Ren's Ramblings & Writings

Contemplations on things tangible and intangible

Thursday, June 26, 2014

revising summer chore duties, creating a teen summer schedule, and teen project planning

Trying to get my kids off their duffs for the summer is proving challenging... even getting household stuff done when there is no daily routine is a pain... so, the plan is to revise the house chores plan, create a general daily schedule for the summer (kind of like an Army training schedule), and choosing projects for the summer from a list. Here are the chore lists first:



 The following is a list of project ideas for the summer-the boys must choose at least 5, and they must include exercise and at least 1-2 ongoing projects or projects that need planning and research. This list is not exhaustive-it's just a list of items I found online from other kids to give my boys inspiration to come up with a summer plan-to do things besides sitting on their duffs playing video games~
o   MANDATORY: Personal Fitness plan for at least 3 days per week
o   write a novel or short story
o   Write in a journal. Write down words that you like, poems, song lyrics, what happened during an event, anything you want!  Write in it everyday.
o   Create blog and write in it 3 times per week
o   Read a book series.
o   Take online classes
o   Go to the water park
o   Watch meteor shower (August 12, 10:30pm)
o   Try something I've never done before
o   Learn sign language
o   Do yoga each morning
o   Break a world record
o   Create an experiment
o   Write a song
o   Create a life playlist or bucket list
o   Build and fly a kite
o   Be vegetarian for a week
o   Plan a menu
o   Record everything I eat in a journal
o   Solve a rubix cube
o   Practice algebra problems (help dad with math!)
o   Run a mile in 10 minutes (train each week)
o   Go running early in the morning
o   Go an entire day without technology (or maybe even a week, or summer)
o   Do something that scary
o   Make a scavenger hunt
o   Make a time capsule
o   Invent something new
o   Complete 1,000-piece puzzle
o   Cook a full meal
o   Read 5 books
o   Interview someone you don’t know and learn their life story. Write it up and give it to them.
o   Make pizza from scratch
o   Learn as many words or phrases you can in a foreign language
o   Research 5 colleges
o   Collect your family’s history
o   Stand up for something you believe in
o   Create, direct, and produce a mini film
o   Write a letter and send it, snail-mail style
o   Eat 5 things you haven’t eaten before
o   Plan out a road trip (every aspect: location, route, finances, logistics, etc)
o   Bake a cake from scratch
o   Watch a black-and-white classic movie
o   Play classic board games (like Monopoly or Chinese Checkers) on a rainy day
o   Make a giant chocolate chip cookie
o   Create a new recipe that can be passed down for generations
o   Find an astronomy pattern in the sky (like the zodiac signs in the stars via telescope)
o   Draw a chalk masterpiece on your sidewalk or driveway or in a playground
o   Send a message in a bottle
o   Put your deepest worry into a balloon and let it go
o   Dedicate a day to someone important in your life
o   Create a YouTube channel
o   Drawing masterpiece
o   Explore real life heroes
o   Learn about yourself thru your zodiac sign
o   Learn to read hieroglyphics


I am also having my boys create a daily routine schedule-with flexibility to allow for impromptu things, but they need to have some sort of routine for the summer-here's an example of what they're creating for themselves:

idea for the oldest:

7:00am -eat and take medicines, feed the dog & give fresh water
8:00am to 9:00am - Wake up, shower, etc
9:00am to 10:00am - Go for a walk
10:00am to 11:00am - check email, Facebook, chat with friends
11:00am to 11:30am - do required daily reading (a real book, digital or hard copy-but a real book)
11:30am to 12:00pm - Scrape up something for lunch
12:00pm to 2:00pm - work on personal project #1
2:00pm to 3:00pm - check email, Facebook, chat with friends
3:00pm to 5:30pm - hang out with friends
5:30pm to 6:30pm - feed dog, Dinner
6:30pm to 7:00pm - personal fitness plan
7:00pm to 11:00pm - take evening meds, Watch TV,  hang out with friends, Browse the internet, work on my story, personal project #2.
11:00pm to 12:00am - Hang out in my room
12:00am to 8:00am - Attempt to Sleep.

10pm weekday Curfew
12pm bed time over the summer

Monday, May 5, 2014

Ren's rant responses to "Americans United Disappointed That U.S. Supreme Court Ruled In Favor Of Sectarian Prayer Before Town Board Meetings"

This online rant was originally fumed impromptu on Facebook in response to the press release by Americans United for Separation of Church and State  regarding the supreme court decision on City of Greece v Galloway.  This rant/writing is unedited and not proof-read-just a blast of raw emotion.

