Close enough.

UpI made one last ditch effort to at least winterize the fort and came up more than a bit short. It got up to 38 degrees one day last weekend and I was bound and determined to paint the roof with the membrane coat. There were a few unanticipated obstacles…

The first being: I couldn’t find our metal paint roller or tray. I did have an actual roller thing you put on it, but was worried about my success with only that. Now I don’t know how other people’s marriages work, but for me its easy to figure out who is responsible for the problem without any supporting facts. So after determining who was to blame, I surprisingly was not any closer to a solution. I had already put Gideon down for nap and was on a time crunch so I went to the garage to sort out a solution. This my friends was the solution:

That’s right. I used a sled as a paint tray (don’t worry it’s a terrible sled- it doesn’t really sled which makes it pretty lame- assuming you want to sled- which we typically do when we grab a sled). I also found a tiny little roller that actually worked with a big roll jammed on there. I also used a scrap piece of wood as a stirring stick. The whole set up worked for the most part.

The other thing I hadn’t really thought through was how I was going to paint what was out of my reach. I did grab our ladder, but on the hill it felt like a death trap. And that is why we have about 6 feet painted of the roof and nothing more. And guess what? We are leaving it until spring.

I have a bit of mixed feelings about being done with the fort for now. On the one hand we are so sick of it and are thrilled to do nothing with it. Sitting on a project is one of our strengths, one of the few things we consistently deliver on. On the other hand we are almost to the part where we get to do all the things to make it pretty and that is my most favorite part of all. It is also the only part of the project that I actually have any skills for. But alas.

I’ll at least show you how it looks for now, starting with the exterior:


There is a plexi window in there, it just isn’t framed out at all.

Here is Brett securing the tarp that will serve as the water-resistant (not to be confused with water proof) roof. Luckily, we are the kind of folks that know our way around good uses for a tarp. Every summer we do a huge slip and slide down our front hill with tarps. It’s about as classy as it sounds. We use screwdrivers to secure it and keep adding tarps til you can almost slide into the street. The point being this tarp has more than a few holes from rocks or sticks or what not as people cruise down the slip and slide. We are hoping it will do the trick until we can fix it up come spring.

The tarp is covering part of it, but you can see we at least finished up the lookout windows.

Here’s the view from the inside looking out:

This is the window and the door in the front of the fort looking towards the house.

These pictures are of the lookout window facing the street. Not to brag, but there is a bit of a lake view from this window. We are within walking distance to one of the few lakes in the cities that is bordered by a freeway on one side and a trailer park on the other.

Here is a bit of the interior, though it is a bit challenging to take pictures in tight spaces.


The left side is the front of the fort and the right side being the slope for the climbing wall. Now imagine yourself turning counterclockwise for a tour.

You’ll notice the grown up door has a lot of daylight peeking through. Just another thing to sort out come spring.

And finishing out our counterclockwise tour is Gideon showing off the back window where the boys love to watch the neighbor’s chickens and last is Levi by the sloped wall.

Well folks that is the fort as it is now. The blog is moving inside for the next couple (who am I kidding- many) months. I’ll show you around some of our projects inside the house we have been working on. Not to tease, but one of the projects pretty heavily involves Harry Potter. So have no fear the magic continues…



Turns out winter comes early here in Minnesota.¬† It also turns out we are the kind of people who don’t really pay attention to the weather or the news… (I mean who really needs to know what’s going on in the world anyways). Luckily for us, people at work mention things like snow and presumably if Minnesota had natural disasters, they’d mention things like that (but they don’t, because very few hurricanes make their way to these parts). So yeah, we had heard talk of snow, but I just assumed it was that flukey rainy type snow that doesn’t last and then it goes back to being a perfectly lovely fall. It sorta looks/feels like winter out there…


I love how hidden the fort is though with all the bushes covered in snow. See the green leaves, the bushes must pay as much attention to the changing seasons as we do!

Our first pickle with an early winter is that we still need to paint the roof with the thing that makes it waterproof. And it can only dry in 35 + degree temps.

Our second pickle is that trying to quick finish things up in sleet is sorta down there on the not so fun scale. If taking the kiddos on a whim to Germany because you found a killer deal on flights is at the top of the fun scale, than this is definitely below that.

Our third pickle is that our garage is filled with wood and sawhorses and random crap from the fort building so that we can’t park the vehicles in the garage. We have always been the sort of people that get it together for winter because as much as we hate putting things away we really hate going out in the cold in the morning.

Levi found a nice comfortable wood/sawdust pile to play in that could not have been a more perfect place for losing his Legos.

Our fourth pickle is that Levi was really trying to keep us on track for a finish before the winter deadline. So we have now decided on a calendar winter deadline, you know the winter that starts two months into winter on December 21st? Yup that one.

Now that was a whole lot of talk about pickles for someone who has to trash all the fries that may have come into contact with not just the pickle but it’s offending juices.

Moving on here is the front:

The circle door is fully functioning. We just need to add the handle to open it and latch it closed. With practice I have found slightly less awkward ways to enter through it, though mostly I forget what method leads to an easy entry or exit until I find myself contorted in the doorway thinking to myself “well it sure wasn’t whatever I’m currently trying.”


I do love that it feels a little magical just like I was hoping! You can’t really see the seam, but on the top peak is where we added the last of the siding.


This is me the day we worked on finishing the final lookout window. We managed to finish it the next day, despite how much we love working with plexiglass. It looks homemade in the kind of way that Levi and Gideon will know how much we love them because they will see how hard we tried.

I still occasionally peruse Pinterest looking at things with keywords like “fort” or “hobbit hole” or “secret lair.” I stumbled upon the most hilarious advice about building a fort for your kids. Here are the highlights:

Obtain a good site (pretty sure directly below power lines and butting up to your neighbor’s fence could be considered otherwise)

Acquire competent fort plans (does a mellow yellow 3D model count?)

Hire a competent builder (does the free, offset the minimally competent?)

Next time I’ll snap some photos of the whole fort in it’s mostly prepped for winter state. For now here is a sneak peek at the interior:


Even the interior of the fort still thinks it’s fall!