Creative Uses Of A Pool Noodle In Summer

Trampoline Spring Covers

We do not have a pool in our backyard but we do have a trampoline that gets a LOT of use. Not only from my own kids but from neighborhood kids too. Unfortunately the mat covering the springs for the trampoline gets worn out very quickly and replacing it so often can add up. So the other day when a friend told me she used pool noodles to cover her springs on her trampoline I asked her to send me a picture. Not only is it an inexpensive means to cover the springs, but it’s super easy to do.

You can pick up pool noodles at the dollar store or dollar tree. Just measure your springs and cut the noodles accordingly. You can change out the colors for holidays or seasons. If your feeling really ambitious you could even let the kids decorate them. Have fun and be safe!

Pool Noodle Games



Join rings into a colorful target for noodle javelins, flying disks, soccer balls, and more. Stakes keep the target upright. Assign different point values to the rings for an extra challenge. You can also lay the station on the ground to play hopscotch or beanbag toss or to use it as part of an agility course.

Kiddie Car Wash



This may look daunting but it there really isn’t more to it that assembling some PVC pipe and adding some pool noodles, sponges and rope.  Knowing how to use a drill is handy too! Get the directions here.

Happy Summer! What kind of creative or repurposed things have you had fun with?


For more great content about summer, please be sure to check out these awesome posts written by my fellow Chosen Chix bloggers:

The “Epic” Family Guide To The 2014 Miramar Air Show

blue_angels_air_show_miramarPhoto Credit: Blue Angels

One of my favorite shows in the whole world is back – The 2014 Miramar Air Show. Due to a federal government shut down, last years airshow was grounded. However, this year is promising to be the biggest and best air show yet! If you love watching aerobatics, seeing military jets, listening to planes break the sound barrier, watching the Blue Angels perform and much much more then The MCAS Miramar Air show is just for you. You can purchase preferred seating/parking tickets to the show here or you can take advantage of FREE blanket seating which includes free admission and parking. Watch the promo below for glimpse on what you will see and also check out the video of the Blue Angels at the bottom of this post too!


Miramar Air Show Schedule



Military Performers

  • US Navy Blue Angels
  • Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Demo
  • U.S. Navy Leap Frogs
  • U.S. Army Golden Knights
  • F-35B Lightning
  • Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey

Civilian Performers

  • The Patriots Jet
  • Sean D. Tucker  “Oracle Challenger”
  • John Collver “Wardog”
  • Steve Stavrakakis “A Tribute to the American Vet”
  • Bret Willat “Sailplane Magic”
  • OTTO the Helicopter
  • Shockwave Jet Truck
  • Red Bull Helo
  • Radio-Controlled Aircraft
  • Fireworks Display

Directions and Parking

**Traffic is extremely heavy on the days of the airshow. If is highly highly recommended to arrive early or stay in a nearby hotel overnight. Here is a link to nearby hotels.

Click on “more options” in the map below and then enter the location from which you will be leaving from and google maps will give you step-by-step directions.

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, is located about 15 miles north of downtown San Diego, between Interstate Highways 805 and 15.

***Extremely important. You must have a valid drivers license, current registration and proof of insurance to bring your vehicle onto a military base. If driving a rental car, valid drivers license, proof of insurance & car rental agreement will be required.


By motor vehicle, access the…

Main (East) Gate from the MCAS Miramar (Miramar Way) exit on I-15.

North or West Gates from the Miramar Rd. exit on I-15 or I-805.

By bicycle, access the…

Main (East) Gate via Kearny Villa Rd., except when Kearny Villa is closed from 12-4pm
for the Blue Angels.

West Gate from Miramar Rd.

North Gate from Clayton Dr.

Free General Admission may use the North, East/Main or West Gates; drivers will be directed to general parking areas.

Grandstands & Box Seat ticket holders may use the North, East/Main or West Gates; drivers will be directed to general parking areas.

Preferred Parking requires special passes. Preferred parking is accessible from Harris Plant Road off of Kearny Villa Road. Pass holders will be directed to the gate. Chalet Ticket Holders: Only You cannot access the preferred parking areas from the North, East/Main or West Gate. Preferred parking will be accessible through the South Gate off the Harris Plant Road exit of Kearny Villa Road.

