MacDill Happenings

Things to do in and around MacDill AFB

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Rainy Day Activities Near MacDill AFB

August 01, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Events, Military Life, Military Spouse, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

Rainy Day Activities

Rainy Day Activities

Rain, rain , rain go away! The MacDill AFB area has definitely had its share of rain the past few weeks and this weekend will be no different. Are you looking for some rainy day activities to get the family out of the house? Me too and here is a list of activities I am thinking about doing this weekend.

Rainy Day Activities Near MacDill AFB:

  • Blue Star Families Museums. I am thinking a trip to Lakeland to the Explorations V Children’s Museum might be something different. I can then also hit up Hobby Lobby!!! If you do not want to drive that far several museums in Tampa are participating including MOSI.
  • Aquariums. I love the Florida Aquarium but the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is equally fun. Ask about a military discount I could not find any information on their sites. The MacDill IT&T office sells tickets but they unfortunately are closed on Saturday August 1st.
  • The Library. Take the family to one of the Tampa-Hillsborough County libraries. If you have a favorite library maybe take a trip to a different one. Another fun option is the library on MacDill AFB. While you are at the library you might want to check out a video to watch later.
  • Go to a movie. You can choose from several theaters in the area. Check out the AMC theaters in Brandon and at West Shore mall along with several others in the area. The Muvico in Centro Ybor is also a great place to catch a movie and after you can grab a bite to eat at the Tampa Bay Brewery. For something different in a theater try the Tampa Theatre to see Mr Holmes on Saturday  or Gone With The Wind on Sunday.  Catch a flick and dinner at CineBistro in Hyde Park (this would be an adult only outing).

Just some of the the ideas I am contemplating for the weekend. I am also thinking of hitting up some antique and used book stores. Do you have any favorites to recommend? Share them with me in the comment section. I would also love to hear all of you are spending these rainy days! Stay dry and have a great weekend!

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Things to Do in the Tampa Bay Area

July 23, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Concerts, Events, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

vacation tips courtesyofcenyt

It’s almost the weekend and there are plenty of things to do in the Tampa Bay area.  The weather should be fairly pleasant this weekend, but don’t forgot the sunscreen. Maybe just a quiet weekend at the beach is in store for you!

  • The Rays are back in town against the Orioles for a 3 game series starting on Friday. The first pitch on Friday is at 7:10pm. After Saturday’s game, there is free concert from country music star Kacey Musgraves. This weekend if you have a Rays ticket you can ride the Central Avenue Trolley for free on game day.
  • The Fanboy Expo starts on Friday and runs through the weekend. It will take place at the Grand Hyatt at Rocky Point. Adam West and Burt Ward who played Batman and Robin in the Batman television series will be among the many stars at the Expo.
  • From 26 Jul to 1 Aug, the Glazer Children’s Museum in downtown Tampa is offering free admission for anyone with a Hillsborough County library card and up to three additional people.
  • On Sunday at 3pm, the Tampa Theatre will present “The Sound of Music”.  It’s a sing along show, so you can sing along with the movie! Come early and wander around this historic theatre which was built in 1936.
  • If you have outdoor plans this weekend or later this summer, your first stop should be the Outdoor Recreation office on MacDill AFB and check out all the gear they have to rent.

If you have ideas for the weekend, please share it with us.

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Back to School Tips

July 21, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Events, Military Life, Military Spouse, News, Schools, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

back to school #2

Where did the summer go? Hillsborough County schools will resume classes on August 25th. Some parents are counting the days and others may be dreading that first day! Getting the kids ready to go back to school early instead of at the last minute will let you enjoy more of your summer. Here are some tips to get you and the kids ready.

  • Check your kids medical records and make sure all of their immunizations are up to date.
  • Go to the Hillsborough County School district site to get all the information on the first day of school. This is also a great place to check out the site for your child’s school and get information such as school supplies and summer reading lists.
  • Check in with the MacDill AFB school liaison for details on getting your military child enrolled in school.
  • Check out one of the many back to school fairs held by Hillsborough County Schools. This is also great opportunity to get your child their immunizations.
  • You will also want to check out the Back to School Fair being held August 8th at Westshore Plaza.
  • Back to School Tax free week! This year you get an entire week to shop. Shop from August 7th until August 16th.Visit the Florida Department of Revenue for a list of what will be tax exempt
  • If you have recently made a PCS move to the area you may want to check out these articles: “Ease the PCS Transition with the Youth Sponsorship Program” and “Tips to Enroll in Hillsborough County Schools“.
  • If you are living near MacDill AFB you may even want to get your kids involved with activities through the Youth Center so they can meet other kids in the area and get them out of the house for awhile!

