5,959,770 6,184,900
$35,000 and over 4,334,550 4,460,560 4,582,210 4,749,620 4,948,440
$50,000 and over 2,852,030 2,972,470 3,087,320 3,230,610 3,394,390
$75,000 and over 1,404,030 1,487,700 1,574,090 1,668,890 1,771,250
$100,000 and over 658,520 707,620 766,990 819,960 886,190
$150,000 and over 231,310 246,520 265,550 278,330 305,590
$200,000 and over 122,190 128,140 136,290 141,740 157,450
$250,000 and over 78,370 81,210 86,300 88,600 98,750
$
Median total income 30,290 31,310 31,820 32,380 33,840

According to Statistics Canada, in 2015, there were 10,157,280 Ontario Taxpayers.

For the Liberals to increase taxes on the top 2% of them would, mean increasing taxes for approximately, 203,145.6 Ontarians, which would be every Ontarian earning over $200,000 per year.

It looks like that has happened, and I’m sure many would support that, but have a closer look at the numbers, and you will see that in 2013, the top tax rate of 13.16% applied only to Ontarians earning over $500,000, but that was dropped in 2014 to apply to Ontarians who earned over $220,000.

In 2013, if you earned $200,000, your tax rate was 9.16%. In 2014, it was 12.16%, and in 2015, it was 13.16%

That is a 4% increase on the highest income earners!

Wait until later in this post to see what the Liberals did to the “middle class” and how much their taxes increased!

 

Corporate taxes

In 2014, the Liberals promised to;

  • Maintain corporate tax rate at 11.5% for now
  • Increase tax rate on aviation fuel
  • Remove small business tax deduction currently used by large businesses

Fact: Ontario Corporate Tax Rates have a low and a high, and in 2018, the rate was 3.5%-11.5%.

The low end is one of the highest in Canada, while the high end is one of the lowest in Canada.

Under the Liberal government who states that Corporations must pay their fair share, the Ontario General corporate income tax rate was:

14% before July 1, 2010

12% June 30, 2010

11.5% after June 30, 2011.

 

In the most recent budget, the Ontario Liberal government matched the Federal Liberal government and got rid of the Small Business Deduction – which reduced the corporate income tax rate on the first $500,000 of active business income of Canadian‑controlled private corporations (CCPC) earned to 4.5%.

As of January 1, 2018, the lower rate of Ontario corporate income tax decreased from 4.5% to 3.5% and CCPC’s with taxable capital is between $10 million and $15 million are no longer eligible for the preferential corporate income tax rate of 4.5% on the first $500,000 of active business income.

 

Jobs

In 2014, the Ontario Liberals pledged to;

  • Increase minimum wage to $11/hour
  • Spend $2.5 billion over 10-years on a Jobs and Prosperity Fund to attract and keep businesses in the province
  • Spend $38-million in the Youth Employment Fund in 2014-15 until September 2015
  • Simplify and restructure Foreign Credential Recognition Program
  • Spend $25-million in the Aboriginal Economic Development Fund over 3 years to promote aboriginal business
  • Create a regulated crowdfunding system
  • Spend $75-million on a “wine strategy” to encourage exports of Ontario VQA winesAside from really jacking up the minimum wage which resulted in the largest loss of part-time jobs in the history of this province, the government spent a lot of our taxpayer dollars in areas which are difficult to measure the cost to job ratio.

Deficit

In 2014, the Liberals pledged to;

  • Balance the budget by 2017-18

Not even close! Between 2007-08 and 2018-19, Ontario’s debt grew from $157 billion to $325 billion.

One only has to look at this chart from the National Post to see the damage that Liberal Spending has done to the deficit, which we all have to pay back, eventually.

In 1985, the Liberals under David Peterson arrived, marking the defeat of Ontario’s four-decade conservative dynasty.

In 1990, Bob Rae became premier with the NDP forming Ontario’s government for the first time in history and their tenure coincided with the worst recession since the end of WWII, resulting in plunging revenues and growing expenditures in an effort to maintain services and stimulate the economy.

The resulting deficits were as high as $12.4 billion and saw the accumulation of $63.4 billion in net public debt.

By 1995, Ontario’s net public debt had reached $101.9 billion.

