Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ideas to increase longevity of mattress; use fan correctly and how to handle a stinking kitchen sink

Hello everyone :). Hope all is well. Today's topic is based on some general things we do at our household.  I thought sharing those will help you all too.

*Mattress: I know most of us have a mattress at home. Usually me and my husband take sides and always sleep on the same side everyday. Of course our weights are not the same and our pressure point are not the same. Whatever mattress you have , it is always good to change the sides of the mattress at regular intervals as shown in the figure so that the life time of the mattress is longer.

*Fan blade cleaning: Cleaning fan blades has always been a big hassle. It is double work to clean the fan blades and then clean the floor. Then I found this magic duster online Click here to see. This is an excellent product. It has an extendable rod so you dont need chairs or ladders. Since it has double sided brush the dust doesn't fall on the ground and it captures all of it. It can also be used as a duster to dust spots that are hard to reach. It cleans up to 6'' wide blades. Last time when my mom visited me she saw this and she wanted one for her to dust fans in India.

*Fan blades direction change: You also have to change the direction in which the blades rotate based on the season. During winter it is better to have fan blades  rotate in clockwise direction so that the air does not fall on you directly  and make you feel chilly and during summer it is better to rotate  fan blades  in anti-clockwise direction for air to fall on you directly. In some fans it might be opposite. So just stand under your fan and see which works best for each season and rotate it , this way you can use it correctly.

*Smelly kitchen sinks: I recently learnt this from my friends. Usually if you live in US one sink will have a crusher. That sink always  gives out a bad odor due to the  things that get collected in it. My friends told me to squeeze some lemon juice into that hole, I did and it worked like a magic. No more bad odor.

Hope all these tips will help you. Please add some more of what all you do so I can learn from you all. Also you might be interested in other Money saving posts. Please check them as it might be useful to you.

Monday, April 28, 2014

How I wish that I can stay at home with my kids :)

Hello everyone..hope all of you had a wonderful day. Today morning I had to stay home with my kids longer than usual. I really enjoyed that time with both of them. Today's topic is about that.

If you had read my previous post  My first American Wedding, you will know that, not only  our week days but our weekends are also busy . We are always on the go. Today morning I had to stay home with my kids for a while. Since it is a weekday I didn't have to worry about laundry,cooking, grinding dosa batter, cleaning etc. I got relaxed time to enjoy and play with my kids. I really enjoyed it and I was able to observe them and enjoy their cute smiles. Finally when we were in the car my son told me "I am really happy to be with you  at home, amma". After hearing this ,  I started feeling sad and guilty. The first thing that struck my mind was "What am I doing with my life?". My inner voice started to talk "Time is flying, in no time they will be grown up and  you will never be able to play and enjoy with them. You are really missing a lot in life just sitting in front of this stupid laptop, they are your kids, you have to take care of them, they are really happy when you are there blah blah blah.......", I  dont know how, whenever these kind of thoughts start in my mind they flow and build up and I will end up being very upset and will feel like I really want to be home with my kids.

Then my other inner voice started talking "It will be hard to do this daily, you will not be able to cook,clean and take care of them, having a career is always the best, you need your time and space, you need money for their education, focus on spending quality time rather than quantity time". After so much debating with my mind I finally reached work and forgot about all this, in the issues I was dealing there.

Then after reaching home in the evening the guilt overbuilt and I took my son separately for a walk to spend mom & son lone time. Then played with my daughter to have lone time with her . Then went again for a walk with both the kids, I dont know what to say. It is all just my mind, playing with me.  I think if I stayed home I would have had the same inner voice talking in the opposite order, wanting me to go and work. I just think I have to let go of it and try to enjoy the little joys and be happy. I really wish I could  control my mind ,unfortunately I am not Buddha.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

My first American wedding

What an amazing weekend!!. Full of events, Saturday morning my son had a field trip to the Botanical Garden, then we attended my friend's wedding. Sunday morning we had breakfast at our friend's place ,then I called some of my friends home for some tea. In spite of so many things happening I still got ready for my week. many things accomplished, I am really happy.

Coming to today's topic, this Saturday I attended my first American wedding. This was my first one and I was all excited about it. My friend was planning for  this wedding for over a year and a half. She is my colleague at work. In October 2012, her boyfriend proposed to her . From my experience on seeing Indian weddings which happen a few months after the girl and the boy meet, I thought this would also be the same. I was planning on taking my maternity leave soon, so I told her then, "please plan your wedding after my maternity leave ". She said dont worry, it wont be until April of 2014. I was very surprised. But after seeing the wedding  I am convinced that it takes so much time to plan everything and to pay attention to  small details.

Me and the bride

Distinct differences I noticed  between my wedding and this one were:
*Small crowd:  If you read this post Our Wedding story I would have mentioned how many people attended our wedding. In this wedding only the people who knew the bride and the groom well were invited. I always thought that when there are more people it is lot more fun. This wedding made me thing about that, as the small crowd  that was there was  able to connect to the couple well.
*Pictures: Pictures were taken only with family members. I really like this as I have so many strangers in my wedding album, whom I have never seen in my life.
*Ceremony time: Usually Hindu Indian weddings take at least 2-3 days. This one was only for 2-3 hours and still very emotional and nice to watch.
*It is all about the bride and the groom: I liked the way the bride and groom are give full importance to choose what and how the wedding should take place, right from the songs for each event. In our wedding we do get to choose some things but it is mostly the parent's wish.
*Friends, friends ,friends: The couple are always surrounded by their best friends , and they keep laughing around with them. Even in our weddings this will happen but I saw it more in this wedding.
*Dance: There is lot of dancing involved, especially it gives importance to relationship between dad and the daughter and mom and the son.
*Toast: This was the best part that I liked, people who come and talk about the bride and the groom. I really like this, hope we follow this in our wedding as well.
* Gifts: This one I must mention. The bride and the groom create an online  registry of things that they want as gift from others , you can order it online well before the wedding and so when you  attend the wedding you dont have to take your gifts. It is one less headache for the host as well as the people who attend the wedding. I really wish we follow this in our wedding also.
We had a wonderful night and thanks to my friend for inviting  us and I wish them a "Happy married life".

