Tag Archives: Harker Heights

All Summer and No Plans Makes Mommy a Dull Girl (AKA crazy)

7 Jun

The other day when I awoke I thought about the ten errands I needed to run and started planning my day in my head, when I immediately stopped my thought process. How the heck am I going to grocery shop with the kids??? An awful picture immediately flashed before my eyes of kids fighting in the grocery cart, whining for toys, crying because they didn’t get their choice of a sugary-filled breakfast…and so on and so forth.

When both of your kids are in school full-time you become pretty spoiled when it comes to making those quick trips here or there. The best way to get kids out of the house and mommies back into the world of sanity are camps. After the camps run out (or the money) we always tend to hit our favorite, local spots. Killeen Independent School District is very good at sending flyers home toward the end of the year with numerous camps available throughout the summer. Along with what you will get in your child’s folder, below you will find a few other camps we have utilized over our time or other random places you can take them when you are looking for some good, nearby fun. The links will take you directly to the summer activities/schedules. Good luck parents and stay sane!!!

University of Mary Hardin Baylor  – camps including art and music, sports and swim lessons

Texas Tumblers – kind of like a day care, but they make it fun with weekly, themed camps. My son went during the science week and part of his adventures was going to Inner Space Caverns.

Wazoo’s Indoor Inflatable Play Center – Perfect for a hot day!!! It will wear them out!

Lions Junction Family Water Park – Temple

Summer Fun Water Park – Belton

Salado Creek – (pictured above) This is a wonderful place my kids love to go. The link will take you to Pace Park which is a public park in Salado. If you drive just past the park, you will see a public parking space and just beyond that…the creek. Take some lawn chairs, some rafts and watch your kiddos enjoy one of my favorite childhood pasttimes…floating the creek!  We also took nets to catch minnows. Be sure they wear some rubber-soled,river shoes…the rocks can get slippery!

Which Hair Salon I’m Hooked On…

17 May

I’ve been to a few salons during our time here at Ft. Hood, and really there’s nothing bad to report at all. Each hair dresser was very good. In fact, I’m glad to say I don’t think I’ve had an AWFUL haircut during our time here. I’ve also been everywhere when it comes to my hair. Very short (we’re talking Halle Berry pixie cut), the famous Posh Bob and the long layered look ( and not in that order).

Below is a pic of the bob I wanted and what I ended up getting.  Not bad if I do say so myself! 🙂

 

The reason I switched hair dressers over the past three years??? Sometimes, I just like to change it up. All in all, I’d recommend the following places to get your hair done in the Fort Hood area:

1. Highlights Salon and Spa – They are currently under renovation but they have great hair stylists and colorists. I am currently going to Melinda there.  She’s AWESOME and sooo sweet!  Brandon is also a great stylist/colorist there.

2. Shelly’s Day Spa and Salon – Very nice place. I used Garmil (yes that’s how you spell and pronounce her name) for a long time. I dont’ know what she’s like as far as coloring goes, but she gives great short hair cuts! I showed her two pictures and said I wanted something in between and by golly, when she was done, that’s exactly what I got!

3. EcoBlue Spa and Salon – Don’t know much about this place because I have never been. A few of my friends go and their hair always looks AMAZING! It’s an AVEDA salon so I’m sure you can’t go wrong! Probably more pricey than the places mentioned above.

4. ULTA Salon – I’ve never visited here either, but again have had numerous friends that have used their salon and have been happy with the results.

Have A Diva That Likes to Dance?

18 Apr

In the three years we’ve been here at Ft. Hood, I have had my youngest, Ella, enrolled in some form of dance the entire time. The first year I can honestly say I think I paid a monthly due so she could simply pose and primp in front of a mirror. (the picture below is proof) 🙂  Thankfully, these days I feel we are  finally getting our money’s worth.

Ella, my little ballerina

Our first two years here, she was enrolled at Texas Tumblers. It’s located in Harker Heights off of Indian Trail. (close to the new library) Overall,  I’d give Texas Tumbler’s  dance program a C+.

We loved the dance instructor there, however, I felt the place grew too big too fast.  Texas Tumblers undoubtedly has the monopoly on any kind of gymnastics program in the Ft. Hood area. In my opinion, they should stick with just that…gymnastics. The dance program always felt a little neglected to me. Classes were very full with only one instructor. Drop-off and Pick-up was AWFUL!  The parking lot (which isn’t big to begin with)  was always full and they release all gymnastics/dance students at the same time. I never understood why they didn’t stagger the times to make the routine easier for parents and kids alike. Also, the recitals were very long…unless you don’t consider 4 hours of dancing divas long????

