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February 20, 2017


Nikki's Diary Blog Art Monday Feb. 20th

I had just gotten out of a SUPER relaxing bubble bath when my phone rang. It was Chloe.


At least that’s what I think she said. She was screaming like MacKenzie if she got dog poop all over her designer shoes.

“Haunted? What are you talking about??”


My mom was about to run errands anyway, so she dropped me off. I think she was glad I wouldn’t be home for dinner. When one of us is gone, it’s always her excuse to order take-out.

Zoey’s mom’s car pulled up to Chloe’s house at the exact same time.

“OMG, do you know what’s going on?” Zoey said as we rushed to the door. The house was dark. “Is she even still here?”

I couldn’t even answer before the door swung open. Chloe reached out and yanked us inside.

“You GUYS,” she said. “There’s a GHOST in the house!!!”

“Um, Chloe, Halloween isn’t for a looong time,” Zoey said.

I started to laugh, but Chloe was totally serious.

I reached out my hand to see if she had a fever. But just then a HORRIBLE howling sound floated through the house!!! I jumped and kind of smacked Chloe in the face!!!

Chloe yelped and leaped back, knocking a vase off the table in the entryway.

“See?!!” she cried. “The house is HAUNTED!!”

I mean, the vase thing was my fault. But I couldn’t explain the howling.

“Where’s your mom?” Zoey said.

“At her craft night,” Chloe sniffled. “I know it’s totally lame to be scared of being home alone, but—”

And then the howling started up again. We grabbed each other and huddled.

“Let’s just go,” Zoey said. “I’ll call my mom and she’ll come right back!”

“But if I freak out,” Chloe said, “my mom will never let me stay home alone again!!!”

“Okay, you guys,” I said. “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!”

That sounded familiar to me. I think it was from some old movie called, “Ghost Busters.” And I WAS actually afraid, because that howling sound was CREEPY. But Chloe looked so scared. SOMEONE had to step up!!

“Everybody get a weapon!”

“What kind of weapon is a ghost afraid of?” Chloe said.

I shrugged. “I guess we’ll find out!”

Within a couple minutes, we had gathered our weapons. Chloe had a flashlight, Zoey had a frying pan, and I had a toilet plunger.

“I think it sounds like it’s coming from the garage,” I said, heading that way.

Chloe grabbed my arm. “Why are we going TOWARD it???”

“Well, don’t you want your mom to see you can handle it? Maybe it’s friendly! Maybe we’ll scare it away. What’s the worst that can happen?”

Chloe’s eyes got enormous. “It’ll squeeze out our eyeballs and drink them in an eyeball-banana smoothie!”

THAT was specific. And disgusting.

“Okay, you can stay here. I’m going to check it out.”

Zoey followed me. Then Chloe came running after us. “Don’t leave me alone!” she whined.

We reached the door from the kitchen out to the garage. The howling got louder. And sort of screechy.

“Nikki, you’re so brave!” Chloe said. “I can’t believe you’re doing this for me.”

“We’re BFFs,” I said. And suddenly I realized THAT was why I was being so brave. Chloe and Zoey had done crazier things for me!!!

I flung open the garage door and waved my bat like a sword.

Then I saw it. The terrifying monster opened its mouth and yowled again.

It was a snowy white cat with bright blue eyes.

“Mr. Fluffkins!” Chloe said.

It was the neighbor’s cat, which must have gotten into the garage when her mom was leaving.

“You were amazing, Nikki,” Chloe said after we’d returned Mr. Fluffkins to his cranky owner.

“Whatever,” I said. “Next time something’s haunting MY house, I’m sure you’ll return the favor!” 🙂

Readers, what’s something scary that’s happened to you before? How did you handle it?
February 19, 2017



What’s up, Brandon! I have a major issue. My former 5th grade teacher is—gulp—dating my DAD!!! My father thinks that since I already know her, it’s not as strange as him dating someone totally new…but it IS! Whenever she’s over for dinner, it gets SUPER awkward!!! I’m getting REALLY stressed out! I really don’t want the other kids in my class finding out. It would be SO humiliating, and I’d NEVER hear the end of it. If anyone can help, it’s you!

