Friday, June 27, 2014

Is India in safe hands??

Hello everyone ..Hope you all are enjoying  a wonderful weather in Austin. Mine was a relaxing day.  Now that summer is officially here, kids are happy that they dont have to go to school but I think all parents are struggling to find a summer camp to keep kids busy. Someone posted this groupon offer in a Face Book group check it out Robotic summer camp groupon offer.
Also I found a very sweet deal for car cleaning. My friend told me about this Final Touch car cleaning. You get 3 car washes and they do hand wash and vacuum and dust interiors of your car every time you go. We purchased this one recently.
Coming to today's topic, Narendra Modi  has released his 30 day performance chart. I admire this leader  for two main reasons

*I see him as a confident person with a good vision (Bot sure if everyone around him will let him perform)
*He has this responsibility of at least letting people know what he had done from the time he assumed office.
Modi government has released a 51/2 minute video clip explaining the achievements of the Government and also a letter.
Some of the things I liked from this press release are:
*He has clearly stated that his Government had no "Honeymoon" period. They had to start working right away.
*I like the initiatives they have taken to talk to all neighboring country leader.
*They are planning to build  4 hydro electric power plants projects utilizing the rivers of Bhutan. Some step to get electric power for India.
*More focus on Governance than Government. Not blaming anyone for anything.
*Trying to understand what is going on in individual states by  meeting the Chief Ministers.
*Idea box to get more ideas from people.
*Focusing bottom up that top to bottom.
*Improvements in the Indian Navy.
There might be flaws here and there, but I really appreciate the way that he communicates well with the citizens and we have  a Prime Minister who talks. Like all of you I will also continue following to see what things this government achieves during its terms, but I am positive that India is in good hands.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Hello everyone...Hope your week is going good.  Football fever is all around. I am pretty sure most of you are following it. This year it is more interesting because most of the best teams are already out. We have to wait and see how other teams perform. At work I notice that all the break rooms are crowded and I hear a lot of cheers for the goals. If you want to watch it on TV ,laptop and phone you can sign up for Dish World Sports Package for just $10 a month.
There was an interesting Google doodle that depicted on how we all work when an important match is going on.Check this out Google doodle. This one was very hilarious and you should watch it.
Now coming to the interesting controversy of World cup football. You all must be following this news
"Suarez at center of another biting scandal". When I read this news I was puzzled. I know that toddlers during teething will have a tendency to bite others. Here there is a 27 year old football player a dad himself who bites opponent teams mates to get what??. From his career I see that he is a very good player. He is a record scorer and has won so many titles. He has an history of biting and has been banned from several matches earlier because of this.

From the current incident, if the videos prove that he really did it he could be banned for at least 24 matches or 2 years. The social media has been making a lot of fun out of this whole thing and my favorite one is this

Have fun following all the matches. Dont miss tomorrow's match US vs Germany. May the best team win :). For other related post click here.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Never pay full price at the gas station again .. ..Read more to know how.

Hello All, as usual a wonderful  and busy weekend. Went to a birthday party on Saturday and the kids had a fun time. Today morning went to a another birthday party at thinkery check out this post Thinkery, does it really make you think ?.Then went to the Austin Hindu Temple and headed back home. Just got done with the usual weekend work.
I am looking to buy a bike for my 31/2 year old son. He is 95% tall for his age. As far as I looked online I see that this Bike has good reviews. If any one of you have bought a bike for your kid and if it is cheap and best do add as a comment in this post. I'll check it out.
Gas prices traditionally increase during summer. This years summer is no different from last years. Usually people just gas up in a gas station near their home or office location and some others might just go to Costco if you have a membership. For us in South Austin the Costco here does not have a gas pump. Some ways to avoid paying full price at the gas station are :
*One of my friend suggested that I can use this website to find the lowest gas price in my area  Pump Patrol. Thanks a lot for this website I have just started to check it. Traditionally this is what we do
*We always use the Gas Buddy App on the phone to find a gas station with lowest price near where we are driving.
*Few months back we found out about this program called  Fuel Rewards Network. This is how it works Watch this Video.
Highlights of this card are:
*This is not a credit card, it is free to join and it is just a Rewards card.
*Online mall: This helps to reduce the price of gas per gallon even more when you shop with the master card linked to the fuel rewards card in stores like Home Depot, Macy's, Kohl's. For a complete list Click here.
*Dining and movies: There are lot of restaurants like Jack in the Box, Saps Thai cuisine in Austin ,check for the restaurants near your location.
*Grocery and other stores: You can earn more savings by linking to other grocery rewards card
*Car Rental: You can link this when you rent a car from Enterprise. If your card rentals is above $300 you get 20 cents off per gallon.
*Shop and rewards: You can get some savings for car wash and other things purchased at the gas station convenience store.

