News Releases

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Groceries delivered right to my door!!

I've been wanting to try it for awhile and I finally did it. I did my grocery shopping online and it was delivered right to my front door. It was actually kind of fun scrolling through the items online and picking out the food items I wanted.

I didn't plan to shop online that particular day, but I was clipping digital coupons on and saw you could do your shopping online and have it delivered. I thought why not find out what it's all about. Since it takes time to physically go shopping and that day I was crunched for time, I thought why not try it out.

Of course my first question was, is it going to cost me more? I saw that there were some coupons out there to try it and I found a coupon for $10 off, so I figured it couldn't be too much more. At Publix the delivery fee depends on size of your order and delivery time. My delivery fee was $5.99 fee for shopping online at that time in my area. I did notice a service fee also at check out and you can waive that fee if you want. I also found not every area has online shopping with Publix, so you have to put in your zip code on their website to see if you qualify. I did, so I thought let's shop.

It was pretty easy to do. You see photos and prices for the products. And yes, you can also get the BOGO's (buy one get one.) You do need to put in a quantity of two if you get a BOGO. If you are a coupon shopper though, right now you can't use coupons with delivery. I wasn't too concerned because the items I was buying, I didn't have coupons for. I do use coupons, so I will still have to do my coupon shopping in the store.

I was able to select all my items and get my $10 discount. What I liked is you can choose a window of time,  you want your personal shopper to bring your groceries to your home.  I believe the fast you can get it is within two hours. I found you do need to put in a phone number for your personal shopper to contact you. Once they start shopping you receive a text. When my personal shopper couldn't find an item, he would text me asking if I wanted a replacement item or a refund on the item. I didn't realize they would text you during their shopping, so I was glad I heard the text.

It was great you knowing what he was able to get and what he couldn't get. I forgot to put on the list bananas was bummed because I thought I would still need to go to the store to get the bananas, but guess what? I text him to if he could get me four bananas regular and he got them for me. I was super excited.

When he was finished shopping, I received a text telling me when to expect my groceries to arrive. He was right on time. He had all the groceries and brought them to my door. I bought alcohol, which I thought was interesting that you could do with online delivery, but I guess you can in a few states and Florida is one of the states. He did ask for my driver's license for it, which was good.
You can add a tip when you sign your receipt if you want or give cash. I asked him how he gets paid because I was curious. He said he had been a personal shopper for about two weeks and he gets .48 cents an item, mileage and tips.

While I was shopping online, I did notice some of the items are a few cents higher. Not much higher, but the site does say some of the items are higher.

Overall, it was a good experience. I have researched this online shopping more and found there are other grocery chains and stores in Pinellas County that do this too. You can get groceries from Safeway, Amazon Prime, Walmart, Sam's Club and Costco. Each one has their own delivery fee. You can also order online and pick the items up at the store and most are free to do this.

I think it's a great option to have in case you get sick and can't make it to the store or maybe your crunched on time. I also think if you have your basic list for each week, it gets easier to shop because you don't remake the list each week. I also tried by ingredients for a recipe, which I thought was good because it would help stick to meals instead of impulse buying. There are coupons out there and deals for first time customers at most of the stores, so look for a coupon online. 

Former teacher, and her student, has passion for telling stories

I would never have imagined that my fourth grade teacher at Seminole Elementary School would be a good friend of mine in my adult years or would I think I would be writing an article about her.  The teacher I’m talking about is Sue Kotchman, for those of you who had her at Seminole Elementary you may remember her from her maiden name Cusmano. She was my favorite teacher as I was growing up, and one that influenced me in my life. 

Fourth grade class of Sue Kotchman, then Sue Cusmano, during 1979-1980.
 I am in the second row from the back, fourth from the left.
I remember being in her class and always being motivated to do the best I could. I did well in school, and she would challenge me to do even better.  At that point in my life, I actually wanted to be a teacher because I loved her class and going to school.  She made learning fun.

I am probably just one of many that she has made a difference in their lives.  Now that I am a mom, I understand how important teachers are in our children’s lives.

Kotchman was in the Pinellas County School system for more than 32 years. I think my class was one of her first classes she taught.  She was a teacher, curriculum specialist and principal focusing on elementary education.

