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 ‘teenagers’
Posted: January 24th, 2014

promtrendsProm dresses — seams like just yesterday we were buying prom dresses for my little girl — who is now 25. We logged many miles between Erie and Sharon, Pa., to visit The Winner.  And local bridal shops also got some of our money — so did websites. Here’s the David’s Bridal take on what’s in for 2014:

Beading – Stones, beads, oversized crystals and mirrored glass will be available on almost every dress. I love it!

Don’t get hemmed in — The high-low hemline takes the worry out of wearing long or short. Teens can have long AND short and  tiered cascades and sheer overlays.

Fabrics that flow — Chiffon and matte jersey fabrics, allowing every prom girl to feel like royalty and dance comfortably all night long.

Glamorous gowns – Flattering, dramatic mermaid-like silhouettes are taking over.

Colors  Soft tones of pink and mint green are the coolest color choices, but corals are big– we have at least two of these hanging in the closets at Chez Parker. Orange, tangerine, mango,neon and apricot — orange by any other name — are brightening up the dance floor. Pistachio, honey dew and radiant lime are the new greens. Aqua and turquoise are true blue are .

Ivory and champagne are also the new neutrals.  Basically, you can wear any color you want and any style you want. Be comfortable and enjoy the frilly fashions of prom time.

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: August 26th, 2013

WillowAt back-to-school time, we need to remember just how clever and independent kids can be. Meet Willow Tufano, a Florida teenager who bought two foreclosed homes with money she earned selling stuff on Craig’s list. She had help from her mom, but she’s still doing a lot of the work. Read the full story here.

The homes were $12,000 and $17,500. She’s pretty famous and will have her own reality show soon, but I see real estate investing as a successful, short-term career goal.

Read the Huffington Post feature on Willow Tufano here.

Last week, NPR also had several stories about the housing recovery. It quoted that a Wednesday report had existing-home sales at their highest level in four years.

Good news all around.

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: August 14th, 2013

White delivery truck isolated on white background, clipping paths included.It’s peak moving season for a lot of teens heading off to college and the rest of us who might be moving. The folks at unpakt sent me tips.

They must know me. The last time I moved the family, it was horrible. And since we have moved kids, many, many times, I have some expertise:

  • Seasonal packing: We learned not to pack up the winter clothes for the kids heading off to school. Winter coats, jackets and boots take up a lot of closet space and packing room. My daughter taught us this because we might have needed a separate U-haul, and that was just for the shoes and boots. The “pack for the seasons” routine only works if your teenager is moving someplace not too far away because it means packing and unpacking will  happen before the snow flies and again in the spring. But college closets are only so big, and storage is often not available.
  • Packing DIY tips: Unpakt suggests socks, towels and linens can be used to wrap fragile items. Baskets, plastic bins, and luggage can take the place of traditional cardboard boxes. My boys used garbage bags. That’s a big savings on boxes, bubble wrap and packing peanuts. We never bought bubble wrap or peanuts — we had plenty of bins and socks. OMG the socks.
  • Plan for the future: Unpakt advises you to get rid of stuff you don’t need so that you aren’t packing and unpacking items you don’t use. I agree because we moved a lot of stuff we wound up giving away in a family move, but we also gave away things the kids needed a few years later — window air conditioners, microwaves, beds. I would rethink a plan before I gave that stuff away again. I’ve bought a lot of air conditioners and beds since the first kid went away to school. And I gave away a crib that would come in handy right now for a little granddaughter.

If you are really slammed for time and know that you are not a good mover, bite the bullet and hire movers or someone to pack you, move you and unpack you. It’s not cheap, but your sanity is worth something. I would do it all differently next time. And for the kids, I’ve moved them to third floors more than a few times. I never want to drag another mattress up a staircase. Ever. The kids have been very resourceful in grabbing friends to move them in recent years. Good friends. God bless them everyone!

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


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 26th, 2013

Kurt Steiner, in a 2006 photo by Rob Engelhardt of the Erie Times-News, will try to set a Guinness World Record at Discover Presque Isle.

Kerri Barron of the Presque Isle Partnership reminded us that a Guinness record could be set this weekend.

On Saturday, July 27th at 2 p.m., Waterworks Pond could be the site where Kurt Steiner breaks the Guinness World Record for stone skipping — all  during Discover Presque Isle.  Steiner is an Erie native who has also lived in Kane, and he ranks among the top stone skippers in the world.

Since 2000, Steiner has entered  21 pro events, won eight first-place titles and nine second-place titles. He held the Guinness World Record for stone skipping from 2002-­‐2007  with 40 skips.

Who beat him? Russell Byars, of nearby Franklin! With 51 skips on July 19, 2007. Byars is the current Guinness record holder.

From noon to 3 p.m., events will take place at the pond. Steiner will also offer stone skipping lessons and demonstrations after his attempt. For more information, contact Kerri Barron with any questions. kerri@discoverpi.com(814) 838-­‐5144.

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 GramPam to one.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 12th, 2013
the fam

From left: Ryan, Howie and Kelly Eckert; Pam and Kim Parker; Matthew, Andrew and Christopher Parker on July 12, 2003.

Happy 10th anniversary to my husband!

Here we are in 2003 getting hitched in my sister’s gazebo. I pulled out the wedding pictures for fun, and look how young the kids were: ages 11 to 19. What a difference a decade makes. This family of eight has added two daughters-in-law and a grandbaby in the last few years.

Merging two families is never easy. Here’s how we started:

My husband: “We’ll be the ‘Brady Bunch.’”

My oldest son: “We’ll be on ‘Jerry Springer.’”