Friday, April 25, 2014

If you have a baby, you need a Nose Frieda

Happy weekend people.  As I have always mentioned I am getting ready for my weekend routine. This weekend also we are very very busy.  But all fun events planned looking forward to it.

Coming to today's topic in general all  kids  have a running nose especially if they go to a day care. If they go to a day care and if one kid gets it all other kids get it too. It could be cold,flu or even allergies.It took at least 3 years for my son to blow his nose  on his own, until then whenever he had a congested nose we will use the "bulb syringe" that we got from the hospital to clear the mucus, but we never knew if there was any mucus collected in it or not. In general kids dont like us to mess around with their nose and he used to cry a lot and it was a pain to handle it. Doctor's generally ask you to clear kids nose if congested at least twice a day so it will be easier for them to breathe.

So I asked around to see if people knew something better that we can use to clear my kids nose. I found out about this product from one of my friend.It is called "Nose Frieda" Basically it has a plastic head that you place near the babies nose and then there is a tube through which you blow using your mouth and the mucus is collected in the plastic head. It worked like magic and we were able to clear his nose easily. Only downside is as kids grow older like 18 -24 months when they have the strength to push it away from their nose ,you need two people to do it. It is absolutely better than the "bulb syringe" that we used to use before. Try this on your kid and let me know if it worked.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Where is home??

Hello everyone . Hope all of you in Austin are enjoying the Spring weather. It is slowly getting hotter day by day and will be summer and up in 100 degrees soon. Enjoy it as long as it lasts as all good and bad things come to an end.

About today's topic ,I know few Indian families who are moving back to India for good. I am really happy and excited for them. Change is always good. Just going on a vacation to India bring us so much joy and we look forward to it, going back for good is an amazing feeling. One thing I see in common between all the families is that kids are growing up and they have to go back before the kids reach a level where they cant adjust to India. I agree totally with that. It does come with so many other challenges too. I am sure their kids will have fun being with their grandparents also it is a lot of adjustment for them. In fact a big life change.

I recently watched a video on this topic "Reverse Brain Drain" where they clearly explained how the economy in foreign countries where Indians immigrate are driven by them.  If you look at it , India is a country which exports many engineers every year than any other country. When Satya Nadella became the CEO of Microsoft all Indian papers spoke so much about him. But the real fact is India missed someone like him. He is in a foreign country and building that country's economy, which is really the sad fact. All of us Indians who immigrate to other countries dreaming about bright future, always think will go there study earn some money and go back to India , but will never be able to due to so many reasons.  But when you really go back  it is good for India  economically.  I wish good luck to all who are going back . Please share your thoughts on this. See you soon with another topic.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Interesting facts about the 2014 Indian Election

India is the largest democratic country in the world. I read several articles and these are some interesting facts  that some articles quoted:
* The elections dates are spread over in these dates.
7 April - 2 states, 6 constituencies
9 April - 5 states, 7 constituencies
10 April - 14 states, 91 constituencies
12 April - 4 states, 7 constituencies
17 April - 12 states, 121 constituencies
24 April - 12 states, 117 constituencies
30 April - 9 states, 89 constituencies
7 May - 7 states, 64 constituencies
12 May - 3 states, 41 constituencies
Counting of votes - 16 May

*There are going to be 100 million more voters than last election.
*People can choose "None of the above"  as an option where they dont want to elect any one.
*There will be a photo voters slip to ensure only the genuine people can vote.
*Transgenders can select "other" as their gender and cast their vote.
*Polling will take place for 543 seats out of 545 and 2 candidates will be appointed by the President, a party has to secure at least 272 seats to form the government.
*There are a total of 717 million registered voters 
* 814 million voters are eligible to vote. 
*The Election Day is declared as a holiday for the respective States.
I tried to read through the internet to find how NRI's ,who are still Indian Citizens can cast their vote remotely. All I read said that you can fill papers online but you  have to be present to  cast your vote. If any of you have done it remotely please let me know on how to do it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Want to know how to make fresh paratha at home faster, even if you are working and have no time?

This topic is a tip for working moms to make roti, methi paratha or any veggie paratha in a quicker way at home.For some people rolling chapati or paratha is not a big deal they can easily make it within seconds.I usually do it in a fairly lesser amount of time but after two kids providing fresh paratha or chapati started becoming impossible. Since I dont like my kids eating store bought chapati or tortilla I used to make fresh ones for them and we would buy wheat tortillas or chapatis from Indian store.

 I bought a Tortilla maker (click here to see what it is ) , just after our wedding thinking I'll make roti's out of it easily. I was never able to  make perfect roti's using it how many ever times I tried with different consistency dough. Finally I just kept it away. After my son was born , I was still able to manually roll the dough. After my daughter everything became very difficult. Then my husband suggested this idea to use the tortilla maker as a press to flatten the dough. So these days I use it to flatten the roti's. If you don't have a tortilla maker, you can also buy something like this  to press your roti dough. Of course they are a little hard than the normal roti's ,especially when you take it for lunch next day, but we are used to it now.

The below method will help you make fresh and quick paratha at home. I love methi so I get fresh methi from Indian store and separate the leaves during weekend and will store it in the fridge. Morning before I leave to work will knead the dough. Evening will make it fresh.

    knead the dough

roll it and put it at one end of the tortilla maker

press it to get a nice round shape 

then heat it in a skillet

Follow this method and let me know if this was useful. Good night and see you all soon with another post.

Monday, April 21, 2014

"Dream Job" .... Is it still a dream??

I had a wonderful day today. You can check my Daily Routine here. Thank you all so much, for all the comments. I am really overwhelmed and happy.

Coming to today's topic. How many of you have heard the term "Dream job"? . How many of you really had one ?. How many of you really know what you are going to work on in your first job?. These are some unanswered question in everyone's life.Usually when we get an offer , to some extent the hiring manager/team knows our skill set and even when they explain about the job, about what you are going to work on, as a recent graduate we wont have the ability to comprehend all the details. It always takes a few months  to understand the dynamics of the team and what our responsibilities are. After few years of working , when I see the recent graduates who joined my company I feel  that they are lost to some extent. Some things that you can do so that you know what you are getting into and ramp up faster are
*Understand what the title of the job really means, it can give you an idea of the responsibilities.
*Try to talk to some one whom you know and does a job with similar title to understand what he/she feels about the job
*Try reading some information about the company and what they do.
*If they mention any tools try to learn how to use them.
* Always look at the big picture, what are you going to do and how if affects the company.

