September 29, 2015

Guest Post: Fall Back On Track

Indian River Juice, Fall Back on Track
Pixmac000084386594

Photo: Indian River Juice

September 21, 2015

Oh Stanley…

After the passing of our sweet dog Annabelle, my heart was broken, as was her sister Carmen’s. Annabelle came into Carmen’s life just before her first birthday. Carmen had hip dysplasia and had to have surgery on both hips, and although it went well she didn’t want to move around and was in a bit of a doggie funk, I thought having a dog friend would perk her up and get her moving. I found Annabelle on a dog rescue website, she had also had a rough start to life; she had been mauled by a pitbull when she was only a few months old. I brought her home, her broken leg and wounds still healing on an Easter Sunday and the two became inseparable for the next 12 years.

I knew that I could never replace Annabelle, but Carmen (and I) once again needed a doggie friend to keep her moving. I saw Stanley’s picture on the SPCA website, which was just down the street from us (he was right there, it had to be fate), he was 4 months old and so handsome. I filled out the application for adoption and Carmen and I walked down together to drop it off. After a few meetings, one including Carmen meeting him, we got the call that Stanley was ours.

I knew that Stanley was not going to be easy, although he was still a puppy; he was classified as a rehab. He was given to his previous owner as a gift, and due to her work schedule, he was locked up for 12 hours a day and was completely unsocialized. The day that I met Stanley was the first day that he had played on grass and climbed a set of stairs. He was also going to be a big boy, I immediately got in contact with a trainer, if he was going to be big, he also needed to be well behaved.

Over the past year Carmen and Stanley have developed a typical big sister pesky little brother relationship. For the most part she is completely appalled by his behavior, she let’s me know when he is too close to her or her food, if he is stalking the cat, if he has folded his dog bed into a taco and is humping it, and this morning this…

Oh Stanley...

Oh Stanley…

That is my text book (retail cost of this bad boy, $209.60) with highlighted study notes that I need for a test tomorrow. I wonder if I could use the excuse that my dog ate my homework? I suppose that it could have been worse, it could have been my computer. Unfortunately it wasn’t the first time either, a month ago it was my collection of Cooking Light magazines torn and strewn from one end of the house to the another, and then it was my hard-covered journal.

Looking on the brightside, because you have to in situations like these, I found a like-new copy for sale online for $50, so with the $150 that I will be saving Stanley will be having a few one-on-one sessions with his trainer.

How was your Monday?

IMG_1142

Carmen also alerted me to this. How can you not love that face?

July 22, 2015

Road Tripping

I hadn’t been on a road trip since the summer when my husband and I met. Back then life was much different, he was twenty, I was nineteen and neither of us had a care in the world. Our plan was to drive to Disneyland and stay until we ran out of money. We took the back seats out of his Dad’s mini van and his gas card and hit the road.

We hung out with Mickey, went to Universal Studios, played in the waves at Newport Beach and I received the rose from the Green Knight at Medieval Times.

True to plan, when we ran out of money we headed back north. In those days, all gas stations weren’t open 24 hours a day, so with very little gas and no money, we spent our last night on the road at a rest area in Grants Pass next to a gas station. With hopes of making it home for dinner, Bill woke up early and headed straight for the gas station with me still sleeping in the back of the van. I’m not sure if it was the stop and start or him chatting with the gas attendant that woke me up, but I did, sat straight up wearing only a sleepy smile to see where we were and came face to face with the attendant. I was mortified back then, but now I hope that I am one of his stories that he slightly embellishes and tells at parties.

Before we left on our trip, Bill’s Nana gave us a change purse full of quarters, nickels and dimes that she had saved over the years. We thought it was funny at the time, but that little change purse bought us our last meal. Thanks Nana. We did end up making it home in time for dinner, and as we were pulling our gear out of the van we found a $20 bill, which made us kind of sad, because it meant that we still had $20 of adventure left.

