Friday miscellany: Last bits of fall color

Some of the showiest trees around here have lost their leaves, but there’s a brilliantly orange-yellow scene right outside my office window. We also have a grove of (evergreen) cedars with a single Japanese maple in the middle, which is now bright red. I like this little match-up of color — almost a hint of Christmas (see the photo).

Speaking of which, the holiday decorating has started. My daughter is getting very into Christmas decorating this year. She put a little display on one of the staircase landings with a (pretend) Starbucks holiday drink. Both my husband, and I, and one of her brothers, thought that someone had just left their drink there, so we all went to deal with it then realized it was a decoration. So now there is a sign saying “This cup is art. Please do not throw away.”

We got portraits taken of all of the kids this fall, plus sibling photos. Thanks to our house manager’s efforts, there is now a beautiful gallery wall with 15 framed photos, three of each kid. This is a very exciting development. It makes me happy to look at the photos. My husband and I are giving each other larger framed photos of the sibling set for Christmas — to go in our home offices. You can see the gallery wall over at Instagram (@lvanderkam).

This morning while getting people out the door I put together a customized Plum Paper Notes & Days planner for 2024. For the past 2.5 years I’ve used the Whitney English week-on-one-page planner (thanks to SHU’s planner matchmaking), and I really like this layout, but she doesn’t seem to be making these in the same format for 2024. So I went on Reddit to find out if anyone else had this same problem. I want a weekly spread where one side of the page is blank/lined for notes (this is where I put my weekly tasks/priorities) and then the other side of the page has the days of the week so I can migrate tasks from the weekly plan to the daily plan. I also don’t want a lot of directed “goal setting content” as it is called. I have no desire to feel some inner rebellion on every single planner page. There were a few suggestions, but the Plum Paper one looked most plausible. And there was a Black Friday sale. It may or may not work but I’m not out that much if it doesn’t. I can always go back to my little notebook from Target.

Not too much else to report. It will be a full weekend as usual — two performances of a play, many activities, one child’s trip to an all day competition in Connecticut (necessitating a 4:45 a.m. drop off…I will not be covering that one as I can’t go back to sleep easily), church, a long run with a friend, etc. I am working on my holiday fun list and hopefully will be able to share that next week!

This week’s Before Breakfast episodes include one on creating a day without “musts” or “shoulds,” another one on not throwing good time after bad money, and one with a listener tip on how kits can keep you organized. Please check them out!

By the way, if you like short tips, stay tuned, as I will likely be launching a “VanderHacks” newsletter full of productivity tips soon!

5 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: Last bits of fall color

  1. “This cup is art. Please do not throw away.”

    Love it! I debated putting up our small basement tree today (the real tree won’t go up until early December), but figured it was a little bit too early even for me…but I’m not sure how long I will be able to resist.

  2. Same as Elizabeth, I love the sign. That will definitely be a keeper (sign and cup) to resurrect next year. Maybe add the annual holiday cup each year to the display 🙂

    1. @Lori – there was a pretend pumpkin spice latte in the Halloween display, so I should have anticipated this one…

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