Sunday, 5 August 2012

Heading to BC for the Canadian Archery Championships

Wow, after all this time waiting this time tomorrow morning our plane will be taking off for BC.  We should arrive there a bit after noon, around 4:30 Halifax time.  I'm trying to get excited but right now all I see ahead of me is a day of work: laundry, packing, making lists & checking them twice (OK three times), etc.  Woke up yesterday with a headache and this morning feeling "off" so I hope that nonsense clears up because I'm getting on that plane whether I'm sick or not.   Now, if I can only stop the boys from watching Mayday on the plane I might make it with my sanity intact.

For anyone that wants to keep up with Matt and Team Nova Scotia at the National archery championships the team captain is writing a blog of sorts here: http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/tall/HTML/MentorsBlog2012.htm  It is a website that gives a little bit of team info, etc.  The only drawback is that you can not leave comments, which sucks.  I'll have to talk to the team captain about starting a blog on Wordpress.
Anyway, as well as that website, you might find some info on these ones as well:  http://www.victoriabowmen.com/2012Canadian/enindex.html http://www.archerycanada.ca/ Right now, Matt is shooting better than he ever has.  However travelling across the country has a way of throwing everything out of whack so we'll see how it goes.  He has some serious competition in his category this year. Best of luck to him and the rest of the team.
 

Our summer has been kind of slow paced so far. Our family visitors from Ontario left a couple of days ago.  We did the usual touristy things, Peggy's Cove, Lunenburg to see the Bluenose, Talls Ships, and afternoon at the beach, Museum of Natural History, lobster supper, etc.  Lots of stuff I wanted to do but time, money, work & weather plotted against us.  Oh well, that's what repeat trips are for.

 Peggy's Cove lighthouse.  I never get tired of it.


 Peggy's Cove, standing by lighthouse looking back towards the village.


Drew & his mom, Becki, at Lawrencetown beach.


A feed of Nova Scotia lobster


Drew's first lobster.  I don't think he liked it much.  Kudos to
the kid for trying though.


Brother-in-law, Donnie, and his new pet hamming
it up for the camera

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Calm before the storm

For the past few days and for the next week we have my brother-in-law Don and his sweetie Becki and her 13 year old son Andrew here visiting from Ontario.  It's been nice so far although getting time off work for Rob has been a bit of a struggle.  Thankfully, my employer is a bit more flexible, however I'm in one of those hourly jobs where if you don't show up for work, you don't get paid.  So I have to go in a couple mornings a week just so I don't get sticker shock on my next paycheque.  The weekend after Don & Becki leave we are heading out to the Canadian archery championships in British Columbia for 10 days so this is a bit of a calm before the "getting ready to go" storm.

On Sunday everyone went down to the Halifax waterfront to take in some of the Tall Ships festival.  Most everyone seemed to enjoy looking around on the ships, except Don, who I didn't realize gets queasy even standing on the deck of a ship until after I bought him a boarding bracelet!  Ah well, he was a good sport waiting for the rest of us while we poked around the ships.  He did make it aboard the Eagle (the largest ship there, belonging to the US Coast Guard) and got to look around on that one and he did great crossing the Harbour from Dartmouth to Halifax and vice versa on the passenger ferry without tossing his cookies.  All in all a good day.

Theodore Tugboat was giving $2 rides across the harbour!  We steered clear and went over on the larger Metro ferries because we figured Donnie would turn a lovely shade of green and then lose his lunch over the side.  Not a good sight for all Theodore loving kiddos. 

Theodore Tugboat.  Photo credit Becki Wilson

Becki had picked up a few touristy type brochures at the visitor info center at the Nova Scotia border.  One of the brochures was for the Nova Scotian Crystal store/gallery.  Since we happened to be over there for the Tall Ships we thought we'd poke our heads in and see if they were blowing any of the crystal.  We got to see one of the workers loading up the kiln (?) but then he left shortly after, closing the observation doors.  So we didn't get to see anything.  We did poke around the gallery/store.  Don fell in love with some crystal beer glasses but at $99 each they can keep them.  I mean...really??   Too rich for us.

Looking into the work area of the NS Crystal gallery.   Photo credit Beck Wilson

Here is Drew (Andrew) posing for his mom on the deck of one of the ships.  I am not sure which one this was however I think it was on the Eagle.  He's a great kid.

Photo credit Becki Wilson

This is Matt & Ben (my boys) taking turns at the gun on board the HMCS Sackville, Canada's last Navy Corvette from WWII.