It is very sad that none of our school/college education really exposes us to the reality of work life. They only form a base and after that we have to be smart enough to take it from there. Especially in US most of us after we graduate due to visa or to pay off your student loan will be forced to get a job first than to think about what you really want to do.  For others who have the choice, make the right decision so you dont land up in a job and experience a lot of surprises. The main thing to keep in mind is after your first job, the" title" sticks to you. You have to make efforts to change the field if you really have to . So good luck and be wise.Sometimes it is just destiny and you cant do much, but always try to take charge of you career. If you dont ,no one will do it for you .Please share your thoughts so I can know  how many of you really knew what you were going to do and how many of you had no idea about what was in store for you. Good night and meet you soon with another topic.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Save money now and thank me later :)

Hope everyone had an amazing weekend. Ours was a very busy one . We had egg hunt for kids on Saturday morning, then picnic at a park in the evening. Sunday morning I got to go to my yoga class and we did some yard work in the afternoon and visited our friends house in the evening for tea.

Coming to today's topic, we always subscribe to phone or internet or cable service and never look back at it. We keep on paying the monthly bills as though someone is forcing us to pay and if not we will be fined. Just take a step back and think if you are really using those services. Most of these services charge us insane amount of money every month. I am going to make you think by addressing a few services which we made changes to recently
*Home cable connection: We recently disconnected our home cable connection as we figured out that we hardly watch TV. With two kids we have no time for it. Even if we want to watch something we usually watch online or we have a Roku (click here to buy it ) on which we stream from  you tube.
*Movie subscription : For movies usually people subscribe to Netflix. They provide a 30 day free trial. You can also try  Amazon Prime (click here to sign up for free trial) as you get free movies, free kindle books and free 2-day shipping on all items when you enroll for a 30 day free trial. Try both and see which one you like. End of the day, you get free movies and TV shows for 2 months of the year.
*Home phones: We dont have monthly paid phone connection for home. We have a  Magic Jack Plus (click here to buy it )for home phone service for which we pay about 90$ yearly which works out much cheaper than the monthly home phone service. After looking at the comments I received on this post I think  Ooma (click here to buy it ) is even cheaper. The device is ($150 on amazon) a one time cost and people tell me that they pay only around $3.60/month for taxes. This works out even cheaper than what we have. Will switch to this after our pre-paid contract with Magic Jack is over. Think twice before getting a Vonage phone if you will really use it. In our house we always Skype with our parents during weekends and they also have a magic jack plus that we can call during weekdays. We also have Reliance India call if we need to call India. 
* Mobile phone : We have AT&T for mobile connection with data plan. Always try to find out if your company offers any specials/discounts and try to get it. For other company discounts to look for read this post Dont miss these as you or your company pays for it .Me and my husband have a family plan and it works fine. Yes this is unavoidable and we do pay a lot for data plan. If any of you have tried any other options please do let me know.

Please share this and also let me know if you have any other tips to save money on any other service.Also check out other Money saving tips posts and leave your comments.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Did you that Costco Pricing has a hidden code?

Hi everyone. Happy Friday night. This evening I took my kids to our neighbor's house to play and another neighbor visited us along with her cute little baby. It is always nice to have people home. I got to see my daughter being  jealous for the first time , she didn't like it when I held the baby.   We have so many plans for the weekend and I am looking forward to it.

We  have a Costco membership and pretty much go there every week. Whenever we go there, I always think I should have a list,  buy  items from the  list and come back home. But invariably we will end up buying a lot of other things that we didn't plan and  the bill easily  comes to 100$ . Their free samples are a nice way to make you buy stuff . Once I had a pita chip there, fell in love with it, got a big bag after opening had a few pieces then didn't like it. We  tend to do a lot of impulse buy too. If my husband goes all by himself he will get so many things which we dont use that often. You have to have a good plan before you step into this store on what you want to buy. I always check out the coupon booklet they hand over and plan for the things to buy .

I thought the coupons were the only way of saving money in Costco until I recently read an article about how to decode their pricing. The article clearly explained that if a product's price ends in ".99" then it means you are paying the full price for that product. If a product's price ends in ".97" then you are paying a deal  with a special price decided by the store manager. If a product's price has the symbol "*" next to it then it means that "this is the best deal you can get on this product and  the product is going to be  out of the store soon" and this is the last chance for you to buy it. I have noticed these prices but never knew the encoding.Apparently a couple have claimed to have saved $300 in over seven months by  watching the price . Next time keep this in mind when you go to Costco and see if you can save some money. Good luck and good night.

If only they told me it was Science

Good morning everyone.  Yesterday evening we had been to my son's school to attend "Science Fair", I enjoyed every bit of it and got refreshed with most of the basic concepts about science which I had forgotten for a while. It was very late by the time we got home. I did draft this post yesterday night but before I could post it, heard my daughter cry, so just had to leave it for today.

There are around 8 classes in his school and each class had a topic and they displayed science projects  based on that topic. General topics were Plants, Science Experiments, Life Cycles, Botany, Earth Science, and Animal Kingdom. My daughter was excited to see rabbit, chickens, turtle, parrot and kudos to all who were involved , it was an amazing display.
My son's class had the topic Botany. He has been telling us the word "Botany" for around three weeks and when I asked him what they are doing in Botany , he said "I will not tell you, will show it to you when you come". He was all excited yesterday evening and when we went there, he took us to his favorite spot. It was "Grinding the Herbs". He told me about the general herb plants. He didn't know everything but knew mint well as we use it at home. But all his focus was on grinding it. Till now I never knew he liked grinding so much.
                                                     Pranav grinding the herbs

This took me back to my childhood. I have helped my mom in grinding small things. I remember grinding cardamon powder. Also separating  mint leaves from  its stem. But I never related it to science. I used to just do it as a chore and will be waiting to get done with it. But now after I saw this I am all excited, (read this post on Little Helper's  to know how to get help from your kids) as I have an exact hand grind at home and I can give it to my son and ask him to grind "cardamon,cumin, coriander seeds ",get my work done at the same time explain to him about the spices and different things and call it "Science". 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Is it good or bad for both husband and wife to work in a family?