 About 4 years ago, she suffered a brain aneurysm and almost didn’t make it. She will tell you she’s a walking miracle.  After her health issues, she decided it was time to retire from Madeira Beach Elementary School as their principal.  After retiring, she started writing children’s books.  She published one last year and just recently published another in a series of books.  The books are called “With Love, from Grandma” and “With Love, from Grandpa.” Kotchman told me she always wanted to write books, a dream she has had since teaching.  She writes for fun, and her books help kids learn lessons about life.  Her “With Love” series books deal with the importance of relationships, spending time together and realistic situations. Her first book deals with the relationship of a little girl and her grandma and how she copes when her grandma dies.  How many kids have someone or something die in their life? We all do. It’s the cycle of life.  Kotchman uses her two kid’s names as the main characters in her books.  Her daughter Christal is in the “With Love, from Grandma.” And her son Casey is in the “With Love, from Grandma”.  After she wrote her first book with her daughter in it, when she would read in to students at schools, they would always say you need a book about your son.  You see her son was the first baseman of the Tampa Bay Rays, and kids knew he was her son. Kotchman says the books are realist fiction.  They have some things in them that are true, but the story may not be totally true.  Her latest book has a lot of Florida beach scenery, which helps students relate to the story.
Kotchman goes a step further than just writing the book, she visits classrooms around Pinellas County and reads her books to students.  She says her books are designed to help students with their writing skills. She says very often kids don’t know what to write about and they need to draw from an experience.  Her book “With Love, From Grandpa” does this. The main character has a writing assignment from school and doesn’t know what to write about until he finishes his day of fishing with his grandpa.

Kotchman’s motto is everyone has a story.  She wants to help students develop their writing skills by finding stories in their lives to write about. I guess she’s been instilling this for years.  Now her story is my story for you today.  I’m so thankful for teachers like Sue Kotchman, who make a positive difference in young children’s lives and help promote literacy.

***If you would like Sue Kotchman to read to your students at your school, you can email her at

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Things to do with your kids on Mother's Day

Mother's day is right around the corner on Sunday, May 13. Are you trying to think of something to do with your mom for Mother's Day? I know as a mom, what's most important to me on Mother's Day is being with my two daughters Randi age 13 and Graci age 12. I know not everyone can be with their mom on Mother's Day,  so if you aren't able see her give her a call or write her a letter. It's important to let them know you are thinking of them.

As a mom with two young girls,  I usually decide and plan the day unless my husband surprises me with something. Since my mom and mother-law don't live too far away, we usually see them both over the Mother's Day weekend.

I know coming up with a plan for the day can sometimes be a challenge, so I thought I would share 10 fun ideas of things you can do with your kids this Mother's Day. I even found some free things you can do.

1- Go to church
Since it is on Sunday, I usually go to church with the family on Mother's Day. It's a great way to start the day off right.

2- Go out to a restaurant
A lot of restaurants cater to moms on Mother's Day and offer specials or discounts. Some even offer free meals for moms. Check the internet for Mother's Day specials in your area.  

3- Go to the beach
We are so fortunate to live so close to so many beautiful beaches. It is free to go to the beach and it is so relaxing and stress free. I love going with my kids to the beach and they love it too. They enjoy the sand and looking for sea shells along the shore.

4- Go for a bike ride
Another fun idea is riding bikes on the trail. We have the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail which is 70 miles of a paved bicycle trail from St. Petersburg in the south all the way to Tarpon Springs in the north.  Lately it's been so nice out and this is a great way to get your exercise in.

5- Go bowling
Right now kids can bowl two free games a day for free. You can sign up and get free passes from now and throughout the summer at Kids BowlFree. Log onto and register. The only thing you would need to pay for is shoes and the adults who bowl.
6- Have a picnic at the park
Picnics are always fun and if the weather is nice, why not take the family to the park and eat lunch.

7- Get a manicure or pedicure
This is one of my favorites to do with my girls. We don't do it often, so a special day like Mother's Day is a good day to splurge. I enjoy going with my mom too! I guess it's a girl thing.

8- Have a tea party
You can have a tea party at home with your kids or go out to one of the local tea rooms and have high tea which includes mini sandwiches and tasty treats.

9- Play games and sing karaoke
My kids love to play games like Pictionary with the family. It's fun and entertaining and the whole family can enjoy it. We also like singing karaoke. You can find apps on your phone or iPad for both Pictionary and karaoke.

10- Go to a theme park or museum
We have so many different theme parks and museums to choose from. Some of them offer Mother's Day discounts. In less than two hours you enjoy several theme parks including: Sea World, Disney World, Epcot, Universal or LegoLand. Busch Gardens and Adventure Island are less than an hour away along with Lowry Park Zoo. Locally we have museums like the Salvador Dali, Great Explorations and the Morean Arts Center to name a few.

The Hendricks Crew on
Mother's Day!

 These are just a few ideas. It really depends what you enjoy doing with your kids. It's your day so do what you want to do. Sometimes just sitting and doing nothing can be a fantastic Mother's Day.

The Tubbs Crew on
Mother's Day!
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! Thank you for all you do all year!