An Easy Idea To Get Rid Of Shower Stains

An Easy Idea To Get Rid Of Bathroom Shower StainsDo you spend too much time cleaning the shower and still see some residues that are not going away? I came across this DIY cleaning hack around 5 years ago when I was trying to get rid of a hard stain on our bathroom shower. It’s super simple and doesn’t require any scrubbing or hard work.

Required:

Directions:

  1. Soak the cotton balls in bleach and cover the unclean areas with bleach soaked cotton balls
  2. Let it sit overnight
  3. In the morning, remove the cotton balls and wash with plain water

As I mentioned above, you only spend few minutes to prepare the cotton balls and few minutes in the morning to clean the area. Just make sure everyone at home stay away from the bathroom till you clear it in the morning.

This hack never fails and works every single time.

Minimalist Hospital Bag Checklist

Hospital bag checklist coverWhen we found out that I was pregnant with our first child, I started putting together a baby registry cehcklist right after I turned 3 months pregnant. Over the next several months, I started getting inputs from multiple sources such as from moms I know, Pinterest and forums etc for a comprehensive list of things I needed to buy for the child. Later I realized, no matter how many times you tweak the list and make it efficient, each baby is different. Even with our babies, one loved the bouncer and one hated it. So, some toys/items might not be used by your baby at all. For hospital bag checklist, however, we don’t have to worry about not using something. For sure every mom/baby use the majority of the same items as they go through the same things in the hospital.

I realized my hospital bag checklist was way too long the first time and I didn’t even use a lot of items I brought to the hospital. Can you believe I carried a 50 pounds suitcase as hospital bag for my first delivery? I didn’t use even 10% of the items I carried. Hospital carired and provided most of the basic things and I was way too exhausted (who knew you’ll feel like you’re hit by a car after delivery) to even open my big luggage.

The second time around, I reviewed my first pregnancy hospital bag checklist and cut unnecessary/not-used items from the list. As you can imagine, the revised checklist contains only basic, important things we have to carry and nothing else. I call it a minimalist hospital bag checklist. 🙂

I used almost all the items I carried to the hospital during the stay. My bag was also much lighter than the first time. I only needed a small backpack (+boppy pillow) during the second time (however, I needed a bigger bag when we left the hospital to carry the freebies from the hospital after delivery).

Although you can find some hospital bag lists in the internet that are practical, a lot of them have some unbelievable long list of recommendations. For example, I have no idea why they recommend us to carry diapers to the hospital. Unless you are particular about a specific brand or cloth diapering from day 1, there is no need to carry diapers in your hospital bag. For both of my babies, the hospital provided Pamper Snugglers until we left home. I even brought additional diapers from the hospital when we were released to go home.

Personally, Food is the primary issue when it comes to the hospital stay. You’ll be deprived of good food and it’s better you carry some snacks for munching during the stay. Also ask your family to bring lots of fruits. I remember not having any fruits (other than the ones that come with the meal) after my first delivery.

For Baby:

I only carried going home outfit for the baby. Until she was ready to go home, my baby wore only hospital onesies and blankets (for swaddling). So, the baby practically doesn’t need anything other than going home outfit that you need to keep in the hospital bag.

For the Mommy:

  • Make sure to take your prenatal vitamins every day
  • Makeup and toiletries such as toothbrush and toothpaste are a must. Even if you forget, do you know hospital does provide toiletries?
  • Electronics: Don’t forget to take all the necessary electronics and chargers
  • Clothes: Get your favorite pajamas for the stay and going home outfit
  • Folder for the paperwork: During the stay, you’ll receive multiple important documents. I’d suggest you carry a folder to keep the documents, as soon as you receive them, in the folder
  • Nursing cover and Boppy pillow: Nursing cover is optional. Boppy pillow is a must
  • Thank you gift for the caregivers: I can write a big essay on this topic. I did so much research on “thank you gift” when I was pregnant. Thank you gifts are completely optional and you don’t have to give anything to the caregivers, nor do they expect anything from you. However, if you do want to give them, make sure you have them ready in the hospital bag. 

Other Family Members:

Mostly clothes and toiletries are the essential items for the family members who stay with mommy and baby at the hospital.

For convenience, I created a checklist printable that you can print and keep it handy. Click the below image and save it on your computer. Click print this minimalist hospital bag checklist. Hope you find it useful.

Minimalist Hospital Bag Checklist

9 Ways To Buy Organic Food on a Budget

save money on organic groceriesPlease tell me I’m not the only one who skips buying organic avocado just because it’s damn expensive. As much as I love to eat food clean of pesticides and chemicals, I don’t enjoy paying $6 for a pound of Strawberries. Until a few years ago, organic and clean eating were not really a thing. Only recently people started becoming aware of the importance and now almost everyone I know buys organic products. I’m one of those people who started buying organic only in the past few years.

