april tuition update

this whole month i've been stressed about this tuition thing. things seemed so discouraging all month long. until this week. why am i ever ever anxious when i have this promise?

God is definitely reminding us that He loves us and desires to take care of us. i've been working more hours at the coffee shop since the new store has opened, so that's been a temporary blessing. bryan finally got a job! he is going to be working at the fareway meat counter. we found a great deal on a moped which will make it possible for bryan to get to work. (although, extra vehicle expenses are no fun either...) a dear friend connected me to an opportunity in which i will make an extra $300 for three days of work in may. praise Him!

God also continues to teach us generosity, we wrote a few more checks this past month to summer missions trips. i want you to know that i don't say this to impress you or feel good about myself, believe me, i wouldn't say it all if i didn't want to encourage you in this way. this has been something God has been teaching me a lot about lately, and i want to take this moment to share with you. also, check out this message from our old church. super convicting.

my friend, mikki, who is in our amazing connection group shared the best perspective on tithing i've ever heard. she and her soon-to-be husband are both dental students and thus living off of student loans for the time-being. but she said something like this: whenever we tithe, we're technically paying 7% interest or whatever it is on that loan money. but who's to say that God's work isn't worth 7% interest?

that hit me hard! what an awesome way to think about giving to the Lord's work. so i want to say, before i update you, that if we have to take out student loans because we gave too much of our money away this past month, bring it on.

with that said, here's our update for april:

tuition for 2011-2012 school year: $9,654.00
savings at the end of april: $1,300.00
difference: $8,354.00
percentage saved: 13.46%
percentage left to save: 86.54%

i was not expecting to really put any extra in the bank, so i'm encouraged!


latte changing pad


we were in ames for easter last weekend-it was our first time missing veritas since we began 7 months ago! it was definitely weird to be away.

but we loved our time in ames with my family too and at cornerstone, our amazing "mother church." quick non-sequitur: after being in a teeny church for almost a year, bryan and i were just in awe of the well-oiled machine that is cornerstone. everything runs so smoothly, and the quality of everything there is outstanding. even the programs were printed on nice paper and perfectly folded! it was magical.

anyway, because it was our first time back in ames since christmas, i knew i wanted to make sure to meet two very important babies. two of my dear friends from our old connection group had babies in november of last year and i hadn't met them yet!

i also wanted their moms to feel loved too, so i made each of them a "latte changing pad." the one pictured is the one i gave to whitney. i used a blue and green animal print for rachel's since she had a baby boy.

i found the pattern in a book a received for christmas, one-yard wonders: 101 sewing projects. this is the book's description of the project: this compact changing pad and sleeve can hold a small package of wet wipes and two or three toddler diapers. it is intended for the toddler mom who no longer needs a big diaper bag, as it can be rolled up and tucked right inside your purse. perfect for a trip to the coffee shop! 


i thought that sounded perfect for them, as their babies are already almost 6 months old! it was fun to give my friends a simple little gift of love and meet their babies-love you Rachel & David and Whitney & Gracyn!

the directions were pretty easy to follow, although i admit some sentences weren't as clear to me. the first one i made took about two hours to make, and the second only one! it was a pretty easy project, not quite like my last baby gift. : )

happy crafting!



would it be okay to name a future daughter of mine ginger? 


or not?


she researched


i'm running out of "what would ami do?" posts, i believe this series will be finished by june. however, stay with me, because in may i'll be tackling possibly the three biggest decisions my mom made regarding motherhood:

choosing not to vaccinate
staying at home

but in preparation, i'll tell you something i admire most about my mom. she can read boring research books like it's her job.

the older i get, the more i realize that i am my mother. i think all women go through this. we turn into our mothers because, hey, we turned out okay, right?

and though i did take to reading at a very young age, this is one quality of my mom that i don't possess. i hate reading anything but fiction. ugh, i dread the thought of it. i have to fight to finish anything that is non-fiction, unless it's a novel written about a true story or something.

i'm just hoping that when i become a mom, i will naturally become awesome at this. i envy those of you who have this quality. (ahem, paige)

my mom didn't just make her unconventional decisions off the fly or because she was a rebel without a cause, she read and read and read and read some more. and the more she read, the more she leaned towards these decisions. both home-birth and choosing not to vaccinate were not her original plans, but her resources and research led her to those decisions.

i greatly admire how much she cared about us to spend so much time and energy poring over books and researching. thanks mom!

stay tuned for next week!


