Thursday, December 24, 2015

Never buckle your kids car seat their winter jacket on , check this post to know why !

Happy Holidays everyone!. With awesome weather in Austin a light jacket like this for $10 U.S. Polo Assn. Boys' Cut and Sewn Fleece Hooded Jacket would be good for kids now.

Car safety is a very serious thing, especially in  the United States, where the speed limits are high and accidents are very common. With the growing crowd in Austin and the traffic on freeway/highway, we see at least one to two accidents per day.

During winter we always make our kids wear their jackets before we get them on the car. Buckle their car seats thinking it is tight and safe. I have done that many times myself. After watching the below video, I am really surprised as to how wrong it is.


Even if the car crash happens at 30 mph speed, it would cause enough damage to the kid. Also I see that my kids are very uncomfortable to sit in the car seat with their jackets on. May be it is a good idea to remove their jackets and buckle them up. In Austin it might not be that difficult to do it compared to places with below 0 degree temperature.

Whatever might be the reason , keep this in mind when you take your kids, as shown on the video we can cover the jacket on the kid or even use a blanket.

Have a safe and happy holidays !. Please share your thoughts on this.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Water Water everywhere !!!

Happy Holidays !!. It feels so good to drive home seeing all the beautiful lights around the city. The holiday spirit is seen everywhere and I like this season. I am pretty sure all of  you are looking forward to the break.

As I was going through Groupon deals this morning, I thought about today's topic. It is not about the Chennai floods, but about something that every Indian who came to the US would have gone through. When I first came to the US, the restrooms and the bath tub in US was something totally new to me.I think many of us would have went wrong with using  the shower curtains for the first time and filled the restroom with water. I was not very happy using the toilet paper either  but eventually got used it it.

When my parents and in-laws visited us for the first time, the biggest thing that  they had to adjust to, apart from all the other things in a new country was the restrooms. This is a very common problem which many of us have gone through but we hardly discuss about it.

I asked some of my friends about what they did , and they said they gave their parents the flush able wipes from Costco. I did the same too. But still my I could see water everywhere in my restroom now and then. It is very clear that at that that age it is very  difficult for our parents to changes things that they have been doing all these years.



When we bought our house the first thing that my father in law mentioned after asking some of his friends, who apparently mentioned that their son/daughter provided a water pipe in the restroom for them in the US , he urged us to get it done. Our builder was not ready to do it. We wanted to fix one but eventually forgot.

Years passed by until I heard about this product Bio Bidet simple Bidet attachment. It is very simple to attach and very convenient to use.It has amazing reviews and also there is a great deal in Groupon for just $24.99. Biodet Groupon deal. Hurry this is a limited time offer . I think this is a great product and will help us to feel more clean.

Since some of you asked me on how to install this check this video :




The best part about this is, you can save so many trees and also the cost of toilet papers in your family's budget.After seeing this, I think my father in law who has not visited us for nearly two years might make a trip soon.

Please do share your experience about this product, good and bad. It will be very good to know.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Five interesting places in Austin to host a birthday party for kids!!

Trail of lights 2015 in Austin Zilker park is a spectacular show of lights. Make sure you take cash when you go, ferry's wheel ride is $6 per person and the horse ride for kids is $4 per rider.We took a Zip pass which is $15 /person and free for kids below 5 years. Check this out for information on tickets Special tickets. We parked near Stratford since it was not closed that day, it is better to get the $15 parking online so that you can park near the park and walk.In general for any information on Trail of lights check this website Trail of Lights FAQ.

Being parents of 2 young kids, we attend birthday parties almost every weekend. We hosted our kids 1st birthday party in a community hall. As they turn 2 or 3 it is better to host it in a more fun place. If it is summer, we can host it in a  park, but during these cold months we are forced to have in indoors. Usually the most famous ones are Chuck E cheese, check this post I wrote sometime back Chuck E Cheese , Pump it up , Little Gym. Check out this deal with Austin Aquarium , we have been thinking to take our kids here for a while now Austin Aquarium, they also have a special deal for hosting birthday parties there. I would like to write about 5 places that we went last year :


1) Hoppin House : This is in South Austin. We had our kids birthday party this year at Hoppin House. Their service was extremely  good and they made sure everything went on smoothly. The best part I liked was that they gave us a fridge magnet with the picture of the kids who attended the party. It is a nice thing to look back when all the kids are grown ups. Check here for more information Hoppin house.

2) Thinkery: I think most of you know about this place if you are in Austin. My kids love going to this place, just that we dont have time to take them more often. Best thing about attending birthday party here is that the rest of the day after the party is free. Check one of my post about this place  about it Thinkery also for more information about this place check here .

3) Foodie-Kids: This place is in Far West Blvd. My son was invited to a birthday party here and he enjoyed making pizza and cup cake . It is like a 1 hr cooking class for kids and it is a lot of fun. To know more about this place check here Foodie Kids

4) Book People: This is a good place to host younger age birthday party.They read a book to all kids and let them color personalized sheets and also do a craft with the kids. My kids had fun here. To know more about this place check here Book People.

5)Champions West Lake : This is a GYM kind of place, kids had a blast along with an instructor. I liked that they also let kids to learn balance and showed them some new tricks. Check out here to know more Champions.

As I went through the Evite list, I realized that we have been to many parties and enjoyed everyone of them.  Thanks to all our friends for having us. I know the amount of time and money we spend on making sure everyone has fun. Also if there are other locations that are not well known to everyone leave them as a comment here. I am planning list them under the Cities  tab in my homepage so it will benefit others. Have a nice rest of the week.






Saturday, December 5, 2015

Chennai floods relief fund

Hope all of you are doing good. If any of you are looking to get Sam's club member ship there is a good deal on Groupon for first time or for people who are not Sam's club member in past 6 months. Sam's club membership for  $25.

