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Education Events Family Fun

Get Ready for the New School Year in Kyle

On August 19, many parents of kids attending schools in Hays Consolidated Independent School District will happily get their kids up and ready for school. The students, on the other hand, may drag their feet as they start adjusting to their school schedules.

It’s always hard to prepare for a new school year even if you’re excited about it. Restarting a habit isn’t easy. Neither is leaving summer behind.

The good news is that you can take action now to ensure a smoother first week of school. Here’s what you can do.

  1. Register online and complete paperwork

All families — both new and returning students —can register online. Be sure to follow the advice on the page before proceeding. You’ll also need to check with your student’s campus for any registration events.

Those new to HCISD can find the schools their students will attend using the attendance zone page. You’ll also need a copy of your student’s vaccination records as they will be required. Will your student need to keep medicine at school? Contact the campus nurse for details and paperwork for this.

  1. Review the Hays CISD calendar

Here’s the 2021-2022 Hays CISD calendar (PDF). Be sure to enter all important dates into your family’s calendar. Don’t have a family calendar? You may want to consider one. It helps to have a central calendar everyone can access to stay on top of important dates and events.

  1. Obtain school supplies

Although the Texas Sales Tax Holiday has passed, many retailers still have sales on clothes and school supplies. Check for coupons online at RetailMeNot and  Honey, and in your local newspaper.

Your student’s school may sell school supplies in one packet. It can be cheaper to buy the packet because they get everything in bulk. The bulk discounts are passed on to your family. Get your kids excited about school by letting them pick one fun or colorful school item of their choice.

  1. Adjust bedtime routines

It takes three weeks to create new habits. As it’s typical of the summer, kids tend to have a different bedtime. Don’t wait until school starts to change bedtime. You have one week from this post before school starts.

Try changing their bedtime to 15 minutes earlier tonight and tomorrow. Then, the next night, change it to 30 minutes earlier. Adjust based on the difference between the old and new bedtime routine. As you adjust bedtime, do the school routine too. Pick out the outfit for the next day and pack the backpack the night before.

Hope these four tips help! Remember to take pictures on the first day! Have a great first day of school.

If you’re looking for new homes in Kyle, explore the master-planned community Crosswinds. Residents savor the natural beauty of the prairies while providing families with a place where they can connect

To stay on top of great resources from Kyle and nearby, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Looking to move? Explore the inventory of new homes in Kyle or contact our Crosswinds team.

 

 

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Area Attractions Education Family Fun

3 Tips for the Texas Sales Tax Holiday

Is it almost August? That means Texas Sales Tax Holiday is coming up fast and furious. With more people venturing out, it’s sure to be busy from August 6 to 8. That’s because this is Texas Tax-Free weekend in 2021.

It’s easy to overspend during the tax holiday. These tips will help you ensure you buy what you need and avoid buying something you already have. The nice thing about the tax-free weekend is that it’s for everyone, not just families with kids going to school.

Here are a few important things to know:

  • Items $100 or more are taxable.
  • Does not apply to clothing subscription boxes.
  • Keep all your receipts.
  • Stores will not give out rainchecks.

Make the most of tax-free weekend and back-to-school shopping with these tips.

  1. Review the official list

You may have seen online articles talking about what’s taxable and what’s exempt. However, some of these aren’t accurate. The one list you want to refer to is the official Sales Tax Holiday list from the Comptroller of Texas. It’d be a good idea to print the list or save it to your phone.

Again, all items priced at $100 or more are not exempt from taxes. Yes, even if they’re on the list. For example, tennis shoes are exempt from taxes unless they cost $100 or more. Be aware that not all shoes qualify for the tax exemption.

The following types of footwear are not tax-free:

  • Cleats
  • Running shoes with cleats
  • Ballet slippers
  • Ski boots

And just because one item is taxable, others may not be. For example, tennis skirts and football jerseys are exempt, but football pads and baseball pants are taxable. The logic is that people wear tennis skirts and football jerseys as clothes outside of the sport. Whereas cleats and pads are specific to a sport.