'member that time?


'member that time my little brother got engaged? 

oh yeah, that was like, two days ago.



baby blanket


whew, this is definitely the biggest project i have undertaken yet. and i am so proud of how it turned out. my cousin and i say all the time, knitting is magical. it really is! what was once a rolled up piece of yarn is now a beautiful blanket, ready to provide warmth and comfort for it's owner, which in this case is baby thune. our pastor's wife, ashley, is due in may. a bunch of us church women gathered to celebrate with her last sunday, we're all so excited for this baby!


i absolutely loved ashley's face when she saw the blanket, it made all the time spent on this fun project worth it for sure. i've had the joy of getting to know ashley this semester in a bible study we're in together, and when i saw this pattern, i knew i wanted to make this for her!

i found the pattern, by the way, in a brand new book called a knitter's home companion. it's written by an iowa city local and is a most adorable collection of stories, recipes, and knitting patterns. it's also the only book i have finished so far this year, so it has that going for it. if you're a knitter, i highly recommend picking this book up!

happy crafting!



pretty make up

i've received quite a few compliments on my prettiness from children. random kids in the park, at the grocery store, or at church have pronounced me as pretty.

i almost always flush with joy at their shameless compliments but i got to thinking the other day...

am i really that pretty? or do i just look like a mom?

[this is pretty much a rhetorical question, unless you feel the need to tell me how gorgeous i really am. in that case, go right ahead]

[photo credit]


she ran to God


it's time for another "ami quote." and this one is important. my mom said this to me many times as i came to her in tears or in loneliness or in stress. half the time it would frustrate me, because i just wanted to vent, or a physical voice, but she persisted. she would say, all the time:

run to God

she always encouraged me to pour my heart out to my savior and allow him to bear my burdens. like i said, sometimes it was frustrating to get that from my mother. but most often, when i felt the need to cry out to my mom, i came to her with problems that she couldn't do anything about. they were issues of the heart and deep spiritual needs that only the Lord could fill. somehow, she knew that, and she encouraged me to go to directly to the source.

in hindsight, i now realize how amazing that actually was. 

mothers naturally want to feel needed and as though their kids want to talk to them. just as a woman, i feel this need. for my mom to basically say no to that naturally desire to comfort me and give me such truth is truly amazing to me. i admire her greatly for this. and it has undoubtedly shaped my relationship with God.

i would like to point out, though, that those three words would not have been at all effective if my mother didn't lock herself in her room to have her time with the Lord. and that's what she did. she would literally tell us not to interrupt her unless we were bleeding so she could have her precious time with God. she journaled, she cried out to God, and she poured over the word. her time in the word was her lifeline, and i never doubted that. 

she was an awesome example of what a real relationship with God looked like. i have so much to live up to and work on! 

a short while ago, dawn asked this question about my mom:
"wondering how your mom held such strong and unpopular convictions, yet managed to be so full of grace toward others who didn't share her convictions."

well, in short, i'm pretty sure this is why she was and is able to have such grace toward all women who come to her for advice. she runs to God first, and with His strength she is able to love without judgment. [she's certainly not perfect, but i know God uses her greatly in this way!]



how am i doing on my goal? you know, the one where i'm trying to be more hilarious. am i trying too hard?

i don't think i am. not yet anyway.

if you doubt my hilarity, please consider this as evidence:

yep, that's me. 

oh gosh. i'm freaking hilarious.  


'member that time?

'member that time when i bossed my littlest brother adam around all the time, but i gave him money to compensate him for his troubles? 'member how i would send him on all sorts of errands for me, be it running to get me a candy bar from char's, the neighborhood gas station, or simply a glass of ice water from upstairs, meanwhile i would just dole out the washingtons like a queen?

