24 December 2009

Advent Update

This year, we set out some unusual rules for the kids. No Christmas music or DVD's, no treats or sweets, no special Christmas teas or hot chocolate - at least until today. I almost felt like the Grinch. But it was so worth it. The last few weeks have been wonderful - not something I can usually say at this time of the year. December is usually harried and frazzled. Because we decided to postpone Christmas this year, December was much more calm and peaceful. I had that time I always long for to examine my heart and contemplate the Incarnation and the Lord's redemption, as well as taking time to prepare practically.
Today we went looking for a live, cut tree (my husband said that, if we were going to wait to put it up, he wanted a real one instead of the artificial one that lives in the attic for most of the year). We weren't sure we'd find any at this late date. We drove past a few of the tree lots that we'd scoped out, but they were gone, the proprietors probably heading home to spend the holiday with their own families. We drove past a few nurseries that had signs posted, but no inventory left. We pulled into Home Depot, just in case. I spotted three lonely Noble firs standing in a corner of the nursery. We got out and looked them over. Two were pretty nice and one of them was beautiful. They were also marked $60. Drew went to find a manager to see if he could talk him into a discount. Gary came out to answer our questions. He asked if we'd picked one out yet. We told him that we had and the kids and I held our collective breath. What would he say? How hard would Drew haggle? Gary's response: 'Merry Christmas! Load it up and take it home!' Yes, he gave it to us!

So, now, our beautiful tree is decorated; all the presents are wrapped and piled underneath. The house is cozy and Christmasy. The penguin soap dispenser sits by the sink. The Christmas dishes are out. The stockings are hung with care - not by our chimney, as we don't have one, but on a mantel with hooks that sits on top of a book shelf and is weighed down by a set of encyclopedias. Sitting on the mantel are two Lego houses that the boys built - snow-covered Victorian homes. Christmas music wafts from the holiday playlist on the iPod. Candy dishes grace all our end tables and snowman salt and pepper shakers sit on the table. Most of our family is headed to our church's Christmas Eve service (rumor has it that it'll be rockin'), but we'll all go to a more traditional ten o'clock service after a dinner of meat pie and veggies, followed by Christmas tea and hot chocolate and maybe A Charlie Brown Christmas.

And, best of all, I've had time to think about the Incarnation, the amazing, unimaginable, incredible, mind-boggling Incarnation. God himself came to earth as a helpless, vulnerable baby. He didn't come to the rich and powerful, but to a lowly carpenter and his wife, announced to a flock of shepherds, outcasts from their society.

This isn't a story man could or would have come up with on his own. All religions of the world, both past and present, set forth a list of rules that must be obeyed so that salvation can be earned. Only God himself could dream up the Incarnation. He would come to earth himself to offer grace and mercy to sinful men who cannot earn their own salvation. He would pay the debt we owe, the debt, deeper than any ocean, that only he could pay.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He didn't send him into the world to judge the world, but that through him, the world might be saved.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men.

08 December 2009


Last night's dinner was a simple pot roast, but I changed it up a little and it was better than ever. And it didn't take much extra time or effort.

Instead of adding water to my green-with-white-speckles roasting pan, I added a carton and a half of beef stock. I put the veggies (carrots, onions, potatoes) in first and then sprinkled them liberally with salt and parsley. Then I placed the roast (still frozen because of a miscommunication with the kidlets) on top of the veggies, where it sat above the level of the broth and the juices would run down onto the veggies.

After roasting for 4 hours (I told you it was frozen), we removed everything from the pot and covered it with foil to keep warm. Normally, I serve the juice alongside the roast, but yesterday was cold (for Arizona) and rainy and I felt like making some gravy.

I got out my trusty Culinary Artistry and looked up 'beef'. We strained the juice into a pot, which I then turned on to simmer after adding some chopped shallots, basil, red wine, and a bit of salt and white pepper.

On another burner, I made a blond roux in a small skillet. (I would have made a darker roux, but my family was as hungry as a pack of wolves, so I thought it best to speed up the process a little.) Once the roux was cooked sufficiently, I added a little of the broth to the skillet to begin the process of loosening up the roux to make it easier to incorporate into the broth. Then I whisked the loosened roux into the pot of broth and served. It was the first beef gravy I've ever made, and the best beef gravy I've ever eaten.

I used to make gravy with milk shaken together with flour and poured into whatever base I was using. In order to avoid lumps, I had to stand over it and whisk it constantly (and hope I'd added enough flour to thicken it, but not too much milk to dilute the flavour). In order to get rid of the floury taste, I had to simmer it for quite awhile (whisking the whole time). It was a hot and steamy business.

By using roux, the gravy comes together much more easily and I know it won't taste floury, since the flour is cooked more efficiently in the skillet than in the base. And since the butterfat coats the flour particles, they don't clump together, which gives me a smoother gravy with less effort.


07 December 2009

Spiritual Disciplines

The subject of spiritual disciplines has been on my mind lately (got there in a round-about fashion, but more on that later).

Several years ago (a decade or more?), we celebrated the Passover. In my typical Toad-of-Toad-Hall style, I decided if we were going to do this, I would make sure it was done right. So I decided to clean out all the leaven from the house. I started with the obvious: yeast and baking powder. Then the conspicuous loaf of bread sitting there looking smugly at me - okay, tossed, along with hot dog rolls and hamburger buns. But wait. Do those cookies have baking powder? Uh-huh. Okay, so the cookies went. Oh, that cake in the freezer has leavening. Gone. What about those crackers? Yup, they have baking soda. Okay, so they're gone, too. Self-rising flour? Flung into the trash. Okay, all done.

