MacDill Happenings

Things to do in and around MacDill AFB

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You Have PCS Orders, Now What?

May 27, 2015 By: Laura Category: Military Life, Military Spouse, News, PCS Move, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →


You have PCS orders, now what? That is a question a lot of families in the MacDill AFB area are asking themselves at this moment. Receiving PCS orders can be stressful, and lately with the rules on shipping your household goods changing almost on a daily basis having the right resources to plan your move is essential.

I am seeing almost daily on social media questions on how to set up the shipment of your household goods. Along with the questions I have seen some interesting answers. Unfortunately with budget cuts etc.. the DOD has been making changes to the process. Some of the changes proposed this summer are in hopes of expediting the process. What your neighbor or husband’s CO did last year or even last week may not be the up-to-date information. The first step in planning your move is to go right to the horse’s mouth for your answers!

First step after receiving those orders is to go straight to This site has all of the latest information on how to proceed to getting your move set up. If this is your first move, you will need to set up an account with DPS (Defense Personal Property System). This system was put in place to allow you to self-counsel and set up your move without going to the transportation office. Once you have set up or logged into your account, you will be directed on how to proceed with the latest steps in setting up your move. I am no expert in this procedure, but from the looks of the information procedures may differ depending on your present duty station and where your next will be.

The site has nformation on how to prepare for packing, your weight limits, preparations for an overseas move, and checklists. By reading the info on this site, you should be able to answer a lot of those questions I see floating around on social media such as what do I do if I am over my weight limit etc.. If you cannot find the answer to your questions, contact information is included on the home page.

Once your move is set up, check out the great resource page and blog on for great tips on packing, planning your move, how to keep the kids happy, and information on moving with pets. This is also a great resource for information on housing at your new installation.

Good luck on your next adventure! Please share with our readers any tips or suggestions you have about what to do after those PCS orders arrive!!

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Are You Prepared? Hurricane Season 2015

May 11, 2015 By: Laura Category: Health, Military Life, Military Spouse, News, Pets, Self Improvement No Comments →

Are You Prepared?

The 2015 hurricane season begins on 1 June! Are your prepared? This is a great time to get prepared. It’s not a good idea to wait until a hurricane is headed to the MacDill AFB area to start assembling your disaster kit and plan. Being prepared is the best way to keep your family safe.

According to, this may be one of the least active storm seasons in years. That does not mean that one of the seven predicted storms could not cause severe damage here in the Tampa Bay area, so being prepared is a must.

Here are some ways to get prepared for the hurricane season.

  • You  want to pack a basic disaster supply kit to keep on hand not only for the hurricane season, but for any disasters that could occur. When packing your kit, make sure to include items for your pets and any extra guests that may need to evacuate to your home.
  •  Make a list of all the local agencies you may need to contact if a a disastrous storm should occur. Make sure to include the local emergency management office, the Red Cross, and your property insurance agent.
  • You’ll want to keep this information and all important legal documents along with medical cards etc.. in a water tight container with your disaster kit. You will want to include cash.
  • Plan a location other than home to meet if the family gets separated and going home is not an option.
  • Know the location of local shelters and if you have pets check to see which are pet friendly.
  • Know your children’s  school and daycare emergency plan.
  • Make sure to have copies of all prescriptions in your kit, and if you see a storm is a possibility get your prescriptions filled. This would also include your pets’ medications.
  • If you own a boat or water device, have a plan; and if you store these items at a facility make sure you know what policies are in place in regards to the care of your items.
  • Develop a plan that the entire family understands. You can download this Family Emergency Plan Worksheet to share with the family. Keep a copy in your disaster kit and maybe even in your car. Another great idea would be to take a photo of it and keep it as a file in your phone.
  • Know the FEMA guidelines for evacuating.
  • FEMA NOAA, the National Weather Service and Hillsborough County have a lots of great information on how to prepare for the up coming Hurricane season.
  • For those of you living in waterfront property or a flood zone, make sure your flood insurance is up to date.

Being prepared for the 2015 hurricane season will keep your stress level down should the MacDill AFB area be hit by one of the predicted storms. If you already have a disaster kit assembled, make sure you check that the items included are up to date. Here is to hoping we have a very quiet storm season!

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VA Loan Scam: Do Not Become A Victim

March 24, 2015 By: Laura Category: Finances, Military Life, Military Spouse, News, Self Improvement No Comments →

canvahousemoney (1)

Is it a VA loan scam or a deal? You cannot turn the TV on these days without hearing about some new scam. Here in the MacDill AFB area, we have the card skimmers at the gas station and on ATM’s. We also have heard the stories about the door-to-door security sales men who take your money and never install your system. The saddest scam stories are those involving our senior citizens and veterans.

