Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween! Enjoy this Kid-Friendly Spooky Story

The Headless Horseman

A New York Ghost Story 
retold by
S. E. Schlosser
Listen to the story (4.3 mb download) 
One cold winter night, early in the New Year, a certain Dutchman left the tavern in Tarrytown and started walking to his home in the hollow nearby. His path led next to the old Sleepy Hollow cemetery where a headless Hessian soldier was buried. At midnight, the Dutchman came within site of the graveyard. The weather had warmed up during the week, and the snow was almost gone from the road. It was a dark night with no moon, and the only light came from his lantern. 
The Dutchman was nervous about passing the graveyard, remembering the rumors of a galloping ghost that he had heard at the tavern. He stumbled along, humming to himself to keep up his courage. Suddenly, his eye was caught by a light rising from the ground in the cemetery. He stopped, his heart pounding in fear. Before his startled eyes, a white mist burst forth from an unmarked grave and formed into a large horse carrying a headless rider. 
The Dutchman let out a terrible scream as the horse leapt toward him at a full gallop. He took to his heels, running as fast as he could, making for the bridge since he knew that ghosts and evil spirits did not care to cross running water. He stumbled suddenly and fell, rolling off the road into a melting patch of snow. The headless rider thundered past him, and the man got a second look at the headless ghost. It was wearing a Hessian commander's uniform. 
The Dutchman waited a good hour after the ghost disappeared before crawling out of the bushes and making his way home. After fortifying himself with schnapps, the Dutchman told his wife about the ghost. By noon of the next day, the story was all over Tarrytown. The good Dutch folk were divided in their opinions. Some thought that the ghost must be roaming the roads at night in search of its head. Others claimed that the Hessian soldier rose from the grave to lead the Hessian soldiers in a charge up nearby Chatterton Hill, not knowing that the hill had already been taken by the British. 
Whatever the reason, the Headless Horseman continues to roam the roads near Tarrytown on dark nights from that day to this. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

5 D.I.Y. Last Minute Unique Halloween Bags

Happy SPLURGE! Friday Dream Team! Tomorrow is Halloween, and the cloudy weather here at Teen with a Dream is really getting us in a Spooktacular mood for tomorrow! For today's SPLURGE! we want to share five D.I.Y. ideas for last minute Halloween buckets to take with you whatever your plan is tomorrow!

The greatest part about these are they are made from materials you are likely to already have sitting around the house!

Paint Bucket Monsters

Check out how to make them here!

Milk Jug Monster 
Check out how to make them here!

Pillow Case Totes

Check out how to do them HERE!

Cereal Box Monster Bags

Check out how to do them HERE!

Pumpkin Bowl Bag

Check out how to make them here!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

#TBT to Teen with a Dream's Spooktacular Germ-Lite Party

Holidays are a time for kids to let go, relax and have fun. Halloween is full of kids on the run, laughing with friends and collecting goodies through out the neighborhood. Being able to do this when you are a pediatric cancer patient becomes really difficult due to their suppressed immune systems. 

Most patients are unable to attend parties, hang out with friends and Trick-or-Treat that is why Teen with a Dream finds it to be important to offer an alternative. That is why we are sharing Throwback Thursday Photos of our past "Spooktacular Germ-Lite Event" for our program resource. 

Patients engaged in art therapy through decorating pumpkins, played Halloween themed games and also participated in a D.I.Y. cupcake decoration station!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Spooktacular Gallery to Inspire the Halloween Feel

As Halloween is almost upon us, today's Spooktacular Gallery is to help inspire excitement for this kid favorite upcoming holiday! Happy Hauntings!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Recognizing Your Emotional Mask + Embracing Your True Identity

As we are within our Halloween Blog week, there has never been a better time to look over the concept of emotional masks. Additionally how to unmask yourself and embrace your true identity. To begin lets look at emotional masks in general.

What is an Emotional Mask?

This metaphorical mask is the emotions and reactions that we put on in various situations. A very applicable situation pertaining to pediatric cancer could be that you mask your fears or concerns with simple avoidance.

