Labor Day Prep || Family&Friends

This week has been a busy blur of preparations for Labor Day!
Below are a few pictures of a couple of the projects we did with our willing helper friends!

{posted by chelsy}


Bible Bee Update||Heading to Nationals!!

All day long anticipation has been building in the Bontrager household, as tonight at 6pm the local Bible Bee scores were scheduled to be posted on the Bible Bee website, and we would find out who had advanced to nationals.
As is typical, different people were on various computers and everyone was "haunting" the Bible Bee site, waiting anxiously for the annoucement.
And then it came!!
I am thrilled to announce that my four little brothers are heading to nationals!!
Joshua (senior division)
Denver (junior division)
Taylor (junior division)
Hudson (primary division)
Seems we just can't get away from the "brotherly competition". =) 
Denver & Taylor will be competing against each other!
I am so proud of all of my five siblings (pictured above) who participated in the Bible Bee this year.
They spent a large portion of their summer delving into God's Word and hiding it in their hearts.
In God's sight they are ALL winners for the scripture they have hidden in their hearts!
Congrats also to all of our "Bible Bee friends" who treasure God's word and are committing it to memory!
The boys are excited about seeing some of you at nationals in November!
-posted by chelsy

Our Life of Late

//A Trip to Indiana for the Cousin's Wedding//
the "little girls"....all dressed up and ready to party at the wedding.
These little ladies had a grand time playing together.  
We enjoyed a lovely taco salad lunch together outside.  
Lynds and I.  
The guys......watching Sherlock Holmes.
Some sort of sibling picture.:)
My darling grandparents walking out hand in hand.
My mother and her siblings (minus the two that weren't there).
[see Chelsy's blog for more photos of the weekend]

//Good Eating//
These tomato/cheese/pesto sandwhiches.......ahhh SO good!  Just take a thin round (or piece) or bread, slather on some fresh pesto, add a few just-from-the-garden tomato slices, top with shredded mozzarella cheese, throw on a little salt and pepper, and broil in the oven till browned.  Best eaten outdoors!

//Hard Work//
We canned salsa on Monday.  I can't believe how blessed I am to work with my favorite people like this.  

//A Surprise Birthday Party//
Surprise birthday parties are way too fun, especially when the birthday girl is one of the dearest people in the world and has such a lovely reaction to the surprise.  It was a sweet evening of eating (lots), talking, laughing, singing, and celebrating.

//Bible Bee//
We are so proud of these five for their hard work over the summer.  Last Saturday the big day arrived and they headed out to our local Bible Bee competition.  They were confident and excited.  All of them did well, but we don't know yet how many of them will be going on to nationals.  For now, they're enjoying a few days, at least, of no studying!

[posted by Allison]



We went from our last concert of the trip, in Mildmay, Ontario....
...to our much beloved home sweet home.
our three faithful drivers took turns and drove all through the night so that we could get home as soon as possible Monday morning!
 This is what greeted us upon our arrival home. 
We were pretty much overwhelmed by all the love! There's no place like home, for sure! 
And Iowa friends are pretty amazing too. =)
The following pictures are from our first six hours at home.

{posted by chelsy}


Sioux Lookout, Ontario

We had one day in Sioux Lookout and we packed it full to the brim of activity!
It started the afternoon before...when we left Dryden and headed for Sioux Lookout.
We were twenty-five minutes down the road when someone very randomly and unexpectedly figured out that we weren't all there. =)
Back to Dryden we went to pick up Mitchell.
He is the one who is responsible for role call, btw.
Is it any wonder that he's the one that is constantly getting left behind?
He was a little disappointed to see us because they were just getting ready to fly him up to Sioux Lookout in a float plane. =)
(up in that area, planes are the WAY to travel)
So he missed that plane ride.

We finally arrived at our friends' home in time for supper and a hike up the mountain with their church group.
Standing on the top of Sioux Lookout, singing hymns & praying together....was so incredible.
It seemed like we were on top of the world.
Elizabeth loves meeting little dolls like this one. =)
Monday evening's concert was one of the activities for the town's annual "Blueberry Festival".
Monday morning we went to another event that was part of the festival-the blueberry pancake breakfast.
Rebecca enjoying some stories with our friend.
Our friends in Sioux Lookout have Kalona connections, and we're actually related to them too. 2nd/3rd cousins. 
It was fun to be at this place so far from home where we still recognized like half of the people on their bulletin/picture board. =)
The boys stayed in one of their beautiful cabins, and I did laundry there on Monday.
this was my view, out the big bay window, as I was folding laundry.
pretty incredible, eh?
While I was enjoying the quiet and rest of hanging out in the cabin and doing laundry...
the rest of the family was involved in a variety of adventures elsewhere. =)
Blueberry & raspberry picking, plane rides, boat rides, swimming, fishing, and a yummy lunch kept everyone quite occupied!
Denver was thrilled with his trophy of a fish.
Long story here...=)
But basically all of the doors inside of the bus run on an air power system. 
You push a button, and they atomatically open. Push another button, and they close.
The only thing is that if the bus has been turned off for a long time, and you close the door...the available air pressure is sometimes not enough to open the door again. 
In the above case, Allison was in the lounge at the back of the bus and when she went to go out she discovered that all the pressure was gone and the door wouldn't open.  And the "emergency button" (which would usually allow the door to be manually slid open when you push it) wasn't working, either.
Unfortunately for her everyone else was in the house or down at the lake.
It appears that she thought she was stranded forever so she got rather desperate and attempted an exit via the small window. =)
Thankfully someone came out just as she was beginning her preparations for descent.
They were able to turn on the bus so the air pressure would build up...and the door would open.
great picture, anyhow, even if she didn't actually get to come out that way. =)
the back view of sibling cooperation
Rebecca started playing her violin on stage on this trip with Elizabeth, Allison, & Denver.
 Its been fun to have her addition to the family band! 
And..we have two more new violinists that are set to "debut" in September. 
A summer of hours and hours of practice is paying off and we're excited about some new features and ideas to add to our fall concerts!
Stay tuned...
Hudson & Rebecca with the festival mascot. =)
the beautiful sunset over the lake Sunday night

{posted by chelsy}