Being educated and aware is the best way to keep your self safe from these thieves. For example, the IRS or your bank should never call you with a problem and then need all of your personal information; they should have that on file. If you receive a call that does not seem right, ask the caller to give you a call back number–if they are hesitant, that would be an indicator something is up. If you feel the need to call back use the 800 number you would normally use, not the number from the caller. But how do you know if that refinancing deal is a VA loan scam? Karina Gafford of shares with us how to snoop out a scam.

Read More Here…….

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Things to do Near MacDill AFB

January 15, 2015 By: Laura Category: Concerts, Events, Military Spouse, News, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

MacDill AFB gate-courtesy of de. wilkipedia

The weekend is almost here and you may be looking for some things to do near MacDill AFB. There is a lot to do this three-day weekend from celebrating Martin Luther King Jr to taking in an art festival. If your plans include enjoying the cooler weather at one the area’s many amusement parks do not forget to stop by the IT&T office located at the AAFES exchange on board MacDill. Here is a look at the great things to do this weekend:

  • Drum Major for Justice Parade in St Petersburg on Monday January 19th. Parade will begin at Third Ave. South and MLK St. finishing at Vinoy Park. Parade begins at 11:00AM Check out the link for  information on more festivities celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.
  • The Black Heritage Festival will be held from January 15th thru the 25th.
  • The Tampa Bay 26th annual Martin Luther King parade will be held on Monday and is part of the above Black Heritage Festival. The parade begins 21st Ave and 15th Street ending at Osborne Avenue. Parade will begin at noon.
  • Florida RV Super Show 2015. Need a new RV then check this event out at the Florida State Fair Grounds. A replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall will be on display at this event.
  • Hops for Heroes-Craft Beer Festival. The creators of this event encourage everyone to come out and support and celebrate wounded veterans. The event includes craft beer from many local breweries and all proceeds will go to Join the fun from 2-5PM.
  • Sunshine Music & Blues Festival. This event takes place Saturday January 17th in Vinoy Park and starts at noon.
  • Looking for some more college football then you will want to take in the East West Shrine Game taking place Saturday January 17th in Tropicana Field. Kick off is at 4PM.
  • 10th Annual Suncoast Arts Festival being held in Wesley Chapel. Enjoy this great art festival on January 17th and January 18th.
  • Sarasota Fine Arts Festival is being held January 17th and 18th being held on South Gulfstream Ave.
  • 2015 Treasure Island Sport Kite Festival Championship. The event is located on Treasure Island Beach behind Thunderbird Beach Resort. You can catch the kites flying Saturday and Sunday.

So many great things to do in the MacDill AFB area this weekend. If you have an event  you would like to share please do so in the comments section below. Enjoy this weekend!

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New Year’s Celebrations, Events and Resolutions

December 31, 2014 By: Laura Category: Events, News, Self Improvement, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year to all of you. New Year’s Celebrations, Events and Resolutions will all be apart of the New Year. How will you celebrate the New Year here in the MacDill AFB area? Will you celebrate at one of the local events ? Will you be making New Year’s resolutions?

Did you know the first recorded New Year’s celebration can be traced back to the ancient Babylonians? It was the Romans who first celebrated on January 1st when Julius Cesar introduced the Julian calendar. With the addition of the Julian calendar Cesar proclaimed the January 1st would be the first day of the New Year. This began the tradition of parties to ring in the New Year!

New Years celebrations brings more traditions and for many of us they come from our heritage. For example our family always has some kind of noodle usually lo mein to symbolize a long life. I have friends who always have black eyed peas on New Years day to herald financial success. Many people serve ham or some sort of pork to represent progress. My grandparents would serve rice pudding with a hidden almond I believe it was to symbolize good fortune.

Here in the MacDill AFB area we celebrate with fireworks, parties and many of us ring in the New Year with a list of resolutions. The area will host many celebrations including First Night in St Petersburg and Light Up Clearwater. Will you be making a New Years resolution? staff writer wrote a great article on resolutions. In “Should you Make a New Year’s Resolution?” Jen points out several ways you can actually achieve your resolutions. I will be using her ideas especially about keeping it small and making one change at a time.

How ever you choose to celebrate this New Year’s Eve enjoy and be responsible. Please share some of the ways you will using you family traditions to celebrate here in the comments section of the blog or share on the MacDill Happenings Facebook page.

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