Just about every time I answered the call of the summer ding-a-ling and ran to the ice cream truck, I bought—OK, Mom purchased—an ice cream bar dipped in a dark and flavorful coating. Cold and refreshing ice cream covered in chocolate—a double treat that in the summer sun you hurried to eat before it ran down the stick onto your knuckles.
I’ve avoided boredom during the pandemic by doing lots of hiking (while practicing social distancing, of course)! My boyfriend and I made it our mission to see as many waterfalls as possible, so we’ve been regulars at nearby state parks and state nature preserves. I’m sharing a couple of our favorite Stark County walks and hikes in this month’s “Summer in Stark” section on Page 27. We usually follow up that hiking with cooking dinner or baking a treat, and it’s made for some pretty great days off.
My mom has an 80-pound collie named Teko who’s basically a small horse. When I was home from college on Christmas break one year, Teko knocked the olive oil my mom had set out on the kitchen counter onto the floor and ate all of it. We were out shopping and didn’t find the mess until a few hours later. When we realized what had happened, my mom tried to scold the dog and ended up scolding my sister and me instead—we couldn’t stop laughing because the dog was just staring at my mom and smacking his lips, totally unfazed by her anger.
My go-to definitely changes depending on the type of restaurant, but when it comes to pizza places, I love a classic Margherita pizza. Tomato, basil and mozzarella is a perfect combination, especially when a restaurant uses fresh, high quality ingredients. I like to use it as a barometer when trying a new place—if they nail the Margherita pizza, everything else is probably just as good.
I may be in the minority, but when winter hits, I get excited to get outside. Whether it’s shoveling snow as soon as it’s fallen, walking on the Hoover Trail followed by a hot chocolate or running on the Towpath Trail, being outside is where I like to be.
One of my new year’s resolutions is to spend more time at my home. That probably sounds really silly, but I like to be busy and keep myself highly scheduled. I just put up my calendar for November (we write a few months ahead for the magazine) and there are only three days in the whole month that are unplanned. So my resolution is to try to stay at home a few nights a month and actually wash and put away my laundry in the same evening or something crazy like that.
But I’m not here to sing praises of “A Christmas Story,” as dear to my heart as it is. My colleagues have already done that. I’m here to declare that “Home Alone” and its excellent sequel “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” (do not speak to me about any subsequent films in the franchise) are the best Christmas movies.
My favorite Thanksgiving food is pumpkin streusel bars. I started making the recipe a few years ago in hopes of combining a bunch of things everyone in my family enjoys into one dessert. The crust of the bars is gingersnap cookies; the filling is cream cheese, Greek yogurt and pumpkin; and the topping is a streusel made from oats, cinnamon and brown sugar. We eat this instead of pumpkin pie now, and no one has complained.
My favorite Halloween costume is the costume that wasn’t. When I was a toddler, my mom spent a ton of time making me an elf costume for Halloween. (She is not a sewer, so this was a huge deal.) But when the big day rolled around, I absolutely refused to put it on. I ended up going trick-or-treating in my parka and still telling everyone who asked what I was dressed up as that I was an elf. I am a far more accommodating person now, but 2-year-old Alison had a lot of spunk. (Sorry, Mom!)
I love the parks and trails in Stark County. There’s one in every community, and each one seems to have its own personality. I used to visit them to run and relax. But now that I’m a mom to a 1-year-old, I’m there for the swings and slides.