Summer Bird Stories

Family-Friendly Short Stories, Cartoons, and Illustrations

The Short Shelf Life of Cookies

Once there was a baker who was so tired that she mixed all her ingredients up and somehow ended up baking oatmeal raisin cookies that were alive. They didn’t have arms and legs like the little gingerbread boy from the story, so they didn’t get up and run away.

Instead, they sat and watched her with their little raisin eyes, and shrieked in terror if she stood too close. So, she left them to cool and left to make another batch. She was more careful with the second batch, and the cookies were perfectly normal.

She picked one up. No shrieking. She bit into it. There was a lot of screaming, but it was coming from the other side of the room.

The baker put the nice, normal cookie down with a sigh, and turned to face the terrified cookies still cooling on the cookie sheet.

“I’m not going to eat you,” she said. “I don’t eat anything that can ask me not to eat it.”

“Please don’t eat us,” the cookies said at once.

“I won’t. There. See? Everything is fine.” She stepped closer. The cookies watched her, but didn’t yell.

“So you’ll let us go?” one of the cookies asked.

“Go where?” the baker looked around the room. “Where would you go?”

“Someplace safe for cookies,” the cookie said.

The baker thought for a moment. Was there a place like that? “You know, the shelf life for cookies isn’t very good, but I could probably freeze you for up to a year.” She brought the cookies over to the freezer and set them inside. “See?”

“Too cold!” the cookies said.

“Well, then you’ll probably only last a week or so. That’s not long.”

“Can you take us to see the world?” one of the cookies asked.

“The world? In a week?”

And that is why the baker ended up sneaking a briefcase full of cookies into the movie theater. When the lights went out, she opened it on her lap and turned it to face the screen. She shushed the cookies when one of them started to talk, and they soon settled in to watch the film.

She had to close the briefcase a few times when someone passed by, but overall, the movie was a success. The trip to the library was less so. The cookies were completely unimpressed by the shelves of books.

“I don’t hear any stories,” one of the cookies said.

“I don’t see any stories,” another said.

The baker closed the briefcase and left the library. At the art museum, they were checking bags, so she turned and left without the cookies seeing anything at all. When she got back to her car, they were very disappointed, and complained loudly until she closed the briefcase again.

In the park, a dog ran up to the briefcase, barking and wagging his tail. The baker barely managed to close the briefcase before the dog ate any of the cookies. It was a very close call.

“We don’t want to see the world any more,” the cookies decided. “Let’s go back to the movies.”

The baker took a week off, and spent most of it at the movies with a briefcase full of living oatmeal raisin cookies. The cookies had many interesting questions about the movies they watched. They didn’t really understand the idea of fiction, and believed that every story they watched was completely true.

And so, after a film about a magical world, the cookies had many questions about magic. “Can we do magic?” one asked.

“Maybe,” the baker said. “Talking cookies already sounds kind of magical to me.”

“Oh.”

The cookies began to whisper. They muttered to each other through the next two movies, but refused to tell her what they were talking about. The baker was a little nervous.

Everything seemed well when she covered them with a tea towel and left them on the counter that evening. She checked the movie schedule for the next day, and made a plan for what to see. The cookies probably only had a few good days left.

She paused to wonder what the effects of mold would be on the poor cookies. Would it make them lose their memories, or would they suddenly be angry or act like zombies? What would zombie cookies act like?

She never found out. The cookies were gone in the morning. Had they been eaten? Had they figured out magic and used it to transport themselves somewhere else? Maybe they started to mold a little early, and mold made talking cookies disappear?

The baker missed the cookies, but was rather relieved that she didn’t have to deal with zombie cookies. She really didn’t want to know what happened to someone bit by a zombie cookie.

After the cookies left, the baker was much more careful when she cooked, especially when she was tired. She also started watching more movies on her days off. And she never ate another oatmeal raisin cookie again. Even if they didn’t talk, it still felt like the raisins were watching her.

Routines

Small actions, when they’re done consistently, can really add up.

A group of these small actions makes up a routine. Routines are amazing. Why?

 ① You are improving whatever actions you choose to do consistently. For example: a sketch each day.