Are there different types of Emotional Masks?

Almost any behavior or emotion that we exert could be a "mask" to what we are truly feeling. The more common and easily recognized masks may be:

  • Avoidance Mask- All together avoiding all components of the situation. We ultimately think by avoiding issues and emotions protects us from all.
  • People Pleaser Mask- This mask motivates our action to please others in any way possible
  • Anger Mask- Anger is an extremely powerful emotion that can be arguably felt more than any other emotion
  • Happy Mask- The "everything is fine" mask, tends to coincide with avoidance. This mask alludes to us that if we are forcing happy emotions all of the time we are then actually happy. 

According to Psych Central the following are ways that you are able to unmask yourself:

1. Make the Decision:  The first step is to decide you want to drop the Avoidance Mask. This means you are committed to taking action even though it may be painful in the beginning. If you aren’t sure, make a list of pros and cons–pros and cons of dropping the mask and pros and cons of keeping the mask.
Dropping the mask will not be easy and recognizing the difficulty of this task will help you succeed. Remember taking one step at a time may work best. For example, speaking up about which restaurant you’d prefer for dinner might be one initial step.
2. Focus on Awareness:  If you’ve lost touch with your own preferences and feelings, spend some time asking yourself what you really think and feel.  Keep asking and keep experimenting–it will come back to you. Consider keeping a journal, writing down what you liked and didn’t like each day. Accept your feelings and trust that they will pass.
3.  Be Visible:  Notice if you have the posture of someone who is trying to hide. If you do, stand up straight and let yourself be visible. Begin to express your opinion and thoughts gently, with kindness.
4. Develop New Coping Skills:  Before you drop the mask, it’s important to have alternative, more effective  ways to cope with emotional pain.  More about that in future posts.
5.  Face Whatever You’ve Been Avoiding:  Whatever your thoughts and feelings, they are your thoughts and feelings. Everyone has their own internal experience and yours is likely different from that of your friends’.
Accepting your internal experience instead of avoiding it will allow you to check to see if your feelings have any base in external reality and to choose healthier, more effective ways of coping. Facing the external fears will help you overcome those as well. Being rejected or criticized by others is not pleasant, but you will find out you can survive it. Take small steps, have support, and use alternative coping skills.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tips + Tricks to Chemo: Concealing and Keeping Your Ports Safe

Apart of being a pediatric cancer patients means you are forced to deal with lots of needles, which is why through the years doctors have created a tool that lessens the number of needle pokes a child will get by implanting either a "Right Atrial Catheter", "Central Line" or "Port". 

Whether you already have one, or know that it is is you treatment future, it is important to keep this very important "tool" germ-free, safe and comfortable. That is why today's Tips + Tricks to Chemo is all about working with this tool and making it is comfortable and stylish as possible. 

With Halloween around the corner there has never been a better time to invest in either creating your very own covers to cater your Halloween attire + costume OR order remade covers!

Check out the video below to see how to make your very own port covers!

If you are not in a hurry to get a port cover or if you just want to choose from pre-made options check out PICCZEES where you are sure to find a cover that fits your unique personality. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Witch Hat Halloween Recipe

It is no secret that Pillsbury Crescent Rolls can be used in so many ways, well we have found yet another way to use them and they will be the perfect addition to any Halloween bash!


  • 1 Can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • 1/4 Cup of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Teaspoons Powder Sugar or Unsweetened Baking Cocoa

  • 1Heat oven to 375°F. Separate dough into 8 triangles.
  • 2Sprinkle a heaping teaspoon of chocolate chips on wide end of crescent triangle, and roll over once to form brim of hat.
  • 3Form the rest of the crescent triangle into hat shape. Repeat for remaining crescent triangles. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
  • 4Using fine mesh strainer, sprinkle crescent hats with powdered sugar or cocoa; serve warm.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Welcome to a Spooktacular Halloween Week!

