20+ Creative Ways to Unwind During Physical Distancing (It’s not Puzzles)

Since completing the first month of lockdown, I’ve had several weeks to try out a tonne of unique and entertaining activities that are keeping me busy doing things I enjoy. By now, you know that tuning in to ‘living room’ concerts is an opportunity to get your fix of musical entertainment. And streaming the latest from Netflix has its place, too. The following ideas are different because they move you from an audience member to an active performer in your own entertainment.

In my last post, I mentioned that it’s important to schedule a routine that includes fun activities, giving yourself breaks from the constant media stream and work from home tasks that dominate your day. Make an appointment with yourself to unwind creatively. Some of the links go to support independent businesses in Saskatoon. Here are some options that you may not have tried yet:

20+ CREATIVE WAYS TO UNWIND DURING PHYSICAL DISTANCING

  • Design a neighbourhood full of your dream homes in the Sims 4.
  • Order a themed takeout meal from your favourite restaurant to match your movie choice.
  • Play Jackbox with friends remotely.
  • Sing a karaoke duet with a friend on Smule.
  • Have a make your own pizza night.
  • Take a country drive and sing along to your favourite road trip songs. I like driving down to Whitecap Dakota First Nation for a short break. Blackstrap and Diefenbaker/Outlook would make a nice longer drive. It’s the cheapest time to get out on the open road.
  • Start your own plant seedlings. Start an apartment herb garden, or a small backyard container garden.
  • Watch the sunset and try to describe all the colours.
  • Play a Just Dance game. In my opinion, this is the most efficient way to bust stress.
  • Whistle a tune to your pet.
  • Choose a theme and host a family or friend dinner online. Selecting a theme makes it feel like you’re together.
  • Take friends on a “hyper-local wine tour” of your place. Visit the bathroom, the living room, etc.
  • Take a photo walk around your neighbourhood. Notice the things that you may not have seen before.
  • Create a self-portrait sugar cookie. Recreate your face on a simple round sugar cookie shape.
  • Rent a board game. If you like it enough, you can share another round with friends in the future.
  • Order a new book for curbside pickup. Browse books online and support a local author.
  • Play card games with friends. Psst… “Remote Sensitivity” is essentially Cards Against Humanity.
  • Browse renowned museums and galleries from your home.
  • Decorate your fence or front window.
  • Download, print, and colour drawings from artists around the world. Many artists are uploading their designs for free, or a small donation to charity.
  • Bird watch and try to name a few of the flocks that are coming back to town.

What have you been doing to unwind? Please don’t say puzzles.

A Weekly Routine to Help You Regain Focus When Life Gets Messy

Skip to: My Personal Weekly Routine

In mid-March, when Canada was in the initial stages of coronavirus lock down, my life felt out of control. On top of the external stress of a worldwide pandemic, I began an internal battle. My mood dipped, anxious thoughts kept me awake, my phone was at my face throughout the day (and night), my go-to after-work hydration was alcohol, my facial skin was dry and sore, and I felt drowsy.

I know I’m not alone. This pandemic is as much a mental health crisis as it is a public health crisis.

I had to remind myself about my personal routine; a weekly schedule of healthy habits that I created about six months ago. I originally designed it to help organize the internal clutter of my day-to-day and it has become a mainstay in the midst of uncertain times. My personal routine is comforting. Some days, it’s the only thing that can bring my focus back again.

This post is about how creating a personal routine could help improve your focus when life is a chaotic mess.

It has taken me years to determine how to set professional boundaries with myself and others. I balance self-employment with part-time employment. This requires a blend of working environments, but I’m mostly working from home. My biggest struggle with working from home is that it often leads to my needs being placed on the back-burner. Scheduling a personal routine helps me focus on my daily tasks while finally putting my health first.

Last fall, I developed a structured weekly routine that makes my wellbeing a priority. My routine has changed three times since. It changed after the coronavirus crisis. And I can guarantee it will change again before this is over.

Set Your Top Weekly Goals

When I accomplish my goals, I feel more in control of my life.

I set two major weekly goals: planning and preparing meals, and working out at least four times. I put both my meal plan and my workout plan in writing, so that I don’t have to constantly think about what I am going to do.

An added benefit of organizing meal prep is that our weekly grocery list is created at the same time. Now that we’re limited to one trip per week as the current recommendation, meal prep continues to make grocery trips focused and efficient.

