10 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas – “A Porcupine in a Pine Tree” Ornament

We are very happy to participate in this year’s edition of Mama Miss’ event “10 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas”! What is it all about? It is simple. Take a children’s book and craft a Christmas ornament based on it 

Our choice was Nico’s absolute favourite Christmas book since he got it last year (does it show in the video?), “A Porcupine in a Pine Tree: A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas”, which is a hilarious Canadian adaptation of the traditional “12 Days of Christmas”, which is taking twelve Canadian icons (such as squirrels, loons, hockey players and more) and transporting them into one of the funniest carols you’ll ever meet. SO it was an easy  choice for our project!

The protagonist, the porcupine, was our choice for the ornament and if you don’t want to make one from scratch, there is one thing that can be used as a base to save quite some work – a pine cone (and let’s be honest, with the book we are using as inspiration, could there be anything more fitting?)! To get its colour closer to the fur of the porcupine, we let the cone soak in a bleach/water solution for 24 hours and then baked it on 250 F for 2 hours, so it would reopen. Have a look at “Town and Country Living” for the exact instructions.

To make the rest of the porcupine, we cut a face, arms, legs and nose (Alex used a marker to make a black circle around the nose, since Nico does not quite have the fine motor skills for this yet, but it could be drawn on directly, if you have an older child or do it yourself) out of beige felt, added two small googly eyes and handed the whole thing over to Nico. With some tacky glue in a little aluminum pan and a Q-tip Nico applied some glue to the face and put the eyes and nose on. To stick the face and the feet on, Nico applied the glue to the tips of the “petals”, while for the arms he put glue on top of the petal and then stuck the arms on. He did a great job! Since Maman couldn’t do them anymore, grandma made little bows to finish off the porcupine and voila – something was missing…

He looked a little barenaked. So we racked our brains how to spruce him up and get him closer to the original. It took us three days to come up with the right idea, the first one that came to mind was to cut the bristles off a vegetable brush, but that sounded like too much work. Alex thought of raffia, we didn’t have any, so grandma came up with the idea of using wool. Maman cut some white wool, applied a line of glue in the back and glued it on, like hair. The day after (she wanted to make sure that everything was very well stuck) she carefully untwisted the two strands that form the yarn and then very, very carefully brushed it with a fine comb to make it look more poofy and less strandy, and then trimmed everything to make it look even. And another voila – now we really had a really cute hand made porcupine that is going to upgrade any pine tree 

 As you can see, we did not attach any string, we sat him on the branch directly and he stayed on well. It is up to you, if you want to hang him in the tree, he can also be used sitting on a mantle or a center piece on a table. We named him Einstein the Porcupine, do you see the resemblance?

Around the World in 24 Merry Christmas (advent activity)

(Nov 29, 2012) I was gluing Nico’s Christmas calendar in his monthly book he just got and noticed it had a theme, so I thought I could come up with a theme one too… Kids like to learn new things, they always dig new languages so why not how to say Merry Christmas in 24 languages! A new one per day for 24 days, like you would an advent calendar. We are providing you with 24 flags and the 24 respective ways to say it in the printable below. How do you use it? Simple! Get 24 big craft sticks paint them Christmas colors or…

…do like I did, have Nico do it with our home made glitter paint. You can paint both sides, we didn’t for time reasons. I love how he was so happy to stir with both hands and how focused he was painting. In the end it worked better with me holding a stick at a time. FYI all this has to be done in your pyjamas, of course! 

Print the pdf, cut it all up and glue it on any of the following ways:
1) Glue a flag at one end and the words at the other end on the same side of the stick. (good for a child who doesn’t read yet) (pictured version)
2) Glue a flag on one end and the words at the other end but on the opposite side of the stick. (good for a child who reads a little)
3) Glue a flag on one end and keep the words in a little pouch or box next to the sticks. Have the child pick a paper with the words and guess which flag it belongs too (good for an older child that reads and likes geography, unless you wanna help a lot too, then it works for little ones too)

Hope you have fun with this, we sure will trying to pronounce everything and finding it in our atlas.


