Teaching My Daughter To Find Her Dreams + a DIY Vertical Toy Storage Tutorial

This shop featuring a tutorial on DIY Vertical Toy Storage has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #InspireBigDreams #DreamBigPrincess #CollectiveBias

DIY Vertical Toy Storage Tutorial

My daughter. She is so strong. She’s always known what she wanted since she was a small child. I’m sure many of my family members remembered how she’d refuse a bottle because she knew she only wanted to nurse. She’d make my husband drive her all the way to my work to nurse her at lunch time. And then would wait until I got home to eat again. She still, to this day, knows exactly what she wants. And for the most part she knows how to get it.

From finishing fun projects she’s set out to start, to learning new things and going on fun exploratory journeys to do so. She is so brave. And so generous. And just the kindest girl I know. Sometimes I look at her and wonder how I got so lucky to have a daughter like her. She’s a lot like some of her favorite Disney Princesses. Inquisitive like Ariel, adventurous like Rapunzel, and smart like Tiana.

The other day she came to me asking if she could help kids who might not have as much as her. We had talked about how blessed we are as a family a few nights prior and how much we have after one of the kids had a meltdown after not getting a toy at a store. We went over how not everyone was blessed enough to have a huge birthday party every year, or is able to go to theme parks with their family, or even get new toys at Christmas and on birthdays. So my sweet girl asked how she could help make sure other kids got the gifts and toys they deserved. How could I not help her with this?

Building a DIY Vertical Toy Storage needs precise measurementsDIY Vertical Toy Storage - glue pieces before screwing together

So we set out to make a list of all of the places we could ask for donations. We also thought about how we could also chip in a bit to purchase new toys. And we came up with a game plan. Any time we head over to Toys ‘R Us to window shop or pick out a gift, we’re going to grab one extra. Guess what Molly’s doing to help? She’s saving up her dollars to use on the extras we purchase. Yup! She thought of that all by herself too. That kid. She makes me proud. 

And then she asked if we could make a toy chest for her room so she could put all of the extra toys we collect somewhere as we collect them. Since I’m not one to squash her ideas and dreams, we set fourth to make a great DIY vertical toy storage with her help, of course.  Why not build up her dreams literally and figuratively? 

DIY Vertical Toy Storage - measure twice cut onceDIY Vertical Toy Storage takes focus to build

With the help of a few princesses, some tiny field mice, a dad’s guiding hand, and a mother’s encouragement our project came together quite nicely. I think it’s absolutely amazing that both of our older kids love helping my husband and me with our projects. Whether it’s sanding, glueing, hammering, and even using a drill, they’re up for the challenge. It doesn’t hurt to have a super handy husband who can make just about anything. So when I drew out my vision he was 100% on board with creating a plan. 

Now her new dolls have a home, and we have designated to top box for new toys we’ve collected to donate. At the end of every quarter we’ll collect up our toys and find a local charity in need to donate them to. 

The best part about all of this? Now my youngest will have her own person to look up to and learn from. And I know her sister is going to teach her every thing she knows about following her dreams. Sure she’s only 1, but it’s never too early to encourage them to be strong and think for themselves even if it is a bit difficult at times. I’m up for the challenge! 

DIY Vertical Toy Storage Tutorial top tiers

DIY Vertical Toy Storage Tutorial and twirling with princessesDIY Vertical Toy Storage disney princess royal shimmer dolls

DIY Vertical Toy Storage

What you need:

  • 2 2’x6’x8′ doug fir boards
  • 3 1’x8’x8′ western red cedar boards
  • wood glue
  • miter saw
  • 3/8ths inch drill bit + drill
  • pocket screw jig
  • 12 1 1/2″ pocket screws
  • 12 2 1/2″ 5/16ths bolts
  • 12 5/16ths T nuts
  • 12 5/16ths washers

What you do:

Build 3 Boxes

  1. For the first box, cut one 1 x 8 x 8′ board into the following:
    – 2 – 24″ sections (front and back of boxes),
    – 1 – 22 1/2″ section (bottom),
    – 2 – 7 1/2″ section (sides)
  2. Screw and glue the pieces together. 
  3. Repeat again to make 3 boxes total

Build Side Box Supports

  1. Cut 2 x 6 x 8″ boards to 74″ long. These will become the side supports of your vertical storage.
  2. Lean one of the sides against a wall. Put a straight edge on ground against 2 x 6. Trace angle on 2×6. We used a 50 degree angle. Cut along line you have drawn. Transfer angle to other 2 X 6 and cut to match.
  3. Now put straight edge against wall and trace line on 2 X 6. Cut along line. Repeat for other 2 X 6. Both pieces should be identical.

