Parenting, Relationships

It’s Okay to Suck at Some Stuff


Yesterday I tried to make a dessert.  Oh dear unholy hobbit.

My mother has the spiritual gift of baking.  I have the spiritual gift of sarcasm.  Yesterday I forgot that and tried to get out of my lane and make something with my own hands.  And it ended badly.

I blame the internet.  Someone posted something called Crock Pot Christmas Crack* on Facebook, and while I usually scroll past all recipes as quickly as possible, the magic words “Crock Pot” slowed me down.  I love my Crock Pot and it always produces mostly edible food, except for the Vomit Soup incident from 2012 which almost forced me to renounce my deep lusty love for the potato.  Almost.  Mr. Potato and I are still good, as long as I don’t put him in the Crock Pot anymore, or shove plastic accessories up his nether region hidey hole.

I read the Christmas Crack ingredients list and all the comments, which went something like this:

“So easy!”

“We couldn’t stop eating it!”

“It practically made itself!”

“Only a total moron could possibly mess this up!”

“This recipe will change lives!”

“Everyone thinks I’m the Best Mom Ever!”

Something like that.  I decided to try it, so I told my couples’ small group that I’d make dessert.  Oh no.  Wrong lane.  I was in the wrong lane.  Get back in your lane!

The recipe looked easy enough.  I was basically dumping an ass-load of various chocolate chips and peanuts into the Crock Pot, turning it on low, and walking away.  It did not require Giada De Laurentiis OR her beautiful boobies.  I should be able to do this in my regular teeshirt with no cleavage at all.

This is what it looked like in the picture.  So delicious.  No wonder I wanted to try it, right?

So yesterday I dumped in the pot, washed my hands, and walked away (That scenario could apply twice to yesterday’s activities, and yay for hand-washing.).  When I came back, the chocolate didn’t look all melty like the evil, lying picture on Facebook.  It looked burnt and crumbly.  But. I. followed. the. directions.

I laid out parchment paper on my countertop and turned the Crock Pot over to dump out the melty Christmas Crack.  As burnt chunks of peanut and chocolate crumbled out with no meltiness to be seen, I stared at the $30 worth of ruined ingredients and started laughing.  This was madness.

I scooped out the least-burnt parts and carefully arranged them on a plate so they wouldn’t crumble.  I still served them to small group.  I know.  I feel a little bit not even bad about it.

I’ll now emulate the Pioneer Woman and show you step-by-step photos of my process.  Here it is after I dumped it out of the Crock Pot:

That is decidedly un-melty and un-cracky.

Here it is after I scooped out the marginally-edible parts:

Darnballs, still so much left.  Kinda looks like dog food.

Here it is artfully displayed on a platter.  “Christmas Crack,” with one minor adjustment:

I was in the wrong lane.  This wouldn’t have happened to my mom, because first of all, she would’ve been operating off a family recipe with flour smudges and a history, not recklessly chasing Facebook fad posts.  And also, desserts are her area.  The Holy Spirit camps out on her spatula.

This is what happens during the holidays.  We try to do it all.  We shop and wrap presents and sign up for forty jillion school holiday activity needs.  (Just Say No)  We make ornaments and string lights and do advent countdowns and find the perfect balance between Santa and Jesus and sharing and having and giving and receiving.

When did we have to start doing everything well?  We’re supposed to shop all organic non-GMO candy canes and keep a good budget and craft perfect lunches in cute holly shapes for our kids and bring in Pinterest-worthy reindeer cupcakes to preschool and move the damn Shelf Elf every freaking night (Jingle hells bells, I refuse.  Because I hate fun, of course.).

It’s a lot.  It’s too much.  We can’t all be good at all of this holiday cheer.

Let me just tell you, it’s okay to suck at some stuff.

I suck at A LOT.  And the older I get and the more demanding my life gets, the more I’m okay with my level of suckage.

It’s okay to suck at some stuff, because we’re made to work together.  We don’t all have to do All the Things, because if we all do the things we’re good at everything is covered.  We’re better together.  We need each other.

I am not gonna hold your baby in the nursery but I will bleed out of my eyes to help your teenager with the mean girls.  And my dessert will come out of a box but I’ll be the one to get us all together in the first place.  And thank you for your cupcake art and your remembering to take photos and sending me some.  Together we rock.

We all have our role to play, our note to toot, our lane to swim.  Play it hard, toot it out, kick those legs lil’ swimmer.  And it’s okay to suck at some stuff.

Embrace it.


*You can find this very awesome and wildly popular recipe here, and don’t let my total ineptitude scare you off if you’re feeling called to create Crock Pot chocolate happiness. It really does look fool-proof for everyone but me.


