day trip · slice of life

Have car. Will drive (for homemade ice cream).

I was spoiled, when it came to eating ice cream, since I grew up eating Thomas Sweet‘s ice cream. If you’ve never eaten at Thomas Sweet, then you’re missing out on the best homemade ice cream out there. (Imagine having the ability to blend-in cookies, candy, and fruit to homemade ice cream create the perfect flavor. That’s what Thomas Sweet is about!)
There is nothing like Thomas Sweet here in Central Pennsylvania. There are a handful of ice cream places, but they all sell commercially-made ice cream. (The only good “homemade” ice cream I’ve found is at the Berkey Creamery, which is 90 minutes away in State College.) That’s fine if you didn’t grow up on Thomas Sweet, but honestly, mass-produced ice cream isn’t worth the extra calories to me. 

A few months ago I decided to search for better ice cream so I pinned an article about “Eastern Pennsylvania’s Ice Cream Trail.” When we had nothing to do this afternoon (since it was too cold to go swimming, which is what we thought we’d be doing today), I suggested we take a drive for ice cream. Marc and Isabelle were game. (Ari didn’t express an opinion.) 

Before we left our home, I called nearly all of the places listed in the article. Nearly all of them served commercially-made ice cream. But finally, at the bottom of my list, I came across Leo’s Homemade Ice Cream, an ice cream parlor 30 minutes south of our home in Carlisle, PA. A quick phone call revealed they made their own ice cream! I was giddy with excitement so I picked up the pace and got the kids ready to go. 

Leo’s ice cream was the real deal! Isabelle ordered Chocolate Marshmellow, Marc got Peanut Butter Cup, and I ate Snickers ice cream. All three flavors were delicious! Definitely worth the calories and the long drive! 

Next time I get the hankering for ice cream, I will hope in the car and drive to Carlisle! (Seriously.)

day trip · food · slice of life

Who is that friendly, curly-haired, blue-eyed girl?

It’s been over seven months since we ventured out to Central Market in Lancaster. However, we weren’t quite ready to head home after school today so I detoured out there for a quick lunch with Isabelle and my mom (who has been visiting for the past couple of days). My mom hasn’t been to Central Market yet so I thought grabbing lunch there would make for a fun excursion.

I found a spot easily on the street. Once I maneuvered the car 10+ times to parallel park, I turned off the car, and began looking for change. I gathered up enough nickels, dimes, and quarters for an hour and a half. More than enough time considering I needed to get home and do some work for a meeting and a presentation I have later this week.

After I fed the meter, I unstrapped Isabelle from her car seat. We reviewed the rules with the most important one being “hold on to my hand.” (That one needs a lot of repeating these days!) She dutifully held my hand as we walked away from the car. Once we crossed to the other side of the street, she began interacting with people she passed. “Hi!” she said in a loud toddler voice to a woman.

“Hi!” the woman said back with a grin.

“Aren’t you friendly!” I said.

She beamed up at me.

We walked down the sidewalk towards the market. “Hi!” she exclaimed to two men in business suits.

“Hi,” they said seriously.

I looked down at Izzy and found her smiling back at me with a goofy grin. What a ham!

Isabelle’s cheerful hellos continued as we went into the market. Every person she passed — man or woman, senior citizen or baby, worker or shopper — got an enthusiastic greeting. Most of the time each person got a smile and a wave too. And each time I said, “You’re so nice!” or “You’re so friendly!” she stared back at me and smiled as if to say I know.

In the end, her kindness paid off. There weren’t any empty tables left at Central Market when the three of us wanted to sit down for lunch. I noticed one table with three empty chairs. I walked over to the women at the table and asked, “Is anybody sitting here?”

“No,” they replied in unison.

“May we sit with you?” I asked.

“Of course,” one lady replied. “We’ve met you before.”

I looked at her quizzically.

“Your daughter said ‘hi’ to me earlier. I remember those eyes and that curly hair. You can definitely sit with us!” she said motioning towards the seats.

See, kindness does pay off!

day trip · food · slice of life

Farmer’s Market Field Trip

Isabelle checks out the meats at a grass-fed beef stand.  Beef: it's what's for dinner (tonight).
Isabelle checks out the meats at a grass-fed beef stand. Beef: it’s what’s for dinner (tonight).

I expected to be at my computer a lot today since it’s the first day of the Slice of Life Story Challenge.  I expected to spend a couple of hours perusing student writing for the new Classroom Challenge.  I expected to do these things ’til my daughter’s babysitter had to cancel.

I was unsure how to structure this day knowing I was supposed to be at my computer.  I have an iPhone, which allows me to moderate comments remotely.  However,  it’s hard to comment on blog posts, especially those written off of WordPress, from my phone (i.e., because of logins and captchas). Therefore, I did what any mom in my position would’ve done.  I went to Plan B.  Wake up early, do what you can do, and then focus on the kid.

We took a field trip today.  Since I’m her mother, there’s was no permission slip required.  We just hopped in the car and headed east to Lancaster, PA to visit the Lancaster Central Market, which is the oldest continuously operating farmer’s market in the country.  As soon as I pushed Isabelle’s stroller through the double doors to the market, I realized I was in an historic place.  I took note of the high ceilings and the way the vendors were spaced.  It reminded me of the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, but on a smaller scale.  Smaller, but cozy.

I squeezed the stroller the aisles, careful not to bump people or displays.  My mouth probably hung open as I passed the vendors.  I made a mental note of where the salad vendor was, but never stopped there for lunch.  Instead I was seduced by a beef empanada, which I haven’t had since I stopped working in Central Falls, RI three and a half years ago.

Checking out some cookies.
Checking out some cookies.

We sampled bread at Thom’s Bread and landed up buying a chocolate boule, which we’ll use for French toast this weekend, that Isabelle and I both adored.  I navigated our way way through the aisles, naming the vegetables, cakes, meats, and other treats we passed for Isabelle’s benefit.  We sampled chive goat cheese (didn’t know it existed) from Linden Dale Farms.  We stopped by Maplehofe Dairy to buy eggs from happy chickens and milk from happy cows (because you don’t explain the concept of cage-free eggs and antibiotic-free milk to a two year-old).  We weaved our way back and forth through the aisles multiple times, even stopping for cookies, which Isabelle’s slowly developing sweet tooth enjoyed devouring along with some flash pasteurized apple cider.

I set out to write a focused slice of life story today, but it isn’t happening.  You see, Isabelle fell asleep on the way home from the market.  (It is a 45 minute drive, after all.)  She’s been in her crib, fighting sleep, for the past half hour.  So now I will step away from the computer and go and get her.  A quality piece of writing will have to come from me another day.

Our farmer's market finds!
Our farmer’s market finds!
Go to to read more slice of life stories.
Go to to read more slice of life stories.