Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to Avoid Overbooking

5 Tips to Avoid Overbooking Your Kids and Find Life Balance

Thank you to the kidkind foundation for sharing this great article by Philip Brown, PhD, about the value of children being involved in community service activities.

1.  Let your kids know that you care about them for who they are, not just what they can do. Children need to know that your love is not contingent on their achievements.

2.  Remember that children do not have the same sense of time that you do. Part of growing up is being able to put things in perspective. There will likely be another friend, another team, another trip if this one does not work out.

3.  Working hard at something you love to do is one of the best parts of life. It takes some of us a lot of experimenting to find those things we love. Kids need that free time to try new things, as well as the permission to give them up and try something else.

4.  Some kids organize their time and find their interests with just a little exposure; other kids may need a bit of a push to try things that don't seem attractive or interesting (or may be threatening). The trick here is to be sensitive to individual needs and persistent in offering opportunities. If you need to be pushy, try to offer alternatives, so kids have a voice in what they will be doing. For example, some children thrive in competitive sports, and others may find their niche in hiking or dancing.

5.  Remember to include exposure to helping others in your family activities. One of the best ways of developing empathy in our children (and ourselves) is to feel the gratitude that is expressed when we help others. This doesn't happen if we don't have the opportunity of interacting with others in need or whom we help. This can happen within the context of the family itself, as well, and doesn't necessarily require a formal charity event. Create opportunities in which children can feel that they have meaningfully helped other family members or the whole family accomplish something. The combination of caring, responsibility, feeling respected, and gratitude is a powerful stew that nourishes the soul.

“When we're overprogrammed and feel we can't keep up, or are constantly running on empty, stress can lead to anxiety, depression and take a toll on our minds and bodies,” commented Dr. Brown. "For children, this can surface in many ways – trouble sleeping, frequent irritability, aggressiveness with siblings, trouble in school, moodiness or frequent illness are all common signs that something is not right and needs to be explored.”

To raise children of good character, a combination of guidance, freedom, and support in the context of shared values should be provided. Most 21st century parents in America experience tension between their roles as providers, parents and having adult lives, a phenomenon that is widespread and not limited to one class or location. Reflection may be valuable, even if parents are not sure if they are overbooking.

“For most parents, laying the groundwork for their children’s happiness and fulfillment is a top priority,” said Leigh Ann Errico, CEO and founder of Wear the Cape and the kidkind foundation. “But it’s important that families step back and assess the hours being devoted to various activities on the never-ending list of possibilities. Downtime can be time well-spent.”

Errico built Wear the Cape ( and established the foundation in 2013 after she came up short in her search for resources on kindness and character-building that would appeal to her own four children. The idea for the brand was sparked when Errico observed that the chance to wear a cape—the organization’s logo—motivates children to act like heroes, or “Cape Kids,” in order to live up to the symbol of honor.

Dr. Brown has partnered with Wear the Cape and the kidkind foundation to help parents nationwide foster good character in their kids. For additional resources from Dr. Brown and to learn more about Wear the Cape and the kidkind foundation, go to

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mother's Day - Without Spending a Fortune!

Mother’s Day is this Sunday and if you’re not quite sure what to get mom or how to show her how much she means to you, Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally-recognized etiquette expert, author and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, offers these nine tips to make your mom feel extra special without spending a fortune:

1.   Create a custom gift basket. You know what your mother loves. Think of all the things she’d never buy for herself. Create a goodie basket filled with gourmet coffees, teas and assorted snacks.

2.   Gift chore coupons. Create a handmade coupon book for your mom to use when she needs a break. Each voucher is good for a different chore. You could offer to do the dishes, vacuum, take the dog for a walk, wash her car, or make dinner.

3.   Call her via Skype. You can still connect even if you aren't able to visit your mom on Mother's Day. Use FaceTime or Skype to get some one-on-one time from far away. She'd love to catch up and see your smiling face.

4.   Make it a party. If your mom loves to socialize, throw a Mother’s Day party. Coordinate with friends or neighbors to celebrate their moms too. Your mom will be able to spend time with friends and enjoy her special day.

5.   Handwrite a Mother’s Day card. Store-bought cards lack the personalized emotion of a handwritten note. Write a letter to your mom and share picture and a special memory. Let her know how much you care and how much you love her.

6.   Make a family photo book. Gather photos of your entire family. If possible, reach out to extended family for their pictures. Then create a photo album or scrapbook filled with memories. Add your favorite quotes or family sayings for a personal touch.

7.   Gift personalized jewelry. Instead of generic earrings, have the names of all your mother’s children inscribed on a necklace or pendant. Or, create a charm bracelet. Handpick charms that represent memories from your childhood or your mom’s favorite hobbies. One year my siblings and I gave my mom a ring adorned with five sapphire stones. Each stone represented each of her five children.

8.   Make her breakfast. Whip up your favorite recipes and invite the entire family to spend a meal together. If you’re cooking skills are not up to par, host a potluck dinner or brunch or order takeout.

9.   Schedule time together. Give your mom the gift of time. Treat her to dinner at a nice restaurant, a cultural event like a ballet or play, or take her to the spa. The activity is less important than spending quality time together to talk and reconnect.

