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Happymama

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About Happymama

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  1. Hi Oushka! Lovely photo's, I'm in Co Durham TOO! I'd love a Frizzle too, but have to make do with my Bluebell and Black Star for the mo, but if I get a LOTTIE, --- ooooooh! Enjoy the forum!
  2. You are entitled to up to 75% of your childcare costs with an approved outfit, up to £150 a week (Mine's £156 for my two to go school hours!) with the CTC, and it's paid separately to your WFTC, but I'm not sure it's back-dateable. Watch very carefully, when you fill forms out, use a good strong black pen and leave no doubt about the difference between a six and a zero etc. They use OCR software to read the forms, and cocked one of my claims up by the tune of an £11000 overpayment. And then they got it wrong again, and I've just finished paying them off. In fact, i've just started a claim up again, it's taken me 18 months to get over the trauma of the last one. Mine only go for an extra hour and lunch over the free 5 sessions a week as they do a double shift on Monday, and it costs me £16.10 a week. Not sure how much of that I'll get back but I'm looking forward to the WFTC award. You can do a calc on their website to see what you can claim, try that using theoretical figs to work it out.
  3. Yes I do. 6 eggs each a week, it's just on 2 week's worth, and all of them sank very quickly to the bottom of a sink full of water, so they're very fresh. It's been nice and cool here and they were in the shade. Friend took 14 of them, and the X has taken six, so it's a bit better, Now i can see the egg rack again. Am still considering my options, might have to be custard, I've just got some rhubarb and the apple tree's rather laden, so a crumble is in order.
  4. Mine do a bit, but they get porridge and bread crusts every day anyway. The dog doens't help, I've had to pin the Eglu door almost shut to let hens in but keep dog out, or she eats the pellets too, garlic laced as they are.
  5. Well, they are moulting untidily all over the place, and a dearth of eggs in the Eglu and none in their summer laying spot behind the Mexican Choisya I guessed they'd stopped laying about two weeks ago. Imagine my surprise when I can't find a hen - go looking for her, and find her sat on 25 large organic brown eggs by the patio under the bushes. Only visible cos there were so many, they'd flowed out onto the patio! Bloomin' eck. So now - having bought 12 organic very large eggs in Tesco last friday, what do I do with thirty odd of the blinking things? Can shed 6 in the direction of my neighbour, who will give me £1 for them too, bless her. But the rest.. I can't make real custard, it always separates, but do love baked egg custard (PROPER comfort food) and might just have to make one or two for the evenings....
  6. Apart from bolognese sauce, meatballs, cottage pie and mince & onions in Yorkshires, mince is a bit of a poor relation when it comes to interesting food. So, here's a starter to change all that: It's a South African dish, originally a Cape Malay recipe, and you can add different things as variations: more spices and chillis for hotter, and to make it fruity chopped apricots and/or raisins. It's a great recipe to introduce kids to spice flavours without heat, and would mash up for babies brilliantly (maybe omit the garlic). Serve with yellow rice and/or salad. Use more turmeric to yellow the rice while cooking. THE BOBOTIE FILLING · 1 lb beef, minced · 2 eggs · 2 slices white bread, stale with crusts removed · 1 onion, thinly sliced · 2 tbsp cooking oil · 2 tbsp hot water · 2 tbsp sugar · 2 tbsp lemon juice · 2 tsp curry powder · ½ tsp ground cloves · 1 tsp garlic, crushed · 1 tsp turmeric · ½ tsp salt THE BOBOTIE TOPPING · 1 egg, lightly beaten · ½ cup milk · bay leaves or lemon leaves for garnishing Pre-heat the oven to 325o F. Soak the bread in water for 10 minutes, squeeze out the excess and then crumble. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and braise the onion until golden. Break the two eggs into a large bowl and beat lightly. Mix in the mince Add the onion mixture from the frying pan, the hot water, lemon juice, crumbled bread, turmeric and sugar to the mince, mixing well. Spoon the mixture into a well-greased, oven-proof dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and then remove from the oven. Topping Combine the other egg with the milk and beat well. Pour the mixture over the bobotie and arrange the bay/lemon leaves as garnish. Return to the oven and bake at 350o F for 10 minutes, or until the topping is set.
