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  • Writer's pictureTina Huggins

How hard can this be anyway…

When my children were little, I was fortunate enough to stay home with them. Like most mothers, I was always trying to find ways to make extra money. I took up sewing and to save money on clothes. I found that I loved to paint and sell acrylic containers, frames, ornaments, barrettes for holiday gifts. My grandmother…Mama Tip made the best birthday cakes ever! They were so beautiful that as a mother I decided to take a cake decorating class which I loved. It was such fun and so rewarding to see something I had made from scratch.

When was the last time that you learned something new or revisited a hobby that you once loved to do?

Over the years my creative side moved toward technology design, workshop development with less focus on homemaking activities…I was working full time and found it harder and harder to use my creativity except during holiday feasting! That is what happens when life gets in the way of living…I didn’t realize how much I had given up until I decided to give up corporate business travel to focus on my own business and explore new projects.

So what is a newly married woman to do while she is trying to decide what she will do when she grows up? Halloween is not a holiday I have participated in…until this year. As a new grandmother there isn’t a holiday I want to miss…and I’m just getting in gear for the long haul since Colton is just 21 months old! He’s got a lion costume…because he loves to ROAR…since the first experience wearing the outfit was not as fun for him as we had hope…my daughter is more skeptical that he may be ROARing without his costume!

Anyway back to the story…Colton has a Halloween Party at his school so I decided to make some cookies. I love making my mother’s special cookies, but thought I would see if I could make fancy ones like we see in the store.  I had learned how to ice cakes with petals and roses so how hard could icing a cookie be?

Being a perfectionist (that is the first problem)…I got online and looked for cookies of pumpkins, ghost, and goblins…then I researched techniques for making the icing and decorating the cookies. I had most of the tools and cookie cutters that I needed, but headed to Michael’s to pick up a few missing ingredients! This was going to be so much fun….I thought.

I discovered a new appreciation for the phrase “Practice makes perfect”. Everything appeared so simple….(that was the second issue).…things aren’t often the way they appear. I wondered how many cookies the woman at had to decorated before they looked so fabulous…I’m sure hundreds!

It reminded me of the time my dance instructor told me that sometimes as a ballroom dancer you may have to do the same dance step or steps 500 times before it becomes natural. Now you may be thinking “I would have just quit”, but for me it was a relief! I felt more relaxed as we repeated the dance routine over and over and over and found it was much more fun to learn how to dance.

To make a long baking story short…the cookie project took three days instead of one. My pumpkin cookies were not as impressive as the one above, though they did taste delicious!

I then realized that these cookies were too big for 2 year olds so I decided to go a simpler route. It was much more fun

and I found myself applying strategies from work experience that allowed me to make these cookies in half a day…a big improvement!

Traveler’s Tip when exploring new projects….

1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – new adventures take time and have a way of detouring your plans…start out simple. You don’t have to do the most elaborate project first. I think that is why we often quit what we start.

2. Let go to learn – Being a perfectionist makes this a very hard step for me. When I found myself getting frustrated, I thought about my teaching teachers, moms or business men how to use technology. That’s easy for me because it has been my life for 20 years…I’m very patient with them learning something new…so I need to be patient with myself. Once I figured that out I began to see how I could modify the techniques to help me work better.

3. Simplify if necessary – I found a way to ice the cookies that was faster for me and more efficient. I also realize that I liked my icing recipe better so I change to that one on my second batch of cookies. Sometimes deviating from the directions is a good thing as we all do things differently.

4. Have a dry run to lower frustrations – The first batch of cookies I decorated all at once…not a good idea. I had not perfected the technique and I was too far along to change direction. The second group of cookies I practice on 4 cookies to be sure I liked the design and worked out little issues – such as getting the eyes on the cookies without dribbling icing.

5. Celebrate – Things aren’t always as perfect as I like…but I know Colton won’t care or remember, and though my children will probably notice my novice pumpkin decorating…I know they will eat them all up with a smile on their face.

New experiences will always have some GOTCHAS…Don’t let that stop you from learning and having fun in the process.

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