Problem-solving in the Kitchen: Baking Pineapple Buns

While we were visiting Taiwan for the Holidays, my high school daughter retained her typical pickiness regarding food. One evening, after a delicious seafood dinner, which she barely touched, we swung by a convenience store in search of something she would eat. Surveying all of the food items, she finally settled on a couple of packaged pastries.

After making the purchase, she led the way to a low wall by Fisherman’s Wharf, where all three girls sat down to enjoy a treat. From one of the wrappers, she pulled a Pineapple Bun.

We all sampled that soft sweet roll. After that evening, whenever we stopped by a Seven-Eleven to grab a quick lunch, my daughter inevitably exited the shop with some kind of wrapped pastry—often a Pineapple Bun.

Fast forward four months to our coronavirus lockdown. Two or three times a week, you’ll find this same girl in our Georgia kitchen baking cookies or brownies for the rest of the family to enjoy. This week, she discovered a recipe for the Pineapple Buns she enjoyed so much in Taiwan. Shockingly, these delicious pastries contain no pineapple ingredients. How hard could it be to make them at home? Would they taste the same? There was only one way to find out!

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Discovering Beauty in a Taipei Alley

At home in Georgia, I often stroll through our neighborhood in the late afternoon or early evening. While we were in Taiwan, that habit fell by the wayside. With so many exciting places to explore, the narrow streets surrounding our Airbnb seemed mundane. Since we were walking everywhere anyway, I seldom paid much attention to alleys close to home.

One Sunday afternoon, while the rest of the family was playing video games, I decided to take a short walk. What might I discover just around the corner from our Airbnb?

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How Hard Can it be to Sprout Mung Beans?

Last summer, while my mother-in-law was visiting, we bought a container of bean sprouts to add to her amazing salads. Though several of us consumed them, we barely made a dent. A week or two after she left, I discovered the forgotten “science project” hiding in the fridge. Ew! Immediately, I tossed the whole slimy mess.

Recently, I took a gut biome test and discovered that those sprouts are a “superfood” for me. Though my taste buds have never been a big fan (except in pad thai), my body feels better when I eat them. Afraid to invest in a large container that would sit forgotten in the fridge, I scoured the internet for alternatives. How hard could it be to sprout a few bean seeds myself?

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Growing and Learning in Coronavirus Lockdown

It’s been fascinating to observe how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected families with kids who attend traditional schools. While they’ve adjusted to a technological learning environment, our homeschool style hasn’t changed tremendously. We’re still using the same lesson plans we started the semester with. The twins are using a literature-based curriculum, while my high schooler has been utilizing free online courses to fulfill her requirements. That’s not to say we haven’t been affected by the situation. Although the shelter-in-place order has not hampered our homeschooling, it is definitely influencing our lives.

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How to Bring Life to Family History by Colorizing Photos

Colorizing old photos fascinates me. Last week, I discovered MyHeritage in Color™, a tool that quickly adds color to black and white images.

Initially, I raided my husband’s collection of family photos for images to colorize. This week, I turned to my own side of the family. Using my family tree on Ancestry, I searched for promising pictures. Which types of images produce the best results? And how can I confirm the accuracy of colorized features in the photos?

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Help! Children's Church is Cancelled! Now What?

Throughout the world, church services have gone digital in response to COVID-19. What a blessing that we can still connect with each other, worship God, and grow spiritually! While you attend church remotely on Sunday morning, does handling the kids seem like a juggling act?

Lately, my inbox has been full of Bible resources perfect for kids younger than my own. Some of them may keep your children occupied so you can focus on the sermon. All of them can help a child learn more about Jesus and grow in their faith.

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Can I Easily Add Color to Old Photos?

In my spare time, I dabble in genealogy. Photos can enhance family history. Often, however, the black and white images I find seem hard to relate to. While watching Genealogy TV this week, I learned about a tool that could breathe new life into old photos.

MyHeritage in Color™ can transform a black and white photo into vibrant colors. Faces light up. Clothing becomes more colorful. The vegetation in the background actually turns green. Yesterday, I had fun experimenting with this tool using family photos from our basement.

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Review of Home School in the Woods Timeline Collection

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Are you timeline-challenged? Does the idea of drawing (or having your kids draw) pictures of historical figures to stick in a book or on the living room wall turn your stomach? Does your perfectionist self dread searching online for the ideal image to illustrate your timeline? Do your kids groan when you pull out your carefully crafted figures? Until this month, I answered “YES!” to all of those questions. We had given up on timelines.

When our family was chosen to review Amy Pak’s Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures, I knew it was time to try again. Would the beautifully detailed, hand-drawn images from Home School in the Woods rescue us from timeline failure?

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Review of YWAM Publishing - Captain John Smith

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

What do you know about Captain John Smith? Before my 14-year-old daughters read Heroes of HistoryCaptain John Smith: A Foothold in the New World, they knew him only as the English explorer who helped settle Jamestown and was saved from execution by Pocahantas. YWAM Publishing’s biography of Captain Smith reveals much more about his life and influence. The corresponding Unit Study helped add to our understanding.

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Taiwan for the Holidays - Have You Ever Tasted a Wheel Cake?

We had been in Taiwan for about a week when we stopped for a closer look at a food stall we’d passed several times. The pastries cooking on the specialized griddle resembled hockey pucks. Correctly surmising that we didn’t speak Chinese, a worker handed us an English menu.

Officially called Car Wheel Cakes, the delicious pastries could be filled with red bean paste, custard, sesame paste, taro, or even loaded baked potato filling. With so many options, which ones would we choose?

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