Most of us know about the Chennai floods. It is heart breaking to see the videos on NEWS ,Face Book and Twitter. A lot of mixed emotions ran through my mind seeing all this.I have lived in that city for 22 years and has never seen such a disaster. How did all this happen ? These are some of the reasons that I think could have contributed:

1)People from different parts of Tamil Nadu come to Chennai due to IT expansion and hence its population drastically increased in the past few years
2) That lead to land scarcity for people to live so more lake and low level areas being converted to multi story apartments.
3) Concrete everywhere and no open space  for water to be absorbed by soil.
4) No proper drainage system to channelize water from reservoir during rainy season
5) People who dont follow any rules and corrupted government.
6)Every time when people violated rules they never realized it would come back to bite them.

This video is thought provoking :


I dont think we can fix all the damage already done. We have to just hope that the city gets back to the state where it was before. There are so many NGO's and other go fund me links https://www.gofundme.com/mvc.php?route=search&page=3&term=chennai+flood set up to donate money.

I have done my part please do contribute some money to help them if possible. Also there are many initiatives started but the various Tamil Sangam across US . Below are some of the initiatives to collect money for Tamil relief fund:
Austinhttp://www.suvaiindiankitchen.com/ - Their website says "Dine with us and we Send 100% Proceeds For Chennai Food Relief Dec 6 Sunday, All day. & 25% discount on entire order".
Houston:  You can donate through Greater Houston Tamil school at their website http://houstontamilschools.org/ and donate through paypal
Bay Area Tamil Mandram : Bay area Tamil Manram is collecting funds through this paypal link  http://tinyurl.com/huxwkgz
Sacramanto Tamil Mandram : They are collecting money through this paypal link http://www.sactamil.org/jmain/index.php/tamil-nadu-flood
Las Vegas Tamil Mandram: You can donate through this link http://www.vegastamils.org/Home.aspx
Arizona Tamil Sangam : You can donate here http://www.azindia.com/donatefor.aspx?id=21610&donate=donate
It is so heartening to see so many Tamil organisations collecting money for this cause.Please check your local Tamil Organisation and help the people in need. Also if you know of more organisations please add it to the list.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Fun way to spend Thanks Giving break at home with kids !!

Hello All, It feels so nice to write a post again !!. Happy thanks giving to all of you.  I am really thankful for this break from the general routine that gave me a some free time to write.  November has always been special to me. I have some of my friends birthdays falling in this month. In India important  festival Diwali will  fall around this time of the year. After coming to US, the only things that comes to my mind when I think of  November is "Thanks giving" ,"holidays" and "deals".
After 2010 , November turned even more special as both my kids have their birthdays in this month. I am really thank full for having them in my life. They keep me busy and motivated.

Last week when I thought about this 5 daybreak with the kids at home, since we didn't plan on going anywhere,  I was worried as how to engage them. They are slowly growing out of all the general activities that we used to do. I browsed through online and found a new way to spend time with them and found out that board games would be a good way to keep them engaged. It is working like a charm. If you have kids 3 years and up try some of these board games at home, it not only reduces TV time but also keeps them focused and engaged.

1) Snake and Ladder: My kids love this game and it is our house favorite now. This is only $5.




2) Old Maid : This is a good card game for kids. As of now we dont follow all the rules but yet it is fun to play with . You can get them fro $1 in dollar stores.

3) Sorry : We recently got this and my son loves this game. He wants to play this all the time !!
4)Magnetic tiles: This is only $16. This is also a very good way to keep kids occupied.



5) Connect : This is a fun game for the kids to play.
Playing board games is a fun way to spend family time. Please share other things that you do as a family and that helps to keep your kids engaged during winter and rainy days .

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Our Garden :)

 Happy Summer !!!!I really like summer since we can get out without a jacket, socks and other accessories. Kids get to play outside and above all we can do gardening.After reading this post Planning a road trip with young kids ?? Here are some tips !! many of you asked me to post about my garden.

We have a friend who really inspired us to start our garden. When we bought our house we decided where we wanted the vegetable patch. We built a raised bed around that patch and filled it with soil bought from Geogrowers.

Usually we buy seeds and saplings from Natural Gardeners.  In the past two years we have planted few fruit trees and veggie plants. For Texas heat plants like okra,eggplant,peppers, tomato, mint  and cucumber usually thrive well. We have planted all these this summer.




Cucumber




Tomato
Eggplant
Produce collected over a week
Chillie
Mint 

           
   










Gardening is a lot of work and it needs a lot of maintenance.   My husband set up drip irrigation using soaker pipes and a using a timer   we set up the time when the vegetable bed should be watered. We also use neem pesticide to protect plants from pesticide.

Gardening is a an art and it takes a lot of hard work.  Finally when you cook something using veggies from your garden it is a great sense of accomplishment. My kids really like to see the veggies grow from flower.  I know many of you maintain a wonderful garden. Do share some pics and also tips. Have a wonderful week and will meet you all soon with another post.

If you found this post interesting do like my FB page IndoUSMoms and also follow me on twitter @IndoUSMoms

Saturday, July 25, 2015

New Technologies in Indian Wedding !!

Happy weekend !!! . We are slowly hitting 100 degree Fahrenheit in Austin. Will have to wait and see how this summer turns out to be.

There is a good deal on Groupon for Car Wash. $54 worth car wash for $33.There are different locations from which you can choose one to get your car washed.

Indian Weddings are fun-filled. You get to meet a lot of  relatives and friends in weddings.I usually love the lively atmosphere.Best part is you dont have to worry about cooking and just enjoy. To know more about our wedding check this post Our Wedding.

 Wedding  is also a big business where everyone is trying to make money in an innovative way. Technology plays a major role in Indian weddings over years , using which people come up with new ideas to make more money. I remember my mom showing her wedding pics in black-and-white. They had only one color picture taken , which was a great deal at that time.When my aunt and uncle got married, color photos were common. Later by the time my brother and my cousins got married digital pictures was the trend. Also email invites was prevalent at that time. There has always been some new technology getting introduced every decade.

Now  I see some of my friends creating a website for their wedding and  sharing pictures and their love story, which I think is a great idea. Then came  the live streaming of the wedding  for  people who are not able to attend. Latest fashion is to take a short video and also a variety of pictures and post them on social media. This gives a peek into the wedding for most of us who are abroad and cannot be there in person.

