Her Times
By Pam Parker Erie Times-News staff blogger
Pam Parker's blog takes on everything from women's fun to momisms to lifestyles around Lake Erie and real estate. She'll take you down Memory Lane, up through sports and fun and off the grid. Get ready for laughs — it's more than just Pam. It's Pamdemonium.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1821
Posts tagged ‘parenting’
Posted: June 11th, 2014

lelwinterscenesSchool’s out!

Summer vacation is here, and if you are looking for some ideas of things to do and places to go, here they are:

Sunsets are free — don’t miss the Erie sunsets with your kids.

PBS has something for every age from babies on up. Examples: water play, pudding paint, flashlight tag and much more.

AARP suggests you visit kidsbowlfree.com,  takemefishing.org in Pennsylvania for deals.

Also, check out all of the area’s museums. Visit the websites for daily deals. And the library — make sure you visit the public library near you. We went every week when my kids were little — free story time, puzzles, videos and more.

Ready to shop? AARP says you can find some of the best in-store and online deals on Tuesdays and Wednesdays — the days that clothing markdowns take place at some stores.

Check out Shopsmart.org too.

Summer vacation is here. Enjoy the kids, and get some deals!



Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 24th, 2014

AnyStack of One Dollar Bills day is a good day to teach your kids to save, and it’s not something they learn in school. So start early. We can teach kids to save with simple tools — not making a huge deal out of it. Here’s an article from Forbes that it is the very best on teaching kids of every age how to save.

When my kids were little, they learned how to clip coupons and it always came in handy … especially for toys. And they don’t need to know how to read to look through a Toys R Us flyer and understand prices. The boys collected sports cards, and that was a huge lesson in financial transactions. And believe it or not, so is buying and selling video and computer games.

Kids can earn money doing chores, collecting an allowance or countless other ways. Once my kids all all had jobs — my oldest was a paperboy at age 12 — they had ATM cards, and they learned to use them and balance accounts. Today, they all have 401 K accounts through their employers — even my youngest who is still in college and works part-time.

Money lessons are among the most important things we can teach our kids. Today is a great day to start.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three and GramPam to two granddaughters.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 27th, 2014

handsYou knew it was coming.

An article in Time Magazine yesterday reported a very real ailment characterized by numbness and pain in both wrists. Time and countless other media outlets referenced the case of  a woman who had spent six hours responding to text messages — six hours. Holy texting, Batman. Read it here. The prescription: Abstain from texting and take anti-inflammatory meds.

This follows other high-tech diseases that included Nintendinitis in the 1990s.

Share this with the kids. Message delivered.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa.She is mom to three, stepmom to three and GramPam to one.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 26th, 2014

saving for collegeMillcreek Township School District needs to find $4.4 million dollars to balance its budget, and it looks like Superintendent William Hall wants to eliminate the Montessori classrooms at Grandview and Belle Valley and continue free tuition for the Otters.

The full story is here – thanks to Erica Erwin. But hold on a minute. Jennifer DeLude Lachapelle, a parent of two Montessori students, shares the Montessori side of the story on a Facebook page — Montessori in Millcreek.

Cutting the classrooms leaves the students and their parents looking for another educational option for next year. Good luck to all the Montessori parents who meet tonight at 7 p.m. at Grandview Elementary School with William Hall to discuss options.

On the flip side, Hall recommended that MTSD continue its program to allow Otters players to “attend McDowell Senior High School without paying tuition in exchange for tickets, advertising and other services provided by the team,” according to an article on GoErie.com by Erica Erwin.

“I think we’re showing that it’s worth it, and that we do benefit from it as a district both in terms of (public relations) and in terms of having those kids do things throughout the district,” Hall said in the story. The full story is here.

I love the Otters, but if you’re $4.4 million in debt, giving away tuition in exchange for public relations, tickets and advertising seems a wee bit odd from my perspective. I bet the Montessori parents agree on that one. I get that it’s a nice thing to do, but justifying tuition in exchange for advertising? Hmmm.

In October, 2013, Victor Fernandes of the Erie Times-News reported the costs for the program and the low redemption rate of tickets to Otters games. Read it here. And in July of 2013, Erica Erwin wrote about state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s analysis of the program. Read it here.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa.She is mom to three, stepmom to three and GramPam to one.


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 27th, 2014

grocery shoppingRemember when Mom was the queen of shopping at the grocery store? Advertisers catered their messages to women as the primary decision makers in the grocery store — and other stores. Not any more.

My husband has always been a shopper in our family — and he knows his brands — and those of the kids. In fact, he and his sons often did the shopping around here. They are ahead of their time.

