I always like to do as much of my Shabbat preparations as possible beforehand, on Thursday and even Wednesday, but no matter what, my Fridays are always packed. There are things that are better made fresh, like bread and salads, there's always some cleaning and there's also the matter of getting all three of us bathed before Shabbat, which means around 4 this time of year.
Someone asked me to write about my Shabbat to-do list sometime. Cooking is the main part of what I do on Thursday and early Friday. I make chicken and sometimes fish, side dishes, soup, a variety of salads and finally, bread (which is something my husband likes to do, so I usually leave it to him). I also usually bake a cake, preferably on Wednesday when I still have enough time.
I sweep and wash the floors, change the sheets and the towels, and do general tidying up. My husband does what is needed to keep electricity working without us actually turning on any appliances during Shabbat, such as turning on the hot plate and programming the living room lights to go on and off at desired times.
We clear up the areas we're going to use during Shabbat from things that are not to be touched or used, such as small electric appliances, pencils, and such like.
Another lady asked me whether I might sometime include a photo of our Shabbat table. I'm sorry but right now I don't see how to do it, as I can't use a camera on Shabbat and I'm usually not organized enough to have my table set and waiting in advance. I can tell you, however, that we usually start with bread and salads, which I display in little serving plates on the table, and then proceed to the main course. During the week, our meals are casual and usually include just one dish and "something on the side" (soup and bread, pizza, pasta...). We eat vegetarian during the week. On Shabbat our meals are fancier, served more prettily, and include a bit of meat and/or fish.
I like to make quantities of food that would be plenty for the three Shabbat meals. However, sometimes it's difficult to strike a balance. For example, I still have beetroot salad from the previous Shabbat. And we only just finished eating the rice-and-lentils I made a week ago. I suppose this requires some re-evaluation.
Well, and now I truly need to get busy.