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This Months Feature Story

Teaching kids about spending, saving and more

By Charles McChesney

To discover the value of a dollar—or several—young people need opportunities to learn about saving, spending, borrowing, and how to balance their needs and wants.


Enchanted Beaver Lake

Credit: Michael Davis Photo (2007)

Enchanted Beaver Lake features more than 500 jack-o-lanterns and luminaria that light the way along two magical trails at the Beaver Lake Nature Center, Route 370, Baldwinsville. There’s also face painting, fortune telling and treats. The annual event runs from Thursday, Oct. 26, through Sunday, Oct. 29, 6 to 8:30 p.m. each night. Advance reservations, including parking, are required. Admission is $3 per person; it’s free for kids under 3. Parking costs $5. Call (315) 638-2519 for reservations and information.

For more events in October, take a look at the calendar.






© Family Times: The Parenting Guide of Central New York

Pita Power

We’re at the start of the school year, when the kids are eager to go back, armed with their No. 2 pencils and new backpacks. And we’re packing school lunches, which, after the first week or so can become quite a chore.

More than once, I’ve turned to my cookbooks for inspiration. The kids are happy with peanut butter and bananas, or tortilla roll-ups, but I’m not. Some clichés are more than just overused phrases: They have real truth behind them, including variety being the spice of life. I’m always looking for something that will make the kids happy, something that will inspire them to eat their lunch, rather than toss it in the trash. And I know you are, too.

So, sometimes my little ones’ lunches include leftovers. Ham or chicken with a salad. Sometimes I make them oatmeal and put it in an insulated container such as a Thermos, put in a hard-boiled egg, and add a piece of fruit for a complete meal. Sometimes they go with chili, or our own version of Lunchables—a multigrain English muffin with pizza sauce, turkey pepperoni, and a slice of skim-milk mozzarella to top it all off.

The recipe I’m sharing isn’t on an English muffin, or in a vacuum jug. It’s in a pita: a fun little pocket you can fill with whatever your kids love the best. Do they like tuna fish? Then fill the pocket with tuna. Do the kids like peanut butter and fruit? Yum, that fits in the pocket, too. I’ve filled them with scrambled eggs, brie cheese, meatballs or salad. You name it, pita pockets are the perfect vessel for making an exciting lunch.

So, let me tell you why I like pitas. I fell in love with them in Ankara, Turkey, handmade by women on the side of the street, warm and wonderful. The pita’s “magic”—the pocket is created from steam when the pieces of bread bake.

What I also love about the multigrain version is that they’re not as dense as a piece of bread. That means fewer carbs, which means less sugar. And my personal goal, for me and the kids, is less sugar. Plus, the whole grains slow digestion, which is good to maintain steady blood sugar.

Click to view recipe.

Chris Xaver, Ph.D., is a local TV and radio personality with three children and five grandchildren. Her healthy lifestyle show, The Sweet Life, is airing on public television stations nationwide.

Photo above: Chris Xaver photo