Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

May I take this opportunity to wish you a very beautiful Christmas full of good times with family and friends.


Merry Christmas, Natasha in Oz


Thank you also for your support, advice, beautiful comments and companionship in my first few months of blogging. I truly appreciate the friends that I have made and I look forward to visiting you all in the new year.

Blessings for Christmas and best wishes for a happy 2010.

Natasha In Oz 

Please join me each weekend for the Say G'day Saturday Linky Party!
You can also visit me at PINTERESTTWITTERGOOGLE+,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

5 more sleeps 'til Christmas!

Welcome sweet friends to NatashaInOz.com!

I can't believe that there are only 5 more sleeps 'til Christmas!  Can you?

The last week has just flown by at a rapid pace. Our American friends are here, my daughter is now 13 and I am now trying to get ready for the 25th. I think my Aunt realised that I am a bit stressed at the moment and she sent me the following email to give me a laugh. Apparently it is doing the rounds all over the world and I can see why!

I hope that it gives you a bit of a laugh too! The email came from HERE.


 
“Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations.  The bad news is that I had to take him down after two days.  I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever. Great stories.  But two things made me take it down.  

First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by.

Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn’t realize that it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy).  By the way, she was one of the many people who attempted to do that.  My yard couldn’t take it either.  I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard.”

Best Christmas wishes,
Natasha In Oz 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Festive and Decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe.

G'day from Oz sweet friends! Today I would like to share a recipe for Christmas ice-cream pudding for a few Christmas parties! As you would know it is Summer Down Under so Christmas day is usually very hot.

Festive and Decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe, Christmas, Natasha in Oz

We haven't caught on to the whole cookie exchange concept yet, probably because it is too hot to keep baking all day! Since it is so hot many Australians tend to have cold foods on the big day. Many families serve cold seafood, salads or have family BBQ's by the pool. However, since my mum is from England we always have turkey (with stuffing), baked ham and Christmas pudding. Now I am not a huge fan of all the peel that goes into a traditional pudding so I always make one that is made with ice-cream, chocolates, cranberries and macadamia nuts...YUM!

To make this festive and decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe add:

2 bars of white chopped white chocolate


Festive and Decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe.

2 Peppermint crisp bars

Festive and Decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe, crushed peppermint crisp bars

2 small toblerone bars

Festive and Decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe.

1 cup roasted macadamia nuts


Festive and Decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe, macadamia nuts

One cup of cherries.

Festive and Decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe, cherries

And 2 litres of softened vanilla ice cream

Festive and Decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe.

I then add about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and then mix everything together in a large bowl. When mixed well, place into a pudding bowl, glass bowl or even a cake tin that is shaped like a pudding bowl) that has been lined with cling film. Leave some cling film hanging over the edges of the bowl so you can cover the ice cream and then place the bowl in the freezer overnight.

When it is time to serve the pudding take it out the freezer for a few minutes and then turn it out onto a plate. I then drizzle it with chocolate topping (the one that dries hard) but you can also top it with mixed berries.

Voila!

Festive and Decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe.

This is such a great recipe because it is easy and it has to be prepared in advance-one less thing to have to worry about Christmas day!

I made this ice cream pudding for an early Christmas lunch that we had at the in-law's place a couple of weeks ago. They have gone to Paris to spend Christmas with D's sister and her family.

Here are some pictures of our Christmas table and our yummy food:

Festive and Decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe.

We always have crystal glasses for special occassions!
Festive and Decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe.


We ate roasted chicken and glazed ham, roasted potatoes and pumpkin, steamed broccoli and cauliflower with white sauce. I think the dishes are from Johnson Brothers but I could be wrong....

 Festive and Decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe, Christmas Dinner

Dessert was a traditional steamed pudding with brandy custard and ice-cream pudding. 

 Festive and Decadent Christmas ice-cream pudding recipe.

Thank you also for hosting these wonderful linky parties ladies and thank you for inviting me to join in.