'member how at the height of my laziness, as i was lounging on the couch, i asked adam to go to the bathroom for me, because i just couldn't get up to go?

well, he obviously couldn't serve me to that level [without a catheter], but he was still such a good brother.

ps: happy 19th birthday to my baby brother adam two days ago!

[it's 'member that time monday at the van voorst's blog!]


sneak peaks and crafting updates


above is a detail shot of what i finished up yesterday. i'll have a more detailed blog about this on friday. do you think you have a more accurate guess as to what it is? it's the same thing shown in this blog.


this is what i'm working on for next week's craft of the week.


and this is just something i'm really excited about! my first dress pattern! i may not get to this for a while, but isn't it an adorable dress?

in other news, i updated this craft of the week because i received several questions about it. let me know if you still don't know what a "replacement cotton square" is. : )

and i also think i'm going to add at least one tutorial in per month to my craft of the week blogs. i received a lot of interest on how i did the piping on a simple pillow case, so i think i'll start with that!

ps: this post has been backdated!


homeschooling 103

part three-the other stuff about homeschooling!


aside from our daily worksheets and periodic test in our regular subjects, we also went to "enrichment class" once a week, where we had physical education of sorts and art. let me tell you that all of us homeschoolers in one school gym was, as you would imagine, a funny sight to see. [i only say this in hindsight, as i am guilty of thinking i was actually cool]

however much of a nerdfest it was, enrichment class was a great way for us to interact with other kids, as well as play oregon trail on the computer, run around like crazy in the gym, make art projects, weave baskets, have valentines day parties, and even be involved in a little local theatre!

we were only homeschooled in elementary school and i really enjoyed both be homeschooled at a young age and going to public school. entering the public school system in middle school worked well, because at the time, there were nine elementary schools funneling into the junior high school, so none of us were really considered the "new kid." i would say we're all pretty normal socially, half of us at least are considered "cool." [i'm talking about levi, adam and alyssa, of course, i don't know if i'll ever make cool status]

i'm not going to lie, sometimes we would con my mom into letting us have a day off by telling her we'd clean the entire house [pretty good deal, right?] and she'd cave. sometimes, she would also let us have a "where in the usa is carmen san diego?" game day. and every once in a while, she'd even break out the box of cards and we'd play a little texas canasta. again, she was pretty relaxed.

overall, i believe we will homeschool our future red-headed children, at least in early elementary school. homeschooling in my family taught me that every child is different. my mom had 6 very different children. she had me, who taught myself how to read, and my brother, who seemed to learn everything kicking and screaming. we all made it through school and we all got decent grades if we tried.

so far, no one has had any questions, so i'll leave it at that! but if you do have questions, let me know. i'd be happy to post a q&a blog!


how cool is my bro-in-law?!

check out this video that my brother-in-law and his amazing photographer of a buddy did together.

they both won the Edward R Murrow award for this piece. pretty cool, huh? if you're like me and wondering what the crap an Edward R. Murrow award is, check out this link.

go jobin!


'member that time?

'member that time when me and my two older brothers, luke and levi, were riding home from char's with our most recent candy purchases?

'member how luke was all like, lisagrace, there is a guy chasing us, so you better start riding faster? 'member how i was all like, whatever, you're so stupid! and he was all like, i'm serious! and then i looked behind me only to see a shady-lookin' white guy running after us?

'member how luke was so heroic by slowing down to ride behind me so i'd be safe, and levi led us safely through the shortcut through the backyards of some houses and the shady guy stopped running after us then?

my big brothers may have beat me up a lot, but they loved me all the same.

ps: happy 26th birthday to luke in three days!