Attach Boxes

  1. Lay one of the 2 x 6’s flat on the ground. Position one of the boxes in the lowest spot (bottom of box should be about 8-12 inches up from bottom of the board). Make sure to adjust box so that it’s level once it is resting on the wall. Next, lay out the second box. Finally position the third.
  2. When happy with the spacing, use screws to attach box to 2 x 6 side. Now put other 2 x 6 side flat on the ground. Flip partially assembled side to rest on 2 x 6. Attach with screws once lined up.
  3. Reinforce with bolts once unit is assembled with screws.

DIY Vertical Toy Storage close up of boxes DIY Vertical Toy Storage inside of box

DIY Vertical Toy Storage also good for books

If your daughter is interested in following her dreams and ideas, check out this great video from Disney on how she can be a champion too. You can find the full line of Disney Princesses at Toys ‘R Us including my daughter’s favorite Disney Princess Royal Shimmer Dolls and Little Kingdom Ariel’s Sea Castle. They’re easy to find when you look for the dedicated Disney Princesses aisle in store. 

Dream Big Princess Display at Toys R Us

How do you support your daughter’s dreams?

Christmas Came Early: Star Wars The Force Awakens

Star Wars The Force Awakens

A Christmas gift delivered early, is what Star Wars The Force Awakens is and what a special treat it is! When this film was announced I felt a nervous excitement. Would it feel like Star Wars? Would the story be any good? Would the original cast be back? Well, that would be yes, yes, and yes. 

We start with the familiar Star Wars scroll to fill us in on with what has happened since Endor. Pieces of the Empire, now organized as the First Order, have carried on and continued to wage war with the Rebels, now called the Resistance. It is still good versus evil. And, of course, we have a Star Wars mystery on our hands. Luke has started a new Jedi Academy, but it has been disbanded when one of his students turns on him which drives Luke into hiding. We just don’t fully know the circumstances of this event yet and no one knows exactly where he is. The rest of movie revolves around both sides getting to Luke first. We meet two new young characters along the way who help with this quest. The first Rey, a scavenger on the planet Jakku and Finn a former stormtrooper. Rae has an interesting backstory that has yet to be revealed I think. Finn provides some heart and is a character that is battling the urge to run versus standing up for something more. Finally, we have our bad guys Kylo Ren and General Hux guided by a mysterious figure named supreme leader Snoke who give good chase throughout the movie.

Star Wars The Force Awakens - Storm Trooper

This movie really felt like the Star Wars universe of episodes 4­-6. It had a lot of creatures and droids that appeared to be very well done puppets and it had the signature “lived in feel” that Star Wars pioneered. The imagery on Jakku was amazing with the backdrop of the decaying war machine relics of a battle between the Empire and the Rebels. Throughout the movie, we are treated to mementos of the previous films. I was also pleasantly surprised by some of the humor mixed in.

I enjoyed seeing the original cast’s presence in the film. The roles they were given were a satisfying bridge between the old trilogy and this new one. The new characters were engaging enough and as a member of the audience felt vested them. The story is not overly complex and easy to understand as opposed to some of the prequels. For the most part, I was able to suspend my belief as the story unfolds. After a first viewing (I plan to see this one more time in the theater) I put this at 2nd or 3rd place in the series behind Empire Strikes Back, my personal favorite, and A New Hope.

Star Wars The Force Awakens - Dark Side

With the marketing machine going strong in the toy aisles across America your kids probably know about this movie. So should you take them to see it? The movie is rated PG­13 and it gets that from what I can tell is all the blaster fire and storm troopers dying. There was a scene or two with some blood. The language seemed to be okay with no swear words that I could recall. I would recommend 7 years and older.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS arrives in theaters everywhere on December 18th!

Planning to wait in line to watch the movie? Print out this Star Wars Activity Packet to make the wait more fun!

Are you heading to the theaters this weekend to see The Force Awakens?

5 Awesome Family Movie Night Movies For Kids Coming Out Soon

5 Awesome Family Movie Night Movies For Kids Coming Out Soon

I don’t know about you but I love to hoard a few movies from my kids to bust out on lazy days. Or rainy days where we don’t have any other plans. Being able to sneak out a movie that just came out and share it with them is always fun! Plus it’s a great excuse to pop some popcorn and snuggle up. I’ve received a few DVDs for review with the kids and cannot wait to share them with you so you can enjoy your own family movie night soon!

