Stasher reusable silicone bag

I’m working on reducing the amount of plastic we use in our kitchen. I’m particularly concerned with using plastic free school lunch containers, so I bought a silicone storage bag to review. If you’d like to know more about why, please visit my previous post about this.

Today I’m reviewing a reusable, microwavable silicone bag called the Stasher. This is not a sponsored post, but any Amazon links below are referral links since I’m an Amazon affiliate.

The research out there indicates that silicone is safer than plastic, and specifically, it’s heat-safe. One negative is that it CAN hold onto odors. I wash our silicone containers, plates and bowls with unscented dish detergent. That seems to do the trick so far, but we’ve only been using these containers and dishes for a couple of months.

A web search will show you that there are tons of blog posts dealing with removing the smell from silicone. I guess that’s good and bad. Good because people have solutions; bad because it must be a common problem!

Some people use baking soda or vinegar. Others have success just putting the silicone in their ovens for 15 minutes or so there are different things you can try if you’ve discovered your silicone is starting to smell.

Stasher reusable silicone bag:

The Stasher bag currently comes in a snack size, a sandwich size, and a half-gallon size. They’re not cheap. It’s $11.99 for a sandwich bag, but you can use it over and over indefinitely, so eventually it pays for itself since I’m not buying plastic throwaway sandwich bags anymore.

Our Stasher filled with grapes. The green container is a Lifefactory glass container…review coming soon!

There are cheaper silicone bags on Amazon, but I chose Stasher for a couple of specific reasons:

One, silicone needs to be 100% food-grade silicone without fillers; otherwise the silicone could contain plastic fillers, the one thing I’m trying to avoid in the first place. There are nearly a thousand reviews on Amazon of people using Stasher, and many of the reviews mention doing a “pinch” test on the silicone, and that Stasher passes.

Now, I don’t know that the “pinch” test is entirely scientific. Basically, you pinch the silicone, or bend and squeeze it, if you see white, then the silicone has fillers in it.

But even if it’s not a scientific test, the Stasher is sold at Crate & Barrel, the Container Store, Bed Bath and Beyond, Bloomingdales, etc. It’s been reviewed by the Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, the Food Network, and so many more. Because of this, I do have faith this is quality silicone.

Two, the Stasher closes differently than most other silicone bags out there, and it’s easy for my 6 year old to manage. It’s a little difficult to explain, but if you look around at silicone bags on Amazon, you’ll see that most of them have a plastic stick-looking thing that slides over the top of the bag to seal it.

I read reviews saying that type of top was tricky for kids to handle on their own, so these kinds of bags may be better suited for food storage in the home than a school lunch container.

The Stasher closes almost like a throwaway plastic sandwich bag. It’s pinch-lock seal, and my son can open it and close it on his own.

We use the Stasher to send sandwiches and burritos to school. Occasionally I’ll put something like grapes in it. Since many people use Stasher for sous vide, I could probably put things like mac ‘n cheese in it, but I haven’t tried that yet.

The Stasher is microwavable. I explained to my son that first he needs to make sure the bag is opened to allow steam to release, but then he or his teacher can put it in the microwave. The first few times he used it at school, I wrote on it with a dry-erase marker, so his teacher would know that it’s microwavable. I also emailed her about it. We’ve had no issues using the Stasher as a plastic-free school lunch container for us.

Our Stasher with a burrito inside. The green container is a stainless steel container by LunchBots. I’ll be reviewing that one too.

I usually wash the Stasher by hand with unscented dish soap, but it can go through the dishwasher. When my son comes home from school, I immediately rinse the Stasher even if I don’t wash it right away. I think that probably helps keep the silicone from picking up a food scent.

For drying it, I use a spatula to hold the Stasher open to air out, and then I place it upside down overnight in a sink drying rack. I read a review online about a Stasher growing mold inside, but I think as long as you keep it open when it’s wet, that’s not going to happen.

I use a wood or silicone spatula (nothing sharp) to hold open the Stasher while it air drys.

So yeah! We like the Stasher! It’s also available in different colors and patterns, so that’s fun too!

Disclaimers again:

As I said up top, this review is completely independent. I did a lot of online research myself, scrolling through product reviews before I ended up purchasing this item at full price. I recommend this product, but that’s just my opinion, and you may find that this product doesn’t work well for your family. Also, the Amazon links are referral links. That means if you purchase anything through the links, I’ll receive a small amount of money from Amazon. When that happens, I save it all up until I have enough to buy…well, things like silicone bags and glass food containers to review!