Activity is also shown to improve mood and immunity, among its other positive benefits.

Seek Outside Support

Outside support means asking someone else for help to achieve your goals. If you live with your support person – wonderful! If not, seek encouragement and accountability from family, friends, and loved ones.

My husband has taken initiatives that make keeping our lifestyle easier and more connective. So far, he’s created a shared habit tracker chart; committed to being the household grocery guy; walks the neighbourhood with me daily; joins in guided mediations; and joins in virtual yoga. Having a supportive partner helps me maintain my personal routine long-term.

MY PERSONAL WEEKLY ROUTINE

Feel free to use my weekly routine to build your own framework. I deliberately left out my work schedule and specific times so that you could create a weekly personal routine that’s unique to you. The point is that you create a routine that works right now, and plan to review and update every few months.

SundaySpiritual Community
Meal prep 4 hours preparing meals for the week
Optional walk
Personal grooming
MondayBook Club x1/mo.
Volunteer x1/mo.
60 min walk
Phone family member
TuesdayRead
Full body HIIT circuit
Text an old friend
WednesdayAdditional Meal Prep
Leg day
ThursdayRead
Dance drills
30 min walk
Friend date
FridayBike and abs
Date night or game night with friends
SaturdayPilates
30 min cardio
Clean floors dust organize clutter
Meal plan, create grocery list
Fun afternoon activity
All activities and dates happen remotely from home. I haven’t seen my friends and family in person in over three and a half weeks. I miss your hugs and your faces. I can’t wait to see you again.

During the coronavirus lockdowns, my routine has become a source of comfort. This new lifestyle makes it easier to focus on taking care of my health. I’m grateful to past-me for carving this path and present-me for choosing to stick with it through unprecedented times.

DAILY HABITS

  • waking up at a set time
  • taking a shower, brushing and flossing, applying face moisturizer
  • getting dressed in work clothes (weekdays) or comfy clothes (weekends)
  • 30 minutes minimum of physical activity
  • keeping phone in a separate room
  • drinking lots of fluids
  • planning for social connection
  • eating meals at regular times together
  • limiting alcohol consumption
  • making space for quiet time

Daily habit tracking seems insignificant at the time, but seeing the pixelated chart in our kitchen gives me visual motivation to be consistent everyday.

A personal routine is a source of comfort when the world is very uncertain. It gives my mind a chance to focus on what needs to be done each day and stop trying to manage everything internally. If you have been experiencing multiple weeks like my first week of lockdown, I encourage you to take some time to focus on what’s important to you. Once you create a weekly personal routine, don’t forget to track your daily habits. Since starting my routine six months ago, my day-to-day life has changed my focus for the better. I have a feeling yours will too.

All Do Sask live events have been cancelled and/or postponed until further notice

Originally posted to Do Sask Facebook Page, March 13 at 3:50 PM.

As a community programmer, I am choosing to be proactive about the health of my event attendees. I will not place unnecessary risks on attendees.

I haven’t posted in a few days as there has been much uncertainty worldwide. This week, many non-essential events around the world have been cancelled due to the health risk concerns with COVID-19.

Last night, I read the Government’s community-based measures to mitigate the spread of the disease. While the official direction for community programmers remains unclear, I’ve decided to postpone the upcoming book club scheduled for March 23 and to cancel Speed Dating scheduled for March 29.

Full refunds have been made and will appear back in your account within 7 days via Eventbrite.

My decision is in the best interest of my attendees. I cannot guarantee “social distancing” at my events, as the whole point is to get to know new people. I hope we’ll be back up and running in April. However, I’m working to create contingency plans for connecting remotely if that is not possible.

The wellness of attendees is my top priority.

In the interim, I hope to continue to feature a positive light on our province in these uncertain days ahead. If you have an uplifting story you want to share, please email me.

Alternative ways to connect to the Do Sask community:

I invite locals to connect with each other, even if it can’t be in-person. Join Saskatoon Events & Date Night Ideas Facebook group, or the DoSask subreddit. I am open to other creative ways to connect.

Take care,
Amy Rederburg
Owner
Do Sask

March Events in Saskatoon 2020

The Junos are coming to town and they’re bringing the best of Canadian entertainment with them! Starting Thursday, March 12, it won’t be difficult to stumble upon amazing live music and stand-up shows across the city, culminating with the awards show on March 15. Additionally, most pubs and bars are celebrating St. Paddy’s Day that weekend.