The NDP government was replaced in 1995 by Mike Harris’s Conservative government, which began expenditure reduction (cut costs) and restructuring to balance the budget as well as tax reductions to stimulate the economy.

Lower taxes, lower interest rates and a booming U.S. economy together helped Ontario’s economy rebound and government revenues grew, helping close the budgetary gap.

Ontario balanced its budget by 1999 but its net debt still grew to $138.8-billion under Ernie Eves in 2003 from $101.9-billion in 1995.

The defeat of Eves ushered in the Liberals under Dalton McGuinty in 2003 and then Kathleen Wynne in 2013.

This period witnessed the largest debt accumulation in Ontario’s history.

Between 2003 and 2014, Ontario’s net public debt grew to $287.3 billion from $138.8 billion – an increase of $148.5-billion.

The Liberals reduced it once, by $1.1 billion dollars after selling of part of Hydro 1, but that surely cannot be the only way to pay down the debt, can it?  Once all the assets are gone, what would they use?

Ontario has been a province since 1867 but 87% of its net public debt was accumulated in the years since 1990.

*** Interest on this debt is $11 billion a year! ***

 

Health care

In 2014, the Liberals pledged;

  • Increase hourly wage for personal support workers by $1.50 in 2014 and 2015 and $1 in 2016
  • $20-million to improve access to primary care physicians
  • Expand home, community and supported home care for 46,000 more seniors
  • Access to dental services for 70,000 more children in low-income families
  • Create low-income health benefit to provide vision care, drug coverage and mental health services to low-income families
  • Eliminate service waitlists for 21,000 people with developmental disabilities
  • $5-million to Children’s treatment centres
  • Expand and improve hospitals over a 10-year plan
  • Cap or cut hospital parking fees for frequent hospital visits
  • Establish Patient Ombudsman

 

Unfortunately, this Liberal government will be known for failing hospitals, failing patients, and failing to take full care of the lowest income earners.

Instead of free medication for the poorest Ontarians, the Liberals provided free medication for children.

Nursing homes are still over crowded. Hospitals are still over crowded. Doctor’s are leaving the province due to the Liberals poor negotiation / tax increase on them.

Pensions/Seniors

  • The Provincial Pension Plan to provide further retirement savings to the Canada Pension Plan

But thanks to the Federal Liberal government, this did not happen and while the concept was a good idea, the burden of cost for administering this program would fall to the employers, who have already been hit with increased taxes, and in 2014, had no idea what was to come with the sharp rise in the minimum wage.

 

Education

  • Implement full-day kindergarten for 4 and 5 year-olds by September 2014
  • Expand student nutrition program to 340 more schools
  • Integrate 60 minutes of physical activity into the school day
  • 3-year $150-million spent on technology and learning fund for tools such as tablets and cameras and professional development for teachers
  • $10-million to create Experience Ontario – Done – Experience Ontario is a pilot program for a limited number of recent high school graduates who have an interest in attending postsecondary education or apprenticeship training, but are uncertain of their next steps.
  • Keep 30% off tuition grant for post-secondary students – Hidden tax increase because if tuition drops by 30% and teachers / teaching assistants, etc., keep getting pay raises, then who gets to make up the difference… Ontario Taxpayers!
  • Build new post-secondary campuses and create spaces for 15,000 more students – this was announced – to be built in Markham – a joint venture between Seneca College and York University. Ironically, after the York University FINALLY opened, a mere 10-years later than it should have, the government plans to build this campus where there is no underground service… Can you say commuter University part 2.

 

Transportation/Transit

In 2014, the Ontario Liberals pledged to;

  • Invest $15-billion in transit projects in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, including the electrification of GO Express Rail and downtown relief line
  • All-day regional express rail GO service in Waterloo Region
  • Invest $14-billion in transit projects outside GTHA, including $1-billion in Ring of Fire transportation infrastructure
  • Two-way, all-day GO Train service in more communities
  • $2.5-billion for highways including expanding Hwy. 427 and expanding Hwy. 7 to four lanes between Kitchener and Guelph

They didn’t agree to speed up the building of current Toronto projects like the Eglinton LRT, or the proposed Finch LRT, which has been dragging along for 6-years costing commuters and business owners significant amounts of money each and every day. Ultimately, they can propose what they want, but they have to get the job done, and that has not happened, anywhere.  Traffic is getting worse by the day.