Flip-flops, sandals, and cowboy boots are exempt. While belts are exempt, stand-alone belt buckles are not.

Would you categorize pajamas as school clothes or school supplies? No, they’re exempt. Here are tax-free items that may surprise you:

  • Swimsuits
  • Robes
  • Slippers
  • Hunting vests
  • Suspenders
  • Diapers: baby and adult
  • Graduation caps and gowns

So, use the list from the Comptroller of Texas as your only source. Double-check our work.

  1. Make a shopping list

When you don’t prepare for shopping, you risk buying a lot of things you already have. Before you go, create a list of what you need. Try on clothes to confirm current clothing and shoe sizes. Don’t use the dressing room as the place to figure it out.

While most people may fit in two or three different sizes, it helps to have a baseline. You want to minimize trying on clothes during a hectic shopping time.

  1. Note store hours

You won’t find Black Friday-like hours, but many stores will extend their hours for the Texas Sales Tax Holiday. If you want to avoid the crowds, go as soon as the store opens on Friday. Some people still have to work, so it’s most likely the least crowded time of the whole weekend.

These three tips will optimize your tax-free weekend and minimize the headaches.

To stay on top of great resources from Kyle and nearby, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Looking to move? Explore the inventory of new homes in Kyle or contact our Crosswinds team.

 

 

Categories
Education Homebuilder Lifestyle

5 Top Tax Benefits of Buying a New Home You Need to Know About

Searching for a new home in Kyle is a wonderful adventure. That ideal home and all its possibilities await you out there somewhere. Buying a new home, no doubt, is one of the most memorable times in a person’s life. And it will increase your net worth for all its worth and other advantages.

Here are the top tax benefits of owning a home.

  1. Deduct Interest on Your Mortgage

Homeowners will be able to deduct the interest they pay on their mortgage. Be aware that this applies to home financing that’s under $750k. if you’re shopping for a home in Kyle, Texas, you’re most likely to gain the full benefit of this. One of the reasons people love living in Kyle is for its affordability.

Any interest you pay as part of the closing costs associated with the purchase will be deductible. You can usually find this information on the settlement sheet. Prior to tax time, your lender will send IRS Form 1098 to you. This shows all the money you’ve paid in interest on your loan for the past year.

  1. Deduct Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Private mortgage insurance is often required for buyers who put down less than 20 percent of the value of their home. Its purpose is to protect the mortgage lender in the event the buyer quits making payments toward the loan.

Just like the ability to deduct interest that you pay on a mortgage, you can also deduct the amount you pay for private mortgage insurance. It can slightly reduce the financial burden for those who can’t put down 20 percent.

  1. Deduct Property Taxes

Homeowners can deduct up to $10k per year on property taxes. You may pay property taxes either through your lender or municipality. In both cases, it’s critical to keep financial records of the amounts you paid for the year. You can save thousands of dollars when deducting property taxes.

  1. Deduct Home Office Space

With many people getting to switch to remote working thanks to the pandemic, this will be a new benefit. People who work from home can deduct the square footage of the space used as an office. You can also deduct resources you use to conduct business such as computers, printer toner, and webcams.

To prevent the abuse of this deduction, the IRS caps this to 300 sq. ft. This is one where a tax professional is your best bet to ensure you optimize this deduction while following the rules.

  1. Deductions for First-Time Buyers

Homebuyers sometimes take out money from their IRA to put toward their down payment. However, the IRS often imposes a 10 percent penalty for withdrawing from an IRA before 59-and-a-half years old. The good news is that anyone who has never owned a principal residence in the past year may be able to withdraw up to $10k without penalty, or $20k for married couples.

You can use this method when buying a home for a family member. Be aware that any funds you withdraw from your IRA need to be used within four months of the withdrawal.

