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:
2)School district
3)Proximity to freeway
4)Proximity to tech companies
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

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Five things that I learnt from successful people !!!

Very busy week, never got the time to really sit and write a post . Last Sunday I went to a stand up comedy and dance program organised for the 10th anniversary of Kalalaya Austin. It was very good. I laughed thoroughly throughout the stand up comedy. Hats off to the team for their hard work and dedication.

We got a set of RC controlled helicopters like this before and our kids really enjoy trying to catch these when my husband flies them. Do check it out, it is a very good deal on Groupon RC controlled helicopter. More than the kids my husband likes to fly them , it is a very good overall family fun.

I like to read biographies as I am  always curious on how that person attained his/her goals. When you dig deep you find out that no one attains success overnight. There are lot of things that go into it and it is a process.Also success is very momentary.I would like to list some of the traits that I found in most successful people that I always try to follow.

*Find what you are good at: Most successful people have followed their passion and have did what they liked. If you know that you are passionate about something , you got to do it more often , it will surely give you confidence and will help to find who you really are. Steve Jobs biography clearly says how much he loved technology and how he followed that path to start a company like Apple.

*Take the road less traveled by or even better not taken by others: This is very important. There is a lot of risk involved but you will be able to succeed only when you think out of the box. When you read about Maria Montessori I feel like she was able to see kids from a different perspective and hence she succeeded in finding a way to keep them occupied and not call them as trouble.

*Never give up: There might be so many obstacles to reach the goal you have. I am surprised how most successful people turn obstacles to a path. When you read the biography of J K Rowling it is very clear how even when you are in the middle of poverty and when your writing is rejected you should still not give up and keep trying, someone will know your worth.

*Create Opportunities : Most of the times we will never find opportunities to show case our talents in that case we need to create them.When you read about Michael Dell, you will understand how he realized that nobody sold computers directly to consumers and he wanted to start a business based on that and he did become successful.

*Turn your limitations to strength: This is the most important thing. In life we always focus on our limitations too much, we need to think on how to make them our strength. Actor Amitabh Bachchan is a great example for this. Most heroes even when they get old try to look young and worry about aging. He is one actor who takes his age as a strength and does roles accordingly. His recent movie 'Piku' is one such example.

Hope all this will at least trigger some thought in everyone who reads this.Please share your thoughts. If you find this useful and would like to get more updates from my blog do like my FB page IndoUSMoms.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Even the earth is constantly moving but why don’t our kids??

The rains in Austin are spoiling the spring play time for kids, especially during weekends. Increasingly we see many kids glued to electronic devices in restaurants, shopping mall etc which is really sad. 

There are good deals for Kids Outdoor Toys, do check them out.Kids these days are missing out on a lot of things. Out of everything they miss, the most vital one is the memories of playing outdoor games with friends during childhood. I have a lot of memories of playing different outdoor games with my friends, fighting with them patching up and expressing my emotions of joy when I win, sadness when I lose and so on. I grew up in the 80’s in Chennai, a city in South India. Now I have immigrated to the US and have a son who is 4 1/2 years old and a daughter who is 2 ½ years old. They both pretty much play indoors and we try to take them for cycling, swimming or even for a walk during summer. 

During my childhood days, after school, I would come home and immediately get out and play with my friends. After play, I would go home finish my homework, have dinner and will sleep immediately as I was very tired. My parents never worried about summer camps to keep me occupied during summer.

