What To Do When You Don't Like Your Kid's Friends

What To Do When You Don't Like Your Kid's Friends

Both my boys have all different types of friends - they don’t tend to run in just one circle. They both make friends very easily, and get along with pretty much anybody. Which is a great quality, I realize.

But the truth is, sometimes I just don’t like the kids they’re hanging out with.

How To Avoid Enabling A Child With Anxieties

How To Avoid Enabling A Child With Anxieties

If only I knew 14 or 15 years ago what I know now about raising a child with anxieties.

Our first-born, now 20, had bouts of anxiety from as early as I can remember - infancy, really - and they grew more and more paralyzing as he grew into elementary-school age.

When he was in kindergarten, there was a light bulb flickering in the school gym during PE for over a month, and he would freak the freak out so hard they’d have to send him to the counselor’s office during PE time until they could get maintenance down there to change that damn bulb.

What To Do In Orlando Besides Disney

What To Do In Orlando Besides Disney

We’re lucky to have visited Orlando - Disney World, in particular - a few different times as our boys have grown up, and I know I don’t need to tell you this: everything Disney is magical and amazing.

But the parks themselves is not all there is to do in Orlando, Florida.

This city has so much to offer for travelers of all types: friend trips, couples, families with little kids, and families with older kids. And families with kids of widely different ages, like mine.

Best And Worst Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Best And Worst Teacher Appreciation Gifts

You don’t want to be the a-hole parent who gives your kid’s teacher a cute plaque, personalized with the wrong spelling of their name, do you? (Ack! Been there, done that.)

Here’s a list of what teachers want, and a collection of funny things they’ve received that they don’t want.

Public Bathroom Safety For Your Child

Public Bathroom Safety For Your Child

Something happened recently that has me freaked out a bit over what could have happened.  I want to share it with you, not to be exploitative, but to bring awareness. 

And because writing about things is how I “deal.” 

Not that this is about me.

My 8-year-old son and I went to my favorite place in the whole wide world (Target, of course) to buy materials we needed for a school project.  My child had to, of course, use the bathroom, because using bathrooms in every store we visit is his most passionate hobby, so I waited by the registers for him to come out.

He came out of the bathroom and told me that something weird had happened.

9 Musts To Carry With You On Your Flight

9 Musts To Carry With You On Your Flight

With the temperatures edging up, we’re starting to get antsy around here at the Braziel household, ready and just itching to get our next trip on the books. 

It’s travel season! 

Mark and I have an Orlando trip coming up in a few weeks, but that’s just for us - no kids on that one.

We’re meeting up with my cousin and her husband, who are flying in from England and I’m so excited to get to spend the weekend with them and to share our adventures with you!

Mothers Day Gift Ideas For The Impossible Mom

Mothers Day Gift Ideas For The Impossible Mom

Say whatever you want about how hard your mom is to buy for, but don’t think you’re going to bow up to me with a challenge on it, unless you’re willing to take that conversation straight to a level 10, because I will win that one every single time.

Honestly. Try me.

How To Make Custom T-Shirts

How To Make Custom T-Shirts

When my group of girlfriends get together for any kind of trip or special event, we have to have matching t-shirts because our seventh-grade selves are desperate for a do-over, now that we have the confidence and sense of belonging that comes way after junior high, AND we have the matching shirts to prove it.

Our husbands are not on board with this matching shirt business, but we force them into it.

I’m sharing how you can make these fun custom t-shirts so you and your girls will be matchy-matchy when you go out in public, giving you that great sense of belonging you never knew you were missing.

9 Steps To No More Tears At Homework Time

9 Steps To No More Tears At Homework Time

Let me start by saying that this is by no means a fool-proof or perfect plan.

In fact, it’s been literally less than 24 hours since there were tears shed over homework at this very table where I currently type these words.

My timing for writing this “how-to” type post is, as usual, (im)perfectly timed with a life occurrence that makes me think the universe is keeping me from getting all cocky by thinking I have all the answers.

This is just a guideline that works as a general rule.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

It requires that everyone do their own part.

What To Do In Waco Besides Magnolia Market

What To Do In Waco Besides Magnolia Market

A few weeks ago, I joined my sis-in-law and another girlfriend of ours for a girls’ weekend in Waco. Our friend, Sunday, and I live outside of Austin, and my sis, Jill, lives in Fort Worth, so Waco is the perfect meet-in-the-middle spot.

We’ve all been to the Silos before, and since the weekend we went was the annual Spring at the Silos event, we had no intention of going there and battling lines and crowds of crazy Chip and JoJo-seekers.

We were more interested in finding Waco’s hidden gems and places that locals call their favorite.

Tour Austin's Most Popular Murals

Tour Austin's Most Popular Murals

We finally have some gorgeous sunshine here in the Austin area and I’m in love!

If you ever get a chance to visit Texas, plan your trip for March/April or October, when the temps are mild and the breeze is yummy and cool, and you will have absolutely no regrets in your life.

What Happened When I Decided To Give Up Coffee

What Happened When I Decided To Give Up Coffee

You know how much I love coffee, right?