5 Awesome Family Movie Night Movies For Kids - Minions

5 Awesome Family Movie Night Movies

1. Minions

Are your minions… er… kids as excited about Minions on DVD/Blu Ray as mine are? As soon as my daughter heard them announce that Minions were available, she hounded me every day until the day it was released. Talk about pressure when you are trying to save a movie as a Christmas gift! Now that the cat’s out of the bag and the movie won’t be a Christmas gift, we’re looking at other Minions inspired gifts Santa can place in the kids stockings this year. If you have a Minions fan in your home, you won’t want to miss these!

The breakout stars the world fell in love with in Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me global film franchise headline their own movie for the first time in Minions, available on Digital HD November 24, 2015, and on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on December 8, 2015 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. A much anticipated prequel to the unprecedented worldwide blockbusters Despicable Me and the beloved sequel Despicable Me 2, Minions is an immensely entertaining film for all audiences called “inventive and hilarious” by Julian Roman, Movieweb.com. The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and Digital HD also come with three all-new mini-movies and even more Minions everyone will want to watch again and again especially during the busy holiday travel season.

5 Awesome Family Movie Night Movies For Kids - Wild Kratts

2. Wild Kratts Australian Adventures

PBS is releasing “WILD KRATTS: AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURES” on DVD January 5, 2016. “AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURES” includes three episodes of the PBS KIDS hit series WILD KRATTS, one of which is a bonus story! From exploring how a thorny devil drinks water to learning about a koala’s favorite food, kids can join the Kratt Brothers as they travel throughout Australia and provide insight into some amazing and unique animals.

In the first two episodes on this DVD, the Kratt Brothers explore the Australian Outback. In “Koala Balloon,” the brothers find a stranded koala in the desert. In order to help the koala the brothers work to get their new friend back to its eucalyptus forest habitat. In “Kickin’ it with the Roos,” the brothers are motoring through the Australian Outback in the createrra looking for red kangaroos. When the brothers finally locate a mob of red kangaroos, they run into trouble when the keys to the createrra are stolen by a joey. This episode also features two fascinating birds – a kookaburra and a wedge-tailed eagle!

In the bonus episode on this DVD, “Platypus Café,” the brothers learn about one of the most unusual animals in the world – the duck-billed platypus. In order to get to know this creature, Martin and Chris use the miniaturizer to shrink and enter a platypus burrow.

3. Hotel Transylvania 2

Sony Pictures Animation’s monster family box-office hit HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2, which grossed more than $430 million in theaters worldwide to date, will debut on Digital HD Dec. 22, just in time for holiday viewing and on Blu-ray 3D™ Combo Pack, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD on Jan. 12 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The Hotel Transylvania sequel reunites ‘Drac’s Pack’ of loveable characters, led by “Vampa” Drac (Adam Sandler, Grown-Ups) as they try to put Mavis (Selena Gomez, Spring Breakers) and Johnny’s (Andy Samberg, TV’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) son Dennis through a “monster-in-training” boot camp to bring out his vampire side. But little do they know that Drac’s grumpy and very old, old, old school dad Vlad (comedy legend Mel Brooks) is about to pay the family a visit to the hotel. And when Vlad finds out that his great-grandson is not a pure blood and humans are now welcome at Hotel Transylvania, it doesn’t take long for things to get batty!

4. Captain Jake and the Neverland Pirates: The Great Never Sea Conquest

Captain Jake and the Neverland Pirates: The Great Never Sea Conquest is available to Own on Disney DVD on Jan. 12! Join newly promoted Captain Jake as he unites Never Land’s all-time greatest pirates! When evil mer-witch Ezmeralda tries to take over the Never Sea by awakening the Strake, a legendary three-headed sea serpent, Jake and his crew try to intervene but encounter Lord Fathom and his sidekick Sinker. Jake forms a team of “Never Land League of Pirate Captains” to battle them all and in the process, outfitted with a magical new sword and a powerful new ship, (the Mighty Colossus), he becomes a Captain himself. Loaded with excitement, additional adventures and a powerful message about believing in yourself, this high-stakes, high-seas adventure is oceans of swashbuckling fun for everyone!

5. Snow White

Forever enchanting and inspiring, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs embodies The Walt Disney Signature Collection’s legacy of animation. In this epic story of love and friendship, the kind and beautiful princess Snow White wins the hearts of the Seven Dwarfs and triumphs over the evil plans of a wicked Queen. Share the movie called “The Greatest Animated Film Of All Time,” (American Film Institute) on Blu-ray February 2nd and on Digital HD January 19th, with special features for the entire family!