Dad Dating Disaster

Hey Dad Dating Disaster,

Oh wow! This is…a unique situation.

But, maybe it’s not that unique after all. Plenty of kids have to go through discomfort when a parent starts dating someone new. And others feel uncomfortable when they encounter a teacher in a non-school situation.

But yikes, your dad dating a former teacher is definitely a special circumstance. It seems like there are two different things going on here. First, there’s the awkwardness you feel when you hang around them. And second, there’s the stress of what your classmates will think.

So, let’s talk about the awkwardness first. I mean, your dad is being kind of oblivious if he thinks it should be MORE comfortable for you because you already know the teacher. But hey, he’s in love! Or, at least it sure seems like it. Everyone’s judgment gets a little messed up when they’re crushing. Not excusing it, just saying.

I’m guessing your teacher has a better idea that you’re uncomfortable. Because she’s a teacher, she might understand how kids think and feel better than your average adult. But, maybe she’s crushing too hard on your dad to think straight too. (Sorry, I’m sure that’s weird.)

So look, you can’t change how they act. You can only control how YOU react to THEM. Maybe think about WHY you feel awkward. Would anything help you feel less awkward?

Maybe it would help to get to know your teacher better. Then you could stop thinking about her as “your teacher.” Right now, the idea of spending MORE time with her probably sounds like terrible advice. But, I wonder if it might help. Maybe you two could hang out for an afternoon without your dad around. Then you won’t have the dynamic of their googly eyes making things weird, and you can concentrate on getting to know what she’s like outside of school. If you find your own connection with her, it might not be as weird.

As for being humiliated if your classmates find out…what are you worried they’ll do or say? I mean, she’s not YOUR teacher anymore. So they can’t say you’ll get special treatment or something. And, YOU’RE definitely not the one dating her, so they can’t say you’re in love with her (that was supposed to be a joke, by the way. 🙂

They might express shock – “OMG, your dad is dating your teacher!?!?!” But then you can just respond with your own shock. “I KNOW!! I can’t believe it either!!!”

I think this is one of those situations where if YOU act like it’s a big, embarrassing deal, that’s what it’ll be. But if you don’t let it bother you—or at least manage to pretend that’s what you’re doing—other kids won’t see it as such a big deal, either.

And, if you’re stressed about the moment when other kids will find out, maybe take control of that and tell them yourself. If you’re the one who brings it up, that’ll take even more of the power out of it, I think.

How would the rest of you handle it if your mom or dad were dating a teacher? How do you get over the weirdness when your mom or dad is dating ANYONE new?
February 15, 2017


Ask Nikki Blog Art Feb. 15th

Hey Nikki,

I have a friend who’s nice to me sometimes, but then she acts really mean. For example, when I try to hang out with her and her other friends at her locker, she just glares at me! It’s almost like she doesn’t want her friends to know she’s hanging out with someone like me. When I ask her why, she just pretends it never happened! How do I get her to stop being so two-faced??

Freaked Out By Fickle Friend

Hi Freaked Out By Fickle Friend,

Okay, I have a question. A LOT of questions, actually. Here’s the first one: 


Phew! Okay, sorry. I had to get that off my chest.

Look, this girl sounds awful. It is NOT cool to treat someone one way, and then treat them a whole other way because someone’s watching. Not cool AT ALL. I don’t care how popular she might be, how unpopular you might be, or whatever. There’s a little thing called BASIC KINDNESS and the way she’s treating you is NOT kind. Not at all.

Didn’t you just say, “She doesn’t want her friends to know she’s hanging out with someone like you???”

Like…you’re not pretty enough to be her friend? Or you don’t wear the right clothes? Or have the wrong hair, skin color, braces, glasses or WHATEVER??? Anyone THAT shallow and judgmental is SO not deserving of your attention. FOR REAL.

Look, I get the appeal of a CCP. It feels like if you’re friends with her, you’ll have an in with ALL of them and then maybe you’ll never get picked on and your middle school and high school life will be MADE.

But FIRST, you’re NOT friends with her if she’s ashamed to be seen with you. And SECOND, even CCPs have their problems. Suddenly being “cool enough” will NOT mean you’ll be smooth sailing until graduation.

