Tag Archives: killeen

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!

Summer Vacation Bible Schools

7 Jun

 

If you couldn’t already tell by the 100-plus temps in Killeen, Texas…SUMMER IS OFFICIALLY ON!

Luckily, there are a ton of things this town offers to keep your little ones busy and to keep you from going insane the next three months. One of my kiddos’ favorite things is to attend some sort of Vacation Bible School. We have attended one every year since we’ve been here and they still remember all their songs, friends and fun that they made at each one.

 

I have found two VBS programs. They happen in the next few weeks….so register ASAP if you want to take part.

 

1. First Baptist Killeen  – VBS this year  is June 13-17, 9 am – noon. There theme is “Big Apple Adventure”.  Cost is free. You can register your children online. They must be 4 years of age at the time or about to start fifth grade year.

2. Grace Lutheran – VBS this year is June 27 – July 1, 9 am – noon. They don’t have any information online about this year’s program, but my children went last year and enjoyed it very much. Last year, they asked parents to make a $5 donation to help with snacks for the program. You must register at the church office which is open Monday-Friday 9:30-3:30.

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.

Best Sushi In Town…

16 May

Our favorite sushi place in the Ft. Hood area is Wild Wasabi. It isn’t necessarily convenient..in fact, that’s probably why we don’t order it more often. It’s located on Old Veteran’s Highway,very close to the W.S. Young intersection. (Right next door to the McDonald’s)  It’s further than we’d like and at times it can be hard to reach due to Ft. Hood traffic so keep that in mind when planning your night.  Despite that obstacle, we are quite impressed with their selection of sushi rolls. Our favorite…HANDS DOWN… is #69 “Burning Love” and also the Texas Roll.  They don’t have a hibachi grill but other typical Japanese and Korean food is available along with sushi. Be sure to check it out!!! 

***Sorry, no menu available online! ***

1914 E VETERANS MEMORIAL BD

 Killeen, TX 76541 

(254) 690-6809

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

 

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 

She has to run everyday or she goes crazy, she’s like a Border Collie…

2 Feb

The ABC show “Modern Family” has recently become a favorite between my husband and me. For my husband, I think the latina bombshell, Sophia Vegara, has something to do with it…..

For me, it’s the humor that fits right in with my mentality. On a recent episode the quirky dad, “Phil”, summed up my existence in a few funny lines:

Phil: She has to run everyday or she goes crazy, she’s like a Border Collie.
Claire: Did you just compare me to a dog?!?
Phil: The smartest in the world!

Let me be frank, if I don’t get a run in or a great workout of some sort, the whole house suffers. I’m not saying it’s healthy, I’m just sayin’. 😉 I know I’m not alone in my crazy mentality either. Some of my best friends in the world are my gym buddies. That’s why it’s very imporant for me to find the right gym with the right resources to fit my needs.

The gym that works for me here at Ft. Hood for a number of reasons is Gold’s Gym/Killeen. It’s a bit of a drive from our home in Harker Heights.  Between 10-15 minutes. I did do my reserach in this arena though and I’ll happily make that drive for what they offer:

  • Kid’s Club – a clean environment, coloring, movies, big jungle gym, etc.
  • Great classes – my favorite is spin… but they also offer zumba, pilates, body pump, body combat etc..
  • indoor pool – you have to be smart and plan ahead (sometimes water aerobics will take up most of the pool) but a great pool with lanes for when you need to swim off that energy
  • CARDIO CINEMA!!! I have never been much of a treadmill runner but put me in a dark room with a movie to distract me and I’ll run all day. It’s a great way to blow off some deployment steam AND get a break from the kiddos while watching a great flick!

The gym, being a franchise, does make you sign a contract but as long as you present military orders and give them ample notice (I believe 60 days) you can walk away with a happy experience.