One positive thing is, due to the mass consumption of organic groceries, we are able to find organic products in every single grocery store including Walmart. The more people buy it, the less expensive it becomes. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? At least we don’t have to make special trips to Whole Foods {moment of truth: I spend more time in Whole foods cafe than in the grocery store 😉 }.

8 years ago, my grocery budget was much less than my current grocery budget. With growing family and inclusion of organic groceries, our budget went up more than what I would like it to be. As I mentioned here, my grocery budget is $600 a month for 3 adults (including my visiting mom) and 2 kids. Once my mom goes back to India, I’m planning to reduce our budget to $500 a month and see if we can survive. Our budget includes produce, toiletries, household products, diaper etc.

Over the years, our grocery budget includes lot more organic products even though I do buy regular products in our diet. I follow the below ideas to eat organic food within the budget. These are easy-to-follow ideas that I use every single time.

Follow the Clean/Dirty Rule:

Do you know you don’t have to buy all Organic? Have you heard of Clean 15/Dirty 12 rule? I follow it almost to the T. I love that I don’t have to pay $7 and buy an Organic cantaloupe when I get the regular one for just $1.5.

EWG updates this list once a year and I share it on Facebook whenever there is an update.

Buy Frozen:

If we want to buy non-seasonal produce (eg. buying fresh berries in winter), we do need to pay a premium price. Because fresh berries are not available in all regions during winter. Instead, try buying frozen produce. They are much cheaper and equally, if not more, nutritious.

Gobble The Groceries:

Not kidding guys! Let’s use every damn thing we bought at the store. Even though I buy a variety of fruits and veggies at the store, my eating habit was more towards the fruits/veggies I like. The rest would sit in the fridge for days until it’s ready to go to the trash. Now I push myself to eat everything until I buy a new set of fruits and veggies.

My rule is to empty the fridge before I go shopping every single time.

Use Coupons:

You’ll probably find more coupons for junk food. But do you know you can find coupons for Organic products as well? Check grocery store apps, brand websites etc to find coupons for Organic products. If you’re buying something repeatedly, it’s better you find coupon for that product to save money consistently.

If you don’t find coupon for your favorite product, write an email to the brand about how much you love their product and request coupons.

Farmers Market:

Personally, I don’t think Farmers Market is cheap. It’s equally, if not more, expensive than a regular grocery store. However, there is a trick to save when shopping at Farmers Market. Make sure you shop at the end of the hour before they close. Vendors are ready to sell you excessive produce before they leave home. For example, I got a 2 big bunches of Basil for $1 once. She asked me to keep it for free. I didn’t want to take it free, so decided to give her a dollar instead. At the end, both of us were happy. I consider that a good deal.

how to save money on organic products

Mix Your Purchases:

Not all organic products are expensive. For example, you can buy 5 pounds of organic pear for the price of 1 pound of organic Strawberry (check out the picture above). So, don’t just buy one type of expensive organic produce every time. Mix up your purchases to save money.

Buy from Regular Grocery Store:

Stay away from specialty stores such as Whole Foods for organic groceries. Do you know some dollar stores carry organic groceries? My personal favorite is ALDI. If you have one nearby, do check it out. You’ll be surprised to see some wonderful finds in there.

Grow Your Own Food:

Plant your own vegetable garden if you have space to do it. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing where our food comes from. Back when we lived in Austin, I had many more plants than now. I loved going to the backyard to pick up some fresh mint.

Buy Online:

The two websites I use for online grocery purchases are Luckyvitamin and Amazon. For a lot f items Lucky vitamin is much cheaper than Amazon. I wait till they have a sale and coupons before I make my purchases.

Do you guys follow any other ideas besides the above to save money on organic grocery shopping? I’d love to know.

Our June 2017 Family Finance Overview

Can you believe we are already past 1/2 of the year? My little one turned 6 months old and I feel like all these happened in a blink of an eye 🙂

With 2 kids and move to a new place, our expenses went up quite a bit lately. We didn’t buy a lot of baby items for Meera as we used Jeev’s stuff for her. We are also slowly getting rid of stuff as she outgrows them (hello, bouncer!). One thing I realized is, babies don’t need a lot of stuff. They only need few clothes and food. My kids play with empty boxes more than they play with expensive, educated (we think) toys that we buy them.

My husband and I have monthly financial meetings at the end of the month to go over our spending pattern and changes we need to make. I thought I can share our monthly family finance wins and fails over here for you all. I hope you find them useful.

WINS:

Niagara Roadtrips Instead of Flying:

It’s definitely one of the financial wins for this month. Hubby was not sure how the road trip would turn out to be with a toddler and a baby. We live 6 hours away from Niagara. When I checked, the airline tickets were quite expensive and it didn’t make sense to fly when we can drive with a little bit of planning. We spread the trip over 4 days (it would have been just a day trip if we flew) and let me tell you, it was one of the best trips we had with kids.

