Toddlers Without Tiaras

… tales of my threenager

Winter Fun

With Spring just around the corner, I have no choice but to come to terms with what could have been. This post is less about the Threenager, and more about what I was trying to build for her.

The back yard rink. A great Canadian childhood right of passage.

What is more magical than spending time with your family creating the perfect rink. Stars in the sky, watching your breath in the air as you exhale, laughing as you tried your hardest to stay upright. Then, after an hour in the cold, coming back inside for a cup of hot chocolate with a marshmallow on top.

Good times, hanging on the porch, with a hot chocolate.

Good times, hanging on the porch, with a hot chocolate.


I remember my dad building our rink as a child. Each night after dinner he would bundle up, walk through the snow, and start watering the ground with a sprinkler.  It had to be cold, but not too cold. If it was snowing, it was too warm. The perfect temperature was around -8. The sprinkler sticks out in my memory because I remember how funny we thought it was to use a sprinkler in the winter! We would watch through the window as the sprinkler moved back and forth. Eager for the night dad would tell us it was ready.

Day 1

This year I wanted to create the same magic for Big Sis. At the end of January I started the process. One Friday evening, after dinner, Big Sis and I went outside to prep the area. We needed to shovel a relatively flat area. As I had dragged my feet initiating the rink I thought I would get a head start on making the base with a ‘Quik Rink’ kit I picked up at Canadian Tire. After 3 hours of shoveling, we were ready to fill the rink. It was a perfect night. The temperature was going to drop closer to -20. If we could fill the rink, the base would be ready before the end of the weekend. Unfortunately the tap was frozen, and we gave up after another 90 minutes of trying to thaw the tap.

Day 2

It was a much warmer day. Temperatures were closer to zero. Perfect temperature to thaw the outside tap. Sunlight also made this process easier (I found out the tap would have probably worked the night before. I had accidentally turned the tap off instead of on.) No worries. I shake this off and get back to work. After 60 minutes the tap is flowing. We grab the hose, hook it up. Unfortunately, the hose froze in the garage. No problem. We bring the hose in, place it beside the fire. After another 90 minutes I take it back outside, hook it up, turn on the tap … wait … wait a little longer … yup … you guessed it … the tap froze during the time the hose was thawing beside the fire.  By this time I am becoming a tap thawing pro. Within 20 minutes the tap is working, the hose is working, the ‘Quik Rink’ is filling.

For those unfamiliar with the ‘Quik Rink’, I would equate it to an extremely overpriced piece of plastic, sealed with the equivalent of a food saver, with a small, relatively unmarked and difficult to find small hole, in which you insert a hose. It is like filling a water bed of sorts. The kit I bought should have created a 10 * 20 foot rink of pristine skating enjoyment. Instead, it provided much comedic entertainment for those witnessing my quickly declining rink making ambitions and abilities.

During this time I had sent my partner in crime to buy a new hose. I was about to give up on the hose we had. At the last second the hose started flowing, I inserted it in to the hole, walked around my rink with great pride, and then went inside. I DID IT! By myself! I managed to hook up the hose, thaw the tap, and fill the rink! I was proud (especially as my partner had been doubtful of my abilities to produce a skating rink). It would take time for the rink to fill. I went inside to grab a cup of tea. I figured it would take about 2 hours to fill.

20 minutes pass. I look outside at my work. To my HORROR, the 10 * 20 foot rink looks less like a rectangular rink, and more like a giant, clear sausage link. The weight of the water, combined with the slipperiness of the snow, and the ever so slight incline of my backyard, has caused the rink to start to slide down, and roll itself up like a jelly roll. I need to weigh the rink down. All I can find are bags of sidewalk salt and containers of windshield washer fluid. (Just what you want near your rink). I grab what I can, pull the bag back up in place, place the heavy items on top and hope for the best.

After dinner I am pleased with the progress. I talk a moment to try to push the water up to the top (hoping it will fill any little divots in this snow, freeze, and hold the rink in place).  Around 8:00p.m. I turn off the water, remove the hose, and leave the rink. I prop up the end with the hole with shovels to prevent the water leaking out. I take a picture to send my grandparents, pleased with myself.

I take this picture.

Looks good! Just need it to freeze.

Looks good! Just need it to freeze.


Right after I take this picture I can hear a faint trickle of water. Scout, the Evil Terror, er I mean super cute Terrier, bit the plastic on the front bottom right corner. Then persisted to run back and forth on the rink. I make shift a temporary fix propping up leaks where I can. Hope for the best. Go to bed.

Days 3 – 5

Hope for the best. Well that didn’t work. The dog had punctured the upper and lower layers of the plastic. The majority of the water dripped out. After pealing off the top layer, I discover my Quik Rink, is no more than a light frosting. It looks more like an area I am preparing for a Polar Dip, than a winter skate.

2015-02-03 16.15.41

Anyone want to take a plunge?









I figure this has created enough of a base that I can flood. I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. I am sure if I were to remove my deck I would find a perfectly usable skating rink under there. The water is anywhere but on my rink.

I start flooding in smaller amounts. I am trying to create areas that will eventually join to create a smooth area. My hopes of creating a large 10 * 20 foot rink have shrunk to a 4 * 8 foot ice quarry.

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Day 4 brings hope. Under the plastic I can see streams of water. It looks like an underground network of rivers leading to one of the Great Lakes. Despite the grass peaking through the snow, I have finally created a solid patch of skatable ice. 15 inches by 15 inches. Possibly only usable by the Anna skating doll I have seen at Target, but still, usable.

Day 7

After 3 more days of flooding, the rink is making little progress. I have decided it looks more like a life-size diorama dedicated to the impact of the melting polar icecaps on the Polar Bear habitat. (So of course I went and bought a polar bear and took pictures to prove my point.)

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Week 2

I’d like to say things improved. I was making progress when I started using 10 pitchers of water every hour for the better part of week 2. My friends were laughing at me (I can’t imagine why.) I was crawling around looking for holes, plugging them with snow, and then making ice band aids. I was almost at a point where I could start flooding the entire rink. We came close. Our progress halted when we went away for a couple of days, returning to bitter cold temperatures, and a huge snowfall.

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Oh well. At least I have a head start on our backyard swimming hole for the summer.

Anyone want help building a rink next Winter?

Wed, March 25 2015 » Uncategorized

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