Don’t let the homebuying process daunt you. There are people who can help you. Ask them about these tax benefits. Good luck with your home search.

To stay on top of great resources from Kyle and nearby, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Looking to move? Explore the inventory of new homes in Kyle or contact our Crosswinds team.

 

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Education

Educational Opportunities Near Kyle, Texas

Residents in Kyle, Texas, have a diversity of educational opportunities available. You’ll find something for every kind of learner at every age.

Hays Consolidated Independent School District

The first option is the Hays Consolidated Independent School District with a mission of changing lives one student at a time. The district serves more than 20,000 students across 25 campuses.

Students who live in the Crosswinds community attend the following Hays CISD exemplary schools:

The district offers many specialized career programs such as an elementary magnet school for science, engineering, technology, and math. Every elementary school has art, music, library, and PE in their weekly rotation.

Students at the high schools can participate in Project Lead the Way, a STEM-based curriculum created by a nonprofit. Lehman High School features Navy JROTC and a culinary program. Graduates of Hays CISD have received more than $10 million in scholarships and grants.

Post-Secondary Options Near Kyle, Texas

Residents have excellent college options in Austin Community College and its nearby ACC Hays Campus, University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University, St. Edwards University, Hutson-Tillotson University, San Antonio College, Trinity University, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The University of Texas’s McCombs School of Business ranks No. 5 in the country among business schools. Artificial intelligence and software engineering in UT Computer Science both appear in the top five list of schools. The Cockrell School of Engineering is No. 11 nationally with petroleum, environmental, and civil engineering specialties ranked in the top five.

Texas State University boasts being the only Texas school to have graduated a U.S. president. (Lyndon B. Johnson.) Its students come from 74 countries and all 50 states. The school is No. 1 in Tier 2 Research Institutions in the Military Friendly Schools: Top 10 Award, and it’s classified as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education.

Charter Options Near Kyle, Texas

IDEA Public Schools Kyle is part of the fastest-growing network of tuition-free, Pre-K through 12 public charter schools in the U.S. They’re a nonprofit organization that has helped more than 66,000 college-bound students in 120 schools in Texas and Louisiana. IDEA Kyle serves more than 700 students in grades K through 9.

In the past 13 years, all IDEA students have received college acceptances. They’ve increased the average ACT score from 17 to 21.5.

A new science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) charter school is coming to nearby Buda. Dorsal Academy, a K through 8 charter school, aims to provide a rigorous and relevant STEM curriculum. Doral Academy has received approval from the State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency to open Fall 2021. The new location serves students in Hays, Wimberley, San Marcos, and Lockhart.

To stay on top of great resources from Kyle and nearby, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Looking to move? Explore the inventory of new homes in Kyle or contact our Crosswinds team.

 

 

Categories
Area Attractions Education Family Fun

Central Texas Food Bank and Volunteering

It’s a challenge these days to volunteer. Fortunately, nonprofits like Central Texas Food Bank have found ways to allow people to volunteer safely. In working with the food bank, you’ll be helping Texans affected by COVID-19.

Established in 1982, the Central Texas Food Bank’s mission is to help those in the community in need of food. While Central Texas is among the fastest-growing regions in the U.S., many members of the community are struggling. They have to make difficult choices due to the increasing costs of housing, transportation, healthcare, and utilities.

About the Central Texas Food Bank

Two-thirds of the people the food bank serves have to decide between food and paying for housing. And 80 percent have to choose between food and medicine. Hunger affects working families, retirees on fixed incomes, non-traditional guardians of children, people with disabilities, and the chronically ill. Almost 25 percent of children in Central Texas live with food insecurity.

Working with Partner Agencies in 21 counties in Central Texas, the food bank has delivered almost 40 million pounds of food to a family in need in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. This is an average of 200,000 individuals every month!

They have a 4,200-square-foot kitchen to prepare meals from scratch for multiple programs, offer culinary job training, and create volunteering opportunities. The kitchen combines meal preparation and job training to improve people’s employment options and reduce the problems that lead to hunger.

