In Texas, we love our outdoors, and state parks offer ample opportunity for day and overnight adventures. And you have a lot to choose from with 89 state parks found throughout the state — several less than three hours from Balmoral. We’ve picked five favorites:
This expansive park offers 37 miles of hiking trails — including 13 for horseback riding that lead to primitive equestrian campsites. But beyond hiking, Brazos Bend State Park is especially known for two things — alligators and George Observatory. It’s common to spot alligators in the water and on the land, and signs throughout the park offer safety tips when encountering one. George Observatory is part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, giving visitors an amazing view into galaxies far, far away. Tickets to the observatory must be purchased in advance. Brazos Bend State Park is located about an hour and 15 minutes from Humble in Needville.
Huntsville State Park may not be the largest state park in Texas (that honor goes to the 311,000-acre Big Bend Ranch State Park), but its 2,083 acres are still pretty impressive. Fish, swim or kayak along the 210-acre Lake Raven (kayak rentals are available). Hike 21 miles of trails. Enjoy playgrounds, a bird blind and nature center. Get ice cream at Gator Junction. You’ll often find food trucks down by the picnic area during busy weekends. Balmoral residents can get to Huntsville State Park, located in Huntsville, in just over an hour.
The closest of our featured state parks near Humble is Lake Livingston State Park, found in Livingston. Less than an hour away, this park is along the state’s second largest lake, which means you can boat and fish to your heart’s content. Miles of trails wind through the park, and campers can choose from tent sites to RV campsites with full hook-ups. There are also 10 screened shelters and several group sites.
Because Texas is so large, it’s easy to see a completely different landscape when traveling throughout the state. This certainly happens in a less-than-two-hour drive from Humble to Martin Dies, Jr. State Park, located in Jasper. This park is deep into Texas’ Pineywoods and sits along the banks of the B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir. You can hit 7 miles of hiking trails found within the park or grab a paddle and explore the nearly 14 miles of paddling trails. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent. Martin Dies, Jr. State Park offers more than 200 campsites, many along the water.
Palmetto State Park is just shy of three hours from Humble in Gonzales. The park’s namesake — the dwarf palmetto — can be found throughout the park, lending it an almost tropical ambiance. The park is small — just 19 tent sites, 17 RV sites, a group site for 24 and an air-conditioned cabin for six. But despite its size, there’s still plenty to do. You can fish from the pier at Oxbow Lake, canoe the San Marcos River, bike and hike trails, birdwatch and simply enjoy time outdoors.
It’s that time again. Time for paint companies to unveil their picks for “Color of the Year.” This year, vintage colors and jewel tones are expected to replace last year’s ubiquitous greens for a more elegant look. Paint companies are also replacing the “Color of the Year” with “Color Collections of the Year” so you can easily pair dominant colors with contrasting trims.
If you are thinking about what color to paint your new home in Balmoral or just want to shake things up, here are next year’s trending colors.
Sherwin Williams believes homeowners are embracing the romance of vintage colors. Their pick for 2023? Darkroom. This is a bold choice for the paint company and those who choose to take a chance on it. Black with undertones of purple, it’s not too dark and pairs nicely with hardwood floors, vintage furniture and white accent pieces. The color can also be used with the company’s Hot Cocoa and Austere Gray to create a transition between indoor and outdoor spaces.
Sherwin-Williams also tapped Poetry Plum and Restrained Gold for their 2023 collection. Poetry Plum is a subtle purple that adds glamor to bedrooms and baths. Contrast it with Pewter Green for an elegant workspace. Restrained Gold accents other vintage shades and can be paired with off-whites for a pop of color.
Valspar is focusing on joy and comfort with a 12-shade collection featuring muted earth colors ranging from soft creams to deep olives. Holmes Cream has yellow undertones meant to evoke happy feelings. Use it in the kitchen or the family room to create a sense of warmth and harmony. Rising Tide is a luscious blue that evokes vacations spent lying on the beach enjoying the relaxing sound of the waves. It’s an excellent color for studies as blues promote creativity.
Other colors in the collection include neutrals such as Ivory Brown, Cozy White, Desert Carnation, Villa Grey and Southern Road. Everglade, Green Trellis, Gentle Violet, Flora and Blue Arrow offer muted pops of color for bedrooms and entertainment spaces.
Glidden and PPG
Glidden and PPG jointly chose Vining Ivy as their pick for 2023. This versatile shade has elements of green and blue, creating a jewel-tone color that can be used anywhere. Vining Ivy is as much a vibe as it is a color. Glidden and PPG describe the color as calming and restorative. While many jewel tones are at their best as pops of color. Vining Ivy can be used on large canvases indoors and outdoors.
Like Sherwin-Williams and Valspar, Glidden and PPG have embedded their color of the year within a larger palette. Ten shades can be used to accent Vining Ivy, including Pine Forest, Lazy River, Foxfire Brown, Cool Clay, Spicy Mustard, Fossil Stone, Stonehenge Greige, Dark Granite and Mostly Metal.
The decision to send your child to a public or private school is a personal one. It is based on what you believe will provide the best learning experience for your child. And how well the schools you choose prepare your child for higher education and the future factor in, as well.
Balmoral residents are lucky. They have many options to choose from. Our community is zoned to excellent schools in Humble ISD. The district has won multiple awards for excellence in academics and students typically score well above average on state-mandated tests and college entrance exams. Balmoral is also convenient to many excellent private schools.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing to send your child to a public or private school.
Private schools generally have lower student-teacher ratios than public schools. The more intimate classroom setting can be beneficial to students. Some students thrive in large classrooms. Others do better with fewer students. More students can translate to more elective classes and more diversity.
