It’s about midnight. I am too excited to sleep because it’s snowing. The first snow of the season here in Reno. My first in the last ten years. And my little one’s first ever. Like first smile, first step, first word, a child’s first snow is a big deal . . .

autumnal fruit

late fall

And I don’t want to go to sleep. I don’t want to miss the show of the first snowfall. It’s coming down thick and fluffy like someone up there keeps ripping open goose down pillows and comforters. The shutters on my huge bedroom window are wide open, welcoming the bright light of a street lamp that borders the backyard. I don’t mind it at all. Not today. I just lie in bed watching it illuminate the twirling waltz of the first snowflakes of the season. Soon the roof tops, the sidewalks, the trees will be blanketed white. Several inches for sure . . .

autumnal fruit

bunny tracks in the snow

Can you guess which animal left these tracks?

I could stay up all night watching it coming down. This show is mesmerizing, but I feel my eyes get heavy and start to droop. I have to go to work tomorrow, attend a photography class, carve out a time in between to put a dent in my Thanksgiving grocery shopping, to name just a few things-to-do.

But most importantly, I need to go to sleep to wake up to Nicole’s gentle nudge in the shoulder and “Mommy, Mommy, there’s snow outside!”  

dulche de leche dessert

snow days

I need to see the wonder of the first snow in her eyes and through her eyes . . .

how to roast fruit

beautiful winter

Around Thanksgiving is probably a good time for the first snow. It signals a shift in seasons and puts most people in a holiday craze. I mean it in a good way. It also makes me look around and appreciate simple things in life.

I am giving thanks for this first snowfall and the quiet white beauty the next morning . . .

For playing snowballs with Nicole after school . . . You know, the first snow is usually half rain, which makes it perfect snowball shaping material. Wet and sticky, it holds together tight and heavy and shoots nice and straight.

I am giving thanks for Kevin who might get home from work before us tomorrow and turn on the fire . . .

For Mom who’d hang our soaked gloves on the clothesline she’d improvise in front of the fireplace . . .

dulche de leche ice cream

the beauty of the first snow

And I am ever so thankful for the move we’ve chanced and the many wonderful changes it’s entailed so far. And the many more we are about to discover as our new life in Reno is unfolding throughout the course of seasons.

I finally got my seasons back . . . Thank you.

Last but not least, I’d be very grateful if I could snatch some ripe Bartlett pears at WinCo tomorrow for one of my sweet Thanksgiving treats—roasted cranberries and pears. Good to eat the way they are, but I love to top things with this warm, buttery, syrup-y blend of sweet and tart. I used it on my homemade dulche de leche ice cream last Thanksgiving and I am having a repeat this year. It’s that good.

caramel ice cream

fun in the snow

Ice cream for Thanksgiving. Unexpected. Different.  Not too many people would serve a cold treat as they enter a cold season. But just like you enjoy a scoop of vanilla ice cream atop a slice of warm apple pie, you might find the warm topping of roasted pears and cranberries that slowly sink their way into the smooth creamy flesh of caramel-flavored ice cream just as appealing.

Serve it over dulche de leche, cinnamon, or burnt sugar ice cream. You can also add a sprinkling of crushed walnuts and a pinch of cardamom and/or cinnamon as you put it together. For looks and for flavor. Delicious!

In fact, so delicious that my mouth just started watering. I’ve got to go to sleep before I raid the fridge. It’s way past midnight, and it’s stopped snowing . . .

Good night.

Recipe for Roasted Cranberries and Pears, adapted from the November 2009 issue of Cookie



1. 4 ripe pears (any variety), peeled, cored, and sliced

2. 2 12-ounce bags cranberries (fresh or thawed frozen)

3. 3 tablespoons butter

4. ½ cup brown sugar


1. Place the pears and cranberries on a sheet pan.

2. Dot the fruit with the butter and sprinkle it with the sugar.

3. Roast it in the 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes, stirring once about halfway through.