MacDill Happenings

Things to do in and around MacDill AFB

PCS Binder: Is Yours Move Ready?

July 06, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Finances, Military Life, Military Spouse, PCS Move, Pets, Schools

Stack of office folders isolated on white

Are you preparing for a PCS move to MacDill AFB or out of the area? If so being prepared is your best bet to keeping your move stress free. One of the best tools you can have to keep you on track is a PCS binder. You may already be using this tool and if so is your binder up to date? Check out these must haves for your PCS binder.

PCS Binder:

  • First you need a binder. I actually use expandable file folder with a pocket designated for each subject. Many people use a binder with index tabs to divide each section.
  • Zip vinyl storage pocket to keep all receipts etc. in one place.
  • Several copies of your PCS orders. You will need these for multiple things. If you are traveling with your firebox or a secure safe keep the original copy there along with passports, social security  cards and other valuable.
  • Your moving documents should have a designated area in your binder. Even though you will be using online resources at you will want to have hard copies on hand.
  • Medical and Dental records should also be kept in your binder for easy access. In our last move our medical records were on a CD but our dental were hard copy. so you may want to include a file compartment for CD’s
  • School records. Remember is you or your spouse are attending school to get your records also. Do not forget to get things such as girl scout, boy scout, dance, soccer, religious classes etc.. information to keep the kids on track when they get to their new home.
  • Do not forget the furry family members. Include their veterinary information in your binder. You will want to check what requirements are needed for transporting your pet. You may need to secure a health certificate when traveling across country. If you are traveling out of country contact your local military base veterinarian to get your pets ready to move. Make sure you include your pets micro chip information in the binder.
  • Keep copies of all of your home search information. Make sure you have all the documents you need to buy or rent a home.
  • Lastly include any copies of warranties you have for your vehicles such as lifetime tire repair.

I also included a copy of the route we were taking and all our travel information. You can include any information in your PCS binder you deem necessary to make your move smooth.

I would love for all of you to share with me what you include in  your binder. Share photos and ideas here on the blog or on the MacDill Happenings Facebook page.

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4th of July Fireworks in the Tampa Bay Area

July 03, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Military Life, Things to do Near MacDill AFB

flag-fireworks courtesy of crazycrawfish

You will not have a problem finding 4th of July fireworks in the Tampa Bay area! From the coast to Orlando and every place in between, there will be fireworks displays.

  • Clearwater will start celebrating at Coachman Park at 4pm with family friendly events and fireworks at 9:30pm.
  • St Pete will have their fireworks display start around 9pm depending on the weather.  North Staub Park is a great viewing location. These fireworks should be viewable from the MacDill AFB beach.
  • Largo will start celebration at 6pm with fireworks around 9pm.
  • Brandon Blast will take place at the Brandon Mall starting with live entertainment at 6pm at the outside restaurant courtyard and fireworks starting at 9pm. Brandon will have its annual 4th of July parade from 10am to noon.
  • Channelside will have a fireworks display over Garrison Channel around 9pm.  Before hand the Plaza will have live entertainment and activities.  The American Victory Ship will be selling tickets to get a special vantage point to see the display.  The Florida Aquarium will be great place to also see the fireworks display.
  • In Orlando, Disney World parks and Universal Studios will have huge displays.
  • Busch Gardens in Tampa will have a great display around 9pm.

All displays will be dependent on the weather, so you may have to be a little patient and remember that depending on where you go you might encounter a crowd.

Hope you enjoy the displays! And if you have any events or ideas to share, please let us know.

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Things to Do in the Tampa Bay Area

July 02, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Things to do Near MacDill AFB

vacation tips courtesyofcenyt

There are a lot of things to do in the Tampa Bay area and some unique events. Maybe spend a little of bit around the house doing work, but don’t forget to get and enjoy yourself.