Wait. There are lots of crumbs on the shelves of the pantry. I bet some of them have leavening in them. So, I cleaned the pantry. Done! Except that the kids have dropped bread and cracker crumbs on the dining room floor and, in the course of regular sweeping, some of them got pushed under the baseboards - time to clean the baseboards. And the kidlings sometimes would take crackers (or cookies) into their rooms (no, not with permission) and so we had to clean out the bedrooms. Oh, and we grown-ups occasionally snack in bed while reading before turning out the lights (with permission) - time to deep-clean the master bedroom, too. And crumbs stick to our feet when we walk through the house, so the bathrooms, living room, and school room also needed a deep cleaning. But crumbs tend to nestle down into the carpet and our vacuum wasn't strong enough to get them all out, so we rented a carpet cleaner. Etc., etc., etc.

It seemed that every time I cleaned the leaven from one place, I thought of another where it could be hiding, and another, and another, and another. Hmm …

Jesus continually warned his disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. And I know somewhere in there, Scripture equates leaven with sin. As I worked and worked to clean the leaven from my house, I learned a lot about the insidiousness of sin. I finally understood the Jewish custom of starting Passover with a plea to God to remove whatever leaven was missed in this giant spring cleaning. I've heard that described as a lazy and frivolous cop-out, but I think it's a serious appeal to God's grace, an acknowledgement that we can't ever entirely rid ourselves of our own sin. Only his mercy and power can do that.

The physical discipline of trying to clean all leaven out of the house taught me powerful spiritual lessons that I've never forgotten. And this, I'm beginning to see, is the power of spiritual disciplines. I'd avoided them in the past because I saw them as a way to try to earn God's favor (and I wanted none of that), but it's dawning on my that they can be a source of discipline and spiritual training for my soul.

So, since we celebrated Passover so many years ago, why is it coming up now? Well, I'll tell you. A friend recently mentioned that Advent used to be considered more of a season of preparation to celebrate Christmas and not a season of celebration itself. This resonated in my soul.

Another description I've read is that it's 'a kinder and gentler version of Lent'.

And yet another blogger described it thusly: 'Perhaps the most important thing for me (a baptist girl with liturgical longings) in trying to keep Advent is making a conscious effort to postpone Christmas. I must admit that when I first began doing Advent it was more as a way to prolong Christmas. This shift from "doing" to "keeping" and from "prolonging" to "postponing" has been slow but significant.'

This makes sense, given that the twelve days of Christmas begin on Christmas Day and run to January 5, with the celebration of the Epiphany on the 6th.

I've shared some of these insights with my husband and he's intrigued. We're beginning to try to think through what this change of mind will mean for us. So this will be a kind of 'transition Christmas' for us. We're thinking and researching Advent and Christmas based on a more liturgical calendar. We got a late start this year, but will do our best and continue to think about this throughout the year.

I hope to post more about some of the changes we're planning to incorporate this year and some of the spiritual lessons I'm learning.


20 November 2009

Constitution: Twenty-seventh Amendment

Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.

13 November 2009


I recently finished Shakespeare by Another Name, by Mark Anderson.

I didn't even know there was any controversy regarding who wrote the Shakespeare canon until about 7 years ago. My curiosity was piqued and I had to research it when I first heard. I haven't done a lot of research about the different people who've been put forth, but I enjoyed this book, written from the Oxfordian perspective, i.e. that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford is the guilty party.

I know this isn't an earth-shaking puzzle (at least for most of us), but I do love a mystery. This also doesn't change the power and beauty of the canon, but I think it adds to my understanding of it and I'm looking forward to watching/re-watching the plays again with the new perspective gained from this look at the plays through de Vere's eyes.


Constitution: Twenty-sixth Amendment

Passed by Congress March 23, 1971. Ratified July 1, 1971.

Note: Amendment 14, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 1 of the 26th amendment.

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

09 November 2009

Boys and Girls

I recently finished Why Gender Matters and Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D.

The first gathers the results of studies conducted in the last decade or so on sex differences between boys and girls, men and women. Dr. Sax outlines differences in the development of the eye, the ear, and the brain; responses to stress; perception of pain; and so much more. It was absolutely fascinating and has helped me understand my husband and sons better - it helped me understand my girls better, too.

Throughout the book, Dr. Sax discusses the effect this information should have on how we educate and raise boys and girls. There is much food for thought.

Caveat: Dr. Sax includes some explicit information in a few of his chapters. I'd also caution that he doesn't have a biblical worldview and really disagreed with his conclusions about discipline.

Boys Adrift focuses on boys, natch. He begins by asking what in the world is going on with so many boys and young men and their complete lack of motivation (no, not all boys and young men, but a goodly portion of them; anyone see Failure to Launch?). He presents five factors that he thinks can be linked causally to this situation: school structure, ritalin and its compatriots, endocrine disruptors, video games, and young men's lack of relationships with a community of older men. Again, there are many, many footnotes and much research has been done.

Both books have really gotten me thinking. Although I've never bought the fiction that the only differences between the sexes have to do with reproduction, these books bring much data and many particulars to the discussion and, I think, would be quite helpful to any mom of boys.


