Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to have a communication channel open with your kids??

Hello Everyone!! Hope all of you are having a wonderful week . Mine was a usual one and a little hectic.

One of our friend is looking to rent his house in South West Austin. This is the link House for rent. Check it out and if someone is interested contact them.

I recently read an article that was shared on FB on  "Why it is important to teach kids "How  to say "NO"".It talked about how teaching kids to say no will help them when someone forces them to have a drink or try smoking or even drugs.The author talked about the scenarios and what answers she discussed with her  teenage son for various situations. Read the article here. Thanks to my friend for sharing this article.
After reading this, I realized that  my problem is not about teaching this, my problem is /will be on how to make my son talk to me about the important things happening in his life. I have seen pathetic situations where parents will be the last people to know about things that their kids are involved in.
 I have talked to some of my friends and do the following
*Tell my son about my day and ask him about his. Sometimes works , sometimes he would just say "I dont know what I did".I know he is only 31/2 years old and cant expect too much from him but I am still trying
*I would ask him to share a secret with me that is only between me, his dad and him. Sometimes this works and sometimes he would just say "I dont have anything to say".
*I would ask him about sad as well as exciting things that happened at school and he would sometimes tell me that .
*I would like to talk to his friends parents to know if their kids talked about what my son does at school and so on.
I know as he grows it will be more challenging, and I  just have to enjoy the cute age he is in and not worry about it.Since me and my husband work full time and we devote only a fixed amount of time for the kids everyday ,  we always try to make it more quality time and interact with them to know more about what they did and what they like and dislike.
On a side note media and cell phone will be another big challenge once they get their own phone it might get even more complicated.
This is why I feel parenting is so hard. Every phase has its own challenge and no one is perfect. We all try to do our best.If any of you feel that there are some things that we can do to start early and make our kids talk to us more about what they do at school please do suggest it here. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Is he the next Steve Jobs??

Hello All, had a wonderful weekend and did so many things. Met some friends on Friday evening. Saturday we took the kids to "Thinkery" and then I went on a girls night out. Sunday is when I got things done around the house and took the kids to the pool. Feeling  accomplished :)

Recently we bought this  6 tier shoe rack. The interesting thing about it is you can divide it into 2 racks of 3 tier each. We have one in our covered patio for the backyard flip flops and one in the front near the garage for the regular sandals.

We have the next Steve Jobs, who is he?? He is the mind behind major firms like Paypal, Tesla Motors, Hyper loop, Space X . His interviews are inspiring and also very motivating. It makes me think "How does he even think like this?".
 Recently his firm Space X is trying to build re-usable rockets to help humans travel between planets. The next main project is to see if we can go to MARS and establish habitat there as EARTH might be destroyed sooner or later.

"Hyper loop" is a conceptual high-speed transportation system envisioned by this genius entrepreneur.  The technology is very advanced and is aimed to make the travel from SFO to LA in 35 minutes.
His contributions on developing one of the best cars on the US roads  "TESLA" is mind blowing and I think it would be great to own one if we can afford it. The frunk and trunk provides more space . It has taken electric cars to the next level.
He is the co-founder of Paypal . He owns the CEO title on most of the companies that he started and his net worth is 12 billion. By now you all know whom I am talking about. It is "Elon Musk". He is a visionary and I am pretty sure he is the next Steve Jobs. He is taking technology to a new level and is also making all his patents on the TESLA car open. Which is a move that I quiet dont  understand as to why??.
After hearing his interview the thing that struck my mind is ,one of my friend's mom in India did not like the fact that so many graduates from India are immigrating to US, just because that we are going so far away from the family and cant meet often. She used to say "You all will understand what pain parents in India go through sending their kids to US only when your kids go to MARS and you all still live in US , waiting for them to visit you once in a decade". Those words are still ringing in my mind and may be it will become true soon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What products do you buy "organic" certified??

Hello Everyone..Hope all are doing well.  It is summer and the temperatures are on a rise in Austin.
 I am always a big lover of home made yogurt. You will know that if you read this post Homemade Yogurt. Due to summer heat my yogurt is turning a little sour if I leave it overnight. So I try to make it during weekend and will watch it carefully to get it in the fridge before it gets sour. In winter it is the other way round. Due to low temperatures my yogurt will never be done however long I keep it, so I will have to keep it in the oven with little heating.
 I was browsing online on how to solve this issue and found out there is something called the Euro Cuisine yogurt maker. I was not aware of this product , looks like we can pour the milk and culture and this maintains a perfect temperature to get perfect yogurt irrespective of outside temperature.Problem solved!!!!!