Parents want their children to be challenged. Because private schools charge tuition, more money may be available for elective classes and updated textbooks. Private schools usually espouse a particular educational philosophy or methodology. Public schools are paid for by state and local taxes. If the tax rate is high, schools can offer many of the same advantages as private schools. Check the course catalogs. A public school offering Advanced Placement, honors and International Baccalaureate courses may be just as strong academically as a private school.
Colleges look at more than grades. They want students to have a breadth of experiences. Check school websites to see what clubs and organizations are available to students. If the clubs compete, do they place well? That’s a good sign. In general, it is easier for kids to start clubs in public schools. It’s also easier for them to take on leadership roles.
Public schools are usually closer to home. They also offer bus service. Private schools can be up to an hour away. Most do not offer busing so you will be driving your student to and from school every day.
Every child can attend a public school. Private schools have admission policies. Sometimes children must take entrance exams. Private high schools or students transferring from another school must demonstrate academic excellence through transcripts. Parochial schools may have religious requirements.
Public schools are free. You pay for a private school and the cost can sometimes be exorbitant. Whether or not it is worth it to your family to pay for a private school education is up to you.
Private Schools Near Balmoral
702 Atascocita Road
Humble, TX 7739
806 Russell Palmer Road
Kingwood, TX 77339
11810 Lockwood Road
Houston, TX 77044
7743 North Sam Houston Parkway East
Humble, TX 7739
For a quick and satisfying meal, nothing beats grilled burgers. Of course, the best burgers use the best ingredients, so we’ve rounded up a few recipes that will have family and friends hailing you as the “Grill Master in Chief.” Try them out on your backyard grill or — if you are a Balmoral resident — you can invite the gang and use the outdoor kitchen at Victory Park!
Anything but Basic Beef Burgers
You could throw some ground beef on the grill and call it good or you could serve up Food Network star Bobby Fay’s “Perfect Burger.” Spice up your burger game with these nacho burgers, also courtesy of Bobby Flay. Add some chile and smash your burgers. Turn your guests’ world upside down with Guy Fieri’s delicious inside-out burgers
Perfect Poultry Burgers
Poultry is a healthy alternative to beef and your guests won’t miss the cow once they bite into these buffalo chicken burgers. New to the chicken burger game? The Kitchn has you covered with this recipe. Think turkey burgers are dry? You haven’t tried these southwest turkey burgers. Super moist turkey burgers with lemon aioli are sure to be a hit.
The Other White Meat
We don’t usually think about pork burgers, but the other white meat is healthy and delicious. Try these Manchego-stuffed pork burgers at your next get-together. Pork meets Asian flare in these ginger-sesame pork burgers. You won’t have to worry about seasoning these Italian sausage burgers. Your family will give you a standing ovation when you serve up perfect pork burgers.
What About Fish Burgers?
Don’t let Filet O’ Fish sandwiches turn you off to seafood burgers. These shrimp burgers will have you reminiscing about your last trip to New Orleans. Grab some tuna steaks and buns then fire up the grill! Even kids will love these crunchy salmon burgers.
Marvelous Meatless Burgers
Your guests won’t be asking “where’s the beef” when you serve up these delicious meatless burgers. Show your vegan guests some love with these exceptional portobello mushroom burgers. If you haven’t heard of rajma (curried kidney beans) you might want to stock up after you taste these burgers.
Grill on the Wild Side
Hunters know some of the tastiest burgers don’t come from the grocery store. If you love venison, you love these venison garlic burgers. The ultimate onion elk burger recipe is waiting for you. These bison burgers are way above average. No one will be hiding their heads in the sand when you dish up these ostrich burgers.
Don’t Forget the Buns
Your burger creations deserve better than store-bought buns. Get out the Bundt pan to make these beautiful buns. Don’t serve your gluten-allergic friend meat on a leaf. Whip up these gluten-free buns instead. Brioche is surprisingly easy to make and delicious with all kinds of burgers. Many think that when it comes to buns, sourdough is the way to go.
Thinking about buying a house? You’re going to need a good credit score. It’s not just a matter of whether you’ll get the loan; people with excellent credit often get loans with lower interest rates than those with poor credit scores.
So how do you know if you have a good score? Credit scores range from 300 to 850. If you’re above 800, you have an “excellent” credit score. Scores between 740 and 799 are considered “very good” while those ranging from 620 to 739 are generally rated “good” by credit reporting agencies. If your credit score sits between 580 and 669, you have a “fair” rating and are considered a “subprime borrower.” This means you may not be able to qualify for the better loans. And if your credit score sits below 580, you may not be able to get a loan at all. You can pull your credit report for free once each year through the official AnnualCreditReport.com.
There are ways to boost your credit score, however. The reporting agencies look at five criteria when determining scores:
The most important thing you can do is pay on time — every time. You’ll also want to not use more than 30 percent of your available credit. Note that you do want to use credit, however. No credit utilization means the companies don’t have any way to rate what kind of borrower you might be. Are you over that 30 percent threshold? Ask your credit card company for a limit increase.
If you do have what is considered a thin credit file, there are several ways to fatten up that report — including using your banking and rental history through the UltraFico program (banking) and an app such as Perch that will report rent payments to credit bureaus for free.
While it may be tempting to close unused credit card accounts, experts recommend leaving them open. Not only will those available balances go toward your credit usage limit but having an account for many years also adds to your credit score.
There are many other tips and tricks to improving your credit score, which can take many months or just one month depending on your particular situation. This article from Investopedia digs deep into if you should only pay minimums on credit cards, if you should apply for a new credit card and other tips on how to raise your score to a level that will have lenders clamoring for your business.