If you do this, we’d LOVE to see a photo of it. Email it
to us or post it on our Facebook page. We’d love to do a Facebook album, a Pinterest board and a page of your creations 

If you like what you see, follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with what we’re up to!

Guide to Creating DIY Walk-in Steps for Above Ground Pool

Designing and creating DIY walk-in steps for above ground pool is a straightforward process. You only need to buy the right materials and be handy to enough to accomplish this. 

Here I will look at how to build steps for the above ground pool using PVC and wood.

DIY PVC Pool Stairs 

You can develop wide steps for your pool using PCV. That means you can purchase the material required locally and step just a couple of dollars.

Material You’ll Need

You will require the following materials to build your steps for your above-ground facility.

  • 2-inch PVC pipe (two times your pool height, plus 8-foot)
  • Six 2-inch 90-degree PVC elbows 
  • Four 2-inch 45-degree elbows
  • Two 2-inch tees (per step) (five steps need ten tees)
  • PVC primer
  • PVC glue
  • Spray foam insulation
  • Stainless steel screws
  • Skateboard tape for traction 

Steps to Follow

Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Measure and cut your PVC “steps” (18-inch each), then insulate them using the spray foam into every pipe of the stairs for extra stability. Leave them to dry.
  2. Cut the rest of the PVC into 12-inch pieces.
  3. Prime their ends using the PVC primer and leave them to dry.
  4. Begin with a 90 degrees elbow and joint two elbows with one 18-inch of PVC to form the bottom step of the stairs.
  5. Connect two pieces of 12-inch PVC to form the height for the following step and top every part with a tee joint. Ensure that you glue them as you proceed.
  6. Repeat the above steps until you get the desired height of the ladder – Check more Best above ground pool ladder
  7. Apply two 90 degrees angle joint at the top of the stairs and set aside.
  8. Create the other side of your stairs the same way, but instead of using the 90-degree angle joint on the top, use the 45 degrees one to form slop.
  9. Attach the two steps and glue them.
  10. Apply the skateboard tape on the rung to prevent slipping. 

Now you have a working PVC ladder.

DIY Wood Stairs

You can also create stairs for above ground pools using wood. Let’s start by looking at the material you will need.

Material You’ll Need

Here are the materials that you will need:

  • 3M anti-slip tape
  • One 0.5-inch deck screws
  • Three 0.5-inch construction screws
  • Two 4-step deck stringers 
  • Arborcoat premium exterior stain
  • Wood 
    • Three 2x10x10
    • Six 2x4x8
    • Nine fence board 1x6x8
    • Seven 1x4x8
  • Cut list 2×4’s 
    • Two 18-inch long
    • Two 49-inch long
    • Two 56-inch long
    • Two 40-inch long
    • Two 53-inch long
  • Cut list 1×4’s
    • Thirteen 47-inch long
  • Cut list 2×10’x
    • Six 48.5-inch long

You can choose your preferred measurements. That will also depend on your swimming pool. 

Steps to Follow

Here are the steps you will need to follow:

  1. Build the base frame – it should have a tall back. The upper back area will remain open.
  2. Attach your step stringers to the base using three 0.5-inch screws.
  3. Attach the risers using 1×4 boards. You will use 5.5-inch (1×6) fence boards to seal the sides.
  4. Add the steps using 2×10 boards.
  5. Add the stain to protect the stair from mildew, water, and rot.
  6. Apply the 3M anti-slip tape to provide traction.

You should note that the two ladders will help you to enter your swimming pool but to existing from it. 

Steps Building Tips

Here are five things that will help you make the right steps for your pool.

  • Pool material – The material you use matters. Consider the material used to make your pool when choosing the right material for your ladder. 
  • Pool shape – A square pool will need a different ladder from a circular one. 
  • One or two steps – You also need to decide if you want the steps to be in one or two pieces.
  • Ladder materials – You can make your steps out of plastic, metal, wood, and other material.
  • Orientation – The orientation is simply how you build your steps and comfort. They can be ladders, stairs, or a combination. 


Whichever material you choose, you can now make your DIY walk-in steps for above ground pool. Good luck!