The biggest thing I miss living in US is attending Indian weddings that would have given me an opportunity to at-least wear my wedding sarees more often :). I wish there was some technology that will let me travel to India for a weekend and enjoy these weddings. Please share your thoughts on this.
If you found this post interesting do like my FB page IndoUSMoms and also follow me on twitter @IndoUSMoms

Monday, July 20, 2015

Planning a road trip with kids this summer ??? Here are some tips !!!

Hope all of you are busy. Busy is always good  :). This weekend  we harvested okra, eggplant and cucumber from our garden. I cooked  those vegetables and all tasted good. It is a great feeling of accomplishment !!.

Our kids had a 2 week summer break this July. We did a road trip to Florida. We went to  Pensacola beach, Daytona beach, Lego land, Clear water beach and Atlanta. The trip was around 3500 miles. My husband loves driving and I drove for a few hours in between to give him a break. Some tips that made our road trip a success are :

1) Once you plan your itenary book Hotel rooms accordingly.

Things to eat :
2) Next will be the things to buy , a Cooler is absolutely essential .
3) Get  juices, water chocolate milk  from Costco. All these will go into the cooler.
4)Take snacks like gold fish mini bags , Oreo mini packs , gummy bears mini packs for kids so it is easier for them to handle.
5) For adults take trail mix and nuts, breakfast bar , something that fills you well.
6) Fruits : My daughter just loves fruits so we took some fruits.
7)Flavored yogurt was a great hit among my kids. It fills them and also helped to cool their body. We bought a flavored yogurt pack and put it in our cooler.

Things you should not forget to take:
7) If your kids are young around 2-3 years old take a small potty and enough pull ups.
8) Stroller:  Stroller is something we tend to forget.
9) Put small plastic bags as trash in front of your kids seat and ask them to throw all the trash in there.
10) Have paper towels handy as you can clean any mess easily with it.
11) Take enough trash bags to put the old clothes.
12) Reusable spoons for kids to eat something.
13) Take sunscreen and hat if travelling during summer.
14) Phone/laptop chargers
15) GPS
Pensacola beach , loved the white sand beach

Things to pack
16) Plan and pack : Travel light ,take only required clothes.Take shoes and flip flops as you might need both of them. Since we were travelling to beaches I had a seperate bag with beach stuff which we wont take out from the car unless we go to a beach.
17) Every night pack things you need for the next day in the backpack.
18)Pack all the  medications for kids like especially probiotics Florastor for kids . It helps to keep their tummy happy. Their tylenol, band-aid, allergy medicine etc.

For entertainment in the car :
19) We took latest collection of songs on a CD and also got Curious George DVD, which my kids watched on repeat mode. One of my friend suggested that you can also rent from RED BOX as you go and return it next day at some other RED BOX location which I thought was pretty cool.

Please add if I have missed something. We really enjoyed the experience. Advantages of a road trip are , it is cheaper, very flexible and you can change plans based on how things go, you get to see mother nature and changing weather patterns, spend  a lot of family time in the car . Do try one trip and you will think twice about flying to a place next time.

If you found this post useful do like my FB page IndoUSMoms and also follow me on twitter @IndoUSMoms

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Healthy and Quick breakfast ideas !!

My week is sailing through slowly. Getting into routine after a vacation is really tough. Trying our best.

Tomorrow is "Prime Day" and all prime members of Amazon get great deals, even better than Black Friday deals during thanks giving. If you are already not a prime member you can sign in for a 30-day trial today  for no charge Happy Amazon Prime Day July 15 - Exclusive Deals for Prime Members - Start Free 30-Day Trial and you can view all the deals tomorrow. There is 40% off on all grocery items, there is going to be great deals on electronic items and also on back-to-school items, dont miss this opportunity.

Breakfast is the most important meal of our day. The name clearly states that we break our fast after sleeping through the night. Usually it is a good practice to drink a glass of water as the first thing in the morning. Following that you have to eat breakfast within one hour of waking up.

When I was young, I remember having south Indian delicacies like idly, pongal, dosai, poori or upma for breakfast. These days we dont have the time to make all that. It is a fast paced life and in most household both parents work and they are always on the go. I looked up some healthy breakfast ideas and we follow this at our home now. I thought of sharing it with you all




1) Oats with milk and sugar: This is the most favorite. We all like this. It is simple to make. Boil oats in water for a few minutes once it is cooked add some milk and sugar.

2) Smoothie: This is becoming big these days. Most of us have a Vitamix at home. You can put in fruits, vegetables, dry fruits, honey, milk, avocado whatever you feel like having and have a smoothie.

3) Home-made Yogurt+ Berries+ Granola: This is our house favorite, kids love to eat it and it is also healthy.

4) Eggs: I am not a great fan of eggs, but I like the egg white omelette, my husband loves scrambled eggs and omelette. Our kids haven't developed a taste for it yet.

5) Bread: We always get wholegrain or Honey+ Sprouted wheat bread and have a toast with a spread. I love the spicy spread from Trader Joe's.Peanut butter + Jelly is our house favorite

6) High Fiber low sugar cereal: Kids love Cheerios , we try different cereal every time. We love everything with a pinch of cinnamon and nuts on them.

7) Breakfast Bar: This is the last resort when we really wake up very late and dont have the time to fix any breakfast.

8) Milk and Orange Juice: You can have one of these along with the breakfast.

9) Quiche: My husband makes this quick quiche



 On weekends I usually try to make pancake or waffle for my kids with fruits. Usually they have a fruit as morning snack at school , so I dont give them a fruit during weekday. Also I try to make poha, idly or dosa during weekend mornings. Sometime we have the normal breakfast that we eat during weekdays also.

 I am pretty sure each household have your own hidden breakfast tips, please do share them. If you found this post useful do like my FB page IndoUSMoms and also follow me on twitter @IndoUSMoms

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Some tips to keep kids engaged at home during summer!

Hope all of you are enjoying your summer break. We went on a long road trip and are finally home.Slowly getting back to routine :).

