Blog Homeowner Tips Lifestyle Tips

Childproofing Your Home

You can never be too careful when it comes to small children in a home designed for adults. This is not to imply that your home is a death trap, but let’s face it: Babies and toddlers simply aren’t equipped to deal with things like heavy cabinet doors, fireplaces, and electrical outlets. 


Childproofing your home might seem like a monumental task, but with the right strategy, making it safe for your little one should be a cakewalk. 


Create a Checklist


You’re going to want to create a checklist of the most dangerous things to secure, as well as those things that may require a bit more effort. It’s often best to repair things that need fixing first and then move on to securing things. 


Be sure to repair anything that could potentially be dangerous, such as a broken water heater that could result in scalding bath water or chipping lead paint that needs to be repaired. 


Work Room to Room


The best way to tackle any home project that encompasses all or at least the majority of your home is to work room to room. Start with the rooms that your family and small child will spend the most time in the living room, kitchen, bathrooms, nursery, etc. 


Mount Heavy Furniture


Heavy furniture should always be properly secured in a home with small children. This includes dressers, bookcases, TVs, or anything else that could topple over and hurt a child. Even if the furniture is heavy and difficult to move, children can still attempt to climb on open drawers. 


The best way to mount heavy furniture is with actual furniture anchors. The anchor should be properly attached to the wall stud, and the restraints should be tight. 


Lock it Up


When it comes to everyday household objects that can harm a small child, the list seems nearly endless. From choking hazards to sharp objects and household poisons, there’s likely a lot of stuff in your house that should be kept out of reach from children. 


Putting things up high and out of reach of children is one approach, but as noted above, children are curious and often try to climb things. A better solution is to keep items like scissors, household cleaners, matches, or any sort of choking hazard in a drawer or cabinet with a secure child-safety lock. 


And while we’re talking locks, stove knob covers are also a wise idea. 


Cover Corners

Everyone has banged their knee on a coffee table and knows just how much it hurts. Now imagine only being two feet tall and running head-first into the sharp corner of that coffee table – yikes!


A good piece of thick foam should do the trick, but plastic corner table guards can also work well if you’re not keen on cutting up some pool noodles. Corners aren’t the only things that need to be childproof; electrical outlets should also be covered for safety. 

Every parent wants a safe home for their children, and the same goes for the community they live in. Contact us today to learn more about all that the master-planned Crosswinds community has to offer.

Area Attractions Blog Kyle Texas Tips

Fall Fitness

Adding exercise to your routine has incredible benefits. It reduces risks for various health issues. It makes us feel better. It maintains weight and helps to boost energy.


Of course, the Texas summer heat can really zap energy fast, and the winter weather can limit the number of outdoor exercise activities. Fall, on the other hand, is nearly perfect for making the most of getting some exercise outdoors (and indoors on those rainy days).


If you’re looking to build a fitness routine or reinvigorate your current routine, here are some ideas to make the most of fall fitness.


Try a New Class


There’s no shortage of classes and gyms in Kyle and the greater Austin area. If you’re burnt out on your current fitness routine, try something new. Live Well Fitness offers an indoor/outdoor boot camp through the city’s website with a little bit of everything. Participants can expect to spend time running/power walking, weight training, traversing obstacle courses, and working on core training, as well as pilates-like and yoga-like exercises. 


Looking for something a bit more off the beaten path? Consider checking out the Crux Climbing Center. The climbing gym has two Austin locations and offers both classes and private lessons for interested climbers. 


Dojo Kyle is another great alternative for anyone looking for a new and challenging way to get in shape. The martial arts studio offers programs for both kids and adults, and the first round of classes is free. 


Make the Most of Community Amenities 


If you live in the Crosswinds community, you have trails practically right in your backyard. This trail system of both crushed granite and paved walking/biking trails weaves through the master-planned community, allowing residents to get in some exercise without having to ever leave the neighborhood. 


Residents also enjoy making the most of our amenities during the fall months when the Texas heat has finally died down. It’s not unusual to see people playing a game of one-on-one or doubles on our basketball and tennis courts or using our open play fields by kicking around a soccer ball or tossing a frisbee. 