Handicapped Parking Please use the West Gate or North Gate.

Bicycle Pavilion (BPP) is located near flight line Air Show Entry Gate#2. Bicyclists may enter any of the three base gates and follow bicycle traffic directional signs to the BPP.

Download (PDF, 533KB)



Because it is a military base they are very strict with what can be brought on base. The following items are permitted:

• Children’s wagons (non-motorized)
• Small or medium (hand carried) ice chests or coolers (No crushed ice, ice packs only)
• Standard backpacks
• PCS/cellular phones, pagers and FRS transceivers
• Handheld portable televisions, radios and VHF scanners
• Fanny packs and purses, or bags
• Food and beverages (non-alcoholic)
• Cameras and camcorders
• Folding chairs and lawn chairs
• Hand held umbrellas
• Strollers and wheelchairs
• Baby diaper bags and strollers, if attending with an infant or small child (Stroller parking is available in a designated area behind the grandstands. Strollers are not permitted in the grandstand seating area.)


The Following items are NOT permitted on Base and are subject to confiscation:

• Weapons (regardless of permit) including firearms, knives (including pocket knives
and multi-tools), replica or toy weapons, pepper spray or stun guns
• Alcoholic beverages, unless purchased from approved vendors
• Ice chests or coolers larger than 2 gallons
• Pets, other than service animals
• Glass containers
• Bicycles, roller skates, roller blades, (kick and electric) scooters or skateboards
• Large Backpacks/Bags


  • Bring earplugs. It can get very loud at the show.
  • Pack a ton of Sunscreen and a hat. It is very hot on the flightline.
  • Wear Tennis Shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking on the Base.
  • Print Out The Schedule and The Performer List so that when your kids start asking “what is that” you can actually tell them.
  • Bring Extra Money as there are food and drink vendors all over the base.
  • Pick a meeting point for family members in case you get separated. There are plenty of spots on the flightline that can be easily identified by everyone. Also, make sure that you and your children know where the Lost and Found/Kids Area is located. If you or your children get lost go there.
  • Listen for announcements as they announce the names of the people in the lost and found.
  • Bring a blanket and some camp chairs.
  • Bring a camera. Airshows are extremely fun to take photos at.
  • Pack extra batteries for your camera. If you are using a digital camera, make sure your memory card is cleared out. Don’t get stuck with only room for a few pictures.
  • Consider parking up to 2 miles away from the airshow and bringing a bicycle to cover the remaining distance quickly. You will avoid traffic before, and more importantly after the show when traffic can be stuck for hours. (Yes, I said hours).
  • Consider finding someone with a surrey bike to take you onto the base if you park far away. There are many of them working the weekend of the airshow.
  • Prepare for your bags to be checked by military personnel.
  • If you have an air frequency scanner bring it. You might enjoy listening to the air show controllers and pilots.
  • Bring Binoculars – Low and medium power binoculars tend to work well for checking out detail. Higher powers are difficult to use for aircraft in flight.
  • Bring “wet wipes,” – Airshows normally have outdoor bathroom facilities and having a way to freshen up afterwards is a good idea.


Download (PDF, 917KB)



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**All Photo Credits belong to The Blue Angels

For more information visit MCAS Miramar Air Show on Facebook and on Twitter.

Fin Fest in Hermosa Beach

sharkPhoto Courtesy of Discovery

Fin Fest Is Here

Shark Week is coming! Are you ready? I have a super fun event for you all THIS weekend in Hermosa Beach. It’s called Fin Fest and it is held at Hermosa Beach Pier: 1 Pier Avenue Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Some of the highlights include:

  • A 60-foot mechanical shark, lovingly referred to as ‘Sharkzilla’, who will be chomping items every hour (photo below)
  • Moments with our Shark Week on-air mascot ‘Bob The Shark’ (who can do any stand-ups if you’d like)
  • Live shark petting zoo and shark viewing tanks
  • Interview opportunities with natural history filmmaker and shark expert Jeff Kurr
  • Bands performing live in a shark mouth-shaped stage

Oh and lastly – there is a HUGE surprise musical guest at 6pm on Saturday. There will also be a Sea Lab, and touch tanks will be available on site with local animals including lobsters, crabs and of course horn and leopard sharks! Kids will also be able to spend some time with a shark activity sheet, get a cool shark hairdo, face paint, a tattoo or a shark balloon to carry home.