07 November 2009


Last Saturday, we finally got our first Bountiful Basket. Everything has been wonderful!

Included in the basket were a couple paper bags of a small, yellow fruit that I'd never seen before.

In desperation, I posted these photos on Facebook and one of my friends rode to my rescue by telling me that they were mini yellow guavas. So, I then had to figure out what to do with them. They smelled heavenly!

So I looked up 'guava' in my trusty Culinary Artistry to get some ideas and picked out a few ingredients that I had on hand. We ladled the sauce over a butter cake that Judith had made earlier in the day and, well, wow! It was amazing!! Here's what I did:

In a saucepan, I simmered some sweet white wine with a split and scraped vanilla bean. Once the wine had reduced by about a half to two-thirds, I fished out the bean and whisked in the paste I got after peeling, cutting, and pushing about six of the guavas through a fine mesh strainer. I added a pinch of salt, a pinch of mace, and about a teaspoon of sugar. Then I whisked in some heavy cream. (I'm sorry, but I have no measurements for any of this - I was pouring and flicking ingredients into the pan using nary a measuring cup or spoon.) I heated up the sauce a final time, but not to a boil and we indulged. I cannot express how good this was - sweet, with enough tang to keep it from becoming cloying, and the vanilla and wine complemented one another beautifully. (mmm … I have more guavas in the fridge and am itching to make this again, soon!)


06 November 2009

Constitution: Twenty-fifth Amendment

Passed by Congress July 6, 1965. Ratified February 10, 1967.

Note: Article II, section 1, of the Constitution was affected by the 25th amendment.

Section 1.
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3.
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

30 October 2009

Constitution: Twenty-fourth Amendment

Passed by Congress August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964.

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

22 October 2009


So, a few years ago I was challenged by a definition of sacrifice that has had me scratching my head since.

sacrifice: giving up something of great value for something of lesser value

This gives a greater understanding of Christ's sacrifice for us (the righteous for the unrighteous, God for man, the Prince of Glory for sinners), but on another level, it brings up so many questions! With this definition, is it truly possible for us to sacrifice anything for Christ? What we give up is worth so much less than what we gain, that is it truly any kind of sacrifice? Yet, we are clearly told that God delights in our sacrifices. This has been a great puzzlement.

We discussed I Peter 2:1-5 with a small group of folks from church and the confusion began to be cleared away. Drew and I discussed it more as we drove home and I think I've got a much better handle on it.

I think there's a place for the above definition on a horizontal level, and when we think of the Lord sacrificing himself for us, but it falls short when we think vertically in an upward direction.

Horizontally: we must ask ourselves if we're really sacrificing when we want to think we are. If a mother says that she sacrificed her career for her children, isn't she really saying that her career was the more important of the two? If I claim to sacrifice my time in order to educate my children, aren't I really valuing my time above my children? Am I proud of my sacrifices? Hmmm … questions to consider.

Vertically: the sacrifice the Lord demands of us isn't based on any kind of valuation of what's offered (that's because of his grace in receiving our meager, dirty-rag offerings, not because our offerings are so high and valuable). Rather it's based on the fact that, biblically, sacrifices are dedicated totally to the Lord. When we're told to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, Paul isn't implying that we're more important that what we get in return, relationship with the Lord and the opportunity to glorify him; rather that we should wholly devote ourselves to serving and glorifying the Lord. It's about whole-hearted dedication, devotion, and passion for Christ.

And, to loosely paraphrase John Piper, as we serve Christ, we also enjoy him, which brings him the most glory.


19 October 2009

Inspired by Julia

Life is beginning to calm down after a hectic and difficult several months. Not only did I have energy and time to cook tonight, but my back is feeling well enough that I was able to putter around the kitchen tonight, with help from Drew and older kiddoes.

I went to see Julie & Julia with some girlfriends a few weeks ago. I was taken by the Julia storyline and would have relished more of her and less of the more modern story. I'm about half-way through My Life in France and I was also able to pick up Julia's Kitchen Wisdom. I'm inspired! (No, I'm not going to cook my way through her books, but I'll share what I learn!)

I was hoping to make a cheese souflé for dinner, but school took longer than I thought it would and I had a late afternoon chiropractor appointment. I wasn't sure what to do about dinner, when Drew mentioned that we had some porkchops in the freezer. We put them in to soak in a sink of hot water and they were defrosted when we returned home. I poked around in my CIA Cookbook and decided to make a Lyonnaise sauce to go with the chops (it was more a variation of a Lyonnaise sauce - I had no demi-glace, so we substituted beef stock). After sautéing the chops, we added to the pan butter, a finely chopped onion, white wine (a Pinot Gris), some late harvest Riesling vinegar (yes, it's amazing!), and some salt and white pepper. After the onions were cooked and the liquids reduced, I added some store-bought beef stock (have you ever seen pork broth on sale at the grocery store? I figured beef was close enough). This simmered for awhile and reduced even more. It was absolutely heavenly.

We'd stopped and picked up a couple of baguettes (I've not been baking lately because of my back) and I made a white wine and butter reduction and then sautéed some leeks in it; I also added tarragon, parsley, salt, and white pepper. After baking the baguettes for about 10 minutes in a 450˚ oven to crisp up the crust, we sliced the bread and ladled the leek and butter sauce over the top. More heaven!

I don't have measurements for any of this, but it wasn't hard. I was playing with the technique of reducing liquids before using them that Julia mentions in her books.

