MacDill Happenings

Things to Do in and around MacDill AFB
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Free and Discounted Admission for the Military

October 29, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, News

Legoland Florida

Active duty military members will receive one free admission to Legoland in Winter Haven throughout the year.  From 1 to 23 November,  military veterans will also receive free admission to Legoland.  Up to 6 accompanying guests will receive 50% off the cost of admission. Active duty, reservists and veterans will have to present a military ID card to receive the free and discounted admission.

If you have already used the ticket discounts provided by Legoland, you can still get discount tickets at the MacDill AFB ITT office.  The ITT office also has discount tickets for all the amusement parks around the Tampa Bay area.

Universal Studios also has a military ticket special that runs until the end of November.  You can purchase a one day park-to-park ticket and receive two days for free.  This ticket is good for active duty, reservists and military retirees.  A military ID card is required to receive this discount.

If you are in Orlando, Shades of Green, an Army MWR resort on the grounds of Walt Disney World, has an ITT office that active duty, reservists and retirees can use as long as they have a military ID card.

Seaworld in Orlando and Busch Gardens are offering discount tickets to active duty, reservists and military retirees with  a military ID card.

Remember to take advantage of these discounts before they expire!

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Halloween Safety Tips to Keep Your Ghouls and Goblins Safe

October 28, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Pets, Self Improvement

halloweenpumpkins_418x306.jpg

This Friday October 31st is Halloween.  Halloween on a Friday night along with the great Tampa Bay weather expected should make this a fun night! But along with this fun can come some things to look out for. Trick-or-Treating normally starts at sundown and ends around 9pm. If your live on MacDill AFB you can enjoy Pumpkin Patrol Trick or Treating in base housing from 6pm until 8pm.

Whether you are Trick-or-Treating on MacDill AFB or in one of the large neighborhood like Fishhawk, Panther Trace or Waterset you will want to be careful.  Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Wear bright reflective clothing. You want drivers to see you in the dark. Bring a flash light.
  • Trick or Treat in groups and stay together. If your children are older and going alone remind them to use the buddy system and stay with their group.
  • Never enter the home of a stranger or accept a ride from a stranger.
  • Parents should check all candy before allowing their little ghosts eat any.
  • Keep your porch light to let trick-or-treaters know you are passing out candy and to allow them ample light to get to the door way.
  • Be cautious when using candles, a better substitute would be battery or solar powered candles.
  • Keep your pets safe by keeping them on a leash or in bedroom etc…
  • Make sure costumes are well fitted and are fire retardant. Also make sure masks are not blocking the wearer’s vision.
  • Be cautious when driving, look out for those little mummies crossing the road.
  • With Halloween being on Friday I would imagine a few more parties will be taking place. Please drink responsibly and if you are driving be cautious of drunk drivers on the road.

By using these tips Halloween should be a safe and fun evening.

Share with us what you and your little monsters are dressing up as this year. I imagine their will be lots of Elsa’s out there!!

Trick or Treating can be a great excuse to check out a new neighborhood you may interested in moving to. Check out all of these great listings. Use the advanced search feature to see what is available in a specific neighborhood.

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Landlords: Do You Know Your Legal Responsibilities?

October 27, 2014 By: Laura Category: Self Improvement

MBO rental sign

Are you a landlord? Have you become an accidental landlord? Maybe you are the renter and would like to know what your landlord is responsible for in the maintenance of the rental property you live in. If so, I am going to share some information on this topic today. I believe in the MacDill AFB area we have a lot of rental properties. This area can be very transient.  We have the snowbirds who come down for the winter and we have numerous military families stationed in the area. Looking at the listings page for MilitaryByOwner.com you can see numerous rentals on the market. I am a renter and when I read the recent article by Karina Gafford in the MilitaryByOwner.com blog I wondered what are landlords in Florida required to do for their renters.

In Karina’s article “What if My Landlord Won’t Complete Repairs?” she shares some thoughts and facts on how and what your landlord needs to do to as far as maintaining a rental home. She also shares tips on what you can do if your landlord is not complying with the law.

What is the definition of a landlord? According to  the dictionary a landlord is a person or organization that owns and leases an apartment, land or building to others.

