Thursday, May 16, 2013

New Rifle Purchase Process - Stage 3 complete!!!!

I go to the letterbox this morning and remove the letters.

I'm flicking through the various letters while walking back to the house and notice the distinctive colouring of my firearms licence through the envelope's window.  And I think to myself "Firearms licence .. that isn't due for renewal until July."


<<Julie does happy dance>>

Rip open envelope and there is the additional page (to add to my firearms licence) showing my new rifle and the co-licence for Shooting Buddy's !!!!!

Woo hooooooooooooooooooo

Now to go pick up guns ... not sure when I can get away ....

[Update:  That's a new record - less than a month since the paperwork went in (April 17th) to piece of paper in hand!!! Makes me want to go buy something else to see if it will be even quicker!]

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Great High School Hunt Maybe Over ... Maybe ....

My regular readers may recall my post recently about trying to find a high school for Miss 11 (refresh your memories here, I'll wait).

Towards the end of that post I write:

"She’s sitting a trial exam next Saturday to give her an idea of what the GATE exam (and those for the Specialist Programs) would be like."

This "trial exam" was actually a Scholarship exam for a local Catholic High School - a very nice local Catholic High School - however, as they only award two academic scholarships (based on this exam) we were treating it as a trial for the GATE exam (this coming Saturday) rather than anything she had a real chance of getting.

WRONG ... but in a good way.  As a result of this exam Miss 11 was offered a scholarship to this Catholic School which covers half her fees for the next 4 years (she will need to start there next year).

After a bit of a discussion we decided to accept the offer of the scholarship ("bird in hand" and all that) and that's where the fun started.

Putting in the paperwork for the acceptance was no problem.  Putting in the paperwork for her enrollment is proving to be somewhat of an issue.  (She still has to go through the standard enrollment process).

There are a number of "pieces of paper" that we need to submit with the enrollment form:
* Her birth certificate
* My naturalisation certificate 
* Her immunisation record

Her birth certificate was no problem - that was in the safe.

However, my naturalisation certificate has disappeared.  It actually disappeared a number of years back and I've never gotten around to getting a copy.

The immunisation record that I had was pretty old, so I rang the .gov department here that manages them and while on hold they suggest that I might like to do this via the net.  So while waiting on hold I hop on the webpage to find out yes, I can obtain a copy of her immunisation certificate via the net as long as I have a password which they SNAIL MAIL!

So I applied for a password.  And then spoke to the lady when I finally got off hold and requested a copy posted (let's cover all bases here).  I was told that would take 10 days to come to me.

So anyway, minus my naturalisation certificate and Miss 11's immunisation record I trek down to the school to hand in the acceptance of scholarship letter and the enrollment form. 

Nope, they won't accept the enrollment form without those two bits of paper.

So back home again to determine the process for getting a copy of my naturalisation certificate.  According to the web it's a pretty easy process all you need is your birth certificate and a few other pieces of ID and you're set.  Problem is, I don't have a copy of my birth certificate either.  (That disappeared a very long time ago).  Second problem is that I was born in Nigeria (however, my birth was registered with the British Consulate as my dad was British).

So phone call after phone call - firstly to the .gov department that handles naturalisation certificates.  I can obtain a certificate without my birth certificate (probably anyway) if I have a statutory declaration from an "approved" person who has known me from before I was married (yes, naturalisation certificate is in maiden name all other forms of ID I have are in my married name).  I also need a copy of a my marriage certificate (Did I mention that that had disappeared as well?).

Rang an "approved" person who meets these requirements only to find that they're currently out of the country (but will be returning this week).

Rang the British Embassy to find out if there was any chance of getting a copy of my birth certificate.  The very helpful lady on the other end of the phone gave me two email address to start with.  One of the emails bounced back, so I rang her again to check that I had it correct (I did), so she ended up directing me to a website where apparently I can apply on-line for a copy of my birth certificate.  So I've done that.  However once you order the copy there's no way of knowing what's happening until it does / doesn't turn up in your mail box.