This year’s final ball trip was Lake Tahoe. In the past we have always flown anywhere past Portland, but since it was the last one of the year and we would need to rent a vehicle anyway, we decided that we would drive. As the time drew closer, logistics started to get a bit hairy. My daughter’s ball team was playing in the Canadian Open International Fastpitch Tournament and doing really well. Not that we doubted them, but our original plan had us leaving late Saturday afternoon arriving into Lake Tahoe for her required Monday 5pm team check in. Her team did really well and didn’t get off the ball field until 1pm Sunday. So with only a shower and a drive-thru separating her third place finish, we climbed in the truck and settled in for our first family road trip.

With such a tight timeline, there was little time for us to explore, but we did see some beautiful countryside as we came down the east side of Oregon and California. Other than a bit of tired crankiness when looking for a place to stay late Sunday night (rest areas and full frontal nudity had no place on this trip) I was pleasantly surprised at how well 15 hours in tight quarters went for us and that it is possible to find gas station wine in a tetra pack that is not horrible (now I will be telling that story at parties).

Arriving in Lake Tahoe was bittersweet, as my daughter would be staying with her teammates in Kings Beach, and we had rented a house 20 minutes in Truckee with two other couples. We said our goodbyes and we were left to our own devices (our search for the perfect patio) for the remainder of the week.

It’s always interesting sharing accommodations with other families/friends, dynamics can change very quickly even with people that you thought you really knew, sometimes it is all good and sometimes there is nowhere to hide. As one of my roomies coined it “housemates are like garbage, they start to stink on about day three…”

If you haven’t been to Lake Tahoe, put it on your list. The lake itself is spectacular, the towns surrounding it haven’t been over commercialized, quaint shops, funky restaurants, majestic views and a beachy-relaxed vibe. Our noteworthy finds:

  • Pinaeta, Truckee – Italian restaurant
  • Uncorked, Truckee – wine bar
  • Kalifornia Jean Bar, Tahoe City – clothing store
  • Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co. Brew Pub, Tahoe City – restaurant
  • Lakeside Beach Bar and Grille, Incline Valley – restaurant
  • Pier 111, Incline Valley – bar at the end of pier
  • In and Out Burger, Carson City (my daughter’s pick)

Between ball games and our explorations, the week flew by. Even though I was planning my next trip to Lake Tahoe, I could not wait to get home, but not before we saw the Oregon Coast. We spent our last night on the road in Eugene. Looking at the map, Florence was only an inch and a half away. We thought that we would drive up to Newport Beach, maybe a little further and then back to the I-5 in Portland and then head home for dinner. While the scale on a map can help you determine the distance from one place to another, it cannot help you accurately predict how long it will take you to get there, not all highways have a speed limit of 55mph…

The Oregon Coast was spectacular, however the 101 with all of it’s twists, turns, climbs and RV’s is not conducive to any sort of time constraint and deserves to be a trip all of its own. We were committed and made it to Newport Beach by noon.   Whilst looking for somewhere to lunch we stopped in at Starbucks to regroup and a friendly toilet, it had been a long morning. In passing I asked one of the baristas how far away from Portland we were, she responded with “about 3 hours, maybe a little more with the summer traffic”. You know when you just want to go home? It took everything that I had not to cry. Instead of searching for one last perfect patio, it was Starbucks egg salad sandwiches on the road for lunch. The car ride for the next hour or so was silent.

Through good times and bad, Team Cawthorne rallies, it’s what we do. Two perfectly executed pit stops, ridiculous traffic and nine and a half hours later there was no better sight to see than the sun sinking over the Golden Ears to welcome us home.

Perfect patio winner -

Perfect patio winner: Lakeside Beach Bar and Grille

July 5, 2015

Crab Cakes

With the exception of grown up grilled cheeses, appie night may be a team Cawthorne all time fav. Everyone gets to pick a dish and we round out the menu with a plate of nachos.  Stuck in the middle of a heat wave (and not complaining in the least bit), you can only barbeque so much, I decided to pull this one out of my back pocket.  It’s been a while since our last appie night  so my selection was one that I had been thinking about for a while, crab cakes. I am going to admit it, I make a mean crab cake, they bring all the boys to the yard.

