With George Bush Intercontinental Airport a mere 15 minutes from Balmoral, our residents can easily get anywhere in the world. Doing so with kids — especially young ones — can be a little challenging. Here are a few tips that will ensure your flight is a success:

Talk to the Kids

If your kids are veteran flyers, they know what to expect. If this is your child’s first flight, talk to them about what will happen, including going through security, boarding the plane and rules for staying seated.

Book the Right Flight

It’s worth the extra money to book a direct flight — or at least choose flights with fewer layovers. Fewer stops mean not having to deal with connecting flights, delayed layovers, multiple takeoffs and lost luggage.

Think About Seating Arrangements

When booking your flight, pick seats that are together even if it means additional fees. You don’t want to rely on strangers to give up their seats. Consider buying a seat for your baby or toddler. Purchasing a seat for your baby means you have a place for your car seat. Having a squirming toddler on your lap for an extended flight is never fun.

Find Kid-Friendly Airlines

Check with your carrier to see if they have amenities that make flying with the family easier.  Jet Blue offers plenty of legroom, free inflight Wi-Fi and personal TVs at every seat. They are also generous with the snacks. With Southwest Airlines, bags fly free and families with children under age 6 board together. Alaska Airlines reserves a couple of “family rows” for each flight and provides a snack basket for kids shortly before landing.

Plan Ahead

Pack everything you need, including snacks, drinks, toys and entertainment for your kids. Bring extra bags for your trash. Pacifiers, gum and lollypops help children deal with air pressure changes. Don’t forget to charge all electronic devices. You may also want to bring a change of clothes in case of spills or accidents.

Arrive Early

Build in plenty of time to get to the airport and through security with time for bathroom breaks. For domestic flights, arrive at least two hours before your flight. Leave even more time for international flights. Make the move to Balmoral and you won’t have to get up quite so early to drive to the airport.

Less is More

Carrying a child and heavy bags is not fun. Check as much as you can. Think about whether you can borrow or rent playpens, highchairs and other items when you get to your destination. Strollers can be rented at your destination, but if your child is comfortable in their own, bring it and check it at the gate.

Getting Though Security

Talk to your kids before getting into the security line. You do not want your child melting down when they find out their favorite toy must ride on the conveyer belt.

Slip-on shoes make life easier. Avoid bringing unnecessary liquids but know that the TSA has said that formula, breast milk, juice, baby food and even liquid medications in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces are exempt from the 3-1-1 liquids rule.

Tire Them Out

Kids need to move, and that isn’t possible on a plane. Help kids burn off some energy by walking them around the airport. Challenge them to walk on all the moving walkways or take them for a walking tour of the gates.

Relax, It Will Be Fun

The best thing you can do to prepare for your flight is relax. Kids pick up on parents’ anxieties, so react accordingly. Model good flight behavior and encourage your kids to follow your lead. Relaxing also helps get everyone in the mood for the best vacation ever.

Planting flowers is the quickest and easiest way to spruce up your front or backyard. But if you want to take it up a notch — still without spending a lot of time — consider planting flowers in a container.

You can stay on the simple path when it comes to container gardening by simply purchasing an appropriately sized pot and planting flowers. There’s nothing wrong with that, and you’re sure to find pots in a wide variety of colors and sizes at your favorite gardening supply store. But if you want to get a little creative, we have some ideas:

Get the Kids Involved

Buy inexpensive clay pots, some acrylic paints and call the kids outside for a painting party! You’ll want to scrub off any stickers first — soak the pots if necessary. But if you do, make sure they are completely dry before painting. Apply your base coat with a foam brush. (Pro tip: thin the paint with a little water so the paint spreads easily.) Allow that to dry and then add your design. Make sure to have your kids sign their masterpieces. When done painting, spray with a clear water-based spray acrylic. Next day, let the kids plant what they want in their pots.

Add Height for Extra Appeal

Ever admire the planted containers at the garden store? You’ll likely notice that there are a variety of plants in one pot, typically with a tall plant surrounded by shorter ones. You can recreate the same effect at home — just make sure you select plants that prefer the same amount of light.

You can also achieve height with the container itself. Tall flower pots are dramatic and add a certain sophistication to your entry. They can also sometimes be pricey, however. If you want to achieve the look without the expense, consider building a wooden container that can either be stained or painted. You could also buy clay pots in varying sizes that can be stacked — find cute inspiration here.

How Unusual!

Just about anything can become a pot for plants. Rustic buckets, old wagons, wheelbarrows and more can hold flowers and other plants. A flea market is your best friend when it comes to finding old and/or unusual items at a reasonable price. You can also repurpose items from your pantry. For example, instead of throwing out that large plastic container of coffee once it’s empty, simply paint and pot it with pretty flowers.