What’s your child’s favorite movie right now?

Disney Baby Shower Games

From ‘Name that Disney Baby’ to ‘Find the Hidden Mickeys,’ this post will share fun games you can play at your next Disney-themed baby shower! Plus, all the printables you need! 

Disney Baby Shower Games

This is a sponsored post.

Our family is all about Disney. Movies, theme parks, and, of course, baby showers! With the addition of our newest little one came a fun celebration with family and friends. My good friend Kari of Keep It Simple Mama hosted a fun Disney themed baby shower and included some amazing baby shower games for all of us to play.

None of this ‘guess what’s in the diaper’ or ‘who can keep their legs crossed’ games. Not that there’s anything wrong with those. She chose some fun, creative, and interactive games for our guests to enjoy while at the shower.

Disney Baby Shower Games - Welcome SignDisney Baby Shower Games - Name Signs

In addition to the fun baby games she also created some unique and simple decor. By cutting out Mickeys with her Silhouette machine and overlaying some text on top, she was able to create an adorable welcome sign for baby Norah. Strung together with some ribbon and it was ready to hang.

She also created a fun focal piece for the mantel by grabbing some different sized frames, layering scrap paper, and adding flags to the top of the frames (they’re hot glued paper straws!) for some Disney-inspired artwork. Those frames can be repurposed in baby’s room for fun wall art!

Disney Baby Shower Games - Disney welcome sign

 

Disney Baby Shower Games

And now for the fun part! The games. Here’s a list of the games we played at the party (and some printables for you to use at yours):

  • Name That Disney Baby – we had to name the Disney baby photos AND the movies the Disney babies were in. Not as easy as you’d think! You can find the answer sheet here.
  • Find The Hidden Mickeys – disbursed throughout the house were cute little Hidden Mickeys for all to find. Simply print out two sheets and cut one set out to hide around the house.
  • Guess What’s In The Bag – head on over to Walmart and pick up some Disney Baby gear and accessories for a fun guessing game to figure out what essentials for baby are hidden in the diaper bag
  • Memory Tray Game – who remembers the tray game where you have a bunch of baby items and only have 30 seconds to glance and remember what’s on the tray? Do the same thing with Disney Baby products found at Walmart for a fun spin on a classic!
  • What’s In A Name? – using the letters of baby’s name, think of Disney inspired words to fill in. For example, the N in Norah is for Neverland and the O is for Olaf.

Disney Baby Shower Games - Name That Disney BabyDisney Baby Shower Games - Name That Disney Baby sheet

Each of the games were different from one another and some got the guests up and talking to each other to create ice breakers. Since we were at an event that brought different sides of the family together (mom’s side and dad’s side) as well as my friends, it was great to see the interaction between my guests.

Plus a few of the games then turned into a gift for the baby (the Memory Tray game and the ‘What’s in the diaper bag’ game). Finding decorations and games that can double as gifts is always something I look for when planning a baby shower or any party for that matter!

Disney Baby Shower Games - memory game

Disney Baby Shower Games - Hidden Mickey Scavenger HuntDisney Baby Shower Games - hidden mickeys around the houseDisney Baby Shower Games - hidden mickeys close up

What’s your favorite baby shower game?

Love this post? Here are some more great ideas: 

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Avengers: Age of Ultron – Date Night OR Family Night?

Avengers Age Of Ultron

It is time for the big summer movies and Avengers: Age of Ultron does not dissappoint, so grab your favorite date or huge Marvel comic fan and sit down for entertaining 2 and 1/2 hour adventure.

This movie is a good blend of fast paced action, humor, and special effects. The premise is that Ultron was created by Tony Stark (Iron Man) assisted by Bruce Banner (the Hulk) to protect the world from bad guys thus making the Avenger’s jobs easier or not needed. Like only a computer mind can do it figures out the best way to protect imperfect humans is for them to evolve.

Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron..Conceptual Artwork..?Marvel 2015

Unfortunately Ultron’s plans to spur a new race of humans is a global cleansing of the existing gene pool. So our heros cross the globe hunting down the robotic villian Ultron who is assisted by two twins that have been inhanced with special powers and his many robotic copies.

Its enjoyable when a movie’s characters have a good repore on sceen. These scenes lend themselves to some good humorous moments, like when each hero takes a turn attempting to lift’s Thor’s hammer and his reaction when it budges. Further the movie avoids some of the cookie cutter patterns when the movie sets up one of heros as a family man we are not subjected to watching him sacrifice himself later. The character of Ultron is very interesting on screen and his vocal work was very well done.