Photo credit Becki Wilson

Just some more pictures.  I love the masts and sails.

Drew trying to climb the wave.   He made it on his second try.

Last but not least...the giant pumpkin gun!  No, I didn't see it fire.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Summer Scramble

Wow, here we are mid-July already! My broker has this habit of coming into the office and telling everyone how many shopping days left until Christmas. Now, in January and Feb that was amusing if not a little annoying. Here in mid-July we're all shaking our heads and wondering where the time went. To top it all off, several people I know have their Christmas shopping done. Oh my gosh. Why could I have not been born with the "Keener" gene. Lot's going on here at Casa Laprade. To back up the truck to my last entry, Prom night went well.

So, the boy cleans up well. And the pictures do not do the young lady justice, my jaw dropped when I first saw her that night. Beautiful.

Anyway, back to lots going on. Busy summer so far. Besides our individual work lives, Hubby and I are also preparing for a visit from Hubby's brother Donnie and his girlfriend and her 13 year old son. This will be the first time ever in all of 21 years of married life that Donnie will be visiting us. Sometimes living away from family is a blessing (ha!) but at other times...like in the case of being able to visit each other... it sure sucks.

So, Donnie & Becki arrive in a little over a week and are staying for two weeks. Of course, we're looking forward to that however I'd be lying if I said that it doesn't cause it's own little stresses planning for it all, possibilities of where to take them, what to feed them, etc.

If it was just Donnie & Becki it would be easier as they are both adults and can entertain themselves, however Andrew is only 13 and he deserves to have a good time on vacation! I see trips to the Tall Ships, Discovery Center, Natural History Museum, Beaches in our near future. Complicating things is that neither Hubby or I can get the whole time off work together. Oh well, it will all work out.

It's also getting to be crunch time for Matt and Team Nova Scotia for archery. In a little over 3 weeks we all head out to Vancouver Island for the Canadian Outdoor Target & Field Archery Championships. Matt is entered in both events. Up until now he hasn't practiced much which has been a bit of a sore spot with us. But now that we are getting down to crunch time, he's been getting out a bit more shooting and the team has been organizing more team practices. Of course, we're just getting going with that and Donnie will arrive right in the middle of all these planned archery team practices, which Matt can't miss. Perhaps Andrew will want to tag along and pick up a bow and give it a try. Channel his "inner Gale".

Get Mom! Bow and Arrow 3.5" Button

Monday, 25 June 2012

Prom night and Matt's great corsage hunt

It's Prom night at Cole Harbour High.  Even though my son is only in grade 11, his girlfriend is in grade 12 and is graduating this year.  Hence, the Prom. My son is running around like a chicken with his head cut off.  He's so jittery you'd think he was getting married (God forbid.  I can't believe I even typed that out).   It's odd watching my son date.


Actually, I fine with it.  Robin is a sparkly, bubbly young lady and she brings out good things in Matt.  It's nice to see him when he's around her.

Anyway, back to running around and headless chickens...  so far today he's picked up his tux, dropped off a packed overnight bag of clothes to change into after the prom (safe grad goes all night), vacuumed out the car, made reservations at a local Japanese restaurant and picked up the corsage and boutonniere.   He's going to pick Robin up and take her out to dinner and then they meet up with both sets of parents at a local park for photos before heading over to the prom at Pier 21 in Halifax.   I'm excited to see them all done up.  Neither one of them are fashionistas normally.  The theme of the prom is The 1920's so it will be interesting to see if any of the couples dress to fit the theme. I know Matt's tux is pretty mainstream, nothing 1920's about it but I think that Robin was considering locating a flapper dress and feather boa!  It will be interesting.

About the hardest part of this so far for Matt was shopping for the corsage.  We went to several places here in Dartmouth and we weren't having much luck.  At one place we went to their cooler of flowers looked half dead.  Matt was also not allowed to request his own flower design, he had to pick from sample photos they had on the wall.  So he was kind of put out by that and we left.   At the Superstore flower desk we couldn't order a customized corsage either, we had to take what was in stock.  Which was nothing.  They were due a shipment of orchid corsages all pre-made and packaged up in about a week's time.  He had no say on flowers, colours, anything.  Plus it would have been first come, first selection and it would have had to sit for two weeks in our fridge before prom.  Are they nuts??  So we kept looking.   At the third place we went to Matt wasn't impressed that they tie their flowers for wrist corsages onto this ugly piece of grey stretch elastic.  He asked if they had anything fancier and they said they had pearl bracelets and crystal bracelets but they'd run out of them.  He inquired whether they'd get any back in stock in time for the prom (3 weeks from that point) and they said no.  Three weeks before all the high schools in the city start their proms and they weren't going to order in any bracelets.  Unreal.  So we kept looking.