The AU press release can be found here:

I have to rant about this, because this is something that is handled in the political arena.  And remember that every church/state separation case that we lose brings the religious right that much closer to determining whether or not you have access to simple contraception, and what family planning IN YOUR BEDROOM will look like, based on THEIR beliefs.

Anyone of any belief system and even Christian denomination can at any time and any place be relegated to 2nd class citizen. It's coming and it's coming fast, thanks to a religious right supreme court and a country full of non-fundamentalist, non-religious right people who REFUSE to acknowledge the threat and to stand up and truly defend the 1st Amendment for ALL Americans, regardless of beliefs.  There was a time when Catholics and Jews were compared to Muslims as a way to discredit and demonize them. Catholics have enjoyed some improvement in status over the last 50 years, but don't forget that Protestantism DOMINATED this country and our schools as late as the 1970s-and it is fully the intent of the religious right to dominate again. Baptists-you think things are hunky-dory, but review Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists after you read their letter to Jefferson-Baptists were and still are a minority denomination in this county-and ALWAYS will be. You CANNOT have FREEDOM of your conscience if you do not FIRST have Freedom FROM the other guy's religion or denomination. If you're a Quaker, 7th Day Adventist, Mennonite, one who follows a Native American spiritual path, a Muslim, an atheist, LDS, or a freethinking NONE who is finding your way, mark my words: YOU ARE A 2ND CLASS CITIZEN. PERIOD. YOUR BELIEFS DO NOT COUNT-YOU WILL BE FORCED TO CONFORM.  Even if you are of a denomination that closely aligns with the establishment of the religious right-you too will find yourself victim because within the religious right there is not complete agreement on biblical interpretations or history or American history-your version of "the right way" may not be the religious right establishment's interpretation or version of what "is right" and you will find yourself becoming partner to those who believe differently than you simply for the common ground of fighting to re-instate separation of church and state, and to ensure your right to decide what beliefs to bring your children up with, which bible version to choose for your family, and which church to attend-and, yes, even which books and stories your kids are exposed to.

 if you've been following the issues, legal cases, state bills, or even the goings-on in your state but have not been doing anything, realize that the FIRST AMENDMENT is the 1st for a reason.  Entire lives change when someone who believes differently than you begins to dictate your life and the lives of your family.  And it's more possible than you think: it begins with states like TX et al. which have decided to pick and choose what is in their history books and LA which has set their students up for FAILURE with creationism in their science classrooms-these kids are going to get into college and not know even the basics because their communities and parents and, indeed, their state laws which are supposed to have been made by supposedly smart people have set these students up for FAILURE.  Rachel Held Evans, a Christian blogger, even has written about these students who, set up for failure, get to college and realizing how behind they are, become angry, not just at their families but some also leave their faith, which is sad. It is one thing to change your beliefs if during your life you have learned things that cause you to question what you had previously been told. But what Rachel discusses is actually tragic (not that atheists mind this). 

And the bottom line is that every single bit of this take-over of your life by people who believe that YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY BE A GOOD AND MORAL PERSON unless you conform to THEIR BELIEFS-THEIR VERSION OF THE BIBLE, THEIR VERSION OF BIBLICAL HISTORY, AND THEIR INTERPRETATION of all things Christian. YOUR VERSION AND YOUR BELIEFS ARE NOT THE RIGHT BELIEFS-YOU ARE NOT THE RIGHT KIND OF CHRISTIAN. So, let them destroy the First Amendment, making freedom only the right of their chosen kind of Christianity, and what do you have? A country of one reigning denomination-all others will be minority with ZERO rights. Think it can't happen? It already has, and is still happening:


“The poor Quakers were flying from persecution in England. They cast their eyes on these new countries as asylums of civil and religious freedom; but they found them free for only the reigning sect.” Thomas Jefferson’s notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-1785.


Proposed 1789, ratified 1791:

The “Establishment Clause:” “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

Ensures freedom FROM religion

The “Free Exercise Clause:” or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Ensures freedom OF religion.

“The Supreme Court just relegated millions of Americans - both believers and nonbelievers - to second-class citizenship,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, which sponsored the lawsuit. “Government should not be in the business of forcing faith on anyone, and now all who attend meetings of their local boards could be subjected to the religion of the majority.”

–“In this country it is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers for any group of the American people to recite as part of a religious program carried on by government.”--Justice Hugo Black, 1962