Source: Poolsfordummies.com

Intex Pools vs Bestway Pools vs Coleman Pools: Which One Is Better?

In the hot summer, you, your family, and your friends want to cool down in the best swimming pool. However, leaving your residence and searching for the ideal pool can be a hassle.

So, why don’t you invest in an above ground pool which will take up less space in your background? It is a great investment than you could imagine.  

This article will review three of the top above ground swimming pool models in the industry to provide you the answer to: Intex Pools vs Bestway Pools vs Coleman Pools: Which One Is Better?

Intex Pools vs Bestway Pools vs Coleman Pools

Top 9 Above Ground Pools Reviews

Here are the top 9 above ground pools that you will find on the market today.

1. Intex 12 Feet x 30 Inches Metal Frame Pool Set

Intex 12 Feet x 30 Inches Metal Frame Pool Set is one of the best pools from Intex. This model comes with super-tough laminated PVC sidewalls that ensure it lasts for years.

The pool is able to connect to Krystal clear cartridge filter pump to provide clean water that is refreshing. It also comes with a ground fault breaker that shuts the pump of electrical power is exposed to the water.

Besides, the model has a 12 months warranty and the package includes the warranty and 530 gph Krystal clear cartridge filter pump. Another feature of the pool is the convenient drain plug that allows you to connect to the garden hose.

This means that you can easily drain the water away from the house or pool area. Talking of water, the pool is able to hold up to 1,718 gallons of water and you can easily fill it to 90%.

It also features dual suction outlets fittings that improve the water circulation, leading to water clarity and hygiene.

2. Intex 14 Feet x 42 Inches Ultra Frame Pool Set

This above ground pool is engineered for strength. It is supported with durable and strong steel frames which are powered covered for beauty and rust free ultra-frame.

The pool also prides itself of having a contemporary appearance as well as enhanced strength, making it a standard for all luxury pools today. Just like Intex 12 Feet x 30 Inches, this model provides crystal clear water thanks to the Krystal clear cartridge filter pump.

With this filter, the pool is usually ready for use within 45 minutes. It also comes with the latest dual suction outlet fittings that enhance water circulation to provide clear and hygiene water.

Another feature of this model is the newly designed ladder that provides additional stability and support. And it holds up to 3,357 gallons of water when at 90% full.  

The Krystal Clear cartridge filter pump is able to pump 1,000 gph, making it an effective pump. It also comes with a ladder that makes it easier to get in and out of the pool.

Besides, it also comes with a ground cloth and debris cover that ensures your pool is always clear. You will also get a set-up DVD that will help you to assemble your pool within minutes.

3. Intex Mini Frame Pool

Have fun playing and splashing in the amazing Intex Mini Frame Pool. This is one of the best pools in the industry today and is quite affordable.

It is a comforting pool that you can swim and rest in for hours without getting tired, thanks to the foam padded horizontal beams. The pool also comes with a drain plug that allows you to drain the water at a far distance from your garden or near the pool.

Moreover, it comes with a repair patch kit that allows you to repair your pool when it gets damaged. This means that you don’t need to throw your pool away when it gets punched.

Made to last for over 3 years, the pool comes with a 3 years warranty that covers all defects that might arise due to the manufacturer fault. It is also a big pool that will take about 89 gallons of water when it is 9.5 inches full.

This is a great pool that comes from Intex and you can easily clean it using the best robotic pool cleaner.

4. Intex Swimming Pool Easy Set 8 Feet by 30 Inches

Intex Swimming Pool Easy Set is easy to set above ground swimming pool that will take you just a few minutes to get it working. It is also one of the easiest models when it comes to cleaning.

The model is able to hold 639 gallons of water, making it a great pool for all users – including adults and kids. Hence, this is a pool that all your family members can cool during the hot summer.

Made to last, the pool is made of heavy-duty vinyl liner that ensures you have a product that will last for decades. Besides, it is easy to set the pool, proving you with more time for swimming and less for assembling it.

Another feature of the product is the ability to use a filter pump. When you get the pump (which is not included), you get a clean pool that has relaxing water. Also, it is very mobile that you can easily disable to take it to your storage room when you don’t need to use it.

