Monday, November 30, 2015

4 Winter Spices to Keep You Healthy

Happy Monday! We hope that you enjoyed your long Thanksgiving weekend! Now that we are back to our routines [for a couple weeks at least!] lets jump into today's post, 4 spices to keep you healthy this winter. Stay tuned because for the next four Nutrition and Recipe Sundays, we will be sharing a recipe using one of these spices!

4 Winter Spices to Keep you Healthy Through the Cold

This winter spice is perfect for those days that you are feeling yucky, stressed or a little under the weather because it assists your body in getting a better night's sleep. This floral spice has muscle relaxing properties and can help soothe an upset stomach. 

Cinnamon is a classic winter spice- but did you know that it also how health benefits as well! This delicious spice can provide joint relief for arthritis, lower cholesterol and fight off bacteria.

Garlic not only can help keep your heart healthy but also can help fight off the common cold-which loves to show up around winter time. Garlic has been used through out time for medicinal use!

This spice can remedy respiratory tract problems and provides you with a healthy boost of energy. Additionally it provides protection for your stomach and can even help with dental problems!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Effective Communication Techniques to Reconnect with Family

We are living in a fast paced world which makes it difficult at times to really take the time to connect with your loved ones. That is why today, we want to focus on a few different techniques that will assist you in reconnecting with both your immediate and extended family during Thanksgiving!

To begin, lets begin with the "why" behind the importance of connecting with our family:

  • Overall, by effectively communicating with our family ultimately connects us better. Overall this provides us with establish emotional support resources which is key for any individual but especially for those going through a difficult time.
  • By integrating ourselves within each others emotional lives provides us with a sense of control over our emotional health.
  • Connecting with family enhances our social and emotional skills.
  • Provides the opportunity to clear out our emotional stress that we may have been harboring.

Techniques to ensure highly effective communication within your family this Thanksgiving:
  1. Put away your electronics! Nothing takes away from a conversation like the constant interruption of a phone or tablet.
  2. Maintain engaging eye contact and body language. Make sure you are facing towards the family member as you have a conversation with them so it can show to them that you are interactively paying attention to what they are saying.
  3. Listen, listen, listen! By showing the other person you are listening bridges a connection between the both of you because they are aware that you are engaged and care about what they have to say.
  4. Finally, establish your communication boundaries or willingness to discuss your treatment as it will be likely that someone will ask. This is okay! It is also okay if you are not up for talking about it as well--just make sure you know what your plan is ahead of time so you do not have to deal with any unnecessary stress!

Monday, November 23, 2015

5 Tips to Make this Thanksgiving Stress-Free

As we are approaching Thanksgiving this week, it can begin to feel overwhelming. From accomplishing "to-do's" on your holiday list to ensuring our normal daily routines are in order, the wonderful [but sometimes stressful] chaos has begun! Add on the stress of being a pediatric cancer patient, and stress levels can really begin to sky rocket.

That is why today we would like to share 5 simple tips to get through this holiday week without letting cancer get in your way!

  1. If you know the typical Thanksgiving menu will not do, prepare a meal that will be perfect for you. It is no secret that chemotherapy or other treatment regimens can take a toll not only on your ability to comfortably eat but also can effect your tastebuds. If you know that the foods that your family typically prepares is not for you this year, make sure to pack your very own meal that will provide you with nothing but comfort!
  2. Make sure to have some anti-nausea techniques ready to go! Whether you have been prescribed anti-nausea medications or prefer natural remedies make sure you have these available! Nothing will ruin a good time like overwhelming nausea--so be prepared! Check out our various anti-nausea remedies.
  3. Dress comfy, comfy, comfy! Typically family functions on this holiday last for more than a few hours, therefore it is important to make sure to dress in whatever is comfiest to you.
  4. Get a good night's rest before AND after the big day. Rest is an extremely important part of going through treatment. It is important to rest up before the big day so you are able to get the most out of this wonderful holiday. Additionally, long hours out can be hard on your body if you are a pediatric cancer patient so make sure you also rest well the night after.
  5. Finally, and most importantly, just relax and enjoy your day! This by far is one of the most important tips that we would like to share. Being a pediatric cancer patient does not define who you are and it is important to shut that part of your life out, even for a couple hours and simply enjoy your time with your loved ones!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Watch "Truly Brave": An Inspiring Video

Last September Hoda Kotb from the Today show chose to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer as apart of their "Shine a Light Series". We recently came across this wonderful musical compilation between Cyndi Lauper and Sara Bareilles to highlight the thousands of pediatric cancer patient's bravery.

