August 30th, 2012

I love to organize things. Clutter always makes me stressed out, so a spot for everything is very important to me and my sanity. It also is helpful for the kids when they are cleaning to know where something goes. I want to share a few of my organization spots with you.

I’ll start with something most of you have seen before on my blog. I talked about this up-cycled drying rack in my cloth diaper post. It’s a crib rail (the dropside from our crib to be exact) hung from the ceiling. It also serves a great holder for the ball pit when it isn’t in use. I LOVE this. It holds a ton of clothes and has allowed me to hang to dry SO many things indoors.



I have a couple simple things as well, but wanted to share them anyway. I know sometimes it may not click for people what would work until they see it in use. We keep large cardboard toy blocks in a large round tote and small picture albums like the leather ones to hold wallets, I stack in a wire basket on the shelf. The blocks were originally in an xlarge rectangle container but once I moved them to this, I like it much better… It makes them more inviting I think. As for the wallet picture holders, they were just on a shelf in the living room, but the kids kept knocking them off or getting them down. I was afraid they were going to be destroyed, so they had to go up somewhere. Once I found the basket I knew it would be perfect for them. They are still displayed for others to thumb through, yet safe from the kiddos.


Here, I have the kids’ action figures and plastic animals organized in a 3 tiered plastic drawer system (from walmart probably). I do NOT like throwing small kids toys into a toy box. They will inevitably get lost at the bottom and not played with. 


The next thing I want to share is actually something I figured a lot of people had heard of, but when I mentioned it recently to some friends, they thought it was the best thing ever and suggested I talk about it. So, for our puzzles, I stack them on those trays that you see in offices. When we were cleaning a while back, Hubby handed me these to get rid of and instead I found a great use for them. Most of our puzzles fit in the trays. One is too big, and I just stack it on top.

Last but not least, is a recent addition. It’s also my favorite for now since I’m not stepping on NEAR as many Legos. That’s right, a Lego Station. A dear friend gave me an end table. I spray painted it in my oldest sons choice of color. We bought a super glue made for wood/plastic and a large Lego base plate. I glued the base plate to the top of the table.

Later, we decided to add a strip of green base plate on the left and we also added a plastic storage container to go underneath. It’s been GREAT. All the kids have loved playing on it and the Legos generally stay right here where they should.


That’s all I have to share for now. I hope I’ve inspired you at least a little to get organizing!


Blue Willow Academy – Our School Room

August 7th, 2012

I’ve spend the last 2 days working HARD on our school room. I pulled out every single thing, trashed, reorganized, moved, and put it all back together. It was exhausting and I stirred up more dust bunnies than my sinuses wanted to deal with, but the end result is well worth it.

I love seeing pictures of other homeschool rooms. Most of the time, I see something they’ve done and want to incorporate it in our room. This is our 4th year of schooling and so I feel we are still learning on how to set it up that best fits our family. For example, the first 3 years, we used one big table. This year, we are trying desks instead and we’ll pull out the table for art or large projects.

I took pictures in the 5 minutes that the room was clean so I can share our set up and you can see where things are supposed to go.

The details of pictures (left to right, top to bottom):

  1. High shelf for math/science manipulatives and scissors/punches
  2. Corner shelf for other curriculum, games for older kids, container with erasers/dry erase markers/permanent markers, etc; Shorter shelves have Preschool “Towel Time” items and Toddler friendly items; basket with teacher supplies
  3. Drawer tower for extra pens and pencils, glue and tape, and other odds and ends; Red box is the art supply tub and brown box is old magazines for reuse
  4. Dry erase board, US Flag, Chalkboard, calendar, clock
  5. Bookcase with educational books, reading books, My and Andy’s yearbooks, and the 3 college textbooks I kept as resources; Top left pink is extra workbooks, paper, and teacher planning book; Top right pink is this year’s curriculum books minus ones to be ordered this week, middle is extra paper
  6. The older kiddos at their desks, eager for school to start!

Hope you enjoyed the peek into our school room! I am excited and I look forward to having a Preschooler, Kindergartner, and Third Grader this year. Have a happy start of the school year!


  • About

    Blue Willow is our homeschool name, chosen for the beautiful willow tree in our yard and the Bluegrass state we live in. Homestyle is defined as "involving the home or family" and "domestic". Here you will find stories about our life as a family and tips from me, a mommy of four. I will talk about a variety of things that pertain to our family and other things I'm passionate about. I do hope you enjoy.