There is a great deal for new customers on Gyft.com. They are giving you $5 off when you purchase gift cards worth $15 or more for over 200 retailers that are associated with Gyft. Some of the popular retailers  are Whole foods, Kohls, Amazon, Target, Starbucks, Home Depot, Itunes, Best Buy, Ebay, Express, GAP, BabiesRUs , ToysRUS, Old Navy, The Childrens Place, JC Penny etc.  I recently got a Whole foods $15 gift card for $10 through this. Check it out ! . Summer Special! Sign up today & get a free $5 Gyft card at Gyft.com! *New customers only. See site for details.

After reading this post  How do you engage your kids at home? many of you asked me to share what other activities I do with my kids at home. I try my best to present different activities to them so they are engaged and also have fun. Some of them are :

1) Flash cards: Flash cards are an excellent way to teach kids alphabets or numbers and it will also keep them occupied for a while. I ask them to arrange the cards in  alphabetical order or just lay them down and call out an alphabet and they will pick it up. For my 2 year old I will call out the pictures on the card and she will pick and give it to me. You can use your imagination and  play differently. You can buy something like this Flash cards.
Kids at work 

                                       
Arranged for the pick up game
2)Beads and threads: This is a favorite activity of my kids. They make their own necklace and bracelet out of it.You can buy some beads  1000 beads sale and bead string and you will be amazed on how kids love to work with them.
My daughter busy with her beads

3) Colored Popsicle sticks: These are a great resource for activities. You can do color sorting with them or shapes or alphabets. This is also a good time consuming activity.You can buy some colored sticks like these Colored sticks.

Popsicle stick alphabets

4) Milk can lid game: This is the cheapest activity. Just collect all milk can lids and stack them and use something as a striker to hit it. This is also a good time consuming activity.

My son at work with the milk can lids
We do a lot more activities. To manage the mess I place all the raw materials in a good container and make my kids clean them after they are done.



Sometimes they will not have the mood to do anything. I try to go at their pace and will just throw ideas. Also I keep removing some activities that they are bored playing with and introduce new ones. My aim is to minimize their TV time and also spend more time with them.

Stay tuned to know more activities and also share other things that you do with your kids. If you found this post useful do like my FB page IndoUSMoms and also follow me on twitter @IndoUSMoms

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Natural serene place within one hour drive from Austin !!

Happy 4th of July weekend everyone. Fireworks are amazing everywhere and we enjoyed it a lot yesterday night.

It is summer and we all want to be outdoors to keep the kids occupied. I have heard so many good reviews about a park and wanted to go there for a while. You can plan a day trip from Austin to this park and be back home by evening. Two weeks after the Memorial day break we went to the "Pedranales Falls State Park". Photo courtesy Anand Lakshmanan.

Pedranales State Park 




 I think the timing was perfect since there was plenty of water in the falls after the rains. We loved to sit in the flowing water and kids enjoyed playing with some of the water and sand toys.This State Park is only 1 hr away from the heart of the city.  The place was very serene and completely out of the city life. As you drive be very attentive  since  the board to this state park is very small and you could easily miss it . Check this website for the address and other information Pedranales Falls State Park.

There were many unknowns before we left and I asked one of our friends who had already been there, he did give us a lot of tips and also after we visited I came to know a few things  that I would like to share here

1) The hike to the Falls is roughly around 1.5 miles from the parking lot at the head of the trail and we did the downstream trail.Old parents can do it and you can take a stroller if you have young kids.

2) If possible pack lunch and go , something like a sandwich since the nearest place to find a restaurant is Dripping Springs which is about 20-30 minutes drive from the park.

3) We did the twin Falls Hike, it was very steep and also muddy ,you can't take  a stroller on this hike.

4)You can drive around the park and make sure you stop at the visitor center and pay the entry fee ($6 for adults and children 12 yrs and under free) and get a map of the park.

Things to take if going on a sunny day :
1) Sunscreen
2)Insect repellent OFF : It is advisable to have deet less than 20% on such repellents.
2) Hat/Coolers : There is a deal on kids hats girls hat and boys hat
3) Food
4) Stroller
5) Enough water or Gatorade
6) Change of clothes and a bag to get your wet clothes
7) Shoes (for hikes) and Sandals (for water area)
8)Try to take backpacks as it would be easier to walk around with the stuff.

You can always leave a comment or mail me if you need more information about the park.We did not do all the trails but don't mind going again to do some as my son loved it.

Enjoy the summer break and do share some pics of other places you visited with your family around Austin. If you found this post useful do like my IndoUSMoms face book page and also follow me on twitter @IndoUSMoms. Have a wonderful week ahead.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Want to know about best Elementary, Middle and High schools in Austin???

This year summer is very mild in Austin, thanks to the rains. I know most of us are very busy this summer with a lot of outdoor activities and travel. For some, this might be the time they move from one state to another or move from a home with not so good schools to good school district area.

I know some friends who  moved to new houses are looking for furniture at reasonable rate.There is a good deal in Costco and Amazon on furniture. Check both these places before you buy anything to just compare prices. This sectional couch is only $571 in amazon reduced from $1200.

If you are moving to Austin and searching for apartments or looking to buy  houses in a good neighborhood, read these 2 articles that I wrote:
Moving to Austin, Check this post
Good Neighborhood in Austin to buy a house

Many of you have contacted me after reading this  and I have given the best info whatever I know. Do let me know other questions as well.

Well as parents we all want to give the best education to our kids, the first step towards that is buying a home in a very good school district. Another advantage to this is that the resale value of the houses in good school district is always good. Hence the next biggest topic is the best schools in Austin. Many of you have asked me to research about a particular school and let you know about it. So to  help you all, I just wanted to list the Top 10  Elementary, Middle and High schools in Austin.  I wrote three different articles on each topic and it was published in Indus Ladies website. Again it was a lot of research, I based my article on the 2014 ranking of the schools. Thanks to Jey from Indus Ladies for the input and also for publishing my article.