This year, we enrolled Ella at Studio 203 off of Stan Schleuter Loop. She has been taking tap and ballet there since August and I feel she is really learning the basics of each dance form.  The music is very appropriate (little girl classic style)  There are also 2-3 dance instructors per class. We are preparing for the upcoming recital next month and the process has been very organized, precise and chaos-free thus far. Plus, they have split the recitals up so that they won’t run as long. (bigger kids =difference recital)

I take Ella  to Studio 203 twice a week for a tap and a ballet class.  For those two classes we pay $55 altogether. At Texas Tumblers, she was getting tap and ballet in a once-a-week combined class and I was paying $50. 

Luckily, there are a few other places that offer dance lessons in Killeen. I’ve also heard good things about A&K Dance and Acro including the fact that they do a recital twice a year.

Studio 203 Dance Centre

(254) 526-6778

www.studio203dancecentre.com

 

It’s Almost Summer, Do You Know If Your Sprinklers Are Working??? (insert scary-movie sound effect)

13 Apr

 

It gets mighty hot here in the Lonestar State! June can sometimes start out at a sweltering 104. Not trying to scare all you fair-weather friends off, but it’s the truth! 🙂

With tha t said, when buying  a home around here, a sprinkler system is pretty much the status quo.  Our home came with a in- ground sprinkler system already put in. Last summer,  however, we had a bit of a hiccup with our system.

A few of my sprinkler heads decided to peter-out and the temps were well over 100 degrees.  I’m a bit of a plant lover so any thing that threatens the livelihood of my  grass, plants, flowers, shrubs etc…gets me in panic mode 🙂

I knew the problem was way out of my league, so I called the experts in. After making 10 phone calls ( and I’m not exaggerating when I say it was 10) I finally got someone who said they could come check it out that week. Everyone else was well booked for the summer. Royel Johnson is the person who saved my day, week and eventually my summer.

Royel  had me fixed in a few days and was wonderful. He usually came in the evenings. (from what I remember, he is a retired Army EMT and began the sprinkler repair business as a side job awhile back) He even took the time to show me how to run my sprinkler system…something that had been very foreign to me. Now, thanks to everything he taught me…I’m the guru on sprinkler systems. If my friends are having a problem or need me to schedule their systems come summer time..I’m their gaL!

I’m thankful for folks, especially former Army folks,  like Royel. If yours sprinklers should need fixing, I highly recommend him ( and be sure to take notes..he’s full of knowledge on a variety of things)

 Johnson’s Sprinkler Service

Installation and Repair of Sprinklers

Lawn Maintenance and Fertilizing

254-258-4836

 

Our Pooch Person…

29 Mar

We are pretty big pet people. As of now our humble abode is host to three fish: Jesus, Sugar and Flour; two dogs: Jake and Ruby; and we recently were hosting a rabbit: Mia.

Unfortunately, this summer our friendly feline, Tortilla, (yes that was his kid-given name)  decided to take a permanent vacation, after leaving one night and never coming back.

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My recommendation for an off-post veterinarian goes to Killeen Veterinarian Clinic.  When we adopted Tortilla from the Killeen Animal Shelter we had to get him snipped and vaccinated within 30 days of adoption (city rules). I called around to get prices for the simple procedure and was shocked at how much places were charging.  We were getting quoted $350 for the neuter procedure under most clinic’s “cat wellness program”.

I finally called Killeen Veterinary Clinic. They were one of the cheaper quotes, so I questioned their services. Three years later, I am still impressed with their animal care, service and prices.  Our veteriarian there is Dr. David Smonko. He has now helped us through numerous cat appointments as well as provided us with ample canine support. His assistant, Jovana Pardo, is wonderul with pets and is such a joy to be around.  They also provide bathing and boarding for pets, which was a lifesaver one Spring Break for us after last-minute vacation plans.

I will say that out of my friends that live here, I am one of the only gals who uses Killeen Veterinary Clinic. Not because they are bad, but because they are located right off of Ft. Hood Street, about a 15 minute drive if you live in Harker Heights.  A few of my friends would recommend Aztec Pet Hospital in Harker Heights.  I’ve heard their prices are good and their staff is friendly, but  they also accept walk-ins so your wait can take a little longer, even with an appointment.

