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Summertime Fun & A Whole Lotta Ice Cream!

If I asked you to describe your favorite summertime memories, what would you say? You might start with describing the warmer weather, vacations, gardening, outdoor activities, ballgames, going to the beach, backyard cookouts, or relaxing by the pool.

For me, summers have always been about being outside. I grew up in southern North Carolina and I have always loved summertime in the country. Maybe it’s the wide open space in our backyard that allows us to see a gorgeous display of God’s handiwork at sunrise and sunset. Maybe it’s the infinite blanket of stars I see each night. Maybe it’s the chorus provided by the crickets and frogs as they gather around the pond to sing a heavenly song. Maybe it’s the smell of honeysuckles or the beauty of hundreds of butterflies in the hay fields near my house. Whatever the case, there is something totally peaceful about living in the country and there is nothing like experiencing the stillness of a warm summer evening.

I am on the left.  Circa 1973

Summers during my early childhood were awesome. During the 70’s and early 80’s, children in my neck of the woods stayed outside most of the day and didn’t head back inside until it was time for supper. We rode bikes, walked barefoot almost everywhere, went swimming in the pond, made clubhouses in the woods, caught fireflies at night and stargazed in the front yard. Vacation Bible School was on our list of things to do during the summer and I attended every year for VBS at Deep Creek Baptist Church. It was an exciting time with friends, Bible stories, music, food, kickball, crafts and the very competitive game of red rover!

Mama getting her tan on at the beach...Circa 1970

During my teenage years, I spent much of my summer at Woodmen of the World pool. To this day the smell of chlorine and tanning oil reminds me of days gone by. There were teen nights, a juke box playing our favorite songs, Pac Man video games, diving competitions, and quick trips to Bud’s to pick up burgers, milkshakes and onion rings.

When I wasn’t at the pool swimming, I was probably at the beach with my “squad”….although we did not refer to ourselves as a squad then, that's such a millennial term…we were just inseparable friends. I went to the beach with Jennifer and Ginger every summer during our junior high and high school years. Sometimes it was with church youth groups and sometimes with our families....

I don’t remember a summer that we were not together at the beach.

Kelly, Phyllis, Terri, Ginger, Jennifer, Woodie and I am at the bottom.  Circa mid 1980s

In those days, it was all about sand between the toes, walks on the beach, the biggest beach towels known to mankind, jam boxes, air brushed t-shirts, cassette tapes, baby oil mixed with iodine, tons of aloe vera for the sunburn and a sack full of snacks packed and ready for a day on the beach. No matter where we stayed along the Grand Strand, we always made our way to the Myrtle Beach Pavilion to enjoy the rides and a walk along the boardwalk.

We could not leave without playing at least a dozen games of skee-ball and getting t-shirts printed up at the nearest Eagles or Wings store. It was on the Myrtle Beach boardwalk that I ate the world’s best hand-cut French fries covered with malt vinegar and ketchup… and who could forget the ice cream? No trip to the beach was complete without ice cream! My favorite was pralines and cream, a flavor that could not be found in Wadesboro, NC in 1980 something, so I always ordered pralines and cream when I was at the beach!

Eating ice cream with my brother, my sister-in-law and my daddy.  Circa 1984

Nothing screams summertime quite like a huge bowl of ice cream! There is just something about the creamy texture and sweetness you get from a scoop of sweet and cold cream. Yum!

Because no summer is complete without ice cream, I thought I would share a few ice cream cookie sandwich recipes with you this month. The secret to making a great ice cream cookie sandwich is making sure the cookie is chewy. That way when it freezes it is not so hard that it breaks a tooth when you eat it!

My favorite munchkins who are all grown up now! Lucas, Mallory and Sydney  Circa 2002

If you don’t have time to make the cookies homemade, a great shortcut is to purchase ready to bake cookies in the refrigerated section of the nearest grocery store. Just make sure you don’t over-bake them or they will be too crispy for making ice cream cookie sandwiches.

I have included recipes for peanut butter cookies, oatmeal molasses cookies and coconut pecan cookies; however, if you like chocolate chip or some other flavor, go for it! I promise the ice cream in between the cookies will only make them better!

For these recipes, I am using toasted coconut, melted chocolate and toasted pecans to garnish these and in my opinion, it takes them to another level of awesomeness. If you don't like nuts or coconut, you can get creative with the garnishes. Mini M&Ms, chocolate chips, and colorful sprinkles also make great additions to these tasty treats. Enjoy!

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