"For my daughter Ashley's birthday, I tried to bake from scratch — a red velvet cake, to be exact, which was a first for me. So, wanting to do something extra-special since I was a newly single parent, I went for the real deal instead of buying a cake or even buying a box mix. Well, long story short, I forgot the baking powder, so the cake didn't rise. Then, desperate to make the flat cake more beautiful, I actually crawled onto the roof from an upstairs window to gather pecans to crack and put on top of the cake! In the end, I was stressed and my daughter was bummed because I was stressed. A box mix and a can of cream cheese icing would've saved hours and the day!" — Regina R.
"I once made fried chicken with some ginormous breasts for Sunday lunch for my family. They looked fantastic! They had a nice thick, crunchy, golden-brown crust, and the smell was like heaven. But then we cut into them, only to realize they were not even close to being done. My family hasn't asked me to cook the Sunday main dish since, ha ha!" — Sherree T.
"When my daughter, Hannah, was 6 and very into trick-or-treating, I decided to go all out by creating her Halloween costume as opposed to buying one. Not only would it save us a few dollars, but I consider myself to be pretty crafty and was confident I could whip up something that would blow her mind. Welp, fast-forward to Halloween night, when my hand-stitched costume fell apart before we even left the house! She had no costume, so the night was a total bust. That was six years ago and that dragon costume still haunts me." — Susan P.
"I once had a friend who desperately wanted a lemon meringue pie for the holidays. I baked the most beautiful pie with golden peaks of meringue towering on top — everyone lined up to snag a piece. Then there was the first highly anticipated bite... which tasted like seawater. Apparently, I used salt instead of sugar. I have not baked a pie since." — Chasity A.
"When my daughter, Kyia, was 5, I decided she needed to start doing chores and helping out around the house. But seeing as I can be very particular about the way things are done, I mapped out this huge home-chore chart I envisioned making all of our lives easier — and that would teach Kyia about personal responsibility. After a few weeks of teaching her what to do, staying on top of her to get it done and micromanaging, I just stopped doing it. It was hard to fit it in such a complex system after school when there was homework, dinner, dance, baths and no extra free time to just relax! We've since discovered that a simple approach to chores works better for us." — Kristina H.
"One year, I tried to make homemade pumpkin pie like my grandmother always made. I got it all together, baked it and it was beautiful — until we had the first bite. Turns out I forgot the sugar! That's the last time I bake while drinking wine, ha ha!" — Patricia K.
"We have a nice dining room. I worked hard to paint and decorate it. I chose dishes with the same splash of Aztec mud red as the accent wall. I found the perfect flea-market treasure for the centerpiece of the table. I love my dining room, but family doesn't eat in it. I continually try to move them in there with a table full of nice dishes and fancy food when I'm feeling spunky, but it ends up in cranky attitudes and tears. So I just spent two hours on a meal that didn't go like I wanted it to. I just need to realize my family is a simple meat and potato in front of the TV kind of people! I'll save the dining room for when I have the girls over for wine. Hey, at least I'll have a clean room in the house, right?" — Angel P.
"Nearly every year, my sister decides she wants to contribute something to our big family dinner on Thanksgiving. And not once, but twice she has cooked the holiday turkey without taking the paper-wrapped giblets and stuff out of the turkey's interior first! Needless to say, she's no longer allowed to cook the turkey for family dinners." — Sabrina O.
"I've planned both complex and simple special events for my kids. As a program planner by trade — and at heart — I am blessed with a knack for pulling off a smashing event even on a small budget. But with children ranging from preteen to young adult in my household, I must admit there have been many parties during which I definitely learned a thing or two along the way. And my biggest takeaway has been that I personally can relax and enjoy a simple event more fully and richly because I am not stuck in that "party hostess with the mostest" mode. Party guests' minds might not be blown, but everyone is still happy, comfortable and having a great time." — Jodie D.
"My aunt was famous for her homemade mac 'n' cheese, so one year a friend of mine who'd eaten it at my house before asked for the recipe to try for his family. My aunt obliged but, when she asked him later how it turned out, he said it was awful — way too crunchy. Um, turns out he didn't cook the macaroni noodles first." — Kathy B.
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