We never got along like the Brady Bunch, and there were days “Survivor” would have been the rule around here. Everyone deserved to be voted off the island at least once.

At the core of it all is my husband, who married a crazy writer and became a stepfather to three kids who lost their dad in 2000. My hubby is a special man, and I am very blessed to have met him. We’ll celebrate today – and the party starts at 8:20 a.m on WMCE-FM, 88.5 FM when my friend Captain Dan Geary plays “At Last” by Etta James. I get chills every time I hear it. I love you, Kim Parker. Here’s to forever after. Sing it, Etta:

“And here we are in heaven
for you are mine…
At Last”

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 and stepmom to three.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 22nd, 2013

PintoClick here to read the op ed by courageous Joseph Barber Pinto, at left. He is a student at McDowell who hopes the award-winning speech and debate team survives the Millcreek School District’s budget crash.

He points out how admissions representatives at Ivy League schools — well, really all schools — want to see more than education on the average college application. My family totally agrees — six kids went from McDowell to higher education — with plenty of activities on their college apps.

A quote from Joseph Barber Pinto’s letter: “The Wall Street Journal published a report on the success rate of college applicants at all schools. According to the report, “Being captain of the debate team improved an applicant’s chances by more than 60 percent compared with the rest of the pool. Colleges and universities today are looking for articulate thinkers and communicators who will become active citizens and leaders of tomorrow.”

We need to save activities. I graduated from Villa Maria Academy — a proud and award-winning member of the Forensics team. It made me who I am today.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times andHouse 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: April 15th, 2013

traveling EckertsThursday, April 25 marks the annual Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day. In 1993, Gloria Steinem and the Ms. Foundation for Women started the idea as Take Our Daughters to Work Day. It included boys in 2003, according to Wikipedia.  I included boys long before that. I never felt it was fair that I would get my daughter out of school for a day but not my boys.

I also took other people’s kids to work. At the time, I worked at an ad agency and taught classes at Mercyhurst College — now Mercyhurst University. My kids weren’t playing — they learned how to fill in information on Excel, help with research at the ad agency and then go out for a “Mad Men” lunch — well as “Mad Men” as you can get with kids under the age of 14.

At Mercyhurst, they got a peek at college life. They loved it, and so did my students.

Here’s a link to the official site. Here’s a 2012 article from Forbe’s with dos and don’ts for the day. Here’s a link to the foundation page.

Not everyone can do this, but if you can get your kids into your workplace even for a few hours, plan now. Give them something to do so they aren’t just watching you work. They can participate. Plus, you’ll share some memories — a nice thing when your kids are as old as my three in the picture, from left — my son, the doctor; my daughter, the CPA: and my baby, a college junior.

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 and stepmom to three. 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 23rd, 2013

Sloane StephensSloane Stephens, 19, earned a half million bucks last night, topped 35,000 Twitter followers and will likely break the top 10 in the Women’s Tennis Association. Her parents are Sybil Smith, a hall of fame swimmer at Boston University, and the late John Stephens, a former New England Patriots running back, who died in 2009.

Last night, Sloane Stephens made history at the Australian Open. She became the youngest American player to ever beat Serena Williams 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in a quarterfinal match that ended at midnight, and I watched every minute.

She’s famous now, and this kid has some personality. The Wall Street Journal reported on her Twitter followers that include NBA star Shaquille O’Neal who told her, “When you defeat a legend, you become a legend. Keep it going.” The kid is in The Wall Street Journal.

She started a hide-and-seek game off the court — hiding a tennis ball with her name on it and tweeting clues on the grounds at the Australian Open.

ESPNW quoted her in a story:”This morning when I got up, I was like, ‘Look, dude, like, you can do this. Like, go out and play and do your best,’” Stevens said.

Williams, 31, has battled back from innumerable injuries during her stellar career. They include a blood clot, foot surgeries, countless sprains and back problems. Yet, every time she takes the court, she is impressive. Don’t ever count her out.

But Sloane Stephens is the new wave of tennis and a youngster to watch — especially since we’re all getting sick of hearing about lip syncing, Lance Armstrong and virtual girlfriends.

The games continue in Melbourne, and Sloane Stephens plays again later today — visit the official site for details.

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, grandmom to one and an avid tennis player for nearly 40 years. 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 14th, 2013

Ryan and HowieThese are my boys smirking on Christmas morning a few years ago and laughing that they got the same shirt for Christmas. That kind of happens every year — the same shirt thing — because they both look handsome in the same colors and styles, and my daughter and I outfit them accordingly. We know they don’t hang out together. In fact, now they are age 20 and 26 and live in different states. So we often buy them the same things.

If you’re a mom or a stepmom, here’s a quick piece of advice for getting along with your kids. Choose your battles. You can’t be arguing with a toddler, child, tween or teen for weeks on end. For me, safety came first and neatness last — especially when I was a single mom.

And they questioned everything. When I taught my youngest to drive on the interstate, he was exceeding the speed limit. I warned that he would get a ticket, and that would pretty much prevent an early license.  He scoffed that there was no place for troopers to hide. “What — do you think there are tree cops or something,” he said.

Kids must never watch “CSI,” or “NCIS,” or “Person of Interest.”

“Radar,” I said. “Do you think I make this stuff up? Do you think I’ve never gotten a ticket? I’m just telling you they make rules so you follow them. We all have rules.”

And kids don’t always follow them. But the consequences do have influence — especially tickets. Kids learn from their mistakes just like we do. Make sure you have rules and consequences. And remember to reward good behavior — don’t just punish the bad. You need to make kids feel good about themselves every single day. It will make you feel good, too.

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