Missing Summer and Family

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The school year is nearing at an uncontrollably swift pace, and in looking forward I also look back at the memories I shard during the summer of 2013. This particular day, in Dallas TX, was one of my favorites because I had the privilege of spending an entire day snuggling my baby cousins.

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The day started with a batch of caramelized french toast made by yours truly, and ended with a sunset as I held a little, sleeping girl in my arms. Everywhere in between, I enjoyed time on the lake’s shore, taking photos, cooking out, and playing with the dog, Snorts (as we have nicknamed her).

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I’ve been so blessed with family who love and care for me, I will treasure this day for a long while to come.

Reunited in South Dakota

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After our vast assortment of flight itineraries and travel plans, we all (finally) made it to my grandparents house in South Dakota. One of the main reasons that we returned to the US this summer was to celebrate my Grandparents fiftieth anniversary- congratulations Grandma and Grandpa! A couple of days after arriving in SD, my Dad’s two brothers and their families joined us for a family get-together in the Black Hills to celebrate this milestone in the Headrick family.

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While in the black hills we drove through the beautiful Custer State Park- spotting buffalo, prairie dogs, and deer on the way. We also enjoyed many river-side picnics, mountain hikes, and campfire s’mores together throughout the weekend on top of visiting Mount Rushmore for the first time.

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The night of their anniversary, my Grandpa unpacked his slide projector to show us some photos of his time in Vietnam where he served as a pilot in the Air-force. I’m thinking we have a hidden photographer in the family because his photos were exceptional! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture some of the best shots, so these will have to do.

On the six-hour drive up to our cabin at the beginning of the trip, I had the opportunity to listen to Grandpa’s stories of his life as a pilot in the Vietnamese war. I am so honored to have had this chance, hearing about his life at that time is such an honor.

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“A Few of my Favorite Things”

At our house, Birthdays are filled to the brim with special treats, family time, and unique celebrations. It is a day to stop and  enjoy everything and everyone that you love.

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The theme that Rachel and Maddie chose for my birthday this year was ‘Favorite Things’ (originally from the song “These are a Few of my Favorite Things” in Sound of Music). They set up such an elegant and whimsical day for me, I was quite overwhelmed by it all.

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I enjoyed biscuits & eggs for my birthday breakfast (the perfect way to start any day). Then, while Rachel began baking cake, I hurried on to a soccer tournament, where I lost my voice cheering for my friends.

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On returning home, my sisters surprised me by sweeping me away to the Astor, one of Tianjin’s most historic hotels, for high tea. A whole picnic of delicious snacks had been prepared to accompany our tea: cookie pops, cream-cheese tortilla roll-ups, decadent chocolate and nut mixes, meringue cookies, and maple blondies. They knew that one of my favorite things is tea time (and the snacks that accompany it)- so they were sure to provide me with plenty throughout the day.

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Rachel baked a chocolate layer cake filled with Biscoff buttercream for me ūüôā

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Remembering Winter.

I appreciate the slowness of wintertime, long days cozied up inside provide time to think, rest with family, and pray. Thinking back on the past few months, I fondly remember…

quiet snowfalls. hot showers. pijama tea times.

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drinking lattes. Christmas decorating. cakes, cookies, and pies constantly filling our oven. reuniting with old friends. animal onesies! breakfast time with Mom. encouraging notes. Skype dates with Michael. freezing motor bike rides. late night movies. new kitchen countertops. Malaysian food. Sunday afternoons with friends.

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visiting Michael in HK. Asian desserts. training for a 1/2 marathon (still a long way to go!). Barbie movies with Megan. mittens and ear muffs. black coffee.¬†Dad’s B-day.¬†reading. spending time with Jesus.¬†

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Its been a long, cold, magical winter and I will surely miss it.

The month of March is now upon us…

While that means fickle weather patters for the present, springtime will soon sprout up spreading freshness wherever it goes. ¬†A new chapter filled with pastel-tinted flowers, warm sunshine, and Easter-morning dresses is now beginning. ¬†How thankful I am for season changes ūüôā I fully expect spring to be as blessed as winter was.

(most of the pictures shown above were used on connecting4’s instagram feed: connectingfour)

Autumn Fest 02 (Rachel)

Activity for Day Two: “each person must find five photos which remind them of the other [in my case 2] group members.”

What an amazing way to illustrate (literally!) how I view my sisters. At first it seems obvious… of course they know how I see them- we’ve slept in the same room for how many years now? But its not always that simple. Sometimes the way we view ourselves is much different than the way others see us from the outside.

That’s what made this activity so interesting.

I searched around¬†several hours trying in vain not to get distracted ¬†for¬†a while on tumblr blogs until I pinned down just “five” pictures that¬†impersonated Jessie and Maddie in my mind.

Maddie, you were so much more difficult to find pictures for than I expected! In the end I chose photos that I was positive you’d like (sorry no risks there). Believe it or not, you are a mystery to me. For example, when I think you’ll love what I bake, you end up politely eating a few bites before handing it off to Megan. When I’m¬†positive¬†that you’ll absolutely hate a dessert, you love it! Seriously, what’s up with that?!

