deprivation is key


my mom has lots of “famous quotes” that we repeat as a family. one of them was mentioned in the last post, “what does that mean?” i wish you could really hear my mom say it, because the tone is everything.

to name a few other quotes,

“when in doubt, sack out.”

“the whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead.” [this is more of a loretta original, my mom’s mom]

“fruit ’til noon.”

“yes mom, coming mom” [what she would make us say when she called for us]

today, i want to highlight a quote that has had a particular impact on my life. she used to say, “deprivation is key.” the key to what? well, happiness, contentment and gratefulness mostly. basically, we didn’t have much growing up. we had enough to stretch between eight people in my family, but we never had an excess of anything and understandably so.

but instead of focusing on the lacking, my mom as well as my dad always focused on the character-building that came from the lacking.

for example, every single person in my family has been excited about a simple glass of milk. why? because my mom only let us have milk in our cereal, and that was it for the day. deprivation is key. a simple glass of milk brought us so much gratefulness.

this has applied to many things for me. i often test myself just to see what i can go without. not in a fanatical way or anything, but in a “do i really need to buy some more clothes right now?” way or “do i really need chocolate, or is it more of a severe want?”

this principal has ultimately instilled in me that i don’t need stuff to make me happy.

so, moms, the next time you think you just have to have something for your child, the newest innovation, the coolest toy, the most convenient item, remember that your kid might just be happier with the cardboard box or the homemade drum [aka pots and pans]. be encouraged!

oh money

blog 011

well, after being anxious for weeks, we finally found out if we are to receive any financial aid for this upcoming school year. we didn’t. nothing at all! i was kind-of surprised. i was so counting on it. even just a little would help. and we made a whole ten thousand dollars less than the year before and we received almost a full scholarship then.

i suppose i sound completely selfish and ungrateful right now. after all, we’ve been able to get bryan through three years of school without any loans. that’s not something a lot of people can say. but, all the same, here i am complaining about how we didn’t get any free money. boo hoo.

well, i’m only human, i guess.

so, for those of you who have been reading a while, and know that our main financial goal right now is to pay cash for college, i’ll tell you what we’re thinking. we have a little over $1,000 saved up just set aside for tuition. all of bryan’s income over the summer will also go straight into the tuition fund. thankfully, we think that should cover almost all of the first semester of tuition. we’re not sure what we’ll do for the rest. i might start giving plasma alongside bryan to earn some extra money, maybe i’ll actually sell some crafts for profit too. bryan may get a part-time job while still in school too, but i would like to avoid that if at all possible.

although it’s even less desirable, we may have to take out a loan for the second semester, but we would definitely get a loan that doesn’t accumulate any interest for six months after graduation. they still have those right? is it obvious i know nothing about student loans? we’d almost surely be able to pay it all off within 6 months, but it would set us back a bit, especially as we’ll likely need another car when bryan graduates. i don’t even want to think about coming up that money as well. arg.

if you have any encouragement for me, i’d be so thankful for it. sorry for the not so humorous post, perhaps i’ll have a sense of humor about finances soon, but i tend to take it all very seriously right now.

[photo credit]

‘member that time?


‘member that one day when my big brother levi was left in charge of us for a while? ‘member how i was being incredibly annoying while he was washing the floor? ‘member how i kept singing [and managed to get my brother mark on board too] my own little parody to an amy grant twila paris song [as corrected by my mother] where i repeated over and over in a sing-song voice: “god is innnnn control! not leviiiiiiii!” ‘member how i sang it so much and taunted him about bossing me around that eventually i got him to crack and he ran after me, tackled me to the ground and started jumping on me in a rage fit for an eleven year old?

and ‘member how he ended up spraining my wrist and my parents made him pay for the doctor’s bill?

yeah, i was a horrible little sister sometimes.