Set Year-End Goals


People tend to look at setting fitness goals as something to be done at the beginning of the year. While there’s no wrong time to start your fitness journey, and joining a gym in the new year is great, why wait until a new calendar year? 


Embracing a fall fitness routine sets you on the path to ending the year feeling good about yourself, and you’ll already have a head start once January first rolls around. Plus, the fall weather is hands down always going to beat winter weather when it comes to exercise!

There are plenty of ways to get and stay in shape in Kyle this fall. If you’d like to learn more about finding a home in the Crosswinds community, contact us today.

Blog Lifestyle Tips

Tips for a Pet-Friendly Neighborhood

People love their pets. Around 62% of American households own a pet, and every pet owner wants to feel like they live in a neighborhood that is welcoming to pets. So, what does a pet-friendly neighborhood look like?


In short, it’s a neighborhood where pet owners are respectful of each other and their four-legged companions. Here are a few tips on how to create a pet-friendly community. 


Clean Up After Pets


Cleaning up after yourself is a pillar of being a good citizen, and this extends to being a good pet owner as well. When taking your dog out for a walk, be sure to bring along a few poop bags to clean up after your pooch uses the bathroom. Don’t leave the baggie on the sidewalk – always throw it away in a trash can. 


Use a Leash During Walks


Your dog may love to run free, but running free throughout the neighborhood is a recipe for disaster. Your pet could get hit by a car, get lost, frighten a small child, or get into a fight with another dog that may feel the need to protect its owner. 


Even if your dog wouldn’t hurt a fly, keeping your dog on a leash during walks shows that you prioritize your pet’s safety and respect the boundaries of your neighbors. 


Utilize Pet-Friendly Amenities


In addition to several trails that are great for leashed walks with your pet, Crosswinds has a dog park that residents are encouraged to take advantage of. The dog park gives pups a chance to burn off some energy and meet the other dogs in their community. Just be sure to follow dog park etiquette with your pup, such as cleaning up after them and monitoring any rough behavior. 


Be Considerate of Neighbors


While many people love pets, some people just aren’t pet people – and that’s okay. A pet-friendly neighborhood is one where pet owners are respectful of their neighbors. This means taking steps to correct unflattering behaviors like excessive barking and ensuring that your pet doesn’t infringe on the property of other residents. While your pup may love to dig in the dirt, digging up flowerbeds likely won’t endear them to the neighbors.


Keep Your Pet Safe


One of the best things a pet owner can do to create a pet-friendly neighborhood is to take the proper steps to ensure their pet’s safety. This includes things like making sure your pet (both cats and dogs) has a collar with their owner’s contact information and is vaccinated and microchipped. 


Pet owners should also know their pet’s limitations and take those into consideration during walks or at the dog park. Dogs that are in heat should never be taken to the dog park, and older dogs or pets that have an aggressive streak should be closely monitored by their owners. 

One of the best ways to ensure a pet-friendly neighborhood is to simply talk with other pet owners in your community. Crosswinds was designed to encourage neighbors to gather and get to know one another and has many amenities that appeal to pet owners. Reach out to us to learn more.

Blog Tips

Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas

Thanksgiving is, without a doubt, the most delicious day of the year. Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, green beans, cranberry sauce, and, of course, the potatoes, it’s a feast in every sense of the word. After the turkey is carved, dinner is finished, and belts are loosened, what’s often left is a lot of leftovers. 


While there’s nothing wrong with scooping out a few spoonfuls of sides and hitting the power button on the microwave, there are more creative ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers. 


Create the Ultimate Sandwich


One of the best ways to utilize all that leftover turkey and any other side dishes you may have lying around is to put it all into a sandwich. You may remember the popular episode of Friends where, much to his shock and horror, Ross discovers somebody ate his leftover sandwich.


To create this leftovers masterpiece, you’ll want to layer your sandwich with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a slice of gravy-soaked bread in the middle – a.k.a. the moist maker. 


Substitute Turkey for Chicken


If you’re like most people, you probably have enough leftover turkey after Thanksgiving for another full meal or two. One of the best ways of putting this leftover bird to use is to substitute it in place of chicken in some comfort food recipes. 