 

Consumers

  • Lower auto insurance rates by an average of 15% by August 2015
  • Create Consumer Bill of Rights

This pledge was a giant joke, as Ontarians pay some of the highest insurance rates in the world, while Ontario insurance companies make some of the highest profits in the world.  Additionally, what good is a Bill of Rights without any teeth? 

Family care

  • Pay for one cycle of in vitro fertilization – check. Good one!
  • Increase Ontario Child Benefit to $1,310 & index it to inflation afterward – done. Currently at $1378 per child per year.
  • Call on federal parties to include a national child care program in 2015 election platforms… Err, okay, this has not happened. Maybe they should focus on, I don’t know, Ontario!
  • Increase Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program rates for people with disabilities by 1% in 2014-15

Where was removing the Child Fitness Tax Credit??? Wasn’t mentioned but was removed – essentially a tax increase! Families put kids in programs for health and due to the tax incentive.  The removal of this credit is significant, sadly.

WSIB is killing Ontario businesses due to the costs to administer and it punishes the workers. This needed a major overhaul, but wasn’t touched.

 

Environment/Energy

  • Eliminate debt retirement charge on residential electricity bills
  • Develop program to reduce electricity bills for low-income families
  • Keep Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program to help businesses reduce energy costs
  • Expand outer boundary of Greenbelt over next six years
  • Promote urban forestry
  • Address algae problems in Great Lakes
  • $30-million over next 10 years to maintain Walkerton Clean Water Centre
  • $30-million over next three years to promote local food
  • $25-million over three years for cycling strategy CycleOn
  • Expand provincial trail network

I’m not even going to touch this disaster portfolio by the Liberals. They spent, spent and then spent more, and they taxed, raised, and increased anything and everything to pay for their out-of-control spending. Gas taxes went up, user fees increased, hydro coasts soared, Liberals went to jail, Liberals went on trial, and everybody had to pay.

 

Political reforms

  • Maintain MPPs’ salary freeze – still $116,500 as it was in 2008. Not even increased in line with inflation. That must suck.
  • Cap public sector and broader public sector executives’ salaries – check
  • Reduce number of government agencies by 30% in 2015

There are currently 28 Ontario Agencies;

Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
Government & Consumer Services
Environment & Climate Change
Citizenship & Immigration
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Attorney General
Natural Resources & Forestry
Children and Youth Services
Municipal Affairs
Health and Long-Term Care
Treasury Board Secretariat
Tourism, Culture and Sport
Labour
Natural Resources & Forestry
Community Safety and Correctional Services
Education
Finance
Advanced Education and Skills Development
Transportation
Northern Development and Mines
Research, Innovation and Science
Energy
Infrastructure
International Trade
Housing
Children and Youth Services
Francophone Affairs
Community and Social Services

In 2010, I counted 26 of them. I’m sure there must be more, but merging them together doesn’t mean efficiencies were created, it just means fewer web-pages to have to update.

  • Introduce financial accountability officer – done
  • Give municipalities option of ranked ballots as an alternative to first-past-the-post in elections

After a review of the facts, this government has essentially lived up to their spending promises, however, there are 2 areas where I believe they failed miserably;

  1. Spending, and
  2. Taxation.

Increased spending where there is a balanced budget means the government takes in X amount of dollars in tax from Ontarians, and spends X amount of dollars.Unfortunately for all Ontarians, the government took in X amount of dollars from Ontarians, yet spent hundreds of billions of dollars more than they took in.

The effect of this spending means that Ontario has to borrow the money and has to pay interest on this borrowed money.

The amount Ontario has borrowed, or the deficit, currently stands at $325 billion dollars!

Imagine earning $100,000 per year, and borrowing $30 million dollars from the bank?  Then having to borrow more and more each year just to make the minimum payments on the interest to stay out of bankruptcy?  That debt will never be paid off unless you earn significantly more amounts of money, reduce all of your expenses, and if the lender agrees to reduce the interest.

If, however, the bank calls the loan, then you are bankrupt.

The same holds true for provinces.

The long-term effect of this irresponsible spending is that going forward for every X dollars the province brings in as tax dollars, there is an amount, let’s call it Y, which the government MUST pay in interest to the bank on the money they had to borrow. That means in order to balance a budget, they have to get even more money from Ontarians, which means even higher taxes, or they have to cut spending.