Steps to sign up:
* You have to sign up for a Fuel Rewards Card Fuel Rewards Network and when you gas up in any participating Shell Gas station you will receive 3 cents less per gallon instantly. When I signed up I received 20 cents off per gallon instantly when I filled gas for the first time.
*Then get a rewards card online or from a participating Shell gas station and enter the pin after you login to the account.
*Also if you link your Master Card Credit Card with this card and earn more cents less every gallon when you spend money for groceries in participating grocery,dine in and other stores.

Please write your comments and also other things you do to save money on gas. To read other related posts on Money Saving tips click here . Have a nice week ahead.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Are we all smart phone addicts??

Hello everyone..I cant believe it has been almost 4 months since I started this blog and I love every bit of it. This is my 100th post and I am really happy that I could make it till here.
For people who are not aware of it Amazon has released a new phone called "Fire phone" to know more about it click here Shop Amazon - Contract Cell Phones & Service Plans. The "Fire phone" has some nice features and you get a free Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies & TV Shows Anytime - Start Free Trial Now prime membership for a year  with it. The features are good but how the phone really performs is yet to be seen.
With so many phones in the market, everyone has a smart phone these days. Until 2 years back I did not want a smart phone the only reason was I saw my husband ,who had one used to always keep staring at it , which I did not like. Now everywhere I see people (including me) looking and checking for updates on the phone though it is urgent or not. I really get mad when the person driving in front of me checks their phone and misses the green signal. Only after I got a slight pain on my right thumb I started realizing it could be because of over usage of phone  and started monitoring my phone usage. Things that I found are:

*Morning as soon as I wake up I will check my phone
*Then when I use the restroom I make sure I have my phone.
*At work every now and then I check my phone for updates, apart from the fact that we can also check it from the laptop we use for work and most of the time it is nothing important.
*During lunch time I will surely check when I heat my food (once I over heated and burnt my bread )
*Then while driving I make it a point not to touch my phone , when I am waiting on the signal I will surely check once.
*After I come home whenever I get a call or message I will check my phone.
*Then before bedtime.
I do all this but when someone calls me on something urgent I never pick up the call as I might leave my phone on silent. I realized that I should cut down and I making a real effort now to cut down on usage. I know many of you will agree with me. We spend most of our time on this device which we never admit. We think we are doing something useful always. Please monitor your usage to make sure you are not a smart phone addict. I really wish my life was simple like it used to be before when I grew up  with one land line  phone in the house and attend only urgent calls that are required and lead a peaceful life by not bothering about other people's life on  Face Book and other social media every now and then and call my life hectic :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Movie becomes a reality

Hello everyone, hope all is well. Happy Father's day wishes to all the wonderful dads out there. Some of you must have read my post Being a Dad. I really admire all the wonderful dads. To celebrate Father's day ,we took the kids  to the Peter Pan Mini Golf and then to the splash pad on Butler's Park. The kids and their dads had a wonderful time.
For people in Austin who love Thai food this is a great deal  Thai Passion Groupon. We love the food in this place. Also I was surprised to know that we can sell used books in Amazon, Check out this link. It is a good way to get rid of old books.
All of you must be aware of the current news about "Chennai traffic stops for timely heart transplant to save a life". I checked this news and was amazed by the way they did it. The heart to be transplanted was carried from Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital to Fortis Malar Hospital which is 12 KM away within 14 minutes. This was achieved by the co-ordination between the doctors in both hospitals and Chennai Police. Knowing the traffic in Chennai , I believe it is a big achievement.

As I was reading this news I was reminded of the movie "Chennaiyil Oru Naal (One day in Chennai)", even that was based on a similar  incident that happened before that had the exact same story of how they bring a heart to be transplanted from one hospital to another. Finally,  I got to see one movie becoming reality. Hope we get to see an India ,as depicted in other movies like "Indian", "Shivaji" ," Swades" and people really act with responsibility.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Is there a way to stop growing old??