Hello everyone ..hope all of you had a wonderful day.I had a normal day but very tired and waiting to hit the bed.Today's topic is something that I have always been thinking about. When both husband and wife work full time in a family is it good or bad? I just want to list out the pros and cons of it

*Obvious reason is financial status. When both work the income is double and the financial status of the family increases.
*Even when one person loses his/her job the other person can still support the family.
*In current generation women are also well educated , so they can make use of their hard earned degree.
*When  women also work they  can support themselves financially and they have a sense of independence.
*When both  work they can understand the work pressure each other undergoes.
*A sense of equality prevails in the house.

*Both miss their time with kids
*Both husband and wife are stressed out.
*It is very difficult for both of them to be really career oriented, someone has a take a back step sometimes
*Have to plan a lot of things ahead to keep things smooth in the family
*It is double the work after kids and still be able to manage it
*No time to even talk about general family issues
*So many small things to face day to day when kids are sick who will take off? who will drop kids at school?who will pick up? Will the nanny take care of the baby?
*Believe me life is very hectic when both work and you will have to really be on your toes at work and after you get home.

I personally believe when both work they share the burden of the family better than single person working. But if things go too much out of control then it is better to talk it out and make a decision and if financially it make sense for one person to work and the other to quit. There are so many other things  that comes into the equation for someone not to work, may want to pursue a passion, try something new, or visa issues, prefer to take care of the kids. Life is not all about money. So think well and take a decision that will suit  your family than to go by the norm. Please share what your thoughts about this post and good night.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What do you do when you dont get along with someone?

Hi All , hope all of you had a wonderful day. I learnt something today. Usually if I did not use my Kohl's cash within that time period I would just trash it . I read a few articles online about this and they said "expired Kohl's cash will not be accepted". To my surprise when I inquired about this in the store  they did accept my old one . Looks like they do accept expired ones up-to two weeks. Hurrah!! .

Coming to today's topic ,how ever good you are with everyone in your life, there are always some people with whom you cannot get along. Have you experienced this in life?. Usually I try to be good with everyone I meet. But when I have a conflict with someone how do I handle it?. Few years back whenever some conflict occurred with someone, I always used to think that I am the reason for the conflict and will be upset and my mind will think only about it and I can't concentrate on other things until it is resolved, will try to ask sorry and be friendly with that person no matter what. With age you mature and these days I analyse what was the cause and if it is not me, I just think that "It is that person's problem" and will move on. However if it is your family or a co-worker ,it is hard in that case  you will have to talk and sort out things, but if it is a third person then you need not worry too much about it.

All of you would have heard the term "wavelength". Why do we call some people as our close friends and  some others as friends and others we barely know them. You have to have the same wavelength with that person to talk about issues, in reality I feel that everyone should have some close friends with whom you can talk and share your thoughts. For any relationship including friendship we need to do our work, it is give and take and we have to put in our effort to keep in touch.So grow your contacts, always be in the look out for people with whom you can get along, and for people with whom you cannot get along  even after you try your best , just realize that it is not your problem and move on.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Common sense is not common but what about direction sense??

Happy Tamil new year to all my friends.Thank you very much for all the comments and encouragement, it makes me feel good.

All of you must have heard the phrase "Common sense is not common", what about direction sense?? . For a long time I never used to be enthusiastic to drive to any new place. I just thought I didn't like driving. It took a while for me to figure out the real reason. It is my direction sense. Let me quote a small incident in my life to explain this.

When I was young, I don't remember the exact age, our family went on a tour to Delhi. We stayed at our mom's sister's house( Thank you periamma (aunt)and periappa (uncle) for letting us stay in your house ). We traveled by a train from Chennai to New Delhi and reached New Delhi around night time. Next day when we woke up my mom wanted to have coffee. She cannot start her day without coffee, seeing my dad and brother sleeping she asked me to accompany her to get some milk. Both of us don't know the language they speak there (Hindi). My mom can understand the language  a little bit, but not much. Since we did not understand any boards or signs and the apartment we stayed had very identical blocks around, we could not find anything as a landmark. So on our way we saw a cow tied to a pole and we had that as our landmark to come back home ,after so much of struggle and asking people around with the little Hindi we knew we reached the milk booth (People who know about my Hindi will know the struggle  I went through). After getting milk we didn't know how to get back home. By then the cow we had as landmark was taken away somewhere else, we were lost. There were no mobile phones then, we again started to ask people around and finally reached home. I clearly remember this incident , by the time we reached home my father and brother were very worried about what happened to us.The main problem was our direction sense and new place.

For a long time I thought all women have this problem until I found some of my girl  friends and colleague's who have extraordinary direction sense and will know the direction even when they have been to a place only once . Even today I have this problem, it is hard for me to connect the dots and imagine the map.  I can go to work and all grocery stores that I usually go without GPS but for all new places I need a GPS for sure.Some people say they go by the sun to know north,south,east west. Please help me on how to improve my direction sense and also please share your thoughts on this and let me know about your direction sense. I want to know the answer to the question "is direction sense common?" .

