I never cease to be amazed how much more I can accomplish when he isn't home. Don't get me wrong, I'm also always glad when he returns home, too. But those days I had all to myself were lovely.
I had pizza for dinner after he left, cold pizza for breakfast the next morning, and sushi for lunch the following day. (There were salads for dinner those nights.) I even allowed myself to use paper plates so there were less dishes. It felt... decadent.
The normal routines of the day went out the open windows, open because I didn't have to be concerned about his allergies. I gave the house a good airing out the days he was out of town.
After getting all the usual chores accomplished, like making certain the laundry was caught up, I started on the list of projects I wanted to complete in order of importance and a couple I thought of at the last minute... like washing and drying the two blankets I bought on clearance so they would be ready to use later.
I have been wanting to deep clean the kitchen counters but usually one of us is going in or out of the kitchen. It was my first task and I pulled the appliances and other "kitchen stuff" away from the back of the counter and gave it a deep cleaning, then cleaning the rest of the counter when I could return them to their home.
I cleaned the appliances that sit on the counter and gave the mat that goes under the dish drainer a good scrubbing. The stove top was next to get a good cleaning and burner liners went on my "To Buy" list on the refrigerator. A quick mopping was the next project.
There are still a few kitchen chores that will need accomplished later but these made a huge difference in making the kitchen look nice and clean. It took all day but it was worth it.
I was tired the following day but there were plenty of little projects that could be accomplished when undistracted. I have three recipe card file holders, the vintage wooden card file holder I keep on the kitchen counter that holds my most used recipes throughout the year and two that remain on a shelf in my closet.
One of them contains my "retired" recipes as well as those given to me by others that I don't currently use. The third recipe box is slightly larger and it holds cut out recipe "cards" from Taste of Home and Country Woman magazines. They often have the best recipes, although I don't buy them these days.
I went through all three file boxes, switching some from the main box to the "retired" recipes box, switching some from "retired" back to the main box, and perusing through the Taste of Home recipes to see if I wanted to make any of them soon.
While no one can actually see the results of the hours spent on that project, it is something I have wanted to do for a long time and looking through old recipes reminded me of many my mother-in-law had typed out and the recipes women used to make all the time.
My husband's mom loved the recipe section of the Chicago Tribune. After her passing, I looked through the box where (shoe box I think?) she kept those cut out recipes and it was full. Many of the recipes on cards she sent us were "tried an true" Tribune recipes.
At one time, I had a scrapbook full of recipes cut out of newspapers, Bon Appetit Magazine, etc. but I eventually switched to putting everything I used regularly on the recipe cards. I think having my cookbook collection increase also helped to replace the recipe scrapbook at one time.
I do still have a few church recipe books that contain old favorites. Two from when we lived in Iowa (although one of those books was published before we arrived in Iowa) and the church cookbook from my in-law's Lutheran church that contain recipes from my husband's mom and her friends that he knew.
I realize only those of us past a certain age will remember the Women's Pages of the newspapers. They were already being phased out in the later 1970s but the Grand Rapids Press still had that section in the 80s when we lived there (and wonderful recipes, too). I always looked forward to the new recipes on Mondays because they were chosen from local people (men and women who cooked) with the stories behind them.
It reminds me how much society has changed. Having Women's Pages with recipes and household hints was something the generation before me loved and cherished. They became a source of feeling demeaning to many young women starting with my generation. Not me!
Besides perusing recipe boxes, I continued with small projects like dusting and polishing and generally making everything look clean. But there was also time to just rest and enjoy watching something other than Chicago baseball in the evenings. ;)
If the weather had been cooler last week, there would have been some baking done for the freezer but I didn't want to turn on the oven. I need to try to bake in the air fryer since I have that accessory.
I didn't do very much for the pantry this week except to purchase some more cans of Red Gold tomatoes. I realized about a week ago that I only had about nine or ten cans left and since some recipes use two cans, it was time to begin stocking up on them again. It doesn't take long to go through things we use a lot.
Thank you for the suggestions and ideas in the Comments recently. I was glad to get all of them. There is always more to learn in every aspect of keeping a home... and a pantry.