I try to look at it all- LIFE- as a 'learn as you go' experience.
I try not to be too critical of myself (and others) when mishaps occur.
With that said, if you really want to learn from your mistakes, it's helpful to keep a Record of Foolery. You can name it something else if you want (List of Losing, FAIL!, Sometimes I Suck, Here's What I Did Wrong...you get the picture). It's a sort-of self-confessional.
I learned to do this during my first year teaching high school english. If a lesson didn't quite work out right, or a behavior issue wasn't handled as well as it could have been, I reflected on it. I recorded what I thought the mistakes were, and what I could do differently in the future. And I said a little Serenity Prayer too...because so many things about teaching and LIFE are way beyond our control.
Well, just for laughs today, and because it's healthy to humble myself...I will make my Record of Foolery public. Here's something stupid I did:
A few days ago, I found a heart-shaped cake pan for 50 cents at the thrift store. I saw it and thought, "Hmm...I love my husband and son...why am I not making them cakes or cookie bars or quiches in the shape of a heart?! If I buy this pan and bake them cakes...then they will truly know how much love I feel for them!"
I found a "from scratch" recipe for chocolate cake online. I have never made cake "from scratch" before, but I am willing and eager to become a domestic goddess...and "from scratch" cake will only help to prove to my husband and son how much I love them. Noah's only 3, but he has such discerning tastes. ; )
Now, as if that line of logic wasn't foolish enough, here's where I went oh so wrong...
The recipe called for Self-Rising Flour. I looked at my bag of flour, All Purpose Flour, and said, "Good Enough!" I often do that with recipes...just substitute a hard to find ingredient for whatever I have. While that can have some awesome results (that I get to take praise for), this time it wasn't pretty!
Not sure if you can tell, but the cake has the thickness of a pancake. Oh! So that's why the recipe called for Self-Rising Flour...so the flour would rise, by itself! Michael and Noah tried my Baked Chocolate Pancake, and I think they might have barfed a little when I wasn't looking. Definately retching noises were heard. I don't think this squishy, flat, ultra-concentrated, cocoa-flavored pancake conveyed the message of love I wanted to send.
What important lessons have I learned?
1) Obviously, use Self-Rising or Cake Flour, dummy!
2) Confidence in the kitchen is one thing, but I have to remember that I have much to learn about so many things...including flour.
I feel much better now, having owned up. If you should happen to try out your own Record of Foolery, or if you already do something similar, I'd love to hear about it. You are absolutely not required to be as self-depreciating as I am, of course. ; )