What legal responsibilities does a landlord have? According to the Florida State Bar “The landlord is required to rent a dwelling that is fit to be lived in. It must have working plumbing, hot water and heating, be structurally sound and have reasonable security, including working and locking doors and windows, and it must be free of pests. The landlord must also comply with local health, building, and safety codes. If the landlord has to make repairs to make the dwelling fit to live in, the landlord must pay.” With that being said you would then probably not be out of line in expecting your landlord to make needed repairs in a timely fashion. And as a landlord you should be prepared to make such repairs in a timely fashion.  The Florida State Laws and Statues on being a landlord show different procedures depending on your lease agreement. As a landlord this information along with legal advise from your attorney should keep you compliant with the Hillsborough County statues. If you need legal help in creating a lease you can go to an attorney or check out the legal information at US Legal Forms.

For service members Article 83.682 of the Florida Statues  explains how and why military personnel  can terminate a lease. Good information for both the landlord and the renter. If you are a military family renting out your home you may want to go to base legal to get help with writing out your lease and if you are a military member renting you may also want to check with legal to what Florida law guarantees you in a lease agreement.

In summary being a landlord is a big responsibility, so be prepared and do your research.Make sure you are up to the challenge. If you are now a landlord and have any tips to share on being a landlord please share them with me here on the blog or on my Facebook page.

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Things to Do in Tampa Bay

October 23, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Events, Things to do

tampa-bay-sunset-courtesyofbaynews9

The cool weather has finally arrived in Tampa! The humidity during the day is almost non-existent and it’s almost cool enough in the evenings for a light jacket! There are always a lot of things to do in Tampa.

  • John’s Pass Seafood Festival starts on Friday at 3pm with a Halloween Block Party. The Festival runs through Sunday.
  • In St. Pete on Friday and Saturday is Howl-O-Fest at Boyd Hill.  This family friendly event will have hay rides, arts & crafts, and a spooky trail.
  • On Saturday starting at 11am, Ybor City’s Centro Ybor will host a free Pumpkin Patch.  There will be free pumpkins for kids while they last.  And kids can go trick-o-treating at the shops in Centro Ybor.
  • The Hyde Park Village Art Fair will start at 11am on Saturday in south Tampa.
  • This will be the last weekend before Halloween so you may want to go out and get scared! Florida Haunted Houses will give you a list of many scary attractions to visit including haunted houses, hay rides and a haunted lake!
  • Do you still need t visit a pumpkin patch? Pumpkin Patch.org has all the information you need to find pumpkins and corn mazes in the MacDill AFB area.
  •  The local amusement parks and the Lowery Park zoo will be holding the last of their Halloween events. Remember to check the IT&T office on MacDill for discount tickets and share your pictures with us on our Facebook page!
  • Check out a sunset! They have been spectacular the last few days!! Share with me your favorite beach to watch the sunset! Mine is Holmes Beach on Ana Maria island.

Lots of fun and scary things to do this weekend! If you have an event you would like me to share leave me a comment here on the blog. (See comments section below) or leave a comment on Facebook or tweet to @MacDillHappenin.

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Are You New to The MacDill AFB Area?

October 22, 2014 By: Laura Category: Communities

Are you new to the MacDill AFB area?

Are you new to the MacDill AFB area?

Have you recently moved to the area? Are you planning a move to the MacDill AFB or Tampa Bay area? If so here is some information that might be helpful with that move. I have shared some of this information in the Spring time when most military families tend to their PCS moves. But I have noticed on some of the social media sites I follow that not only are military families moving to the area but so are civilian families.

This area has a lot of exciting things going on that are bringing more people to the area. The city of Tampa is making sure the port of Tampa stays one of the busiest ports in the country.  The Channelside area is looking at some great expansion ideas and Amazon is here with its new distribution center in Ruskin. Top that off with great weather and easy access to the rest of Florida this makes a great choice whether it is because of PCS orders, job transfer or retirement.

Here is some great information about the area and please share this with friends or family who may be moving here or thinking of moving here.