But if they cut spending, then they have to cut services, which is what they claim the Conservatives always do, so they don’t cut expenses or raise taxes, they do it in a much sneakier way so that you never know they are doing it.

One way this government has reduced spending and increased taxes, for example, is by getting rid of tax credits or deductions, such as the Child Tax Credit, or the Transit Credit. By not allowing these credits, the government no longer has accept less taxes from Ontarians and they win again because either these Ontarians will get back less taxes (because no deduction).

It’s brilliant.

It’s devious.

It’s immoral.

It’s like reducing the size of a jar but charging the same price. Consumers think they’re getting the same amount for their dollars, but in fact they are getting less and paying the same.

If the government told you back in 2014 that they would spend the province into bankruptcy and increase taxes by 3-4% on every Ontarian earning over $40,000/year while cutting credits and deductions, would you have voted for them?

Funny how that was never discussed…

 

Note: By moving the middle tax bracket, your $70,000 of income in 2014 put you in the 9.15% tax bracket, but in 2018, it puts you in the 12.16% tax bracket. That move increases taxes on the “middle class” without increasing the tax rate.  This was done while both the Liberal governments here in Ontario and Federally have been campaigning against the “rich and wealthy.”

These adjustments, along with the adding of levies, and user fees, and all those other words which mean tax, is just another way to prove that this government is underhanded and untrustworthy.

So instead of posting each parties platform and going through the pros and cons of each government, I decided to save everyone time and pull out what I feel really matters.

Liberals: More spending. Budget not balanced until 2024-2025.  Wave hands, and magically increase taxes on everyone over $50,000.

NDP: Even more spending.  Remove the power for governments to call an end to strikes. Debt and deficit to continue to grow.  Money to come from increasing taxes on the”rich” which we now know to be everyone over $40,000 per year.

Conservative: One or 2 years of deficit, then balanced budget and begin paying down the debt.  Plan to get more money into the governments pockets is not through increasing the tax rate, but by lowering taxes, gas, hydro, and letting Ontarians spend more money because 8% of that HST (consumption tax) belongs to Ontario.

Green: Increase spending for 2-3 years, no balanced budget for 3-4 years, and increased revenue to come from taxing the “rich” taxpayers and corporations.

 

Personally, if you ask, I’d rather tighten my belt buckle now and pay that bit extra in order to see the deficit reduced so that my children are not paying for this in the next 5-10 years.  Unfortunately, because the Liberals typically spend without consideration for where the money to pay for it will come from, it puts the next governing party in a bad light because they have to reduce waste, and cut where the Liberals didn’t want to.  It’s a great strategy to keep getting elected, but as a Taxpayer its annoying and unfair.

Good luck and get out there and vote!  It’s your democratic right!

Travel With Kids! Yeah! As Much As Possible, Please!


I opened my Twitter feed this morning (I’m @urbandaddyblog if you’re not following me yet – and if you’re not… SHAME!) and the first tweet that greeted me was this one;

“Up next with on Travel Edition. Are healthy eating and traveling even possible with hotel stays and security restrictions? Tune in to hear more…

Then I thought about all of the travel we have done over the years with the kids and food, make that nutritious food, has never been an issue… anywhere!

By “travel”, I’m not just referring to East York, Mississauga, or GASP, Richmond Hill – which if you live in or near the Greater Toronto Area, you will know take 40 minutes to an hour no matter what time of day, and literally used to take “5-minutes” when I was younger…

Here are some of the places we’ve taken the kids (current ages are 8-13);

  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • PEI
  • England
  • France
    • Paris 3 times
    • Drove the country heading south
  • Spain
    • Barcelona
    • Madrid
    • Seville
    • Drove the country / took trains
  • Italy
    • Venice
    • Rome
    • Amalfi Coast
    • Florence
    • Drove the country / took trains
    • Tuscany
  • Ecuador
  • Galapagos Islands
  • Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium
  • Holland
    • Amsterdam
    • Ghent
    • Edam
  • Florida

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some…

We’re big into the experience, so I’m not including cruises, but we backpack – take the least amount possible, and when we look for places to stay, there are no hotels.  We want to experience our destination as the locals would, which is why Air BnB is great for us.

With Air BnB not only do we save on accommodations because 5 people at hotels require an extra room, or extra charge, but we ensure we have WiFi, Air Conditioning and most importantly a kitchen!