At this point Matt was frustrated and he decided to go shopping for his own bracelet and hope that he could find a florist who would do the flowers he wanted and tie them onto the bracelet.  We went to Mic Mac Mall and he picked out a really nice crystal bracelet.


Sorry that the picture is so blurry, I was using a cell phone.   So we took the bracelet to yet another florist who had no issues with anything that Matt wanted to do.  It wasn't rocket science for Pete's sake.  The kid just wanted white flowers with pink wax flowers and baby's breath as accents and a pink ribbon.  How hard is that for a flower shop?  He didn't even care what type of white flowers, he just knew that is what Robin wanted and he was bound and determine that is what she was going to get!  I can't believe we had so many problems with such a simple thing.

Matt picked up the finished corsage earlier this morning.  They did a nice job.  I really hope Robin likes it!  She doesn't know about the bracelet or the trouble he went to to get the white flowers with pink wax flowers.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Things just got tougher for Property Virgins


Lots of news in the real estate world this week concerning upcoming changes to Canada's mortgage rules and the announcement that one of Canada's major mortgage lenders is shutting down (more on that at the end).


Here is a summary of the new, tighter restrictions on new mortgages as of July 9, 2012:
    • The maximum amortization period will now be 25 years instead of 30 (this only applies to government backed insured mortgages).  If you have more that 20% down this does not apply.
    • The refinancing limit was lowered to 80% instead of 85%
    • Maximum qualifying Gross Debt Ratio (GDSR) is 39%
    • Maximum qualifying Total Debt Ratio (TDSR) 44%
    • You can't get CMHC insurance if your home is over $1 million
In addition, OSFI (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Canada's banking regulator, if you will) initially announced that it was going to change Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) from a revolving loan to one that has to be paid back within a certain time frame.  They later relented their position on this but fully intend to go ahead with lowering the limit of the amount you can borrow against your home's equity from it's current 80% to 65%.

I have to admit, for the most part I like the changes.  I've seen too many recent foreclosure situations involving first time buyers who haven bitten off more than they can chew financially with their home purchase.  Just because you can qualify for a $500,000 mortgage doesn't mean you need to buy that high and leave yourself house poor.   What some buyers don't realize is that carrying a house is so much different than renting.  Being able to afford $1,300 (or whatever) in rent does not mean that you can plunk that same amount down on a mortgage and Bob's your Uncle.  They forget utilities,  property taxes, house maintenance, little unexpected emergencies that require financial attention, rising gas/grocery prices, etc.

What I don't like is that it has now gotten even more difficult for first time buyers to get into the housing market.  Like it wasn't tough enough in some markets (Toronto, Vancouver).   Thankfully, the government did not tinker with the minimum down payment.  You can still buy a house for 5% down.  However, first time buyers will need to make more money per month to qualify for the same amount of money.   On the flip side,  going with a 25 year amortization (over the 30 year) will save significant $$$ in interest over that time.   Of course, this only applies to government backed insured mortgages.  If you can afford 20% down or more you can avoid CMHC insurance and you can get whatever amortization term you want that is offered by your lender.

So if you are currently involved in either buying or selling a home what does all this mean to you?

Selling -  You've just lost a pool of potential buyers who can no longer afford your home.   As well, if your home is overpriced and you are "waiting for the market to catch up" to what you are asking, this is the time to shake your head.  Fewer buyers means less demand.  What happens when you have more of a supply than demand?  Prices correct themselves, aka...fall.  Expect that over time house prices will gradually lower.  Jury is out on if this will happen, and if so how fast and by how much.  This is where your major and micro markets come into play.  Some areas may be hit significantly while others not at all.  If you are serious about selling, have a serious look at market stats and price your home accordingly.  The market isn't going to "catch up" to you.  And any REALTOR(R) worth their commission will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.  And you need to hear this.  If you don't have a REALTOR(R), you may want to consider investing in one.  Selling your home, especially on your own, might just get a bit tougher.