Saskatonians are sprinting towards the start of spring this March. Green thumbs are gearing up for growing weather with Seedy Saturday and Gardenscape just around the corner.

And for the offbeat, check out gong sound bath, naughty bingo, live performance artist Bridget Moser at Remai, or outdoor laughter yoga.

This month, find Do Sask at Speed Dating and Book Club. Look for details to all of these events in the massive monthly listing below. Check the Do Sask Facebook group for daily updates.

Skip to: Tuesday, March 10
Skip to: Tuesday, March 17
Skip to: Tuesday, March 24

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Speed Dating for 25 & Up at Hose & Hydrant Pub

Tonight It’s Poetry Community Stage at Amigos Cantina

Darkside of the Room at PAVED Arts

Monday, March 2, 2020

The Price is Right Live at TCU Place

Andy Shauf w/ Molly Sarlé at The Broadway Theatre

Trivia Night Classic at Louis’

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Women In Leadership Panel at Louis’ Loft

Ladies Ride Night at Optimist Hill

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Trivia at Cohen’s Beer Republic

Screening of LUNAFEST International Film Festival & Panelist Discussion at The Broadway Theatre

Garden dinner in support of CHEP Good Food Inc. at Odla

Thursday, March 5, 2020

DIY Painted Pillow at Route11 Creative Arts Centre (Warman)

Meditation Night at Nutters Everyday Naturals

Star Wars Trivia at Revolve Cafe

Friday, March 6, 2020

Latin Fridays at 360 Lounge Bar & Restaurant

The Big Lebowski + The Jesus Rolls Double Feature at The Roxy Theatre

Fire & Ice at Capitol Music Club

Saturday, March 7, 2020

A Bellydance Spectacular at The Broadway Theatre

Spanglish Saturday at Aria Food + Spirits

Cash Cash at Coors Event Centre

Nat the Cat featuring Tim Tamashiro at The Bassment

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Monday, March 9, 2020

Lord Dying With Necrophilic Cunilinguist And Allegory at Black Cat Tavern

Booklyn 99 Trivia at Hudsons Canada’s Pub

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Urban Kiz Classes at ACT Arena

Animating the Inanimate Workshop w/ Pippa Lattey at PAVED Arts

Tampon Tuesday at Hudsons Canada’s Pub

Ladies Ride Night at Optimist Hill

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Trivia at Cohen’s Beer Republic

Sci Fi Trivia Night at Capitol

Story to Song at Bon Temps Cafe

R Grunwald at The Bassment

Thursday, March 12, 2020

DIY Canvas Bag Workshop at Route11 Creative Arts Centre

Kaiser Tournament at Revolve Cafe

JUNO Kick-Off Concert Presented by CBC Sports w/ The Sheepdogs at Coors Event Centre

Sask Rock Showcase at Buds on Broadway

Q Live at the Junos at The Broadway Theatre

The Slocan Ramblers at The Bassment

The Blue Jay Sessions at Somewhere Else Pub & Grill

Friday, March 13, 2020

Enlightenment and Intoxication – Sarah Hoffman at The Refinery

Size Small Dog Rescue Ladies Night Out at Sutherland Hall

Paint Night at Saskatoon Makerspace

JUNO Comedy Show Presented by SiriusXM Canada at Capitol Music Club

Foam on the Range at Prairieland Park

The Glorious Sons at TCU Place

JUNOFest Presented by CBC Music (through March 14)

The Blue Jay Sessions at Somewhere Else Pub & Grill

Columbia Style Latin Night at 260 Lounge Bar & Restaurant

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Seedy Saturday at Station 20 West

Spanglish Saturday at Aria Food + Spirits

Longbranch & SCMA Juno Weekend Showcase

Saint Practice Day at Finn’s Irish Pub

The Blue Jay Sessions at Somewhere Else Pub & Grill

Newfoundland & Labrador St. Paddys Day Event Saskatoon

St. Patrick’s Day Supper at the Nutana Legion

Gong & Crystal Bowl Sound Bath at Ground Yoga

Saskatoon Centre Curling Funspiel at CN Curling Club

Sunday, March 15, 2020

2020 Juno Awards at SaskTel Centre

The Blue Jay Sessions at Somewhere Else Pub & Grill

Mudd Brothers Hangover Brunch at Yard & Flagon Pub

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Human Condition Spring Comedy Tour at Hibotan

