Cute DIY SandBox For Toddlers


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeToBe #CollectiveBias


It’s been a month since we moved back to Houston. We are loving our new place, although we sometimes miss having a yard. We do have a balcony, though! When the weather is not good for playing outdoors, I try to find something for my kids to enjoy and entertain themselves with on our balcony. This can sometimes be difficult, however, as our youngest son has sensitive skin and eczema.  However, we still try to let him experience enjoyable activities with his big brother. As a mom to a toddler with sensitive skin, I like to use  laundry detergent without an overpowering smell, and without harsh chemicals that irritate skin. all® free clear liquid gives me peace of mind knowing that I’m using detergent that is the #1 brand recommended by dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians for sensitive skin. It has also been awarded the Seal of Acceptance by the National Eczema Association since it has no dyes, perfumes, or harsh chemicals to irritate skin.


With their clean clothes ready to go, it’s time to play outside! Thanks to all® free clear!  For balcony activities, these kids love drawing with chalk and riding their push-cars around, but I wanted to give them more activities. I made this cute easy do-it-yourself sand box to entertain them!


Here are the materials I used:


Ruler and Pen

Plastic Cover


Small Plastic Container with Lid (I used 9” x 12”)

Crate (12” x 18”)

Epoxy Glue


Sand or Kinetic Sand



To begin:

1.) Measure your cardboard to be about half the size of the top of the crate, so that you can still fit your plastic container on the left side. Use a ruler to measure it. This cardboard will be used as a counter top beside the sand container.

2.) Since I used a recycled piece of cardboard, I sealed it with a plastic cover over so that it would be easier to clean. If you are planning to use this sandbox for water instead, you may want to use a plastic lid, or even a tile, instead of cardboard.

3.) Begin to apply epoxy or a strong glue to make the cardboard stick.

4.) Leave the cardboard undisturbed for 30 minutes. You may use something heavy to keep the cardboard sealed to the crate until the glue dries.

5.)  Put your plastic container on the left side. There is no need to glue it since the crate acts as the holder for the container.

6.) Use sand or kinetic sand to fill the plastic sink. I also used my kids’ beach toys and dump truck to make this cute little sand box more enjoyable and entertaining for them. And, it’s DONE!

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Side note: I always like to put away the kids’ toys whenever they are done playing (OCD mom here). As a bonus, you can turn this cute sand box in a toy box/plant table! This is one reason I like using a wooden crate – it makes our balcony look nice when I place a plant on top :-)

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Tada! Double win for toddlers and moms like me!

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all® free clear liquid and all® free clear dryer sheets are available at Walmart and other retailers. This product is not intended to treat or prevent allergies. Please read instructions before using. :-)

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Any fun outdoor toddler activities you’d like to share? Don’t forget to experience all® free clear and let me know what you think! Be sure to connect with other wonderful moms and their stories here.







DIY Coffee-Stained Serving Tray


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CoffeeCreamerCombos #CollectiveBias diy-coffee-stained-serving-tray-18

Something I’m happy about this fall season is that my mom is here! Since she lives in the tropical climate of the Philippines, my mom is excited to experience the much cooler weather here while spending time with her grandchildren and me. I think one of the reasons she is excited for this season is because she’ll be able to wear scarves and boots! To welcome my mom, I prepared breakfast for her with her favorite morning drink: Coffee! I brought the meal to her with a do-it-yourself serving tray I made. It has a rustic style  achieved by using coffee as a stain for the wood. The tray is not only for serving, however;  it can also be used as a table centerpiece, home accent, makeup tray, and in many other ways! To make this tray you will need the following materials:

  • Wooden Disc (I got mine at a hardware store)
  • Chalked White Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Wax
  • 2 Door Handles and Screws
  • Screw Driver
  • Twine
  • Glue Gun and Stick
  • Scissors
  • Coffee
  • Hot Water and Small Bowl
  • Small Rug

To start this project, begin wrapping the handles with the twine. Use the glue gun to glue the first few inches of twine to the handle .


Only use the glue gun to glue the twine at the beginning and end of the handles.  As long as you wrap the twine really tightly around the handles, the middle should hold firmly on its own.


The finished look for the handles. The twine and gold color are a great match together!


To make the coffee stain, mix a little bit of hot water with a large amount of coffee grounds. Try to gauge the amount of water and coffee you’re mixing, with how much stain you think you’ll need.The darker the stain, the better. I used a small piece of fabric to drain the coffee so the stain is  free from coffee grounds. You can also use a coffee filter.


Use a paintbrush to apply the coffee stain all over the wood. If you’d like to apply another coat, be sure to wait for the first coat to dry.


After the coat of coffee stain is dry, paint over the stain with the white paint. The coffee stain will actually mix with the white paint, giving it a beige look. I really like the effect of the two colors mixing. This gives the tray an earthy, rustic style. Tip: Follow the natural grain of the wood with your brush when applying the white paint.


Let the paint dry for at least 2 hours. Then use sandpaper or steel wool to distressed the paint. Make sure to distressed the paint in the same direction as the paintbrush strokes.


Next, wipe the wood with a clean cloth to remove paint dust from the sanding.


Use a screwdriver and screws to attach handles onto the wood.  Place the handles on opposite sides, at least ½ inch away from the edges, in a position that will be comfortable to hold. I had some leftover coffee stain, so I decided to apply the coffee stain on top of the distressed paint. Just make sure that the brush is wiped off clean and not too wet. You only need a tint of the stain for the effect.


Don’t forget to apply the coffee stain around the edges for more of a rustic look.


To finish up the serving tray, apply a coat of wax all over the wooden tray. Finally, wait for 15 minutes before buffing it with a clean cloth.


And now, here’s my mom enjoying the fall season with her breakfast while sipping on Dunkin Donuts® Bakery Series® Coffee with Dunkin’ Donuts® Coffee Creamer (available in Kroger grocery stores). Not only does the coffee taste great, it also gives her a an energy boost to keep up with her grandchildren. Just imagine having two energetic, toddler grandsons. 😉


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Be sure check out other fall-themed recipes and tutorials from the Dunkin Donuts® Bakery Series® And Creamer  here

Enjoy the fall season and the cool weather!


Hello Island Mama is a makeup, DIY, design, and lifestyle blog by Em Smith. She is the mother of two boys and a wife, who loves to inspire and encourage others through her works and stories. Originally from the islands of the Philippines.

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

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