Sunday, April 13, 2014

General money and energy saving tips

It was a very tiring day and I am just waiting to hit the bed. We went to the Austin Hindu Temple in the evening. The weather is awesome with a nice breeze in Austin. The vegetable patch plants are slowly sprouting out. I am really enjoying the spring weather.
 Some tips to save money in and around the house are:
*Make sure you are not penny wise and pound foolish. Sometimes that happens too.
* If you are homeowner  and you have lived in your house from Jan of a year ,then there is something called "HOMESTEAD exception", that you can apply for that year.I got introduced to this by one of my colleague. Looks like you will get some tax exemption when you file this. I am not exactly sure how this works This is the form for Texas For other states Google about this. If any of you have submitted this form before please help us understand this. You can leave a comment in this post and looks like we have to fill this form by April 30th.
*During summer try to have fans in each room and during winter, buy personalized heaters for each room so you can avoid cooling/heating your whole house during day/night time. We  do this and heat up only the areas which we use around the house
*I have  heard that gas drier is better than electric drier as gas is cheaper. Though gas driers are expensive  they are always worth the money. After my friend suggested this I read about it, looks like it good to buy woolen dryer balls this is natural and saves money too.
*I always save the water in  which I wash the vegetables or rice or anything related to cooking that does not contain soap and use it to water my plants in summer and spring
*During summer if possible try to dry some clothes outside so you dont have to use drier
*For ladies, I recently learnt this from my friend. Usually when you wash/dry your inner in the washer/drier they kind of entangle with all other clothes. So to avoid this I was looking for some other method, when  I asked around some people said they dont use the washer and drier at all. That was difficult for me. Finally my friend told me this, just take a pillow cover and put your inner in that and tie a knot and put it in washer and drier, they come out intact and last longer.
*Use "MINT" or other software to track your spending, have a budget for each activity so you know where your money is going.
Check  Other posts on money saving tips to see  all other money saving tips that I have posted before. Add some more tips that you follow,so I can learn from you. Have a wonderful week ahead.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My perspective of US and what I found

Hi All.. Had a wonderful day today , attended the birthday party of our friends daughter  in the evening .It was her first birthday and she wore a cute yellow dress. Our kids enjoyed a lot and we are completely tired now.
As I sat down to write today the thoughts that flashed my mind are what life do I live? I mean the life of an NRI. It has been almost eight years since I left India.My perspective about US before I landed here was
* I watched  some English movies like "HOME ALONE" and thought it always snows in USA.
* Thought all my Uncle and Aunties who lived in US were very rich
*Kids eat only chocolates as we got only that as gifts from my relatives who lived here and most of the other gifts will be locked in a steel cupboard by my mom and she will  save them as treasure.
*I will have a dish washer to do dishes and a washer/drier to do laundry and I dont have to do anything.
*Will have a luxurious car and gas is very cheap.
*Land where I dont have to worry about anything.
*Once I get a job I will be paid in millions.
*My kids born in USA will look like Americans (I saw some pics of my cousins who looked like American kids in their young age)
*Walmart will be a store which has a lot of walls

But what I discovered after  I landed in US is :
*I had two jackets to protect me from cold, I landed in Vegas in July and temperature was around 100 degree Fahrenheit.My jeans was getting stuck to my legs and I wanted some nice cotton clothes. Surprise !!!
*Yes still people in India think that NRI's are rich. In reality you all in India  might have more money than us. We hardly try to make ends meet and especially after two kids and a home mortgage and a SUV vehicle we have very little left in bank.
*All kids dont eat chocolates but they mostly eat McDonald fries and burger as most people dont cook they just fix lunch/dinner
*Of course this is the land of opportunities, but we are not paid in millions
*If you read my post on Laundry you will know my struggle with clothes, we dont have any maid here who comes and does dishes everyday so we have to do it ourselves. Not only dishes, but we have to do sweeping, mopping etc. So I am a mom, maid, cook, work full time , nanny to my kids and the roles are endless.
* We have a car but no driver and gas is expensive
*Our kids look like us, read this post and you will know do we really have control over our life ?
*Walmart is just a huge supermarket where you get a variety of things, but when you go there to buy one item, it can take up to 30 minutes to just find it. There is no concept of door delivery. You have to personally go and buy your grocery.

First time when I went to India , my mom told me to help her with all the household work as she thought I was just enjoying life in the US. After she visited me once, she really understood how difficult the lifestyle here is. After that whenever I go home she will ask me to sit so she can take care of things.  I can't complain much as I chose this life without knowing what it is like, so for all the people with a dream of becoming an NRI it is not a journey that is very easy. Life here is very very hard. Especially after kids you have no time to relax.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Do we really have control over everything in our life??

I think most of you must have read this post First year of marriage do's and dont's. In this I mentioned that you dont get to choose your birth, death, parents but when I think in those terms there are lot of things which we dont have control over or dont get to choose like
   *way you look
   *language we speak
   *country we  are born in
   *gender of kids
   *other people in your life

Certain things that we think we  have control or get to choose are
   *spouse (most people dont get what/who they want though)
    *friends (some friends keep coming and going in life only some stay in contact with you for a long time)
    *career (except those who are not forced to be an engineer or doctor)
    *things you want to own

Most of us have heard the term "destiny". The way we think, look all depends on our "genes". Most of us resemble our parents in looks and also the way we think. I can see that in my family. My son looks exactly like my husband but thinks like me and my daughter resembles me but she has my husband's characteristics. So with all this said why do we think we control everything in our life?. Of course we can change our name,religion,food habits ,learn new language but how many of us really think about this and make the change? ,I admire people who do take control and do it.  My whole point is think about this and  dont worry about things that are not in your control. Things you can control like eating good ,exercising to be fit. You have to realize that you are living life like playing a video game, most rules are laid out and there are  many surprises thrown at you and you have some life lines that you can use as you play the game. You all are doing your best to survive. This will help you lead a successful life.Please share your thoughts on this.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Do you always remember a person's profession?

Thank you all for sharing my previous post Are you a wantreprenuer? Read more to find out and also your thoughts on it . It really encourages me to write more.
In this fast paced world it is very difficult to even remember a person's name, do you think it is possible to remember a person's profession ?,especially for people who are really close to you and whom you know very well from childhood days. I have a cousin who is a dentist, but I have never asked her any questions or second opinion on any dental procedure's that I  underwent last year, not because she is not good , it is because I can never relate her to her profession. I am pretty sure most of you will agree with me on this. A funny incident happened in my family based on this ,let us see what happened.