Organised the paperwork for a copy of my marriage certificate - the request had to be actually done by hubby as I have no ID in my maiden name (which, of course, is the name on the certificate).

Pretty much satisfied that I had put all the appropriate wheels in motion I sat back and waited.

Yesterday the snail-mailed password arrived for me to access the site to get an up to date copy of Miss 11's immunisation record.  So I logged on, downloaded her record only to find that it didn't show all her immunisations!!!!  The last entry on the form was 2003 and I knew that she had had other injections after that.  So I then had to ring the Doctor's surgery where the injections were done and leave a message for someone to check and get back to me.

The nurse rang me a couple of hours later and yes, the .gov immunisation record was incomplete.  The surgery had records of all her immunisations.  However, as Miss 11 is older than 7 the .gov department will no accept any additional records for her so I can't get the immunisation record updated.  The best I can do is to get a letter from the Doctor's surgery and attach that to the immunisation record and hope the school accepts that.

So now I'm waiting for:

* Marriage certificate
* Birth certificate (if it turns up)
* Friend to return from overseas to do a stat dec for me (if the birth certificate doesn't turn up first)
* Letter from Doctor's surgery to attach to incomplete immunisation record

Is it any wonder that that I drink?!?!?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ice Cream Bread is possible

Yes, it's true, you can make "bread" from just two ingredients -

2 cups ice-cream (in our case the girls decided that "Hokey Pokey" would be fun to try)
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

All you do is mix them together.  I would suggest letting the ice-cream melt a bit first.  We did it straight out of the freezer with a wooden spoon and it was pretty hard work.

Then you put it in a suitable baking container (we used silicone cup-cake molds)  in the oven at 180C (350F) and cook until toothpick/skewer comes out clean.  With the mixture split among the 15 cup cake molds this took 13 minutes of cooking time.

Allow to cool and then turn out.

Another easy "kid-friendly" recipe.

Yummy Food ...

The girls have been doing some cooking lately:

Miss 9 is becoming a master of this recipe:

Brownies (First found on Facebook)

(note, Miss 9 always make double this)

Dry Ingredients

(these can be mixed in advanced and stored in clip lock bags / jars)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Wet Ingredients

(add these to the dry mixture at cooking time)
2 Eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Mix all ingredients together, place into a lined 8x8 or 9x8 pan.
Bake at 180C (350F) for 20-25 minutes.  Brownies are cooked when a skewer comes out clean.

Miss 11 tried a recipe of DaddyBear's last night.
(As we didn't have the whole wheat flour this is what she did, follow the link above for the original recipe).

Banana Bread Recipe

Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2  cups plain (all-purpose) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp each of cloves, ginger, and nutmeg

Wet ingredients:

1 egg
3 bananas, thoroughly mashed
3/4 cup sugar
scant 1/4 cup of cooking oil.  Less if you add an extra banana
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Sift all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well.  Mix all of the wet ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Scrape the side of the bowl as necessary.  Once the mixture is even and lump free, pour into a greased loaf pan.
Bake in a 180C (350F) oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
(She used the same pan that Miss 9 uses for the Brownies - as I didn't know where the loaf pan was - so cooking time was only 20mins).

Both these recipes are easy for kids to do.  I only help Miss 9 with the final mixing as it is pretty stiff and Miss 11 had never mashed bananas before so a bit of guidance was required (cut them before attacking with fork).

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Rifle Purchase Process - Stage 3 Update

I received a phone call from Firearms Branch today - well actually I missed a phone call from them and then by the time I rang them back (direct number and name left on my messages!?!) the lady had figured out that she didn't need to talk to me after all.

She did say however that everything looked fine and when asked how long before I could expect the paperwork to come through, she indicated that it should be around a week or so!!!

Getting excited!!!!!