The whole stretch from NJ to Niagara Falls is full of trees and so gorgeous. It’s one of the reasons we never felt tired of driving. We stopped at random spots and explored the local area.

Eating Out on Vacation:

If you are following this Facebook or Instagram, page, you know we traveled quite a bit in June. Subway and McDonalds are our stable restaurants especially when traveling. We love the variety of options Subway provides and we get coffee and snack from McDonald’s (McDonald’s does have some healthy options in their menu).

For dinners, we carried Instantpot thinking that we would cook dinner at least for Jeev. However, every night we reached hotel room only around 10 PM and eating out was the easy option. For restaurants, even before starting the trip, I bought discounted gift cards for Subway and McDonald’s from Raise (I use these discounted gift card selling websites quite a lot for my purchases). 

Food Budget:

We ate out only a few times in June and surprisingly we didn’t miss it at all. More than saving money, health is the primary reason we are limiting outside food. Instead, I am making whole wheat pizza and other splurge foods at home when we crave for junk food.

Fails:

Light Fixture:

One of us broke the light fixer in the house and we had to buy a replacement for a whopping $80. Even though I cringe when I think about the $$ wasted, it was an accident and was no one’s fault.

Marshalls Trips:

I love Marshalls and I buy a lot of items from TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I made way too many trips to Marshalls in June that my shopping $$ were quite high. If only I remember what we bought there.

I bought a toy for a friend’s kid birthday and even though I hid it from Jeev, somehow this little guy found out and opened it the next minute he saw the toy. Well, it’s the mom’s mistake to have kept it in the house (I should have left it in the car itself). I had to make another trip to Marshalls to buy another toy for the birthday kid.

Emergency Visit:

As I mentioned in my last Life Lately post, we had visits to ER a number of times in the last few months. At the end of each trip, I felt like I overreacted (glad it was nothing scary). In June, it was my turn to visit ER and it’s a huge part of our total expenses. Hoping for less surpricing spends in July.

Disclosure: I get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use my links, but I’m very grateful when you do. 

Life Lately

Life LatelyIt’s been minutes since I shared my life lately. Probably not after the baby was born? 🙂 You all know how the first few months after baby would be. Jeev was getting adjusted to having a sibling, sleepless nights, new place, and a lot more changes than we would prefer. We survived and finally, things are getting better.

about meera

About Meera:

Meera just turned 5 months old and she already adores her brother. She is sitting on her own and always looking to grab something to put it in her mouth. She is such a charmer and wants everyone around her. She gets upset even if one of her moves away from her. This girl is full of life and I’m already seeing her uniqueness.

hershey chocolate world

Our Trips to Chocolate factory and DC:

When Jeev was born, we started taking him out as soon as he turned 2 months. With Meera, we finally took a long trip only after she turned 4 months old. My husband has been working too many hours lately (not a happy wife here) and on a Saturday evening, we decided to take a 3 hours trip to Chocolate Factory in Philadelphia. The best part was, we finally traveled to someplace nice and enjoyed every bit of the experience. The worst part was, Hubby was on call all through the journey and we missed meeting some of the folks in PA.

Then, the week after, we took my mom to DC. DC is 4 hours away from our place and it only took us 7 hours to reach there after taking breaks almost every 30 minutes.

It’s our third visit to DC and a low key visit. We made the whole journey as simple as possible. Driving to DC was the hardest part of the trip. We stayed 5 minutes away from major attractions and took Uber everywhere. We came back to the room for kids nap time and went out again in the evening. It worked perfectly fine for us.

Back to work:

I was back to work from maternity leave from March. It’s been over 3 months and I should say life has been crazzaay over here. I’m not really complaining, I love what I do and overall I’m happy that I’m able to balance better than I expected. Big thanks to my family!

Meera’s 100 days and Anna Prashanam:

I’m someone who keeps looking for ideas to celebrate and create memories as a family. We celebrated Jeev’s 100 days and I followed the same tradition for Meera as well.

For Meera’s anna prasannam (first feeding ceremony), mom and I went to Jo Ann’s, picked material for her dress, and Mom handmade a dress for her first bite. I’ll treasure this dress forever. The day was, for sure, very special.

My YouTube channel:

I started YouTube channel a couple of months ago to share some of the things that work better when I show visually. I also realized I’m stressed out when I try to do everything. My initial plan was to post a video once every couple of weeks and I don’t think it’s feasible.

Even to take a video, I had to wait till the house is silent (is that even possible with an active toddler and a baby?), set up everything, take video, and edit. Man, it’s a lot of work and not doing something I planned stresses me out.

So I decided to take it easy and shoot videos whenever I feel like. If I post a video, I’ll share it on Facebook and Instagram.

The Bad:

In the last few months, we had to visit ER multiple times. By God’s grace, all are due to me freaking out over small issues (mom hormones, maybe?). But, this side of life is definitely stressful. I hope there won’t be any sickness for a while.

Did you have any big moments in the last few weeks/months? I’d love to hearing more about you.