5. Intex 15 Feet by 42 Inches Prism Frame Pool Set

Easy to assemble and durable, Intex Prism Frame Pool Set features all the awesome features of metal frame swimming pools. It is also enhanced with super-strong powder-coated steel tubing.

Another feature of the product is the stylish looking liner that makes it an attractive pool for all users. It also uses hydro aeration tech that improves the cartridge filter pump performance to provide better filtration and circulation.

With increased negative ions and improved water clarity, the pool is great for swimming and will offer a relaxing environment. Besides, it is made with puncture-free 3-ply material that makes your pool last for years.  

Instructional DVD is also provided to help you assemble your pool with ease and even know how to maintain it. It is able to hold water up to 90%, which is 3,861 gallons of water.

And you can expect it to last for over 6 years, which is a long time in the swimming pool industry. It is a great pool for all pool lovers and you should have it in your yard.

6. Intex 24 Feet by 12 Feet by 52 Inches Ultra Frame Rectangular Pool Set

This is an ultra-frame pool that is engineered for strength. It is made of durable steel frames which are coated with powder to ensure that it is strong, beautiful, and rust resistance.

With increased strength and a contemporary appearance, the Intex ultra-frame is a leader in the pool world. And when you connect the saltwater system and Krystal clear sand filter pump you can easily enjoy sparkling and clear water.

The model is easy to assemble and become ready for use within an hour. It also features dual suction outlet fittings that improve water circulation, leading to water clarity and hygiene.

Another feature of the pool is the ladder that provides you with greater stability and support. This allows you to move in and out of your pool with ease.

The pool is able to hold 8,403 gallons of water, which means that you should fill it up to 90%. It also comes with a debris cover and ground cloth that you can use to cover your pool.

Additionally, it comes with a maintenance and set-up DVD that will help you to set and maintain your pool.

7. Bestway 56399E Power Steel 18 Feet x 52 Inches Above Ground Pool

Another brand that offers great above ground swimming pools is Bestway. One of its ideal swimming pools is the 56399E Power Steel that has been providing fantastic swimming time for swimmers.

The model comes with Tri-tech pool liner that is made of polyester 3-ply and heavy-duty PVC side walls. You can rest assured that you have a pool that will last for years.

The pool is equipped with a lock system and seal for additional safety as well as secure pipe connection. Another feature is the corrosion-free metal frames that ensure your pool will not rust for easily.

This pool is able to hold up to 6,869 gallons of water, which is 90% of the total capacity. It also comes with a ladder that helps you to get in and out of the pool with ease.

The pool has a cover that you can use to cover it when it’s not in use. It is a great model that will offer value for your money.

8. Bestway Steel Pro 10 Feet by 30 Inches Frame Pool Set

This pool measures 10 feet by 30 inches, making it a great model for swimming during the hot summer. It is able to hold 1,236 gallons of water when it is 90% full.

It is, therefore, a pool that you will have fun with all your family members. One great feature of this pool is the ease of setting it. You can easily set it up within minutes to ensure that you have enough time for swimming.

It also comes with a flow control drain valve that allows you to drain it with ease. In fact, you can drain the water to a far distance to ensure that you won’t damage your pool by stagnant water.

The model also comes with a repair patch that you can use to repair your pool when it gets damaged. It is a great product that will offer value for your money.

9. Coleman-22-x52-Power-Steel-Frame Above-Ground Swimming Pool Set

The 22 feet x 52 inches Coleman Power Steel Frame Pool is a great option for families and is made of a durable steel frame. This frame helps the pool to remain durable and have amazing strength.

When it comes to assembling, you will require little energy and time since it was made to be assembled within minutes. The pool comes with a ground cloth that protects your pool and safeguards your garden.

Also, to keep the dirt out, there is a pool cover that will keep out every kind of dirt from your pool. Hence, you can dive into the water and come out refreshed without worrying about anything.

It also comes with a ladder that will simplify your navigation. Thus, you can easily move in and out of your pool. It also comes with a 2500 gallons pump that maintains clean water every time.