Although it may seem as though Halloween decorations have been popping up at stores for months, we are finally down to the last week before this kid favorite holiday! That is why all week we are surrounding our blog around everything Halloween!

To begin lets take a look at the origin of Halloween in this short video from the HISTORY Channel...

Now that we have a little history on this frighteningly fun holiday, here is a list of posts you can expect this week:

  • Halloween Recipes
  • Halloween Inspired Crafts
  • Uncovering Your Emotional Mask
  • Safety Tips for Halloween Night 

Check back for these and more for the Halloween Extravaganza this week on the Blog!

Friday, October 23, 2015

D.I.Y. Bookmark Ideas for Kids

Happy Friday Dream Team! To end our week on reading here is the perfect activity to SPLURGE! on this weekend....creating the perfect book mark that your kids can use to mark their place in their favorite books!

Here are our top three favorite D.I.Y. bookmark ideas to check out, but don't forget to click the link at the end of the blog to see an entire Pinterest library of ideas.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Therapy Animal Resource

Today's program resource is a state-by-state list of animal therapy organizations. Additionally there are a multitude of organizations that provide working with these therapy animals and your child through reading. Since this week is all about the significance of reading, we were ecstatic to find such a thorough resource!

To begin lets take a look at therapy animals in general and the comfort that they could provide your child during treatment...

What is Animal Therapy?

It is a guided interaction between the certified animal, an individual and the animals trainer. The purpose of this interaction is to provide comfort and help the individual cope with health problems or mental disorders.

What does Animal Therapy do?

The bond between humans and animals have been an established part of our nature for centuries and this type of therapy simply builds on this bond to accomplish progressive coping skills. According to it can help with [but not limited to]:
  • improve fine motor skills
  • improve assisted or independent movement
  • increase self-esteem
  • decrease anxiety or loneliness
  • increase verbal communication 
  • develop social skills
  • increase willingness to join in activities
  • improve interactions with others
  • motivate willingness to exercise

Check out a full list of Animal Therapy Services in your state HERE at the Local Therapy Animal Organizations resource!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

5 Inspirational Children's Books

Yesterday, we discussed the benefits that reading has on your child's emotional health. Now, we would like to share with you 5 inspirational children's books to get you started on your reading journey!

Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

 A perennial favorite, Dr. Seuss’s wonderfully wise graduation speech is the perfect send-off for children starting out in the world, be they nursery school, high school, or college grads! From soaring to high heights and seeing great sights to being left in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch, Dr. Seuss addresses life’s ups and downs with his trademark humorous verse and illustrations, while encouraging readers to find the success that lies within. []

 Every Little Thing by Cedella Marley
Bob Marley’s songs are known the world over for their powerful message of love, peace, and harmony. Now a whole new generation can discover one of his most joyous songs in this reassuring picture book adaptation written by his daughter Cedella and exuberantly illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. This upbeat story reminds children that the sun will always come out after the rain and mistakes are easily forgiven with a hug. Every family will relate to this universal story of one boy who won’t let anything get him down, as long as he has the help of three very special little birds. Including all the lyrics of the original song plus new verses, this cheerful book will bring a smile to faces of all ages—because every little thing’s gonna be all right! 

                         I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont

Positively bursting with energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves, inside and out. Messy hair? Beaver breath? So what! This little girl knows that being proud of being you is the most important thing to remember.
At once silly and serious, Karen Beaumont's joyous rhyming text and David Catrow's wild illustrations unite in a book that is sassy, soulful, and straight from the heart. [Scholastic]
Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees

This story is about a giraffe called Gerald who can’t dance. At least he can’t dance very well. As a result, he gets teased by the other animals. After a devastating encounter at the local 'Jungle Dance', he is laughed out of town.

With the guidance of a wise and gentle cricket, Gerald learns to listen to the sounds around him and to his own body, and is able to dance so well that the other animals are left in awe.

The message of this lovely rhyming tale is that it is okay to be different and dance to the beat of our own drum.

The book is delightfully illustrated with rhinos who rock and roll, lions tangoing, and baboons performing a Scottish reel. The humour appeals to adult and child alike.