So, knowing that, I’d say you drop this girl IMMEDIATELY. You don’t need someone who acts two-faced, snobby, and only nice in certain circumstances. I’m not suggesting you confront her. I’m just saying sit somewhere else. Don’t even try to sit with her and her friends. Talk to someone who’s friendly, not fickle. Better yet, reach out to someone else on the bus who looks a little lost, like they need a friend. You’ll feel better, they’ll feel better, and old two-faced can continue feeling miserable.

She must be miserable, after all, or she wouldn’t treat people like that. Maybe she’ll notice you stopped sitting with her. Maybe it’ll make her think about why. Or, maybe she won’t care at all. But, either way? You’ll feel better!

Has anyone else dealt with a two-faced, so-called “friend?” Or, have you ever treated someone else differently depending on who was watching? How did it make you feel?
February 13, 2017

Happy Valentine’s Day!!


Dear Dork Diaries Fans,

Happy Valentine’s Day!

May all of your Valentine
wishes come true!!

Nikki Maxwell

P.S.: Don’t you just LOVE this video?! SQUEEEEEE!! 

February 11, 2017



Hey Brandon,

Next week will be my very first Valentine’s Day with my crush and I don’t know what to do for him! I’m afraid that if I don’t do anything, he’ll be upset. What should I do???

Valentine’s Day Dilemma

Hey Valentine’s Day Dilemma,

Oh man. Valentine’s Day. I mean, I think it’s awesome. Sort of. Sometimes. But it also causes a LOT of stress! For everyone! Guys, girls, single people, coupled people.

My grandmother forbids my grandfather from doing anything for her for Valentine’s Day. She says she doesn’t want him to think he can just give her some chocolates one day a year and be done with it. She wants him to show his love all year long!!!

But, I get it. It’s different when you’re younger. A relationship that lasts a few months can be a long one. You probably haven’t spent too many holidays/birthdays/etc together. And, opportunities to celebrate are fun!

So, I’m not downer when it comes to Valentine’s Day. I’m just recognizing that it can be a lot of pressure.

But in your situation, here’s what I think you should do: talk to your crush. Be all like, “Hey, Valentine’s Day is coming. Are we doing anything?”

It’s that simple. He’ll probably be relieved YOU brought it up. And bonus: since you were the one who brought it up, then he’s the one who has to come up with the answer.

(Unless you have a strong feeling that you WANT something to happen. Then you should tell him. Say, “Are we doing anything? Because I was thinking about getting you a little something, but I didn’t want you to be surprised.”)

Or whatever.

So if you decide together that you ARE going to do something, it doesn’t have to be a big deal. It definitely doesn’t have to be expensive. You could make him some cookies or cupcakes. I know I would love that. 🙂

You could give him a gift certificate for time doing something he likes that you don’t usually want to do, whether it’s playing video games, watching some show you hate, or shooting hoops.

If you’re crafty, you could knit him a scarf or make him a phone cover or a drawing he could hang in his locker, or a picture frame with a picture of the two of you inside.

That’s it. Something from your heart, that will make him smile.

Wow, my advice is so good I think I’m going to follow it myself. 🙂

Readers, if you like someone, how do you guys celebrate Valentine’s Day? What are the most heart-felt gifts you’ve given?
February 8, 2017


Blog Art For Ask Nikki Feb. 8th

Hi Nikki!

Valentine’s Day is next week, and I’m already DREADING it! I feel pathetic because all my friends have a Valentine crush and I don’t. They tell me not to let it bother me, but it still does. What should I do?

Valentine Blues

Hey Valentine Blues,

I TOTALLY get why you’d feel that way. Sometimes it seems like being a tween is ALL about dating, crushing, and looooove! And it’s extra hard this time of year, with all the hearts and flowers and valentines floating around.

But that’s not at ALL what being a teenager’s about. It’s about figuring out who you are and how you fit into the world. It’s even about friends and learning how to be supportive and how to ask for help and how to be in relationships, but not necessarily romantic ones. (And okay, it’s about stuff like school and learning, too.)

You might not really want a crush. What you REALLY want is to be like everyone else. That would be understandable, too. Not everyone is boy-crazy or girl-crazy. Some people don’t start dating until college. Some people are never really into romantic relationships!