  • MacDill AFB along with Tampa is located on the beautiful Tampa Bay and the base sits right at the tip of the Interbay Peninsula. The entire area is full of great vistas.
  • Housing. For military personnel you have the option of living on base or off. Check with Harbor Bay for information on base housing and for anyone military or civilian check out the resources on MilitaryByOwner.com. Here you can find homes for rent or sale but you can also find information on local Realtors and Mortgage lenders.
  • Check out all of the information under the 6th FSS MacDill AFB for newcomers to MacDill.
  • For civilians and military check out the information on the South Tampa Chamber Commerce site. Lots of business, event and volunteer information on this page. The Brandon Chamber of Commerce is also very informative.
  • Hillsborough County Schools. Great information if you will have children attending school here. Make sure you read up on the school of choice information when looking at schools. We have some great traditional, magnet and charter schools. For military children their is a school liaison on base that can help with school questions.

This is information I found helpful when I moved to the area. If you have any information that you think I should add please share it with me here in the blog comments section below or share it with me on Facebook. I look forwarded to reading your comments and adding them to my list for future articles!

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5 Fall Travel Ideas

October 21, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Things to do

Five Fall Travel Ideas

With the holidays just around the corner it might be a great time to take a mini vacation. This time of year you may find travel a little less expensive and hopefully less crowded. Living here in the MacDill AFB area we have many close options for mini vacations. We can head out to the beach, over to Orlando or even venture down to Miami to enjoy the colorful nightlife. But, if you are like me you might be craving something a little different. Here are some options you might be interested in;

  • How about a cruise? With hurricane season just about over it is probably safe to venture out on the sea. Take a look at the deals on Military Cruise Deals.
  • How about taking in some Fall colors? Make plans to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You could fly or even better drive up and make a stop in Atlanta. If you visit the park on Veterans Day the admission is FREE.
  • How about going all out and heading to Europe! According to About Travel this is a great time to head across the pond, low air fare, cheap hotel rates and smaller crowds make this a great time to visit Europe.
  • Fall is a great time to visit either Disney World or Disney Land. Best weather, less crowds and great hotel/air fare deals.
  • Florida has some great travel destinations other than theme parks. How about taking a weekend and spending it in Jacksonville or Pensacola. Both offer lodging on base. Take a look at PCS-Lodging.com for hotel ideas.

Make sure if you are planning a mini vacation to take a look at what the IT&T office on MacDill AFB has to offer. They have more information than just discount tickets so stop by and see them. Also, always ask when booking travel etc… if their are any discounts you can use such as a military or AAA.

If you need more ideas check out some of the articles written on the MilitaryByOwner.com blog page. This recent article on Fall Family Fun made me homesick for Virginia (until it snows)!

Share with me your travel ideas!

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Thinking of Buying A Home in The Tampa Area?

October 20, 2014 By: Laura Category: Communities, Things to do

Tenant Screening

Is purchasing a home near MacDill AFB a scary idea? Have you been thinking of purchasing a home here in the Tampa Bay, but are worried about the economic conditions in the area? These questions came to mind when I was recently reading an article by BankRate  stating that Florida still has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. According to their statistics Florida ranked 10th with South Carolina ranking 1st for the month of September. The article “4 Reasons We Fear Home Buying” on the MilitaryByOwner.com blog also made me want to ask these questions.

The Tampa Bay area looks to be recovering. New restaurants are popping up everywhere. New businesses are coming to the area. Amazon recently opened its distribution center in Ruskin along with a new distribution center already opened in Lakeland ,and a new USAA building is going up along the Selmon Expressway. But the most interesting transformation in the area is the amount of homes being built in the Riverview area. While driving south on 301 in the Riverview area you can find new homes being built by Lennar, KB homes, Taylor Morrison and Ryland to name a few. If I was moving to the MacDill AFB area this would definitely be an area I would look in. But would the reasons stated in Karina’s article be on my mind? To overcome some of these fears such as am I paying too much or understanding the home buying process, you need to do your research. Here are some great ways resources;

If you are feeling a little fearful when deciding to buy a home or not then take a deep breath and sleep on it!! Do your research and you will know if the time is right for your family to purchase a home.

Please share with us your ideas on buying a home at this time. You can share here on the blog or on our Facebook page.

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Mac”Thrill”ville Haunted House Tonight!

October 17, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Events

Scary Halloween

You don’t have to go to far tonight for a good scare!  MacDill AFB has its own haunted house, the Mac”Thrill”ville Haunted House is open for business this evening.  Unlike those haunted houses out in town, you can get scared for free. The haunting starts at 5pm and runs until 8pm.  The haunted house will be at Bldg 65 which is across the street from the Bay Palms Golf Complex.  There will be plenty of parking.  This is a free event and is open to everyone.  The house isn’t too scary so little children should be okay with the house.  It’s a place to have fun!  There will also be a children’s activity and crafts area!