Happy weekend :). We are having a lot of fun this weekend will write more about the places we visited in the next few posts.
Last week we were showing our son all his baby and toddler  pictures and videos. It was real fun to watch all of them. My son could not stop laughing looking at how small he was.Then we realized that we dont have that many videos and pictures for our daughter. Of course our life has been very busy after the second kid , still we felt guilty that we didn't take that many portraits and videos for her as we did for our son. From this week we are making conscious effort to capture her more and in that process we bought this Groupon for Picture people. This is a very good deal. One of our friends told us about this deal.
One thing I noticed when we were watching the pictures and video was that we looked young in those pictures and videos. I thought to myself "WOW!! I looked younger in that pic". Then other circumstances when you generally  feel that you growing old are
*You see that first strand of grey hair
*When kids start calling you "Aunty" or "Uncle"
*When school kids who attended your wedding have graduated and come and stay with you when doing their Masters
*Recent college graduates joining your company look at you as a experienced person
*When you tell others your years of experience they say "Wow that is a long time"
*When you see a guy in a bike speeding and driving crazily you feel "Why is he doing this, he might just meet with an accident and die" rather than thinking he is enjoying his life.
*You dont like the trendy shirts that you used to wear and want to go more formal
*When you start realizing "How did my parents bring me up it is too hard to manage home,work and kids"
*When you go to a restaurant and eat a buffet and feel that, "Two years back I would have eaten more than this"
*When you think about your college days and think "Good old days"
*When you feel like "I used to remember a lot more before"
I can go on and on. There is no way we can stop growing old. Aging is inevitable, and it is very happy to see our kids grow and at the same time we feel sad to see our parents grow old and slow down. Little do we realize that there will be a role reversal soon and we will be in our parents shoes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Did you all know about online Auto care??

Hello everyone,hope all of you had a wonderful day. Mine was good, I am getting ready for the weekend with just two more days of the week left.
In US, owning a car is not a luxury symbol like in India (at least it used to be luxury when I was young) ,it is a necessity. In order to avoid break downs and being stuck in the middle of the freeway on a sunny day with kids at the back seat, it is necessary to maintain your car well. One of our friend was driving his car for a long time with no idea that he had to do an oil change and one day his car gave up with smokes from the engine. To avoid all this both me and my husband will be very careful about general maintenance like oil change, if we suspect a tire alignment or even we have had situations to change battery, check brakes we will  immediately get it done.
Get a Free Tire Quote Now at

Usually when I have to get a oil change done, I would  call the Firestone near our house make an appointment, take my car and leave it there and then wait till it gets done and get it back. Last time when I did this it took a very long time. The person there told me that I can book an appointment online and specify that I will wait for the service to be done ,so they schedule it such a way that it is quicker.So two weeks back when I had to do it  I followed his advice, this is what you have to do:
*Select your nearest location
*Fill in your contact details
*Fill in vehicle and service type 
*Fill in details like you will leave your car there or wait till service done and also provide 2 options for date and time and confirm. Within 2 business hours of receiving your request they will process it and send confirmation for time and date.Then if you take your car at that time it is way quicker. 
Also you can get quotes for Tire alignment , Tire quote and Battery Quote online. Things are changing and Firestone is bringing Auto care online that will benefit most of us by saving time. We don't have to go there and wait for longer period or wait on phone to talk to someone to get quotes and schedule appointments. I really love this idea and thought is worth sharing. Also Firestone offers online coupons which you have to always check and take a print out to show it to them. Please give me your feed back and also what other things you do to get a oil change done.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Places to visit in and around Austin

Had a wonderful weekend. I must say that the weather is still holding good.Today's topic is about places to visit  in and around  Austin.Usually when parents/guest come to Austin or even if you are new to Austin we would like to explore places around Austin. Some places that are worth a visit are:

*Temples: All of you know the Austin Hindu temple(website), apart from that there is "Sai Baba temple" in Cedar park (website). We have also gone to the Temple,temple Texas (website) and the Meenakshi  temple in Houston (website).

* Mt Bonnel (website) a viewpoint of million dollar houses
* Penny backer bridge, right before you hit the bridge , there's an area for off-road parking. Park, climb up the semi-hidden trail , and enjoy the magnificent view of the lake in the day,sunset or stars at night

*We went to a beautiful peacock park called the May field Preserve on 35th street . Kids had a lot of fun looking at the peacock. It is a must see in Austin.

*The Capital building on Congress Avenue is a good spot to hang around for some time.

*Mozart's (website): This is a nice coffee shop in Austin by the lake,. A very good hang out place.