I’m glad your friends are supportive and tell you not to let it bother you. Because it shouldn’t! A lot of times, boys are more trouble than they’re worth. 🙂 But you’re right, too – it’s easy for them to say, when they’ve got Valentine crushes. And actions speak louder than words. If they’re telling you having a crush doesn’t matter, but the next minute they’re ignoring you to text their crush…that hurts!
AND totally stinks!

So look, a couple things.

First, you might not have a crush, but you don’t really KNOW that nobody has a crush on you. I mean, not everyone goes around broadcasting their crushes!!! So there just MIGHT be someone who’s crushing on you right now.

Not that you NEED a crush. But just sayin’! 🙂

Here’s another important point I want to make: even if it’s true that NO ONE is crushing on you, that does NOT mean you’re pathetic. Sometimes it seems like the cutest girls get the most attention from boys. But you know who REALLY gets the most attention? It’s the most CONFIDENT girls. Now, sometimes they’re the same girls. The cutest ones are also the most confident ones…because they’re so cute! 

But, what does cute even mean? Who decides what’s cute? Confidence is easier to define. Confidence means believing in yourself, knowing you’re an awesome person with a lot to offer, and letting your inner dork shine through! If you’ve got THAT going on, people are going to notice you and be drawn to you. And you can have that going on no matter WHAT you look like or who’s crushing on you!

But the key is that you’ve got to be confident whether or not anyone is crushing on you. And THEN someone might start crushing on you! But even if they don’t, you’ll still feel better about yourself.

So, how to be confident? Well, you’ve probably read all sorts of magazine articles or blog posts about self-esteem, etc. I think it’s mostly about focusing on the things you know you’re good at, and all the people in your life who think you’re awesome.

And sometimes with confidence, you fake it till you make it. As in, even if you don’t FEEL confident, try to ACT confident. It’ll be more effective if it’s for real. But even acting confident can help make you feel more confident. It’s a weird trick, but it actually works.

So readers, how do you handle it when you feel like the only one who doesn’t have a boyfriend? And let’s get really deep here…what do you think being a tween is all about?
February 6, 2017



I was SO excited when my mom came home from the store with candy hearts and supplies to make Valentines.

I was going to make Valentines for Chloe and Zoey and…maybe even BRANDON! SQUEEEEE!!!!!

“Not so fast,” my mom said. “I got this stuff for Brianna.”

Which, I’m SORRY, but I think six years old is a little YOUNG to be promoting a holiday all about crushes and romance!!! I mean, it’s completely inappropriate! Also, I wanted the glittery construction paper for myself!!!

“You may use some of the supplies,” she said. “But only after Brianna makes 18 valentines.”

“Brianna does NOT have 18 friends!!!”

But my mom explained that the little kids are required to bring a Valentine for everyone in their class. Which I remembered from being that age. So no one feels left out or whatever. Which I GET. Except, do they think the not-so-popular kids believe everyone’s suddenly their friend? And if they do, it’s got to be a SUPER big disappointment the next day when they’re back to being ignored!!


I offered to help Brianna with her Valentines. If she did them herself, she’d TOTALLY use up all the supplies. SOMEONE had to make sure she didn’t go glitter CRAZY!!!!

“Okay, Brianna,” I said as I sat her down at the table. “I’m going to show you how to cut a heart shape out of construction paper.”

She pulled a piece of brown paper out of the rainbow stack. “Can you show me how to cut a poop shape?”


“Like a poop emoji. With eyes. The ones that look like chocolate ice cream.”

“WHY would you want to make POOP Valentines???”

“Because I’m not giving HEARTS to gross BOYS!!!!”

This is when I had a moral dilemma. If Brianna made poop Valentines for the boys, there would be plenty of glittery red paper left over for me…

But Mom and her teacher would probably not be thrilled…

But the boys would probably think they were hilarious…

And I could see her point!! Why should she be FORCED to give Valentines to kids she doesn’t like???

But I also see the teacher’s point: kids start hanging out in cliques.

“Okay look, Brianna. I think poop Valentines are hilarious,” I finally said. “But I’m worried you’ll get in trouble.”