Here you go read these and let me know your feedback.
10 Best Elementary Schools in Austin
10 Best Middle Schools  in Austin
10 Best High School in Austin

Good luck with your home search and hope you all find a good one. If you found this article useful, please LIKE my IndoUsMoms FB page and also follow me in twitter @IndoUSMoms for regular updates. See you all soon with another post. Have a nice rest of the week.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Want to buy real-estate?? Have you considered buying in Sun or Moon??

Happy  weekend, this weekend is also booked with birthday parties. My son loves to put this solar system puzzle  together ,since it glows in the dark. He  just put  the puzzle pieces together and was asking me questions about sun and each and every planet. He also asked me if people live in sun and other planets and if he can buy houses there. I told him "no" that is not possible.

To my surprise I read an article  on a woman named Maria Duran who was suing Ebay for not letting her sell plots on "SUN", that she has registered on her name. Ms Duran  who is 54-yrs old, registered sun in her name at a notary office in Spain in 2010. Then she started to sell square-meter plots on the sun for 1 Euro ($1.12) each. She sold almost 600 such units before Ebay cancelled her sale , saying she violated the sites intangible goods policy.

Ms Duran has taken the case to court and she is suing Ebay for not letting her sell the pieces of sun which helps sustain life on earth. Ebay has tried to settle the matter out of court but Ms Duran doesn't want to take the deal and leave. Ms Duran is expecting around 7500 Euro which is approximately $11,641 for the payment that she has not received.

Ms Duran strongly believes that she has not breached Ebay's seller agreement policy and says that she is not stupid and she knows the law.UN's outer space treaty, prevents a nation from not owning a celestial body, but any individual can own them.



My son's puzzle 



Apparently Ms Duran received  inspiration to sell plots on Sun from a US entrepreneur who registered planets and moon under his name in 2010 and 2011 and made more than $10 million by selling plots on moon, Mercury, Venus  and Mars.

I am very confused as to what I should tell my son now. May be it is possible to buy plots and build houses in the planets, sun and moon??

Please share your thoughts on this and also to get regular updates from my blog like the IndoUsMoms FB page and also follow me in twitter @IndoUSMoms. See you all soon with another post. Have a nice rest of the week.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Upclose with A.R. Rahman !!!!

Hello All, I am really happy today. My article covering AR Rahman "Intimate Concert"  in Austin was published in  behindwoods.com  website . Check the article here http://www.behindwoods.com/tamil-movies-cinema-news-15/an-account-of-a-r-rahmans-intimate-concert-in-usa.html. The picture in that article was clicked by me. I would like to share on how I was able to get that close and click a picture of A.R Rahman.

I am a huge fan of A.R Rahman is an understatement. I have read his biography and I admire the way he shaped his  music journey.

Sometime in February when I knew that Rahman was going to render "Intimate Concert"  in Austin on June 4th, I was so overwhelmed and was waiting for the date when the ticket sales was  going to open, for  booking my ticket. My husband is also a big fan of Rahman, but since it was a Thursday and we can't find a nanny all of a sudden to take care of our kids (4 and 2 yrs old) , only one of us could go. You guessed it, I won and I was going to go leave the kids behind with him.


Luckily, due to huge demand the organizers added another show on June 5th. My husband was happy and we booked a ticket for June 5th. We decided to take turns and go so one of us can watch the kids. We got the tickets delivered home and then the waiting game started.

Days rolled by and in May when the concert commenced, I was closely following every tweet and news about the concert. Finally, on June 4th ,even though my husband was sick, he was all excited to go to the concert. He went to the show and gave me updates then and there. I asked him about where he was seated  and whether he can go and take a selfie with Rahman. He told me that the chances were thin, since our tickets were in 2nd balcony. That night he came home and told me the highlights of the concert. He also told me about the abrupt ending of the show and how Rahman came back.

I told him that I really wanted a selfie with Rahman. He joked " That can happen only if you jump from the second balcony". On June 5th, I reached the Bass Concert Hall earlier. I entered the Hall and went to 2nd balcony and sat on my seat. It was so steep that I felt dizzy whenever I saw the podium from there. I got out and practiced how to get from there to the orchestra level.

The concert began, I could see Rahman as a small white dot from my seat. I missed my husband being next to me to enjoy the concert. As I was watching I made some notes for the article I was going to write. Then when Rahman ended the show abruptly, I immediately got out of the hall took the elevator and went to the orchestra level and when the lights came back I went close to the podium and clicked many sellfies and took a few pics of Mr Rahman.

I shouted "Thalaiva Chennai Thalaiva", I could not believe this legend was in front of me, so close. Then we all requested him to sing a song. He did sing few lines of "Oorvasi" and also gave me a hi-fi. It was a hard hit on my hand. I was in cloud nine. When all this ended I came out and could not talk.I met some friends who asked me about my life and kids. I told them I can't talk about anything right now.

I came home and sat down to look at the pics that I clicked, believe me not even one proper selfie. In some pics only my head was seen, in others I was there but Rahman was not there. I was so sad for 3 days that I could not take a good selfie and finally got over it.

I firmly believe that some day I would  take a selfie with him. Even if that doesn't happen the experience was surreal that I will cherish it my entire life. Thank you Rahman Ji.

If you found this post interesting do like IndoUSMoms FB page and also follow me on twitter @IndoUSMoms. See you soon with another post.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Memories of my grandfather !!!

Slowly getting into the weekday routine. Today we had lunch as a family in my daughter's school for a change. It was good , only thing is my daughter never ate anything as she was too excited to see us :).

My kids think I am a magician , since I always fix their broken toys with Super Glue. It never hurts to buy this tube and have it handy,when you fix a favorite toy that your kids break, the smile on their face is priceless.

From yesterday evening memories of my grandfather has been flashing across my mind. It all started with me grinding dosa batter. My grandfather used to like dosa, made of batter that is not fermented. I used to hate that dosa as a kid. I made one yesterday and tried it , I liked the soft texture of it, may be that is why he liked it?? . Out of my 2 sets of grandparents I had the chance to spend more time only with my mom's dad. I studied staying at my grandparents house for a while.