Bob Saget at Dakota Dunes Casino

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Minimalism Adult Workshop at Remai Modern

St. Paddy’s Pub Party at Winston’s English Pub

St. Pattys Open Mic at Capitol

Outdoor Laughter Yoga at Cranberry Flats

St. Patrick’s Day at Finn’s Irish Pub

Bridget Moser: Scream if you want to go Faster (FREE) at Remai Modern

Ladies Ride Night at Optimist Hill

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Trivia at Cohen’s Beer Republic

Anne of Green Gables The Ballet at TCU Place

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Mine to Have: Sensuality and Circumstance at Studio 914 (through March  29th)

Adult Night at Nutrien Wonderhub

Masters of Illusion at TCU Place

Schitt’s Creek Trivia at Revolve Cafe

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Real McKenzies at Amigos Cantina

Mixed Nuts at Brian King Centre (Warman)

Latin Fridays at 360 Lounge Bar & Restaurant

HomeStyles Home & Renovation Show at Prairieland Park

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Spanglish Saturday at Aria Food + Spirits

Naughty Bingo the Flapper Edition at Free Flow Dance Centre

Fall City Fall w/ Thalass (Black Cat Tavern 2 Year Anniversary)

Soapbox Social at Cosmopolitan Senior Citizens Centre

HomeStyles Home & Renovation Show at Prairieland Park

Sunday, March 22, 2020

HomeStyles Home & Renovation Show at Prairieland Park

Monday,  March 23, 2020

Book Club at McNally Robinson Booksellers

Tuesday,  March 24, 2020

Inside/Out at Persephone Theatre (Through March 29)

Ladies Ride Night at Optimist Hill

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Stones in His Pockets at Persephone Theatre (Through April 8)

Trivia at Cohen’s Beer Republic

Cartoon Trivia: After Dark at Capitol

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Beginner Bird ID Workshop at USask

Friday, March 27, 2020

Latin Fridays at 360 Lounge Bar & Restaurant

Lil Tjay at Coors Event Centre

Lost Boys – Drunken Cinema Edition! At The Broadway Theatre

Gardenscape at Prairieland Park

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Spanglish Saturday at Aria Food + Spirits

29th Artists Against Hunger Art Auction & Dinner at TCU Place

Fancy Diamonds / Melonade / Dump Babes at The Underground Cafe

Black Belt Eagle Scout w/ Guests at Amigos Cantina

BCBC Cycling Shorts Fundraiser at The Bike Doctor

Gardenscape at Prairieland Park

Ladies Night Out Fundraiser at Cosmo Seniors Centre

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Speed Dating for 25 & Up at Hose & Hydrant Pub

Gardenscape at Prairieland Park

Monday, March 30, 2020

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Ladies Ride Night at Optimist Hill

SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER

Never miss another event in Saskatoon. Get this event listing sent to your inbox by signing up for the Do Sask newsletter below:

If you want to promote your event, please send it in for a free listing and share it in the Saskatoon Events and Date Night Ideas group. Follow Do Sask on Facebook for more daily updates.

February Events in Saskatoon 2020

Sappy, dreamy, or quirky – your Valentine personality will help you determine where you’re spending your time this February in Saskatoon. From an ode to the vagine (Vagina Monologues) to a sausage party (King of Kovbasa) and everything in between… Okay, get your mind out of the gutter! It’s happening this month.

This February, find Do Sask at Book Club. Look for details to all of these events in the massive monthly listing below. Check the Do Sask Facebook group for daily updates.

