MacDill Happenings

Things to do in and around MacDill AFB

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5 Tips to Enjoy Back to School

August 25, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Events, Military Spouse, Schools No Comments →


For most of the MacDill AFB area school is back in session. I am sure some parents are jumping for joy and others are probably crying their eyes out on this first day of school! I know I was crying on my oldest child’s first day and had an ugly cry Sunday night after dropping my baby at college! That is when the I decided it was time to find ways to enjoy back to school!! Here are my 5 tips to enjoy back to school.

  1. Take a deep breath. Just enjoy the moment and be proud of your child and your self for getting to the first day of school.
  2. Take a nap. After all that shopping, getting hair cuts and school physicals we are all exhausted. If you are now alone in the house whoo hoo great time for a nap!!
  3. Time for a pedicure and a manicure or maybe a massage! If you still have little ones at home, a trip to the beach or park might make up for the massage. Get your spouse to watch the kids one evening and do the pedicure or massage then, you deserve it!
  4. Get organized. Now you may be thinking how is that enjoyable? Well, if you get organized now you will have more free time to enjoy later. Buy a calendar, planner or a dry erase board to keep all those dates and activities organized. I always had a folder for each child to keep all those school papers organized and in one place.
  5. Write down your memories. Along with all those first day pictures you will want to record those special moments. For instance, when your son comes home and tells you he has a girlfriend on his first day of kindergarten!

Now go take your nap or get your pedicure and enjoy these first days of back to school. You will be glad you did once all those school activities get started. Share your back to school pics with us on our Facebook page.

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Flea Market Shopping Near MacDill AFB

August 25, 2015 By: Laura Category: Events, Military Life, Military Spouse, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →


Flea market shopping is all the rage these days including here in the MacDill AFB area. Florida’s great weather means we can catch Flea Market fever all year long. Shopping the local Flea Markets and resale stores is a great way to furnish a home on a budget.

As a military spouse being able to find fun decorative pieces along with furniture not only helps with the cost of a PCS move but gets me out to discover my new town. Watching way too much HGTV and DIY has encouraged me to buy items I may have turned my nose up at a few years ago. With a recent adventure in downsizing, I have really been hitting the Flea Markets and resale stores here in the MacDill area. Here is a list of some of the great Flea Markets in the area:

Along with these great Flea Markets, Tampa is home to several great thrift stores such as The Salvation Army and The Sunshine Thrift Store. With all of these options the Flea Market shopper in you will never be bored!! If you have a favorite place to shop for bargains please share them here with us on the blog or on our Facebook page. So, get the suntan lotion and a bottle of water and head on out to find the bargains.

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photo credit: DSC_0215 via photopin (license)






Things to Do in the Tampa Bay Area

August 14, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Concerts, Events, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

vacation tips courtesyofcenyt

The weekend is here and there are plenty of things to do in the Tampa Bay area.  It may be rainy this weekend, but don’t forgot the sunscreen. Maybe just a quiet weekend at the beach is in store for you if it doesn’t rain!

  • Ace Golf driving ranges in Brandon and Riverview are offering one free bucket of balls to children up to age 15 every day. Nothing like some free summer time fun for the kids!
  • Enjoy your Friday evening on the Hillsborough River at Brews and Bites by the Tampa Convention Center. There will be beer and food trucks on hand to help you enjoy the outdoors. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate!
  • Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa is offering a $15 admission to the zoo for Florida residents. The final day for the $15 admission price is this Sunday.
  • The Rays are out on a road trip, but the Clearwater Theshers take on the Tampa Yankees in minor league baseball in Clearwater on Friday at 6:30pm. There will be a free concert by a Dave Matthews tribute band following the game. Tickets range from $5 to $9.50. Bright House Field in Clearwater is just on the other side of the Courtney Campbell Parkway.
  • If you’re a veteran or active duty military member, make sure you sign up for the Rays Honor Pass so that you can receive 2 free tickets for the next home game!
  • On Saturday morning starting 9am, check out the Ybor City Saturday Market for fresh produce, baked goods and live entertainment.
  • On Saturday starting at 2pm, it’s the Patel Conservatory End-of-Summer Music Blowout at the TECO theater at the Straz Center in downtown Tampa. Students involved in Rock School, Jazz Improvisation and Patel-A-Cappella will display their talents. If you are interested in the Patel Conservatory, then this is a great opportunity to see what they have to offer!
  • FishHawk Ranch  in Lithia is having a Food Truck Rally on Saturday evening from 5pm to 9pm. It will take place at the Osprey Club. One of my favorite food trucks, Aloha to Go, will be there!
  • On Sunday, the Tampa Theatre will present a classic mafia movie “Goodfellas” starting at 3pm.
  • Finish up your weekend at Yoga in the Park at Curtis Hixon Park from 6pm to 7pm. It’s free, just bring your mat!