Do you use silicone in your kitchen? Do you have any plastic-free products you really love and want to share with us?

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Unsponsored Amazon Fresh Review

Balancing my life is always a work in progress. I try to cook somewhat-healthy meals for my family, but I’m constantly tempted to grab take out. Life is busy, right? I like to order groceries from Amazon Fresh and have them delivered to our door. It’s been a huge help and made my life less stressful.

J and I have been Amazon Prime members for probably around a decade now. We use Amazon often: cat food, bird food, toilet paper, clothes, etc. And now I’ve been using Amazon’s grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh, for a few months.

Ordering is simple!

I pay to use Amazon Fresh because the convenience is worth it to me. For example, I went to visit my parents in Florida this summer, and I was able to order groceries while I was there and have them delivered right after I got home.

Keep in mind that our flight wasn’t going to land until close to midnight Saturday night, and on Sunday, I would have to take my MIL back to her house in Virginia. There’s more to it than that, but anyway, the point is I started to stress out at how much had to get done as soon as I got home and how little time I had to do it.

Then I remembered I could just have groceries delivered, which would save me 1-2 hours on a Sunday afternoon. Huge stress relief! And that’s what I did.

I’ve ordered through the Amazon website, and I’ve also ordered using the Amazon app on my iPhone, so it’s something I truly can do on the go.

I’m signed up to receive status updates and notifications about my orders. This one was for a late-night delivery.

When I go to order, the first thing I do is reserve a delivery time. You can choose either attended or doorstop delivery. Basically, do you want the delivery driver to ring your door bell and wait for you, or just leave your stuff there? I go with the latter, and I’m signed up for text alerts, so I know when my groceries have been dropped off outside my door.

Once you choose a delivery window, that time slot is held for you for 1 hour, so you have 1 hour to fill your “cart” and check out. You can go into the account after the fact and add more things to your order if they haven’t started filling it yet. Amazon will list a time on their site that you have to finish managing/changing your order by. Since I’m signed up for notifications, Amazon will also send me a message letting me know by what time I need to finish making updates to my order.

We signed up for the Amazon Fresh subscription service, so we pay a monthly fee of $14.99. Additionally, we have to buy at least $50 of groceries, or we’ll be charged a delivery fee of $9.99. That’s never been an issue because I always order more than $50 of groceries! There’s an automatic tip of $5 applied to the order, but you can change it up to 24 hours after the delivery. It used to take me 2 hours at the grocery store to shop and checkout every weekend, and that didn’t include driving. For example, if I want to go to Whole Foods, it takes 20-45 mins just to get there depending on traffic. Twenty mins would be first thing Saturday morning.

So not counting the tip, I pay $14.99 a month to not spend 8+ hours driving to and from and in the grocery store. That’s like 3 of my macchiatos from Starbucks. I love coffee, but I’d rather have the grocery delivery! Oh, and Amazon Fresh delivers Whole Foods brand stuff too, so it’s a win-win for me.

The delivery service isn’t perfect. Sometimes something gets broken. I had a yogurt container break once, not enough to make a mess in the delivery bag, but obviously I wasn’t going to eat it after that. I immediately went online to my Amazon account and filed for a refund since the product was damaged. It was an easy process.

Cracked yogurt container

The worst thing that has happened so far is that one time the delivery driver forgot to deliver one of my bags. I received my freezer items packed in dry ice and my bag of dry goods, but the bag of fridge items wasn’t on my doorstep.

I immediately contacted Amazon. The rep refunded that bag, and she said she would contact the driver to see the driver could still bring the groceries.

Well, the bag did show up on my doorstep, but it was about 5 hours later. Amazon packs the fridge bags with frozen water bottles instead of ice packs, and the water in the bottles in my fridge bag were starting to melt by that point. I tossed most of the food because I wasn’t sure it was safe. I kept the eggs and some of the salad stuff.

The food arrives in paper bags that have been taped closed.
Freezer items arrive inside an insulated sleeve with dry ice on top.
Fridge items arrive in a big plastic bag with frozen water bottles instead of ice packs. We dig free bottled water. 🙂

That was a very disappointing experience. Even though my money was refunded, I still had to go out to the grocery store. That’s what I was trying to avoid in the first place.