Skip to: Tuesday, February 11
Skip to: Tuesday, February 18
Skip to: Tuesday, February 25

FEBRUARY EVENTS IN SASKATOON 2020

Have an event I missed? Send it in for a free listing & check back to plan your week.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Masquerade & Big Band Dance (UofS Dept. of Music) at Manhattan Ballroom

Reasonable Doubt at Persephone Theatre (through February 12)

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Heritage Festival of Saskatoon at WDM

Board Game Cafe at Alice Turner Library

Monday, February 3, 2020

Free Dart Lessons at The Thirsty Scholar

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Constellations at Persephone Theatre (Through February 16)

Disney Trivia Night at Capitol

Trivia at Cohen’s Beer Republic

Cribbage League at High Key Brewing Co.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

King of Kovbasa 2020 at Prairieland Park

Friday, February 7, 2020

The Vagina Monologues at The Broadway Theatre

Stair Climb Challenge at Luther Tower

Drag Queen Bingo at Capitol

Sonia Reid-Noble at The Bassment

Saturday, February 8, 2020

28th Annual Bruce MacDonald Curling Funspiel at Granite Curling Club

Evening with Sven at Convocation Hall

Ghost Note w/ Dash Reimer & Knee Socks at Black Cat Tavern

I am Thunderbird Girl at The Refinery

Heidi Munro & The RealGroovyBand at The Bassment

Sunday, February 9, 2020

1st Annual Oscars Viewing Party at Capitol

Monday, February 10, 2020

Free Dart Lessons at The Thirsty Scholar

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Trivia at Cohen’s Beer Republic

Cribbage League at High Key Brewing Co.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Foreigner at German Cultural Centre (Through February 22)

Bedouin Soundclash at Capitol

Old Dominion at SaskTel Centre

Friday, February 14, 2020

What is Socialism The Past and Future of an Ideal Event at The Refinery

Valentine’s Gala Fundraiser at The Bassement

The Beaches at Louis’ Pub

Anti-Valentine’s at Winston’s Pub

Mi Amour at LB Distillers

Latin Valentine’s Bachata Concert at 360 Lounge Bar

Ritual Rabbits Valentine’s Day Extravaganza at Amigos

Valentine’s Karaoke at Capitol

The Five Love Languages Workshop & Dinner at Queen’s House

Succulent workshops at Solar Gardens & Plant Life

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Kôna Winter Festival – Presented by Nutrien at Wanuskewin Heritage Park

RAM Motorsports Spectacular at SaskTel Centre

The Fretless at The Bassment

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Fred Penner at The Broadway Theatre

Drip: The All Black Affair at JT’s Bar & Event Centre

RAM Motorsports Spectacular at SaskTel Centre

Laila Biali at The Bassment

Monday, February 17, 2020

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Way Things Go Adult Workshop at Remai Modern

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Trivia at Cohen’s Beer Republic

Cribbage League at High Key Brewing Co.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Adult Night at Nutrien Wonderhub

Kaiser Night! at Revolve Cafe

Friday, February 21, 2020

Last Megxit to Meacham at The Broadway Theatre

Riverview Yoga and Wine at Remai Modern

Belle Plaine at The Bassment

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Reuben and the Dark at The Broadway Theatre

All Aboard Model Train Show at WDM

Alan Doyle Live at TCU Place

Sunday, February 23, 2020

All Aboard Model Train Show at WDM

Monday, February 24, 2020

Book Club at McNally Robinson Booksellers

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Harry Potter Trivia Night at Capitol

Trivia at Cohen’s Beer Republic

Cribbage League at High Key Brewing Co.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Unmasked at The Refinery

Jazz Affair at The Bassment

Friday, February 28, 2020

Shemekia Copeland at The Bassment

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Snowed In Comedy tour at The Broadway Theatre

The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer at Capitol

Shawn Holt and The Teardrops at The Bassment

SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER

Never miss another event in Saskatoon. Get this event listing sent to your inbox by signing up for the Do Sask newsletter below:

If you want to promote your event, please send it in for a free listing and share it in the Saskatoon Events and Date Night Ideas group. Follow Do Sask on Facebook for more daily updates.

Solo Dating is a Mental Health Game-Changer

faceless woman dining on french fries and a sandwich alone

Today is #BellLetsTalk day, so I’ll explain how the first time I took myself solo dating totally changed my well being.

“Table for one, please.”

After surviving a particularly awful breakup, I was looking for moments to feel happy again. So I chose one of my favourite restaurants – a Greek spot called Spiro’s in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. I put on a fancy dress, did up my hair and makeup, and went out for the evening to dine alone.

Solo dating is ≠ to doing something alone

This solo dinner wasn’t the first time I had done something on my own. For example, I drove a moving truck over seven hundred of kilometers for a job opportunity at 18 years old. But taking myself on a date was different. It took place long before ‘solo dating’ and ‘self-partnered’ became buzzwords. At the time, a solo date wasn’t your run-of-the-mill singles activity.