*Town Lake trail (Where to park): We always love to walk in this beautiful trail by the lake. There is a boat rental in this trail where you can rent kayak's and enjoying kayaking in the lake. It is a must try and I highly recommend it.

*Watch the Congress Street bats , by the bridge you will see millions of bats and it is a one time see.

* Board walk and brunch: We did this sometime last year. It is a very good place fro morning walks with the family. You can have brunch at La Cafe Crepe Board walk-->La Cafe Crepe

*A little drive from Austin:

*Schlitterbahn (website) water theme park. You can spend a hot day here . This in in New Braunfels, TX.

*San Antonio River walk: This is an artificial river 
River walk

*Natural Bridge Caverns (website): You can see different rock formations here. It is a very good one time thing. You can combine river walk and this together.

Formation in Natural Bridge Caverns

Stay tuned for more places. Have a nice week ahead. Also add other suggestions , will include them also in next post. To read other related posts click here and for money saving tips click here

Friday, June 6, 2014

How to save money on dinning, entertainment and travel!!

Hello everyone..Happy Friday. I am happy it is Friday just because I dont have to set an alarm and wake up tomorrow morning.
Some of you asked me after reading this post How to make simple yummy pizza on how I spread the dough for pizza and when you tried it stuck to the pizza stone. Try to get a pizza peel , this one has very good reviews and spread the dough on it. You can use the pizza peel  not only to spread the dough ,you can later use it to get the pizza out of the oven and use it for cutting and serving the pizza.
Currently since most families have so many financial burden like mortgage, car loan, student loans, credit card bills, utility bills, kids related expenses like tuition fees, day care fees, after hour fees, living on a budget or at least knowing where your money goes is essential. In this most families try to cut down on entertainment or eating out. But  we all need a break. So how about getting a break without having to spend too much?
We found out about this a few years back and have never regretted buying it. It is called the "Entertainment book". This is a very famous coupon booklet which easily pays for itself. The four main categories of coupons are:
*Sports and attraction
Just for example these are the offers with Indian restaurants in this years  "Entertainment book" for Austin. You can find offers in other cuisine also.

Entertainment offers for some fun places to go with kids in Austin

There are a lot of "buy one get one free" offers in many restaurants and other entertainment places. They also have car rental coupons, hotel booking, airline discount, movie tickets discount, This is designed for each specific geographical location in US and Canada. Usually the books cost is  based on the location. Currently from June 1st to June 9th there is an offer going on , all books cost only $8.99 plus free shipping . Dont miss this offer. Click below to get it

Click here to read other posts on money saving tips. As always provide your feedback, I'll be more than happy to read them.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Montessori way of teaching ..what is that?

Hello everyone , hope all of you had a wonderful day. We are always looking for ways to keep our son engaged. He really loves to connect dots to form pictures. I am thinking of ordering  A-B-C dot to dot and 1-25 dots to dots for him as they have very good reviews. If  he is occupied for sometime it is a big relief. Also if you are travelling with kids to India, I think it is a good idea to take some books that keep them occupied.

Coming to today's topic, I have always had this question in my mind, why did I have to study so many subjects and so many topics under them  in my childhood?. Was it because some  people in academic board think that kids dont have anything else to do? . I do agree the fact that we have to expose kids to all subjects but to what level is always a question unanswered. I remember studying so much and in fact wasted most of my childhood thinking that is what is going to save me from all life situations.

Only after I came to US, to do my Masters, I really understood that all education that you receive is a small part of your life. You have to understand so many other things in order to lead your life. Just theoretical knowledge on any subject is waste. You need to think practically and implement things in some cases. Also learn people skills that are more important than anything. When I started work I just though I can come in and do my job and leave. Things dont work that way. You have a team and you need to be a team player. You should know how to get your work done even if it involves others in the whole equation. All that is what defines you as a successful employee at work. Most things we learn with age.

 I think it is a good practice to start teaching kids these skills early starting with how to handle conflicts of interest among peers, how to express what they think correctly, how to do their job by themselves, how to hold responsibility, practical life etc.  Teaching all this is the Montessori way of teaching. Montessori way of teaching is  hands on and applies to current generation  though it is a very old method and I think kids need to be exposed to this in the formative years. My son's school does a god job on developing these skills in him, I really love the way they introduce new concepts in a fun way. Read more about Montessori education here . I would say 2 years might be the right age to make the switch and it is worth it. To read other posts on related topic click here 

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