Family makes 'gem' igloo during polar vortex

Family makes 'gem' igloo during polar vortex

The polar vortex that sent temperatures plummeting across the eastern half of the United States this month inspired one New Jersey family to create a cool, colorful igloo from more than 200 blocks of ice.

The Trokhans in Old Tappan, N.J., filled 200 aluminum tins with water and food coloring and left them outside to freeze. The blocks of ice were then held together by snow and water.

"We would stack two blocks together, fill the cracks with snow, and then pour water over it," Shawn Trokhan told "After packing the snow, it would take about 30 to 60 seconds for it to freeze enough for the block to become stable. For the top of the igloo, we had to hold the blocks a little longer, but they still froze surprisingly fast."

The DIY "ice palace" — or "gem igloo," as the Trokhan kids call it — took nearly an entire day to build, with the family of five working well into the night, despite the subzero conditions.

"The girls wanted to build an igloo, so we did," Trokhan said.

"There is never a good time to stop your life and take on some silly family project," he added. "But if you don’t stop every once in a while, you never will."