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www.goldsgym.com/killeentx

902 W. Central Texas Expressway
Suite 100 B
Killeen , TX 76541
Phone:254-953-4653

What Pre Schools are making the grade…

26 Jan

Ella and Mrs. Carmen, St. Christopher's Pre School, 4-year old class

ST. CHRISTOPHER’S PRE SCHOOL
My daughter, Ella, attended St. Christopher’s for two years during our three years at Ft. Hood. It was a close knit community where many of the moms knew each other and did gym dates and lunch together after dropping off their precious bundles.

The hours are pefect because pick-up time is just before KISD lets out so you have ample time for both.

School hours are 8:45 to 2:15 Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Some moms have trouble with this because they view it as paying to have their child nap. I, however was ecstatic. My daughter was never a napper and usually ended up helping the teacher during nap time. They also helped me a great deal in the potty training department. Sometimes, a child is way more inclined to listen to their teacher over their own mom (as many of you can probably relate)

Other facts:Classes were generally around 10-15 students with a main teacher and an aid as well. All classrooms have bathrooms. We packed a sack-lunch every day. The school provided snacks. Every Wednesday was chapel. They do a very cute Christmas program where the kids dress up as angels, shepherds, sheep, etc…

For our family, it was a pefect fit. I felt Ella learned her fundamentals (letters and numbers) in a very fun, positive and close knit environment.

One thing that stands out in my mind about our time there is one day I had had THAT kind of morning. You know the ones you have about half way through a deployment when your emotional and mental state is…”delicate” I had been rushed out of the door, had an FRG meeting on post that morning and realized that I had totally forgot Ella’s lunch. Carla, the school’s assitant director, called to remind me. I think she could sense the stress in my voice. She asked me if Ella liked hot dogs and chips. I said yes. She said not to worry, she could easily put a little lunch together for her. She was my miracle worker on a day I really needed one. That is one thing that sticks out in my mind about St. Christopher’s. It’s a mom-n-pop type of pre school in which the staff generally looks out for your child and you. They are aware that this is a miltiary community and are big supporters of us temporarily single gaLs.

Cost: $235 month with a twice a year supply fee of $50

For more information:
http://stchris-online.com/
2800 Trimmier Rd
Killeen, TX 76542
254-634-7474

GRACE LUTHERAN PRE SCHOOL
Many of my friends might argue with me that Grace Lutheran or “Grace” as many of them call it, is the best pre school in the Ft. Hood area. I think I was initially turned off because of how long the waiting list is for the school. The day that sign up begins, I have heard stories of moms waiting at 4 a.m. to make sure their child was signed up. Hard to believe that is the situation in a small town like Killeen!

There is no doubt that it is a great school and maybe that is the reason for the wait. Their web site was down today so I could not look up their information. Army gaL paL Erica Van Epps’s daughter, Addison, attended and I know that she loved the school. I’m hoping that she will chime in on this post with her postive experience there and divulge more details as well.

Erica, the floor is yours: 😉

From gaL paL Erica:

Thanks for giving me the floor E!

So, I would agree Fort Hood is very lucky to have not one, but two awesome pre-schools.

We picked Grace because for us the hours and days worked better. I liked that we went every other day instead of 3 days in a row and I didn’t want to pay for a nap and lunch when Addison could just do that at home with me. Now, I will say that when we moved to Fort Hood she was 18 months and Grace was the only school that would take one as young as she was (I don’t know what Saint Christopher’s age requirement is).

I know the waiting in line for “admission” is intimidating for some. When I got Addie into Grace we hadn’t even PCS’d to Hood yet and I was able to do it all over the phone! The next year I didn’t get up at 4am, I went at the normal hour of 7am and still had no problems getting her into the class of my choice. Maybe some people just like the “thrill” of standing in line at 4am to secure the Ivy league Hood Pre-school education of GRACE LUTHERAN!

But seriously my recommendation to anyone PCSing to Hood is to check them both out. They are both OUTSTANDING/reasonably priced programs and you will be happy with with whichever one you choose!

http://www.glckilleen.com
1007 Bacon Ranch Road
Killeen, TX 76542-2799
(254) 634-5858