Today's topic is about the "Organic" madness, that is what I like to call the present situation. Organic certified products are in a rise in the market and last week I saw "Organic dresses" for kids on the store that says it is made of organic cotton. I was not sure what that meant.

These are the things that I usually buy organic in our household
*Vegetables: Anything underground like carrots, red potatoes ,radish ,onions ,beetroot (we get these from Indian stores).
*Milk: I still remember how I had to convince my husband to make the switch to organic milk. We get a milk brand called "Mill King " from whole foods which tastes exactly like the milk we get in India and we all love it. It is non homogenized, low temperature  pasteurized without additive hormones and GM O's. Try this milk once and you will never be able to drink any other milk after that.
*Sugar:  I always get organic sugar from Costco. I made the switch from normal sugar after I read about the chemicals added to refine the sugar.
*Also it is safe to buy some fruits like strawberry and blueberries organic.
Other  than these things I dont buy anything organic. Please suggest other things that you buy organic certified and that will help all of us. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Want to know what things to buy and not to buy from Dollar Store???

Hello everyone..I am having a relaxed weekend with not much to do..How is yours??. Thanks for the comments and likes for my previous post.
Recently we got a very cheap quote for car insurance from 21st Century Car Insurance. Check your  Free Quote from 21st Century Car Insurance  and see what numbers you get.
When I first heard of Dollar Store I thought that it was a store with very poor quality products and I should keep away from it. Then when I checked one of the Dollar Store near our house,  I was totally impressed and changed my thoughts about it. Now I am a regular customer and have certain items that I get from there.
 Here is the list that you should buy

*Pencils,crayon, workbooks, water painting color and brush, eraser or any other items related to do some activity with kids I always go there to get them.
*During summer they have some tubes for kids to use them to swim in the pool.
*Some cleaning supplies can also be bought from Dollar Store. Check in you nearby Dollar store to see what they have to offer.
*Brooms, pail ,tubs can be bought from there.
*Many party supplies are also available like decoration items, paper plates, cups ,napkins, aluminium trays party hats, balloons can be got from there
*Greeting cards and Thank you cards are very cheap. Check this post to know more  about what type of cards you can get.
*Pregnancy test , this is something I recently researched and found that they carry and it is a great deal to get them for a dollar.
*You can get aluminium foil, baking sheets and clear plastic sheets from there
*You can get glassware,mugs  from there.
*Gift wraps and gift bags can be bought for cheap from there.
*Plastic storage containers and water bottles can be bought from there.
List you should not buy:
*Never buy any food products and baby food products.
*Say a big no to beauty products.
*Any type of electronic items  dont buy it from here.
*Dont buy any toys that children can put in their mouth.
Hope this helps and please free feel to add a list of things that you buy from the dollar store. If you have never been there , just check it out to see if it is worth it. To see other  related posts check here   Money saving tips

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Rotimatic, is it worth a try??

Hello Everyone..Hope your Saturday afternoon is going good, mine is going very relaxed with some alone time and a lot of things in my "to-do" list.
For everyone in Austin there is a Groupon for Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant ($16 for $30). Last time we went there for our girls night out dinner and the whole experience was very good. Their food is amazing and  is very similar to Indian cuisine.The "injera" made of teff flour is very healthy. Reservation is required for party of 4 or more so make sure you reserve a table if you are using this groupon.
Coming to today's topic, the only method that I know of making roti with the use of some machine is
  *Knead the dough using ULTRA wet grinder . (There is a 40% off on Ultra Wet Grinders on Amazon click the link ULTRA DURA+ 1.25L wet grinder, with this offer it makes the price of it equivalent to what you will pay in India)
*Then use the Roti Press to flatten the dough and cook it on the pan.

Now there is a new machine, which does everything for you. It also holds the dough worth of 20 rotis and with the press of a button you can make roti's whenever you want. Watch this video to know more.

The reviews are also out. Watch this video to know the reviews. I hope they are real.

Then when I researched more about the price of this product it has a hefty pre-order price  "$599"  and general price "$999".  I was wondering if this would make in every household with this price tag. Then I got reminded of one product which I thought is insanely priced but finally I bought it, that is Vitamix. I see Vitamix in most of my friends house now.
 I am very skeptical about rotimatic, since I got the roti maker from India and I was never able to make good rotis from it. I think I would surely like to try it first before I buy. So if you have preorderd let me know after it is delivered I would love to try it and see.
 I am pretty sure rotimatic will have a place soon in most of the Indian households in  US, UK, Singapore and other countries. No wonder the company has reached $4.5 million in pre-order during first week and no more pre-orders taken as of now.But will it take a place in every house hold in the land of roti's "India"??? is still a big question. I firmly believe the answer is "NO" since most people get rotis at a cheaper price or easily make them at home in India. But India is reaching its heights of "westernization" where Halloween is widely celebrated ,so you never know.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Last best chance to grab the Entertainment book

Hello Everyone. Hope all is well. There is a very good deal going on with the Entertainment books now. Click here to get one for yourself.