On tap for later this week: orange roughy filets with a beurre blanc sauce; Hungarian goulash (after I receive my sweet Hungarian paprika from The Spice House); and Julia's boeuf bourguignon; oh, and that cheese souflé, baked in phyllo dough sheets.

16 October 2009

Constitution: Twenty-third Amendment

Passed by Congress June 16, 1960. Ratified March 29, 1961.

Section 1.
The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct:

A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

09 October 2009

Constitution: Twenty-second Amendment

Passed by Congress March 21, 1947. Ratified February 27, 1951.

Section 1.
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

Section 2.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

02 October 2009

Constitution: Twenty-first Amendment

Passed by Congress February 20, 1933. Ratified December 5, 1933.

Section 1.
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2.
The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

25 September 2009

Constitution: Twentieth Amendment

Passed by Congress March 2, 1932. Ratified January 23, 1933.

Note: Article I, section 4, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of this amendment. In addition, a portion of the 12th amendment was superseded by section 3.

Section 1.
The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

Section 2.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

Section 3.
If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

Section 4.
The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

Section 5.
Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

Section 6.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.

18 September 2009

Constitution: Nineteenth Amendment

Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

11 September 2009

Constitution: Eighteenth Amendment

Passed by Congress December 18, 1917. Ratified January 16, 1919. Repealed by amendment 21.

Section 1.
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2.
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

29 August 2009

Large Careers

How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about [arithmetic], and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman's function is laborious because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. ~G.K. Chesterton

(Thanks to the gals at ClassEd for reminding me of this gem!)

28 August 2009

Constitution: Seventeenth Amendment

Passed by Congress May 13, 1912. Ratified April 8, 1913.

Note: Article I, section 3, of the Constitution was modified by the 17th amendment.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

21 August 2009

Constitution: Sixteenth Amendment

Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913.

Note: Article I, section 9, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 16.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

14 August 2009

Constitution: Fifteenth Amendment

Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude--

Section 2.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

07 August 2009

Constitution: Fourteenth Amendment

Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

Note: Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.

Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

*Changed by section 1 of the 26th amendment.

31 July 2009

Constitution: Thirteenth Amendment

Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.

Note: A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by the 13th amendment.

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

24 July 2009

Constitution: Twelfth Amendment

Passed by Congress December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804.

Note: A portion of Article II, section 1 of the Constitution was superseded by the 12th amendment.

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; -- the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; -- The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. --]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

*Superseded by section 3 of the 20th amendment.

17 July 2009

Constitution: Eleventh Amendment

Passed by Congress March 4, 1794. Ratified February 7, 1795.

Note: Article III, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 11.

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

10 July 2009

Constitution: Tenth Amendment

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

03 July 2009

Constitution: Ninth Amendment

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

26 June 2009

Constitution: Eighth Amendment

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

19 June 2009

Constitution: Seventh Amendment

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

12 June 2009

Constitution: Sixth Amendment

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

05 June 2009

Constitution: Fifth Amendment

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

29 May 2009

Constitution: Fourth Amendment

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

22 May 2009

Constitution: Third Amendment

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

15 May 2009

Constitution: Second Amendment

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

12 May 2009

Diagnoses and Cures

I'm reading a novel and got to a place that has stopped me cold.  I'm not going to name the novel or the author because I really don't think it's that great and don't want to recommend it, but an exchange between a couple of characters is yet another example of a trend I've been noticing the last six months or so and if I don't write about it, I won't be able to finish the book.  It's an okay right-before-I-turn-the-lights-out-to-go-to-sleep read, in other words, I'm not finding it completely unpleasant, but I also don't care enough about the characters that I simply must read another chapter.

One character says to another:

'You have to make allowance.  […]  She's got eight kids and a husband who spends even more time in the Mucky Duck [the local pub] than Seamus Galvin.  What we need is some decent kind of contraception … like this pill thingy.'

Those of you who know me know that I have a basic problem with the very idea of contraception, but that's not what I'm going to focus on {shocker!}.

Read it again.  This poor mom's problem is diagnosed pretty well.  Her husband isn't acting like either a husband or a father.  But look at the logical hiccup when we come to the proposed cure - more contraception and fewer kids.  Maybe this mom and her children would be better served if the local community took a two by four to her husband's head and insisted that he man-up and care for his family instead of running away from his responsibilities.  Would she really be better off with two kids and a husband who abdicated his role as husband and father?  And which kids shouldn't she have had?

I saw the same thing in Atlas Shrugged.  Ayn Rand identified certain societal problems with laser-like accuracy, but her solutions were empty and unworkable, as substantial as a cobweb.  I see the same thing going on in Washington, Phoenix, and our local city council chambers.

We must think clearly about both problems and solutions.  If we don't consider deeply and follow a problem all the way to the root, our efforts to help will merely make the situation worse.


11 May 2009

Furniture Arranging Philosophy

Since my dear daughter asked, here it is.

I'd rather that my livingroom furniture be arranged to promote conversation and intimacy than to have everything focused on the television set.  I like things somewhat balanced, too.  And I appreciate being able to see my baseboards occasionally (otherwise the room feels cluttered - can you hear my daughter laughing as she reads this?).  

Before Christmas, I came home from our history/humanities discussion group to find the furniture had been rearranged to make room for the Christmas tree {shock!}.  The chairs, couch, and settle were arranged in a way that made conversation difficult and uncomfortable.  One had to strain to see others' faces and seating was pretty spread out.  I felt unsettled when we'd try to have any kind of conversation, but the television and the tree were visible from every seat.