As a side note…..if anyone sees a white,  fluffy cat with a green and a blue eye who answers to the name of “Tortilla”, please contact me! 😉 We miss you big guy!

Killeen Veterinary Clinic

1321 Pershing Drive, Killeen – (254) 634-0242

or

Aztec Pet Hospital

104 West FM 2410 Road, Harker Heights  (254) 699-6725 

He’s On My Speed Dial….And It Ain’t My Hubby

26 Mar

I’m starting this blog off on a sad note despite the title. I had something happen to me recently that really put things in perspective.  I was at Kohl’s picking out a new steam cleaner for the house when I noticed a sweet young girl next to me doing the same thing. We started comparing cleaners, prices…and then life. After talking to her, I discovered that she had been recently widowed. Her husband, an active duty Soldier, died six months ago while on a training mission at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. She has an 11-year-old son and despite the tragic hand her family had been dealt, seemed to be taking it all in stride.

 I became more choked up than her in that small Kohl’s aisle, but truth be told…we were both crying.  I was happy to hear that her experience with the Army after her Soldier’s death had been a good one. We always hear the horror stories of the casualty notifications and how they can go wrong, scarring a family for life. Although I don’t know the details, she told me that she knew she was going to be taken care of and she had the Army and it’s people to thank. She will soon be finishing her pharmacists degree and plans on living  and working here in the Ft. Hood area.  She’s very involved with Ft. Hood’s Army Community Services, SOS (Survivor Outreach Services) program,  and now spends most of her free time speaking to Army groups on how they can better the process for families when there’s a casualty.

The point of this story, is that while talking to this brave, strong woman…she told me the hardest thing for her now is when something in her home needs fixing. She had always relied on her husband for those things…and now was doing it all herself.  After telling me this, I immediately, whipped out  my phone and looked up the man I keep on my speed dial. He’s a local handy man named Wayne White. He works mostly in the Harker Heights area, but he is good, polite and very reasonable. She took his name and  number as well as mine, and we made plans to have coffee down the road. I hope it wasn’t just small talk, and that we really do sit down for that coffee. 

I am a firm believer that God crosses people’s paths for a reason and I know that on a day I was too concerned about getting my carpets cleaned for my next social function…God stopped me and introduced me to this remarkable woman. I hope that my simple gesture of handing her a phone number, will help her in the future.

I’m sure there are many handymen in the Ft. Hood area that are very good, but if you’re in need…here’s mine.

Wayne White 254-535-5873

Ay Caramba!! Where’s the good Mexican food?!?!??!

25 Mar

I’ve been on a bit of a food kick here lately.  Must be the time of year. The time when us gals deprive ourselves of the good stuff so we hope the summer swimsuit season is a successful one!!!

That must be why I’ve been blogging on the best  burgers, Thai food, italian food restaurants, etc… in the Ft. Hood area lately!

Being that I am a Garcia (married) and before that was a Trevino, I am definitely a Mexican food junkie. I tend to think no restaurant can do it better than my mother-in-law. Her rice and beans are something to brag about for sure. FYI…here’s her beans recipe . 🙂

Luckily, if you get orders to Ft. Hood and are a Mexican-food-fan, you’re in luck! There are some amazing places to eat in the Lone Star State, especially Central Texas.

By far and away my favorite place “locally” is Chuy’s Mexican restaurant. I say “locally” very loosely because the closest Chuy’s is in Round Rock. It’s about a 45 minute drive from our home in Harker Heights but the food is AWESOME and worth the drive. If you ever have company fly in and you have to pick them up in Austin, this is an ideal place to stop and eat on your way in.

 While you’re waiting for a table (and yes…you will wait) head over to their bar area where you will find a trunk of a car that has been turned into an all-you-can eat chips and hot sauce source…

 

 

Their menu is as eclectic as Austin. But no matter what you order, you can’t go wrong. Everything’s a winner there. My favorite are their fajitas..and of course…their mango margaritas. Man, I’m getting hungry just writing this!

