Tag Archives: grocery shopping

Heeding the Warnings


I started this off with what I think is a statement photograph. I love the way the battle of the grayish-blue and orange sunrise above looks against the deadness of the tree in the foreground, and the light of the snow below. It’s times like what we’ve experienced over the past few days that I wish I owned a “real” camera. There’s only “so” much that a smart phone camera can truly capture. In spite of that, the beauty carved out of the weather systems we’ve had this past week was definitely worth capturing the every changing moments of snow, ice, and rain that alternated their covered of our city this February.

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But in spite of its beauty, snow, and especially ice, can be dangerous, and also wreak havoc on things like overhead power lines and underground water pipes. That’s why I believe it’s so important to heed the warnings by making plans to prepare accordingly.

Okay, yeah, our local meteorologists are known for over-stating storm predictions; especially winter storms. But once I heard the weather forecast also from the national weather service, I knew I needed to take it seriously. Yep, I’m one of those people who takes a survey of my kitchen’s pantry and refrigerator, and makes a mental list of what kind of things I would want in my house should one of two things happen — and heaven forbid they both do. First, if the forecast turned out to be true…then there would be driving issues, not to mention the cold temperatures that would both make me want to stay in the house. And second, if the forecast proved worse, then there might be other complications, such as the loss of power.

Such was the case for many parts of Nashville this week. The only thing the locals were wrong about was the snow, because instead of snow, we got ice — lots of ice! And then, down went some power lines. I was one of the people who lost power — in the middle of temperatures in the low 20s, with projections of decreasing down to the single digits. Fortunately for me, mine was out for less than two hours. Also fortunately, despite the social media (and even traditional media) jokes about raiding the grocery store aisles, I’d done just that. I’d purchased items that didn’t require electricity to prepare and eat. Judging by comments on Facebook, there were those who didn’t; and they were miserable by day three of this mess.

The other thing I was prepared for was the loss of power. I try to stay prepared for that year-round — making sure there’s blankets, flashlights, candles and matches in every bedroom. I didn’t have to worry about running through the house, bumping in to things trying to find a flashlight. I even keep one in the kitchen. I also already had a plan in place for my devices. I kept my laptop plugged up at all times, so it was fully charged when the lights went out. And I had a car charger for my phone, so a trip to the garage if needed, was not out of the question; especially since I made sure my car was fully gassed up beforehand as well.

Within hours of regaining my power, I read a friend’s post that they had just lost theirs. What surprised me was her second statement after announcing in disbelief that they were without power:  “Oh no, we weren’t prepared for something like this!” is what she said. My first thought was, “How can you not be prepared? We were warned days out that it was coming!” I felt for her though, and her family; and was glad to learn that hers came back on within hours as well.

But it made me think again, how weird it is that people seem almost apologetically embarrassed to prepare for things such as this. A week out, the snow storm was projected; days out, the radar showed it was coming. But once it got here, and it was as bad as projected, there were those people who still “weren’t prepared for something like this.”

The way I look at it, I don’t care if I go shopping and nothing happens. I figure I win either way. If the weather service is correct, then I’m stocked up and prepared to be stuck in the house for days — even ready for the loss of power, should it happen. If they’re wrong, what’s the worse? So you have a fully stocked pantry and won’t need to go shopping for another week. It’s a win-win!

So my advice is, as it has always been. Being prepared for something you don’t need is way better than needing something you’re not prepared for. And it can oftentimes be a lot more costly waiting and having to play catch up later.


One last thing. A different facebook friend made fun of my reposting the mayor’s office suggestion of leaving the water faucet dripping to avoid possible pipe freezing. Actually, he was making fun of the water department and suggested a conspiracy in them getting more money by everyone running their faucets all week. Of course, my snarky remark back is that it’s far cheaper to drip the faucet now than to have to replace the water pipes later; not to mention any damage that water may cause inside the home.

So yeah. I believe warnings are made for a reason. And I don’t mind heeding the ones that make sense and don’t cost me anything more to accomplish.

Don’t Always Believe What You First Read!

Looks aren’t the only things that can be deceiving!

