Watch Night Service Tonight!

You all may remember reading about our church's Watch Night Service last year.
We are having another one tonight, Tuesday, December 31st, @ 7pm
Four of my six brothers will be preaching along with about 5 other guys from our church.
Everyone is invited! There will be lots of good preaching (this service was a highlight for all of us last year---so fun to hear the different perspectives of all these different young guys!)
great music, and other special things! Come join us?!

posted by chelsy


//Christmas Day//

This year we spent Christmas Day at Grandma Bontrager's house with many of our wonderful relatives.
Even with some missing, there were almost 50 of us- what a party!  We ate in Grandma's garage.  In case you care to know, the menu was turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, dressing, salad, bread, banana pudding, and pie.
The food was served buffet style.
There was plenty of conversation to go with the food.
The children's table.
Taylor, Logan, and Jarret 
Rhoda and me
little girlies- Brooklyn, Elizabeth, Annika, and Rebecca
I believe Mitchell was contemplating the wisdom of three slices of pie.:)  
There was plenty of pie, with lots of different kinds to choose from.  Grandma makes good pecan pie, her custard is amazing, you gotta try her pumpkin.....and on and on.:)  
The afternoon of Christmas Day at Grandma's is for relaxing.  
There were games:
Some of us talked alot- some of us live far apart and this is a chance to catch up with each other's lives!
Hannah, yours truly, Naomi, Mary, and Rhoda
Siblings: Hannah, Naomi, Micah, Dorcas, and Rhoda.  And no, that is not in age order.:)
Chels and Brooklyn
Mother with little Josiah- he's at such a fun stage, and he has the cutest had of blond hair!
Some of the younger boys have a tradition of playing football- in Grandma's basement.:)
A few of us seemed to be a little behind on sleep.:)
Eli, Leah, Danelle, Brooklyn, and Rebecca
In the evening we enjoyed a tremendously yummy spread of all sorts of appetizers.  
the end.


Elizabeth's 10th Birthday Party

Elizabeth chose a castle cake (and home-made ice-cream, of course:) for her birthday dessert this year. 
The meal was burrito bowls, Chipotle style.
blowing out candles.:)
I love how Rebecca is whispering in Hudson's ear in this picture.:)  They were sharing secrets regarding the presents, no doubt.
Liz is the queen of expressions!
She is also an avid bookworm, and was thrilled with some new books among the presents.


{Christmas Eve 2013}

As you all know from the past several years, our family really loves celebrating Christmas Eve in style. (see herehere, and here) We start by planning and picking out new food ideas.  Then we purchase any ingredients not already in our kitchen.  And the day of, we start the cooking- and is it ever a party! (for Mitchell's perspective on the evening, visit here)
cutest little cook EVER!!!!  
Mitchell helped Hudson with the food he made.  Or Huds helped Mitchell?  Or something.:)
Mitchell getting advice from an expert (that would be Mother.)
Of course Rebecca helped me make chocolates.
Mother didn't actually "make" anything this year.  She just ladled out lots of advice and help to those who needed it.  And she contributed a veggie platter, which we definitely needed.:)
This guy can really cook-just sayin'.  Actually, all "my guys" (that would be the fabulous six brothers) can really cook.  They make some lip-smackin mean-good food every Christmas Eve.
dark chocolate turtles in process
Taylor hard at work on his potatoes.
Fillin' mushrooms.
The kitchen- the center of activity for the day.
one of the many expressions of Liz, apparently.:)
a reminder of why we celebrate
Chels wore her "Kiss the Cook" apron.  It's so super fun to wear (I steal it sometimes) because these two adorable little men love to take it literally.:)  
Chels decorated the table beautifully with a black and white theme- very classy.
Josh usually makes something delicious and Mexican.  This year he didn't dissapoint with his delicious black bean-onion-cheese dip stuff that was so flavorful and yum.
Rebecca's hairstyle for the evening.
Chels made a delicious drink concoction of some sort that we all loved alot.  There was and is no recipe, but I think she put in lemon juice, grape juice, and sparkling water, among other things.  Oh, and she made some yummy "jalapeno popper" sandwhich things that were pretty yummy, too.
Ok, so, funny story.  A day or so before the event, while discussing food for Christmas Eve, Carson casually mentioned that even though he usually does fried onion rings or shrimp, he was thinking about doing something completely different this year.  And straightforwardly there errupted loud and decided protests from various family members about how he simply MUST make fried shrimp.  Hence, he is seen below frying shrimp.  The end.:)
Elizabeth's hair.
lovely place settings
The table, laden with all things delicious.
The family.
We always eat in candlelight.
//Black bean/onion/corn/cheese Mexican dip by Josh//
//Jalepeno popper sandwhiches by Chelsy//
//Peanut Clusters, Peppermint/Dark Chocolate covered Pretzels, and Dark Chocolate Turtles- first and last by Allison, pretzels by Elizabeth//
//Twice Baked Potato Skins by Taylor//
//Cheese Sticks (or Cheese Drips, or Cheese Flips, or whatever since they weren't very "stickish":) by Elizabeth//
//Vegetables by Mother//
//Jalepeno Mushroom Quasodillas by Denver//
//Stuffed Mushrooms by Denver//
//Fried Shrimp by Carson//
//Spinach Artichoke Dip by Mitchell and Hudson//
//Salami/Fresh Mozzarella/Tomato Skewers by Allison//
And after all the cooking and eating were over, we watched a movie together, and ended the night by (most of us:) sleeping on the living room floor.  It was a lovely day, full of memories we will cherish in years to come.  

"O come let us Adore Him CHRIST the Lord."
How thankful we are that Jesus Christ came to earth to set us free.  His love is far greater than any earthly love, His grace and redemption worth more than the costliest gift.