When I arrived at the restaurant, I sat in my car contemplating the choice to walk through the front doors. Somehow I made it through the doors and I felt anxious waiting for my table. I immersed myself in the menu. Then, I went about my night quietly enjoying the delicious meal – a plate of Spiro’s famous Greek ribs. My anxiety decreased and I relaxed while observing other diners chatting with their friends and family.

I don’t remember having a smartphone to drown out my own thoughts or to fill the silence that was coming from the other side of the table. I can’t remember what else I’d planned for myself that evening after dinner, either. But I remember the moment I decided to take myself on a date very clearly. It was an internal transformation. I decided to stop waiting for people to show up for me and started showing up for myself. The self-esteem boost transferred into other areas of my life.

Later that same year, I took a solo trip outside of Canada with a group travel company. It was the first of many annual single travel adventures.

I find it much easier to meet new people when I’m alone. There’s a connectivity that develops when you meet other people who are also riding solo. When I’m with someone, establishing a connection to others isn’t always easy.

Learn to master your relationship with yourself

Solo dating helped me set new expectations for future suitors and gave me the confidence to love myself first. Learning how to master a healthy relationship with me trickled through to other relationships.

The capacity to love my alone time has affected my mental health throughout my life. It’s become a sacred part of who I am. Now, I’m more likely to choose things I want to do rather than waiting for someone else who may or may not join me. As an extrovert, being alone gives me an opportunity to interact with others which is key to filling up my energy.

Treating yourself to solo dating is a positive experience, not a lonesome one. Even if you have a spouse, spending time out of the house alone could change your well being, too.

Solo dating ideas in Saskatoon

So where are you going to go on your date for one in Saskatoon? Here are a few ideas:

  • Reserve a table at one of Saskatoon’s many fine restaurants
  • Take photos along the Meewasin Trail with a fresh perspective
  • Give yourself time to digest a new book at McNally Robinson Booksellers
  • Check out live theatre, concert, a festival, or a movie
  • Sign up for a DIY workshop
  • Book a night in a luxurious Saskatoon hotel room

Do you have other ideas for solo dating in Saskatoon?

Please support #BellLetsTalk day to end the stigma surrounding mental health.

Free counselling resources in Saskatoon

Edmonton dad embraces winter and builds massive living-room-sized igloo in his family’s backyard

This week, Western Canada is in the midst of an extremely cold winter vortex that’s keeping most of us indoors. Temperatures are diving as low as -51 C with wind chill in Saskatoon. But a snowpocalypse isn’t keeping one Canadian dad from inspiring all of us with a creative winter project in his own backyard.

Igloos are temporary snow huts historically tied to the Inuit peoples who craft them out of hard-packed snow. Chris Schrettlinger of Edmonton, Alberta started building ice igloos for his family last winter.

The album of his cold-weather creation has reached over a million people so far. There were many comments from across North America asking how he did it. So today, he shared how it’s done so that you can build your own backyard winter hangout, too.

All photos via Chris Schrettlinger

Why did you start making ice igloos?

“When you get older there’s not a whole lot of fun in winter anymore. It’s miserable to drive to work. But my three young kids aren’t bothered by the cold.

I was so sick of being inside dreading the cold. I remembered the forts we tried to build when I was a kid that never really worked out. And I saw someone make something similar on Reddit years ago. So I made a small one last year and then decided to make a bigger one this year.

Our Edmonton winters haven’t been as bad as they were in the past and there hasn’t been a lot of snow. You would need a massive amount of snow to make a proper igloo. We don’t have that hard packed snow to make that style.”

How many hours of labour did it take to complete it?

“I started freezing the ice five weeks ago at the beginning of December. It took about an hour or two at night on working days and about five or six hours on weekends. I’d say it took about 100 hours total. Just making the ice takes a lot of time.

The last time it was -36 C they froze in a few hours. It usually takes two days to freeze. And it needs the time to set in between the rows, so you can’t finish it with friends that help in a day. If I could sit on the edges of it, I’d start the next row.

It’s a time-intensive project. The kids get stuck with hauling all of the ice bricks over the backyard. I put a spotlight up and work at night until midnight.

I get obsessed with the project. My only caution is that it’s going to take a while. And you will get slightly depressed at least a few times. “

Do you have experience working outdoors during the winter?