I remember him as a tall,healthy, strong,compassionate,emotional person. My mom used to say that he was very strict when she was young. He hardly showed that side of him to me.He used to always be in the living room of the house with a mat and 2 pillows next to it. The moment you enter the house you can see him doing something , mostly writing letters to people.I used to write the address and stick stamps and post the letters that  he wrote.  I never understood what all went between the other people and him. So many used to visit from his native village. He used to help many people with their request. I have inherited some of that trait form him. Even if I dont know a person , I would try to pass on information that I know, I have seen him doing that.



 During weekends I would go with him for  a morning  walk and collect flowers from neighbor's garden. He used to proudly introduce me as his grand-daughter to everyone we met on the way. I also sat with him for the morning pooja . He used to sing some devotional bhajans. He taught me some songs too.I used to play cards and carom board with him during break.  Every time when I left the house he would mention "Poi va Jai Sakthi Vel" , I never understood what that meant. He always protected me and taught me the right things to do.  He would go any extent to do something for me. He was very very proud of me. He always mentioned that the person who married me will be lucky :).

We always have many dreams of how we want to live . We have role models and want to become one of them but my biggest role model for peaceful death is his death. He passed away during his afternoon nap. We could not believe that he was no more. He was a big pillar of support to many people around him. After my grand-mom's death, I used to talk to him every other day just to see how he was doing. He did leave a big impression on me, though I had spent only few days of my life with him. I never told him this how much I loved him. Now when I think about all this , it just  appears as a dream.

 I just realized I dont have even a single picture of him and I dont know his birth and death date. This just reminds me that in this world ,some day we will also be forgotten like out ancestors, so just enjoy the rest of the time you have in this planet.Please share any good experiences that you had with your grandparents.

If you found this post interesting please do like IndoUSMoms FB page for regular updates from my blog. Also follow me on twitter @IndoUSMoms Thanks so much for the support.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Curry Family :)

I have been hearing a lot about Curry family these days in the news. Every game this family is focused a lot on cameras than any other family.I got curious and started to read more about Stephen curry.  Stephen Curry is the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) and a two-time NBA All-star. He is the son of the former NBA player Dell Curry. We have not been following NBA for a while so pretty sure I have missed knowing him before.

He  plays at the point guard position and is considered as one of the best shooter in the NBA history. He played college basketball for Davidson and was named Southern Conference Player of the year and set the all-time scoring record. Later he was drafted by Golden State Warriors in 2009. Everyone describes him as "someone special".

What is so amusing about his family?? He has a younger brother Seth and a sister Syndel Curry. He did his schooling in a Montessori school started by his mom Sonya Curry. Sonya Curry is a former basketball and volleyball player and has won state championships. She met Dell Curry in Virginia Tech and they both married in 1988 and moved to Charlotte , North Carolina where she started a Montessori school. She doesn't look like she is a grand-mom and  never fails to attract cameras  towards her during every game. I really wonder how she looks so young.Check a family pic here , where she is holding her grand daughter 



The other famous person in this Curry family is Stephen Curry's 2 year old daughter Riley Curry. who is very sweet and never ceases to amuse interviewers. Watch this video 



Stephen and Ayesha Curry are expecting their second kid in July 2015. I wish them all good luck and will continue to follow the Curry family NEWS.  Good luck to the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA finals and I will continue to follow the remaining final games.

Hope you all have a very good week and if you found this post interesting please do like my IndoUSMoms FB page to get regular updates from my blog.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Does nature need people??

Happy weekend everyone.A very  busy weekend with birthday parties and other functions to attend. Somehow 2 days is always not enough.

Thanks for the comments and feedback on my previous post. Since many of you were interested in manicure there is a very good deal on groupon Day Lily Manicure . I have tried this place before and had good experience and the manicure lasts for 2 weeks. This groupon is 34% off .

Recent floods and tornado in Texas reminded us that nature is a beast. Weather conditions can change any moment. Last few years Texas was in drought and now suddenly there are floods . I watched the KXAN report on the floods on Blanco river and how it ruined many lives and houses. On the contrary when the rain was pouring here , my mom in India kept complaining about the scorching heat. I was wondering what was really happening.

I was thinking to myself that humans are really not taking care of nature and that is why all this is happening. We pollute the environment to the core and we expect the nature to be ok with it. I have always thought what would nature tell us  if it had voice and could talk to us.

To my surprise I found these videos , where nature, ocean water, rain-forest, coral reef and flower are talking to humans,  going viral all over the social media. Take a look at the video on Nature talking to us


Every word in this video is true. Nature doesn't need people and we need it. Hope we all think in terms of nature when we do something instead of taking it for granted.Please do share your thoughts on this.

If you found this post interesting please like my IndoUSMoms FB page to get future updates from my blog.  Thank you for all the support.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Do you know why most nail salons in US are run by Vietnamese?

Happy holidays to all of you. Summer holidays have begun, still I see no improvement in Austin traffic. Few years back we used to see a vivid difference , roads became  more free when schools were closed. Hope the Mopac project does some magic.

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I remember someone asked me a few years back "How does India manufacture so many Engineers ?".  It is very hard to understand how this happens unless you are from India. Similarly have you ever wondered why most of the nail salons in US are run by Vietnamese people?  I have had this question in my mind for a while and got it cleared when I read an article on it recently.

The article mentioned that around 40 years the Hollywood actor Tippi Hedren traveled to Hope Village, a Vietnamese refugee camp near Sacramento, California,to meet a group of women who had recently fled the takeover of South Vietnam by the armed forces of Communist leader Ho Chi Min. Ms Hedren was trying hard to help these women to find some work so that they can support themselves in their new country. She tried to bring seamstresses and typists to see if they can be of some help. To Ms Hedren's surprise she found all the women staring  at her nails. Then she understood that they all loved manicure and would love to learn that art.

Tippi Hedren with the 20 Vietnamese who got their first manicure license in 1975
Courtesy :www.takepart.com


Ms Hedren flew in her beautician and enlisted a local beauty school to teach 20 of the women on how to execute the perfect manicure. After these 20 women learned the art they slowly started offering manicure services.  Manicures and pedicures were thought as luxury in California before , which costed $50 and up.  These trained women offered the same service for 30 to 50 percent lower rate and made it available to everyone.