We recently rearranged things and I like it so much better.  Every seat looks at another seat and faces are easy to see.  We're having much better economics and logic discussions and I'm getting the urge to read another book out loud to the kidlings.  We shift the settle when we watch a movie, but that means we must be more intentional about switching the television on, so that's a benefit.  (Not that we watch a lot of broadcast television (hardly any actually), but we were tending to turn on the Roku box too often.)


08 May 2009

Constitution: First Amendment

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

06 May 2009

My Grocery Shopping Philosophy

A philosophy for grocery shopping?  Well, yeah, I think we should have a philosophy for everything - grocery shopping, furniture arranging, the way we dress - everything (whoever said caring for the home was a mindless job certainly had no idea).  

So, here's my grocery shopping philosophy.  [drum roll, please; cue the choir] 

Purchase ingredients.

Whew!  I'm glad I got that off my chest!

I'd rather have my pantry stocked with flour, oil, cocoa, sugar, vanilla, and baking soda and powder and my fridge with butter, milk, cream, eggs, and yeast than with lots of packaged mixes.  With those ingredients, I can make brownies or crépes (sweet or savory) or yellow cake with chocolate frosting or sugar cookies or pancakes or tortillas or bread or crackers or biscuits or baguettes (my newest baking challenge) or pie crust or English muffins or crumpets; you get the idea and I'm getting hungry.  Making sure that I'm stocked up with the basics gives me much more flexibility than purchasing mixes.  I can go with the flow much more easily.

So, why is this a money saver?  Well, even though I've rarely seen a coupon for a dozen eggs or a gallon of milk, ingredients still end up being cheaper than mixes.  They're also healthier.  And if you find a screamin' deal  (let me know, okay?), most can be stored without refrigeration (storage costs need to be figured in, too).  Just as it's easier to de-clutter the kitchen with multi-use tools rather than lots of space-hogging, single-use gadgets, it's easier to declutter the pantry with multi-use ingredients rather than lots of single-use packaged mixes.

Using teriyaki sauce as an example: I could purchase a bottle of teriyaki sauce.  It wouldn't take up that much space.  But it's teriyaki sauce and that's all it can ever be.  Yes, I can use it in a meat marinade (recipe coming soon) or in stir fry, but there isn't much else I can do with it.  However, if I have brown sugar, garlic (something like this), fresh minced ginger, and soy sauce on hand, well, life just got much tastier.  I can use the brown sugar for granola, on yogurt, for cinnamon/raisin bread, bread pudding, pancakes, rum sauce, etc.  (Is there anything brown sugar can't be used in?)  I can add a bit of ginger to chicken soup, cookies, bread, pudding, tea for an upset tummy, etc.  Garlic goes in just about anything and we use it all the time.  Soy sauce goes well in marinades, soups, veggies, noodles, and rice.  I can still have teriyaki anytime I want to make it, but I have lots of other options, too, because I bought separate ingredients.

Now, it's not like I didn't have the ingredients for teriyaki on hand before, well, except for the ginger - that's a new thing in my fridge (I've never been much of a fan of dried ginger and the jar in my pantry is at least 25 years old, but the fresh stuff is heavenly), but by not purchasing a bottle of teriyaki, I'm saving space.  You could argue that I simply traded a bottle of teriyaki for a jar of ginger, but I can do so much more with ginger than I could with teriyaki, that I still think I've come out ahead.  But really, how much space does a bottle of teriyaki sauce take up?  Not much, but that's where having a full-blown philosophy comes in.  If I do this over and over again, searching out recipes that use basic ingredients that I have on hand for bottles, jars, or boxes of things I might otherwise buy, the savings in both space and money begin to multiply.

I'm still looking for recipes for my husband's favorite bar-be-que sauce, our favorite bourbon chicken from the greasy spoon at the mall, and orange chicken.  Alton Brown piqued my interest in making my own mustard.  I've already conquered Drew's favorite honey-mustard salad dressing, mayonnaise, hummus, and raspberry vinaigrette (all absurdly easy).  We've found fairly simple homemade ice cream and smoothie recipes.  I don't know if I'll ever find a replacement for ketchup, onion soup mix, or for canned cream of chicken soup (used in several dishes that are family favorites), but those cans, bottles, and boxes can be used in more than one dish, so I'm philosophically okay with them, at least for now.  (I have tried a replacement for the cream of chicken soup, but it wasn't worth the time it took to cook and it wasn't really a good substitute for the concentrated soup in the can - the texture was all wrong.)


01 May 2009

Constitution: Preamble to the Bill of Rights

The Preamble to The Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

30 April 2009

And the Results Are…

Instead of putting boiling water in the jars before pouring in the hot cultured milk, I got the tap as hot as it would go and used that.  The yogurt in the jars thickened up in the same amount of time that the crockpot usually takes and the jars stayed warm under the towel.

This morning, after spending the night in the fridge, it was thick and wonderful.  I think this technique is a winner.

Allison, I went through the grainy and thin yogurt stage and never really figured out why (sun spots?  a butterfly fluttered its wings in Hawaii?  a yogurt curse?).  I've been told that making yogurt is more an art than a science.  I'd let it sit a bit longer next time and see if that helps.  I also found that turning the crockpot on low for about 10-20 minutes if it was taking awhile to thicken seemed to help - at least, I think it did; if I hadn't turned it on, it might have thickened up on its own anyway--no way to tell.  (If I needed to do this with the jars, I'd put them either in a shallow warm water bath on the counter or set them on a heating pad set on low.)