“I try to get outside and go to the rink or skiing. It’s hard to find a reason to go outside when it’s so cold. And I’ve built fences and such in the past.”

How big is the final ice igloo of 2020?

“It’s 16 feet across and seven feet high at its tallest point. There are about 300 ice blocks. The bottom row is 56 blocks. It can probably fit 10 adults in there. It’s taller than the fence. If you walk down the alley, you’ll see it. I’m the only guy that has a canopy of lights and a massive igloo in the backyard. “

What do you use to stick the blocks together?

“You mix a mortar-consistency slush in a large plastic tub full of snow with about 20 litres of water.”

How were you able to work in -30 C weather?

“Many, many layers of clothes. Long underwear, two pairs of sweatpants, snow pants, -50 boots, a parka, toque, and four layers of work gloves. I change gloves every 20 minutes. I have a surplus of gloves.”

What kind of pans do you use to freeze the ice blocks?

“Disposable lasagna trays you get at any supermarket. It cost us about $50 in supplies from The Wholesale Club.”

I’m guessing you use food colouring to make the colours. Is that correct?

“Yes. The food colouring is already in the tins. My wife runs a hose out the basement window and I fill up all of the tins with water. I don’t bother mixing the food colouring and water beforehand.”

How long do you hope it will last?

“Last winter, it was melting during the first week in March.  You could see the mortar start to melt. Then a huge section fell in and collapsed.”

Did your family make igloos when you were a kid?

“I always made forts in the snow with my friends. I had two sisters and didn’t want to hang out with them all the time. And I made another massive snow fort during a few slow days at work when I was 24.”

Any plans for 2021’s ice igloo?

“No plans for next year. Usually by the time it’s done, I don’t want to think about it for a long time. Around September to October, I’ll start thinking about it again. “

What kind of impression do you hope building the igloo will leave on your kids?

“Don’t be scared of winter and the cold. I want them to be the envy of their friends and classmates and remember having fun with their dad. I hope they appreciate all the time I spent out there. ”

Have you been hanging out in it during this cold snap?

“We’ve been out there this week. I tried to put a propane fire inside, but it’s too hot and the air is too cold. The ice was starting to crack.

I’m planning a weekend camp out in it, but the ice is a terrible insulator. We’ll dress really warm. If it’s -35 C outside, it’s -30 C in there. I have to research what to do to insulate it properly.”

It’s easy to feel miserable when the mercury dips to extremely low levels. Chris has inspired everyone to see the positive side of our cold prairie winters with his massive ice igloo of 2020. Thank you for sharing your creation with Do Sask!

How are you embracing the extreme cold weather this winter? Join the Do Sask Facebook Group to have your say in the discussion.

Go-to friend dates in Saskatoon that make adult hangouts easier

In my opinion, adult friendships contribute to the magic of being alive. But the challenge of organizing different, fun hangouts together while respecting both friends’ schedules can be enough hassle to let the relationship go for months without seeing each other face-to-face.

I’m an extrovert which means I get energized in the company of people. That’s why I started making regular commitments with friends who wanted to hangout more. Together, we’d commit to doing something every week or month.

I’ve been experimenting with different regular hangouts for over two years. Usually, I find something I’m interested in and then ask some of my friends if they want to join me. They take turns and ask me if I want to join them at something. I’ve tried a lot of things that are totally out of my comfort zone by accepting a friend’s invitation.

The secret to making it work is actually pretty simple: stick with it. Stick with the same day, stick with the same time, and stick with the same activity. If you switch it up from week to week or month to month, there’s an opportunity to flake out… and then you both lose.

Now, you could still leave room for spontaneous gatherings. However, I find that these types of events happen less often as I grow older.

Here are my favourite go-to friend dates in Saskatoon:

Climbing gym

There’s something about challenging friends who can climb to the top of the walls the fastest that makes this one of my favourite hangouts. That and I’m usually totally exhausted by the end.

As a beginner climber, I have only ever been to Clip ‘n Climb in Saskatoon (I’ve been bouldering in Calgary prior to moving here). It’s newb-friendly with auto-belay on every wall. They also have two timed walls which track your race to the top. Go later in the evening to avoid scads of children.

Dance class

So far, I’ve taken hip-hop, belly-dance, swing, and ballroom dancing with friends. There are social dancing groups if you want to meet other people. Sign up for a half session to see whether you want to go deeper.

