Don't Be Discouraged by Cooking and Baking Flops

If at first you don't succeed, try again.  This is certainly true when it comes to exploring recipes. Everything does not always come out just right.  Especially your first attempt at something.  Like everything, baking takes practice!  Things often turn out bad for one of two reasons: either the recipe or the execution.  My deceptively beautiful lemon meringue pie (below).

Who remembers the parmesan parsley muffins I made for book club back in October??  I was being really ambitious, so I decided to make two types of muffins--one sweet (sweet potato muffins), and one savory--these awful parmesan parsley muffins.  I'm not sure if the error was in the recipe or the execution, but parsley overwhelmed the muffins.
My most recent catastrophe was much more tragic.  My mom, who is the busiest person I know, had been wanting to make a lemon meringue pie.   It was Christmas day, and I decided to make the pie.  I am certain that it is my execution that doomed this pie.  And the sad part is, it took soooo long, and required several hours to set in the refrigerator.  Everyone's taste buds were anxiously awaiting the  completion of this pie.  The lovely meringue (below).
Where it wrong:  1.  The filling never set.  When I cut into it, the filling had not solidified.  I'm pretty sure that this is because I was not used to the slow-to-heat range I was using at my house.  This could have been easily remedied with an instant-read thermometer.  The filling that never set (below).
2. The meringue on the pie had condensation on it when I took it out of the refrigerator.  This is because it did not completely cool when I first put it in the refrigerator.  Plus, I put it in an air tight container because I did not want the pie to taste like the Christmas feast that was in the refrigerator.
I'm confident that if I attempted this pie again, I would be successful.  Plus, I think the meringue came out beautiful!  It was just so sad when I had to dump the pie in the trash can :(