19 October 2016

Wondering Wednesday: A Season of Preparation

Woman Hanging Laundry - Camille Pissarro - 1887
"What are you doing?"  

More than one of my gentle lady readers has written to ask this or a similar question, and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for thinking about me and caring about what might be occupying my daily life.  

Pondering the answer led me to a, perhaps, important realization that I am in a time of preparation for something new in my life. I chose the Pissarro painting above as I remember with longing the simple days of my married life when all I had to do was help Braveheart, the youngsters, and myself to be happy and healthy.  

Now, every day is a real struggle.  I try and I sometimes succeed but usually not to the needed level.  I juggle and keep those plates spinning.  Women criticize me for holding a job, but these are women who have never been alone in the world with dependents to support. 

What's Up at My House

1.  Preparing extra-frugal meals that the family will enjoy and benefit from nutritionally.
2.  Preparing two books for publication.  For those who would like to help with my costs, please feel free to make a donation or I will have a crowdfunding source up soon.
3.  Preparing to move us, again, next summer.  The complex where we live is changing, not in a good way, with our acquaintances leaving and telling us to "stay safe."  
4.  Preparing to see traditional American values take a further nosedive.
5.  Preparing to start a third in-home business, one I hope will succeed to the level I need it to succeed and that nobody will--allegedly--take materials from to start her/his own copycat business.
6.  Preparing a lesson on different ways to use the word "preparing."

In sum, these are the reasons I have not been producing much in the way of new blog posts.  I hope that you have enjoyed the re-runs.

I appreciate your prayers and notes of encouragement.  Thank you.  Please keep praying for us.  I ask, in particular, for prayers for the intention of "victory, as God wills."   I pray for you all each day in a general way as well as for those of you who have told me about specific issues.  

As Timothy Cratchit said, "God bless us, every one."

Agape always,

14 October 2016

Femininity Friday: Herb and Onion Potatoes

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons - Public Domain

From 2012:

I love potatoes and have to be careful to avoid overeating them. A little simple carb, however, can lend a festive note to an otherwise plain meat and vegetable dinner. Enter my Herb and Onion Potato Casserole, the very thing to pair with Brats, with any kind of roast meat, or with Corned Beef on Saint Patrick's Day.

Cynthia's Herb and Onion Potato Casserole

Butter, oil, or non-stick spray
Two pounds potatoes of choice--washed, peeled (if desired), and sliced thinly
One pint half-and-half (obtain actual half-milk and half-cream, no oil substitute)
One small yellow onion, peeled and chopped roughly
One Tablespoon minced garlic
One teaspoon dried oregano
One teaspoon dried rosemary (rub the rosemary between your fingers to release the flavor and aroma)
One teaspoon dried parsley
One teaspoon dried thyme
Twenty grates of fresh nutmeg (about one-half teaspoon)
Half a can of French-fried onions
Optional for Saint Patrick's Day: Garnish with little shamrocks made of green bell pepper rings.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Grease or use non-stick spray on a 13x9-inch baking dish.
3. In the baking dish, place a layer of potatoes, top with chopped onion, and repeat until all of the sliced potato and onion is used.
4. Mix together the half-and-half and the herbs. Pour over the potato and onion in the baking dish. Bake for approximately thirty-five minutes or until potatoes are tender.
5. Carefully remove from oven. Top with French-fried onion and optional garnish, if desired.
6. Return to the oven for approximately ten minutes or until French-friend onions are browned.
7. Let stand for five minutes before serving.

Serves six.

Agape always,

I Love You, 250K

Courtesy of Microsoft
Dear Ladies,

I want to thank you all from the bottom of my fascinating heart as I appreciate so much your visiting my humble effort.  Sometime between bedtime last night and 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time today, the 250,000th visitor stopped by the Life as a Fascinating Woman blog.  I am honored that my little woman-to-woman ideas interest anyone at all.

Agape always,

13 October 2016

Keep On Keeping On, Gentle Ladies

Clip Art Courtesy of Microsoft

I learned of this poem many years ago and have seen it attributed to men from Saint Jude to Edgar A. Guest.  My guess at authorship would be Guest as the poem meshes well with his other, known works.  

The poem came to mind after I received an e-mail from a former student who wrote that she was giving up on living FW teachings, her long-term weight loss process, educating her children at home, and organizing her home--all of which she had desired to do for some time. 

You haven't failed if you cease some human occupation; you have simply decided to do something else for a time.  If you decide not to live FW teachings anymore, remember that they are always here for you and you can pick them up again later.  You haven't "failed" at FW.  The same thing is true with the weight loss, the home education, or any other human endeavor.  At the same time, I have seen repeatedly that women who push through a time of difficulty (and I include myself among their number) are closer to achieving their goals than they suspect. 

I hope this poem encourages her and you all as it did and does me. The italics are mine.  As always, I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped.

"Don't You Quit" (authorship unknown - in the public domain)

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he'd stuck it out.
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are -
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.

07 October 2016

Femininity Friday: The Easiest Cake in the Universe

Tea - Mary Cassatt - Public Domain via Wikipedia

Hello, Dear Fascinating Ones!

The following blog post is from October 2013, and I am re-sharing it today because the "pop cake" as the youngsters call it is being served this afternoon as part of an impromptu gathering Chez Berenger.  I am using a yellow cake mix, a bit of cinnamon, and ginger ale for an early autumn touch.

Agape always,


One of the great joys of life--sharing hospitality--proves to be a bit of a challenge.  Last year, I wrote about keeping a hospitality section in your pantry, an idea given to me by one of my students, K. from Illinois.  This past week I learned of a way to make a cake very quickly and very easily.  

You could keep the two ingredients in your pantry and put together a cake at very short notice.  The two ingredients are a cake mix (brand and flavor of your choice) and a sixteen ounce soft drink (again, brand and flavor of your choice).

Are you ready for the method?  Mix together the cake mix and the soft drink until thoroughly combined.  Bake according to package directions.  That's right--just the cake mix and the soft drink.  

Combinations I have heard of or tried include the following:  Chocolate cake mix and Dr. Pepper; white cake mix and orange soda; white cake mix and strawberry soda. 

I have eaten the cake frosted and simply dressed with a little jam (no frosting at all), and I prefer the unfrosted cake.

I realize that most of my gentle readers are Domestic Queens/Artists/Angels/Goddesses-in-progress, as am I, and do not usually rely upon a mix when baking anything.  However, I believe that this method could be useful in a pinch.

Agape always,

PS: If you would like to know more about the classes I teach or the little handouts I offer, please visit my website CynthiaBerenger.com

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