Another tip from Elise - I poured about a cup of the half-&-half and starter mixture into a small jar and set it on the counter under the towel with the quart jars to thicken up.  When the yogurt had thickened, I put the small jar into the freezer.  I'll take it out and let it defrost in the fridge overnight and use that as my starter when I make it next.  This tip might make the starter last longer.  I was using an envelope of cultures every few batches, and using a half to a cup of yogurt itself as a starter in between.  Freezing it will help it remain fresh longer and therefore I can get more batches for each envelope of starter, cutting my costs even more.


29 April 2009

Yogurt Revisited

Yes, another post about yogurt!

Why do I keep reading others' yogurt recipes?  Because I just might learn something new.  Well, I think I have.

A couple weeks ago, after the yogurt was done and ready for the fridge, I discovered that I didn't have any quart jars clean.  We had room in the fridge ('Wonder of wonders! Miracle of miracles!'), so I put the whole 1-gallon crock in.  The next day, the yogurt was the thickest I've ever seen (yes, even thicker than store-bought with all its gelatins and guar gums).  We ate it from the crock in the fridge until it was time to make more (it helped that I have two crockpots - I'm 'bi-potal' according to my friend Renee).  I did the same thing with the next batch of yogurt to see if this was a fluke or a discovery - put the whole crock in the fridge, and again, it turned out super-thick.  I thought I was onto something, but unless I assumed all my readers (all 10 of you) are also bi-potal, this wasn't a tip for public consumption.

'So why am I posting this publicly?' you ask.  Good question.  This morning, I was reading Strategic Eating: The Econovore's Essential Guide by Elise Cooke (review coming soon) and she outlined her process for making yogurt.  Honestly, the crockpot is much easier as far as I'm concerned, but she included a step that put the final piece into my yogurt puzzle and that makes this a tip everyone can use.  

After adding her cultures, Elise pours the liquid into jars and then she warms the jars in a hot water bath or in a slow oven.  Well, being the tea connoisseur that I am, I know that no pot of tea is worth its weight in tea leaves unless it's been pre-heated by pouring boiling water into it (and then emptying it) before putting in tea leaves and more boiling water.  Put these two things together and I think I've found an easier way to make my yogurt yummy and thick.

I've got half-&-half heating in the crockpot now.  When it's closer to being the right temp, I'll pour boiling water into four quart-sized jars and one half-pint jar (to hold my starter for the next batch).  I'll mix my starter in, then I'll pour the cultured liquid into the hot jars, wrap the jars in a beach towel, and let the bitty cultures grow.  Once they're firm, I'll put the jars in the fridge.

I'll report back and let you know how my experiment goes.


27 April 2009


I need to apologize for my lack of posting lately.  Life's been busy and I haven't really had time to sit and write.

I had originally set the Constitution posts to appear every other day, but realized that was too fast.  I've slowed them down to once per week and want to take some time to go back myself and catch up on the reading and commenting.  I find I'm understanding it and remembering it better little by little than I have in the past reading it all at once.

I've got a few posts in the back of my mind that I'm mulling over, and I'd like to begin posting more about some of the money-stretching strategies we've been implementing.  I also need to finish my book list.  (We're getting ready for a re-finance appraisal on Thursday; I've been re-organizing books, along with the whole house, and will be able to finish that book list next week.)

So, thank you for your patience with me.  I hope to be back to more regular posting, soon.

25 April 2009

Constitution: Articles 5, 6, and 7

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Article. VI.

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article. VII.

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page, the Word "Thirty" being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words "is tried" being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the Word "the" being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page.

Attest William Jackson Secretary

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

19 April 2009

Why I Attended a Tea Party

I've been reading many responses to the Tax Day Tea Parties from folks on the left. Assumptions are being made that don't reflect the thoughts of those on the ground. So, I thought I'd post a short explanation of why I went. I certainly don't speak for everyone.

The ostensible purpose of the Tea Parties was to protest the massive amount of government spending and debt. Susan Roesgen, a CNN reporter in Chicago got it wrong when she argued with the man she was interviewing, trying to remind him that he was getting a $400 tax break. This was about the spending. Even if the government taxed the richest people in the country at 95%, there wouldn't be enough revenue to pay the bill. This means that either everyone's taxes will go sky high or the government will have to inflate the currency, taking away our purchasing power and making our money worth much less (eventually worthless). Our children and grandchildren will be paying for this spending spree one way or another.

However, as unconscionable as the spending is, the spending itself is not the problem; it's merely a symptom of a much deeper problem, namely that the federal government has grown far beyond the limits set by the Constitution and is involved in many areas and issues that aren't mentioned in our founding documents. Our Constitution states clearly that the federal government is bound regarding the areas it can legally be involved in. If the Constitution doesn't give specific authority over a specific jurisdiction to the federal level of government, then the federal government has no authority to do or legislate in that area. Instead, that authority rests with the States and the People. Until more everyday people realize this, we won't really make any progress.

One complaint I've been hearing is that, since these protests didn't happen during the Bush administration with its growth in both government and deficit spending, they're illegitimate. The assumption is that everyone at the Tea Parties supported everything that President Bush did, so now that President Obama is doing multiplied more of the same, we have no right to protest. 