My moms family is a very big family and it took years for me to understand the relationships and to remember everyone's names. When I was young ,always there will be someone's wedding that we will attend.If you have read this post Our wedding story, I have mentioned that in Indian weddings thousands of people will be invited. Similarly  for one wedding there were so many people who traveled from other cities to attend the wedding in Chennai (a city in India). One of my aunt is a dentist and my uncle is a general surgeon. Out of all who attended the wedding ,one person fell sick and had diarrhea caused due to travel and food. It was noon and my uncle was asleep. Others went around searching for a  doctor. In India, you dont need appointment to see a doctor, there will be so many small clinics on every other street. All it takes is to get a token ,wait for your turn to see the doctor.Also you dont have to worry about insurance.They took him to a doctor and  came back with a prescription. My uncle woke up and came out, seeing the commotion, he  asked what was going on,  when they explained he said "Don't you all remember that I am a doctor? and  I have all the medicines", he took one medicine from a his bag and gave it to that person. Everyone replied "Oh yeah..we totally forgot that you are a doctor".
I feel it is very natural for us to forget a person's profession when we know them personally. On whatever profession you work,at home you are still a husband/wife or mom/dad or kids to your parents or relative  to someone. So naturally our brain does not save that field for a person when you know them very close. Please share this post and also your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Are you a wantrepreneur?? Read more to find out

Gone are those days where you have a permanent job (8 am-5 pm) and no one can fire you until your retirement age.In the modern world nothing is permanent. Your company can fire you any time.When your company gives you a laptop you are so happy because you got a free laptop,but in reality it is a way to make you work anywhere and anytime.So at some point in life you start thinking why should  I work for some one else?  why cant I run my own firm or business and work with flexibility??. Especially moms think about this as they will have more flexibility. If you read this post mind games you will understand why. Recently I have been talking to many of my friends and  most of them are thinking about other options though they have a steady source of income through a daytime job. I know some of my friends/family who took the risk and started their own business. I really admire your courage and your family for supporting you. Starting your own business is not easy
*it is very risky
*you need capital
*trust worthy people around you
*a good business idea that can easily reach people and have a good profit margin
*family support to let you follow your dreams as you will not have much time to spend with them.

So someone who is ready to do all the above  has to still  be able to quit his/her job and take the risk. Initial few years will be tough, then when things pick up you can reap your efforts. No pain, no gain. So for all those out there who have some or other business ideas and haven't jumped in yet, I consider you all as "WANTREPRENEUR'S". I am a big fan of the TV series "SHARK TANK", where people come up with small ideas to start a business and get investments to grow big. I keep discussing different business ideas with my husband here and there. But I haven't yet found the right one that suits me. I really feel that people who turn their passions into business succeed better than people who try to do business for money. For example musicians or singers like AR Rehman turn their talent or passion into a way to make money and they  have really gone to heights. Not everyone is lucky or gifted like that. For all those who are wantrepreneurs like me keep researching on what you like and what will align with your passion and so you can make money out of it even after retirement. Good luck and share your thoughts on what you think about this post.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to make Hulk Dosai

Hope all of you had a wonderful day. This is my first recipe post. I just wanted to start with a simple one. I made this for dinner tonight and also from reading this post ( my friend asked me to post this recipe. This  is more healthier than normal dosa as it has more protein from dhall. Pesarattu is a famous dosa of Andhra.Since it is green in color I introduced this to my son as "HULK" dosa. He likes the character hulk  and he thinks if he eats this he will be as strong as hulk.I got this recipe online but made a slight modification so my kids can eat too.Coming to the recipe

*Soak 2 cups whole moong dhal with 1/2 cup rice for 5-6 hours. Usually I soak this in the morning before I go to work. I tried with 1/4 cup rice but it did not come out crisp. We usually like crisp dosa and in some recipes online they mentioned to add rice flour. When I tried that method it did not taste good.

                                                    Soaked moong dhall+rice

* Evening after I come from work I grind this mixture into a nice batter consistency. All recipes online  ask you to grind onions,ginger and green chillie along with soaked moong dhall and rice, when I did that my kids did not  like it as it was spicy.So I grind (green chillie+ginger )mixture (sometimes I will add coriander leaves or kothamalli for extra flavor) separately by adding some water and will keep it aside.


*I grind this mixture separately so I can control the spice level. For my kid's I will just add salt to batter and make dosa and for us I will add the (green chillie+ginger) mixture  and make it.
*On a griddle spread the batter similar to how you make dosa and sprinkle some onions and oil.

                                                       Spread batter on a griddle
*Flip it when done on one side.

Flip it when done on one side

*Serve it with coriander chutney. Yum!!!

Please try this out and let me know if you liked it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mind Games

Today was a normal day with general routine. I think most of you must have watched the cricket match yesterday. I watched a finals after a long time. I really liked yesterday's match not because of the way India played, but I was able to teach my son Indian National Anthem. He was all excited to sing the line "Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya hey" because my official name is "Jaya", he thought this song was in my name.
I think most of you know that one's own  "mind" is his/her enemy. My mind plays a lot of games with me. I want to highlight one game that my  mind  plays often with me "GUILT".Some instances  that I would like to point out where I was guilty are
* During school days if I did not study before exams and scored less  I will be guilty about it
*During college days I have felt guilty for some of my actions (I am sure all of you will have something)
* Then after I got married when I was not working I felt guilty that I was not contributing money to the family

*Now after becoming a mom I play this game more often than usual. After a kid is born the mother has the most responsibility in comforting the kid. Dads can help but not in all areas.
*If you have read this post (, I felt very guilty when I had to switch my son to formula.
* I am a working mom so whenever I left my kids in the day care and when they cry very badly I used to feel so guilty about it.
*If my kids stay in day care for long hours then, I will feel guilty about it that I am not spending enough time with them.
*When work demands long hours if I dont see them when I come back then I will feel guilty about it.
*If I choose not to complete something at work and come home early to be with my kids that also makes me guilty that I am missing work.
* When my kids do something wrong and when I scream/shout at them I feel really guilty after that.
*When my kids dont eat what I make then I feel guilty that I am not providing them good food.
The list goes on and on. I realized that I cant live this way feeling guilty for every single thing. So I just keep telling myself "You are the best and you are doing your best". This simple mantra works well for me and helps me overcome these guilty feelings. Anything related to kids is really hard to overcome. Especially staying long hours in day care. So when they are home I try my best to spend time with them yeah "TIME" is always the most difficult thing to find. I just want to know if you all moms also feel this or it is only me??.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