Favorite Mexican Restaurant #2 is much closer. My vote goes to Taqueria Mexico #3. Yes, there are a few of them around these parts. We are lucky enough to have the #3 version just down the street on Knight’s Way in Harker Heights.  The food is very good. I’m particularly fond of their hot sauce or salsa as many  Northerners call it. When I’m entertaining I tend to stop at their drive-thru and order a large tub of it. It’s a crowd-pleaser. Their tortilla soup and beef fajita tacos are our usual orders.  It has also become a Saturday morning favorite thanks to their drive-thru and amazing selection of breakfast tacos!

 

 One complaint I have against them is the fact that they don’t serve beer/alcohol. From what I understand, they aren’t able to get their liquor license because they are located in close proximity to a church. But the good thing about that…is that it’s BYOB. (not always a bad thing either!)  Happy Eating!!!

Taqueria Mexico

  526 East FM 2410 Road, Harker Heights, TX 76548-5687

(254) 690-0155

Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant

2320 N Interstate 35, Round Rock, TX

(512) 255-2211 ‎

 

Lawnmower Repair

24 Mar
 
 
When Murphy’s law kicks in…it’s never pretty. Murphy decided to rear his ugly head on the one day I was in the mood to throw myself a pity party…the day my husband left for a year-long deployment to Iraq. That morning, in order to distract myself from the inevitable heartbreak, I decided to get out the lawnmower and mow my front yard. What should happen 2 minutes into my venture??? I hit a large rock and bent my mower blade. Did I mention it was the first time I had used my brand new mower?  Talk about bad luck!
 
I asked around and someone told me about this little place in Copperas Cove that did a pretty good job repairing lawn mowers, AJ’s.  That day, I loaded the mower up and took it on over. (Copperas Cove is about a 15 minute drive away)  Within 10 minutes of pulling into the place, the nice man had pulled out my mower from my backseat, took it to the back, and came out just a few minutes later  with a brand new blade and an invoice that didn’t leave me broke. They were nice, quick and cheap. What more could a girl ask for???
 
I highly recommend them…especially on a day when Murphy was wreaking havoc on my mentality.
 
AJ’s Repair and Services
 302 East Robertson Avenue
Copperas Cove, TX 76522-2930
(254) 542-8000

Lawn Care Recommendation

10 Mar

When my hubby was deployed last year, there were a few things both he and I agreed would make life easier if we just paid someone to do it. Two options on the “make life easier” table were hiring a house cleaning service twice a week or hire someone to take care of the lawn twice a month.

Most would probably choose the lawn care.  But me…I wanted a maid. 

Lawn care does not intimidate me. I actually LOVE doing it. You get sweaty, dirty and nicked up at times, but when it’s all said and done there is nothing I love more  than mowing ,weed-eating, turning on my sprinklers, opening a beer and basking in my post-lawn care glory.

I’d rather pay someone any day to clean my toilets. Especially since I’m apparently raising a boy with REALLY bad aim! 😉

The funny part is after we got bids for both the maid and lawn care options, we were shocked that we could afford both luxuries. Mostly because of what a steal Reyes and Reyes Landscaping is.

Reyes and Reyes is a local lawn care and landscaping team run by two brothers. They are fast, cheap and very friendly. For my entire front and back yard they charged a total of $30. Not bad at all when you take in the size of my backyard!

We also hired them last Spring for a big backyard project. When I had Benjamin Reyes come over and give me the bid for the work, it was about all I could do to not gasp when I heard how low of a bid he gave me. 

Reyes & Reyes Landscaping

English and Spanish

254-760-3562 or 718-6410

Getting orally educated…

8 Feb

I’m a bit of a high-maintenance gal…just ask my husband and the frequent trips I make to GAP or the nearest Outlet Mall.  However,  if my dentist had any say in the matter, he’d tell you I’m a pretty low maintenance creature…ESPECIALLY in the teeth department.

I’ve never had any major work done. Just the biannual cleanings…and to be honest I’m kind of glad I only have one dentist to recommend. If I had had multiple visits to different dentists for numerous oral problems, that would mean that I had been plagued with a painful kisser…and the thought of that makes my stomach queasy.

I’m thankful I have a low maintenance mouth and I happily recommend Dental Images if you do too. Dr. DeLaPaz is friendly, fast, and to the point. One visit, I timed a little too close to the kid’s after-school pick up. I alerted the nurses I only had about 15 minutes and they had me in and out in jiffy. His office is in Harker Heights, right across from the Super Wal Mart.