With November being the start of chilly weather in so many places, adding turkey to a pot pie, soup, or chili dish can be a delicious use of leftovers. 


Other great ways to use leftover turkey include:


  • Turkey salad with cranberries and pecans
  • Turkey rice casserole
  • Turkey soft tacos
  • Barbecue turkey pizza


Make the Most of Leftover Sides


One of the absolute best parts about the Thanksgiving meal is the array of side dishes. From the standard sweet potato casserole to the more unique, like butternut squash lasagna, the sheer variety of potential sides is nearly endless. 


Unless everyone at your dinner table has two stomachs, though, you’re bound to be left with several pieces of Tupperware stacked to the brim with leftovers. 


Green beans, corn, and other veggies can make a perfect addition to a noodle casserole, and mashed potatoes can be used to create potato pancakes or pierogies. If you have leftover dinner rolls, toss on some turkey, a bit of stuffing, and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving sliders. 


As for all that leftover cranberry sauce, before you toss it in the trash, there are actually quite a few tasty ways to use it. You could keep it simple and add it to some yogurt and granola, top it on pancakes, or get more creative and work it into cranberry sauce meatballs

Now, if you’re in need of a serious kitchen to help you whip up all those delicious foods for a Thanksgiving feast, then check out the inventory of available homes in the Crosswinds community. Reach out to us today to learn more about all this master-planned community offers.

Blog Homeowner Tips Lifestyle Tips

Laundry Hacks for Big Families and Busy Parents

Nobody enjoys doing laundry, and if they say they do, they’re probably lying. Only kidding; there are probably a few oddballs out there who genuinely do get a kick out of fresh Tide in the morning. But for the rest of us, the chore of fitting laundry into an already crammed schedule can feel like an annoying hurdle. 


Here are a few laundry hacks for all the busy parents out there. 


Get the Kiddos Helping


Little kids love to help out. Toddlers as young as three can start to learn the value of helping to clean up and do chores. Not only does this make them feel like “a big kid” by helping out, but it helps to plant the seeds of learning to be self-reliant later on. 


It’s probably not a good idea to put your kiddo in charge of measuring out the proper amount of detergent, but you can ask them to help with small tasks like bringing down laundry baskets or separating dark clothes from whites. 


As kids get older, you can gradually step up their laundry responsibilities. 


Create a Laundry Schedule


Yes, it might be a little nerdy, but creating a laundry schedule can help with keeping piles of dirty clothes from piling up. If you know that the weekend is going to be full of kids’ sporting events, plan on doing at least a couple of loads on Sunday evening or Monday morning. Then, schedule one or two loads later in the week. 


Organization is Key


The easiest way of keeping dirty clothes sorted out is the bin method, and there are numerous ways of doing this. You could separate them by darks and lights, or if you’re the sort of person who does’ wash whites separately (gasp!), you may want to have a bin for delicates, non-delicates, and towels. This will make loading time that much faster, and you’ll probably start to realize that certain bins fill up every few days, whereas others may just need a wash once a week.  


Work Smarter, Not Harder


With the advent of the electric washing machine, we were all saved from having to use a tub and washboard, but there are still plenty of shortcuts. 


  • Skip hand-washing and use mesh bags instead. Just toss the more delicate items in the bag and throw ’em in the wash.


  • Switch from liquid detergent to pods. It may not be a huge time saver, but cutting out the measuring will still speed up the process a little bit. 


  • Use dryer balls to speed up dry time. The balls help to separate wet clothing and circulate air so clothing can dry faster. 


  • Consider hanging instead of folding. Folding can be a time-consuming process, but if you have closet space, there’s no reason you can’t opt to hang most of your clothing. If you do like your clothes folded and want to speed things up, a folding board may help. 

Many of the homes in the master-planned Crosswinds community have separate laundry rooms to make doing laundry that much easier. To learn more about the available inventory of homes, reach out to us today.

Blog Family Fun Lifestyle Tips

Tips for Traveling With Pets

If you plan on hitting the road for the fall holiday season – or taking to the skies – and taking your furry friend with you, planning ahead is an absolute must. 


Here are a few travel tips to keep in mind when traveling with your pets. 


