Sunday, January 5, 2014

Water, Cold, and Time

It's cold here.  Freakishly cold, to the point where even in a city like this were everyone is used to dealing with cold they canceled school because standing at bus stops would be too dangerous.  The high was predicted to be negative nine.

So what to do with an extra day of Winter Break when it's cold?  (Besides stay inside to play board games and bake cookies?)  Make decorative ice!

Yes, fun with ice.

I saw a picture on Facebook last winter of ice balls someone made by filling balloons with water and food coloring and leaving them out to freeze.  They looked beautiful.  We tried it then, but it didn't work.  The water never froze all the way through and we ended up with a cold water splash catastrophe on our porch that made it rather slick for a while.

But this concept was too appealing to abandon (being such relatively cheap entertainment), so we tried it again this year during an impressive cold snap before Christmas.  And it worked!

Quinn helped me.  I filled regular balloons with water and several drops of food coloring, and Quinn lined them up on a bench in the backyard.

The next day we poked one and it cracked and started to leak, so then we left them alone for several days.  But then, success!

My niece helped me unwrap them all when she was visiting over the holidays and her cousins were still in school.  (She kept commenting that, "These are really cold!" which made me laugh every time.)

That little bit of food coloring was much more intense in the ice than I'd expected, and a word to anyone doing this that it comes off on your hands.  We had to use rubber gloves to handle them because the color got on everything if we weren't careful.  We also made some colorless ones when we ran out of food coloring before we ran out of balloons, and that turned out to be good because I hadn't anticipated the mess of colored ice melting on my white-painted porch. 

My brother arranged all the ice around the yard and ended up stacking some into sort of colorful snowmen like figures.  I didn't get any good pictures before the next snowfall, but I have to say they were really beautiful, particularly when the sun shone through them.  Several neighbors asked what were these glass balls and where could they get them? 

Easiest decorating project ever!  Just water, cold, and time.  And unlike all my other holiday decorations I don't have to take them down or pack them up.  They are slowly shrinking away to nothing on their own.

So, on our "cold day" off of school we are making more.  Possibly all clear ones this time unless we remember to pick up more food coloring at the store.  Should be fun.  And cold.

We also plan to blow bubbles and see if they freeze.

So bring it on, Mother Nature!  We've got enough hot cocoa and blankets and DVDs to last a while, plus we'll have fun with ice.  (Although, one has to wonder how long before we crack and just head to Florida.)


  1. How fun and pretty!

    And WOW that is cold. The very thought of it made me shiver, in my warm heated house :)

  2. I have seen this an so want to try! I boughty kids some lego sets I never would have sprung for if they hadn't been stuck inside since before xmas. :)

  3. That's so cool! (no pun intended!) We are expecting exceedingly cold temps for tomorrow and have planned bubble freezing. :o) Take photos for those of us who live in warmer climes and dream of the cold. :o)

  4. I too saw these and always wondered. I think yours look great, so glad to see that they work in real life...sometimes I wonder who are these people who make these amazing things, know I know, you.

  5. 1. the previous post made me absolutely giggle. So funny.
    2. those ice balls are awesome. I may need to get the kids on it during their polar vortex day off of school tomorrow.
    3. Every picture of Quinn makes me smile...he is such a cutie.

    1. Oh, my cutie Quinn. I'm so lucky to get to be his mom.

  6. Some local moms have taken it upon themselves to create ice-themed art in our area. They HIGHLY recommend the sugar free koolaid packets for good color. :)