They also have a garden with 36 different crops. Adults can sign up for gardening classes and learn how to grow and harvest their own food. The nonprofit also does advocacy and supports other programs such as Fresh Food for Families, Healthy Options Program for the Elderly (HOPE), Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and more.

How to Volunteer

One of the easiest and safest ways to help the food bank is to donate. Every $1 provides eight meals! Some companies can match your donation. So, check with yours to see if they’ll do it. You can also shop to give. Here, a percentage of your purchases will go to the food bank. It’s possible you may already shop at some of these businesses.

When you volunteer with Central Texas Food Bank, you have a few options. Be aware that the minimum age to participate varies based on activity. All minors must be accompanied by an adult from their household who is at least 21 years old. The first thing to do is to register with the system. Every volunteer, including minors, needs an account.

You can volunteer at a Mobile Food Pantry. This involves distributing food and providing service to clients. Volunteers assist with setup and teardown at the distribution site. Warehouse volunteers inspect, sort, clean, box, and prepare donations for distribution.

Categories
Area Attractions Education Events Family Fun

Access City Services with the New City of Kyle Mobile App

When you’re not at your laptop or desktop, where do you get your City of Kyle information? Go to the website on your mobile phone? Great news! There’s an easier way to do it. Now you can do a lot of things from your iOS or Android phone with the City of Kyle App!

Kyle Chief of Staff Jerry Hendrix says the growing preference for accessing information on smart phones compelled the City to create the mobile app.

The app features include the following:

  • News & Information: Obtain the latest City of Kyle news and updates.
  • COVID-19 Information: Review the latest COVID-19 statistics for Kyle and Hays County as well as updated information on State and County Orders, City Operations, and COVID-19 resources.
  • Bill Pay: Pay City Utility bills, tickets, court fines and for City permits and inspections.
  • Calendar & Meetings: Stay on top of important City meetings and events.
  • City Directory: Look up contact information for City Departments and Leaders.
  • Voting Information: Remain current on upcoming elections, important deadlines as well as propositions and seats that are on the ballot.
  • Kyle Public Library: Browse the Kyle Public Library’s catalog, hold and renew books, and borrow e-books.
  • Kyle10 Live Stream: Watch the City of Kyle channel 10 live stream.
  • Parks & Facilities: Find information on City Parks, Trails and Facilities.
  • Join TeamKYLE: Check out current City job postings.

The City of Kyle and Uber rideshare platform have a formed partnership called Uber Kyle. It provides transportation options to residents and visitors with transportation. They partnership currently has a promo in the app’s recently added Uber Kyle feature.

Sold on the app? Download the City of Kyle App from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

To stay on top of great resources from Kyle and nearby, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Looking to move? Explore the inventory of new homes in Kyle or contact our Crosswinds team.

Categories
Area Attractions Education Family Fun

Kyle Library Offerings

If you love libraries as much as we do, you’re going to love Kyle Library. Residents can do much more than borrow books. As a Kyle resident, you have access to audiobooks, magazines, and DVDs. You can search the catalog as well as reserve and renew books from its website. This barely scratches the surface of the library’s offerings. Here’s what you can do with your Kyle Library card.

TexShare Databases

The TexShare Databases give you access to an extensive collection of articles from more than 27,000 journals, 171,000 ebooks, and 15 million images, videos, and interactive resources. These resources include business, career and job skills, education, genealogy, history, health and medicine, and do-it-yourself.

It’s also a useful resource for homework help. Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) administers the resource sharing program.

Computer and Business Services

The library has free wi-fi and you can log into its computers with your library card. Computer and Business Services consist of printing and copying documents, sending and receiving a fax, and scanning documents. Some services come with a low fee.

The Computer Skills Center can take you through the computer and internet basics. It offers video courses for Microsoft software, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop.