  • 250g fresh crabmeat (a combo of fresh/canned works too, the fresh stuff ain’t cheap)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper finely diced
  • 2 green onions finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup low fat mayo
  •  juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/4 cupfresh chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of tobasco
  • 1/4 cup of Panko crumbs

Mix all of the  ingredients together.  Form into equal sized shapes.  Chill in the fridge for 30 mins.

Make a breading station for outside crust.

  • 1 cup of Panko crumbs
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Dip the cakes one by one into the flour, then the eggwash, then the Panko crumbs and sear in vegetable oil in hot pan.  Finish in 400 degree oven for approx 7 mins until hot throughout.

Makes 10 large, or 20 one-big-mouth-bite size crab cakes.

IMG_4115

yum

Serve with a creamy garlic aioli or zesty lemon and dill sauce.  If by chance there happen to be a few left over, warm them up for brunch and top with a poached egg and hollandaise.  Delish!

 

June 27, 2015

Carrying On

There has been a huge amount of change in my camp since the beginning of the year. After 16 years of working for the same employer my husband handed in his resignation. It came as a pretty big shock to most, not only was he leaving a secure job, he wasn’t going to work for a competitor, he was going to do something entirely different. The decision was an extremely well thought out but scary as hell. Given our stage of life it was a pretty bold move to make, but if he was going to do it, there was no better time.

Perhaps him shaking up his world spurred me on to make some changes myself. I was already knee-deep working on a diploma in Applied Nutrition, personal training as well as teaching classes from before sunup until well after sundown, had just birthed Keri On and I was starting to struggle to find balance in my life. I have always loved schedule and structure in my day, but over the past few years have realized that every hour doesn’t need to be allocated, you have to go with the flow and sometimes you have to let shit go.

I know that I can’t do everything, and learning to be ok with it has been strangely empowering for me. In order for me to have more flexibility, I needed to give some things up and chose to end my contract with Parks Leisure Services at the end of Spring. After meeting with the powers that be, I was excited that nothing would change for my instructors as another fitness company absorbed my Pilates and Body Camp programs, however the running programs would sadly come to an end.

The people I run with on Saturday morning aren’t clients, they are family. Together we have run through life’s torrential downpours as well as beautiful sunshine and all that is good in life. We run on Saturday morning, it’s what we do. I dreaded my last running clinic. I woke up early with a knot in my stomach and second guessed my decision.   I sat at my kitchen counter with tears running down my face, trying to eat my toast and put my thoughts into words as my husband and daughter watched with uncertainty. There are two things that you shouldn’t attempt to do when you are bawling uncontrollably, the first is run, it always ends in hyperventilating, the second is eat toast.

There was really nothing that anyone could say or do at that point to comfort me or to reassure me that I in fact had made the right decision. But when 8 o’clock came and I got in my car with my running gear on and went one way, and they got in my husband’s truck with their suitcases and my daughter’s ball gear and went the other way, I knew it was the only thing to do.

Following our last formal run together my running family, and I am talking family from years gone by too, surprised me with a farewell tailgate party. Completely overwhelmed with all of the photos, gifts and kind words I ugly cried my way through the event as well as the rest of the day. Inside one of the gift bags that they had given me was a jar filled with notes that sat unopened on my desk until yesterday. Once again the flood gates opened.

I had a wonderful informal run with the gang last week, ran like I hadn’t in years. But this morning I opted for an early morning run to beat the heat. By noon I had already picked up coffees, made breakie for my fam, took Stanley out for a walk across the ridge, showered and blow dried my hair and was on the road. While I missed my weekly catch-up with everyone, it was sure nice to have the flexibility to skip out, but I will see you all next week.

April 15, 2015

Chicken, Quinoa and Vegetable Casserole

This a is perfect dish to make ahead and throw in oven for those busy weeknights when you need something hot, hearty and ready when you are…that’s what she said.

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces*
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup white wine*
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed*
  • 1 onion, chopped*
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped*
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cup skim milk*
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg*
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese, divided (I used a combo of sharp cheddar and parmigiano reggiano)*
  • 1/3 cuplow fat Greek yogurt*

Modified from recipe from Damn Delicious, thanks Kimmy for the share.

Lightly oil an 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.