  • 4th of July weekend at MOSI children 3 to 12 years of age will only pay $4 for admission will a paid adult ticket or senior ticket.
  • As part of the Blue Star Program, admission for active military and five family members is free through Labor Day at the Tampa Museum of Art in downtown Tampa next to Curtis Hixon Park.
  • This weekend kids can take a free miniature train ride on the Largo Central Railroad in Largo starting at 10am.
  • The Florida Aquarium will celebrate 4th of July with fireworks on Friday night at 9:15pm.
  • On Friday night starting at 5:30pm, Channelside will celebrate First Friday Tampa with music, live entertainment, food, drinks and activities for the kids.
  • Stop by the Ybor City Saturday Market starting at 9am for all your 4th of July picnic needs and find locally grown and organic produce, home baked goods, arts and crafts, music and treats for the pets.
  • For 4th of July, military members and 3 members of their family can receive free admission to Lowry Park Zoo. This applies to retirees and their families. You must have a military ID card to take advantage of this offer.
  • On the 4th, the Tampa Bay History Center will offer $5 admission to all patrons.
  • Channelside is hosting one of the largest 4th of July celebrations in Tampa. Expect a large crowd and consider parking in Ybor City and taking a TECO streetcar to get to Channelside. Parking will be difficult.
  • Back to the Future” will be playing on the big screen at the historic Tampa Theatre at 3pm on Sunday. Admission is $10.

Hope you enjoy the weekend! And if you have any events or ideas to share, please let us know.

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Moving Tips That Worked

June 30, 2015 By: Laura Category: Military Life, Military Spouse, PCS Move

Are you in the middle of a PCS move? Or have you just completed a move? Did you try any of our moving tips we have shared here on the blog and our Pinterest board? I would also love to see some of your great tips in the comment section of the blog or on our Facebook page. Here are my favorite moving tips.


Using garbage bags to move your clothing. I have done this before, but had not tied the handles to the hangers. Worked great–moving the clothes from the wardrobe box to the closet was a snap.

moving hacks

Cellophane wrap your items. I went to the dollar store and bought quite a few boxes of cheap cellophane wrap. Now, one of the tips I shared and read had suggested using the shrink wrap. I opted for the dollar cellophane and just wrapped instead of wrapping and then using the blow dryer to shrink.


It worked awesome with my craft items and we also wrapped the dresser drawers after we took them out of the dresser. The cellophane also worked great at wrapping cabinet drawers shut. In the past, my husband has taped or tied them shut but this worked so much better. I also used it to wrap breakables. I first wrapped them in bubble wrap or newspaper and then used the cellophane instead of tape. The protected layer just seemed more secure this way.


Coffee filters and disposable plates. I had shared a tip on using coffee filters between plates instead of wrapping each plate. I did not find the coffee filters to work well, but I do think I needed to buy larger filters. A friend used the filters who thought it worked well. I used large Styrofoam plates instead. My kids did get on to me about not being green using Styrofoam, and I think this idea would work well with paper plates– just double them up. I again purchased these items at the dollar store.

So these are my tips that worked! The dollar store is definitely your go-to place for the supplies to make these work. What are some of your go-to moving tips? Please share them with me here on the blog or on the MacDill Happenings Facebook page.

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Things To Do Near MacDill AFB

June 26, 2015 By: Laura Category: Military Life, Sports

newcomers to MacDill courtesyof airports worldwide

The weekend is here!! So what can you do to relax this weekend near MacDill AFB? Here is a look at some great activities going on in the Tampa Bay area.

  • Busch Gardens: This Saturday starts  Summer Nights at the Tampa Busch Gardens. Check out the fireworks, music and entertainment. Active duty service members may want to use their Wave Of Honor free admission or check out the IT&T office at MacDill to get your self a year pass.
  • Check out a Tampa Bay Rays game when they take on the Red Sox this weekend. Lots going on at the Trop this weekend. Ladies grab your free Cowboy hat tonight for ladies night. Saturday you can grab a retro headband and Sunday is kids day. Kids 14 and under will receive a free retro Rays lunch box (while supply lasts) and can stay for a post game concert put on by KIDZ BOP .
  • Watch more baseball! The Tampa Yankees have some great promotions going on this summer also. Coming up are Sonny’s Barbecue Sunday and Uncle Bob’s Self Storage Military Monday!
  • Legoland Florida is opening a new area called Heartlake City today June 26th. This new amusement area is aimed at girls. The new heart shaped fountain sounds fabulous. Again try the IT&T office for discount tickets
  • Zoominations. This is the last weekend you can catch this beautiful display of lighted lanterns. You will also want to check out the entertainment and food.

Hopefully one of these events will fit into your weekend plans! If you have an event that would interest our readers please share them with us here in the comment section or on our Facebook page. Have a great weekend and be mindful of the weather as you go out this weekend.

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