 Of course I am in a different generation now, thanks to technology to which, I also contribute a little bit that make kids glued to tablets, phones. There are some small things we can do to keep our kids moving and playing and these are the 5 main reasons why we you should do it
1)      Relieves stress: You might ask me what stress a 4 or 5 year old might face. Just imagine yourself being bossed over by 2 people (parents) who have no time to really talk or play with and you have to listen to them all the time . As I am writing this, I am getting stressed out.
2)      Gives them happiness: Anytime I ask my son if he wants to go out and play or ride the bi-cycle he is ready and happy. These are small joys that we can give them.
3)      Changes their attitude towards life: Playing with a group of friends, teaches a lot of things to these small kids who are innocent and yet to face the real world. It helps them in handling real life issues better.
4)      Helps in their well-being: Childhood obesity is a very common problem in this day and age. Many diseases are seen so common among kids in this generation. Also most kids seem to wear glasses at a very young age due to too much exposure to the monitor’s (TV/IPAD/ etc). Playing keeps them fit and also aids to their well –being. Researchers have observed that physically active children are less likely to suffer from high-blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and heart diseases, later in life.
5)      They are tired and they sleep: This is the important mantra. In the current busy world parents get very little time to even sit and talk with each other. Kids with loads off energy are up until 11pm and when they sleep we also sleep. If the kids play well they get tired and hit the bed sooner, which means more time with your loved ones. 

Please share your thoughts on this and also check do like my FB page IndoUSMoms FB page . Also check other posts related to kids here 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Moving to Austin?? Check this post for top 10 apartment complexes in Austin !!

With lot of rain the weather is very pleasant in Austin. I have been living in Austin for several years but in  past 3-4 years the number of people moving into this city has increased tremendously.  No doubt Austin is the fastest growing city in U.S.

You can split Austin into North Austin, Round Rock and South Austin. I recently collaborated with Indus Ladies website and wrote  articles on the top 10 apartment complex for Indians in Austin covering all these three major areas . I really thank Jey from Indus Ladies for giving me inputs for writing this  article and  also all my friends who gave me apartment suggestions. Jey provided valuable information and also published it in the website.

Other things explained well in these articles are

*Nearby companies for each apartment complex
*Nearby mall and shopping center
*Nearby Indian grocery
*Schools assigned for each apartment complex
*Nearby Freeway accesses.

Here is the link to it do check it out.
Top 10 Apartments for Indians in North Austin
Top 10 Apartments for Indians in Round Rock Area
Top 10 Apartments for Indians in South Austin

I  did a lot of research in writing these articles. If you think you have some more input to it or if you think more apartments can be added to the list do leave a comment. If you find this information very useful please do like my blog FB page IndoUsMoms FB page. Thank you for all the likes and support.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Best mother's day deals!!!

Happy Mothers day !!!. Being a mother, I know we don't expect much in return from our kids for all that we do. Little things are what makes us happy.  My kids handed over some art wok they did at school and also they had answered some questions about me. Their answers were funny. To the question "What does your mother like to do?" my son answered "Laundry" and to another question "What is your mother's job?" my son answered " fold everything at home".

It is always nice to get a break from the routine. Some small things that moms will really enjoy is a break from kitchen or a small treat like ice cream or dessert or even a frappuccino or a nice massage. There are some deals that will help you get all this on a nice deal.

Fire bowl cafe: I called Fire Bowl cafe today and they said that moms get 1/2 of an entree when another entree of equal or greater value is purchased tomorrow. We lover Fire bowl cafe and this is a nice deal for our family.

Naanfull Indian Restaurant: This Indian Restaurant in Austin offers free buffet for moms from 12:00- 3:00 pm when they eat with their family. One mother per family. They have special biryani buffet that six varieties of biryani with veg and non-veg options, channa masala, chicken tikka masala, chili wings, naan, papad, salad, raita, fruits and dessert. . Also 20% of all income of the day will be given to Nepal  earthquake relief fund. 

Starbucks: Get half off any frappuccino blended beverage from 3-5 pm each day through May 10th.

La Mars Donuts : Check if this donut shop is anywhere near you. They are offering a glazed donut free for moms tomorrow.

Tijuana Flats: This Mexican restaurant chain in Florida is offering free entree at participating locations. Do find out if the one near you is offering this deal.

Massage Harmony Groupon :  Any time I would like a massage. This is a great deal for 30 minute massage for $27 at multiple massage harmony location in Austin. Do check in groupon if you have any deals in your area for a massage.

Free dessert at PF Chang's: Check this link to know more about it. PF Chang's is a Chinese restaurant that offers very good menu.