According to an article in Mediapost, the
Defy Media’s second annual Acumen Report suggests what a lot of us already knew. Men are into shopping and into brand loyalty. Read the entire article here.

The study, by Hunter Qualitative Research, said that more than 65 percent of respondents — men age 18 – 49 — make choices on a variety of household items and brands.

To the younger shoppers, social media rules as an influence. Respondents base decisions what they find on mobile devices, online reviews, recommendations from friends and more.

In our family, the men are all shoppers and have brand loyalties of their own. In clothing, don’t mess with any of them. Polo is the main staple for my youngest and my daughter’s boyfriend. On the other hand, the women around here will give a new brand a try — often before the guys. And a coupon for $1.50 on Hershey’s new spreads was a big influence on my husband last week. Note to advertisers: discounts work for men and women, any age — when it comes to trying new products. And my hubby and I shop together almost every week — a trend I see in the grocery store. I need to check out the trends on that.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is mom to three, stepmom to three and GramPam to one.



Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 25th, 2014
My fam 2014

Clockwise, from bottom left: Andrew and Devin Parker, Chris Parker, Matthew Parker, Kim Parker, Nick Carmosino, Kelly Eckert, Mo Parker (with daughter Mia on her lap) and Ryan Eckert. Missing: Howie Eckert.

I have a lot of friends who are closing in on merging blended families together. Discussions with them remind me of some painful times when my husband and I tried to merge everyone together into one family 11 years ago. There were times when we didn’t all get along. But look at us now.

No experts had any great advice at that time. Some people advised that we would all get along eventually. Books and Intenet articles taught me next to nothing. I did discover one tidbit of info: An article advised that your kids would be respectful of their boyfriend or girlfriend’s family. They should be equally tolerant and respectful of stepfamily members. Good advice and something everyone can identify with — and solid recommendations for the future with in-laws. I’m no expert, but after 11 years of marriage, here are some other things that work:

1. Remember that every person is an individual with an opinion. When it comes to kids — you have rocked their worlds. No matter how old they are — you have changed everything for them. But on the flip side, those kids will have their own lives when the high school years start, and you will be relegated to a low priority. It’s a good thing — they grow up, and it doesn’t hurt to remind your kids of that. A lot of eyes opened around here when we asked if a concerned kid would prefer that Mom or Dad be all alone while they went off to school. Parents are adults and they deserve to be happy.  smiley-face

2. Find some common ground. Things like Krispy Kreme donuts, no-bakesRascal Flatts and Pop Tarts can bring a family together. This might sound ridiculous, but any common ground is good ground.

3. There will be times you don’t get along. Let it go. If you try too hard, you will make it worse. Believe me. We have some very strong personalities in this crew. We had months where someone didn’t speak to someone else. It might have been years. In the end, every one of the six kids has lived with us. We still have disagreements, but we can respect one another’s opinions.

4. Get help. Go see a professional counselor — if for nothing else than to vent to someone who is totally objective. I vented to family and friends with credentials. You’ll feel better, and you might realize that you are making more of something than you should. There are times that kids say hurtful things that cut deep. Really deep. But get over it. They are kids — even when they are adults!  On the other hand, don’t force your kids to go to a counselor — they might see that as punishment. You might start a convo with a school counselor or teacher or family member or someone that you and your child mutually respect. You may need to work toward professional counseling, but kids need to know you want to help them — and a few sessions with a counselor can help just about anyone. No one should be miserable. Remind your kids of that.

5. Remind your kids that you love them no matter what. Start conversations with that, and end conversations with it. And share your feelings. If you feel neglected or hurt, share it one-on-one — sometimes when family members get busy, they aren’t necessarily ignoring you — they’re just strapped for time.

6. There are no perfect families. As the kids got older and shared some of the “behind the scenes” of families we thought were perfect, we all realized our imperfections aren’t so bad. “Modern Family’s” Gloria says it best: “Family may not be the same people you started with. It’s all the people you end up with.”

Finally — focus on the good stuff. Always. It will bring you all together. Although the bad stuff has brought us together in unity a few times. And it makes you cherish the good.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is mom to three, stepmom to three and GramPam to one.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: December 19th, 2013

ElfffI am glad that there was no Elf on the Shelf when my kids were young. Here’s a link to today’s story in the Erie Times-News. My youngest, Ryan, had a fear of elves without any watchful doll to provoke him. As a youngster, he would hold his hands over his ears when certain Christmas music played. “Elves!” he would whisper in wide-eyed horror and shake his head.

I am guessing something at preschool or kindergarten started his distaste for elves. Imagine what he’d have done if we had partaken in the Elf on the Shelf tradition.