For more etiquette advice:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Elegant Smiley-Face / Frowny-Face Chart

Here's a very helpful listener comment inspired from our interview with Jessica Turner on The Fringe Hours!  Thanks Brooke!  Your daughter is one smart cookie!

"I really appreciate Jessica's emphasis on balancing the stuff you've got to do with the stuff you want to do. Like Jessica, I am a scrapbooker but I never seem to be able to insert time for my hobby into the circular schedule of never-ending laundry, grocery, meals, etc. My 15 year old daughter had a simply elegant solution to this dilemma. One Saturday afternoon she announced that she had gotten everything done on both lists." I asked her "what lists?" and she said, "my smiley face list and my frowny face lists." She had listed the stuff she wanted to do in one column and the stuff she had to do in the other. By making sure she did things on both lists, she balanced her time and energy. Since then, I've been using a steno pad for my To Do lists. I use the two columns for Smiley Face and Frowny Face lists (see photo attached). This keeps me aware of how I schedule my own time and is a visual reminder to keep things balanced. When the Frowny Face list gets too long, I try to re-schedule some of those tasks for another day."

Tune into The Fringe Hours for an interesting take on self-imposed pressures, multi-tasking, unhealthy comparisons and more.  Here's to using our time more efficiently!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Smoothie Book (and Show!)

Drink your way to better health with Molly Morgan of Creative Nutrition Solutions!  On "The Smoothie Show", we talk about smoothies of all sorts: kid-friendly, immune boosting, breakfast-time, probiotic, nourishing, and even dessert-like.  We also cover smoothie basics such as best liquids, sweeteners and blending tips for success every time!

In honor of this week's show release, you can WIN 1 of 5 COPIES of Drink Your Way to Gut Health: 140 Delicious Probiotic Smoothies  & Other Drinks that Cleanse and Heal.  Simply leave a comment on our FB post sharing your favorite smoothie ingredient or anything else! (Contest ends 4-19-15 at midnight.)

And thanks Molly for sharing these delicious recipes with us from the book!

Mango Blue Smoothie
(immune boosting)

3/4 cup low-fat or non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen mango slices
1 cup low-fat or non-fat milk
1 tablespoon honey (or less)

Combine all ingredients except honey in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and sweeten to taste with the honey.  Serves 2 (1 1/2 cups each)

Pineapple Cucumber Smoothie

1 cup low-fat or non-fat vanilla yogurt

1 cup sliced cucumber
1/2 cup cubed fresh pineapple

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  If needed, add water to thin the mixture to ease blending.

Extra Show Notes:

This is the drink Jen and Molly talked about:

Jen's Green Smoothie (Molly-Approved):

Monday, April 6, 2015

Kids Can Do: Be Science Geeks

Kids Can Do (KCD) ... SCIENCE plus more!  But it has to be fun, because it is part of our KCD series and the requirements are as follows: simple, fun, inexpensive.  In this case, it's more than Science.  There's a little math, exercise and language arts sprinkled in.  Give these easy activities a try ... 

Science Jars  

Fill identical clear jars with different materials such as sand, water, dirt, salt, popcorn kernals, cotton balls, rice and rocks.  Screw the lids on tightly.  Let your children hold and shake the jars.  Which jars are the lightest?  Which are the heaviest?  Which ones make sounds when they are shaken?  Put them in order from quiet to loud.  Estimate how many cotton balls are in the jar then count them.


Take photographs of your young children doing a simple step-by-step activity (putting on socks and shoes, putting a puzzle together, baking bread, etc.)  Print the photos and let your children put them in the correct order.  Encourage them to describe what is happening in each picture.

Will It Roll?  

Prop a piece of wood against a chair to make an inclined plane.  Collect two egg cartons and a variety of rolling objects (marble, ball, toy car, etc.) and non-rolling objects (paper clip, block, puzzle piece, etc.)  Label one of the egg cartons “rolling objects” and one of the egg cartons “non-rolling objects.”  Let your children select one of the objects and predict whether or not it will roll down the slide.  Then place it on the slide and watch it.  Did they guess right?  Have the children put the object in the appropriate egg carton.  After all of the objects have been tested, show your children the egg cartons.  Which carton has the most?  Which has the least?  The cartons are a simple kind of graph.  

Nature Bracelet  

This fun idea can be used in the fall or in the summer or whenever!  Take some masking tape and make a bracelet for your child sticky side out.  As you have your walk, encourage your child to gather leaves, flowers, acorns, twigs or whatever to stick on their wrists to create a wonderful bracelet!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lucky Green Smoothie!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I thought we would share a healthy green smoothie idea for the day, and every day ...

I use about half of the amounts since I am usually making it just for me, and I definitely don't follow the measurements correctly all the time, but it still tastes great.  I do make sure I have the most of spinach, then banana - cause that is my favorite!  Give it a try...

Lucky Green Smoothie
2 cups spinach
1 cup mango
1 cup pineapple
2 bananas
*Be sure that at least one of the above fruits are frozen.