Events and Programming

The library calendar contains a variety of programs and events for all ages. Currently, the library has a Digital Summer Reading program with digital storytimes, online performances, and reading incentives. They have Dungeons and Dragons, Lego Club, Kyle Writers Group, and more.

Ancestry.com

Explore your family history with Ancestry.com. Next time you visit the library, log into the genealogy website to browse indexes to birth, death, and marriage records, immigration, passenger lists, and naturalization records.

Little Free Libraries

Finished a book you own? Consider dropping it off at one of Kyle’s Little Free Libraries. If you find an interesting book, go on and take it.

Kyle Library Thrift Shop

Operated by the Friends of the Kyle Public Library, the Kyle Library Thrift Shop is a resale shop on Lockhart Street. Funds from the shop support the library. Visit its page for the latest news.

The library is always adding new programs. Check out the website or follow Kyle Library’s Facebook page.

To stay on top of great resources from Kyle, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Looking to move? Explore the inventory of new homes in Kyle or contact our Crosswinds team

Categories
Design Education Family Fun Lifestyle

Get Creative with Egg Decorating Ideas

 

Here’s a fun activity to add a splash of color in your life and make everyone smile. These egg decorating ideas will have you doing more than just dipping eggs in the dye. Get ready to try something new!

 

Marbled Eggs

This marbleized effect will amaze and astound everyone. Pour 1 cup of dye into a bowl. Add one tablespoon of vegetable oil and stir with a straw or craft stick. Roll the eggs into the bowl gently for a few seconds. Carefully pat the excess oil and dye with a paper towel and set it on a rack to dry. After it’s completely dry, use a dry cloth to wipe away excess residue.

You can create a marble effect with two colors. Dip the egg into a base color and let it dry. Then do the above with a second color.

 

Blackboard Eggs

Cover the eggs with chalkboard paint and you have a canvas for chalk drawings. You can order chalkboard paint online. The cool thing is that you can erase the chalk and draw a new design.

 

Disco Egg

Channel Donna Summers and turn your egg into a disco egg by diluting craft glue with an equal amount of water. Completely paint the egg with the solution. Pour superfine silver glitter into a bowl and roll the egg around in it. Put it on wax paper to dry completely.

 

Out of This World Eggs

Space fans will love this one. Start with a marbled egg. It could be blue and purple or some other color. After the egg dries, brush it with gold luster dust and glue on stars, planets, and other space décor.

 

Permanent Marker Eggs

You won’t have paint, dye, or glitter to clean up with this one. And you most likely have a permanent marker in your home. Grab a few fine-tipped permanent markers and draw patterns. You could do just black for a monochromatic look. Try stripes, polka dots, diamonds, and abstract for slick-looking eggs.

 

Baby Chicks Eggs

Dip the front of an egg length-wise in yellow dye. (Not quite half of the egg.) After it dries, use a fine-point permanent marker to draw its face, arms, and legs.

 

Votive Eggs

These eggs make great decorations. Poke a hole at the top of the egg large enough to empty it out. Let the empty eggshell dry. Carefully break the top one-third of the shell with a spoon to create a bowl. Dye the egg and allow it to dry. Once dry, insert a tea light candle inside. If you’re concerned about accidental fires, you can order battery-operated tea lights.

 

Washi Tape Eggs

Like the permanent marker eggs, this one requires no dye, glitter, or anything that makes cleanup harder. Pick up a variety of Washi tape designs. Cut them, mix them, and stick them on the egg. And ta-da! Colorful eggs!

 

Share your egg decorating ideas with our Crosswinds community team on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Want to look at new homes in Kyle? You can safely explore the homes virtually on the Crosswinds website.

 

 

Categories
Education Homebuilder Lifestyle

What You Need to Know About Housing Market Trends 2020

What does the housing market have in store for 2020? And how does it affect your search for a new home?

