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This Months Feature Story

In search of an evergreen for the holidays

By Laura Livingston Snyder

Of all the traditions a parent could follow while raising children, getting the annual Christmas tree is probably one of the most memorable.


Lights on the Lake

Lights on the Lake 2017. Photos by Dylan Suttles

Lights on the Lake continues through Jan. 7. Visitors can drive through the illuminated wonderland along Onondaga Lake every evening from 5 to 10 p.m.  The entrance is via Onondaga Lake Parkway in Liverpool. Admission is $10 per vehicle, Mondays through Thursdays, and $15 per vehicle, Fridays through Sundays. On Mondays and Tuesdays, visitors who show a Wegmans Shoppers Club card can get in for $6 per vehicle. For more information, call (315) 453-6712. And children can enter the Lights on the Lake Coloring Contest by going to this page, printing out the image, and coloring and posting the picture:


For more details on this and other December events, see 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