Avengers Age Of Ultron Thor and Captain America

This movie is a fun one to share with a date. You will both laugh and enjoy the action. If bringing children the movie was rated PG-13, so it is most likely too intense, in my opinion, for anyone under 10 years old. It also has a little profanity that some parents may not care to have their children hear.

Also? Stay until after the credits… you’ll thank me later!

Check this clip for a great sneak peek:

Will you be seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend? Already saw it? What did you think?

This post written by my husband, Joseph Simmons.

DIY Baymax Upcycled Sock Rice Pack

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DIY Baymax Upcycled Sock Rice Pack

Our family has a slight obsession right now. With Baymax. Do you know Baymax?

Have you seen Big Hero 6 yet? Since seeing it on the big screen when it first came out my kids have been asking when it would arrive on BluRay every week or so. And the time has finally come! Big Hero 6 is now on store shelves and available for purchase. As soon as we received our review copy in the mail the kids had it in the BluRay player and haven’t stopped watching it since!

In celebration of our little obsession I made some upcycled sock rice packs to look like Baymax. Now my kids have their own personal healthcare companions to soothe them when they bump their heads or scrape their knees and need a cold pack. Added bonus? I had everything on hand to make this craft at home in 10 minutes!

Want to make your own DIY Baymax Upcycled Sock Rice Pack? Here’s how!  [Read more…]

How to Be A Princess: 5 Tips to a Princess Makeover

This shop sharing how to be a princess has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DisneyBeauties

How to Be A Princess 5 Tips for Releasing Your Inner Princess

It’s official… the princess craze is in full force in our home and there’s no denying it. And with a second little girl on the way I foresee many years of pink tiaras, Princess costumes, and jewelry ahead of me.

In an effort to turn the princess perception into a teachable moment for my girls I’ve come up with 5 tips for releasing your inner princess. To help focus on the great things about princesses and what they bring to our society. [Read more…]

Star Wars Rebels Star Destroyer Inspired Paper Airplanes

This shop featuring Star Wars Rebels Star Destroyer Inspired Paper Airplanes has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Star Wars Rebels Star Destroyer Inspired Paper Airplanes - a fun and easy way to let imagination reign and let kids be kids

Sometimes you have to just give into your inner kid, sit on the ground, and start making paper airplanes based off of your favorite movies and your son’s new favorite TV series.

That’s exactly what my husband did after we took home Star Wars Rebels on DVD last Friday. He even let my son pick out a Star Wars toy so that he’d stop playing with my husband’s Millennium Falcon and X-Wing fighters.

Luckily Walmart has a great selection of Hasbro Star Wars toys that piqued my son’s interest. He ended up deciding on a pretty sweet Star Wars Rebels Comand Star Destroyer Set. [Read more…]

5 Things to Pack for a Sleepover at Grandma’s House

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5 Things to Pack for a Sleepover at Grandma's House

We recently headed out for a couples weekend without the kids here in town and the kids headed over to Grandma’s for a sleepover. My daughter has been requesting sleepovers for the past few weeks and was really concerned about what to pack for a sleepover at Grandma’s house. She wanted to make sure she had everything she’d need.

So we sat down and thought of a few things she might bring to help make her feel more comfortable at night when the transition from fun adventure to actually sleeping happened. She couldn’t leave our house without a few of her favorite things.

She’s obsessed about all things princess so she couldn’t leave the house without her new favorite movie – Sophia the First: The Floating Palace – and her Disney princesses. Since she’s only allowed to bring one toy, she chose Cinderella. But she was tempted to bring Tiana. Find out what important things she packed for her trip to Grandma’s below.  [Read more…]

How to Build a Fairy House in the Garden inspired by The Pirate Fairy

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Build a Fairy House in the Garden

Over the past few weeks we’ve spent a lot of time in our garden at home as well as at our community garden. So when the kids got sick of pulling weeds I thought it’d be fun to change things around. After receiving The Pirate Fairy on Blu-ray for review I was inspired to let the kids have a little fun and encouraged them to build a fairy house in the garden.

They took the lead as soon as we collected a few simple supplies from around the garden beds and, with the help of friends, built a fun fairy house for the fairies to visit and play in when they came to the garden. After we got home I let them watch The Pirate Fairy. My son then had some great ideas about adding ships and water to the next area they build a house in.

Now whenever we head over to the community garden the kids start building more and recreating different rooms, houses, and ideas for their next fun fairy adventure. And I couldn’t be more happy to have content kids as I garden. Looking to build your own fairy house? It’s quite easy! [Read more…]



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