  7. I have the other problem, really. And have just done the girl's applications even though it's the very last day for doing them. DS is at a VERY good school, but I'm moving, but as yet have no date for completion. We will be moving a few miles in the opposite direction to where I live now in relation to the school, and I'd have to transport him myself if we move (currently get a taxi sent for him) and he stays there. The twins start next year. There is a school in the village we're moving to, and they do a fab job with the kids they get. They tend to be educationally behind when they start, and this school does a great effort at getting them up to the level standard required. Problem I have, is at least one of my kids is a good bit above the regular standard, and those in the past have been proven to struggle at the school due to a lack of support. The twins - well, I don't know yet, but they will begin school knowing all their letters and being able to count to 20, which apparently many don't at that school. The problem is, this school is two mins walk away from where I will live, instead of a short (very bad for car engines, short drives are) drive away, a bus in the morning not very practical due to time constraints, and in the afternoons perhaps a possibility. When I finally move and sometime next year I may change my mind, but I don't want to move ds during the housemove if I can help, he's going to go through one heck of a change with his dad only seeing him every two weeks etc, and all that anyway. So I left it to the last minute. Really, an ideal situation will be if we live in that village but the kids get paid for transport to the other school... Fat chance!
  8. This is why you have to renew a kid's passport every five years, then?
  9. I have two hens who regularly get chased by our Saluki x whippet, who runs them down after much flapping and squawking, and then pins them down with a foreleg, nudges and mouths (very gently) at them, then lets them go, to do it all over again. This goes on all year round, and they lay eggs throughout this torture quite happily, so are clearly not as stressed as you may think. Get the old man to pee over the hole in the fence the fox was using, mad.hen. We chuck dog poo over the back fence (it's a field) which works very well for the foxes. We have foxes, but they don't come in our garden.
  10. Are they as big? I need something to hold a WHOLE bag of layer's pellets. I'll have a look on Saturday!
  11. They'll be perfectly fine. Mine go to bed when they feel like it, and get up when they feel like it, which is at early dusk in the evening and well before dawn in the morning. The smell of the dog warns Raynard off during most of the year, but I don't chance it from November on, I do lock the run then! You don't have to lock the Eglu door, they soon learn to push it open to get in and out, so if they really want... YOU manage overnight (don't you???)
  12. I've a Saluki x whippet, Daisy and she's known as sticklegs. She does the play bowing thing too, and is quite insane, but great with the kids and the cat and other dogs etc. Her fave place is sprawled across the sofa, her bed is half an old sleeping bag and a doggy duvet with a canvas cover, which is clearly lush. I like her so much I'd like another one. She does torture the chickens, though. She chases them and they crouch, and she nudges them and sometimes sits with her paw across them, and then lets them go and it goes all over again. Doesn't seem to stop them laying at all, though, they just take it in their stride. Met rabbits for the first time the other month. Off the lead, but the grass was too long. The day she meets a rabbit (or a hare, of course that's what saluki's are bred to chase) in an open field (again, she's bred to chase hares across open, flat deserts) it's a goner, I'm sure. If she kills it.
  13. I used Thompson and Morgan's Exhibition bags this year, and they went absolutely mad, got loads in spite of not even getting to flower with the weather. i used a mix of home made compost and grow bag contents, half and half, for mine, and just bunged it in as they grew, didn't firm it in at all, and I've still got five bags left full of them to be lifted very soon (yellow eel worms on the advance)
  14. I got a box from a farm 25 miles away, but rapidly became dissolusioned. Half the veg had been flown in from Greece and Spain! Not quite what I wanted. I can't manage without banana's and garlic, but apart from that am quite prepared to take seasonal limitations on the chin. Will try another when I move cos I won't have the space to grow much bar herbs and maybe toms on a sunny windowsill. (temporary situation - developing a house for sale next spring)

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