The metal frames come with a rust-free cover and also has a flow control drain valve. You can easily drain the water and throw it far away from your pool as possible.

Intex Pools vs Bestway Pools vs Coleman Pools

The above three pool companies have their unique benefits that you should know. We will look at the main features of these companies to help you choose the best brand.

Intex Pool Company

This company produces boats, spas, furniture, airbeds, above ground pools, and toys. The firm has been in business for over 40 years and some of its key features include:


To start, Intex Pools are quite affordable. For as little as $200, you can get a pool that will offer you services for about two years. This means that you will only use $21 per month if you use your pool for three years, four times a year.


Intex pools are very easy to install. They can be ready within ½ an hour and ready for water within an hour. This means that you can buy these pools in the morning and take a swim in the afternoon. Besides, you can easily set Intex pools yourself, saving you money.


If you intend to move from your current residence in the future, you can get yourself an Intex pool and assemble it since it doesn’t need permanent structure. You can also undo the landscaping done when setting the pool faster.

Size and Simplicity

Bulk equipment isn’t required. The Intex pools also come with solid pumps and filters – and they use less power. Actually, these pools come with all the accessories and parts that you might need to have a great summer.

Bestway Pool Company

Bestway brand is yet another company that has been providing top-quality above ground pools. The company has been in business for years and some of its major features include:

Less Investment

When compared to most pools, the Bestway pools are quite affordable. The main reason for this is that they don’t require a lot of preparation when installing them. Simply clear the site and you will have your pool ready within minutes.

Instant Setup

Once you receive your Bestway pool, setting it up and filling it with water is easy. This means that you will get the instant fun you have always wanted.

Portability and Storage

You can easily drain your pool when you want to store it. When winter comes, simply remove all the water and store it in your garage or any other place. When summer comes, set it up, fill it with water, and dive in.

You can even move with Bestway pools at your new residence.


In case you are suffering from joint or body pain, you should get a Bestway pool for these pains. It works just like a bathtub to relieve all your pains. They are also handy for stretching your muscle while recovering.  

Coleman Pool Company

This is an outdoor recreation company which provides above ground pools and camping gear. It is a great company that offers a lot of features including:

Ease of Maintenance

It is very easy to maintain and manage Coleman swimming pools. You do not need to clean, filter, or bleach them regularly like other facilities.

You won’t also need to clean the water regularly to remove infection and allergies. Besides, the water in Coleman’s pools flows smoothly.

Adjustable Size

Coleman offers some of the easiest pools when it comes to adjustment. As well, they come in different shapes, depth, and sizes. You can enjoy your swimming and relax in a full-size facility while your kid swims in a toddler model.

You can even increase or decrease the size of your pool when need be.

Easy to Clean Up and Install

Easy to install, you can use a Coleman pool whenever you want within a few minutes. You only need to set up your pool and everything will be in place. Also, they are one of the easiest pools when it comes to cleaning.

Privacy Guaranteed

You can put on whichever cloth you want when swimming at Coleman pools. This is all possible since you can set it at your home.

In Conclusion

Intex Pools vs Bestway Pools vs Coleman Pools: which one is better? You have a lot of models that you can choose from. All you need to do is to hit the market and get a pool that will offer value for your money and cool you during the summer. Pooldone.com

Read more : Guide to Creating DIY Walk-in Steps for Above Ground Pool

How To Vacuum Intex Pool Without Skimmer

Whether you own an above-ground or in-ground pool, it is important you keep it clean. There is no better way to do this than to vacuum your pool.

While a pool with a skimmer will be easier to clean, there are pools that don’t have a skimmer. This is why we want to look at how to vacuum Intex pool without skimmer.

These processes will also help you to clean other above-ground swimming pools.

Things You Will Require

First things first – here are the things or tools you will need to vacuum your Intex pool without a skimmer, the right way.  