The rhymes makes for easy reading and children will love and laugh at the pictures showing animals doing all manner of unusual things. As well as the message about being brave by doing brave things, the story is a wonderful tool for teaching about the damage prejudice can do. [Kid's Book Review]

          Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
Through simple prose and vivid illustrations, this heartwarming book encourages positive behavior as children see how rewarding it is to express daily kindness, appreciation, and love. Bucket filling and dipping are effective metaphors for understanding the effects of our actions and words on the well being of others and ourselves. [Amazon]

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Benefits of Reading for Emotional Health

Being a pediatric cancer patient can have an impact on a child's school attendance. This alone can cause unnecessary stress but when you account for the enriching activities they may be missing, it can be overwhelming. That is why for todays "Emotional Support" post we want to share with you a few things about the benefit reading with your child has.

Why is reading with your child important?
  • Reading aloud or having your child read to you help lay their foundation for cognitive and critical thinking skills
  • It can create a strong bond between you and your child
  • Helps develop an enriching vocabulary

What does reading do that helps my child's emotional health?

According to an article released by the Huffington Post reading benefits your child's emotional help through...

"Early readers will be armed with the vocabulary necessary to communicate to their peers, teachers, and parents. Education provider Gemm Learning says children who have the ability to find the words they want to use are more likely to have a strong self-image, sense of confidence, and higher academic standing. Also, well-read kids are more likely to attempt to formulate their thoughts before becoming angry or demonstrative. "With more knowledge comes more confidence. More confidence builds self-esteem. So it’s a chain reaction. Since you are so well-read, people look to you for answers. Your feelings about yourself can only get better," Gemm Learning says."

So, this week whether you are at home or even at the treatment center and spend a little time reading with your child! Sometimes the little things can mean the most.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Controlled Breathing Technique that Combats Nausea

We have had various of posts through out our blog surrounding the topic of nausea from teas to natural medicines, we know how overwhelming nausea can be and we want to provide you with a multitude of tips to help you control it.

Controlled deep breathing techniques has been clinically proven to help ease on coming nausea. So what do these techniques look like? Well it is fairly simple-lets take a look:

  1. When a wave of nausea hits, make sure to get your self in a comfortable position
  2. Close your eyes in order to avoid distractions from focusing on your breathing
  3. Deeply inhale through your nose
  4. Then, exhale completely through your mouth
  5. Complete this at least three times and assess if your nausea has let up

If you are still feeling nauseous try this again but you may also try these techniques:

  • Focus on a particular muscle group by tightening and releasing these muscles in a slow pattern while maintaining deep breaths as you complete this 
  • Try raising your shoulders to your ears and slowly drop them into a relaxed position again while deeply breathing 
  • Stand in an upright position with your arms relaxed by your side, slowly [we mean very slowly or this technique could have the opposite effect] begin to let your arms go towards the floor. Try to focus on breathing but also try to envision every vertebrae in your back opening and releasing as your finger tips make their way to your toes.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Recipe for the Week

The chillier the weather, the more we crave our favorite homestyle comfort food. We have found a fabulous fall recipe that combines TWO delicious comfort meals into one. Check out this awesome "One Pot Chill Mac" recipe by Damn Delicious

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup canned white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 10 ounces uncooked elbows pasta
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion and ground beef, and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; drain excess fat.
  2. Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer and stir in pasta. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Top with cheese and cover until melted, about 2 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
Check out this recipe in full and more wonderful recipes here

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Breathing Exercise: Bellows Breath

Bellows Breath is a breathing exercise that is made to stimulate the mind and increase awareness and is adapted from a yoga breathing practice.

How To from Dr. Weil:

  1. Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
  2. Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.
  3. Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.

If done properly, you may feel invigorated, comparable to the heightened awareness you feel after a good workout. You should feel the effort at the back of the neck, the diaphragm, the chest and the abdomen. Try this diaphragmatic breathing exercise the next time you need an energy boost and feel yourself reaching for a cup of coffee.