First, a look at 2019. It started with shrinking home price gains. Fortunately, it regained momentum in the fall. The housing market saw lower interest rates. Mid-priced and lower-end markets had an inventory shortage while upper-end markets had plenty in supply.

And now for a look at 2020.

Housing Market Trends in 2020

Many experts say one of the biggest housing market trends is the decrease of square footage in newly built single-family homes. Buyers want smaller homes for greater affordability and lower property taxes. A smaller property also means less maintenance.

While the home size drops, they remain larger than the new homes of 30 years ago. Zillow reports that the median size of a home in 1988 was 1,810 square feet. Today, it’s 2,386 sq. ft., down from 2,467 sq. ft. in 2016. The home value will slow down to a sustainable pace to put it in line with inflation and wage growth.

Experts are divided on what they think will happen to mortgage rates in the 2020 housing market. Realtor.com predicts inventory will be limited at the entry-level price segment. As a result, it believes mortgage rates will start climbing. Forbes predicts the rates will stay low and maybe go lower.

But with lower rates come higher demand and tighter inventory. Already, buyers are searching for new homes earlier than the norm. Because of this, it’s expected there will be a shortage of new homes by the time home buying season arrives in the spring.

Homeowners are staying in their homes longer. That means fewer older homes for sale forcing buyers to look for newly built homes. Buyers who want affordable homes look in smaller towns outside of major cities.

What the Housing Market Trends Mean for Buyers

So, if you’re in the market for a new home, start looking now before the rates increase and the supply depletes. If you work in Austin or want to have easy access to Austin, you might want to look in Kyle. It’s a small town just 20 miles from downtown Austin and 15 miles from shoppers’ paradise in San Marcos. New home builders in Kyle’s Crosswinds community have inventory available, but buyers snap them up quickly.

The builders have just completed a handful of homes in December with more on the way. The sizes of the homes are in line with what buyers want as they range from 1,500 sq. ft. to 2,242 sq. ft. Residents will be able to swim, play, and enjoy the trails of Windy Point amenity center. Also, special incentives are available. Contact your Crosswinds sales counselor for details.

To learn more about Crosswinds, contact us or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Area Attractions Education

Keep It Kyle: Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center

When you visit or live in Kyle, Texas, you must stop by the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center. Here’s a little bit about its namesake and what you can expect to see there.

Who Was Katherine Anne Porter?

Callie Russell Porter was a writer, journalist, actress, and political activist born in 1890, just 10 years after the birth of the city of Kyle. Porter’s paternal grandmother Catherine Ann Porter built a three-room house on Center Street.

After Porter’s mother died in 1892, her father moved his four surviving children into his mother’s home in Kyle. The family lived there until her grandmother’s death in 1902. To honor her grandmother, Porter changed her name to Katherine Anne Porter.

Porter won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter, a collection of short and long stories. That’s why she’s one of Kyle’s most famous residents.

About the Literary Center

In 1997, the Austin Community Foundation, the Lower Colorado River Authority, the Clayton Fund, and the Burdine Johnson Foundation purchased the home. Bill Johnson and the Burdine Johnson Foundation funded the renovation and completed the restoration by 2000.

The house earned a National Literary Landmark designation in 2002. Four years later, the house landed on the National Register of Historic Places.

As part of a cooperative project between Texas State and the Hays County Preservation Associates, Texas State University leases the house as an extension of its nationally recognized MFA program in creative writing. The university hosts master classes with writers-in-residence that can include readings and book signings. Check the events calendar for the schedule.

Learn More and Visit the Literary Center

The center records all readings, which people can access at Porter House Review (formerly Front Porch Journal), Texas State’s MFA Program’s online literary magazine. Texas State’s Hillviews Magazine delves deeper into the center’s story.

The Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center (508 Center St., Kyle, TX 78640) is open to visitors and school groups by appointment. To schedule a visit, email kapliterarycenter@gmail.com or call 512-268-6637.

Want to get the scoop on all things Kyle? Connect with Crosswinds on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.