Keep Your Poinsettia After Christmas

poinsettiasIt is possible to keep your poinsettia alive into the Spring season when it can flower again for Christmas holidays the next year.

Of course, flower is the wrong word when dealing with poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima, from the spurge plant family). They don’t have flower petals. Those red leaves are called bracts. The red leaves are just more leaves on the planet but they turn red as they grow from the top. The actual ‘flower’ is that knobby looking part in the centre of the plant. This is why poinsettias are propagated through grafting in commercial nurseries.

I’ve never tried growing one from seed either. I just do my best to keep my live plants going from year to year. I did have one which I kept for several years. It finally caught a white fungus during one of my moves from place to place. It couldn’t be saved that year.

The plant needs 12 hours of daylight followed by 12 hours of darkness in order to bloom – get the leaves to turn red. With some fussing, you can induce your poinsettia to bloom red again after the holiday season when the leaves usually begin to drop off and leave you with a pretty bare and barren looking plant.

How to Get Your Poinsettia to Grow Again

Prune the plant. Take off the red leaves, if there are any left. After the last of the frost is gone from outside, take it out for some fresh air. Don’t rush to get it out there. The poinsettia is not hardy for being out in the northern climate. They are native to Central America and Mexico.

You can leave the poinsettia outside all Summer. It will grow and look much healthier than it has since Christmas. Bring the poinsettia indoors in the Autumn. It really does not want to catch a chill outside. Bring it in before the first frost. Place the poinsettia in a room which you can give it darkness (complete and uninterrupted) after sunset. The plant needs those long, dark periods for at least two months if you want to get the red leaves developing in time for Christmas. Any light during this stage will set it back.

If you only have dim light, not full dark, try putting a cardboard box over the poinsettia for those 12 hours of full dark it needs. Another idea, put a tomato cage in the plant pot and cover it with a cloth/ fabric tablecloth to block out the light. Don’t use plastic, or anything else which will cut off the air as well as the light. Don’t forget to uncover the plant at dawn so it can also get the full 12 hours of light it needs. We tend to have longer nights than days in the Autumn so it will need all the daylight you can give it too, the balance of light and darkness.

Keep the poinsettia on the dry side when it comes to watering. Set the pot on a few pebbles, marbles, beads, something which will make sure it is getting good drainage rather than holding excess water inside the pot. I also pot them with a few rocks at the bottom of the pot if I give them a new container, other than the one they came in from the store. The poinsettia likes moist soil but it does not like to be sitting in water or have water poured over it. The best thing is to let it be just a bit dry and then give it a soak in a bucket (or some other container) of water. Then take it out to drain out any extra water before you put it back where you have it growing.

Poinsettia Growing Links

Buttercream Barbie: Fluffy Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

Fluffy Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 12

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp active dry yeast or 1 pkg.

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (divided)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Filling (combine first 4 ingredients)

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Pinch of table salt

1 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons butter, softened

  1. Mix the buttermilk, vegetable oil and sugar in a saucepan and heat on the stove until lukewarm (105-110 degrees). Remove from heat then stir in dry yeast. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes to let the yeast bloom.

  2. Add 4 (of the 4 1/2 cups) of flour to the buttermilk mixture and stir well (no need to knead, just mix well). Dough at this stage will be extremely sticky and more like a thick batter. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for an hour.

  3. In a small, separate bowl, mix the final 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. After the sticky dough has rested/raised for an hour, stir it down and add this final half cup flour mixture. Mix until well incorporated – this just takes a minute.

  4. Turn batter (which will still be quite soft and sticky) out onto WELL-floured counter and roll the dough around a few times, coating the surface with flour so it is not so sticky. Roll (or pat) dough out into a rectangle that is about 1/2″ thick. Spread dough surface with 2 tablespoons butter then evenly spread on the filling ingredients and top with nuts (pat the nuts into the sugar a little). Roll up, jellyroll style, keeping it as tight as you can. Pinch the seam shut tightly. Cut into 1 1/2″ slices and lay them, cut side down, in a greased 9×13 baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

  5. Bake in pre-heated 375 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until golden and sound hollow when you tap on them. Drizzle with a simple icing sugar/milk glaze while still warm.

via Buttercream Barbie: Fluffy Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls.

