Five Things Friday Vol. 55

Five Things Friday: just five things I’m thinking about or things that made my week, or things that I otherwise feel like sharing.

Phew. What a busy (last couple of) week(s). If you wondered where I went, nowhere. I was here, just super busy with work and holiday stuff, and therefore had no brain capacity, or time, to write or read/comment. If you’ve recently gotten a big batch of comments from me on your blog, that’s why. But, I’ve made a lot of progress on the holiday prep front. I am 99% done with my Christmas shopping and the last order of business is mailing out a couple of packages and the last batch of holiday cards this weekend. How’s your holiday prep going?

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I spent the last two weekends working on a photo book. If you’ve ever put one together, you know how much freaking work it is, and how it can eat up an entire weekend like it’s nothing. I calculated that I probably worked 40+ hours on it over the last two weeks. I know I should have started sooner, I know I didn’t have to make it so hard on myself, but you know how these things go. And honestly, if nothing else, I know that a deadline will make me commit and crank out whatever needs to be done in the most efficient manner. I am happy to say that I sent off the order with about 24 hours to spare to guarantee delivery at my sister’s house by Christmas. 

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I got the Christmas tree set up last weekend and it puts a big smile on my face every time I look at it. If you recall the ordeal of getting it two years ago (at the height of the pandemic, mind you!), you understand why. Yes, it’s a fake tree and I wish we had the space for a big real tree, but alas, we don’t and this is the second-best thing. It reminds me so much of the trees that we had back home when I grew up.

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It’s overdue because the package arrived earlier this month already, but I am thrilled to share the lovely package that I received from my Secret Santa Julie. I was really touched by the fact that she paid so much attention to small details and bought this beautiful piano mug for me when she learned recently how much I miss my piano (which sits 6000 miles away at my parent’s house). Thanks so much for the thoughtful gift and all the goodies, Julie! What a treat!

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I have a busy weekend ahead. Today, I have to run some errands and do the grocery shopping in the morning, followed by a dentist appointment, a work call (on my day off), and a run to the post office. Saturday and Sunday will be busy as well with some scheduled long-distance phone calls, more baking (bread + the second batch of Christmas cookies), and decorating the apartment. I am also hoping to fit in a run (I haven’t run in two weeks – gasp! I know! – because it was either dark or raining at the times when I could have squeezed in some outdoor exercise.) Fingers crossed that it will stay dry (as the weather forecast currently predicts).

What are you up to this weekend?

  1. Sounds like you have been extremely busy! I love this time of year but it feels like even “small” things take up an enormous amount of time. I wrapped all the stocking stuffers and it took TWO HOURS which seems impossible! There are just a few little things!

    Your new mug is so pretty! Hooray for thoughtful friends!

    Which Christmas cookies will you be making this weekend?

    1. I know, right? It all takes time – although I enjoy most of it :) I’ll be making the vanilla crescent cookies and spritz cookies again this weekend. And a “potato cake” – an old recipe of a dear family friend (shes 90 and has been baking her famous potato cakes forever and I never had it, so she shared her recipe with me. We’ll see how that goes!).

  2. That piano mug is amazing!!
    Today we are decorating gingerbread, and tomorrow we are watching Christmas Vacation, which I love.

    1. Right? I thought of you (and our pianos) when I unpacked the mug :)

  3. What a lovely treat from your Secret Santa, although I guess it wasn’t secret for you since you organized the whole thing. LOL. I was so impressed with the thoughtful packages our little blog community put together this year.

    We don’t have huge plans this weekend, but we’re going to look at holiday lights at the local botanical garden on Sunday evening with a couple of friends, so that should be fun and festive. My husband will be done with grading (FINGERS CROSSED) and I will be so glad to have my chill winter break husband around!

    1. Haha, yeah, the Secret Santa was not so secret, although it was generated “randomly”, so there’s that :) We had some really lovely packages exchanged again this year – I am so impressed with all the participants!

  4. I never realized – until NGS pointed this out – OF COURSE you knew your own Secret Santa. Haha. Why did I not clue in to that?!

    I feel like Jenny would LOVE this mug, too. It is so fun to receive things in the mail so, once again, thank you so much for facilitating that. I finished the last of my chocolates from Nicole this week and it was delicious and felt extra delightful since it came from a bloggy friend I’ve never actually met in real life. How cool is that?