“What’s wrong with poop???”

I didn’t even know how to answer that.

“Look, what’s something else you hate? Not something gross. Just something…you really don’t like. Like…broccoli?”

“You think I should make BROCCOLI Valentines???” she shrieked. Like that was CRAZIER than poop Valentines!!!!

“It doesn’t have to be broccoli! But what else do you really dislike?”
She thought for a minute. “Worms, the tooth fairy, boogers, waiting for my birthday, football…”

“Football! That’s perfect!”

And it WAS. Because making football Valentines would still use the brown paper!! Leaving some sparkly paper for meeee!!! AND Brianna wouldn’t get in trouble!

“Oh Nikki,” my mom said later when she saw the Valentines all spread out on the table. “How cute! Football Valentines for the boys! Wait…why did Amber G. get a football?”

Brianna opened her mouth, probably to answer honestly. Amber G. is a little MacKenzie-in-training!

“Maybe she LOVES football!” I said. “Football isn’t only for boys, MOM.”

Later, I made sparkly heart Valentines for all my friends while listening to my fav tunes on my iPod. And then, I decided to try something…

I pulled out a sheet of brown paper. I wasn’t going to make a football. But Brianna’s idea of a poop emoji Valentine really WAS hilarious. And the shape is so simple…

Honestly? It turned out pretty cute. And if anyone in this world deserves a poop Valentine it’s this CCP I know… NOT that I’ll give it to her! (OR WILL I???)

Is your classroom having a Valentine’s Day party? Tell us about it! Will you be handing out Valentines to your entire classroom, or just your friends?
February 2, 2017


Ask Nikki Feb. 2nd Blog Art

Hey Nikki,
I’m crushing on this boy. I’ve been crushing on him like, FOREVER. He knows I like him, but he told me that he doesn’t like me and that he’s crushing on someone else! 🙁

I just CAN’T get over him, and I feel so stupid. What should I do?

Hung Up On Crush

Hello Hung Up On Crush,

Okay. Well, first of all, you’re not being stupid. Feelings are feelings and you sometimes can’t control who you like.

But you CAN control whether or not you make yourself miserable. And it seems to me that if you keep spending tons of energy on this guy who has told you straight up that he doesn’t like you and likes someone else…you’re just making yourself miserable.

So, how to get over someone you’re crushing on? It’s tricky. It’s not going to happen overnight. But, there are a couple things you can do to help move the process along.

The first thing is to avoid as much contact with him as possible. If you follow him on any social media sites, unfollow. I’m serious! If you have his number in your phone, delete it. You can’t avoid seeing him in classes you both have, but avoid hanging out with him at lunch, etc. You won’t have to avoid him forever. Just while you’re getting over the crush.

You can also vent your feelings to a friend, or your parents or sibling, if they’re cool. Get it all out. Tell them everything you liked about this guy. Gush as much as you want—because it’ll be the last time you do that. Get this friend or family member to promise to gently remind you (or whack you upside the head) the next time you start rambling about this guy.

Finally, open your mind to other crush possibilities! Not that you NEED a crush. Life is generally simpler without one. But not as exciting! 🙂 And sometimes a new crush is the best way to forget an one. So look around! Chances are you’ve been focused on this one guy for so long that there are some awesome guys around who you haven’t even noticed!

Or, if the crush-free life sounds better to you, try spending more time with your friends! Join some clubs! Take up a hobby! Anything to keep your mind busy, and to help you remember that YOU are awesome! Just because this guy doesn’t like you and is interested in somebody else doesn’t mean you’re unworthy of being liked. He just wasn’t the right one. It happens. It’s painful, but it happens.

And finally, listen to the awesome advice of other readers below! How do you guys get over a crush who doesn’t like you back?
January 31, 2017


Nikki's Diary Blog Art Jan. 31stARRGHHH!!! So, a while back I ACCIDENTALLY agreed to take Brianna mini-golfing. I don’t know what I was thinking. I WASN’T thinking, obviously!!!!

Today was the day. Dad was working and Mom had a dentist appointment. She dropped us off at Go Go Golf Family Amusement Center, which was known for its huge indoor miniature golf course.

“Have fun!!” she called out the window as she drove away and ABANDONED us there.