Tires are something else that can be repurposed. Keep them black, if you want, or get out the spray paint. You can hang them for use as a vertical planter or lay it flat and plant flowers in the middle of the tire. Another cute idea for vertical gardening is to use a cloth shoe caddy that you might hang over your door and plant either flowers or herbs in each pocket. Just remember to drill holes in the bottom of your repurposed container for drainage — unless you’re using something that will already drain.

Create a Vignette

Pots of beautiful flowers can certainly stand solo, but grouping them together in a collection will add to their appeal. Let one container be the star of the show, whether it’s an interesting shape, color or a larger size. Grouping pots in a triangle pattern is a common design trick. Keep it to just three pots in a classic shape or branch out with more for an irregular triangle. Your colorful vignettes can also be used to liven up a brick wall or other blank expanse.

The Best Backdrop for Your Flowers

Flowers are pretty no matter where you put them, but they will look especially nice in front of a brand-new home in Balmoral. Check out our list of homebuilders and then think about making the move to our Humble, TX community!

Are you the parent of a Kindergartner? Do you have questions? Humble ISD schools have the answers. The district has scheduled Kindergarten Roundups for parents at all their elementary schools. The open houses provide information about registration, the program and more.

Young Balmoral students are zoned to one of three elementary schools — Groves Elementary, Ridge Creek Elementary and Centennial Elementary. We’ve provided the dates for each Roundup below. We’ve also included some tips for preparing your child for their very first day!

To qualify for Kindergarten, students must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1, 2023. Don’t forget, the first day of school for the 2023-2024 school year is Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023.

Groves Elementary School

5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 13
Groves Elementary Gymnasium

Ridge Creek Elementary School

5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13.
Ridge Creek Gymnasium

Centennial Elementary School

5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 18
Centennial Gymnasium

Tips for a Great First Day!

Purchase School Supplies

Shopping for school supplies is exciting. Your school will provide a list of things your child needs. In addition to the basics, purchase a lunch bag, water bottle and backpack. Take your child to the store and let them help fill up the cart.

Back-to-School Shopping

Nothing gets kids more excited about school than new clothes. Let your child pick out their own clothes (within reason). Be sure to purchase a special outfit for first-day-of-school pictures.

Visit the Classroom

If possible, take your child to see their new classroom ahead of time. It will quell any first-day jitters. If you can’t do that, see if you can do a video call with your child’s teacher. Many schools post pictures of teachers and classrooms on Facebook.

Set Up a Routine

If your child goes to preschool, they may already have a school routine. If not, it’s time to create one. Teach them how to set out their clothes for the next day and check their backpack. Wake them up early, feed them breakfast and let them help you pack a lunch.

Use the Summer Months Wisely

The summer months are a great time to help your kids brush up on the skills they will need for academic and social success. Your child should already know how to print their name, hold a pencil and count up to 10. To help with learning social skills, sign them up for a summer day camp. Your child should also be able to dress themselves, go to the bathroom by themselves and wipe their runny noses.

Talk It Out

Your child might be nervous about going to school. Talk to them about what to expect on their first day. Tell them about your own first day of school. Let them ask questions and give them thoughtful answers that take their feelings into account.

Consider Helping Out

Schools always need help. Volunteer at the school library, lunchroom, PTA/PTO or help teachers. That way your child knows you will be around. It might also help you with your own first-day jitters.

Closets are a catch-all. When we don’t know what to do with something — your old laptop, wrapping paper, comforters that don’t fit in the linen cabinet — we throw it in the closet. Then we wonder why we can never find anything. If you’re ready to tackle that black hole, we have some tips that will clean it up in no time.

Purge. Purge. Purge.

Before you organize, you must purge. Devote a day to pulling everything out of your closet. Designate three piles — “keep,” “donate” and “toss.” If you find big items such as camping gear, an ironing board or large suitcases, see if you have room for them in the garage, attic or spare room. Subdivide your “keep” pile by season and how often you wear them.

Regarding Storage

If your “keep” pile is huge, start thinking where else you can store things. Can you hang out-of-season clothes in a spare room or put them bin under the bed? Do you have unused pantry space? Store memorabilia you don’t want to donate there. Get creative.

Install Shelves and Drawers

If you can’t walk into your walk-in closet because there’s too much stuff on the floor, invest in shelves and drawers. You can find ones designed specifically for closets at home improvement stores or on Amazon. Most are easy to install. Alternatively, put an old dresser in your walk-in closet. The drawers can hold everything from socks to sweaters. Put bins on the top of the dresser to hold shoes, purses and other accessories.