In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions. With 5 minutes of cooking time to go, add broccoli and frozen peas on top and steam until cooked through.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in the skillet. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, to taste. Add to skillet, cook thoroughly.  Add garlic, onions, mushrooms, saute until cooked and set aside.

Add wine to skillet to de-glaze, bring to boil, reduce heat and stir, cook until thickened and reduced to 1/2 the amount.  Melt butter in the skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and nutmeg, continue whisking until it thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in quinoa, broccoli, chicken, 1 cup cheese and Greek yogurt; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread chicken-quinoa- veggie mixture into the prepared baking dish. Mix remaining cheese with Panko and sprinkle on top of casserole. Let cool, cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Bake in oven covered 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until warmed thoroughly, remove cover for last 10 minutes to let the topping brown and crisp.

crispy

ready!

 

Thoughts:

Although I did enjoy this recipe the first time around, I did find it a bit on the bland side. I made it again last night with several noted additions and it was great. My goal with most meals is to jam as many veggies as possible down my gang’s throats, I know, I’m so mean.  This recipe really is a free pass to use whatever you have in the fridge and freezer to get those servings in, so therefore I changed the name from broccoli to vegetable casserole.  I also used the lower fat versions of the dairy products and it didn’t lose any of its creamy taste. For added flavor, substitute herbed cream cheese for the Greek yogurt.

The premise of the original recipe was to make it and then pop it in the oven immediately for 15 minutes to finish,  That works well too, but you may need a little longer for the cheese to melt and it to crisp up.

In total, 25 minutes from start to baking dish (not including baking time).  The sauce does go quickly, so having your ingredients prepped ahead of time helps to keep the process calm (the open bottle of wine can also help to keep the process calm), I am all about keeping it calm.

As most of the ingredients are already on hand, this keeps the cost well under $25.00, and there was enough left over for everyone to have leftovers for lunch.  Winner! Winner! Chicken, quinoa and vegetable casserole dinner!

Give it a try, would to hear about any additions that you make.

April 10, 2015

Guest Post: Eating for Energy

Duso’s, Eating for Energy

Dusos

Photo: Duso’s website

April 2, 2015

Thinking Out Loud

I remember when my daughter was little; I would always hear the same advice from people with older children, to enjoy our babies as they grow up so fast. Back then, it felt like an eternity from the time my husband left for work in the morning until he returned later that day. And although the clock may have stood still for most of the day, I accomplished relatively nothing around the house and it was a rare occasion if I managed to have a shower by the time he got home.

From the get go, we decided and I committed to my being a stay at home Mom. We rented out our basement, downsized our vehicles and did what we needed to do to make our finances work. The early years were tough, I often envied my working Mom friends, they got to dress up, get out of the house and have adult talk. I now know that they envied me for being at home picking up toys in my barf stained velour sweat suit and my greasy hair.

When my daughter started preschool I got my Group Fitness certification. I started teaching a few classes at night when my husband was home from work and during those precious hours while she was in school. It was nice to have a source of income and to feel like I was contributing financially, albeit minimally, but having worked since the age of 15 it was a feeling that had been missing.

For the most part, my fitness instructor gig worked well, one of us was always with my daughter, however, we were not always together as a family during “family time”. I would miss hockey practice or the occasional game, which killed me to do, but every dollar helps a young family. I will always remember arriving late to the rink on a dark and rainy Tuesday evening, soaked to the skin after leading a run clinic, and listening to one of the Moms (who was a daytime working Mom…she was a teacher) take such joy in telling me how I had missed Rylee score and how well she had played, and then asking me if I had had a nice run, as if I had purposely missed the game, you know to get my run in. I know that she didn’t like me much, perhaps it made her feel better about her own situation to make me feel bad and I guess to some my job did not command much respect. It wasn’t ok and I let her get away with it (that so would not happen now), which also wasn’t ok. It doesn’t make you a better or worse parent to stay at home, or to go back to work the moment your maternity leave is over, or to have three children or to have one. We are all doing the best we can and I think that as Moms we should be kinder and treat each other better than that.

