Monday, March 19, 2007


Got a Giant Cup of Coffee??

Just heard about this natural but rare phenomenon on NPR. So get a BIG cup of coffee and have a brief and cool science/snow moment with a Snow Doughnut.


I'm an Aunt Again!!!!

Paul's brother and sister in law (Rich and Trish), just had baby number 4!!! Welcome to the world Christopher Robert Duggan born at 1:02, 7lbs 20 in. . Mom and Son are doing well. I can't wait to get to meet him. That brings the count to:
On the Duggan Side: 5 nieces and 4 nephews (a real total of 6 and 5 if you count my kids)
On the Smith Side: 2 nephews

I love them all and don't see any of them nearly enough to know them as well as I would like.
But I can still thank the Lord for giving me the large family I always wanted growing up with one sibling and no first cousins.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


"He Gave His Life For Tourism..."

This week my husband, kids and I went to see Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of Pharaohs at the Franklin Institute. I had also seen "King Tut" back in 1977 when it toured the US, I had loved it and as an aspiring archaeologist at the time it was a very special thing for me, made more special by the ends my mom went to in working it's Chicago showing into our college visiting trip. So it was a priority for me to share it with my kids.

It didn't get the greatest of reviews and I had talked to a number of friends who were a bit disappointed. Having gone to the show I can better understand that but feel that it is more a function of over hyped or misleading publicity and a lack of clear pre understanding of what is and or isn' t in the exhibit then anything to do with the exhibit itself.

You are led to believe or at least not disabused of believing that you will see A Lot of really cool really Big and spectacular Tut stuff. In fact at least half the exhibit is taken up with historical context and lovely artifacts from his great grandparents, grandparents and parents. I appreciated and enjoyed both these objects and the context. But hey I am a geeky archaeologist and a museum professional to boot so I skew the sample. It would have been nice if somewhere, other then just in the exhibit catalogs the exhibition writers had explained why some of the bigger pieces were not included (for their safety and to safe guard from wear and tear) and to perhaps have included some life size pics of them for context.

I am glad we went, even though I was sick. It was a blast to share it with the kids. Andrew kept getting bored and even the stand by of find which object in this room is your favorite started to wear thin. But if the number of times he came to drag me from what I was looking at to see something he liked or remembered from when we studied Egypt last year where any indication he actually did like it. Vicky seemed to be soaking it up. She was looking at it with her artists eye while I looked at it with my archaeologist eye and criticized or admired display and lighting.

One of my favorite things was the last room where they had a raised platform with a changing display of catscan slices of the mummy with photo overlays of some of the object found on the body which were also displayed in the room. the floor surrounding the platform had concentric rectangles of brass showing the location of the many sarcophagi that encased the mummy.

If you go I recommend an early weekday trip, it was very uncrowded then which made for more relaxed viewing, especially with the kids.

If you don't recognize the blog title you are too young and should check this out classic SNL piece by Steve Martin.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Snowy day homeschool

Once again a snowy day found us having to go out to do errands, this time the orthodontist. Fortunately the mysterious one legged man (see previous post) and his sister were once again available to join me. We did some math and phonics before we left but did even more school in the process of our walking trek to and from 40th street. I share it here in an attempt to explain why I often stumble when people ask me how much time it takes to do school each day:

Science: Talking about why it was snowing, noticing how there were little holes in the snow with small salt crystals at there center, figuring out why that is and where they salt came from. Noticing bird, dog and other tracks in the snow and following them and figuring out what the animal was doing by the tracks, also looking at human prints and seeing what we could tell about them (adult vs. kid, direction traveling, boots or shoes, occupation ie mail men leave a distinct pattern etc.)

Art: making our own patterns in the snow with feet, sticks etc. and observing the beauty of how the snow falls on things.

PE: walking, running, skipping, throwing snow, balancing, snow angles etc.

Language arts: visit to library and book store, reading signs along the route, reading in the waiting room. Making up poems about the snow *

religion: Talking about how Jesus washes us as white as snow in taking away our sins and how sinning again is like the ugly junk the cars splat up on the sides of the road with all the salt and dirt in it.

Health/safety: visiting the orthodontist, discussing our lunch choices at McDonalds (not that we went with the most healthy :-), safely crossing streets and choosing a good route to take in the snow.

Life Skills/math: Shopping for groceries and trying to stay within a certain amount of money.

Geography and life skills: helping give another person at the dentist office walking directions to an area restaurant

Socialization: Talking to each other, the dentist, others in the waiting room, imaginative play in the waiting room with our McDonalds Toys.

There are probably other things too but this is what came to mind. Hope you too enjoyed the snow.

** My attempt at a snow haiku

Snow falls on parked cars
Creating weird shaped mountains
Of various hues

Thursday, March 01, 2007


"Lots of good fun that is funny!"

Happy 50th Anniversary of the publishing of The Cat in The Hat!!! and tomorrow is the 103rd birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss). So if Monday's poetry wasn't your cup of tea just dust off your Dr. Seuss books ('cause even the Grinch likes Seuss) and invite Thing 1 and Thing 2 in for some Green Eggs* and Ham because its supposed to be a "cold, cold, wet, day" when it will be "too wet to play" (at least around here). I also found some web sites with fun activity suggestions and downloadable worksheets. So enjoy yourself and don't worry about the mess I'm sure the Cat will show up with that cool cleaning up machine eventually!!! (Though I have always wondered why the kids were home alone while mom was out? I am sure that the modern rewrite would have the cat working for Children's Services or something)

*Three years ago for Seuss's 100 we found that egg salad can be made a lovely green, not to mention what two preteens and some food coloring can do to applesauce, milk, ginger ale and yogurt! (Thanks to SB and AR for some great memories!)

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