“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.

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.

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.


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.







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



Shake it Bom Bom!

To all my food fanatic sisters: Off to meet Bianca today in Admiralty (buzzing hub of business, shopping and food, just one stop from central). I have to say, this place really provokes my weakness for all things over-designed, trendy, and ultra expensive.. On a more positive note about the outing-not only does the restaurant bring a level of nostalgia-I know Simply Life is one of Rachel’s and mom’s favorites in Hong Kong, but also meeting a dear family friend touches that soft spot for my family love.


As I roamed through the racks of lace, neon pinks, and over priced hello kitty dolls, what music was playing, but the very same “Science Fair Theme Song”: Bom Bom by Sam and The Womp! Immediately, I thought of Jessie and Maddie and the crazy nights spent prepping for their third place overall at the China-wide Intel Science Fair. (Great job by the way girls!! So proud of you and ready for some detoxed micro-environments!)

Last night I was also listening to a song that reminded me of you crazy girls-Shake It Out by Florence and The Machine. I remember discussing the lyrics with Rachel and singing it all over the house last time I was in Tianjin.

(Can I just have all of you girls back here in HK for some Simply Life with Bianca and me??)

So I was just thinking.. Any of you up for a challenge? What a better way to connect than singing.. And with our music addictions, I wanted to cover one of these two (or both? Mash up??).

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.


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.


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. 


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 🙂 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 🙂

I love you two! <3 Rachel

Party of Three

Earlier this month, the girls and I enjoyed a small dinner celebration for the start of this blog, Connecting Four. Maddie made her famous chicken skewers (which are actually BakedBree’s famous kabobs), I mixed up a delicious bread dip which we spread on Mom’s homemade French bread toasted in the oven. Jessie contributed with the cake pops which we are still trying to get a hang of… they take a while to master. I think Dad, Mom and Megan felt a little left out but they made up for it with a “special” dinner with Megan at her little IKEA play table. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that Michael showed up half way through the meal on skype, we talked over video chat for a while which was nice.

If you are in the mood for a celebration of your own, here are a few tips to spruce up the party:

1.) As far as food goes, small appetizers such as chips and dip, prunes wrapped in bacon, veggies and dip, and other finger foods (things you can find here!) are great.
2.) Table decoration are always fun to make and we’ve found that paper place mats are awesome! Stop by at a crafts store and you can find paper in any color scheme with any pattern imaginable, I’m talking EASY way to expand your options.
3.)Make sure you have music!
4.) Don’t be afraid to move furniture around, we moved couches, chairs, side tables and desks to finally achieve the ambiance we wanted.

Have a wonderful Monday and find excuses to party with your friends and family this month!