As my business has grown over the years, I feel very fortunate that I am able to base my operations from my home office. My daughter does not need me as much anymore, but it is nice to be there when she does. I often joke that I am a wallet and a taxi. And as her 16th birthday is fast approaching my taxi duties are coming to an abrupt end, so I relish in them now as much as I can, and probably a little more than I should and I am ok with that. I see my friend D helping her baby girl plan her wedding and I know that graduation and university will soon fly by and in ten or so years time (it seems like yesterday when her daughter was in high school) that will be me.

So yes, I am enjoying every moment just a little bit more these days and it really has come full circle because now I catch myself giving that same unsolicited advice to my friends and perfect strangers at Save-On Foods, because our children do grow up so fast.

That’s what’s been on my mind lately, what’s going on with you?

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from a very special afternoon last fall

 

March 19, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken Corn and Vegetable Chowder

The perfect supper to chase away a long winter…

  • 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 c frozen whole kernel corn
  • 3 large  potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 packages (8oz)  reduced fat cream cheese, cut into cubes*
  • 2 c skim milk*
  • 2 c no salt added chicken broth*
  • 1 c white wine*
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked crumbled bacon (optional for garnish)
  • 1/2 c of fresh parsley, chopped (optional for garnish)

Modified from original recipe, Cooking with Sugar: Slow Cooker Chicken Corn Chowder

Add everything to the slow cooker except for the heavy cream, cornstarch, bacon and parsley. Cover; cook on high heat setting for about 4 hours high or for 8 hours on low.  15 minutes before ready to serve, whisk the heavy cream and the cornstarch in a bowl until smooth. Stir into slow cooker and cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Serve and sprinkle with fresh parsley and crispy bacon.

Soup's on!

Soup’s on!

 

Thoughts:

I had been looking for a good chicken chowder recipe for quite some time and was drawn to this one because it contained so many veggies, hence I changed the name to Chicken Corn and Vegetable Chowder, because I can.  Original prep time for this recipe called for 20 minutes, it was more like 30, I like my fingers. I did cook the chicken while I prepped the veggies (I am a bit of a freak about raw meat).

I tried to low cal this as much as possible by using skim milk and reduced fat cream cheese as well as no salt added chicken broth, and it did not lose any of its flavor.  I substituted white wine for sherry (I already had a bottle open in the fridge, what are the chances) and opted not to use a can of chillies which was just preference.

The recipe called for 1lb of cooked, crumbled bacon which is a lot, even if you like bacon (Lysa M – there is NOTHING accidental about this bacon).  How do I know?  I used the full pound and will not judge you if you choose to do the same.

You will need a largish crock pot for this one.  Sugar said 12 servings,  between dinner, second helpings, and lunch for everyone the next day, I still had left overs.  Sugar does not lie.

Cost for this recipe was slightly over $30.00, including the pound of bacon, and considering the volume of chowder it made, I am very happy with the cost per serving.  It’s a keeper.

Give it a try and let me know what you think and what you name it. 😉

 

 

 

March 17, 2015

Confessions of a Mature Student

Remember back in college and university there was that one mature student in class? You would wonder why she was there in the middle of the day, maybe she didn’t have a job, or was a single Mom, maybe her boss was making her take the course for work. Usually sat off to the side, oh so very organized with her nice bag, diligently taking notes and genuinely looking interested at what was coming out of the Prof’s mouth. Not wanting to draw too much attention during class discussions, but able to offer valid points and certainly the person you want to be part of your group project because she will do all of the work because she wants a good mark (because she probably doesn’t have a job… or a husband). Yes, that is me; I am a mature student.

One of the things that I like most about working in the fitness industry is that it is always changing, giving someone like me plenty of opportunity to be a life long learner. What can I say, I like school, I always have. But the thing about mature students is that we take it pretty seriously. With a full time job and family responsibility there is very little extra time in the day, so school is scheduled, focused and done with full effort and little distraction…even when my instructor Heinz came back after the Christmas break and was Heidi (a plot twist that I did not see coming) or when my very friendly Prof leaned across my desk as I was writing my final exam and passed me a piece of paper folded in half and whispered that he had “never done this in all of the years he had been teaching”. Of course I thought that he had given me his phone number, and although I am happily married was I disappointed for a brief moment when I opened said paper to find it was the grading sheet for my course project with 100% circled at the top. Come on, who wouldn’t like a little validation they may still be attractive in a sea of young perky boobs and firm, plump skin. Like I said, it was only for a moment, I am a mature student and given the option that my Prof may think that I am hot or that I could receive 100% on a course project, you know I am taking the grade!