First of all, our right to freedom of speech is still in force, meaning that we do have the right to protest.  There is no statute of limitations on freedom of speech.

Second, for a century the temperature under the ubiquitous and metaphorical frog has been increased, slowly and gradually, from quite cool to hot-tub warm. However, in the last few months, the Obama administration has turned up the fire very hot, very fast. The frog has woken up and is finally jumping out of the pot. 

Third, this wasn't just a protest against the Democratic party.  I've been a registered Republican since I first registered to vote.  I haven't always supported everything the Republican Party stood for, but they were the closest game in town.  Today, I feel like Ronald Reagan: I didn't leave the [Republican] Party, the [Republican] Party left me. This growth of government has been going on for over 100 years, under both Democratic and Republican administrations and Congresses. It doesn't matter who is pursuing big, unrestrained federal government. None of them will get my vote again.  I will continue to examine the record and principles of each candidate and vote for those who reflect the ideas of small, restrained, Constitutional, federal government, no matter which party they represent.  Some of my readers may remember my post regarding my thoughts about whom I would vote for in the past presidential election.  I decided to cast my vote, not for the man whom I thought would make the best president, but for the lesser of two evils (of the two main choices and one for whom I've never voted before, even though I've had plenty of opportunities).  I will never throw away my vote in that way again.  I will no longer try to strategize, but will vote according to principle and my conscience.

I've been hearing lots of talk about the Constitution.  I just finished Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto.  (Well-written, not earth-shaking for me, but he did give me a few new things to think about.)  I've started Judge Andrew Napolitano's The Constitution in Exile: How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land.  (Not far enough into it to have a clear opinion, yet.)  I hope others pick up these books, or others about the Constitution, and begin to educate themselves.  As Ronald Reagan said,
'Freedom is always just one generation away from extinction. We don’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream; we have to fight for it and protect it, and then hand it to them so that they shall do the same, or we’re going to find ourselves spending our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children about a time in America, back in the day, when men and women were free.'

18 April 2009

Constitution: Article 4, Sec. 1-4

Article. IV.

Section. 1.

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section. 2.

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

Section. 3.

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Section. 4.

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

16 April 2009

Constitution: Article 3, Sec. 1-3

Article III.

Section. 1.

The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section. 2.

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-- between a State and Citizens of another State,--between Citizens of different States,--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section. 3.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

14 April 2009

Constitution: Article 2, Sec. 2-4

Section. 2.

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section. 3.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section. 4.

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

12 April 2009

Constitution: Article 2, Sec. 1

Article. II.

Section. 1.

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

10 April 2009

Constitution: Article 1, Sec. 9-10

Section. 9.

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another; nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Section. 10.

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

08 April 2009

Constitution: Article 1, Sec. 7-8

Section. 7.

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

06 April 2009

Constitution: Article 1, Sec. 5-6

Section. 5.

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section. 6.

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

04 April 2009

Constitution: Article 1, Sec. 3-4

Section. 3.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Section. 4.

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

02 April 2009

Constitution: Article 1, Sec. 1-2

Article I - The Legislative Branch Note

Section. 1.

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section. 2.

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

31 March 2009

Constitution: Preamble

Since it seems that most of our Congress hasn't read the Constitution, and someone has to stand up and defend it (We the People), and, even though I've read it, I don't remember it that well, I thought I'd post sections a few times each week.  Right now I'm copying and pasting it into several posts and will read it along with you as it posts.  I do have the Preamble memorized, thanks to Schoolhouse Rock:
We, the People of the united States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the united States of America.
I was planning on discussing it, but think I'd rather do that in the comments.  It's not that difficult to understand and I'm not expert enough to teach others the finer points of it.  Please join with me in discussing in the comments.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.


24 March 2009


(This is for you, Cora!  If you have any questions, let me know!)

I started with a basic recipe and then researched how bread works and tweaked and tweaked and tweaked (I'm still tweaking, but the foundation is solid).  This is for the Bosch, but it can be cut down and made by hand (see instructions below).


4 C warm water
2/3 C neutral oil (I use grapeseed or safflower)
2/3 C honey
4 eggs
3 1/2 T instant yeast
3 1/2 T dough enhancer
1/4 C wheat gluten
2 T salt
approx. 5 lbs. freshly-ground whole wheat flour (I like Prairie Gold best.)


Add all the liquid ingredients to the Bosch (set up with the dough hook).  Turn on low.  Add all the dry ingredients except the wheat.  Slowly add the wheat until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.  Turn the Bosch to the second speed and knead for about 10 minutes (until a small glob of dough can be stretched thin without breaking).

Divide the dough into 6 lumps (mine are about 1-1/4 lb. each).  Using a rolling pin, roll out each lump on an oiled counter; roll into a loaf (similar to making cinnamon rolls) and place seam-side down in a sprayed or oiled, 1-lb loaf pan.  Cover with a tea towel and let rise until at least doubled in size (mine get even bigger).

Preheat oven to 325˚.  Place a metal pie plate or cake pan on the bottom rack.  When the oven is heated, toss 3 or 4 ice cubes onto the pie plate (the extra steam helps the bread to rise higher).  Bake loaves for 28 minutes.  When they're done, flip them out of the pans and onto a rack to cool.  When cool, place in bread bags.  I freeze whatever we won't be using in the next day or so.  Remember, there are no preservatives.