Buyers  with less than 20% down - For the short term, you've just lost a bit of variety in homes available to you.  You may need to lower your expectations and realize that you might not get a palace as your first home. You might have to be willing to take on some homes that have a few "projects" to be done.   You will now be paying more per month for 5 less years.   You will no longer qualify for as much of a mortgage.   If you have a pre-qualification in place you will need to close on your house by July 9, 2012.  If you have not offered on a house yet and can not close before July 9th, 2012, you need to contact your bank to see what your new maximum mortgage will be before you put in an offer and get emotionally invested in a property and then lose it because you no longer qualify for financing.  The seller, the real estate agent and your bank will thank you for making sure this detail is taken care of.   The Good news is that if you do get into a home with payments you can afford under the new rules, you will save a bucket load of interest over the years of your mortgage and your mortgage will be paid off sooner.  Also, if you can afford to wait a little while before you buy, you will save more money for a down payment and might be able to avoid CMHC.  The jury is out on the final say on prices but many are expecting that home prices will start to go down a bit, giving you more variety in homes available in your price range. Sellers may be more willing to negotiate.

Here is what the difference that lower amortization will mean to you in terms of monthly payment:

The basic rule of thumb is you will pay $50.00 per month per $100,000.00 of mortgage, but you will be paid off 5 years sooner.

Amount Old Monthly Payment New Monthly Payment Difference Per Month
$300,000 $1426 $1578 $152
$350,000 $1664 $1841 $177
$400,000 $1902 $2104 $202
$450,000 $2139 $2367 $228
$500,000 $2377 $2630 $253
$550,000 $2615 $2893 $278

I know this entry has probably been a bit dry and long winded but I wanted to wrap up by saying that CIBC has announced this past week that it will wind up it's operations under the FirstLine banner.  For years FirstLine has been a popular choice with home buyers because it offered lower rates and greater flexibility to it's customers than most traditional banks.  CIBC has decided to concentrate more on it's in house mortgage department to increase their profits.  While CIBC operating as FirstLine did a greater volume of mortgages through mortgage brokers, CIBC needed to pay the mortgage brokers a commission which lowered their profits.  By taking away the FirstLine option, they hope that more buyers will get their mortgages in house at a CIBC branch which will help them make an extra few hundred million in profit than they already do.  FirstLine will no longer accept mortgage applications after July 31, 2012.

While I understand that business is business, anything that takes away flexibility, financial options and choice from the consumer is not a good thing.

Lastly, I'm not a mortgage guru.  I love houses...mortgages, not so much, although I acknowledge they go hand in hand.   Therefore, I urge you to call your preferred mortgage professional (either through a big bank or a mortgage broker) and find out what your options really are.   If you need help finding a mortgage professional, let me know.  I've worked with a couple that I would recommend over and over.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Father's Day


Well, well.  It seems that what I feared would happen by opening up a public blog has happened.  I have found myself thinking several times over the past month of many things I wanted to write about but when I sit down to do so I realize I am no longer writing in an anonymous journal and I get caught up in the appropriateness (or more likely lack thereof) and ethics of blogging so publicly.  It has silenced me in ways it never did before while I was protected behind a persona of a username.  Over the past 11 years my readers at Open Diary knew the username and little about me in real life however they probably KNEW me better than anyone in my real life ever will.   I do miss it (and readers!) but do not want to stop writing here.  So, I guess I need to get more 'creative'.  :-)

We celebrated Father's Day on Sunday.  While the hubby was in Atlanta for work last week they boys made two batches of Jalapeno/Hot Pepper Jelly to give to their Dad as a gift.  Ben, being Ben (and the Imp that he's always been),  just had to put in an extra few chopped up Jalapenos than the recipe called for!

This is one of the few times Ben has actually let me take pictures of him.  If you've wondered why I feature Matt here more than Ben, it's not for lack of trying on my part.  Ben, like his Mom, is camera shy.

Anyway, here's Ben making his batch of hot pepper jelly for his Dad. First, chopping the red peppers and the fresh jalapeno peppers. (Matt did a batch of green coloured jelly).

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Then adding the canned jalapeno peppers.

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Ben decided to show off and popped a fresh jalapeno pepper in his mouth.  Bet he won't do that again.

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I think he drank a gallon of milk while I, like the Mother of the Year I am, snapped photos and laughed my ass off.

Anyway, all the peppers went into the blender for a quick whir.  Pretty much until there was nothing but juice.

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Into a pot with a godawful amount of sugar.

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Boil the heck out of it for a couple of minutes and then add the liquid Certo.  And boil some more.