And his brother and sister would have found a way to make it a good game. They were a formidable force as youngsters. They advised Ryan to tell me he believed in Santa even if he didn’t because he’d get more presents. Where did that come from?

When Ryan wavered over his belief in Santa, I often advised that there is a little Santa in all of us. He never questioned that. And I thought it was much more endearing than any elfen tales.

Ryan sneered at gnomes too. I liked the Nickelodeon series “David the Gnome.” Tom Bosley voiced the character of David, a friendly forest doctor, and Christopher Plummer – Captain Von Trapp of “Sound of Music” fame — narrated.  Ryan wanted nothing to do with it.

One book I still love as a Christmas tradition is “Polar Express.” The final line of “Polar Express” is:

“Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”

I still believe there is a little Santa in all of us. With or without the help of an elf.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is mom to three, stepmom to three and GramPam to one.






Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 28th, 2013

colored pencilsI hated buying school supplies. I can admit it now. It’s been a long time. And if you hate it too, I feel your pain. Don’t let your kids hear you say it, but know that I am listening. It’s not the purchase or necessity that bothered me — it was trying to find the stuff. My pet peeves about all those years of schools supplies:

We bought colored pencils every year for every kid right into college — I swear we did. I never thought anyone would outgrow markers, crayons and colored pencils. Or glue sticks.

But at least those were readily available. We also bought cases of loose-leaf notebook paper. I almost thought that was extinct one year. My husband and I and two of the kids, who could drive, scoured every store in the Erie area for loose-leaf paper. Nada. Every store was out.  I’m not kidding. I bought notebooks and ripped paper out of them. And then I bought loose-leaf by the ton like a hoarder.

Last month, I gave all the remaining colored pencils, crayon, loose-leaf paper, construction paper, poster board and markers I had stashed in a closet to my daughter-in-law — a teacher.

We also had an investment in index cards. And every teacher wanted a different index cards.Teachers were very specific about how many lines were to be on each card and how big the cards were. And I made the mistake of buying cards without lines once. But only once.

On the website Circle of Moms, one mom noted that her school district bought the supplies for the year for each kid and charged $45. That’s a steal. When my kids were young, one of the Millcreek schools did the same thing. The gas we used and time we spent searching for loose-leaf paper, dividers, sheet protectors, highlighters and planners was worth more than that.

There’s an opportunity here for school districts to turn it into a fundraiser. Enjoy the school year, and I wish you an easy shopping trip as you hunt for school supplies.

Pam Parker is the mom of three, stepmom of three and GramPam to one. She is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 25th, 2013

HKR2Summer is far from over, but I won’t get my kids together again for a long time, and it’s gratifying that they teach me something every year. Here’s what I have learned so far this summer:

1. All three adult kids used this photo on their Facebook pages at the same time after a recent vacation. It is still the profile photo for the boys.

This is so sweet for a mom because they live in three different cities, and it’s getting harder to get together. I cherish this one.

2. That video games incorporate some old songs that kids love. When my youngest asked about some old 1970s songs, I was surprised, and he told me he’d heard the music on a video game. It made me realize that they do appreciate some of the old tunes.

3. That I have raised “two grown men.” I know this because they remind me of it all the time. “I am a grown man, Mom,” has been the mantra this year.

4. That my daughter will keep us all in pictures forever. She sent this one to all of us and many more.

I have more to learn, and hopefully they will share. A lot of what I’ve learned is how to let go, and I will share some of that in an upcoming article in Her Times on Aug. 4.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three and step GramPam to one.


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 24th, 2013

PoinsettiaIt’s July 24, and my 2012 poinsettia is still hanging on with a few red leaves. The red ones look pretty sad, but the green ones are quite healthy.

Ordinarily, I don’t pay a lot of attention to Christmas in July — which celebrates that Christmas is six months away. This year,though, I have had numerous people and things calling it to my attention:

We are having a Christmas in July food day in the newsroom. What could be better than Christmas cookies in July?

A Texas company is sending out samples of pecan pie — a holiday item they are promoting in advance. I love pecan pie.

I’m wearing red nail polish and a lot of red to match, so I will just add some green this week.

All this Christmas stuff is even making me think about Christmas gifts. I usually don’t do that until November. My kids will be glad. My husband won’t be happy.

This mid-year celebration has a lot of history associated with it. It dates back to an 1892 opera, a 1932 summer camp presentation in North Carolina and a host of movies, starting in 1940 — all according to Wikipedia. Read about it here.

So Merry Christmas, everyone. We have no snow, but it is a cool 64 degrees this morning.  Enjoy!

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three and step GramPam to one.

Posted in: Uncategorized