Kilter Annie's…

thoughts, musings and the like

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Nursing School + Busy Family= Exhaustion

Husband, kids, and baseball practice?  Yeah, I’ve got this.  You need a team parent?  Sure, no problem.  Nursing school?  Um, as long as I’ve got it all in my planner, we’re cool.  Second semester?  Okay, it’s a little more intense, but I’m managing.  Vice President of the student nurse’s association?  That’ll look great on a resume and I love people and planning things.  Oh, clinicals are TWO days a week now?  Total patient care, you say?  Alright, I’ll step into this.  Awesome!  I’ve been elected VP of our class and get to do fundraising (by the way, I’m totally open to suggestions on this one) and help plan our pinning ceremony!!  And…..WALL.  I’m exhausted.

This isn’t to scare you, because nursing school is AWESOME.  My classmates are the best (we’ve actually taken to calling ourselves the Best Cohort EVER, and I’m sure this is the truth) and our instructors are phenomenal.  Like, rock stars.  As enriching as this experience is, and I’m learning a ton about myself as well as all of my content, it’s flippin’ intense.  Did you know that the cutoff for making a C in nursing school is 77% ?  Yeah, that was news.  I’ve not yet reached that point, but it’s in the back of my mind.  So when you hear people say things about people passing with a C and still becoming a nurse, recognize that they’ve performed at a higher than average level.

Anyway, here’s my point.  Yes, I’m tired.  Yes, I’ve discovered Spark by AdvoCare and it’s my secret weapon.  It awakens my body AND brain (coffee has the jittery “awake” that leaves my mind foggy), yet allows me to sleep easily at night.  I’ve had more than one fellow student ask to try it, then approach me the next day asking where they can get some.  Seriously, it happened to me THREE TIMES this week.  It’s THAT good.  But now I need my body to feel good.  Having busy kids and a car meant I was no longer riding the bus, walking, and riding my bike everywhere.  Do you know what happens when a person stops being so active?  You guessed it, we get “fluffy”.  I’m a comfort eater.  Also, a boredom eater…so, I’ve “expanded” a bit.  Again, I’m looking to AdvoCare and the 24 Day Challenge.

Have you tried the 24 Day Challenge?  What were your results?  How did you feel?  I’m not looking to get down to my pre-baby weight or anything, because those days are long gone and I’m cool with that, but I want to FEEL better.  I want to have more energy.  I want to cleanse my cravings and I want a team to do it with me!  So what do you say?  Are you in?  Do you have questions?  If I don’t know the answers, I’ll get them for you.  We can learn and do this together.  I need the support network and I’d like to be that for you.  Go to my site (Like I said, Spark has been a tremendous help, so I become a distributor.) and check things out here:  Kilter’s AdvoCare Site .  If you have questions, please ask me.  If you want to join in, place your order, leave me a response on the blog, and we’ll get things in order with a private Facebook page and a starting date.  If you’ve done this before and have advice, leave us a comment and share your wisdom!  Now…LET’S DO THIS!!!

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On Black, White, and the space in between…

Nine months later and here I am.  So much has happened that I wouldn’t even know where to start.  And I don’t know if it impacts anyone else if speak on this forum or not.  I do know that I “should” be cleaning my kitchen, and I “should” be reading.  I begin my second semester of nursing school in a few days and I’m already behind on reading assignments!  I also know that I have a birth mom and paternal birth aunt who are very excited and supportive of my nursing education.  It goes without saying that my mom and dad are proud of me, of course.  I’m so blessed to have parents who have been consistently loving and supportive of me throughout my life.

But, why am I here…now?  I read an article today that tried to say that an adoptive parent couldn’t love their adopted child equally or the same as a biological child.  While the author included quotes from an adoptive parent or two who stated that this was clearly not the case, the article had other leanings.  And I thought, “What a terrible disservice.  To speak in absolutes.”

Honestly, why do people feel the need to house things within the realms of all or nothing, black or white, yes or no?  Is it REALLY so difficult to accept the grey areas?  As I read the comments from fellow adoptees, whose sentiments were a resounding, “No, I’m living proof that this isn’t possible.”, I understood how they could say such things.  It’s terrible that they grew up feeling unloved, different, but for individuals who were supposedly trained and educated in psycho-social sciences to say such a thing?  For shame.  How can one NOT take into account the diverse nature of each situation?  Everyone’s experiences are so varied; there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter” adoptive situation.  We, as humans, are the sums of our natures as well as our nurturing.  We all have backstories, experiences that have shaped who we are and what we’ve become.  These very experiences and the ways in which we’ve handled or overcome them speak to our ability to love and the ways in which we are able to display that love.

And what about perception?  Again, how we perceive things speaks volumes for any differences we may or may not feel about our situations.  While I appreciate the guts it took for those people who spoke honestly about their feelings, I’m disappointed by the notion that they, somehow, are the ones who can speak for all others.  As if THEY are the scholars on this subject?