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I think he got as much on the counter as he did in the jars.  I had to bring out the funnel and towels.

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So there were 6 jars of green by Matt and 6 jars of red by Ben.

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And a happy Dad!   This was the first year we've done something homemade instead of getting the usual store bought gift.  It was fun and the boys did great with the prep and cooking/jarring.   They gave him the 12 jars complete with several boxes of crackers and a big tub of cream cheese.  He is set for snacks for a bit.  Although, maybe not...here it is two days later and one of the jars is gone already!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Closing gifts


I'm always looking for new ideas to give to my buying or selling clients on "Closing Day".   Clients gifts are a practise that I've done off and on over the years and I do admit I need to get more consistent with it as I haven't given them out to all of my clients.  Sometimes I just give a break on the commission to my Sellers, which they appreciate, but it's also nice to give a little tangible momento to my Buyers or Sellers so that it reinforces their positive feelings about the transaction as a whole, and about me.  Sometimes if I'm really lucky, a client will even give me a "Thank you" gift...which is always a nice surprise!  Who doesn't love getting gifts?  :-)

While I know of a few agents that give a nice card and a bottle of wine on "Closing Day" and that is it, I've gone back and forth on ideas for client gifts in the past 10 years.  Here are some that I've done in the past:

1) A wooden model dory with a bottle of wine inside it
2)  Gift cards to a Home Depot or even Sobeys and Tim Hortons.
3)  The entire commission given back to a newly single mom who needed the money and used it as a downpayment on another house after the forced sale of her home due to divorce*
4)  A Dishwasher**
5)  cookbooks
6)  contributions to an Savings Bond for a child whose parent had passed away**
7)  Lotto tickets & a plant to a client who was feeling a bit down in the dumps
8)  A tank of oil and a furnace inspection**
9)  payments for water testing
10)  Gift cards to a nice restaurant
11)   Gift certificates for pizza delivery to use as they were moving in didn't have time to cook
12)  $5000 contribution to a local women's shelter**
13)  Shrubs and bulbs to replace ones that a Seller ripped out of her garden and took with her that she was not supposed to
14)  A fancy shower head... for the same reason as in #13
15) Complimentary home staging 

** These ones were joint gifts from the entire team or between Bruce and I to the client and not just from me.
So, I've been all over the map on gifts.  What I know is that I need to stop the madness a little bit on the big ticket items and just concentrate more on making sure that I remember to give a gift to every single client.  So I am considering making all of my gifts pretty uniform.  I don't know if I'll stick to this or not, as I like to have a bit of variety but we'll see.
This is what I'm trying now:


They are beautiful, whimsical prints by a friend and Nova Scotia folk artist, Shelagh Duffett.  I first met Shelagh about 10 years ago on another blogging website.  I've loved Shelagh's artwork from the first time I saw it.   I was fortunate enough about 5 years ago to be given permission by Shelagh to use two of her prints of houses as the image on the front of my business cards, which I love and get compliments on all the time for being so different than the standard real estate business card.   She's a beautiful person inside and out and I try to support her in little ways whenever I can.

So, I bought a couple dozen of her prints to use as client gifts.  Here are 4 of them framed up and ready to go for a closing that I have on June 1st.  I love them.  They make me smile and hopefully I'll soon have lots of new clients with these in their homes who look at them and smile too...and think of me.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Long weekend battle with the weeds