Also some museums offer free entry for moms. Do check the ones near you. This museum in Austin offers free entry to Moms on Saturday and Sunday  for two weekend in Austin. Umlauf Sculpture Garden and  Museum.

BJ's Brew house: Thanks to one of the blog follower for this, if you download the BJ's app there is a free pizookie. Print the coupon below to get it.

JC Penny: Thanks to my friend for this deal. Looks like JC penny has good deals for Mother's day as well.

Hope you all have a wonderful Mother's day if you find this information useful please do like my FB page IndoUSMoms FB page. Thank you for all the support. Do leave a comment if you know any other deals for Mothers day in your area.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Met with an accident, what you should do?

Telugu Cultural Association in Austin is celebrating Ugadi and Sri Rama Navami on May 9th. Do check their website to know more information  Telugu Cultural Association.If you love beet root and don't want to go through the hassle of boiling and cutting them, Costco has a cut and boiled beet root in its produce section(one of my friend shared this info). Do give it a try

Auto accident is the last thing that you would want, on a busy morning. The only places I have mentioned about accident is when I called to get a quote for auto insurance. I usually get cheaper quotes from 21st century free quote, give it a try and see.

Today morning as I was driving from home to work , I was waiting to make a right on a stop sign , the person behind me thought that I already turned right and rear ended me. Though I was not injured the impact kind of created a shock in me. We both pulled over ,but I had no idea on what I should do next. I called my husband and he told me to collect some details, I collected some of them.

I just thought to myself, it would have been better if I was more  prepared for this unpredictable event.  Since I was not injured we didn't call 911. I took a photo of the other persons insurance and one good thing was we exchanged phone numbers. I did not even notice what car hit mine  and my mind was blank. So to all of you these are the things you need to do if  an unfortunate auto accident happens .

*Once you meet with an accident pull over somewhere safe.
*If anyone is injured please call 911 for medical assistance.
*If your car is totaled please call your road side assistance for help.

Information to be exchanged:
*Name , phone number and email of both the party and also witnesses.
*Photos of the accident scene and all vehicles involved.
*Insurance details of all parties involved
*Vehicle registration numbers of vehicles involved.
*If 911 was called then the police report, officer name and badge number needs to be collected.

After this you need to report your claim to the insurance company ,the next steps I am yet to go through. If you have had prior experience do leave a comment.

If you find these posts informative, please do like my face book page IndoUSmoms page.  Thank you for supporting me continue my passion.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Attention to all parents whose kids have a PIO card!!

Hope  your weekend is going good.  It is getting hotter and this is the time to let kids play with water. Yesterday my kids had a lot of fun in one of our friends place splashing water using the stick splashers. I have got my son water guns before, but the stick splashers seem to be better. As I was looking for deals to buy 2 splashers for my kids ,I found this one  Pool master 72571 Water Pop Dual Pack Hot Shots Power Launchers. One splasher usually costs around $15.Two for $19.88 is a real deal.

Two weeks back we had been to an Indian and Thai food trailer called Bombay Dhabba and Little Thai in Austin. Food tasted really good and the good news is they are are in the same complex.People in Austin do check it out if you haven't already.For more information check this Bombay Dhabba and Little Thai.

Last week my sister-in-law shared this news with us. Indian government has merged the PIO( Person of Indian Origin) and OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) into OCI. PIO cards are not valid after June 18th 2015. However existing PIO card holders can travel to India with a valid passport now but are requested to apply for their OCI cards ASAP.

The process and the checklist of items needed are explained very well  here PIO to OCI. The major differences between PIO and OCI is explained very well here OCI vs PIO. Indian government decided to merge these two to provide more benefits for a person of Indian origin.

After my son was born it took us at least 6 months to fill the forms and apply for a PIO and we got the PIO card in 2 months. The process was very tedious that some of my friends just decided to get a VISA for their kids instead of PIO. We are yet to apply  OCI for our kids.Hope this new process  is clear and we can apply hassle free.

Also if you follow or like my posts do like my FB page IndoUSmoms to get future updates to all my post. Thank you very much  for all your support that helps me follow my passion.

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