What a wonderful day. Attended a baby shower in the afternoon. It was well organised and we had a lot of fun there. One of the games at the baby shower was to put pony tails on my husband's hair and it was a lot of fun. In the evening we went to a play which my kids enjoyed a lot.
Today's topic is  how "laundry" has changed through the course of my life. When I was young of course I did not worry about it. But later I remember helping my mom with folding clothes everyday, still I had all the time in the world then and doing it daily will take just few minutes. I used to starch my own cotton dresses, somehow I liked doing it, but have never pressed any of my clothes back in India.
When I landed in US, my friends asked me to get quarter coins change for 5$ . When I asked "why ?" they said you will need it for laundry. I just got it then in my university I had to take my dirty clothes to the common laundry room that was a bit far away from our home . Quarter dollar for washing and a quarter for drying and depends, if it doesn't dry will have to spend more.I never liked folding so many clothes at a time. I used to hate this whole process.Once someone stole all my dress from the dryer (or took it by mistake), but never got them back. Then had to buy all clothes again.It was a pain. Those days I just wanted to have my own washer and dryer.

Slowly I got used to the fact that I have to wash ,dry and press my clothes. It was a very big change in my life.Then we got married and like me, my husband also doesn't like to fold clothes. He will help me sometimes but I will have to re-fold all of them again, so I try not to ask these days. Then every week we did two loads of clothes whites and colors and every 3 weeks all sheets. Then when my son was born it became three loads, kids clothes , whites, colors and every three weeks all sheets. If you have read my previous post potty training tips when there are accidents it is more laundry. Now after my daughter the number of loads hasn't changed but the clothes to fold have dramatically increased and it takes a major portion of my weekend. I need some tips on how you all handle this? Sometimes I think Adam and Eve were better of, at least they did not have to do laundry.Please share your thoughts and also tips on how to make it simpler.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Potty training tips

Hope everyone is enjoying your weekend. We are just following our weekend schedule. Was a chilly day in Austin and did not get to do much.
Coming to today's topic ,this a long due to one of my friend who has been asking me to write about it for a while. Usually you can start to potty train your kid around 2 years but there are some signs you can look for to see if your kid is ready even earlier. I have heard that girls train faster and earlier than boys. I have to see what my daughter does she is not yet potty trained but my son is. Since my daughter was born when my son was around 2 years old and we could not change diapers for both of them, we wanted to get our son potty trained. Most of the credit in potty training my son goes to my husband as I was busy with the little one then. Signs that your kid is ready
*He/she is able to tell you when they want to go
* Able to hold for a longer amount of time i.e you see more dry diapers or pull ups.
* Doesn't feel comfortable with a heavy poppy/pee diaper
* He/she has a predictable bowel movement time in a day
* Shows some interest in using the potty
* Can pull down or up the pant or pull ups
Things you might need
* Smaller potty seat
* one of our friend presented my son a potty watch (basically something that reminds periodically that he has to go potty, you can just use a timer instead
*some liquids like juice/water for the kid to drink
* Something clothes to clean the accident areas

For our son we first stated the training around 18 months but he was not ready, so we again tried when he was 2 years and 4 months as I earlier mentioned that it was too  much of work to change diapers for 2 kids. We actually put a pull up on him initially and gave lot of juice and water to drink and set up the potty watch to remind him every 20 mins to try use potty.Usually the best time to start the training is in summer but we had to do it during winter time as he showed some signs around that time. He was very hesitant initially and kept on going in the pull up or made accidents and did not go in the potty( involves lot of cleaning).So we let him free believe me that is the best way. Give him/her enough fluids, let them free (no pull ups or underwear ) around the house and every 20 minutes take them to potty and ask them to try if they want to go. Whenever my son did pee pee in the potty all three of us (me ,my husband and my son) will do a potty dance (similar to ring of ring of roses) and say "Pranav did potty,Pranav did potty". After a lot of effort and praise he finally got the hang of it the third weekend. We trained only during weekends and during weekdays we asked his day care provider to try. After he got the hang of it we put underwear on him. After that for a month he wore pull ups only during night , but we saw his pull ups dry most of the times when we checked in the morning. So we let him sleep without pull up and will wake him up once at night and take him to potty and put him back to sleep. Now he is full potty trained even at night but not completely out of accidents  yet. He will have one or two here and there. Try this with your kid and let me know if it worked.

Friday, April 4, 2014

1-2-3 Magic - Simple method to discipline kids

Hello Everyone!!Happy Friday!!. We had a wonderful dinner get together at our neighbor's house. Our neighbor is a wonderful couple who like to entertain people and  they have a lovely house with amazing interiors. I am really happy about the neighborhood we live in.
Coming to today's topic it is very difficult to discipline kids. I am pretty sure most of our parents would  have yelled  or sometimes spanked us, but I never liked it. It just created a fear in my mind more than disciplining me.
When we visited our husband's brother's house they told us about this trick to discipline our son. It is called 1-2-3 magic. I should thank my sister-in-law for it. How this method works is
  *When your kid does something that is not acceptable you count 1
  * If he/she continues to do it count 2
  *When he/she does it again count 3 and give him/her a quite time.

Quite time is, you make them sit in some corner of your house, we usually use the  steps in our house and make our son sit there.The amount of time you make them sit there is based on age. You can start using this method to discipline your kid when he/she is around 2 years. But if you feel your kid can understand things by 18 months you can  start early. Initially when our son was  around 18 months we  gave a 1 1/2 minute quite time and when he was  2 years old we gave  a 2 minute quiet time.
This method has worked like a magic in our house. My son never used to listen to us. But after following this method by the time I count 2 he will stop doing it.The tough part is to make the kids  sit in one place. If they dont follow it, tell them you will increase the time or move them to some other room where they have to stay quiet. I feel this method is far better than screaming or spanking your kids. Most important thing is both the parents must be on the same page and the parent who gives the quiet time should explain to the kid about what the kid did and what are the consequences of the action and why he/she should not do it again after the quiet time and give hugs and kisses and release the kid and forget about the issue and move on.  One main thing to remember is both parents must give this quiet time and be firm and don't talk or show emotions when your child throws a tantrum. Please share your thoughts and also some other methods that you use to discipline your kids. I would love to hear them.There is also a book you can read on it to understand more about it. Good night and have a nice weekend.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Long distance relationship -is it worth the hassle???