Though there are some aspects of your person that baffle me (and I’m planning on taking you out for a LONG explanation of this), I am certain about a few things. For one, you are THE most amusing yet laid back person I’ve met. My life would be boring and uneventful without your (often foreign-accented) jokes, randomly executed back hugs, and queer obsession with fried rice in the mornings. Thanks for being so uniquely awesome.

Jessie, you have such an¬†adventurous¬†attitude matched with great sensitivity. For that reason (and for the fact that spending time with you is one of my “favorite” past times), I chose images of places that I want to visit with you. A rustic cabin in the mountains, a lovely picnic on a trip to France, coffee and tiramisu in a coffee shop in Korea- I can’t think of anyone besides you who I’d ask to be my world traveling buddy! Some day it will happen ūüôā

I love you two! <3 Rachel

Cake Challenge: June

I’m still trying to catch up on all of these “terribly late” cake challenge posts. Today we’re¬†revisiting¬†the fresh start of summer, June. I made this cake at my grandparents house in South Dakota while enjoying cool whether and great company ūüôā

You can find this cake recipe here!

If you recall, in my January edition¬†I vented about some of the mistakes I made while baking my first 3-layer cake. Well, to tell you the truth the rest of this year hasn’t gone much better. Once I feel confident that I’ve mastered a certain skill, another mishap awaits me around the corner. I never expected baking to be quite so… difficult. For example…

If I heat egg whites and sugar together with no mistakes (for meringue¬†per say), the butter I add to make a buttercream is mysteriously the wrong kind (salted instead of unsalted.) If I do a wonderful job of melting my dark chocolate (brought all the way from America)- making sure it doesn’t scorch- the Korean corn starch I add to the mixture causes the whole¬†shebang¬†to seize immediately. ¬†Getting the picture?! If my skills are good, my ingredients don’t work; if my ingredients are perfect (-ly expensive!), my skills ruin them. Each new cake brings new frustrations, and sometimes disappointment. However, the more mistakes I make, the more knowledge I gain, I have to admit, its been a completely enlightening experience! And the more I learn, the more I crave to be in the kitchen watching mousses and meringues fluff up to form mountainous peaks in my little mixing bowls, smelling moistly baked cakes ready to be cooled, and arranging the end products for photographs! I am so blessed to have the time and resources to bake with, and more than that, to have such an incredible family who will graciously eat whatever I make (no matter how it tastes!).

<Cake Challenge Series: is a collection of posts which document the cakes I bake each month. More specifically, I have a goal this year to bake at least one (hopefully spectacular) layer cake each month, and photograph/post them here. I hope you enjoy this collection as much as I enjoy baking these delicious desserts!>

Other Cake Challenge Posts:
January 
February
March 
April
May

 

Tianjin Memories

I’ve been back to Hong Kong for a week, and getting back into the swing of things has been difficult. Looking through my photos for this post made me miss Tianjin and remember the summer and all the adventures I had.

I remember the huge construction materials market-and dreaming about new projects.

I remember the hundred year old architecture in downtown Tianjin, where I spent times with my sisters, mom and friends.

I remember brainstorming with Jessie on her art portfolio and working in the blog office.

But I guess most of all, I remember the times I spent with my family. I miss you guys.

This post is part of my Memories Collection-revisiting places where Connecting Four really connected and explored the world together. See my Thailand Memories post here. See my Guilin Memories post here.

Guilin Memories

I am continuing my Memories Collection with one of my favorite places in China, Guilin. We went on a vacation to this scenic area in the South of China the first year our family lived in in the Middle Kingdom.

During our travels down the Li River, we stopped at small villages along the way. The locals in this semi-tropical area still lived in structures; some of which were hundreds of years old.

China’s token color is red, which we got a lot of throughout our trip to Guilin.

Another great part of the trip was the produce and food. Fresh berries and other fruit are produced in the area.

The historic legacy stretches into both culture and arts… below is a Chinese opera costume.

Lastly, known throughout China, the scenery in Guilin is, in itself, a compelling reason to visit this place. The sights are breathtaking and being able to traverse these karst mountains was a blast!

This post is part of my Memories Collection-revisiting places where Connecting Four really connected and explored the world together. See my Thailand Memories post here. See my Tianjin Memories here.

Sunset at 3am

The countless carefree summer evenings, always comfortably residing in the back of our mind.

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The artist places focus on the seaside sunset and dark ocean clouds, steering away from pure photography and stepping into the realm of art. The geometric alteration and vintage color scheme transcend a representation of this moment to communicate an emotion.

Here I tried the same technique.

By the way, check out Nikkity’s web store and blog here.

Birthday Breakfast | Crepes

Happy Birthday Maddie! This morning I got up early – well, as early as I could pull myself out of bed – to start preparations for Maddie’s Birthday breakfast. We made her favorite, cr√™pes! These French pancakes are delicious, especially when served with whipped cream, jam, or lemon. I scrambled around, touching up the table settings and decorations, every minute expecting Maddie to wake up and catch us unprepared. I should’ve known that Maddie never wakes up on her own accord, though. In the end the breakfast was delicious. It is suffice to say that I wasn’t able to eat another bite until two in the afternoon!

To my lovely sister: I hope you had an amazing birthday today! You daily make me smile with your cheerful attitude; today I hope that I could give you at least a piece of the surprises and fun that I enjoy when I am with you! It is a blessing to have you as my sister! <3 Jessie