Watch the awesome video "Truly Brave" and check out the full story on the Today show's website here!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Staying Warm tips!

Tis the season for cold weather now! Hard to believe winter is here already. It is important when you are on treatment to make sure to stay warm.

Here are 12 tips that will help. These tips are provided to you by Mental Floss check it out at


It's easier to change your body temperature than room temperature, not to mention more eco-friendly. Instead of turning up the heat, put on another layer of clothing.


Your mom may have said that you lose 80 percent of your body heat through your head, but that's not actually true. If you're otherwise clothed, you'll lose heat from any surface that's exposed. So put on your hat, even if you're inside.


Warm air rises to the ceiling. Run your fan on its lowest setting in a clockwise direction to push the warm air back down to where you can feel it.


Hot showers immediately warm you up, but cold showers improve blood circulation between your skin and organs. Cold showers are also correlated with a stronger immune system.


Keep heat in and cold out by cutting a pool noodle in half lengthwise, wrapping it in fabric, and sliding it under your door. It'll stay put all winter, and you can re-use it at the pool come summer. (But we recommend you spring for a new one.)


Another two words: Obvious, right? Stay toasty on schedule, so you never go home to a living room that's colder than outside. You can even do it with your smartphone.


Not everyone has access to adjust the thermostat in their apartment or office building. If that's the case, you may need to outsmart the device by making it "think" the room is colder than it actually is. Putting ice near it often does the trick.


If you're not wearing a tank top or going sleeveless, your windows shouldn't, either. Replace thin curtains with heavier wool or fleece drapes in the winter. But be sure to open them on sunny days for free heat.


Using your oven heats up the whole house. You'll feel even cozier if you invite friends—and all their body heat—over to eat four dozen cookies.


If you're already interested in composting, here's another reason to do it: The microbial breakdown of organic material produces heat. Some people use it to warm up showers and greenhouses, but even small-timers in studio apartments can feel a difference.


It's intuitive, but fluffy blankets should be closer to your skin. Thin, dense blankets should be on top to prevent convective heat loss. Bonus tip: Don't put your bed directly against an exterior wall. You'll be warmer if you leave a little space. 


Monday, November 16, 2015

3 D.I.Y. Wonderful Alternative Uses for Pumpkin!

Pumpkins are a classic symbol of fall, but did you know that there are many more uses for this vitamin rich fruit [yes it is technically a fruit!]? Well let us share with you our top three favorite alternative uses for pumpkin for this Tips and Tricks Monday!

Number One- D.I.Y. Pumpkin Face Mask

How does this mask benefit my skin?
Pumpkins are packed with antioxidants, zinc and many other enriching vitamins helping provide anti-aging effects and wrinkles all while gently exfoliating to give your skin a glowing radiance. Additionally the recipe below also includes honey, which is the perfect natural remedy for dry skin-which we all know can a very real side effect of chemotherapy.

  • 1/4 Cup of Pumpkin
  • One whole egg
  • A few teaspoons of honey
  1. Whisk together ingredients
  2. Lather on face
  3. Relax with Pumpkin mask on skin for 15-20 min
           Number Two- Combat Tummy Issues

How can pumpkin help with tummy issues?
Pumpkins are extremely high in fiber and can help remedy more urgent issues all while getting your system back on track. There are a multitude of ways to whip up this natural remedy, so find one that is right for you!

              Number Three- Pumpkin Butter

Butter is a household staple for almost every home--use this to your advantage to make your own butter by using the vitamin rich fruit! Check out this recipe we found from All Recipes website.


  • 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Combine pumpkin, apple juice, spices, and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil. 
  3. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently.
  4. Transfer to sterile containers and chill in the refrigerator until serving.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Keep yourself full with this biscuits and gravy for thanksgiving!