I sometimes brush an egg wash on the loaves and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  I also sometimes add 1/4 C non-instant dried milk for extra calcium.  

This dough can be used for cinnamon bread.  Make the dough as instructed.  Roll out enough for a loaf very thin; sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on the rolled-out dough.  Roll up and bake as directed.  (You don't want to put cinnamon into the dough itself as it will inhibit rising.)

I also add herbs and olive oil and sometimes substitute white bread flour for some or all of the flour.  I have a baguette pan that I'm eager to try.

By Hand:

To make without a Bosch, halve the recipe (it's pretty hard to stir that much dough by hand).  Place liquid ingredients into a large bowl.  Place all dry ingredients into the bowl (except flour).  (Even though most recipes tell you to proof the yeast in water and sugar or honey before adding the other ingredients, when I was first learning and doing it by hand, one of my recipes explained it the way I've explained it and it turned out better.)  

Add the flour a cup at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon until it's too hard to stir.  Dump it out onto a well-floured counter and continue to add flour until it's got enough (the amount of flour used varies, depending on your weather and the moisture content of your flour).  Once you have enough flour, continue to knead by hand, adding as little additional flour as you possibly can.  Kneading develops the gluten, which traps the carbon dioxide released by the yeast, which makes the bread rise.  It's also a great time to pray about worry or frustrations.

Oil a large bowl; place the dough in it and then flip the dough over.  Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm place until the dough has at least doubled in size (an oven, heated to 150˚ and then turned off works very well).  Punch it down.  You can either flip it over and let it rise in the bowl again, or you can go straight to forming your loaves.  An extra rise will make it more fine (less coarse).  Bake as directed above. 


14 March 2009

Pizza Crust

I've been thinking about posting this recipe for awhile, but have had a fire lit under me by a friend who lives in Tucson.  Thanks, Amy!  I don't remember exactly where I got this recipe (somewhere back in the deep, dark days just after the birth of the internet), but it says it's a knock-off of Pizza Hut's crust recipe.  I happen to think it's much, much better.  I've tweaked it a bit and we divide the dough into 12ths for individual pizzas.  [Edit: I miscounted - I split the dough into 16ths.  Those of us with smaller appetites have one, and we have extra for those of us (teen-aged boys) who have huge appetites.)  We also like them thin and crispy, so I roll them out thin with my marble rolling pin.  Since we like it thin, I've cut the yeast in half and we're planning to cut it again (possibly even eliminate it) to see if it makes any difference in the final product.  I'll post the recipe as written with my tweaks in italics.

2 packages dry yeast (I used 2 T instant yeast, but have recently cut back to 1 T and will try 1/2 T tonight)
2/3 C warm water
2 T and 2 tsp sugar, divided
2 C cold water
3 T corn oil (I use olive oil)
1/4 tsp garlic salt (I use fresh chopped garlic.)
1 tsp salt (I like sea salt.)
1/2 tsp oregano (We're big basil fans, so we skip the oregano and use fresh basil if we have enough, or dried basil if we don't.)
6 1/2-7 C all-purpose flour (I don't measure in the Bosch and tonight I'll be using fresh flour, finely-ground from Prairie Gold wheat)

In a large bowl, add 2 tsp sugar to the warm water, then stir yeast into the sugar solution.  Let stand until bubbly (about 5 minutes).  Add the rest of the liquid ingredients.  Add the garlic, salt, and herbs to the liquids.  Slowly add in the flour, mixing well with a wooden spoon after each addition, until you can no longer stir the dough.

Empty dough into a floured counter and begin to knead, adding more flour as necessary.  Knead until the dough is elastic.  Place the dough into a greased or oiled bowl, flip it over so the oil coats the top and cover with a tea towel; let it rise until about doubled in size.  The bowl (if it's heat-proof) can be placed in a warm oven: heat the oven to 150˚, turn it off, then place the dough in the oven.

When dough has doubled in size, oil your fist and punch it down (from here on out, you don't want to add more flour to the dough, so use oil, but a little goes a long way).  Split the dough in two and roll out on oiled counter into two 15" round crusts.  Let rise for 20 minutes.  Bake at 450˚ for 20-25 minutes on oiled pizza pans or stones that have been sprinkled with cornmeal to prevent sticking.

Top your pizza and bake until cheese is melted and toppings look just the way you like them.

The way I do it: place all ingredients except the flour into the bowl of the Bosch with the dough hook.  Mix together and begin adding flour, until it cleans the sides of the bowl.  Knead until the dough is elastic and stretches without breaking (about 10 minutes).  

Divide dough into 12 pieces (some of mine are larger and some are smaller, but my kids are also larger and smaller, so it works).  Roll out each piece very thin; poke holes with a fork to allow steam to escape.  If the dough doesn't want to roll, let it rest for 10-20 minutes, then roll it out.  Grill or bake on pizza stones at 500˚ for about 5 minutes each.  Allow each person to 'decorate' his pizza and place back in the oven (at 400˚) or onto the grill until cheese is melted.  Using a pizza peel, we put the pizzas directly on the oven racks for this second baking or directly on the grill.

Slice and enjoy.

This is a great dish to make when having people over.  Our favorite times of hospitality have been when we've invited new friends over and we put them to work in the kitchen.  It's so fun to cook together.  Working together seems to break down barriers to relationship better than almost anything we know.