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

cute ‘dry-erase’ board

blog 008

i can’t remember where i saw this, but i think it was in real simple. i immediately fell in love with idea.

the idea is simple:

  1. take a lightweight frame with glass
  2. put cute light-colored fabric or scrapbook paper in the frame
  3. hot glue* heavy duty magnets on the back
  4. stick it to your fridge

wah-la! or not.

they look cute up there ^ but on my fridge, well, this is what they look like.


i guess i need much stronger magnets. i’ll probably try again soon.

*you don’t necessarily have to use hot glue for the magnets, but as i’m mildly obsessed with hot glue, that’s what i did.

she doesn’t look down upon


over 26 years ago, when my mom was preparing for her first child [i can assure you my mom is still 29, so you can stop trying to calculate her age] she took many roads less traveled.

and while my mom is known for her adorable and seemingly ditzy “what does that mean?” questions, you would probably underestimate how well-researched she is on the decisions she made. what are some of those decisions, you ask? to name a few, she chose to birth naturally at home, not to immunize her children, and home-school later on. all of these choices were definitely not common 26 years ago, though they are slightly more mainstream now.

i want to talk about my mom’s experiences in all of those things, but before that, i want to share with you one of my all-time favorite things about my wonderful mother: she is the easiest person to talk to. ever.

now, this may not seem like a big deal, but when i choose something unconventional, i can become a monster. all i want to do is prove that my way is best, and that really, everyone should do what i’m doing. does this happen to you? we get up on our pedestal, preach to anyone who will listen, even if they didn’t ask. sometimes, we indirectly ruin relationships. we become those people that no one wants to approach, because everyone already knows where we stand on these controversial issues. frankly, it’s ugly. i know first-hand.

so this is the biggest reason why my mom is so amazing. ever since i can remember, she’s always had women approaching her with questions or concerns and almost always, they walk away encouraged. that’s right, encouraged, not depressed, not judged, not feeling like they’ve done everything wrong, not feeling like they have to change anything. it’s amazing!

this is ultimately what i want to be when i grow up. the best way i can describe her in this way is humbly wise, and simply sweet. she’s attracts people to her.

‘member that time?


‘member that time when my family re-wrote that one famous car-x song? you know, the one where it’s all like, “rumble, rumble, clatter, clatter, piece of crap caaaaarrrrr? don’t worry, call the car-x man!” [those aren’t the exact lyrics, but you get the idea]

well, anyway, ‘member how we thought we were really clever to substitute the lyrics for our names? and ‘member how we had the perfect amount of syllables between all of our names, that it was almost as if my parents planned it that way?

for those of you who know the song i’m talking about, here’s the von duvick family version:

rolf, ami, luke and levi, lisagrace toooooo…..mark, adam and alyssa joy!

pretty amazing stuff.

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


blog 011

okay, so i’ve found a new obsession. and it’s piping. yay! thanks to a cousin craft day on wednesday, i officially know how to pipe. and no, i’m not talking about plumbing, although i wish i knew how to rid our shower of the standing water…

i made a pillow case as you can see above. it’s awesome, as you can see above. what makes it so awesome? you guessed it, the piping!

blog 012

blog 014

i especially love the corners, it looks so professional, if i do say so myself.

she did half the laundry


so you hate doing laundry. and you don’t want to smell. what would ami do?

wear the same thing twice in a row.

simple, yet genius. before i saw the beauty of this, and thought it was kind-of embarrassing, i would wear an outfit and then hang the clothes that didn’t seem too dirty back up in my closet. but after they sit in the closet for a while, they get smellier than i realized. i was talking to my mom a couple weeks ago and she made some joke about always wearing the same outfit two days in a row. we chatted about it and i realized: my mom has done it again, she’s a freaking genius.

monday and tuesday i wore the same outfit twice. it was awesome and i didn’t smell, but i’m still doing half as much laundry. the best part was, i didn’t see anyone on monday that i saw on tuesday, so it wasn’t even embarrassing!

[photo credit]