There was a time when my coffee order would be the most candybar-licious drink, with about five different squirts of various syrups, a big fluff of whipped cream, and a sprinkling of salted-but-slightly-sweetened magic dust that made my heart beat really fast all morning - all due to equal parts caffeine, sugar, and deep affection.

And I would order it this way every. single. day.

A few years ago, I knew that the long-term damage of drinking all my calories would be worse than dry shaving the bikini area, so I started changing up my order until the life was sucked right out of my cup of coffee, and - although I made-do for a while - I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Are You Screwing Up At This Mom Thing?

Are You Screwing Up At This Mom Thing?

Hey, you.

I’m looking at you, momma. I see you smiling that plastered-on smile to make everyone around you think you’re alright.

That you’ve got it all together.

That you’re feeling all “tight-and-right” about your momming skills.

But I know that look. And I know that your smile is a lie.

Simple Ways To Connect With Your Kids

Simple Ways To Connect With Your Kids

One of my favorite memories growing up is of my mom baking homemade Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies. She would mix up the dough and put the bowl in the freezer and bake small batches at a time during the next few weeks.

Her cookie-baking time meant I could be in the kitchen with her.

To this day, warm Nestle Toll House cookies are irresistible to me.

So much so that a bowl of dough doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell hanging out in the freezer.

Full transparency: there isn’t a “bowl of dough” happening, anyway.

In my house we do Nestle’s “break-n-bake” because - while I do think there’s something slightly missing from the taste by taking this time-saving route, you know that my claim to fame is cutting corners.

How To Deal With A Teacher You Or Your Child Can't Stand

How To Deal With A Teacher You Or Your Child Can't Stand

When our oldest son, who turns 20 in a few weeks, was in elementary school, we were asked to fill out a form at the end of each year, indicating which teacher we wanted him to have for the next school year.

There were other questions on the form, too, where you could give more information about your kid’s personality and their learning style, which the committee would take into consideration when setting class rosters.

They might still do this. I’m not sure.

It’s a nice gesture toward the parents, and I’m sure the school administrators found it helpful when they were putting the classes together.  

I remember that early each school year, there would be rumblings from parents who didn’t get the teacher they put as their first choice. And sometimes they wouldn’t get their second or third choice, either.

Aah, the things we get riled up about. 🤷‍

When You Start Believing Lies Of Self Deprecating Humor

When You Start Believing Lies Of Self Deprecating Humor

One of my favorite things about myself is my sense of humor. Not to be braggy, but I’m one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.

Nothing makes me want to smother a cigar under my heel and strut off like Kate Moss down the runway more than laying out a funny one-liner that makes people throw their head back laughing.

I’ve always taken great pride in being able to laugh things off, even in times of sadness and stress.

Even during the cycles of depression I’ve experienced in my life, humor was there, although it wasn’t as accessible to me as it is when I’m out of the funk.

The Dangerous Mindset That Throws Us Off Pace

Part of our morning routine on school days is for Cody to tell me, “But we’re not late - we’ve left way later than this before,” when I tell him he needs to get moving so we’ll be on time for school.

I’ve tried explaining to him that we might not be late at that very second, but that if he keeps the pace he’s currently keeping - slow AF - we’ll most definitely be late.

Getting him to understand that he’s still got eight more steps in the 10 steps it takes to get out the door in the morning, requires a degree in childhood development that reaches far beyond the likes of my wildly average parenting.

I get it, though.

I’m basically a living example of how my life has played out with this very same mindset.

The mindset that says, “I don’t need to get started right now. Things aren’t that bad.”

How to Get Your Kids The Help They Need At School

When my youngest son, who’s now in fifth grade, was in first grade, we already saw the signs of a child with ADHD. He didn’t have hyperactivity or behavior issues sometimes associated with ADHD, but he couldn’t focus for shit.

We had parent-teacher conferences, I sent many unanswered emails to the teacher, and time after time, we found that she was lumping him in with all the other students, and completely overlooking the specific educational needs of my son.

I wasn’t asking her for an effing kidney. I just wanted her to consider for just one flipping minute that my son wasn’t learning the way she was teaching.

I have a very strong opinion on this, by the way.

A Funny One To Follow: Kat Depner of Seven Styling

You know how when you meet someone you instantly click with, and you find them so adorably charming that you fantasize being bff’s and having slumber parties together and brushing each other’s hair into the wee hours?

I found someone like that.

Her name is Kat Depner of Seven Styling, a personal stylist and blogger from Portland, Oregon.

4 Lessons From Hosting A Classroom Party (or, How To Have Your Room Mom Of The Year Award Revoked)

Remember a few weeks ago when I told you how to win the Room Mom of the Year Award?  I didn’t want to just write about the craft that would help you win the award, I also did the craft myself, because what kind of person would I be if I just claimed I was sharing the magic recipe for Room Mom success, without even trying it for myself to make sure?

I want to take this moment to update you on the craft, the party, and about that day in general, so you’ll know how it all went down.  

Let me start by saying that a few days prior to the party, things were right on schedule and everything was coming together as planned.