How to Freeze Berries

When I lived in Oregon there were berry field super close by. The berries were super delicious and super cheap. One time I picked over 50 pounds of berries. What did I do with all those berries? I made jam and I also froze them. Frozen berries are perfect for smoothies, shakes, making jams and syrups later, adding to a recipe, toppings on ice cream etc. The possibilities are endless.  My son prefers frozen berries to fresh berries. There are some important tips to follow when freezing berries, they are not complicated, but can make life a lot easier when pulling berries out. The secret is freezing the berries individually so they do not stick to each other.
1. Wash the berries in the container they came in first. 
This step is super important. If the berries are not washed the dirt and everything else will freeze to it in the freezer.
2. Freeze or use the berries immediately after washing.
Berries ripen even faster when they are washed. I made the mistake of washing and storing berries. They get all mushy and do not taste very good.

3. Slice strawberries. There is no need to slice raspberries or blue berries because they are small. 
Raspberries and blueberries are super easy to eat the size they are. Strawberries however are hard to eat whole. I sliced mine up and they turned out super delicious.
4. Use wax or parchment paper to freeze the berries.
It is super important to put something under the berries so they will not stick to the cookie sheet or whatever is used to freeze them.

5. Space the berries out. 
Spacing the berries is the most important part and something I could have done better with the above strawberries. It enables individual berries to be pulled out/measured etc.

6. Flash freeze for 1-2 hours on a cookie sheet or over night.
Flash freezing is important because it again makes sure the berries are frozen before putting them in a bag. I sometimes forget and take the berries out the next day. They can sometimes be a little harder to get off the tray.

7. Take berries off the tray/Put berries in a bag and label the bag with the date.
Now the berries can be stored together and they will not freeze together! Save and enjoy the berries at a later date.

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How to Organize Kids Toys Without Losing Your Mind

As my kids started getting older it seemed the number of toys in our house increased exponentially. Everywhere I looked there was toys. And then the toys started coming with lots of smaller parts. At first we put them in a big box.


But it got really frustrating trying to find the set of toys they wanted to play with. My kids would dump all the toys out and then there would be an even bigger mess.


One day I was at the library when a light bulb went off. The library stored all puzzles in plastic containers. I instantly knew this had to be my motto. I was going to buy a bunch of plastic containers for our toys.

I picked Sterilite containers to store our toys. I liked Sterilite containers because they came in all sizes, the mini clip box, small clip box, large clip box and deep clip boxes. These boxes store 90% of our toys. The other 10% of the toys, the train set, duplo blocks and cars get stored in larger Sterilite containers. The different sized boxes can be a little tricky to find. I found that plastic storage seems to be seasonal in stores. The best places to find them have been Target, Home Depot and Menards. But it really depends on the season. I have also found them online.


These containers stack on on another, the lids of the deep and large clip boxes are interchangable, and the containers fit really well in the space I have. They even fit in our Kid Craft kitchen. That is where we store our kitchen toys.



The rules for the boxes are all like toys get a specific box. We have a boxes for musical instruments, bugs, fluffs, legos, Lincoln logs, plastic kitchen tools, real life kitchen tools, Melissa and Doug Pizza and birthday cake sets, character figurines, Tinker Toys, animals, Minnie Mouse Toys, wooden blocks, puzzles, Lego Train etc. The best part about it is my kids know how to sort their own toys now. If my kids no longer want the toy set we can give that set away full and the container can be used for another set of toys. I always buy a few extra around the holidays to have the different sizes on hand for new toys we get.

At first my husband did not like the cost of containers and did not like how much longer it took to clean up, ie we had to organize instead of throwing in a box. But overtime he has come to see that the system works very well and has not said anything about it since. And now it does not take us very long to clean up because we know where everything goes. And the kids can play with a set of complete toys!


I loved this system so much that I incorporated it for my crayon collection, crafting supplies, and office supplies. I can keep like things with like things and find them really easily. It takes a little bit of startup cost, but it is totally worth it to see a clean and organized playroom. Let me know what you think. Would this system work for your house?

Here are some after pictures of my house.




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