Jan. 29, 2014 at 10:58 PM ET
When the Trokhan family got the news that yet another cold front was headed to their town of Old Tappan, New Jersey this past weekend, they seized the opportunity to bring their crazy – albeit brilliant! – idea to fruition: build an igloo in the back yard.
“We started planning this a while ago, after [our kids] were talking about building an igloo,” Shawn Trokhan, father of three, told TODAY. “It was a team effort. My wife Eileen's parents and brothers live very close by and are a huge part of our children's lives. I think this was just one little part of the things we do as a family.”
After filling 200 aluminum tins with water, adding some food coloring and setting them out to freeze, the family got down to business. Though this time-lapse video makes the process look rather simple, the igloo took a full day to build – with a few hot chocolate breaks, of course.
"The toughest part was without question the roof," Shawn recounted. "It was slow going, and we had to use a snow/water mixtures that froze as a glue. We encountered a situation early on where the blocks weren't stacking well. So we had to come up with a solution, which was nice for the kids. When you’re in the middle of a project, and things aren't going right, what do you do? It was good for them to think on their feet a little, and be prepared to make changes as needed.”
As for what the experience taught his children — Lexi, 8; Abby, 6; and Harrison, 2 — Shawn said, "I think the fact that we came up with a difficult project and followed through on it was the best lesson for any of us."
More than just a DIY igloo, the experience brought the Trokhan’s immediate and extended family together in a way they won’t soon forget. "There is never a good time to stop your life and take on some silly family project," Shawn said. "But if you don't stop every once in a while, you never will. And I think too often in life we don't stop because it's not convenient. Well, this week we stopped. And I hope our kids remember this for a long time."
Thanks to the ongoing frigid temperatures, the Trokhans will likely get to keep their ice palace a few more days.