Welcome Yes, I have read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, but this is not a literary discussion today. No, the title of “queen” here is not necessarily a compliment. And, I’m talking about myself and probably one of the biggest hurdles I face when it comes to living a happy and joyful life. You may be able to identify with this struggle, too. It’s also Two-For-Tuesday, so I’m going to share two “make it” items today, one recipe and one craft project. Thanks for joining me.
Food For Thought I am so good at getting big ideas in my mind. These great ideas come to mind in so many areas of my life, everything from a new recipe to art projects to decorating my home to vacation ideas. It’s not a bad thing that my mind works this way. It shows that I have imagination, creativity, and spatial reasoning. I visualize very well, so I often learn just by hearing. I’m good with directions and finding places, both when driving and on the trails. I wouldn’t necessarily want to change this about how my brain works. But, man, my big ideas and expectations sure can lead to disappointment and struggles.
I feel like this is probably a common thing for people, but my life rarely matches the expectations in my mind. I get ideas for how everything should turn out and how the finished product should look. And then reality hits. This is NOT what I envisioned here. Sometimes it’s something simple, like a recipe sounds great in my head, but then when I make it, it’s a total fail. Most days I can process through and find ways to either improve it next time, or simply scrap it, never to attempt it again. Other days, I can let that one simple kitchen fail completely overwhelm my mind with negativity. I become completely unreasonable, determining I’m a failure at everything, I will never be able to make anything good, and vow I shouldn’t even bother trying. So, yes, unmet expectations is a reality for pretty much everyone. Not everyone has complete melt-downs over simple mistakes. It is a problem in my life and I am trying so hard to work on it.
When I’m working on a project, it is necessary to have ideas in my head to work from, but I have to work at being more flexible when things don’t go right. My husband would probably like to jump in here and say that flexibility thing needs to carry over to all areas of my life. I have ruined more than one date night by my reaction to unmet expectations. Notice that it was my reaction that ruined date night, not the circumstances! I can remember a few years ago when my husband and I booked a long weekend getaway for Valentine’s Day. The first night there was Valentine’s Day. We had reservations at a roof-top restaurant that was supposed to be super-romantic. When we arrived, there was a large group in the lobby saying no one would seat them, even though we all had reservations. We all were being completely ignored and when it was well past our reserved time, we decided we would not eat there. Being almost 8 o’clock on Valentine’s night, which happened to also be a Saturday, there was little chance of us getting into any other restaurants. After trying several with no luck, we ended up having our Valentine dinner at Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel!!! Don’t get me wrong, I love me some good country cooking, and we actually have a “history” with this chain, which is a story for another day. But I did not want our romantic Valentine’s dinner to be at Cracker Barrel. So I pouted and sulked through the whole dinner! We barely spoke to each other through dinner and on the way back to the hotel I was in tears. My husband is always so much more reasonable in these circumstances than I am. When we were back in our room he said, “I’m sorry we weren’t able to do what we had planned. But you are not fixing the situation. You can either keep pouting and ruin the entire weekend, or you can get over the dinner issue and have fun for the rest of our time here. Either way, I’m going to keep doing all the stuff we had planned.” And instead of turning on the TV like I expected him to do, he began filling the Jacuzzi tub in our room. Oh, boy, what do I do? I wanted to keep being mad to prove the point that “nothing ever goes the way I want it to.” But I had been looking forward to this trip for so long and my husband and I hadn’t been away together for quite awhile. I really wanted to enjoy myself. As I saw that he was indeed going to enjoy this trip, with or without me, my heart and emotions began to soften. Luckily, I had someone talk me out of my disappointment so I could continue to enjoy the weekend.
I’m kind of at a point in my life where I feel disappointment at most of my expectations for how things were supposed to turn out. And I’m still relying on my wise husband to talk me down from my disappointment. Just the other day when I was struggling with unmet expectations, he told me I could keep choosing to be sad or I could choose to be happy about the things that are going well in my life right now. Oh, it can be so frustrating when he’s right! Please don’t think it’s always easy to make those choices, because it’s not, but at the same time I don’t want to miss out on the good things in life, like that Valentine getaway, just because I’m disappointed that part of the experience didn’t go the way I wanted it to. So, this is what I’m working on right now, having expectations that are reasonable and giving myself a back-up plan of alternatives and flexibility.