With a kitchen, the food, especially healthy food, never becomes an issue.   We are so lucky to have a spouse who is almost certified as a nutritionist, and who is so incredibly organized that when we (read: she) plans our accommodations and itinerary around grocery stores so we can gather the food we need for breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

Without having to rely on eating out all the time, we save money, and eat much better and much healthier, plus we have snacks available for taking with us on our excursions / day-trips.

That’s how we get to experience the world with children, while eating healthy, and having a ton of fun.

 

 

Holidays, Money and a few last minute ideas…


I hate to break it to you but the holidays are here, and for many of us this means spending far too much money on gifts our kids and families really don’t need. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-gifting, I just don’t like having to buy gifts as a result of socially constructed consumer norms (to be addressed in a future post). That said, I’m a mom of 5-year-old twins and explaining what a social construct is will result in the consumption of far, far too many bottles of wine so I’m opting for conforming – at least to a certain extent.

Everyone knows the holidays are about family, friends, spending time together and sharing the love and,  if you’ve done your job well, your kids know this well. Ya know what else kids know? Holidays = presents! So, since I’m buying into the holiday crap, I’m at least going to do it in a way that doesn’t put my family into peril. Peril? yes, peril.

The holidays are expensive. If you’re not careful, the parental guilt that inevitably comes with the knowledge you can’t get your kids everything they want could put your family into a negative financial situation that’s difficult to recoup from.

“No, you can’t have the Nintendo, doll house, race car and Barbie… many kids don’t even receive gifts during the holidays…we’ve very fortunate to have everything that we do… when I was your age I got a matchstick for Christmas/ Hanukkah/ Kwanza…” Sound familiar? As parents, we want to give our kids the world and everything in it. We also don’t want to raise assholes. And this principle is what often alleviates that guilt I was talking about earlier. Now, we’re not just trying to save money, we’re teaching our kids a valuable lesson, right?

I dunno about you, but I still feel like total shit when I can’t get my kids what they want or, more to the point, what I want to get them. That said, DON’T GO INTO DEBT FOR THE HOLIDAYS. IT’S NOT WORTH IT. Yes, like a crack addict, you’ll get that initial high of being the ‘best parent ever’, but come January you’re going to crash and it’s gonna be ugly. (Please trust me on this, I watch people do it every day, let alone every year, it’s the line of work I’m in.) So, how do you avoid this scenario? Here are my 5 top tips I use to financially survive the holidays:

Tip 1 – Everyone loves photo gifts. Sign up for all of the online photo-gift sites and throughout the year they send great freebies, ranging from mugs to calendars to bags and prints.  You pay the shipping (which isn’t cheap but it’s far cheaper than paying for a gift and shipping) and that’s it!

Tip 2 – Shops the sales before the ‘sales’.  If you’re like my husband and don’t plan all that far in advance for gift giving then wait until September to take advantage of the back to school sales for toys, home stuff, clothing, make up etc. they often end up being cheaper than all of the sales that are currently out right now.

Tip 3 – THE DOLLAR STORE IS YOUR FRIEND. There is absolutely no good reason to spend five times the amount of money on a brand name toy or game when you can get the exact same one at the dollar store? They’re all made in China so why spend $20 instead of $4 for a logo? For the record, half of my son’s gifts are from Dollarama (no, they didn’t pay me to endorse them, I’m just a big fan)

Tip 4 – New does not mean better. I just bought half of my daughter’s gifts from kijiji, craigs list and Facebook market (again, no endorsement). If the toys are in good condition then who gives a crap about the plastic package? This way, you’re saving yourself some $ and giving Mother Nature a hand!

Tip 5 – It doesn’t have to be fancy. My kids are getting books, markers and fun earmuffs as gifts. They’ll love it because it’s all about the delivery. I’m in my 30’s and I still love getting this stuff as gifts, but maybe that’s just me.

I hope these tips help ease your guilt and keep enough money in the bank to pay the bills at the end of the month.

Now for some examples of the aforementioned tips. (Disclaimer, I received all of these products as free samples, but you can bet your ass you’ll know if I didn’t like something about them.)