I have always been a big smoothie fan, especially for my kids.  It is SO easy to sneak stuff in there and they love it anyway!  Since I have been doing smoothies for so long and could use some fresh information and ideas, I am looking forward to our upcoming chat (The Smoothie Show!) with Molly Morgan about her new book, Drink Your Way to Gut Health.  Stay tuned and start blending!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Little Thing ...

... that might just be long remembered!

We, the Rehbergers, recently finished a part of our basement and shortly after, a small unexpected tradition started.

Always being fans of comics, we got out Jeff's comic and Superman collection and hung a print.  Then other things got added, and it quickly became the "Hero Wall".  It had previously been our thing to get each other a fun balloon for birthdays, and I am not too sure where they used to go, but now I do ... on the Hero Wall!  To the right is the wall as of now.  The image below is what Jasmine did when I let a balloon fly out of the car ... :(  She printed a image of the balloon with a funny message explaining it's disappearance.  It is a great family story and she made us all chuckle with this one.

So, now we have a unique tradition that the girls love, and somehow they remember who got what and when.  That tells me they like our fun, new tradition.  (Sometimes the simple ones, that we don't plan, turn out to be the cool ones!)

Maximize your family time together (whether it is 5 minutes, a weekend, or a holiday) and create long-remembered memories.  Listen to Little Things Long Remembered with Susan Newman as we each share really small things that could just turn out to be big things to your little ones.

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Sweet Treat

A special delivery makes all of us smile!  Now you can send a treat to someone who's sweet with InstaCandi.  It's unique, simple and fun!

Cute themes like Birthday Bits, Congrats Candi and Get Well Goodies are just some of your choices with old-time favorites like Mary Janes and Tootsie Rolls, to Snickers, Milky Ways and Jolly Ranchers.  All themed choices are packaged in colorful bags with confetti and a handwritten personal card, then mailed in a colorful envelope.  All choices are one price, $9.99, and there is no shipping and no tax (unless you live in NY).

Some more themes to brighten someones day:

St. Patrick's Day Delights
St. Patrick's Day Delights
Sweet Treats
Thankful Things
Happy Candiversary
I Heart U
Sorry Sweeties
Mindful Mix
Easter Eats
Instacandi for Business

Check out this great idea at and be a fan on Facebook or Twitter!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Simple (maybe gross) Lunch Tip

There is so much information out there about school lunches - so many ideas about how to pack, tools to use, what to put in them.  It is a lot to take in ...

Both Jasmine and Jade prefer packed lunches.  Actually, Jade has NEVER eaten a school lunch, and Jasmine has purchased 3 in her 6 years of school.  I am sure it because I pack the most amazing lunches ever!  Right?  I am going with that ...

Despite my clear amazing-ness for making great lunches, I don't like doing it.  The girls have gone through phases and have packed their own, but it just seems to work out better for us if I do it - several reasons.  So here is my big tip for making the whole lunch packing process easier on me:  I only touch the lunch box
ONCE a day!

Yep, that's it.  In the morning, I pack it and hand it off.  The girls put it in it's place after school and I don't touch it.  My theory: why mess with the dirty stuff after school, and then pack it back up in the morning.  I just empty it out and pack it in one "session".  Are you cringing - I have been told that is nasty, but even if there are leftovers, nothing really gets gross in that short of a time.

What do I use?  I have a couple sets of the Ziplock divided containers (they don't leak - love that!) and the 10 oz Thermos jars for hot meals. And we have several sporks.

So, what do you think of my single tip - nasty or genius?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Little Things Long Remembered

On our show with Susan Newman, we talk about lots of little things that make a big difference.  When you think of your own childhood, do you remember some of them? Check out these special ideas from the book AND listen to Little Things Long Remembered.  You (and your family) will be happy you did!
Establishing Ties  Create a gesture that your child knows means “I love you.” Perhaps it’s your hand on your heart, your arms folded, or placing one finger on your cheek.
Five Minutes More or Less  Start a story: “A boy named Jack had a fun family.” Alternate one-sentence additions: one child adds the next sentence and another child continues the story. And so it goes for the car ride, at the dinner table, or while waiting anywhere.
Half an Hour to an Hour or So  Once every few weeks put fresh flowers on the table, light dinner candles, and take a moment to express gratitude that you are a family.
Weekend Fun  Invite a surprise person—an old family friend, a relative, or one of your child’s friends—to dinner and keep it a secret until he or she walks in the door.
When You Travel  While you are out of town lend your child something—a pen, a hat, gloves, or your favorite mug or cup—that you use frequently but will not need while you are gone. Also - pillow, t-shirt (to sleep in).
Sick Days  An attractive tray makes the food more appetizing. Use a bright-colored napkin, dishes you don’t use; Prepare foods differently.
Happy Holidays  Turn a holiday meal into a celebration by purchasing theme-decorated paper napkins and plates.
Memorable Birthdays  Write a short letter to your children each year on their birthdays. For younger children, record milestones and progress; for older children, mention accomplishments or include family highlights of the year.
Little Things Long Remembered  On occasion, announce “Rule Break” and make an exception to a standing rule: “Rule Break: Tonight you can sleep on the couch,” or, “Rule Break: I will walk the dog so you can watch TV.”
What "little thing" will you do today?