Nicole Villalpando

Parenting & homes editor

Nicole Villalpando writes about families in her Raising Austin column and blog, as well as homes improvement, faith, aging and community stories for Austin 360. She is also the editor of Season for Caring, the American-Statesman's annual charity campaign that has raised about $10 million in cash and in-kind goods and services for area nonprofits since it began in 1999. She has been with the American-Statesman since 1999 and lives in Austin with her husband, two kids, two cats and one out-numbered dog.

Latest from Nicole Villalpando

Make this Christmas a better one for local kids of Season for Caring
 On a Monday night last December, 10-year-old Luis Aguilar Negron walked into the Frank Erwin Center with his dad, Jose Luis Aguilar. They climbed to the top of the arena to watch his favorite wrestlers compete in the biggest arena he’d ever been in. Luis didn’t care they were so high up. His dream of watching a WWE match was coming...

Posted: 3 hours ago

On a Monday night last December, 10-year-old Luis Aguilar Negron walked into the Frank Erwin Center with his dad, Jose Luis Aguilar. They climbed to the top of the arena to watch his favorite wrestlers compete in the biggest arena he’d ever been in. Luis didn’t care they were so high up. His dream of watching a WWE match was coming...
School’s almost out, now what? Fill week with family events, Dec. 17-23
 Holiday events Thinkery Gingerbread House Workshops. Traditional or Tot (ages 5 and younger) 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 2:45 p.m., 4 p.m., Sunday and Saturday; 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday; and 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m. Dec. 24. $12...

Posted: 3 hours ago

Holiday events Thinkery Gingerbread House Workshops. Traditional or Tot (ages 5 and younger) 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 2:45 p.m., 4 p.m., Sunday and Saturday; 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday; and 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m. Dec. 24. $12...
How one boy with autism and his parents found an education online
 Baxter Wilson-Rul points out each letter on a letter board in his Cedar Park home, using it to say: “I meaningfully have great learning.” Meaningful learning is what he’s asked for for long as he can remember, except he didn’t know how to tell people, and he couldn’t say that he had all these sophisticated thoughts...

Posted: 3 hours ago

Baxter Wilson-Rul points out each letter on a letter board in his Cedar Park home, using it to say: “I meaningfully have great learning.” Meaningful learning is what he’s asked for for long as he can remember, except he didn’t know how to tell people, and he couldn’t say that he had all these sophisticated thoughts...
Academy gives $500 shopping spree to local family
 Margarita Matias, 72, said she felt like Cinderella as she and her husband, Jessie, 60, pushed a shopping cart around the Academy Sports and Outdoors store in Northeast Austin. It was a festive day with the cart sporting four big bows, one in each corner. The Matias family had been given a $500 gift card by Academy as part of the Statesman...

Posted: 11 hours ago

Margarita Matias, 72, said she felt like Cinderella as she and her husband, Jessie, 60, pushed a shopping cart around the Academy Sports and Outdoors store in Northeast Austin. It was a festive day with the cart sporting four big bows, one in each corner. The Matias family had been given a $500 gift card by Academy as part of the Statesman...
5 things you can do to prepare for flu season that’s expected to be bad
 Look out, Central Texas, the flu will be coming our way, and epidemiologists — experts in disease — believe it’s going to be a rough season. Doctors have started to see increases of flu cases in Massachusetts and Georgia and in our neighboring states of Oklahoma and Louisiana. In Austin, we don’t have a deluge yet...

Posted: 13 hours ago

Look out, Central Texas, the flu will be coming our way, and epidemiologists — experts in disease — believe it’s going to be a rough season. Doctors have started to see increases of flu cases in Massachusetts and Georgia and in our neighboring states of Oklahoma and Louisiana. In Austin, we don’t have a deluge yet...
Austin boy trying to raise $1 million for Batten treatment for sister
 When his parents set out to raise $6 million in two years to fund a Food and Drug Administration clinical trial for a possible treatment for Batten disease, Garland Benson, 13, decided he was going to raise $1 million of that to help find a treatment for his sister, Christiane. He would do it, he decided, by asking 100,000 people to give...

Posted: a day ago

When his parents set out to raise $6 million in two years to fund a Food and Drug Administration clinical trial for a possible treatment for Batten disease, Garland Benson, 13, decided he was going to raise $1 million of that to help find a treatment for his sister, Christiane. He would do it, he decided, by asking 100,000 people to give...
What should you give the teacher this holiday season? We have tips
 There are certain times of the year when teacher gifts are kind of the thing to do. Think: Teacher appreciation week in May, end of the school year and the Christmas/Hanukkah/winter holidays. You don’t have to, but it’s good etiquette to do so. Even if you don’t love your child’s teacher or teachers, it’s nice...

Posted: a day ago

There are certain times of the year when teacher gifts are kind of the thing to do. Think: Teacher appreciation week in May, end of the school year and the Christmas/Hanukkah/winter holidays. You don’t have to, but it’s good etiquette to do so. Even if you don’t love your child’s teacher or teachers, it’s nice...
Mothers’ Milk Bank of Austin reaches 5 million ounces donated
 As of Thursday, Mothers’ Milk Bank of Austin officially has distributed 5 million ounces of breast milk to preterm and medically
            fragile babies since it opened in 1999. The milk has been donated by more than 8,000 mothers, and been given to more than
            29,000 babies from around the country.  Katrina Hunt...

Posted: a day ago

As of Thursday, Mothers’ Milk Bank of Austin officially has distributed 5 million ounces of breast milk to preterm and medically fragile babies since it opened in 1999. The milk has been donated by more than 8,000 mothers, and been given to more than 29,000 babies from around the country.  Katrina Hunt...
20 things to do this weekend in Austin with your family, Dec. 15-17
 It’s going to be a great Friday and Sunday to enjoy some holiday fun. Warning: There’s a 100 percent chance of rain on Saturday.
            Watch out! Here are 20 events you can try this weekend: Ballet Austin’s production of “The Nutcracker.” Choreography by Stephen Mills. Photo by Tony Spielberg. Ballet Austin&rsquo...

Posted: a day ago

It’s going to be a great Friday and Sunday to enjoy some holiday fun. Warning: There’s a 100 percent chance of rain on Saturday. Watch out! Here are 20 events you can try this weekend: Ballet Austin’s production of “The Nutcracker.” Choreography by Stephen Mills. Photo by Tony Spielberg. Ballet Austin&rsquo...
Five years after Sandy Hook: What has changed, what has not
 Today marks the fifth anniversary of the shooting in Newtown, Conn., at Sandy Hook Elementary, when 20 students and six school
               employees were killed by shooter Adam Lanza. It has changed what happens in our schools. Students now do drills for fires, for severe weather and also for a lock down
            — when a school...

Posted: a day ago

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the shooting in Newtown, Conn., at Sandy Hook Elementary, when 20 students and six school employees were killed by shooter Adam Lanza. It has changed what happens in our schools. Students now do drills for fires, for severe weather and also for a lock down — when a school...
Is there a perfect way to be a parent? New Kraft video asks
 For Mother’s Day, 
            Kraft gave us the gem “How to swear like a Mother” from swearing expert Melissa Mohr, author of “Holy Sh*t: A History of Swearing.” Kraft Now for Christmas time, the mac-and-cheese maker gives us a more sentimental gem, a video that declares, “There’s no one perfect...

Posted: 2 days ago

For Mother’s Day, Kraft gave us the gem “How to swear like a Mother” from swearing expert Melissa Mohr, author of “Holy Sh*t: A History of Swearing.” Kraft Now for Christmas time, the mac-and-cheese maker gives us a more sentimental gem, a video that declares, “There’s no one perfect...