[it's 'member that time monday at the van voorst's blog!]


replacement cotton squares


i needed an easy-as-pie craft for this week as i'm working on a couple bigger crafty projects right now.
these replacement cotton squares cost me about 60 cents and took me about 15 minutes to make. talk about quick and easy!


these handy little things are one simple way to "go green" in your house. instead of using a cotton ball or cotton square [as i call them] to take off your make-up or clean your face or whatever you can use a cotton ball for, you can use this reusable fabric replacement!

i was inspired by this link, and she says that she washes them in a lingerie bag so they don't get lost. now i need to make one of those!


homeschooling 102

part two-the details of homeschooling


our school day started around 8 in the morning, sometimes earlier if we i wanted to get a head-start [like some nerdy child] and it would usually end around noon if we had completed all of our schoolwork.

we sat at our kitchen table together while my mom was usually close by in case we needed help. every time we would ask for help, she would ask, "what do the directions say?" we would proceed to read the directions out loud to her. often, upon answering her simple question, a light bulb would magically go off and we would understand what we had to do. if we still didn't understand, she would then proceed to explain it to us.

we got very good at reading directions and guiding ourselves through our homework.

we had workbooks and reading books. our workbooks included a school-years worth of double-sided worksheets, so we completed one every day. sometimes, it was really fun to get done with three or four math worksheets so you wouldn't have to do any for a while. [can you tell i was a nerd?]

our subjects included:
language arts

am i forgetting any, mom?

my mom would correct our worksheets every day, and we would have to redo what we got wrong.

sometimes we would have history and science tests, as we just read a section of those every day. we'd also have spelling test every week over twenty some words, we'd usually give those to each other.

it usually took us the morning to complete all of our work and the rest of the day we were free to imagine, run around, play with the homeschooled neighbors, or light each other on fire [as my two older brothers were fond of doing]

to be continued...


name change.

so guys, i decided to change my name.

current name: LisaGrace

new name: Lisagrace

what do you think? well, i don't really care because i already changed it on facebook, so it's pretty much offish.

i don't know why, but i just like it better this way, so especially when you talk to me in person, please stop being all like, "what's up LisaGrace?" "how you doing, LisaGrace?" "i like your pants, LisaGrace."

please respect the name change.

the best part about this blog is that you have no idea what i'm talking about because my html formatting causes all my text to be in lowercase. BURN!

anyway, i think i'm just not going to capitalize the "g" anymore. ndb.


'member that time?

'member that afternoon when i was really, really cranky so my mom sent me to take a nap even though i was like seven? and 'member how i completely agreed with her, but as i was trying to fall asleep, every one else in was in the kitchen having the time of their lives while i was unfairly stuck in my room to take a nap?

'member how i decided the best thing to do was to send them a message telling them of my struggle to fall asleep as they were having such fun?

'member how i literally "sent them a message" via paper airplane? but 'member how i was awful at making paper airplanes, so mine only flew like two feet and didn't get anywhere near them? 'member how no one even noticed that i was out of my room and trying desperately to send them a paper airplane so i started waving and making noises and stuff but they still didn't notice me?

'member how i was now also infuriated by the fact that they didn't notice me that i made a sign that said,
and 'member i cleared my throat real loud so everyone in the kitchen noticed me and i pointed to the sign i had placed on the ledge but everyone just looked at me all confused and such and so i read the sign out loud in my nastiest of voices and marched back up the stairs to my room and took a nap?

yeah, my mom was right, i did need a nap.

[it's 'member that time monday at the van voorst's blog!]


knit kit pouch


last week, i showed you the knitter's bag i made for my friend shea. well, shea got a bonus pouch out of me just because she's so awesome. and because there was a lot of extra fabric. [there is still about a half a yard, shea, so if you think of anything else you want, let me know!]

she actually came up with idea when we were picking out fabric together in joann's. she wanted a little pouch to put her various stitch markers and small knitting tools inside. we looked at zippers, but they were all so long, so we left without the plan for me to make one.

when i discovered that you can shorten a zipper to whatever length you like, i decided to surprise shea and whip one up for her! it was only my second time working with a zipper, and my first was on a skirt i made for my sister when i was in high school. not only was i a little out of practice, but i just in general had no idea what i was doing. but that's how i roll, i make things up as i go!

i figured it out for the most part, and once again, it's not perfect, but it'll do the job!

here's the matching pair!