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Home Decor: A PCS Move Positive

July 13, 2015 By: Laura Category: Events, Finances, Military Life, Military Spouse, PCS Move No Comments →

Home Decor Shopping: A PCS Positive

Home Decor Shopping: A PCS Positive

Not all PCS moves are happy occasions. So many times, we are sad to leave the friends and home we love. As I shared recently, I have downsized to a smaller home and felt a lot of these emotions saying goodbye to a large home and a lot of my favorite furniture. As military spouses, we always try to find the bright side of a move and reading Dawn Smiths article ” The Best Part of a PCS: Shopping for Home Decor!” is definitely a way to make the best of a PCS move!

Having a positive outlook during a PCS move is a challenge, but shopping can always change a frown to a smile. When we transferred to Guam, I was a little sad at first. I missed my children I left stateside and I was having a hard time decorating my small house. Well, getting out and finding some great home decor items at the local shops made me happy and also gave me an opportunity to make some new friends! Now that we have downsized, I am finding some new stores in Tampa to get our apartment organized and looking good.

When shopping for home decor at your new PCS destination, do not forget to not only check out the local small businesses but also check out the big box stores. When you visit Home Depot and Lowe’s, don’t forget to  ask for your military discount. I have been to IKEA so many times in the last few weeks that I need my own parking spot! I have also found that my local Target carries a few different items than the one near my home in the suburbs. The Dollar Tree and Big Lots can also  be great resources for home decor. I have also picked a few organizing items at the MacDill AAFES stores.

As Dawn states in her article, make sure while shopping you have design in mind; do not just pick up pieces you love, Make sure they will fit and match the design you are going for. Also keep in mind that next move and whether your new items will survive the packers. A budget is also something you may want to keep in mind. I gave myself the money I made from selling a lot of furniture and clothes at our garage sale, and that was my budget.

I hope in your next PCS move is a positive experience and that you will bloom where you are planted.  I would love for you to share with our readers some of your favorite shopping spots in the comments section of the blog or on the MacDill Happenings Facebook page. Happy shopping!

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photo credit: Faux Bamboo Dresser and Nightstands Coral Pink by HarrisMarksHome liked by wickerparadise, visit our wicker furniture selection. via photopin (license)

The Next Chapter: Downsizing

June 17, 2015 By: Laura Category: Events, Military Life, Military Spouse No Comments →

tiny-house-sanoma-county-2 courtesyoftinyhouseswoon

The next chapter started 2 years ago when my husband retired after 28 years in the Marine Corps. Things did not go my way. I did not get to retire where I wanted, but coming back to warm Florida has been wonderful. But, now we have come to the next chapter. The youngest has graduated and will be flying out to Utah to attend college soon and the house will just be too big. So now comes the downsizing phase.

The husband and I have talked for years about how much fun it would be to live in an urban area where we could walk to restaurants and shopping. And so the hunt began to find that space. We had thought the Hyde Park area would be fun and had it all– shopping , restaurants etc.. all within walking distance but the perfect rental with the perfect price did not materialize. So as any good military spouse does I came up with a plan B! On to a new area and we found a beautiful brand new apartment in another area not as many restaurants but close to shopping and the price is right!


Now to the downsizing part. Yikes! But how do you go from 3,000 square feet house to 1,366 square feet apartment? It is exciting to think of ways to decorate the new space and it is nice to be moving into something brand new. But, as I was going through and deciding what to sell in our garage sale I started having second thoughts. My beloved antique buffet will not fit in the new space and my china hutch may not either. Where will I display my sangria pitchers!!!? I cannot imagine my buffet sitting in storage for a year or more, and I am hoping it will find its way to my son and new daughter-in-law in NC someday.

In the end, though, it was time to purge a lot of things. I finally followed my rule if you have not worn it or used in a year then it is time to get rid of it. Now that my closet is half empty it may be time to go shopping again! Since we are in the next chapter, this move is on us so purging will make the move so much easier and the shoppers at our garage sale got some amazing deals.

The boxes are almost all packed, my washer and dryer are on their way to my daughter’s new home (did I tell you how much I loved my singing  washer and dryer),  and we sign the new lease in a few days. As always, with every move I am excited and sad at the same time. But I look forward to this next phase in my life. Someday my husband and myself will decide what we are going to do when we “grow up” and finally put down roots but in the meantime we are going to enjoy this adventure.

This next chapter of the next chapter is just the beginning of many more adventures. Have you downsized recently? If so what were reasons and how did you handle it? I would love to hear your stories. Please share them here in the comments section or on our Facebook page. Just take a moment to Like us!

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