Plan a Packing List


Planning out a packing list before any trip isn’t just a good habit for humans, but it applies to pets as well. Set aside a separate bag for all your pet’s essentials so that everything is packed together. 


  • Food/water bowl
  • Lesh
  • Treats
  • Toys


If your pet is going to be in a crate for the majority of your trip, be sure to include their favorite blanket or even an old t-shirt that smells like you for some extra comfort.


Traveling Safety


You wouldn’t dare think of taking your children on a car trip without making sure everyone is wearing their seatbelt, and your pet should be no different. There is a range of dog seat belts and harnesses on the market to fit just about every size of pooch. These can make all the difference in keeping your pet safe and comfortable during the trip. 


Even when traveling with a pet carrier, you should still take precautions to keep it secure so it doesn’t slide around in the car. This can easily be done by slipping the seat belt through the handle or around the carrier itself. 


Prep Your Car


Not every pet is exactly enthusiastic about going on a trip. In fact, traveling either by car or plane can often be incredibly stressful for pets. If your pet has a tendency to get car sick or have accidents when stressed, be sure to lay down plenty of towels in your car before pulling out of the driveway. (This will also help keep pet hair off the seats.)


While we’re on the subject of travel prep, if you know your pet gets stressed easily, it may be worth speaking with your vet about medication that can help your pet relax on the ride. 


Don’t Forget Important Documents


When traveling with pets, applying the Boy Scout motto of “always be prepared” is never a bad idea. Be sure to bring along either paper copies or a copy on your phone of any important information regarding your pets, such as vaccinations or medication prescriptions. This will make getting your pet the proper care it needs that much easier in case of an emergency. 


Plan Ahead


It’s not only smart to plan for the pet essentials that you’ll need to bring with you, but doing some research in regard to other aspects of the trip is a good idea, too. 


  • Many airlines have specific travel guidelines for pets, so check before booking. 
  • Some hotels only allow certain breeds, and others are strictly no pets allowed.
  • Make a note of the closest veterinary hospital near you in case of emergency. 

Of course, one of the best parts of traveling – with or without a pet – is coming back to a home you love. Reach out to the Crosswinds team to learn more about our available inventory of homes.

Blog Education Events Family Fun Tips

School Halloween Parties: Easy Ideas for Busy Parents

Knife-wielding slashers and bloody limbs might be fine for an adult-themed Halloween party, but you’ll want to prioritize fun over scary for kids. Here are a few easy ideas for busy parents that promise to have all the ghouls of your kid’s school howling for more. 


Treats You Can Sink Your Teeth Into


Food is the highlight of any Halloween party, and the key to knocking it out of the graveyard is to offer treats that balance flavor with fun visual appeal. Sugar is always going to be a hit, but keep in mind kids tend to overload on sugar during the month of October with parties, festivals, and trunk-or-treat events. So be sure to mix in a few less-than-sugary healthy treats as well. 


Monster mouth: Slice up some green apples and put a spoonful of peanut butter between two apple slices. Place sunflower seeds or yogurt raisins in the peanut butter to create a healthier alternative to caramel apples.


Puffed rice pumpkins: Mix up a batch of marshmallow rice Krispy treats, but add a dash of orange food coloring. Form the mix into balls and finish each one off with a pretzel stem on top. 

Ghost cheese sticks – Break out the black Sharpie marker and draw a ghost face on the wrapper of each cheese stick. Halloween treats really don’t get any easier than this. 


Witch finger cookies: Buy some slice ‘n bake sugar cookie mix and add a few drops of green food coloring. Roll the dough into finger shapes and place an almond where the fingernail would be. After baking, put a dab of strawberry jelly on the almond to create a bloody fingernail. 


Spooktacular Decorations


It doesn’t take a lot to transform your child’s school classroom into a beautiful party space. You might not have much time to set up, so the key here is going to be decorations that are easy to put up and tear down. (Save the elaborate stuff for the neighborhood haunted house contest). 


Door decor: A few construction paper ghosts or skulls on the classroom door can serve as a welcoming invitation to the fun that awaits inside. 


Paper Streamers: Hang some orange, black, black, and purple streamers around the classroom door to add a festive flair. 