On my last major shopping trip at the grocery store, which I do about once a month to gather all of the basics to restock the pantry, I picked up my normal go-to cereal of frosted mini wheats and continued my stroll down the row. As I looked over all of the many different choices of cereals today, I shook my head, thankful that I wasn’t a mom trying to shop for my kids and their pull towards the sugary cereals or the ones with the latest animation or blockbuster movie character on them. Nearing the end of that aisle, I came up to a particular brand’s section and noticed they were running a great sale on their products. Being ever so wise to jump on opportunities to save money, I put my mini wheats back on the shelf and reached for something different; a cereal I hadn’t tried before, but that sounded like it would provide me with the same kind of low fat, high fiber breakfast I was looking for.

Yeah, I was trying to be good. I always convince myself that if I buy plenty of fruits and vegetables, along with other low fat, low sugar, and high fiber foods as the majority of my shopping, then I can make the excuse to indulge in one “goodie” on that trip. When I shop Walmart, that goodie is always a bag of Indiana kettlecorn popcorn! But I was at a grocery store that didn’t carry that, and hadn’t made up my mind what little treat I might pick up for myself.

But then…I saw it! That pretty blue box of goodness I remembered and loved so much from my childhood.

photo 2Oh decisions, decisions…Should I stick with the “smart” choice; after all, it promoted the whole grain goodness and fiber that I wanted. Or should I indulge for just this one time (how many of us haven’t said that in justification, more than a few times?). They were both on sale, so money being equal, and desire growing stronger, I decided that the best way to talk myself out of it was to look at the breakdown of the nutritional information on each box.

Yes. That will help to being me back down to earth and talk some sense in me, I thought. I’ll just take the two boxes and put them side by side, and see with my own eyes why choose Kellogg’s Smart Start was going to be a much better choice than to give in the the extra sugar and calories of the Frosted Flakes cereal. It’s always harder to justify a purchase when you can see in print all of the extra calories, sugar, sodium, fat grams — whatever you’re trying to watch — right there in ink on the side of the box. I knew the answer already. I mean, one was whole grain, fiber loaded cereal, and the other made no bones about being sweetened (frosted) corn flakes. But until I could just see it; read it for myself, then I knew I could convince myself to put the blue box down and move on. After all, there was much more shopping to be done!

And there it was. Right there spelled out, ounce for ounce, serving size for serving size, sugar, fat, calories. My reason for walking away. But, but wait a minute! What am I reading?!

photo 3My Frosted Flakes had fewer calories than the Smart Start! What? Okay, sure, Frosted Flakes’ serving size was 3/4 cup and the Smart Start was a full cup. But they were both wrong! Who eats only a cup of cereal? Seriously, when’s the last time when you weren’t on a diet, that you measured your cereal? Most of us pour; and we typically end up with about a cup in a half. So sure I was taking in 220 calories for 1 1/2 cups of FF, but with Smart Start being 190 calories for a cup, that meant the same 1 1/2 cups for SS would be 285!

But even I know you can’t just look at the caloric intake, so I went to the fat grams. One gram for SS wasn’t bad; even if the FF was zero. But the sugar is what caught me by surprise. Only 11 grams for the FF (22g for the 1 1/2 cups) but practically as much sugar in the SS at 14 grams (or 21g for 1 1/2 cups). That wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that looking at the face of the packaging, and the name of the cereal, who would think that it would contain THAT much sugar?

Of course, the Smart Start DID have a higher fiber content, and plenty of vitamins — but hey, that’s what my One-a-Day is for! Needless to say, I was a little disappointed that I had initially allowed myself to be tricked, just by the wording and packaging of one product over another. Because for the things I like to look out for, as far as my own nutritional needs versus dietary concerns (fat, sugar, sodium, and yes, fiber), it turns out the Frosted Flakes wasn’t such a “bad” thing for me after all.

At the end of the on-site quickie research, I ended up buying them both, and am alternating between the two for breakfast. But as a reminder to us all, don’t always believe what you first read; read on and make sure it’s really all that you thought (or didn’t think) it would be!