 All books are $5.99 + free for shipping. So for $5.99 you get all the book and digital coupons.I did a small research on the book and the general things we can use on this year's Austin  book: Most of the coupons are valid until December 31st 2014.
* Cabo Bobs: This is an excellent Tex Mex place in Austin. They make fresh Tortillas and this is the best you can get in town. We have a coupon for this place "Get one entree free when you buy the other"
*"MAOZ"  is another excellent vegetarian restaurant in Austin. You get 10% of the entire bill coupon.
*There are three or four of "Buy One Get One Free " coupons for Taco Bell (I am not a big fan of this place but my husband is), Apple bees, Mc Donald's , Pizza Hut, Del Taco, My Fit Foods, Popeye,  Quiznos etc.
*Great Harvest Bred Co in Austin is an excellent place to buy fresh breads. There are 2 coupons for "Buy one loaf and get the other free up to $7"
*We really love the ice cream and yogurt places .There are coupons for ice cream and frozen yogurt places like Froyoyo Austin Frozen Yogurt, Marble Slab Creamery, Froyoz, The Yogurt Experience, Its about Yogurt.
*Also if you have checked this post on Places to visit with parents in Austin, you can see that there are coupons for some places like Austin Aquarium , Austin Zoo, Inner space Caravan, Lady Bird Johnson Wild flower center entry ticket  (Buy one get one free), Blanton Museum of Art, Capital of Texas Zoo,  Zilker Botanical Garden
*Apart from this you can also use it on car rentals , air and hotel booking.
*Also there are coupons for Carters and Gap.
The coupons are endless and  the book will easily pay for itself. Similarly search for coupons in your area to see if it is really worth it for you and buy it. Dont Miss this 3 day offer.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Donate money and save the animals

Hello All...Hope you all are enjoying your weekend.  Today morning we went to Austin boardwalk in the morning, it was a very good morning walk.We had very nice views as we walked.

                                                                board walk in Austin

If you all are looking for a nice manual chopper try this one Vidalia Chopper. This works very good. You just have to hit the top cover hard to get the veggies chopped. There are two different sizes. It i very useful if you have to chop a lot of veggies like to make fried rice or potato curry.

I came to know about a very sad new last week. The Austin Zoo located in 10808 Rawhide Trail, Austin TX 78736 got robbed during the July 4th weekend and the Zoo has estimated a loss of around $30000. Everything has been robbed and they dont have enough money to support the three new bear cubs that they have got. Check the below flyer

On the night of July 3-4, a burglary resulted in excess of $30,000 in losses to the Zoo.

To donate money and help the zoo click here. I still remember the fun my kids had when I took them there first. Please do donate and help the zoo.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to make kids speak our native language??

Hello All....Hope all of you are enjoying the week and looking forward to the weekend.
Summer has started in Austin and we will reach 100 degrees soon. We try to take the kids for swimming at least once a week to the pool in our community. When my son was around 9 months we got him a pool toy like the one below, which he used to enjoy a lot. It had two holes for the kids to stick their legs and swim. If you have young kids buy one of these and see they will really enjoy in the pool while you can swim in peace just holding the string with one hand.

Coming to today's topic, one of the biggest challenge that I face now , is to make my son speak in our language (ie my mother tongue). I think everyone one of you who have immigrated to a different country from yours will face this issue. I am trying everything I can to make my son respond in my mother tongue "Tamil" , these are the things I do:
*Always talk to him at home in Tamil and will respond to him in Tamil.
*Give him special incentives when he talks in Tamil to us and to his sister
*I try to tell him that grandparents dont know English and you have to talk in Tamil 
*Though when I Skype with my parents they will ask "How are you doing?" in English to him ,so I keep telling them to talk in Tamil to my kids
*I got some Tamil alphabet books that I read to him now and then
*Our friend suggested to play some Tamil Rhymes on YouTube. So I play this series "Chellame Chellam" every now and then.
In spite of all this I feel like I am slowly loosing the battle. Please let me know if any of you have been able to successfully make your kids talk in your native language and what all you did to achieve it. 

It is so funny when I was young I would be punished if I conversed in "Tamil" in my school. I had to converse in English. Now I am facing exactly the opposite situation with my kids.Your feed back and comments are always welcome :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Long weekend fun !!!