Spider balloons: Blow up a few black balloons and cut out strips of black construction paper that you can tape to the balloons for legs. Finish the spiders off with some yellow paper eyes. 


Monsterific Games


If there’s one thing kids love more than Halloween treats, it’s the games. These party games promise to be a graveyard smash!


Mummy race: Divide the class up into groups of two or three and designate one child as the mummy. Give each group a roll of toilet paper to see who can wrap their mummy up the fastest. 


Pumpkin bean bag toss: You’ll probably want to opt for a plastic pumpkin to avoid a mess, but have each child take turns tossing a bean bag into the pumpkin as you gradually move it further back after every toss. 

Kyle is a wonderful community for families with plenty of things to do, especially during Halloween. If you’d like to learn more about all this city has to offer and find a home in the Crosswinds master-planned community, reach out to us today.

Blog Design Homeowner Tips Lifestyle Tips

Optimize Your Closet to Switch to Your Fall Wardrobe

As great as summer is with the long days spent on the water, just about everyone in Texas needs some relief from the heat by the time fall rolls around. Cooler weather brings its own host of outdoor activities, and with the occasional chilly night, a wardrobe swap is needed. 


Even if you have a massive closet that is big enough to hold every piece of clothing you own, it’s still a good idea to do a little bit of autumn closet organization. 


Here are a few tips to help you pack away those tank tops and cutoff shorts and swap in the scarves and flannels. 


Gradually Transition


As every Texan knows, there are still plenty of warm days in the fall. Because winters here tend to be on the milder side, it makes the most sense to gradually swap your clothing over from summer to fall. 


Start by pulling out any summer clothes you know you won’t be wearing until next year, and bring in those fall clothes that are on the lighter side. Any summer or fall clothes you’re ready to part with should go in a donation or trash pile. Those summer pieces you do want to keep should be washed and put away in storage. 


Make the Most of Storage Space


If you have a hefty wardrobe to put away, then you’ll want to be smart about how you maximize storage space. 


 Keep these tips in mind for making sure everything stays organized. 


  • Vacuum seal clothes in storage bags to take up less space.
  • Roll up jeans or t-shirts rather than folding them to maximize space.
  • Opt for flat storage bins that can slide under your bed (be sure to label them).
  • Keep dresses or fancier clothing items on slim hangers or in a storage bag.


Implement Some Organization Strategy


Fall and winter clothes tend to be a bit bulkier and take up more space than a summer wardrobe, so putting certain pieces in the right spot can make all the difference. You don’t want to hang sweaters or more delicate knits on a hanger, as this might stretch them out, so be sure to reserve the appropriate amount of drawer or shelf space. 


You may also want to consider organizing your fall pieces into categories, either by color or by the kind of weather they’re best suited for—lighter shirts in the front of your closet and thicker flannels or jackets in the back. Heavy blankets or pieces that you wear only on the chilliest of nights should be kept at the top of your closet. 


If space is an issue and you have to keep your summer and fall wardrobe in the same closet, make it easier on yourself and move the summer stuff to the front for easier access. 

Many of the homes located within the Crosswinds community have walk-in closets and two-car garages for plenty of storage space. To learn more about the available inventory of homes, contact the Crosswinds team today.

Blog Education Lifestyle Tips

Simple Savings

Saving money can often feel like an uphill climb. Car and home repairs unexpectedly pop up, and before long, that well-intentioned savings plan takes a back seat. 


A simple savings strategy doesn’t have to be complicated; it just takes some careful planning and foresight for when life does inevitably throw a few curveballs your way. 


Make a budget – If you don’t have a budget, now is the time to start one. Track everything (we mean everything) that you spend over the course of the month. At the end of the month, take a hard look at areas you might be able to cut back to allocate more money for savings. 


Cook at Home – If you want to get serious about saving, then learn to cook at home. A 2022 survey found that the average American household spent almost $200 monthly eating out. Scale that back by 75%, and you could save $1,800 over the course of a year. 


Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions – Another great way to save some money each month is by canceling unnecessary subscriptions. Between streaming services, gym memberships, and other subscription services, the average monthly spending for American households is $219. Scale back and start saving!