Here is the line up for Saturday:


And here is the line up for Sunday:


My SPY Birdhouse – Peek into the world of birds!

My spy birdhouse sm

My family and I got a My SPY Birdhouse to try out and boy were my kids excited! This genius invention allows you to watch the birds create a nest while you watch…but the birds cannot see you! The house safely attaches to most glass surfaces with super strong all-weather suction cups. It’s the perfect size for your typical backyard species and it keeps birdwatchers of all ages captivated year round!

Birdhouse and privacy screens sm

The kit comes with a bird house, privacy screen and a 2-way mirror Mylar film that you can attached to the window so you can see the birds but the birds can’t see you.

Birdhouse on the window sm

To start select an outside window that is not an old wavy glass. Clean the window with glass cleaner and allow it to dry. Wet the suction cups  and press the bird house onto the clean glass. We chose a window in our backyard and we put it higher up, away from tables and chairs so that no cats or other predators can get into it.

inside view of birdhouse sm

From the inside, clean the glass so you can put the 2-way mirror Mylar film on the window so the birds that move in won’t be able to see you….but you can still see them! And then sit back and watch. The kit comes with a small bird chart but there are several places on the web that you can go to find out what species  have moved into your bird house. We also decided to put some bird seed into the house to entice any new owners!

birdhouse privacy screen sm

Once the birds have moved in, use your privacy card at night to minimize disturbances of indoor lights. Or you can just shut your blinds if you have picked a window that has blinds on them. The privacy card just uses a suction cup provided for easy hanging. This was a fun and easy project for me and my kids to do. We can’t wait to see what the birds do at any hour of the day!

A Perfect Silhouette shot – Photography Tips

Silhouette Photography Tips


It’s starting to get a lot warmer these days and I find myself going outside to play more and more often. A recent warm weekend took my family and I to the Dumont Sandunes where we played on the sand and ate around a campfire. As the sun was setting I realized how beautiful the sky was and I needed to capture it! As there were little girls playing on top of a sandune hill I realized this was the perfect moment to take a silhouette shot that I would never have been able to take back in Las Vegas because the mountains always block a good horizon. I took the shot and I love it! Want to do the same next time you see a beautiful sky? Let me teach you how! It’s so fun to take creative shots like this.

First off, What is a silhouette?

sil⋅hou⋅ette [sil-oo-et] –noun,
1. a two-dimensional representation of the outline of an object, as a cutout or configurational drawing, uniformly filled in with black, esp. a black-paper, miniature cutout of the outlines of a famous person’s face.
2. a dark image outlined against a lighter background.

Now here are my top photography tips for a silhouette!

1. Your subject has to be recognizable.

My subject was a group of girls but you can choose anything that has a clearly defined shape even when it’s all black.

2. Shoot at The Golden Hour – sunrise or sunset

The golden hour is the hour when the sun first starts to rise and the hour before the sun is completely gone. This is when you see the most wonderful color in the sky

3. No flash!

If you use a flash, it will illuminate your subject and we don’t want that!

4.The background needs to be brighter than your subject.

Not outside? The background could be a window! The window light will be brighter than anything in front of it so you can use this as well.

5. Your subject(s) should have space between them

See how I shot a group of subjects? If they were all huddled together you might not be able to tell how many girls were there. You need to have space between your subjects so the light outlines them

6. Shoot down low and look up!

For this shot I was at the bottom of a hill shooting up. You want as much as your subject to be against the bright background. You have to angle yourself to not let the horizon block the sky

7. Meter off the sky

With a DSLR, you want to expose for the sky. With a camera phone like the iPhone, tap your finger on the brightest part of the picture, the sky! This will make your subject darker and your sky the brightest part of the picture.

8. Have fun with editing.

Add more contrast to see that deep black, add saturation to deepen the sky colors, have fun!

THOSE WITH A DSLR or the ability to choose these settings:

9.. Fast shutter speed

It’s going to be dark and the sun will almost be gone but you don’t want blurry subjects! You want a nice sharp image to clearly see what you have outlined.

10. Use a wide aperture

Not only will this increase your shutter speed but it will make the background more out of focus and help keep the attention on your subjects.

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