I am heading over to visit my beautiful hostesses, so I can get some more recipes and look at some beautifully decorated homes-I think I will to look into this cookie exchange idea for next year!

Best wishes until next time,

Natasha In Oz

Please join me each weekend for the Say G'day Saturday Linky Party! You can also visit me at PINTERESTTWITTERINSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK!

For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas.  Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home. W.J. Ronald Tucker

Monday, December 14, 2009

What is Christmas all about?

I must confess, I have been so busy these last few days that I haven't had time to really think about any interesting Christmas projects and some fun things to blog about.

I have been cleaning the house, preparing the guest room and clearing cupboards to make space for our visitors from Ohio who arrive bright and early Thursday morning.

Also, and very importantly, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary on the weekend -16 years!

Then, on Saturday I said goodbye to my sister and her husband and my niece and nephew as they embark on a new adventure-a year teaching in the UK.

On top of all of this I am also busy planning a birthday party for my beautiful daughter Maddy who turns 13 on Friday....I know...I didn't plan things very well 13 years ago did I!

So,I think I just need to sit back and be still for five minutes today and, as we approach Christmas day, I want to use this time to reflect on what December 25 is really all about.

I am sure you have all seen this a million times but I hope you enjoy this little bit of wisdom from Mr Charles M. Schulz.



Thank you for spending time with me today in my little corner of the world, at what must be a very crazy time for you-it was so nice to see you.

Blessings and Christmas wishes to you all.
Natasha In Oz 

Fail not to call to mind, in the course of the twenty-fifth of this month, that the Divinest Heart that ever walked the earth was born on that day; and then smile and enjoy yourselves for the rest of it; for mirth is also of Heaven's making.  Leigh Hunt

Friday, December 11, 2009

A silent and candlelit Christmas night...

Well it has been another hot day here and all I want to do is get on a plane and fly somewhere cold for a white Christmas! I guess I will just have to turn the air-conditioner on to "Freeze" and pretend that I am in the Northern hemisphere! I sure do hope that some of the blogs I visit over the next few days will be posting some pictures of snow! I am linking up to some great Holiday home tours:

and to  




I have loved decorating our home for the Christmas Holidays this year and I have loved making decorations with my kids, buying a new wreath for our freshly painted front door and baking lots of Christmas treats in my new kitchen. I have found so many inspirational ideas from all of my new blogging friends so thank you so much to each and everyone of you!




For my post today I decided to do some more experimenting over at Big huge labs so I hope you enjoy my Christmas Mosaics!

Welcome to our home! 
Please come in and I'll show some of our decorations....I'll just put some Christmas music on first. I hope you enjoy listening to Andy Williams singing "Silent Night".....what an amazing voice.

Please, come on in! 



 Come and see the tree- it's upstairs.



Let me light some candles....everything looks so pretty at night!



I just love our Christmas tree!













I am so glad you came to visit! 

I know that everyone is so busy at this time of year so I am thrilled that you were able to spend 5 minutes with me today. I am so looking forward to visiting you all over the next few days.

See you then!

Blessings and best wishes, 
Natasha.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tamra Davis' Gingerbread People

I don't know about you but I am having a wonderful time visiting lots of bloggers who have been participating in the numerous Christmas themed Linky parties that are going on at the moment. I have found some great new decorating ideas and even though I am probably spending far too much time visiting people I just can't seem to stop! What I should have been doing was finding a recipe for gingerbread men because that is what the kids have decided is the next thing they want to make! I have never made Gingerbread men from scratch before but I think this recipe from Tamra Davis that I found looks pretty easy to make. She makes it look easy on the video anyway!

 
Hope you have a great day and see you on Thursday for the next round of Christmas parties!

Best wishes, Natasha.





Monday, December 7, 2009

Deck the Halls with Hand-Made Christmas Decorations!

Summer vacation has started for my kids (and me!) and we are counting down to Maddy's 13th Birthday, the arrival of our dear American friends and, of course, to Christmas!