 Hope all of you had a wonderful day. Thank you all for the lovely comments, also send me some topics that you want to see here. I will surely write my experience or my views on it.
Coming to today's topic "long distance relationship" is something very difficult to handle. For all those who have never done this I think you are lucky, still I think you missed something in life. You did not experience how it would be if you do not have your loved one next to you. For those who have experienced  this  you will totally relate to this post.
I hope  all  of you read this post our wedding story and you  know how we got married. After that I graduated and started to look for a job. I found a job in a different city than where we were living. We started to live  in two different cities and thought that we will be able to get together soon. But it went on and on. To travel between the two cities , there were no direct flights and the total flying time would be around 6 hours and there was a 2 hour time difference between the two cities.We both alternated and traveled every two weeks. I always had a suitcase packed ready to start anytime.Main things that added to the  frustration was
*Could not see each other every day.
*Since the city I lived was 2 hours ahead ,when I woke up my husband will still be sleeping and when I went home after work, he was still at work, so could not talk whenever we wanted on phone
* Lot of misunderstanding due to poor communication
* Frustrated that we cannot have each other for special day like birthdays or wedding anniversary
*Had to maintain two house holds
*I had to clean both apartments, whenever I visited his house I will clean everything there as well (Though my husband says he cleaned the apt)
*The travel really exhausted us.
* Had to spend a lot of money on flight tickets
*Once ,when my husband was not able to come and meet me due to work I was really mad at him.
*Missed each other badly
*Can only Skype with each other when we wanted to see each other
*Weekends were really boring, though we had friends they were also busy with their own things
* Our managers got frustrated as we were travelling too much
Only advantage I can think of is we both became frequent fliers and got one round trip for free. We did this for about six months and was almost very frustrated with it. You need a lot of patience to deal with things.So finally when my husband got a job in my city I just told him not to think about anything else and just move. We were really happy that it was over and  we dont wish that situation  for any other couple . I know a few people who had to do long-distance for even longer time and between really far cities and longer time differences. Please share your thoughts on this and how you handled it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why? Why? Why?

Hi All...Thank you for all the likes in Facebook and also for all the comments. I am really encouraged to write more even though it is really hard to fit this in my schedule.Only one good thing is I am able to connect to my school and college friends through this if not I would not have had a chance to even say "hi".
Coming to today's topic, my son is around 3 1/2 years and he is learning about everything now. He is like a sponge and he absorbs everything I tell him and he will ask so many questions especially "why?" and I am always surprised by his questions.Let me list the set of questions he asked in the past two weeks

*He is always baffled as to why my daughter doesn't speak to him. One day when I was driving he asked me "Why doesn't  Riya talk to me??", I tried to tell him she is a little girl and she will talk when she is older, then his next question was "What will she say??" , I just saw a school bus going before me , I told him she will say"Look Pranav there is a school bus". Now he totally believes that those are going to be her first words.
*He is so much into reading alphabets now, and yesterday his question was "Does alphabets go pee pee and poo poo?..I told him "no", immediately  he asked"why?" then I told him only if you drink water and eat food you will go "pee pee and poo poo"  then again "why?".I didn't know what to say.
*His next question which I could not answer was "Why doesn't Riya have pee pee like me ?", this is something that I did not try to explain and just said "that is  how it is".
* Why doI have to go to school? Why you have long hair and appa (dad) doesn't ?Why do you scream at me? why should I clean my toys? why should I wear my shoes? Why should I not wear a jacket? why do you make dosa like this? Why cant I go to my friends house? Why do you lift Riya and not me ? who invented pizza? why do stars glow at night? what is a rainbow?..he keeps going on and on.
I am really amazed by the way he thinks and asks these questions. Sometimes I have to browse online to find the answer especially the meaning for all the religious slogas that I teach him.
Human brain is the most amazing creation I have ever seen. But one thing to notice is when we are young we want to learn so much and we ask so many questions but after a point we just think we know everything and stop learning, but our kids make us learn again.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Our wedding story

Hi All...I know today is April fools day. Since my birthday was yesterday happy birthday to me  when my mom told everyone the next day that she had me no one believed. They all thought she was fooling them. I am happy that I was not born today, thanks to my mom.
Coming to today's topic after reading this post Is there a right age to get married? one of my friend requested me to write about my wedding story. So here you go. Ours is an arranged marriage. Our parents first met on a matrimony site then we got introduced to each other. I was still doing my masters and my husband was working in California. Though I was an intern in the same company that my husband was working we never met before. Everyone asked us if it was a "love marriage". After a point we ended up telling it was a love marriage though it was not.We started to talk somewhere around September of 2007. For people who know me, I can talk on and on for a long time on the pone. My husband's phone used to drain battery like crazy. We both bought a blue tooth headset which we wore all the time  (I have no idea where it is now). We did not want to decide anything until we met each other. We spoke for about 3 months and met on December 14th 2007. On 15th December we decided we wanted to get married. My husband called both our parents and told them what we decided. They were happy and arranged for the engagement. We could not go to India for the engagement and the wedding date was decided to be 30th May 2008.
His parents never got to meet me and my parents never got to meet him.This kind of created a lot of tension. Since they  didn't  meet us, they were still doubtful if we made the right choice and so many small things popped here and there. I am pretty sure you all would have experienced something like that in your wedding as well.

                                   (Wow we look very young in this picture)
We both traveled together to India just two weeks before the wedding and I was very nervous to meet his parents and relatives. Finally everything turned out to be good . The real sad part about the Indian wedding is thousands of people are invited but very few really care about the bride and the groom.Most people just come to meet others and have a nice time and of course enjoy the nice food. We were busy with all the ceremonies that we never got to peacefully eat and relish the food. I don't know why we had those big chairs during reception, we never got to sit on it even for 5 minutes and the photo and video lights really made us blind.The entire two and half days was very tiring. Finally we were happy that it was over. Every time we talk about this my husband says "Dont remind me about that tragedy in my life" just to see the reaction on my face. I  always like to read about others wedding story to see how destiny unites the two people. Please share some interesting things about your wedding too. 

Contact Form


Email *

Message *


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...