Last year I took the plunge and started the course load that would ultimately lead me to a designation as a Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner. The entire program is done online, so it does lack the social aspect and classroom dynamic, although there are time limits on each course it can done on my schedule and without the messy group projects. I had maintained a pretty good study regime and was able to have a few weeks grace between completing my final chapter test and writing the final exam for my Nutritional Sciences course.

I knew as I completed each chapter the sheer volume and magnitude of information which was explained in such intricate detail, from digestion, absorption, substrates, metabolic pathways, ATP, glycolysis, gluconegenesis, double bonds, RDA’s, EER’s, blah, blah, blah. I whittled away over the course of a week completing each chapter review card, attaching it to my chapter test as well as any pertinent notes that I had taken in a neat and orderly fashion. So last week, with less than 48 hours before my final exam I cleared my schedule, with exception of blow off steam spin class and entered my crash cramming phase. I went over and over my notes, went through my text book and by the morning of my exam I felt as if all of the information that I had stuffed into my head was now spilling out from my ears and I was even less prepared for this exam than I had been to start. I just wasn’t ready to write this test.

T minus 2 hours to go I closed my books, showered and did my hair, at least if I was going to fail I would do so with good hair. To be totally honest, on my drive in I had already picked out a day a few weeks from now when I would rewrite the exam. I parked, paid for the full three hours of parking (I knew I would needed every minute) and headed into the library where my exam was to be proctored.

Passing mark for the course is 80%, and I had carefully done the math (several times to be sure) to find the magic number that I needed. In total there were 100 questions, once I completed the exam I would hit the save and submit all and it would immediately give me my grade. No messing around, no lengthy wait, I would know my fate before I left the room. My proctor logged on, entered all of her information, wished me luck and left the room quietly. I was surprisingly calm when I sat down at the computer. I went back to the advice that I always give my daughter before writing a test, which was the same advice that I had been given from a dear friend the night before, go through the test, answering only the questions you know, by the time your are through to the end, the other answers will have come to you.

I was really quite taken back with how much I did know during my first go through. As I hit number 50 I felt like I was in a bit of a groove and for that I may actually do well enough on the exam to get my 80% pass mark, whatever happened to a 51% passing grade? I went back though and answered the remaining questions and finished the exam with just over a leisurely hour to spare (until I realized that the clock in the room hadn’t been sprung forward with the time change, I guess I may have cut it a little close). My proctor reentered the room and we went through the steps to save and submit my exam. Before submitting the exam, there is one final check to ensure that all questions have been answered, mine showed that none of the questions had been answered…the blood drained from my face and sheer panic set in. Fortunately my proctor took complete control here as I was a mess. We went back to my exam and found a little “check” box under each question. I had wondered what it was for at first, but didn’t need to check anything, I had it under control, turns out I had to check it after each question and it would give me an “answer correct” or “answer incorrect”. So now I was left with the daunting task of going through each of the 100 questions clicking on the check button and hoping like hell that it didn’t time me out as I was nearly over the three-hour time limit. It was a bit of a mad panic and I could see when I had an answer wrong each time. With big sweaty pits I was finally able to hit the save and submit button and covered my eyes as it tallied my mark.

I passed! Insert elation, euphoria, the weight of the world had been removed from my shoulders!

Lessons learned? You bet! Of course there will be a flicker of self-doubt every once in a while, it’s only natural, but TRUST THE FREAKING PROCESS. There is no difference between this and training for a race. If you put in the time and hard work, you will succeed; you just have to believe in yourself. I know that I can be tough on myself and throwing in the towel did briefly cross my mind, but I got up, dressed up, showed up and didn’t give up…and I have already registered for my next course.

What’s been going on with you?