So, even though we are still getting over the sniffles, colds and coughs we spent the weekend being merry and bright!

We made cookies, pomanders and cinnamon decorations to make our home look and smell festive!











And we turned these things





Into Christmas decorations!



We dried sliced oranges overnight in the oven (about 75 degrees Celsius or 170 Fahrenheit)

The next morning we attached a cinnamon stick to each slice of orange with some twine (I wanted to use raffia but had run out)....and we made Christmas decorations!


  

 


We also made pomanders and potpourri with oranges and cloves-they smell wonderful, especially when placed on a platter with some evergreens and tea light candles.


 

 




It is so easy to make a Winter Potpourri to make your home smell like the Holidays!

The Scents of Christmas~ Home Made Winter Potpourri Recipe.


All you need to do is mix all of the following goodies together and sprinkle with 10 drops of cinnamon essential oil and 5 drops of clove essential oil. 

Present it in a beautiful vintage bowl.

Dry rose petals
1⁄4 cup whole cloves
1 cup whole allspice
10 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
8 small bay leaves
4 whole nutmeg
3 Tbsp star anise
2 Tbsp whole cardamom pods


I put the left-over orange slices, cinnamon sticks and cloves and some star anise into my glass candle holders.



The house really smells like Christmas now!

Thank you dear friends for coming to visit today-I'm so glad you popped in to visit me in my little corner of the world Down Under!

Best wishes always,

Natasha In Oz 


Please join me each weekend for the Say G'day Saturday Linky Party!
You can also visit me at PINTERESTTWITTER, GOOGLE+

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Cloche

G'day and welcome sweet friends to Natasha in Oz. Thanks so much for stopping by today-it's great to see you! Today I am participating in my first Cloche party! During the Holidays Marty hosts a linky party where people can show how they have decorated their cloches, apothecary jars, cake stands and the like. Her displays are particularly amazing so my little first attempt is going to be quite simple compared to Marty's!

I don't have a cloche (they seem to be very hard to get here in Australia for some reason?) but I do have a glass dome and a couple of apothecary jars so I hope this is okay.

So here is my Christmas cloche display!

Christmas Cloche, Natasha in Oz


Christmas Cloche, Natasha in Oz

As you can see I have tried to make a manger-like display by surrounding the Christmas Cloche with straw. I have placed two little angels in there -they are waiting for the birth of a special baby.

Christmas Cloche, Natasha in Oz

 Christmas Cloche, Natasha in Oz
 I will change this display on Christmas day by adding a baby Jesus.

 I have placed this Christmas Cloche on my sideboard along with my two apothecary jars that are filled with treats.

My kids (and husband) love these Cadbury Elves. They are filled with popping candy which explode in your mouth as you eat them!

 Christmas Cloche, Natasha in Oz



My sister-in-law who lives in Paris sent these chocolates of iconic Parisian places....can you see my favourite place?

Christmas Cloche, Natasha in Oz 

 Christmas Cloche, Natasha in Oz

On the breakfast bar you will see my cake stand. I have filled it with our favourite fruit mince pies. We love fruit mince pies at Christmas time. I am going to try the Jamie Oliver mince pie recipe that I wrote about last time next week though, so I will let you know how I go.

Christmas Cloche, Natasha in Oz

Here is one last look at my Christmas Cloche. The photograph was taken at Tavern In the Green three years ago. The first picture was taken Thursday night and the second picture was taken Friday morning...I see that someone has been feasting on wafer cookies....hmmm.....

Christmas Cloche, Natasha in Oz 

 Christmas Cloche, Natasha in Oz

Thanks again Marty for inviting me to your Cloche Party. I can't wait to see how other people have decorated their cloches and their homes this Christmas so I am going over to Marty's place right now- See you there!

Best wishes always,
Natasha In Oz 
Please join me each weekend for the Say G'day Saturday Linky Party!
You can also visit me at PINTERESTTWITTERGOOGLE+,
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