Biscuits are a great thing to eat while undergoing treatment because they are filling and flavorful but not to overpowering for the senses. Here is a great recipe from Carla Hall and The Chew on ABC that I recommend. If you are up to it, you can try this recipe with the Turkey Gravy wth your Thanksgiving leftovers I'm just a biscuit fan myself.

Happy Cooking, and don't forget that cooking and baking can be therapeutic, try helping your parents cook these biscuits and see.

The Chew Recipe here

Friday, November 13, 2015

Pre Thanksgiving Craft!

Crafting is a form of Art Therapy allowing you to take your mind off whatever you are going through that day. It also happens to be fun! Here is a pre thanksgiving craft you can use to get in the mood for the kick off of the Holiday Season.

Make this paper plate Turkey Craft, and I love how the use fall leaves to make feathers!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A great thanksgiving program!

Giving back is a big part of Thanksgiving month. It also can be helpful in when dealing with your illness. This is a great program that you should look into. It has the theme of giving back this holiday season and really help pay it forward.

Food and Healthy eating, we address theses topics all the time on this blog. Here is an organization that helps supply healthy food to those in need, its called Katie's Krops, and they give grants to kids who want to build a garden to donate the crops to food banks. She even started it when she was a kid herself very similar to the founding of Teen with a Dream. Kids are the future, and we truly can do so much good all we have to do is start!

And don't forget to write us at if you would like to pay it forward with us. You can volunteer for a program and pay it forward to others with cancer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A bit of Inspiration today

I love my job running a nonprofit. It means everyday I get to think of ways to help people and then find ways to make it happen. It also means that I get to meet other amazing people in the nonprofit world. So today's inspiration will be a bit different from other posts. I had the honor of meeting a co founder of the Snip Foundation. They have an amazing oragnization thats mission is to improve the wellness of dogs and cats in developing worlds. Animals are inspiration because of the love and joy they share and hopefully at least once a therapy dog has come to visit you in the hospital.

For today's inspiration I encounrge you all to take a look at this amazing chairty, plus the cute pictures of the animals never hurt! Don't forget that it takes everyone doing a little bit to make the world a better place.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Mindfullness to help emtional health

Cancer, Cancer Treatment, and Post Cancer Treatment is stressful, it will mean instead of a few things going on in your life like most kids you will have dozens. But don't worry, like it was said yesterday, you are strong! Stronger for having to endure this. Here is a helpful link that will help you learn how to meditate. I know to some mediation sounds silly or even a waste of time, but it really is just a way to center yourself, turn off your mind for a bit so that you can oragnize your thoughts, and gives you prespective on things happen in your life. Some form of meditation just 5 mintues a day will most likely change the way you think about things. Try it and see what you think!

Monday, November 9, 2015

What doesn't kill you will only make you stronger!

The saying "what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger" is well known. It's most likely something that every cancer patient and their families have heard from friends or anyone that you encounter and share your story. The saying is mostly true however, if you are in the middle of your treatment it can feel like the whole thing is well a lie! I know it is hard, but the statement is true, you will be stronger after this. It is something you have to keep looking for during and after treatment, but life will never be the same again, when you look around you will see what is possible in the world, the kindness in the world, and what love can do.

Hopefully Teen with a Dream can help with something during and after treatment so here is todays tip. When you need a break from the overwhelmingness listen to some music! Here is a song that I found helped me! Hope you all enjoy!

Spencer Harrison

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Pumpkin Quesadillas

Pumpkins are a staple item during the fall season. Sometimes the typical pumpkin recipes get old, so today try out this innovative twist on a fall classic!

Pumpkin Quesadillas from Rachael Ray

  • cups canned pure pumpkin puree
  • teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 8 inches flour tortillas
  • ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  1. In bowl, stir pumpkin and cumin; season. Spread over 4 tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese and nuts. Top with remaining tortillas. In large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-low. Cook quesadillas 1 at a time, turning once and adding more oil between batches, until browned, 3 minutes. Cut into wedges.

Check out this recipe and more here!