Today’s Scripture Don’t think that we are alone in facing disappointment and failed expectations in this life. If you take a look in the Bible, especially in Old Testament scriptures, you will see many other people, much more noble than I, have also experienced great disappointment. Sometimes I read the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations so I can be reminded that these experiences are part of life here on earth. I’m going to share two verses from Jeremiah when he was disappointed in circumstances and cried out to God in his frustration. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there! I recommend reading the surrounding passages for the context of these verses.
Jeremiah 20:7-8 “O Lord, you deceived me, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long.”
Today’s Recipe Usually on Two-For-Tuesday I share two recipes, but it’s fun to mix it up every now and then. So, I have one recipe and one craft project today. This recipe is super cute and so easy! My family loves when I make this dessert. It’s perfect for any Easter or Spring gathering where you need a simple and yummy dessert. This would also be cute for a child’s spring birthday party. It also transports well. Another bonus? A combination of yummy chocolate flavors in pudding, cookies, and cupcakes, just in case you can’t decide! This is Bunnies in the Carrot Patch Dessert.
“Bunnies in the Carrot Patch” Dessert (serves 15)
- 1 large pkg. instant chocolate pudding (I used Jell-O 2.1 oz pkg)
- 3 cups milk
- 20 chocolate sandwich cookies (I used Oreo cookies)
- 1 16.5-oz chocolate cake mix (I used a store brand Devil’s Food cake mix; see note)
- water, oil, and eggs called for in cake mix directions
- 1 container ready-to-spread vanilla frosting
- red and yellow gel food coloring
- green candy shred, sprinkles, or coconut tinted with green food coloring (I used ChocoMaker green candy shred found at Hobby Lobby)
- marshmallow bunnies (I used Peeps pink bunnies)
- You will also need a 24-count mini-cupcake pan (I only have one, so I had to bake mine in two batches) and a 9×13 pan for the dessert
- Note: A regular-sized cake mix box will make 48 mini-cupcakes. Only 15 mini-cupcakes are needed for the dessert, so I place the extra, unfrosted, in a gallon-size zip-top bag and save for snacks. They can also be frozen for later use. Just be sure to get out as much air as possible from the bag first.
Turn oven to 325 degrees. Mix up the instant pudding and milk. Place in refrigerator to set.
Mix up chocolate cake mix according to package directions. Spray mini-cupcake pan with non-stick spray. Fill each cup about 2/3 full of cake batter. Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes. Place pan on cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove muffins from pan. Re-spray pan (if using the same pan again) with non-stick spray. Repeat procedure with remaining batter.
While cupcakes are baking, place chocolate cookies in gallon-size zip-top bag. Smash cookies with mallet or rolling pan until coarse crumbs are achieved. In 9×13 pan spread chocolate pudding on bottom, then top with cookie crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to add remaining ingredients.
In small bowl, place the vanilla frosting along with 4 drops red food coloring and 8-10 drops yellow food coloring. Stir well until desired orange color is achieved. Frost 15 of the cooled mini-cupcakes and place in rows on top of pudding and cookies. Add some green candy shred or green coconut on top of the cupcakes to represent the green carrot tops. Add a few Peeps marshmallow bunnies to the dish. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Today’s DIY A couple of months ago I overhauled the room that serves as a guest room/craft room in our home. We rarely have overnight guests so my craft table, projects, and storage are in that room. It’s bright and sunny and welcomes me to come in and be creative. When I cleaned and reorganized the room, I converted an old armoire into craft and art supplies storage. I also cleared the clutter from my scrapbooking table making it usable again. It ended up being a three day project, but so worth it! I have since used my craft room quite a few times to complete various projects, anything from homemade picture frames to vacation scrapbook pages. This past weekend I worked in my craft room making something for the craft room. This room was originally designed to be the master bedroom of the house so it’s a pretty decent-sized room. I decided I needed some inspiring wall decor for the mostly bare walls. So I customized these chipboard letters I found at Hobby Lobby. The solid color letters are painted with acrylic craft paint. The striped letter design is achieved using decorative craft tape, like Washi Tape. You will need 2-3 coats of the acrylic paint to achieve a solid color. The craft tape is great for stripes, especially if you use various sizes. Both techniques were easy to apply. My one tip is with the tape, don’t skimp! Use plenty to wrap around to the back side of the letters so you don’t end up seeing tape creep off the sides.