    We’ve been quite sick lately, so I’m just so happy that things are looking up. My husband got back today from his last overseas trip of 2022. The tree is lit, there is champagne chilling in the fridge and I am just feeling a MILLION times better than I was at the beginning of this week when I’d been home with sick kids for 12 days straight.

    I have a bit of shopping to do this weekend – some groceries, and I really would like to find a pair of dressy ankle boots and maybe a nice dress for Christmas (at a thrift or consignment store). We’ll watch the World Cup on Sunday after church. I’m just so happy right now and feel more festive than I’ve felt all season. I have only two Christmas gifts left to buy and a one final holiday cards to send out (I was waiting on the address which I got today).

    And I make photobooks every year and they take an insane amount of time. I have no idea how people use the auto function because I need to make so many adjustments to layouts. It’s always worth the effort but this year especially – I’ve picked away at about 1/2 of it so far – I’m not enjoying the process at all. I’m so ready to be done, but I want to do a good job…so it’s finding the balance between being overly picky with things like photo selection and getting the blasted thing ordered before next summer.

    1. I randomly generated the Secret Santa Partners, so it was a “surprise” until then… haha.

      I am so happy about all the thoughtful packages that have been shared already… I can’t wait to do the “round-up post” for the swap. You guys are all so kind!
      I do hope you and your family are on the mend. Being sick during the holiday season – although not uncommon – sucks! Sounds like you’re pretty much on top of your holiday prep list, though!

      Good luck on finishing the photo books. It really is an awful lot of work!

  5. The piano mug is awesome! The time since NaBloPo has gone by in a blur.

    It’s going to be cold, cold, and more cold this weekend so my plans are to hole up in front of the TV with jigsaw puzzle until things warm up again.

    1. I agree, the last 2.5 weeks just sped by… but I hope you can slow down and enjoy the weekend :)

  6. Yay! I’m so glad you like the mug. :)

    One of my sisters puts together photo books, has been doing it since her kids were small (the oldest is a HS Senior this year). It is a ton of work, made more so because we have a complicated family, and she customizes the books for the different branches of the family. I know that a lot of the pictures are the same, but then she puts in pictures that are specific to each family…it’s just a LOT of work. Truly a labor of love. I look forward to it every year.

    1. I love the mug, J. I’ve been using it for my afternoon tea the last few days! :)

      Oh, and your sister knows all about the time that goes into creating photo books. I am impressed she’s doing this every year for multiple family members. What a commitment, but also how wonderful to have that book in your hand :) I can imagine how much you look forward to it every year.

  7. You have been busy, but it sounds like you’ve ticked a few things off your list, so that’s good. I’ve only bought 1 Christmas present so far, so I need to get on to that. Since it’s Sunday, I can tell you I’ve run twice this weekend (31km total), had friends over for dinner and picked out some furniture we needed for the apartment and bought some more glasses. We realised at my family Christmas celebration last weekend that we didn’t have enough and we’re having my husband’s family for Christmas.

  8. I recall that every single time I make a photo book it’s a much bigger ordeal than I expect; like you, I probably make it harder than it should be.
    What a lovely, thoughtful gift for you! Don’t you love it when someone ‘gets you’?
    I hope your busyness slows down and you can enjoy the holiday fully!

  9. It seems like after busy November blogging we all have to catch up on real life stuiffamd errands. I have also been extremely busy and didnt have anytime to blog or read any blogs and comment.
    But things are finally slowing down.
    You are more advanced in your Christmas prep. A tree, cookies, mail, etc. None of the things are done here…. sigh

  10. Photo books are sooo much work! I try to work on ours throughout the year. I got caught up this fall when I had some quiet days. I wonder how many hours I spend on it! But it’s great to have a photo book to capture the year!

    We got back from Mexico on Friday night and drove up to my parents on Saturday morning. We celebrated Christmas with them that night and then came home with the boys on Sunday. So it was a pretty full weekend! But it was wonderful to see the boys again! I really missed them!!

  11. That mug is amazing! What a great find, and perfect for you. :)

    I put together a photobook for my mom’s wedding and it was something I kept putting off because I knew it was going to be a big task. I was so glad when I finished it!

  12. I love that you made a photo book! I’ve been thinking that I need to get some of my own photos printed out and organized. What good are they doing just lingering in my phone and no place else?!

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