A forgotten bag has only happened once. As long as that unfortunate experience stays a rarity, I’m going to continue to use Amazon Fresh. The convenience is perfect for our current lifestyle, and the monthly fee is worth it for us.

Right now, if Amazon Fresh is offered in your area, and you are an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial.

(Affiliate link below: If you purchase anything through my link, I will earn a small fee that I will most likely spend on toys for my budgie, Deathrooper.)

Have you ever used Amazon Fresh? If so, what did you think?

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Camping at Assateague Island National Seashore

Since we moved to the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area several years ago, I’ve wanted to go camping at Assateague Island National Seashore, which is off the Maryland and Virginia coasts. It’s actually about 20 minutes south of Ocean City, Maryland. The island is known for its wild horses, and the book Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry is set there. Did you read the Misty book when you were a kid? I did, and I also read some of the sequels.

I occasionally check the reservation website for open campsites, but the national park campground there is usually booked 6 months ahead of time, so it’s been difficult to get in. Well, about two weeks before the Columbus Day weekend, I just happened to browse the website and found an open campsite for that weekend! It had to have been a cancellation, so I immediately booked the site because I figured it may be my only chance to visit. There is a state park campground there too, but from the reviews I’ve read online, it’s not as nice as the national park.

I, Little J, my sister in law, and one of my nephews ended up camping there together. We had an oceanside campsite. That means we actually camped in the sand right next to the beach. The ocean was just over a sand dune from our tent! There is also a bayside campground at the national park, but I just loved being on the beach.

As soon as we drove off the bridge and onto the island, we saw wild horses! In fact, we did see wild horses every day that they were there, and they even roamed our campsite! That actually turned out to be a problem, so here’s a tip for you. If you see the wild horses sauntering over to your campsite, hide all of your food items in your car, or they will trash your campsite looking for the food. We learned that the hard way. We didn’t leave food out unattended; we were there, but the thing is, you’re not allowed to come within 10? –I think it was 10– feet of the horses, or you risk getting a fine. We were also warned that although they’re not afraid of humans, they are wild. They will kick, and they will bite. So that meant that when the horses walked into our campsite, we backed away from them; that’s all we could do. We just had to wait until they were finished investigating whatever they wanted and left.

The horses are the alphas on Assateague Island!

There are no hot showers on the island, just cold-water showers, which I think would be fine in the summer, maybe even refreshing. Also, the toilets are basically luxury porta potties. I wish I had taken photos. Next time we go there, I’ll take photos and share them in a post. They are a step up from your regular porta potties. They’re up on their own platforms, and they’re very large. There’s room for a stroller or wheelchair to fit inside. I thought they were fairly clean too. There are built in night lights, so you can still see inside them at night.

I read online reviews that the mosquitos were very bad on the island, so we packed a lot of bug spray, but we didn’t really see a lot of bugs. I think it was because we went camping in October, so if you’re camping in the summer, I would recommend you bring repellant just in case especially if you’re going to do any walking near the bayside where there’s a lot of brush and swampy conditions. I did get a few bites at our campsite on the last day. It had rained the night before, so I think that brought the bugs out.

We also had sunblock for the sun since there’s very little shade on the island, especially at the oceanside campground. I think that’s a must for this campground. I have a gazebo with mosquito netting, but because of the wind, I didn’t try to put it up.

So speaking of the wind, I recommend getting extra long stakes or utility stakes for your tent. They should be some kind of stakes that are appropriate for sand. I bought some screw-in utility stakes from Walmart, and they held the tent down even when it was storming. For our 6-person tent, I used 8 stakes.

In spite of the horses trashing our site and my SIL’s car battery dying (yeah, that happened), I loved it. Little J and his cousin just played in the sand all day, digging and looking for sea shells, etc. It was awesome to have all of that available at our campsite.

Shenandoah National Park is still my favorite place to camp, but I think Assateague Island National Seashore is my close second. Like Shenandoah, there is an entrance fee into the park. At the time that we went, the entrance fee was $20 per vehicle for a one-week pass. The annual park pass (Assateague Island only) was $40.

A national park pass for all parks is currently $80, but military families are able to get a free annual pass. All of the fees may change as there is currently a proposal to charge more for high-demand parks like Yellowstone, Shenandoah and Assateague beginning in 2018.

Have you been to the National Seashore?
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