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  • Lynne

    It actually still looks pretty good to me. I bet it tasted great.

    • Melanie Dale

      I somehow caused it to crumble, so as long as you scooped carefully and held it in your hands like a live hummingbird, it was fine. Also, the first thing my friends said to me upon arrival to my house was, “Smells like burnt sugar.” Nailing it.

      • Lynne

        I would have eaten it. With a spoon if I had to. Or over ice cream? or over yoghurt. Or mixed into my breakfast granola. Seriously if you have any left please mail it to me.

        • Melanie Dale

          Okay that is hilarious. I think I’m going to try mixing it with ice cream…because ice cream makes everything better.

          • coltfreeman

            You are going to make your own ice cream right? With GMO and Fructose free ingredients?

          • Melanie Dale

            Of course. I actually will assist with the birth of the calf, raise the cow, milk it, and make my own ice cream. As any reasonable person skilled in the culinary arts would.

  • Melanie Dale

    WE ARE AWESOME AT ALMOST EVERYTHING. This is completely true.

  • Melanie Dale

    Oh my word, I love your “canting.” Your face is priceless.

  • Jennifer Coersmeyer Damron

    Thank goodness someone else noticed that Giada cannot cook without the power of cleavage.. Wonder if her boobs are like Samson’s hair, does everything fall apart if she wears a turtleneck..

    • Melanie Dale

      It’s possible. They are radiant in their splendor.

  • Chantel Adams

    There was a drop of water in the crockpot. Water is the arch enemy of melting chocolate. Seizes up every time. I’d bet money on it. Try again. And this time, dry your hands THOROUGHLY first. Ha! (I know this only because I’ve ruined at least $1,000 in perfectly good chocolate in my lifetime. And you know how much I LOVE chocolate).

    • Melanie Dale

      Hmm…I had no idea…I don’t think I’m a good chocolate-melter and maybe it’s WATER’s fault!

  • Jennifer Wilcox Knott

    This is hilarious. On so many levels. But I’m particularly liberated by your “I’m not gonna hold your baby in the nursery” comment. I’m a pastor’s wife, and I often experience guilt for the fact that I don’t volunteer in the nursery, and I don’t teach children’s Sunday school. Honestly, though, after getting three kids ready for church every Sunday by myself (for 10 years now, not that I’m counting), I don’t have the Joy Joy Joy Joy Down In My Heart. It’s lost in space somewhere, and I need one hour in worship without kids to retrieve it for the best interest of everyone involved. So I’m all in with the idea of not doing all the things! Thanks for your validation, honesty, and humor. (And your sarcasm…it is your gift!)

    • Melanie Dale

      Ha, thanks! And YES! You need that hour without kids! We put too much pressure on the spouses of church staff to be all the things. Enjoy your Sunday mornings guilt-free!

  • Jeni Mason

    And yet another reason why I adore you, Melanie! :)

    • Melanie Dale


  • Liz

    When ever I tell my kids I am making a new recipe I found on Pinterest, they make alternate dinner plans, seriously they say “oh no, can I have a sandwich”, it is like a joke here, and we start laughing, but the pictures look so good and the commenters rave about said recipe, I guess I forget how bad it turned out last time and try again. I am really a mediocre cook, but a mediocre cook with a decent recipe is a good cook. A mediocre cook with a bad recipe is a nightmare, not like I have the talent to fix coking things.

    I think Pinterest is a dream world, with very little ties to reality…..

    • Melanie Dale

      Haha, at least not our reality…. Fist bump – here’s to mediocre cooking!

  • Hilary Bernstein

    Your Christmas Crap is hilarious! :)

    Lately my son has been freaking out at how I embrace my knowledge of my suckiness. Why can’t his mom love and be great at dodgeball and math and crafts … or at least attempt some improvement? I’ve tried and failed too many times and am SO content with sticking to my strengths and avoiding my weaknesses.

    • Melanie Dale

      Ha, yes! Embrace it.

  • Nikki @ willrunforpizza

    I. Love. This. I USED to be able to bake. I baked all the time. I mean, I messed some stuff up here and there. But I was “the baker”. Now? notsomuch. Since I hardly ever have time to bake, I think I lost my gift from not using it. Thank God I never lost the gift of sarcasm and laughter though or else I would have NOTHING to give my Hubby.

  • Nichole

    Having actually eaten this I feel uniquely qualified to comment on it. It was definitely crumbly, but it tasted delicious…and we did set an expectation of no fancy desserts! Plus no one got food poisoning. I mean, really, what more could you ask for?





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