  • Pool vacuum head – These heads are made to attach to all cleaning poles. So, it is ideal to buy a head that will fit in your existing pole.
  • Telescoping pole – Telescoping poles easily connects to nets, hooks, and pool skimmers, so you might have one already. Of important, ensure that it reaches the bottom of your Intex pool.
  • Vacuum hose – These hoses are also made to universally fit all systems. Also, ensure that you get a long hose that will reach all corners of your pool.
  • Skim vac or vacuum plate – Vacuum plate enables you to use your skimmer basket instead of strainer basket, removing the need to switch the pool pump on/off.

Vacuuming Your Pool Using a Garden Hose

One of the easiest methods of vacuuming a pool is to attach a vacuum system to the garden hose. This method is effective, inexpensive, and great for small above ground pools.

You will need to follow these easy steps when vacuuming your Intex pool using a garden hose:

  1. Connect your telescoping pole to your vacuum head.
  2. Connect one end of your garden hose to the other end of your telescopic pole.
  3. Connect the other end of your garden hose to the spigot.
  4. Attach your vacuum bag to the right end of your vacuum.
  5. Switch off your swimming pool filtration mechanism.
  6. Turn the water on and submerge your vacuum into your pool.
  7. Steadily and slowly move your vacuum around the pool (back and forth), along the surface to remove debris and dirt.

NOTE: If your vacuum cleaner loses suction when vacuuming your pool, pull it out and empty the bag. If it continues to be inefficient, turn off the water and then turn it on again before submerging your vacuum back into your pool.  

  1. Finally, switch on the filtration system to remove any particle that might be left in your pool.

Vacuuming Your Pool Manually

Another method of cleaning your Intex pool is to vacuum it manually. How do you go about this?

1. Prime Your Vacuum

First, prime your vacuum by removing all the air from the system. Air pockets make the vacuum lose suction – so, remove the air before you start to clean to ensure that it cleans for a longer time.

To achieve this:

  • Attach your vacuum head onto your telescoping pole and drop it into the bottom of your pool surface.
  • Attach the other end of your hose to a jet and leave it to push the air out of the garden hose.

You will see air bubbles coming up from your vacuum head, notifying you that the air is getting out via your hose. When there is no other bubble, the hose will be free or air and ready to start vacuuming.

2. Connect to the Pump

Your vac system works by fixing it to a skimmer system powered by the suction of your pool circulation pump. Before you attach the other end of your garden hose to the system, you should remove your pool’s strainer basket.

Then, plug the other end of the vacuum hose into the suction inlet at the base of the skimmer.

3. Vacuum Your Pool

Now you only need to move your vacuum back and forth at the surface of your pool to clean and vacuum it.

In case you lose suction, just repeat the two steps above.

Using Automatic Pool Vacuums

If you don’t like using your hands you can use a robot pool cleaner. These gears come in three types:

  1. Robotic Pool Cleaners – They vacuum your swimming pool using electricity. You only need to plug them into a power source, submerge them into your pool, and leave them to do the donkey’s work. Remember to empty the filter bag when it gets filled, you can easily know when it is full since some models come with an LED pool light.
  2. Pressure-Side Pool Cleaners – They hook up to the return line of your pool and use the water pressure to power automatic cleaner in your pool. They are great for vacuuming your pool.
  3. Suction-Side Pool Cleaners – This is simply an auto version of the vacuum cleaner. They work just like a manual vacuum cleaner and will get the job done within minutes.

After Vacuuming Your Intex Pool

When you have finished cleaning your swimming pool, remove your vacuum head from your pole, and drain any water that might still be in the hose. Attach your brush to this pole and use it to scrub any dirt, debris, or algae that might be stuck on your poolside.

Clear all debris from your strainer basket and give your pool filter backwash to remove all the dirt. Test for the water pH and other chemical composition. Also, clean all the tools you have used to clean your pool.

When you are done, ensure that you cover your pool. You can use a solar pool cover to prevent dirt from entering your Intex pool and also ensure that the water remains warm.

In Conclusion

There is no easier way – maintaining a healthy and clean pool takes work, but with those few steps, you can have a professionally cleaned pool. Always ensure that you have all the tools you will require to vacuum your pool. After everything, ensure that you clean all the tools and other gears. Now you have a clean Intex pool that you can relax in during the hot summer. Thankxxx- Glitteringmuffins