So, why am I back here on this page, after nine months of being away?  Because these are the kinds of thoughts that roll around in my head as I’m doing dishes, or any of the other mundane chores I do on a daily basis…but this time, I took the time to stop.  Too often, I tell myself that I’ll come back to it later, but that moment is always lost.  This thing, this article, it just makes me too angry.  Too disappointed.  Too sad.

Wild Things Round Up: Low-Cost Meals (Autumn Edition)

Butter Wilde over at Hunger and Thirst has a big heart and feels deeply. She hosts a a themed Wild Things Round Up where she invites others to submit recipes. Her most recent fall edition features ways to utilize wild foods in support of low-cost meals. With cuts made to supplemental food programs, Butter’s heart was breaking and she wanted to do what she could to help those to be affected. Like I said, her heart is big, and it’s warm. I suggest you take a hop over to her blog and check it out. It’s so darned esthetically pleasing to boot!


Snowshoes, Anyone?

Well, the snow is here on the Front Range and so is the cold. A high of 18 degrees has me pleased to know that my munchkins will be enjoying indoor recess this week. It also tells me that they’ll be playing some sports on the Wii to get their sillies out.

I hate the cold. I mean, I HATE it. That said, I do think it’d be pretty cool to have a pair of snowshoes for each of our family members to enjoy some icy outings. Who has snowshoes, and how much do you love them? The Colonel has been wanting to get some for quite some time now. But, the expense! Any recommendations out there? Or maybe you have some you’d like to donate? Hmm, I’m pretty sure I should start with getting some snow pants for myself…

What do YOU like to do when the cold sets in and the snowfall has begun?


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So Very Many Things

Bridesmaids Bouquets

Bridesmaids Bouquets

Where does one begin? It’s been so long since my last confession. Since that time, last June: The Colonel and I have survived an auto accident in which our car was smashed by a semi-truck (Yes, we now know what it feels like to be “hit by a truck”. That said, we’re so thankful for our Nissan Pathfinder that we got a new one.), jumped on a plane four days later to spend time with the dad-in-law, came through the Colorado floods virtually unscathed (my kids’ school took a lot of damage, which meant they were home with me for almost a MONTH), managed to put together a lovely bridal shower for DL, ended up also planning the bachelorette party in lieu of my other two daughters (Man, am I glad DL isn’t a huge partier and DIDN’T want strippers!), hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for about twenty (without drying the breast meat), and…married off DL to MW! And I’ve survived ALL of it! DL and MW put together what could possibly be the most genuine, natural and beautiful ceremonies known to man. I’m not joking, she was actually asked to teach a class on wedding planning. It was THAT good.

Now that you’ve been brought up to date, I can tell you why I’m here…I missed you, or “it”. Blogging, that is. I need the introspection. I need to be checking in and identifying what I’m feeling. I can tell you that, as I continue to have pieces of glass removed from my body, I am thankful it was US, in OUR car that DIDN’T have kids in it, that were in the accident. Any smaller car would have been crushed to pieces; at least our car did some damage in return. I am thankful for my sis-in-law and our family friend who came for the wedding, because they kept us grounded and calm in the chaos. I am thankful that my dad didn’t throw away the turkey skin when he carved the bird, even though he thinks I likely used it to make stock. I am thankful for the technology that allowed my mom and step-dad to be present at my daughter’s wedding when they weren’t able to be there physically. And I am thankful that we were all able to bring DL’s mom to the wedding festivities in spirit.

I can also tell you that I was so very sad to see the foraging season coming to an end with the cold and snowy storm that was to blow in this afternoon. What a wonderful surprise to be able to connect with my girl Butter for one last outing! Dandelion greens, prickly lettuce, wild onions and horehound will go into fresh salads and meatballs, infused oils and butters, and be made into candies. And who DOESN’T love a friend who sends you off with peach-chili chutney for her young apprentice, along with chokecherry jam and Queen Anne’s Lace jelly?! To find out just how amazing Butter is, check her out at Hunger and Thirst.

What I needed most today was to recharge and ground myself. I am so blessed to have had it. And now, I can look forward to the Christmas celebrations! Believe it or not, I started shopping last month! This, for me, is HUGE. Yes, the little things and the baby steps. Onward and upward, and all that jazz! (*Insert spirit fingers here.)

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The Nitty Gritty Of Our Natural Body Care Products

I love, love, LOVE this post! A wealth of information, right at our fingertips.

Simply Content Country Living

I love to see how people react when they find out that we don’t use the normal beauty products you find on the grocery store shelf. It’s usually either a big grin, followed by a “Me, too!” or it’s a “Really…” as they move backwards slowly. We do not have any of the normal shampoo and conditioners, liquid hand soap, or wall mounted air fresheners. What you will see are hearty bars of homemade soap, bottles filled with apple cider vinegar and tubs of oil.

Most people who come to our home eventually get around to asking, “So, what do you use all that for?”

And then I just smile, because I love telling people they do not need to be shnooked into spending bookoos of dollars in their grocery cosmetic isles! And their body will thank them with boundless thanks in the long run.


