When my kids and I pulled up to the parking area at Lakeside Landing on Pushaw Lake in Glenburn last week, a well-maintained stretch of green grass was spread before us. It seemed to kiss the lake, blue and glimmering in the afternoon sunlight.
It was a last-minute decision to head to the lake that evening. I’d been tentatively planning a swimming excursion for sometime that week, hoping to find a nearby beach where nine-year-old Will, seven-year-old Paige and I could unwind after work and day camp. But it was the combination of a friend asking if we were going and my daughter having a rough day that conspired to get us there.
I’m glad we went.
Clamoring out of the car, we set out our blanket and settled in with books and toys. It had been a warm day, but the early evening air was starting to take on a distinct chill. Swimming ended up being at a minimum (that water was freezing!). But the kids tossed a ball around, read and just relaxed near the shore. It wasn’t what I’d pictured, but it was still good.
Of course, with only a tiny stretch of anything resembling sand — and really it was more rock than sand — the beautiful but cold lake wasn’t quite what we’d expected. The beach toys we’d stopped to buy seemed wholly unnecessary. But it was okay. We’d found a beautiful lake where the troubles of the day could melt away.
By the time we left, everyone was smiling and giggly, happy for our spontaneous outing.
Life is complicated. A single day can hold so many parts, good and bad. You can find elation in one moment and have your feelings hurt in the next. You can accomplish something important while also forgetting something you shouldn’t. And sometimes a spontaneous moment can improve everything — whether it’s a trip to the lake or something else like a homemade ice cream sandwich.
I like being spontaneous, and teaching my kids to be too. With busy schedules, it’s important to fit in fun in the unexpected moments. That’s when we make the best memories.
As for ice cream sandwiches, the best ones start with homemade cookies like these Butter Oat Cookies. Oats make these big cookies a little heartier — perfect for holding your favorite variety of ice cream. I use a large cookie scoop (similar to an old-style ice cream scoop with the trigger for releasing the ice cream) for uniform results, but you could use spoons in a pinch too.
For best results, make the cookies a day ahead of time.
The only question is what flavor ice cream do you want in these?
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup oats (not quick-cook)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and run on medium until fully combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, oats, baking soda and salt. With the stand mixer running on its lowest speed, add the flour mixture a little at a time until fully incorporated.
- Using a large cookie scoop (or two tablespoons), drop mounds of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2-inches between each mound. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and let cool for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Repeat until all the dough has been used. Let the cookies cool completely.