How we built our Canadian living room :)

by Nadine on January 27, 2013

winter  In early December we started making those coloured water frozen balloons that were everywhere online. It was fun, and inspired us to start making blocks. At first we were just going to build a little kids sized fort. We used all our old containers  – ice cream pails etc. and once we started to build it we decided to go big. We never imagined it would get this big though – but once we got in the groove of it it was easy. Bought some brick sized containers at Dollarama since was easier to fit them together. Kiddo and I emptied them daily once frozen, and used a canning pot to transport the coloured water outside to refill all the containers. It was a fun family project – and now we get to reap the rewards!!

Since it was so nice out today we cooked our lunch over the fire – steak and hotdogs. Was the best lunch ever since I also made homemade onion rings inside. We roasted marshmallows for dessert. We surprised the kiddo after lunch by taking our old couch out of the garage and setting up a “living room” – complete with end tables and fake flowers from Micheals. It was a priceless moment – and we were outside enjoying it for over 3 hours so well worth it. The couch is old and meant for the dump anyway – might as well enjoy it a bit more outside when the weather is nice!!

shelter  Cost breakdown for building such a shelter….

We bought about 10-15 containers at Dollarama at $1 each – a lot of them will freeze and crack, and we quickly learned that these were the way to go.

Ended up using 2 packs of food colouring ($3 each) and bought a few bigger bottles of colours to keep up the variety (2x$2). I also used up a bunch of the ones we already had here…so many $15 in food colouring…max. Well worth it since the colours really light up nicely.

As for the size, it’s about 40 bricks to make a layer (1 foot each) and there’s 17 layers so far! 🙂 Took almost 2 months to build it – but kept the kiddo and mom and dad active outside – every day. I was outside doing it myself in -40….but as it started to get taller it really became a Mom project – really saw the potential as a shelter. It’s over 4 feet tall right now…and we are debating adding a few more layers. It’s super solid – every time you add a layer you pour water on it to freeze them together – kiddo actually was climbing up it yesterday and it was fine.

I took those pictures standing up on my daughter’s huge toboggan run…which also gives shelter on that side. We didn’t do a full circle, was scared someone would fall off tobaggan hill etc. onto it.

A fun winter project – very cheap to make and a great way for the family to work today, get a lot of exercise – lugging pots of water, and containers of bricks from the deck to the shelter is a great workout! Hopefully we get a lot of nice days like today so we can sit outside and enjoy it – maybe I’ll even bring the computer outside and blog in the great outdoors! And of course host some parties and meals outdoors! We live in Winnipeg – might as well enjoy it 🙂

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Carrie January 27, 2013 at 4:50 PM

This is such a great idea! Love it!

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Nadine January 27, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Thanks! 🙂 thought i’d post it up and share it with everyone. Was a lot of work, but well worth it.

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Zoey January 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Ambitious! the kids will really remember this adventure. Mine are now in their late teens and still talk about the igloos/ snow forts we built or the snow-arch over our back gate that my husband used to make with them every winter–using the recycling boxes. Its fun to watch it melt and change in the spring too before they topple they can sway a long way and freeze in place that way. Kudos on a job well done.

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Nadine January 28, 2013 at 11:08 AM

thanks! totally what we were going for, memories that will last forever. So many fun projects to make outside 🙂

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Debbie Turko January 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Bring a tv out and watch super bowl would make an awesome picture to show all those NFL fans!

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Nadine January 28, 2013 at 11:09 AM

I was tempted to bring out the tv – not sure how to get reception out there though? Would be fun – and it’s pretty cozy in there.

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