Sweet Surprises

My daughter was home last week. The time flew, with a trip to visit my mother, epic shopping for summer clothes, movie watching, and other fun family busyness. She and I also collaborated on a project: baking massive amounts of cookies to share with friends.

Some of my Internet friends have added her to their friends' lists since both she and I joined Twitter. And some of our friends have been going through some major life changes of late. We decided to send out some boxes of cheer to a few folks who we thought could benefit from a smile.

Inspiration for a gift to Internet friends came from the Internet, specifically the blog of AnnaTheRed. She makes amazing bento boxes for her boyfriend's lunches. A sample:

She has made several bentos based on a movie that A. and I truly adore, My Neighbor Totoro. This is a movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki that is pure magic, set in the Japanese countryside. I suspect that the rural Japanese landscape and way of life it depicts have become hard to find. I wish that the love that imbues the movie was part of everyone's life.

Our baking choices, after much research:

- coconut-carrot cookies with orange icing (not pictured).

- ginger cookies (not pictured).

- Mario Meringue Mushrooms, fabricated from meringue and marshmallows. These were a direct steal from AnnaTheRed, and the recipe can be found on her site. These come from the world of video games.

- little white ghostie Totoros and big blue Totoros. A. put a lot of time into decorating the blue guys, dipping a toothpick into melted chocolate. She also put rum in the frosting. :D

- soot sprites. The family in the movie moves into a house that is infested with these little critters, because it has been empty for a long time. The father and the two girls chase the soot sprites away with laughter as they take a bath together.

It all took more time than expected, but the reward from making our friends happy has also been greater than expected. And now I more fully appreciate everything that was in the box of cookies that my Internet friend Boo sent me at Christmas.

A. is back in Montreal now, starting work on her summer research project. She took cookies with her to give her boyfriend and one of her other friends, another student at McGill who loves video games and baking cookies. The sharing and the good feelings continue, and we even have some left for ourselves.


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