Double Up on Rods

A simple way to make more space in your closet is to add closet rods. Not sure how? Walk into the clothing department of any store and look at the wall. For your closet, take out the existing rod. Install two or three rods of different lengths at different heights depending on your needs. A short rod placed toward the top of the closet can be used for long dresses. Rods in the middle and toward the bottom can be used for shirts and pants.

Closet Dividers

Create or purchase closet dividers. Label them in whatever way makes sense for you. For example, you could label a section “work blouses.” Keep like items together. That way you don’t have to search the entire rack for your favorite pair of pants.

Storing Shoes

Throwing shoes on the floor of your closet is a recipe for disaster. Your shoes get dirty, and you’ll probably spend a good thirty minutes searching for the mate to the shoe you have in your hand. Use shoe racks on the back of the closet door, shelves or stackable shoe bins.

Undershelf Lighting

Just because your closet has a light doesn’t mean it’s the best or only option. Install LCD lights under your shelves. That way you don’t have to turn on the overhead light. It also makes it easy to find exactly what you want.

Learn to Fold and Hang

A lot of organization problems can be solved just by learning how to properly fold and hang your clothes. When it comes to folding, try the Marie Kondo method. Special hangers for pants keep them neat as well as creating more space in your closet. Dedicate a rack just for scarves, ties and belts.

Add a Donation Bin

Once your closet is organized, you want to make sure it stays that way. If you have room, put a box in a corner to hold items you don’t wear much. This is your donation box. Periodically go through your closet and fill it up. Another trick is to get rid of something old every time you buy something new.

Buy a Home in Balmoral

If you are thinking of buying a new home, come see us! Our builders craft great closets. You can also talk to them about installing a beautiful closet organization system. That way when you move in, everything in your old closet will have a new home.

Moving day is a busy, busy time — and something that has to happen before you move into your lovely new home in Balmoral. We have a few tips to keep the day as stress-free as possible.

Create a Plan

Before you buy your first box, set aside time to create a moving plan. There should be a section for important documents, including contracts, loan documents, moving company estimates and receipts. Create another for upcoming deadlines such as your walk-through and closing dates, transferring utilities and enrolling the kids in their new school. Use these to create checklists so you aren’t overwhelmed.

Do You Need Movers?

Whether or not you hire a professional moving company depends on many factors. If you are trying to move the contents of your four-bedroom home to another state, professional movers are the way to go. If you are moving from a studio apartment to your first house, a couple of friends and a box of pizza are all you’ll probably need.

Book Early

If you know you will need professional movers, book early because dates fill up.

Get recommendations from friends and family or check out these Moving.com reviews. Get at least three estimates before deciding. Even if you decide to move yourself, you will need to reserve a moving truck. Do that as early as possible to ensure you can get the right size truck for your needs.

Declutter and Organize

Moving is a great time to get rid of things you don’t need. Start as soon as you’ve signed your contract. Sort items into three categories: keep, donate and toss. You don’t need to do everything in one weekend. Tackle one room a week. Get family members to help.

Make Sure You Have What You Need

Everyone knows you need moving boxes but what about other supplies? Did you buy bubble wrap for your breakables? What about packing tape (always buy more of this than you think you will need). Make sure you have markers in good working order so you can label the boxes. Check Amazon for some really unique moving day items.

You Don’t Always Need Boxes

 If you are going to be moving your suitcases, you might as well pack them. If you aren’t moving far, pull out your dresser drawers, wrap them in plastic and stick them on the truck. You can use trash bags for bedding. The more creative you are, the fewer boxes you will need to buy.

Take Your Time

Packing is overwhelming. Our advice — take your time. Start with a spare room. Pack it up, then use the free space as a staging area for other items. Pack up closets, the garage and cupboards. As you get closer to your move date, pack out-of-season clothes, books, kitchen appliances and DVDs.

Two Weeks Away

Two weeks out from your moving date you need to, well, get moving. Start with the kitchen because it’s usually the hardest. Leave the essentials, pack everything else. Move on to the game room, study and family room. Pack bedrooms last.

What’s In the Box

You don’t want to play “what’s in the box” after moving day. Make a list of what is in each box. Assign each box a letter or number and write down the contents. You can also take a picture of the contents and tape a copy to the box.

The Day Of

Moving always takes twice as long as you think it should. Plan for delays. If you have pets, get someone to watch them so they will be out of the way. Designate someone to liaison with movers if you are using them. If you aren’t, give everyone a specific job. Your friend that loves Tetris should oversee organizing the truck. Kids and teens can stage boxes for adults to carry out to the truck.

Do You Know Your New Neighborhood?

Make sure you know where grocery stores, restaurants, medical clinics and home improvement stores are before you move. Knowing where they are in advance can save you time if you need any of them as you are unpacking.