An existing routine makes adding potential new habits much, much easier. You can simply fit it in with something you already do, and you instantly have a plan for accomplishing it and a built-in reminder. (That doesn’t mean it will be easy—just easier.)

𝓠 : But what if you have no routines to start from?

𝒜 : Do you eat lunch every day? Wake up? Watch a favorite TV show? These are mini-routines and can be built on to create longer routines.

🟩🟥🟦🟩 Routines are POWERFUL ways to reach your goals a little at a time. Small things are easiest to add and continue to do.🟥🟦🟩🟥

🌟How have routines helped you reach your goals?

Charlie’s Room: Visiting Miss Marta

“Do you have your coat?” Isaac asked. “And your toothbrush?”

Charlie rolled his eyes. “You already asked that.”

“I think I’m worrying too loudly. I didn’t hear you before. What did you say the last time I asked?”

“I have them. Mom gave me a list to pack with, you know. I have everything I need. Are you checking that Mom remembered to pack everything, too?” Charlie folded his arms across his chest and raised his chin.

Isaac smiled. “I asked her too, but she said to stop asking and check on you.”

“You can tell her I’m just fine.” Charlie patted his suitcase.

“If you need help with anything…” Isaac paused in the doorway.

“I think Mom is calling you,” Charlie said. Isaac laughed.

All too soon, Marianne and Charlie had the car all packed and they were driving away. Isaac waved even after they turned the corner. Finally he dropped his hand with a sigh.

“Home alone?” Miss Marta was leaning on the top of her back gate.

“They’re visiting Marianne’s Aunt Doris for a week.” Isaac walked across the front lawn.

Miss Marta nodded. “And you have work and couldn’t go with them.”

“That’s right.”

Miss Marta stepped through the gate and wiped her hands on her apron. “Why don’t you come on in for a cup of cocoa? You look like you aren’t ready to go home to an empty house. I feel that way sometimes when my grandson goes home after a visit. I think it’s the contrast that does it. Most of the time I’m fine.”

Isaac followed her inside as she chattered. Already he was feeling a little better. Miss Marta reminded him of his grandmother. She radiated that same feeling of ancient wisdom and watchful care.

The hot cocoa tasted nearly the same, too. “Does your cocoa have mint in it?”

“Lavender. It’s calming.” She sat in the chair next to the couch, clutching her own mug.

Isaac looked around. There were photographs everywhere. Most of them seemed to be taken in places far, far away. “Did you visit all of these places?”

“Oh yes. When I was younger, I did a lot of traveling. There were so many interesting places to see.”

Shifting his mug to one hand, he picked up a small picture from an end table. He blinked, squinted, and looked again. It was a colorful marketplace, with a number of stalls selling things like cloth and fruit. In the background, it looked like there was a dragon peeking out from under a tablecloth. “Is that really a dragon?”

Miss Marta leaned forward. Isaac turned the picture around and held it out so that she could see it better. She smiled and leaned back in her chair. “It looks like one, doesn’t it? I don’t really remember. I do remember someone was selling books at that market, and I bought as many as I could carry home.”

“It is difficult to fit everything into your luggage.” Isaac set the picture down and sipped his cocoa.

Miss Marta smiled. “I had my ways to make it work.”

“Magic?”

“Perhaps. Or maybe I just sent everything to myself through the mail.” She grinned a little wider.

Isaac smiled too. Ancient wisdom, watchful care, and a sense of humor. Just like his grandmother. He settled back into his chair. He said, “Tell me more about your travels,” just like he used to say to his grandmother, “Tell me a story.”

And Miss Marta did. And Isaac didn’t feel quite so lonely. That evening, Charlie and Marianne called to tell him they arrived safely.

“And we stopped for lunch on the way. Did you do anything fun?” Charlie asked.

“I visited Miss Marta. She gave me cocoa and told me about the pictures in her living room.”

“I guess that could be fun,” Charlie said.

“It was.”

“I’m glad you’re not sad.”

“Me too.” Isaac smiled at the phone, even though Charlie couldn’t see it.

“When we get home, I’ll send her a thank you card,” Charlie said. And even though he was home alone, Isaac decided this day was one of his top ten favorite days ever.

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