Books:

But I don’t Eat Ants is a super cute story for picky eaters and their parents. Not to spoil it, the lesson for parents goes back to tip #5: it’s all about the delivery! The final line of the book confused my kids a bit but  it was a fun story for all and every time I make tortellini they laugh hysterically yelling “TORTELLINITOTALLINI!”

Finding Gobi is one of the best feel good books for young kids that I’ve come across in a long while. The first time I heard the story Gobiwas on CBC and the publisher blindly reached out a couple of weeks later. I wanted to see if the story I heard on the news was accurately depicted in the book and how they were going to adapt it for young kids.  Much to my surprise it was really well written, succinct and colourful, which is key for young kids. They also sent over the novel version which I didn’t have a chance to read but my friend’s son, who’s 8, said it was a great book – why would he lie, right?

Home:

I was never a coffee drinker and figured it was dumb to get one of the single cup machines for tea since they always tasted so diluted, so I never bought any of the ones on the market. I have seen the light thanks to the Keurig that was sent to us. It has a new ‘strong’ brew option which actually allows tea to taste likcoffeee tea!  I also like that it doesn’t take up all that much counter space. The machine is also pretty tough, which I realized as I used pliers to pry the wrong K-Cup that I jammed in, out of the machine (don’t judge, I was running on 2hrs sleep!)

Random fun things:

Cozyphones are a super cute alternative to headphones, with the bonus of keeping your munchkins’ ears toasty. I’m hoping they come outcozyphones with a version that can be worn in summer since these are fleece. Regardless, the kids look freaking adorable in them and love wearing them around the apartment.

Sigma Beauty reached out and sent over a bunch of items from their new Creme De Couture line. I was pretty hesitant to include makeup in a gift guide since I reallymakeup don’t wear much unless I’m out for an event and because isn’t all makeup basically the same? Evidently not! According to my makeup-wearing friends quality varies drastically. So I figured I’d try a bit myself and share some with my mom (avid makeup wearer). I have to say I was shocked at how much I liked it! The colours are super vibrant and the Liquid Lipstick stays on the whole night (hubby can attest to that!). My next thought was that it must be super expensive since it’s pretty good quality but again I was pleasantly surprised! All in all, I really liked the products and I wear a bit more makeup these days. I hope these help in your last-minute shopping frenzy and I wish you good luck!!!

The Urban Daddy and Urban Twin Mommy would like to wish you all a very happy holiday season, filled with love and light. May the year ahead be filled with happiness, health and success (in whatever form that means to you!).

XOXO

 

 

What Do You Mean The Tooth Fairy Does Not Exist???


Has this already happened in your family?

All hell broke loose at The Urban Daddy household, and it all had to do with the “Tooth Fairy”.

Turns out that the Tooth Fairy somehow managed to write a letter to one of our children from my wife’s laptop…

Unbelievable.

Taker of teeth!  Giver of money!  Hacker!

This fact was discovered by our oldest hacker, er, child, Linus, who managed to keep that quiet from his younger brother and sister for the better part of a year.

This piece of information came to light as Stewie lost a tooth, and with the boys engaged in a brotherly game of “I’m smarter than you”.

Thankfully, it came at the exact right time because Stewie was none too excited about the prospects of some flying, tooth stealing, letter-writing fairy coming into his room at night and grabbing things out from under his pillow.

He could do without the money, heck, he could just continue to grab those funds from his brother or father’s stash, as we believe he’s been doing for a while now – although he does deny it.

Besides, in his mind, if that damn fairy can get into the house, so could the dreaded raccoons which live on the roof of our neighbours, or a robber, dinosaur or anything else…

Males sense, right.

So armed with this new information, we armed the alarm at night and let the cat out of the bag.

The Tooth Fairy, Santa, Easter Bunny, and the like are real…  Real to those who want to believe they exist and it’s not our place to tell that to others.

We all need to believe in something, right?

I still believe the Toronto Maple Leafs will one day win the Stanley Cup (but I no longer believe that will be done in my lifetime as I did when I was 8-years-old).

Oh, and it took Stewie less than 1/2 hour to tip his sister off on the truth, which we had to correct in part due to the fact that we told them not to tell a soul!

His little sister, however, finally is being regularly visited by the Tooth Fairy.  Two teeth thus far, and he’s kept that secret, OR, he’s convinced her to not tell us that he’s already told her the truth.  I suspect the latter.

How did the Tooth Fairy story go in your family?