You’ll find dance companies all over the city with options that will suit your individual tastes and location preference. I’m still waiting on someone to bring a twerk-out class to Saskatoon.

Crafting

Meet once a week to work on your projects for an hour or two. Making a commitment to craft means you’ll actually accomplish projects you start. Being part of a crafting group is always the most productive I’ll ever be with my hobby.

Join the Saskatoon Craft Guild, Saskatoon Potters Guild, drop in to any of the studio workshops in Saskatoon, or set up your own Stitch ‘n Bitch.

Board games

If you have a competitive streak, invite your buddies to a regular game night. My husband and I played Catan quite often with one of my cousins who kicked our butts regularly – he’s a Catan savant. We played regularly until he got bored of beating us.

Play at home, or hit up one of the city’s two board game cafes. Usually, game cafes have all sorts of options depending on the size of your group.

Swimming

Dive into a swimming date with your friend to escape from the cold of winter. You may feel good enough after the hot tub or sauna to save yourself a trip south of the border.

Plus, going to the pool is one of the most affordable dates around!

Volunteer

Asking a friend to volunteer with you can be a vulnerable moment. You tell them what you care about and why it matters, hoping that they’ll give a hoot.

Saskatoon has so much opportunity to give back. Many non-profit organizations need committed volunteers. Why not join one with a friend to socialize while giving back?

Bonus: volunteering is usually completely free.

Join a Club or League

I wanted to start a book club, but not many of my friends could commit to one. So I started one through Do Sask. Book club helps me read more for fun than I ever would on my own. My friends may have passed on joining the club. However, I’ve met people who have become friends.

This month, I saw an idea for a cookbook club and now I can’t stop thinking about how to make it happen.

There are other clubs in Saskatoon, such as the canoe club. One ex-local recommended I join the South Corman Park Judo Club. If you can’t find a club you like – start something new!

What do you and your friends typically do for a date in Saskatoon? Join the Do Sask Facebook Group to have your say in the discussion.

Next-level topics for the free Adulting seminars at the Saskatoon Public Library

Whether you just became an official adult, or have been an adult for years – it’s a lot more work than many of us bargained for. Between managing bank accounts, staying away from full Amazon shopping carts, trying to keep a semi-involved social life, pleasing your boss and higher-ups, and making sure your love life is taken care of – the everyday experiences of adults can sometimes be overwhelming.

Keep in mind that most adults actually have no idea what’s going on.

The Saskatoon Public Library recognizes that we may need some help learning the basics. This winter, they’re offering a free program called “Adulting 101”. Open to teens and adults, their seminars are focused on providing practical advice for new or burgeoning adults. Topics span from renting and budgeting to vehicle maintenance.

The first set of seminars took place on January 11 at the Alice Turner and Mayfair Branches in Saskatoon. There will be a new set of seminars each month, with the program concluding in April.

via SPL’s Winter 2020 Programming Guide.

These seminar topics are a good start. However, since Do Sask is all about leveling up, I believe there should be another tier of the program: Adulting 201. This is for those of who have mastered… er… managed to maintain the basics.

Here’s a list of next-level Adulting topics that most adults contemplate at some point or another:

  • Is This Love: How to decide if the guy/gal you’re currently seeing is worth your time
  • Living with Roommates: How to choose a good roommate and get rid of bad ones
  • Learn to Like Yourself: How to do things on your own
  • Turning 30: It isn’t a big deal and here’s why
  • Turning 30: It is a big deal and here’s why
  • Success: What does it mean to you?
  • Decluttering: How to avoid starring on an episode of Hoarders
  • Planning Ahead: Make responsible life decisions before you get stressed af
  • Plan B: (In case you missed Planning Ahead)
  • Family Rifts: How to manage dysfunctional relatives
  • Frienemies: Dealing with fake friends
  • Housework Hustle: Fair project management strategies for the home
  • Toxic Bosses: Know the signs before accepting that job offer
  • My Style: What is it?
  • Choose a Religion: How to live a good life according to Jesus, Buddha, Allah and more
  • Kids: To reproduce, or not to reproduce, that is the question
  • Death: Pondering your own mortality
  • When to Quit: Some things don’t need finishing

All that aside, if you’re looking for some beginner hints for life as an adult, you should probably check out the free program at SPL.