Wednesday, 24 June 2015

"Golden Rules" from my Grandfather

The first time I heard my grandfather talk about Rule # 13 was when I was 10. He was talking to some guests at our place and emphasizing on the lack of professionalism people tend to have in work-places in Pakistan, especially when it comes to following up and reverting back on a job assigned. 

I think the seed was sowed then, which is why from the day that I started working, my email turn-around-time is about 2 mins. Even if I don't know the answer to what is asked of me, I still write back and let the person on the other end know that I have "heard" them and I will get back to them. 

It would be a great loss to the community if I don't pass on all of the 15 Golden Rules of a  successful Work-Place (which by the way very well apply at home too!), that I have inherited from my Grandfather. He himself is still known very well for his professionalism and discipline. 

So, taking it from the top: 

RULE #1 : If you open something, close it. 

RULE #2: If you unlock something, lock it. 

RULE # 3: If you break something, fix it.

RULE # 4: If you can't fix it, find somebody who can. 

RULE # 5: If you borrow it, return it.

RULE # 6: If you use it, take care of it. 

RULE # 7: If you make a mess, clean it up.     (My 3 yr old is already trained on this now) 

RULE # 8: If you move it, put it back.

RULE # 9: If it belongs to someone else and you want to use it, ask permission.

RULE # 10: If it doesn't concern you, mind your own business (Shout to All Pakistani Ladies!) 

RULE # 11: If a problem needs solving, don't fight it, solve it. 

RULE # 12: If you can improve something, do it 

RULE # 13: If asked to do something, always revert back in good time. It does not matter if the job has been "done" or "not done".  (My professional Mantra!) 

RULE #14: Don't leave unnecessary things around your work area.

RULE #15: Keep the atmosphere in the work area fresh. 

These rules were actually circulated at my grand fathers work place by him, when he was an engineer at the Attock Oil Company in Rawalpindi. 

These are universal best practices that were written perhaps 3 decades ago, but are as valid to any work place or home environment even today and for years to come. 

P.S : the comments in the brackets are the granddaughter's comments are not part of the original 15 commandments from the Grandfather. And yes, that is my grandfather from his recent book launch ceremony  :) 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Theme Birthdays Made Easy!

My daughter just turned three. About 4 weeks before her actual birth date I had already started thinking about how I would celebrate her 3rd. Her first 2 were perfectly themed and easily managed in a small family group but this time around I could sense that she would want to have some daycare buddies over. 

I am personally not a huge fan of princess-y stuff and princess (read: Frozen) birthday themes where every other party just competes in size, dress and lavishness. To me theme birthdays are important not because they make you seem in fashion, because they make fun memories and wonderful photograph albums and if they are actually based on what your child is 'into' at the time, then it makes them happy! 

So here are a few tips for those busy, practical moms who want to celebrate theme birthdays but not end up spending a fortune on them: 

1. Bumble Bee Theme 

This turns out to be a really cute theme. Here are some simple ideas for execution: 

i) Goody Bags: Get plain yellow bags and paste black paper stripes (or the reverse if  you find black bags)

ii) Table Setting: Use black and yellow crape paper as a table cloth. Alternatively a black or yellow piece of cloth would do. Try to keep the cloth under neath the cake in the opposite shade as the cake itself. 

iii) Get a themed cake done OR get a simple yellow cake and stick-out some honey bee accessories on it.

iv) Back Drop: Use black and yellow broad ribbons as drapes in the background

v) Balloons : Yellow and Black Balloons or Yellow Balloons Covered with Black Ribbon Stripes 

vi) Plates: Get plain yellow or black paper plates and stick a cut out of a print-out (easily available on the internet) of a bumble bee. Otherwise, strip the plates as well. Do the same for cups. 

2. Lady Bird Theme

Do almost the same as above just change color combo to Black and Red and the stripes to Polka dots. 

The same theme could also work as a "Minnie Mouse" theme if you throw in some Minnie mouse cut outs, 

You could cut out large circles from black chart paper and paste onto red paper plates to make Minnie Mouse ears sticking out of plates.

3. Twinkle Star Theme

1. Goody Bags: Using plain blue bags and Silvery paper cut out in star shape with glittery effect to embellish your bags.

2. Table Cloth: Dark Blue Coloured Cloth or Crape Paper. Sprinkle confetti stars or glitter 

3. Plates: Same method, stick some silver star cut outs on plain dark blue plates. (Tip: Use the Foil in your kitchen drawer if you can't find a good quality glazed silver paper). You can do the same for cups. 

4. Back Drop: Cut out some big and small stars and a moon , and hang them with strings in the back-drop

5. Props: If it's your daughter's birthday, she could end up holding a star magic wand easily found in toy stores. Star shaped clips would add to the cuteness. 

So the above are 3 really simple themes and maybe you can draw some more along the same format. What's great about these not so fashionable themes that your party will give a more home-made and DIY feel which is always more charming :)