“Mini golf!” Brianna shrieked. “Popcorn! Video Games! Bumper cars!!!!”

“Okay, hold your horses, cowgirl,” I said.


Brianna was so excited I was a little afraid her head was going to explode. I grabbed her by the shoulders.

“Focus!” I commanded. “We came to golf. We’re going to golf. I’m not promising anything else.”

For a second I thought she was going to whine about the other things she wanted to do. But instead, she grinned and went running over to the counter where you check out clubs and balls.

“I WANT PURPLE I WANT PURPLE I WANT PURPLE!!!!” she screamed at the girl behind the counter.

Once we had our stuff (they didn’t have purple balls, so we got a red ball and a blue ball so that at least TOGETHER they made purple), we had to decide which way to go. Go Go Golf Family Amusement Center has two different mini-golf routes:

  1. Fairy Tale Forest, which is made for littler kids. The holes are a lot easier. It’s the way to go if you want to get through without temper tantrums over never getting the ball into the hole.
  2. Jungle Safari, which is a LOT harder, and if you take forever on a hole, you always end up with impatient groups of people waiting behind you.

So, OF COURSE Brianna insisted we go on the Jungle Safari route!!!

“I’ve DONE Fairy Tale Forest a billion times!” she complained. Which was true.

“But, that means you’ll be really good at it!” I reassured her.

“But Oliver Crumbly, Mrs. Wallabanger’s grandson, said he got a record score on Jungle Safari and there was NO WAY I could even finish it.” She folded her arms and made a pouty face. “He said it’s because I’m a GIRL!”

Well, that did it. We were DOING Jungle Safari. We were going to CRUSH it.

“Come on, Brianna. Oliver doesn’t know WHAT he’s talking about.”

It turns out he might’ve known what he was talking about. I mean, not that being a GIRL had anything to do with it. But Jungle Safari was WAY too hard for a six-year-old. Heck, it was way too hard for a fourteen-year-old!!!

“Okay, first of all, Brianna,” I said after we’d been stuck at the first hole for twenty minutes. “Oliver is obviously exaggerating. There’s no way he got a record score on this thing.”

“Uh, can we play through?”

This group of high school girls had been waiting pretty patiently for a while, so Brianna and I stepped to the side.

“Let’s watch what they do,” Brianna said. “Maybe we’ll learn something.”

I mean, it was kind of embarrassing. But at the same time, I was impressed by how committed Brianna was to CRUSHING her friend, Oliver. So, we watched the girls play through. One of them even told us the trick was to aim for the crocodile’s mouth, instead of the monkey tail.

And when I tried, I actually got it in! (Okay, after seven swings.)

Brianna got it in, too! (After nineteen swings.)

And, we were on to the next hole.

We carried on the same way for almost the whole safari. Taking forever, letting people play through, finally getting the ball into the hole.

(Occasionally, I would push Brianna’s ball RIGHT next to the hole while she was distracted with something else.)

(Okay, fine, sometimes I pushed my own ball right next to the hole, too.)

Then came the final hole. The elephant hole. The elephant’s trunk was moving up and down and you were supposed to get the ball into the elephant’s mouth when its trunk was up.

This was NEVER going to happen. I couldn’t just push the ball in without getting my leg trapped in the moving elephant trunk.

But, Brianna would NOT give up.

“We are going to finish this!” she screamed. “And I’m going to SHOW that Oliver Crumbly!!!”

She swung her club wildly. I ducked. Then I looked up just in time to see the ball sail right into the hole!!

I am NOT even kidding!!!

This guy wearing a Go Go Golf uniform appeared. “Did she just get a hole-in-one? On the elephant hole?”

Apparently it NEVER happens. So they took pictures of Brianna in front of the elephant and gave her a zillion tokens to spend on cheap plastic stuff and basically made her Queen of Go Go Golf Family Amusement Center!

So, I’m totally not saying I want to go golfing again with Brianna any time soon. But this time? It wasn’t so bad after all. 🙂

What great feat have you ever accomplished with your favorite game, hobby, sport or other activity?

February Calendar – Happy Valentine’s Day

dd-calendar-single-preview1 vertical page – 8½ x 11in