Snow Surprise

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Snow Day

Pajamas on … check!

Pajamas inside out and backwards … check!

Spoon under every pillow … check!

Ice cubes flushed down the toilet … check!

As our restless children crawl into bed, every step has been taken to ensure the nighttime arrival of Old Man Winter’s most coveted gift: the first snow.

Like so many other things we do around here, the first snow experience is packed tight with tradition. When the glow of a snow-covered lawn shines through the windows and the uncertainty of sleepy eyes has been rubbed away, three voices raise in a chorus of, “It’s snowing, it’s snowing!” Then six feet stampede down the stairs followed by my half-awake, halfhearted warning: “Don’t forget to put on your shoes and coats before you go outside!”

The first order of business is to officially declare it Marshmallow Day. This holiday, created by our middle child a few years ago, is always celebrated on the day of the first snow. (We have found that when our family does something twice, it suddenly becomes a “tradition” – a practice that I began to question last year, as I stood in line to buy marshmallows with all of the milk and bread shoppers on the night before a suspected snowfall.)

But, truth be told, I love Marshmallow Day. On this special occasion, we honor that fluffy, white, cylindrical goodness through a variety of marshmallow-themed activities. We drink hot chocolate from mugs overflowing with marshmallows. We make marshmallow goodies (like Rice Krispies treats or s’mores). We paint with marshmallows. We write poems about marshmallows. We even have an occasional marshmallow “snowball” fight. It’s truly quite a scene.

Next, we head outside to collect a big bowl of untouched snow for a batch of my husband’s famous snow cream. For those of you who have never experienced the sheer delight that is snow cream, put it on your to-do list this season. Snow cream – simply ice cream made with real snow – has many variations of the recipe, but ours calls for 8 cups of snow, a can of sweetened condensed milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Use less milk, or add more snow – it’s up to you. You can even add another flavor, such as almond, lemon or peppermint. The possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: a delicious winter treat and a kitchen full of happy kids. After all, you can’t help but smile when you’re eating snow!

Another first snow day activity at our house is the traditional trampoline snow jumping. There is just something about a thick layer of freshly fallen snow on the top of a trampoline that entices our children like moths to a flame. Coordinating this event can be tricky, because perfect timing is of the essence and certain rules apply. All three kids must have equal opportunity to bounce in the smooth blanket of snow. No one is allowed a head start to get outside, and no one can start jumping until everyone is in position. Crazy as it may sound, this is one of the most highly anticipated moments for our family on a snow day.

Of course, a snow day wouldn’t be complete without a snowman, and we love to create our own version of Frosty right on the edge of our front lawn. Our snowmen are shorter and less robust than the northern variety, and we tend to divert from the typical carrot, coal and button facial features. We have had a Harry “Snow” Potter, a Bat(snow)man, a snow dog, a snowman in disguise (with those goofy Groucho Marx glasses) and a Wonder (Snow) Woman. You never know what, or who, will be posing for you as you drive by our house on a snow day.

The first snow of winter in our great state of Tennessee, and often the only snow of winter, is a day full of excitement and a rare opportunity to revel in one of winter’s special gifts. No matter what you do, enjoy every moment and make it a day to remember. It’s no surprise that a snow surprise is the best surprise of the year.

About the Author
Lori Boyd is a freelance writer and works part time as a registered nurse. She lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, with her husband and their three children. They will spend many nights in backwards and inside-out pajamas eagerly awaiting the first snow of the season!

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