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The Six “KNOWS” of Harvesting Wild Plants

Oakmoss Education

Using the wonderful wild plants of Earth can result in so many benefits for our physical and spiritual health. However, all due care should be used in this process. And remember to be a responsible forager. When harvesting, ALWAYS LEAVE PLENTY OF SPECIMENS BEHIND! We want our wild herbs to reproduce so be sure to take no more than one-third (1/3) of a stand. In addition, certain plants only should be harvested during certain phases of their life-cycles. For example, Trout Lily should not be harvested if the specimen displays more than one leaf; it takes this plant more than one year to flower so do NOT harvest it if the plant is showing two leaves otherwise it may fail to reproduce. Also, if the plant is endangered (i.e. American Ginseng, certain ferns, etc.), DO NOT HARVEST – it might be illegal and certainly does not help them propagate for…

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On life, loss and new beginnings

When it comes to me, what you see is what you get. There are no great mysteries, save those bestowed upon me due to my adoption. I’m a hippie. I like herbology and holistic health, and I’m a big fan of simplicity.

I say this because our our eldest (DL), one of my step-daughters, is getting married in November. Yay! Wahoo! Congrats! This is exciting…and I’m TOTALLY clueless. You see, her mom left this plane twelve years ago, making me the “Mother of the Bride”. This honor comes with great responsibility, like putting on the bridal shower. She started talking about color and lunch themes and totally left me in the dust. Say, WHAT?! You mean, I can’t just make it a potluck and call it a day? Apparently not. To counter my casual style, DL is Little Miss Put-Together, OCD organized, Coach handbag- girl. Her dad and I had a promise ceremony on a beach in Mexico. I am so out of my element in this endeavor.

Here’s where you come in. The bridal shower is planned for September, which just so happens to be DL’s birth month. I need ideas to help me fuse her organized style and my casual hippie style, because I’ve been the main mother figure in her life since she was eight (more on the reason for that at another time), while recognizing her birth and growth and honoring her mother.

I’ve been trying to come up with ideas of how to subtly infuse and honor DL’s mom at the shower, and for the wedding, but I don’t have much to go on. The Colonel (my man’s had this nickname for quite some time) doesn’t know his ex’s favorite flower and we don’t have any of her jewelry to pass down that DL doesn’t already have. Sadly, that is the extent of my creativity in this regard. I want it to be more than just a photo of her mom somewhere in the room. I don’t want to upset her with the blatant visual reminder that her mother isn’t there.

Please help me celebrate the union of DL and her fiancé MW, in a way that bring presence to her mom. I know it hurts her tremendously to not be doing this with her mother.

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Coming back to myself

Holy shit.  The first post.  So much pressure!  It’s funny how, when I’m in the shower or doing the dishes, I have so many ideas.  Now I actually have the time to sit and…nada.

How about this…I’m inspired and feeling like myself again.  It’s all about the plants, Man.  Over the years of being with someone who, though he supports and is fascinated by my interests, he doesn’t actually get INTO them (No judgement here.  I mean, hey, history’s not MY passion and I surely have ZERO interest in working with teenage kids, but that’s what he loves.), I have fallen off the bandwagon.  My independent study of herbs and holistic health had fallen by the wayside.  Getting back to college, after the (less than) year that I spent at Ohio University, I began some of the Holistic Health courses they offered.  I love the study, but have always questioned my knowledge to really go with it.

Now, enter my new interest in foraging.  After a few trips out with my girl Butter (yes, that’s the name she goes by.  And it’s awesome.  How can you NOT love Butter?!  Follow her blog at, you’ll be glad you did.), I realized that we just start small.  I’m an over-thinker and, guess what?  I’ve been over-thinking.  Go figure.  Dude, I love it!  Wild asparagus.  Wild onions.  Motherwort.  Catnip.  Prickly lettuce.  This shit rocks!  I’ve made a tincture out of cleavers, put up dandelion flower oil, began wild onion-infused olive oil (as of tonight) and will be making dandelion leaf tea tomorrow.  Man, when this shit comes back, it comes back HARD.  I’ve got my son hooked on kefir that we’re playing with at home and just started my first batch of kombucha.  Guess what else I discovered…I know more than I’ve been giving myself credit.

I know, I’m light years behind so many others, but it feels so good to come back to myself.  I mean, I went from one kid to five in what feels like the blink of an eye.  Getting a driver’s license to cart a family around was a big change from busing and biking everywhere.  What came along with that change came frozen pizzas and weight gain.  Ew, gross.

To celebrate the end of the school year, *insert uninspired “yea” here, I took my boys out to find asparagus.  They loved it!  D clearly has the foraging bug while G just likes to throw rocks in the water…unless it’s easy to find said ‘gus, at which point he’s all about it.  Either way, I love sharing this with my kids.  They love their mint, lemon balm and strawberry snacks from the yard and I love that they are learning and know what so many other people are completely unaware of.

My point?  The time is now.  If you don’t like something, change it.  If you’re inspired, do it.  If you’re curious, study it.  Then get out an LIVE IT!

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) at Fort Custer ...

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) at Fort Custer Recreation Area in Augusta, MI. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)