If you do want to see what is available out in town, then you have some great options.

      • Zoo Boo at Lowry Park Zoo runs from Friday to Sunday.  It’s $18 for adults and $14 for children ages 3-11.
      • Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens is great place for a scare!  Tickets run from $65 to $50.
      • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Party at the Magic Kingdom at Disney World starts at 7pm this weekend.
      • Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios offers some great thrills!

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Things to Do in Tampa Bay

October 16, 2014 By: Laura Category: Concerts, Events, Pets, Things to do

vacation tips courtesyofcenyt

The weather has started to cool down and it looks like there is no rain in the forecast.  Looks like a great time to get and see the sights and event in Tampa Bay!

  • The Clearwater Jazz Festival starts today and runs through the weekend.  This is one of the biggest Jazz events in the country with some of the biggest names in music.
  • On Friday,  the Humane Society of Tampa Bay is having a Pumpkin Patch for Dogs. You can bring your pets for photos among pumpkins, gourds and Halloween decorations.  It’s free.  You only pay for the cost of pumpkin if you want to take one home.  Proceeds from the pumpkin sales support homeless pets.
  • Hyde Park Village in south Tampa has a pumpkin patch that open all week at various times.
  • On Friday, Tampa Theatre starts its 15 nights of fright during as part of their A Nightmare on Franklin Street Series with a showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  • On Friday night and Saturday afternoon, Collective Soles in New Tampa will present their first mixed repertory concert of the 2014-2015 season titled, Unmasked, to celebrate the Halloween season.
  • On Saturday, take a ride on the streetcars during the TECO Streetcar Fest with rides only costing a quarter from 10am to 1:30pm.
  • On Sunday, the Tampa Bay History Museum will host “A Night at the Museum: Family Trick or Treat” from 4pm to 7pm.
  • On Sunday evening at 7pm, River Tower Park in Seminole Heights will be the location of the Florida Orchestra’s Pops in the Park. It’s free, so bring some chairs and dinner and enjoy the music.

Hope you enjoy the weekend! Share with us any fun events you are hosting this weekend.

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5 Money Saving Tips

October 14, 2014 By: Laura Category: News, Self Improvement, Things to do

piggy_bank courtesy of takeiteasyinlife

With the Holiday season just around the corner you may be looking at ways to save a little cash. I recently saw a few articles on tips on saving money and came up with a few of my own that apply to those of us living here in the MacDill AFB area. I was also inspired by recent articles posted on the MilitaryByOwner.com blog. One article discussed how to learn to  save with the Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace program. My niece actually took a class on this subject.  Here is my take on saving a combination on several sources;

  1. Eat at home.  I used to budget my grocery bill around a 7-day a week menu. I soon realized I needed to rethink that and budget in my dinners out. I also try to find restaurants who offer a military discount or a kids eat free deal. PDQ has recently started offering a military discount on the first Monday of every month.
  2. Shop wisely. Look for stores that offer a military discount, senior citizen discount or any discount that might apply. For example I believe Joanne’s and Micheal’s both offer teacher discounts. Old Navy, American Eagle, Lowe’s and Home Depot are just a few of the stores that offer military discounts. Ask everywhere you go what discounts are offered. Use the commissary, this is a great place for your bulk items, cereals, meats and canned goods. Use your local produce markets for produce.
  3. Watch the thermostat. A programmable thermostat is a great way to keep utility bills down.
  4. Prepare a budget. While preparing your budget be realistic. Don’t tighten your purse strings so tight you do not have any money to enjoy a night out etc.. One tip I saw is pick two days a week that you  would not spend any money. No Starbucks Tuesdays could be a possibility.
  5. Educate yourself. See what courses are offered on base, through your work place, community college or your church.

What tips do you use to save money?  Do you have a favorite restaurant or store that offers a military discount? I would love for you to share you ideas here on the blog or on our Facebook page.

If you are saving money to buy a home take a look at all the great home MilitaryByOwner.com has listed in the MacDill AFB area.

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