Hello Everyone..It was very very sad to watch the semifinals today. My heart goes to all the Brazilian fans. One of the Face Book update that I liked the most was :
"As a Brazil supporter
Goal 1 - Felt match is gonna get interesting.
Goal 2 - Disheartening
Goal 3 - Embarrassing
Goal 4 - laughing at the poor situation of Brazil
Goal 5 - I am not here to watch football. I am having my lunch and it just happens that there is a match on TV"
If any of you are students or if your kids are going to college now make sure you sign up for 
Join Amazon Student FREE Two-Day Shipping for College Students. You get free 2-day shipping and deals for 6 months and then 50% off Amazon Prime membership.
Hope all of you had a wonderful long weekend. Ours was very good and a little hectic with a lot of driving. We drove to Dallas to visit family. From there we went to an animal Safari called "Fossil Rim".  If any of you are in Dallas or visiting Dallas  and if your kids are excited about animals and like to feed them I would not miss going to this place. It was almost a 90 minute drive from Dallas. We saw a variety of animals like

                                                     My daughter watching the deer from the car
My son petting a goat

We drove our car through a designated path and fed the animals from the car. Kids were excited to see so many deer so close to the car  and they loved the Giraffe. One advice given to us when doing a Safari like this is to always throw the feed away from the car, since the sharp horns of deer, antelope ,bison could accidentally scratch or cause a dent on the car. We followed it and came out of the safari with no dents luckily. My son now recollects all the animals and it was a memorable trip. I think there is a Safari near San Marcos also. If any of you have visited it please let me know. Have a wonderful week and enjoy rest of the World Cup matches.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Is July 4th the new black Friday??

Hello everyone...Hope you all had a wonderful day. We got a very good quote from 21st Century Car Insurance for our car. You can also get your  Free Quote to check if it saves any money for you.
Happy 4th of July to all my friends. This year as I was going through the deals for July 4th it makes me wonder if July 4th is the summer black Friday.Most of the retail stores are open on July 4th Of course each of you will have your own set of things in mind to buy. I always feel July 4th is the best time to get clearance on summer items like outdoor furniture,grills,summer clothes. I will post here the links to the deals I found interesting so far:
*Walmart : Walmart has sale on  a variety of items like outdoor furniture, electronics ,baby and kitchen items. Do click below to find out more about the deals . Sale ends 7/5 USA, LLC
*Shop Amazon - Celebrate 4th of July. Amazon has different deals on different products from electronics, shoes, clothing ,sun glasses etc. Check it out to know more.Sale ends 7/4
*Kohl's :It is taking up to 80% off on selected items. Also take an additional 20% off with code "LOVE2SAVE".Also save extra 15% on Patio furniture.ends 7/2 .Keep checking the website for other offers.
*Target: Take extra 20% off patio furniture, grills and outdoor play.
*Lowe's: Take 10% to 30% off major appliances.
*Home Depot: Take 30% off major appliances and there are so many other offers that you can check out.
*Sears: 60% off mattress and 40% off major appliances.
Another general coupon:
*Jamba Juice : Buy one smoothie and get another free offer ends  7/6

Enjoy your July 4th weekend and the fireworks. Some places to see fireworks in Austin are
* Austin Downtown will have a spectacular fireworks
*One of our friends mentioned COTA has nice fireworks.
*Some parks have fireworks too , so check nearby parks
*Cedar Park : Check this out looks like lot of activities for kids in this park.
Happy Weekend!! Do post other deals and places where you can see fireworks in Austin.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Transferring Money to India?? Beware of Scams

Hello All, It is very sad that America lost the World Cup today.Better luck next time America!! .
For all those who read my post on Cheap and best entertainment for parents visiting US from India there is one more offer with dish world. You can sign up for a free 48 hours preview of Dishworld and see if you like it before you sign up for the subscription Dishworld free 48 hour preview.
Most of us who came to the US to do your Masters or work here at some point of time will transfer money to India either to repay a loan or for other investment purposes. There are so many methods through which you can transfer money like
*Western Union
*Wire Transfer
*Money order

We believe that all transfer methods are safe and always look for the quickest method due to the conversion rate changing everyday. One of my friend recently transferred money using to India. They have been using it for almost 2 years to transfer money with no issues.They also received a confirmation that  the money transfer has been complete. The recipient  in India did not receive the money.
This is kind of strange since it has always worked good for them. They further did a research to track the transfer and found that the money has been transferred to a different account than what they had requested for. So someone hacked their account and changed the details on the transfer. Further that person has also tried to transfer more money and somehow it got declined.
My friend has a long battle to fight to get the money back. After this happened I googled online for reviews on and found out that many people have been cheated like this and there are so many complaints. People even call it as a fraudulent service. I just wanted to share this incident with you all so that you can look for other ways to transfer money in case you are using currently. Also read reviews for any other transfer methods that you use. 

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