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 ‘step parenting’
Posted: May 9th, 2014
Meredith Beals and Alison Bastian

Meredith Beals and Alison Bastian of Harborcreek High School

For the May edition of Her Times, we asked young women in the area to come on down to the Erie Times-News for a prom dress photos, and with the end-of-year activities and sports these teens are involved in, we had a tough time getting them all together. But they are all lovely, and we thank them for sharing photos with us.

This is a photo of Meredith Beals and Alison Bastian of Harborcreek. They couldn’t make it the day we took photos, but we wanted you to see them. Thanks for sharing!

We also have photos of Sianna Sterling of McDowell Senior High School and Kailyn Wisor, of Harborcreek,  and Jeanette Koeth, of Seneca. Fitted dresses and cutouts are all the stytle this year.

Wondering what style you should wear — even if it’s not a prom dress? Check out Sunday’s article by our Her Times fashionista, Christine Eddy.

Here’s the link. Whether you’re shaped like a banana, apple or pear, Christine has you covered.


Kailyn Wisor, left, and Jeanette Koeth. Photo by Jack Hanrahan/Erie Times-News


Sianna Sterling

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 of three and step GramPam of two.

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: February 13th, 2014

42-15618349When my daughter, Kelly, was about 3, her paternal grandfather died in Florida, and the family returned to hold the funeral in Erie. At the funeral home, Kelly saw Grandpa in the casket, and asked her grandmother why she had chosen to bring Grandpa back in a suitcase. It certainly lightened the mood.

Get ready to laugh out loud with the things grandkids say.  Here’s a treat from Gramma Good‘s blog:

“After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, ‘Who was THAT?’”

See 14 more quick funny tales at Gramma Good’s blog on how kids see their grandparents. 

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: October 24th, 2013

When I see all the cute Halloween costumes, I remember some of the cute stuff my kids wore. And here they are:

Kelly and Ry

Kelly and Ryan — the pumpkins invade!

Howie the lion

Howie roars as a tot. That young woman next to him is making me feel awfully old. This picture is about 25 years old.

Howie and Kelly

I made that Christmas tree costume that Howie is wearing. We all wore it at least once. Kelly was a dinosaur. We turned her sideways so we could see the dino part.


Kelly Potter

In a year of Harry Potter, Kelly made her own costume.Great job, Kell! That old house we lived in had some Hogwarts’ characteristics. I magically raised three kids there.

As the kids got older, they were very clever. Kelly has been a slice of pizza, Mario Brothers’ characters, Woody from “Toy Story” and much more. The boys were football players. And they went through a lot of scream masks. For years. Too many years because I have a box of scream masks.

In recent years, when both my boys lived with us, they were cowboys. I’m not going to embarrass them with that photo, but I do have it. And my oldest went to a party with a last minute costume of a party in his pants. Balloons and other party paraphernalia wrapped around his waist.

Oh the days of partying kids.

Back in the old days on Oakmont Avenue, trick or treating was a trick that I remember. My oldest was 7, and he was recovering after a bout of chicken pox. He became totally “sausted” after we had only hit a few houses. My daughter and youngest son were raring to go, so I carried my oldest one home and took the other two back out. The next day, it was two more kids with chicken pox. That’s a disease that now has a vaccine.

Good thing because it was nasty. My daughter never got very many chicken pox, and she seemed unscathed by the whole thing. My youngest was covered in them, however. Nothing slowed him down, but he was covered. And he itched. My oldest was sick as a dog — fever and miserable. It’s funny how three kids with the same genetic makeup can suffer so differently. At the time, I remember calling it Pam held hostage — I think we hit 21 days before we could send everyone back to school and the babysitter.

This year, no Eckerts are home to celebrate Halloween, but little Mia Parker will visit. She is a pirate, and shiver me timbers, I am looking forward to 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: April 7th, 2013

McD TrojansErica Erwin’s story in today’s Erie Times-News delves into the Millcreek Township School District’s $8.8 million deficit for the 2013-2014 school year.

Acting Superintendent William Hall announced the bad news last week. He mentioned he had a “wow” moment when he discovered the budget deficit in November. That was November, folks. In another report, a school director also said “wow” in comment to the budget woes last week. Here’s some media advice to the current board and administration:

Don’t say wow. If you want to regain trust among Millcreek residents, wow isn’t going to do it.

Go to the Jay Badams and Matthew Cummings School of breaking bad news. And hurry. Badams, leader of the Erie School District, presented plans to all the media in advance of laying it out to the public and school staffs. In Erie, before he suggested closing schools, Badams told everyone that the Erie district owned a lot of real estate and schools weren’t full. Is that the case in Millcreek? About 16 years ago, boundary changes sent my kids from Vernondale to the new Tracy school — we had heard that eventually Ridgefield and Vernondale would close. Now, we’re hearing it again. Bring out the stats.

Listen to Felix & Gloeckler. The accounting firm advised that trouble was ahead last year. Accountants know budgets. If someone had listened a little earlier — like November — maybe a plan would have been in place right now.

Give William Hall a chance. He lives in Millcreek and has a child in Millcreek schools, according to Marsha Marsh, who was critical of my cynicism on how Millcreek is going to handle this mess. Her vote of confidence is good enough for me — today, but this district needs results and fast. Hall has to get his administration, staff and board to lose the arrogant, know-it-all attitude it has sported throughout the last administration. Now is your chance to wow us, Mr. Hall. Go for it.