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

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Are You Ready For School to Start?

August 10, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Events, Military Life, Military Spouse, PCS Move, Schools, Self Improvement, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

Are You Ready For Back The First Day of  School?

Are You Ready For the First Day of School?

Are you ready for school to start? I am sure a lot of parents are enthusiastically nodding their heads yes right now! Some of us, including myself, may be a little sad (my baby is going to college out of state). The first day of school can be a very stressful and exciting time. As parents, we want to make sure our children are prepared for the new year– not only with school supplies but mentally as well. So how can we be ready for school to start?

First we can take advantage of the great back to school tax-free holiday going on right now in the MacDill AFB area. The tax-free holiday started Friday and will continue until midnight Sunday August 16th. I have noticed a lot of the retail stores with big sales on school supplies to get you shopping. The Florida Department of Revenue has all the information on what products can be purchased under the tax-free holiday.

Next, take a look at the article “Back to School Checklist” by fellow writer Dawn Smith. This checklist can help you whether you are new to the MacDill AFB area or a Tampa Bay native. Dawn makes some great suggestions on getting your child mentally ready for school. Her suggestions for getting your kids involved in activities prior to school starting will definitely help with those first day of school jitters.

Take your kids to visit their school. Take part in some of the great back to school fairs going on in the area. Did you know MacDill AFB has its own school liaison officer? Her name is Nelly Richards and she’s a great contact for parents to use when navigating the Hillsborough County schools. The school district also employs several military family liaisons. These are great resources to use to make sure your child is using all the resources available to them as a military dependent. This information may be especially important if you have moved to the area recently and are still trying to find a new home and get the kids enrolled in school before the first day of school August 25th.

So are you ready for the first day of school? Talking with a few of my teacher friends, I realize not only should parents make sure the child is prepared with school supplies, but they need to be mentally prepared by knowing what is expected of them, what the school looks like, and that as a parent you will be there to support them in this new adventure. I think as a parent being ready for the first day of school helps me also. Knowing they have everything they need, knowing they are headed to a safe and happy environment, and lastly knowing they are happy and as excited for the first day as I am will make the first day a little less stressful. I know I will be crying like I did when I took my first to kindergarten, and I am sure many of you will be too!!

I would love to share with my readers how many of you get ready for the first day of school. I know you all have some great tricks up your sleeve, especially my fellow military spouses. Please share them here in the comments section of the blog or on the MacDill Happenings Facebook page. You can even send us a tweet! Just click the buttons above!

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Weekend Happenings Near MacDill AFB

August 07, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Events, Military Life, Military Spouse, News, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →


The weather man is saying this weekend will be a lot nicer than last weekend. This is great news since the MacDill area has a lot of fun activities going on this weekend near MacDill AFB.
Weekend Happenings Near MacDill AFB:
The Rays take on the Mets in a 3 game series starting on Friday. The first pitch is at 7:10pm at the Trop. The Rays are only 2 games out of the last wild game card, so there is hope. Along with better pitching and hitting, the Rays can make a run for the playoffs. Remember, active duty, retire and former military personnel can receive up to 2 free tickets for each game for the rest of the season. On Friday night, ladies will receive a free Rays bag.

On Friday starting at 5pm, it’s Dive-In Movie Pool Party at the MacDill AFB pool. “Shark Tale” will be shown starting at 8pm, but before then there will be DJ, and food and drinks available for a nominal price.

Lowry Park Zoo is offering $15 admission for Florida residents until the 16th of Aug.

It’s First Friday at Channelside Bay Plaza with free entertainment,
children’s activities, music, vendors and food and drink specials starting
at 5:30pm.

On Sunday, Westshore Plaza will have a Back to School Fair with live
entertainment, hands-on activities, workshops, speaker sessions, a scavenger hunt and local exhibitors will be providing school-related information.

On Sunday at 3pm, the classic musical “West Side Story” will be shown at the downtown Tampa Theatre. The historic theatre built in the year 1926 is must visit place in Tampa.

I hope everyone has a great weekend ! If you have any great events you would like to share please do so in the comments section of the blog or like our Facebook page and share there.

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