Now the nail industry is a $8 billion and around 80% of the nail technicians are Vietnamese. Many of them are direct descendants of the 20 women whom Hedren met and taught them this skill.  Hedren had mentioned that she wanted something good to happen to these ladies as most of them lost their family , homes and everything in Vietnam  and they had nothing  in this new country.

I found this story very amusing and wanted to share it with you all. This story is a reminder to all of us that even our small deeds matter. We should always help others, even our smallest deed might bring in a big change to a community.

If you like this post and would like to get more updates from my blog please do like my IndoUsMoms Face Book page. Have a nice rest of the week.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The hidden Indo-chinese gem in Austin !!

Hope all your weekend sailed smooth. Mine was fun, exciting and  adventurous , will post about it in future. Thank you all  for the likes and comments on my previous post.

Last week I wanted to try out Indo-Chinese food. I was reminded of this restaurant suggested by our cousin in Dallas called  “Chicken Lollypop” in Austin TX. Being a vegetarian I was not sure if they would have vegetarian dishes, looking at the name. To my surprise they did have a lot of vegetarian options too.

We have tried to call this restaurant twice before and they have been out of food, due to the demand.  You have to call them well in advance to order the food and then you can pick it up. Last week we called them really early (around 6 pm) and luckily they had vegetarian options still available. Looks like non- vegetarian options go by fast. Spice level is very close to Indian spice level. Their price is very reasonable. While ordering you should specify your spice and oil level. You can check their menu from here. Currently they don't carry Bombay Sandwich and Paav Baji in their menu, they are planning to add them soon.

This restaurant is located inside a food mart at 1005 East Braker Lane. It was almost a 30 minute drive for us, but we were determined to try this restaurant after reading very good reviews about it. 


There were few chairs and tables inside the restaurant. I saw halal poultry signs on the board and also they import their paneer from India. They cut the veggies fresh and all dishes are made from scratch. We got our food and decided to eat there.




The food was really awesome and they have varied fusion items in their menu. I have been a fan of naan-wrap and trying it out at different places recently. Their naan wrap and the Manchurian fried rice were really good. Their portion sizes are good. The palate is very close to the food that you get in India. The owner checked with us  about how we liked the food and had a brief chat with us. I found the food to be a little oily,  if you don't like too much oil in your food you can mention that when you order. You can get all  other information from their FB page.






Overall, I enjoyed the food and service. You must think of it as a  trailer in terms of ambiance. I liked the experience and would love to try it again. Do check it out and share your thoughts and also like my IndoUsMoms Face Book page , if you found this useful.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Is your marriage successful?

Very busy week and weekend with lot of things to accomplish. I am really happy that I found few minutes to write a post.

I recently came across this  book Angie Grace's coloring book. This is an adult coloring book and people recommend it saying coloring soothes and calms your body. This is what we used to do it India as Rangoli.Now I understand why I drew Rangoli in front of our house in India. It improves your concentration and by thinking  how to connect the dots and color it you tend to forget your other worries :)

Marriage is a big gamble. You fall in love with someone and you think that you know everything about that person and get married, but after wedding there are always surprises. How many of you really knew what you were getting into before marriage? . All that you know is,  you love that person and you want to spend the rest of your life with him/her. There are general qualities that are required to sustain a marriage like  trust, understanding, being a good friend ,caring,  being there for each other etc , from my experience these are the top 5 essentials for a successful marriage

1) Communication: Anything can be sorted out by talking with each other. If you have a problem with your spouse talk it to him/her instead of telling it to all the other people around you. Remember that when you tell something wrong about your spouse to others, you are creating a wrong image about him/her . Within few days you will patch up with your spouse, but the third person with whom you discusses everything will form an image based on what all you said.

2)Dont share everything that is going on between your spouse with your parents: Parents are our biggest pillar of support in our lives. They are the ones who love us unconditionally, but remember you are their daughter/son first before they realize that you are a husband/wife to your spouse. They will not be able to understand any situation well. It will always be a biased judgement and that might lead to difference of opinion between your spouse and your parents. Also parents always tend to worry about you, so it is better not to share everything with them.



3) Give space: The person whom you married was an individual before he/she married you. Let them follow their dreams and passion. Everyone's passion gives them happiness and they get energized by doing it. Live and let live should be the motto.

4) Say thank you and praise your spouse whenever needed: Never take your spouse for granted. Whenever he/she does something nice say thank you. Also when you feel you hurted him/her try to explain why you did that and be cautious about not repeating it again. Praise your spouse for all that he/she does. Nothing is easy in this world.

5) Remember you both decided to enjoy life to the fullest together:Yes , this is the most important one. When I am really angry about something and trying to make my point, this would flash ac-cross my mind "We decided to be together and enjoy life to fullest" , that thought would vanish my anger .

When you follow all this, even when you have been married for several years it feels like you are just married and you want many more years of happiness together.  Wish you all a successful marriage with loads of fun and adventure !

If you found this article interesting please like my blog FB page IndoUsMoms FB page. Also share your thoughts about this article.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Are all vegetables and fruits safe to consume ?? think again !!

Enjoyed a relaxing and busy weekend. I think everyone in Austin is so much looking forward to Rahman concert next week. He is my favorite musician on earth. I will be overjoyed if I can get his autograph , but chances are remote :). To read a post that I wrote about Rahman check here God of music .

For all of you travelling to India with kids check this post for checklist of  things to keep in mind before you leave Travelling to India with kids?? Check this post :).  It is always a good idea to carry some toys for kids. I have listed some of them here Travel toys.

Usually we buy vegetables and wash them and use them. After reading a lot about organic , GMO we started buying organic vegetables and fruits. It took a lot for us to convince ourselves to make the switch. Even though organic fruits and vegetables are expensive , over a period of time when you think about your health,  it makes real sense to buy them . Check out this video if you are still debating whether to make this switch.



Organic certified does not  mean wax free. Produce could be organically grown but in the store something could be sprayed or done to them  to increase their shelf  life.One of our friend told us the importance of washing all vegetables in warm water and vinegar. To my surprise I see a lot of wax and sticky thing coming out when you put the veggies like tomato, bell pepper , berries and apples in warm water and vinegar. You can see the wax in this pic.