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 — all graduates of McDowell High School.  


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 28th, 2013

Easter Basket with Easter EggsWhen my husband and I got married 10 years ago and merged two families, he made a point of entertaining the kids with eggstra special egg chatter. This year, the kids are 21 and older and scattered around the universe. We will only see my two youngest on Easter, but we are eggcited. Here are a few eggsuberant words to liven up your day.

Chocolate-covered strawberries are not eggstravagant treats.

There is no such thing as eggstraneous chocolate.

I will have to count on eggstreme eggcerise to burn off the eggcelent chocolate eggs I consume.

The treadmill often eggsacerbates the pain in my knee.

A coconut egg is eggsactly what I want.

My niece in New Mexico won’t join us for Easter because she is eggspecting.

It’s eggsasperating when we don’t hear from some family members.

I need to eggsamine the peanut butter eggs.

Eggstract those jelly beans from the bottom of the Easter baskets.

If it keeps snowing, we’ll have to eggscavate to find the daffodils.

If the sun shines, it will eggceed our eggspectations.

Dinner will be eggsceptional — my sister makes lamb.

My brother makes German potato salad, and he eggsagerates how much work it is. (Well, not really — it requires an eggstraordinary amount of time.)

My brother and sister love to cook. I make deviled eggs, an eggsample of how much I love to cook. We eggsemplify a modern family.

When my husband reads this eggcerpt, he is going to eggsclaim that I eggscluded a lot of words, but I have to stop.

This is … eggshausting.

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-grandmom to one. 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 19th, 2013

Living roomLook what’s happening in House to Home this week! Add red to a room — it’s often inexpensive, fast and you’ll be red-y for Valentine’s Day with some classy accents. Read the story by Decorating Den’s Marie Feltz here.

Garden writer Sue Scholz shares all the blooms that popped open last week in that heat wave. She had white Christmas rose hellebore, English daisy and other flowers. She wasn’t the only one —  Read her story right here.

We have quite a few additional stories that will get you in the mood to decorate — get the lowdown on all the trends for home decorating for 2013 — great ideas are brimming in House to Home.

Next week, I have a story for you on open houses at two huge homes in Fairview — a builder and interior designer’s home in Manchester Farms and a completely restored (by a local builder) 1800s beauty with a lake view on Dutch Road.

Touchless technology
Make a DIY snow globe
Mixing color among hottest trends for 2013
Counteract dark days with sparkle
Shine On
Around-the-World Interiors

And catch up with open houses this week.

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-grandmom to one.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 9th, 2013

Student Wearing a Backpack

Kids often want to make a change. It happens in a lot of blended families — ours included. All of our kids are now age 20 to 28, so hindsight is 20/20.

I can confirm that it was a good decision each and every time one of the kids moved.  My kids’ dad passed away 13 years ago, so my kids were kind of stuck with my hubby and me, but we had a revolving door for my stepsons. It may sound silly, but it worked.

I was reminded of all of this when I read one mom’s struggle of  letting her 14-year-old daughter go live with her dad on Blogher.com.

The story is thoughtful and insightful — a great read and a reminder that kids are way smarter than we think they are.

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

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: December 31st, 2012

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin has a report that says being good parents has a lot to do with being good partners. Compassion, caring and other no-duh words come into play in the Huffington Post analysis of the report.

It also separates us into three parenting groups: authoritarian old-schoolers who believe in strict discipline; permissive parents, who set few boundaries; and authoritative, folks who set boundaries but add some warmth and love.

I know lots of parents, and some of them scare me. Read my blog on the scary parents of Aubrey Ireland — the poor kid has a restraining order on her helicopter parents.

As parents, we need to help kids move along in the world — not smother them. I never chose my kids’ daily outfits and I never overanalyzed their friends. I didn’t like some of them (the outfits and the friends), but now that they are all in their 20s (the friends not the outfits — none of them kept an outfit that long — except my daughter, maybe), they all seemed to turn out OK — even though there were many bumps in the road. Many bumps.

Here’s a link to a feature on 10 great parenting tips. There really are only a few tips that matter though. Love them. Tell them you love them, and love them enough to remind them that everyone fails at something, makes mistakes and gets back up. We all fail at something. We have to learn from failures. And remember — kids are not you or your spouse. They are the best of both of you.

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

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: December 29th, 2012

ABC News, the New York Times, Huffington Post, the Cincinnati Enquirer and a host of international media outlets are following a story out of Ohio about a parent/child relationship that has gone over the parental cliff.  See the footage here. It’s about Aubrey Ireland, a 21-year-old dean’s list college senior who has a restraining order against her parents.

There are two sides to every story, but this is just ugly from all sides. The successful theater major at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati is an only child. She alleges that her parents installed monitoring software on her computer and her phone, and they have embedded themselves in her life on campus — not in a good way.

Her parents claim she’s promiscuous, involved with drugs and has mental issues. The school and the courts have sided with Aubrey. The school  banned her parents from campus and gave her a scholarship to finish her degree, and the judge gave her a restraining order.

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

Posted in: Uncategorized