According to Ravelry, I started this project on November 2nd of last year. I just not finished it today. Yikes. But in all fairness, there were many commissions and gifts that back-burnered it and it's huge. 80" X 70" makes it only slightly smaller than my Ripple Afghan. I love, love, LOVE the colors!
Obviously, someone else is rather fond of it, too. Little punk.
I love it when my dad and step-mom are here. They're such laid-back, loving, and genuine people; our time is always incredibly sweet, but always too short. Such was the case this time, too, even though they were here for a full week. My heart aches when I have to hug them good-bye, but thankfully their visits have become a yearly occurrence. Can't wait for next year already!
Grandma Kathy hanging out with her boys on the porch. The weather was decent, so we did a lot of porch sittin'. And napping. Naps are good.
We seem to be having another baby boom in our church lately. Two more shower gifts down; there will be at least two more to do before the year is over. I can barely keep up with these gals!
First up, for a motorcycle-lovin', first-time mama and her brand new baby boy, we have Marlon, the Motorcycle Mutt. I really had a blast making this, although it was a bit challenging. It was a pretty big hit at the shower. I love all the new and interesting things I get to make!
Second, we have yet another first-timer and baby boy combo. Mama's mama is the one who commissioned my first Stripey Giraffe, so I settled for making this Round Ripple Baby Afghan in lieu of another critter. I love the colors and so did Mama!
I received this book from the kind people at Tyndale House Publishers months ago (life happens) and was asked to review it on my blog*. I was incredibly flattered, to say the least; I've never been asked to review anything before!
Bible Stories that End with a Hug! by Stephen Elkins is a beautiful, 160-page book filled with 75 easy-to-understand stories from the Bible. At first glance, you immediately notice the sweet illustrations of adorable, almost "Precious Moments-ish", children dressed as various Bible characters acting out their stories. Each page contains a Bible story, a simplified memory verse, application, and, as the title implies, a "hug prompt".
What I Loved About It
Simon Taylor-Kielty did a marvelous job illustrating this book. I found the children to be charming and wonderfully sweet. But it was the content, more importantly, that I had to be super critical about. Sound doctrine, whether it be in a children's book or hermeneutics text, is key. Both my husband and I scoured this book cover to cover and were pleased to find it, for the most part, theologically sound. I was pleased to see the words "repent" and "sin", as most Christian authors are too cowardice to talk about either. The gospel portion of this book is, for the most part, there; we're sinners, Jesus died for those sins, we need to repent and trust (they say "accept Him"...eh...) in Him in order to receive His gift of salvation. The "vitals" are mostly present.
I also liked the interaction. During each lesson, questions are asked (i.e. "What lesson was Jesus teaching?") to help children grasp the concepts and jumpstart deeper conversations. The included Bible verses are a great introduction to memorization; although I don't care for the liberal translation that they chose, but I can understand why, considering the age group that the book is geared towards.
When I read a story from the book to my boys (age 3 and 5), they enjoyed the pictures, the story, and the hug at the end (both of them had a huge smile on their face when it came time for the hug). I do feel, however, this was a little "young" for my 5-year-old, but he is not a typical 5-year-old, so your results may vary.
What I Didn't Love About It
First of all, I want to say that I realize this is not a Bible. Parents should keep that in mind, too. It's merely a book that contains snippets of Bible stories geared towards young children. But it is vital to be very discerning about what our children read, watch, and are taught concerning spiritual things in order lay a strong foundation to achieve growth and deeper understanding. This is my personal view, of course.
I did not care for the fact that while they did include the Last Supper and the Resurrection, they failed to include the most important part: the Cross. What is our faith without the cross? Nothing! This deeply bothered me for awhile (might have been my unconscious reasoning behind delaying this review), but when I dove into the book once more, I realized that it, as I said, is geared towards YOUNG children; the crucifixion of Christ is not an easy, nor "sanitized" thing to try to explain to our little ones without being a little graphic. It's gruesome and sad, but oh-so vital to the gospel. It IS the gospel! So, I suppose I still have mixed feelings. Sound doctrine vs. audience.
I also did not like the "canned" prayer at the end. Again, I understand the audience and the intention behind it. It's merely and introduction to prayer. But, I do not agree with the ever-popular assumption that our kids are saved. It does nothing but create false converts. Our boys know that they are sinners (gasp!) that need a savior and someday, if God calls them to faith and repentance, they will then be saved. It is not assumed or taken for granted. I think that is crucial to understand and explain to our children in order to promote true faith.
To Sum It Up
This book is incredibly sweet and well put together. The author did a great job in simplifying the stories in order for them to be easily understood by the young audience. And I can't rave more about the illustrations; they're just too adorable! However, it was not a book that I would have personally chosen and purchased. Besides that it's a little young for my crew, there were just too many "holes" for my liking. However, I feel it would make a fantastic baby shower gift, which is exactly where these books are going.
*I was given no compensation for my review. All views and opinions are solely my own. It was a pleasure writing this review, but I assume it will be my last, as I don't share the same views as mainstream Christianity (darn my reformed, fundamentalist self). A huge thank you to Tyndale for allowing me this opportunity.
No, we didn't get another animal. Drew LOVES kitties, so I decided to use this pattern (had to run it through Google Translate in order to read it first, though) and make him one. Can't wait to give it to him after naptime!
I made this for a long-time friend, who welcomed their fourth child (finally a girl!) last week. Unfortunately, I did not get it to them before she was born, which was my plan, but life, as it does, got hectic. Better late than never, right? That's become my life motto, it seems.
Congratulations to the Bateman family on their beautiful baby girl!
Be ready for a flood of baby gifts in the coming weeks. Lots of babies being born as of late!
Now that the...er...giraffe is out of the bag, I can post about him!
This was the first version of the stripy giraffe as a commission from a friend, who is expecting her very first grandbaby at the end of the month. It's meant to match (more like compliment) a quilt the new grandma is making for baby.
I realized during my second giraffe that somehow I made the ears too big on this one, but I think it adds to his character.