What an absolutely gorgeous long weekend we just had here in Halifax!  I fear that it will be hard to top so many beautiful, clear, warm sunny days in a row.   And just when I get my hopes up, the skies open up and we all get washed away today!
I cross my fingers on days like this, it’s only  a matter of time before those missing shingles on the roof translates into a nice little leak that stains the ceiling or worse.  We’ve been putting off getting the roof done for a couple of years now.  There are lots of jobs around the house we’ve been putting off waiting to be in a little bit better financial position.  In July we are finally free from our car payments so hopefully we can start planning some home repairs then.
We took advantage of the sunshine to take care of the long neglected front garden and plantings along the retaining/rock wall.  We hadn’t mulched them in  years and there were so many weeds and bare spots where the old landscape fabric showed or worse, was loose and flopped around in the wind.
Our first step was to visit a local nursery and wander around aimlessly for a couple of hours trying to figure out which plants to put in the empty spots in the garden up by the house.  The plants that were there before, while lovely, were killed off by yours truly after I made them suffer for two years.  I really do have a black thumb.  Bet hey, the orchids I got for Mother’s Day are still alive!
So, there were all kinds of really nice options for us.  Nice roses, some really cool and exotic looking flowering shrubs and lots of other choices but in the end we stayed a bit vanilla and settled on two purple dwarf rhododendrons and two leafy bleeding heart plants.   Here they are below before I  kill them off  plant them.
There was a side trip later to pick up about three tractor scoops of mulch from some little out-of-the-way place in Eastern Passage but the guys there were camera-shy and didn’t want me taking pics.  Party poopers. Maybe it had something to do with the cash only rule.
Back at home, I decided to share the joy and announced to my two teen boys how much fun they’d have if they’d only shut down their laptops and come out in the sunshine and grab a shovel.  They weren’t too convinced.  I had my way in the end.  After all, cheap labor is what having kids is all about.  Well, that and someone to take care of me in my old age.
Anyway, here is the first-born and my hubby trying to decide if they are going to put the plants where I want them to or where they want them to go.  Least they’re holding the shovels and I’m on the business end of a camera.  I win.
Once the plants were in and all fertilized and bound up snug in their new home we decided to lay down some old newspapers and wet them down.  It’s supposed to be a good weed barrier, so we decided to try it under our landscape fabric to see if it makes a difference.
All in all, minus the running around for plants and mulch we did the whole job in about 6 hours with all 4 of us working.  And we spread that out over two days so we wouldn’t go bonkers listening to the boys bicker back and forth.  There is a small garden to do at the bottom of our front lawn still and we need to re-do the entire front slope of our lawn where it meets the ditch as that is overgrown too and still has the dead shrubs in it that I killed off last year.  It will be a huge job because it’s about 7 feet wide and 150 feet long.  Not looking forward to that job at all!  Later in the summer…
But for now, the areas we re-did look 100% better and I’m very happy with how they turned out.
A well deserved bask in the sun.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Mother's Day & the Tart


Wow, 4 comments on my last entry!  I’m famous!  I knew that it would be a tough and slow road with starting a blog but I am finding it just a touch discouraging as well.  I guess I’m a feedback type of person and I thought a blog would be more social than it’s turning out to be so far.  However, it is what you make of it and I’m going to keep on keeping on!   Go me.
Busy weekend.  I took Matthew and his girlfriend out on Saturday afternoon shopping for a tux rental for him and she was on the hunt for some shoes to go with her prom dress.
Of course, on Sunday it was Mother’s Day.  My Hubby and kids gave me three little gifts… a bag of Hickory Sticks (they know me so well!!), some chocolates, and a beautiful orchid in a small vase.  It’s gorgeous and I’ve always loved looking at them but oh my gosh the thing is doomed.  I have the worst black thumb.  I’ve managed to kill off just about every plant I’ve ever gotten my hands on.   It’s so pretty but it’ll be dead in a week.   Maybe this time will be different.

Isn’t it pretty?


Mother’s Day was fairly quiet.  I was able to get lots of laundry done and on the line (love that!).   The Hubby flew out in the afternoon to Ottawa for the week for a course for work so that was the only bummer for the day.  I didn’t want to cook so I treated the boys and myself to pizzas and donairs and we watched some shows on Netflix.
I made this really yummy Tomato and Zucchini tart over the weekend.  This isn’t a food blog but I thought that I would share because it was really easy, super tasty, cheap and vegetarian.

Tomato & Zucchini Tart

Ingredients:
1 Deep-dish frozen pie crust (I used Compliments brand)
1 medium zucchini  (or two smaller ones)
1 T olive oil
3 plum tomatoes or 1 large tomato 
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional and I left it out)
1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
1/3 c parmesan cheese (just the shaker stuff is good)
1/2 c  mayo (I used the olive oil mayo from Hellman’s)
4 oz grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
Prick bottom of pie crust with fork.  Bake pie crust at 450° F for 10 min. Let cool.
Sauté zucchini in hot oil in large skillet until tender, about 5-10 min.
Arrange zucchini in bottom of crust.
Layer tomatoes on top of zucchini.
Stir together basil, Parmesan, mozzarella and mayo, salt & pepper. Drop dollops of cheese mixture evenly spaced on top of tomatoes then spread across entire surface.  Bake at 420° F for 10 – 15 min or until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted.  This took me closer to 30 minutes.
I served with a side of steamed asparagus but it would go really well with a salad.  Enjoy!