Make Saving Automatic – If you’re ready to put savings into action, consider contacting your bank to set up automatic savings. You can instantly have a percentage of your income put into a savings account with each direct deposit of your paycheck. 


DIY Repairs – We live in a pretty incredible era where just about anything can be learned via the magic of YouTube. While some repairs really are better left to a professional, learning how to replace a burned-out taillight in your car or add a new backsplash to your kitchen can translate to serious savings. 


Reduce Energy Costs – Utilities aren’t getting any cheaper, so learning to reduce your energy consumption can help keep bills down. From fixing leaky windows to taking shorter showers or replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs, there are lots of ways to reduce energy costs and keep a little more cash in your pocket. 


Use Coupons – Everyone likes saving money, and major retailers are constantly throwing coupons at new and existing customers. If you’re thinking about making a purchase with a particular brand, consider signing up for their email ahead of time to see if they offer a discount coupon. There are also cash-back apps like Ibotta and Rakuten that can help you save on purchases. 


Scale Back on Entertainment – You probably don’t need to cut your entertainment spending back to zero, but weekends out can really add up quickly. Look for things you can do around town for free that will help you save money that otherwise might have gone towards more expensive entertainment. 


Pay Off Debt – Paying down debt is the best way to allocate more money for savings. When paired with a detailed budget, this is a money-saving combo that can’t be beat! The popular debt snowball method involves paying your smallest debts first and using that momentum to tackle more significant debts. 


In a relatively short matter of time, some simple savings tips can translate into much bigger savings wins. 

If you’d like to learn more about finding a home in the Crosswinds community, contact us today.

Area Attractions Blog Lifestyle Tips

Mindfulness + Relaxation

Stress isn’t always a bad thing, but too much stress can hurt a person’s well-being, and according to the American Psychological Association, we’re more stressed than ever. Here are a few things you can do to help with relaxation and mindfulness. 


Pick Up a Pen – Journaling is one of the oldest known ways to cope with life’s ups and downs. People have been picking up a pen to jot down their setbacks, frustrations, and triumphs for centuries, and it’s been shown to help with everything from managing depression to identifying negative behaviors and emotional triggers. 


Change Your Diet -. Not only is eating because you’re stressed harmful, but eating too many of the wrong kinds of food can take its toll on the body and mind. 


Too much alcohol, caffeine, sugar, or processed foods can put a strain on the body. However, foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins found in fruits, veggies, and nuts can help the body better manage daily stress. 


Make Some R&R Time – Most of us are busier than ever, but it’s still incredibly important that we make time for ourselves and social time to spend with others. This could be hitting up the batting cages, putting on some headphones and listening to your favorite music, or catching up with a friend over a cup of coffee. 


Try to set aside at least 30 minutes a day for yourself on a regular basis. 


Meditation – People have been using meditation to boost their mental health for thousands of years. In practice, meditation is paying attention to your breath as it goes in and out and taking notice when the mind wanders from this task. It’s been shown to not only help with lowering stress but improving focus as well. 


Start off slow, finding a quiet place and meditating for a couple of minutes at a time. 


Try a New Hobby – Picking up a new hobby is a great way to not only improve your focus and give your brain a workout but ward off stress as well. While some hobbies are going to be more relaxing than others (putting together a jigsaw puzzle vs. CrossFit), there’s an endless array to choose from. 


Volunteer – Volunteering is not only a great way to give back to your community but has a benefit to the volunteer as well. According to Susan Albers, PsyD, a psychologist for Cleveland Clinic, “[Volunteering] has been shown to decrease stress levels, depression, anxiety and boost your overall health and satisfaction with life.”


From animal shelters to serving the needy, there are plenty of opportunities in Kyle to volunteer your time. 


Get More Exercise and Sleep – Two of the best ways to give your mental health a boost are exercise and a good night’s sleep. How much sleep a person needs can vary, but most people tend to need 6 to 9 hours. 


Whether it’s lifting weights at the gym, taking a dance class, or simply going for a stroll on a walking trail, regular exercise helps to reduce stress and increases mood-boosting dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. 

From the pool to the extensive trail system, the Crosswinds community has an array of amenities designed to help residents relax and enjoy life to the fullest. Contact our team to learn more about finding a home here.