If you dont buy organic products think about switching and even if you switch it is advisable to wash them in warm water and vinegar and then rinse them again in cold water and use. For 3 cups of  warm water add one table spoon of distilled vinegar and soak it for at-least 20-25 minutes. Later remove the veggies/fruits  and rinse it in cold water and air dry it before storing it in refrigerator.


Please share your thoughts on this and if you find this useful, please like my FB page IndoUsMoms. Have a wonderful week ahead and meet you all soon with another post.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Want to know about good neighborhood in Austin to buy a house?? Check this post

Hope your week is sailing through well. A short week and looking forward to a weekend with lesser rain . Thanks for the likes and comments on my previous post. If you find my post useful please do like my FB page IndoUSmoms to get regular updates.

When you are looking to buy a house ,one of the important decision to make  is to narrow down on a  neighborhood  to buy a house. The real problem associated with it is , house is a big financial commitment  and once you buy a house, it is very difficult to move out immediately. I have already written a post on what things to consider before buying a house , please check it here Buying a new house , a few tips.  Also to save more money while buying a house check this post More tips to save money while buying a house.

To find a good neighborhood you have to do a lot of research and  analysis to compare between different neighborhoods and narrow down to one. I collaborated again with Indus Ladies to come up with a list of  best neighborhood in Austin to buy a house. These are the factors I considered to come up with this list:
1)Affordability
2)School district
3)Proximity to freeway
4)Proximity to tech companies
5)Ameneties
6)Indian population
7)Proximity to shopping malls and Indian stores

Please check the article here Best neighborhood to buy houses for Indians in Austin.


Austin neighborhood

I did a lot of research to come up with this article. I also thank Jey for all his inputs to make this article more useful for people who are actively searching for a house.

Hope this article benefits most of you and good luck with the search .Hope you all find your dream home. Please give your inputs or any additional neighborhoods that I have missed and also share this with your friends who are in the process of buying a house.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

How do you engage your kids at home??

Hope all your long weekend is going good. In Austin the rain poured yersterday night,there was a power cut, feel like I am in India. Only thing missing is playing outside with friends and enjoying the power cut!

Usually kids have a lot of energy. During long weekends with heavy rain , I really dont know how to expend their energy, as we can't take them out. We usually take them to indoor play areas. Few weeks back,I attended a class called  "Montessori at home". This class taught me on how to set up the house so it is kid friendly like leaving the cups, bowls, spoons , water , a snack, in a height where kids can get it by themselves. I try to follow some of these at home now.

One important  truth that I learned from this class is we need to teach our kids as young as 2 years to do some household chores , since these kids are now so eager to do what their parents do. When they grow older, they will only want to do what their peers do.

work station set up at my home 
If we dont expose our kids to easy chores  they will never contribute to anything in the house as they grow. I have started to get some help from my kids on small things that they can do. I must admit some days they do 70% of what I ask them to do. Some days it is just 10% or even 0%..Still I am happy.

These days  my kids have been helping me with scrubbing their lunch boxes,  packing their own fruits for school, sweeping the floors, help with leaving the trash cans outside of course with a lot of assistance from me. I am happy that they are engaged as well as I get the work done !!.

I have bought some of these things to make all the above process easier. Little helper broom set so that they can help me with cleaning. A scrubber Palm scrubber for them to help me with scrubbing dishes. An apple cutter  so my son (41/2 yrs) can cut his own apple. Kids are fast learners, once you show them how it works they will surprise you by doing it right the next time.

I found thsi online and think it migh be a helpful reference

Also I have been setting up small work stations for them to work on some activities , I get this ready Friday night so they have something to do Saturday morning. The biggest challenge is finding new things for them to do. I usually get a lot of ideas from here Montessori activities.

If you have found this useful, please do like my FB page . Thank you for  all the support. Do share your thoughts and also how you engage your kids at home.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Check out this Indian restaurant in Austin !!

Happy long weekend everyone. Rain in Austin is going to put us indoors, all three days. I have been wanting to go out somewhere this long weekend but looks like we wont be able to. My kids were singing "Rain , rain go away' song, I understand the full meaning of that song only today.

Recently I went to an Indian restaurant called Naanfull inAustin TX, after I heard good reviews about it. Their menu includes authentic Indian platters and also fusion food like “Naan wrap” and “Naanizza”, (pizza on Naan) which is very unique to Austin Indian food scene.  Ordering a platter is very simple. You select the sauce (Vindaloo sauce, Korma sauce, Tikka masala sauce, Curry Sauce and Saagwala -spinach based sauce) first and then select your choice of protein (Paneer, chicken, lamb or egg).  I was impressed by this and I tasted all the sauce before I selected one. I saw some prize shields placed near the ordering booth. This restaurant has received the first place for their Vindaloo sauce and also an award for their Chicken Tikka masala. 


Their menu card tells their story; three vibrant moms founded this restaurant. Moms really know what food a family needs and I was confident that my food was going to taste good. The price of all items is very reasonable. As I was going through the menu card, my food arrived. The service was quick and the food was flavorful and tasted good. Their naan is really fresh. 


 No wonder their food tastes good, since each dish is made from scratch and they use only the freshest ingredients.They also have a program called ‘share a naan’. Whenever you round up your bill to the nearest dollar amount they will give you a naan that you can donate to the homeless on your way back home. I think this is an excellent way to give back to the community.
The ambiance of the restaurant is really nice and they have a nice open patio at the back where you can host birthday parties as well. There is a weekend buffet which is a real big hit among customers. They are the only Indian Restaurant in Austin that delivers food within 5 mile radius. You can also order online by visiting their website Naanfull restaurant website.



The restaurant is located on Burnet road and very close to IBM office. The owners take feedback very seriously. You can write to them at contact@naanfull. Overall excellent food, very good customer service and ambiance.  I left the restaurant with a feeling that I have found a very good  Indian restaurant in Austin. Do try it out J

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