How to Get Started Doing Parkour

Parkour is a philosophy as well as physical exercise. Parkour is running, dodging, jumping through an obstacle course, on foot and without any special equipment. Parkour is also about learning to live your life in a better way.

What Parkour Really Is: The Whole Picture

Parkour is more than physical exercise or an extreme sport. Parkour is not about buying equipment or gear. Parkour is not about performing tricks or competing or showing off. Parkour is available for any level of athlete, or non-athlete.

Parkour is a philosophy about moving within your environment (mental and physical) and dealing with the obstacles you face. Through Parkour you attempt to understand and improve yourself. Parkour helps us learn to understand and help others by giving us practical skills and the methods of using them.

Parkour teaches us to move in our environment in a way where we can gain the most ground, make real progression and learn how to manoeuvre in different variety of ways.

Parkour can take place in an urban environment. Also, in forests, deserts, any outdoor element or place where there are some obstacles and space to move around them.

Parkour practitioners are called tracuers or tracueses (for women).

One is not truly participating in Parkour without the combination of philosophy and exercise. Parkour is a physical and mental exercise to improve your body at any level of ability, to give you more confidence and change how you see and feel about the world.

How Did Parkour Start?

David Belle was influenced by his Father who grew up in Vietnam as a child soldier trained through obstacle courses known as Parcours. David Belle’s Grandfather taught him about Hebertism. Both of these merged with David’s own philosophy and experiences to become Parkour.

Getting Started: Keep Moving, That’s What Matters

Move around your personal space. Look at the objects in the room differently. Find new ways to move through the room. Take a different route. Walk backwards. Twirl while you move through the room. Skip or hop on one foot. Crawl or walk on your hands if you can. Simple movements are a start. (Don’t wreck the place, go outside to give yourself more room to move).

Remember the old kid’s games where the floor became something dangerous to step on. I used to swim in the public pool and pretend the stripes on the pool floor were giant whales side by side. I tried to avoid stepping on the dark lines between the whales – the dark space between them surely went on forever, sinking deep, down into the ocean. So, I had to swim over them to the next whale.

Important techniques for beginners are good jumping and landing techniques. The roll which limits impact and carries momentum to continue forward movement is an important beginner technique to master. Beginners also learn how to fall, because falling happens. Other beginning moves include monkey vaults and precision jumps.

Don’t start leaping from tall buildings. Find your way along at your own pace. Don’t consider Parkour only as a physical thing either. Think of ways you would like to move through your life, what is keeping you from moving? Could you find a new way to move and gain progress?

Train your mind for Parkour as well as your body. Take a look at puzzles, mazes, things that make you look at new solutions to find your way.

Getting Started: Equipment to Consider

Originally, Parkour was barefoot.

Of course, one nice feature about shoes is the protection of the feet. A tennis shoe should give better traction. Shoes for martial arts are popular for being close to being barefoot. You will want a shoe which is light, comfortable, flexible with a good grip on the ground. Consider snow, rain and sun too, Parkour goes well with the great outdoors.

You could look at wearing gloves to protect your hands. But, like shoes, Parkour doesn’t require any special gear.

You need fabric that can stretch and let your skin breathe, light, casual clothing which you can really move in and sweat in. It’s also important to avoid clothing which could get caught or snag on anything and slow you down or cause you injury.

Parkour Links

 

White Chocolate Cheesecake

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

8 oz. melted white chocolate

3 lb. cream cheese

1 1/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. flour

6 eggs

1 c. heavy cream

1 tbsp. vanilla

Grease a 10-inch springform pan. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place cream cheese, sugar and flour in a mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl and add melted white chocolate. While mixer is running on very low speed, slowly add vanilla and heavy cream, blend well.

Pour mixture into springform pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until center of cheesecake is just firm. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Refrigerate until set before removing from pan.

SAUCE FOR TOPPING:

1 c. heavy cream

2 c. white chocolate, finely chopped

2 oz. orange liqueur Triple Sec

Place heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over white chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until melted. Add orange liqueur and continue stirring until well mixed. Pour warm over chilled cheesecake and serve.

via Cooks.com – Recipe – White Chocolate Cheesecake.

Chrome Daisy

There’s a Lady Gaga theme on Facebook games ( a few of them) now. I had never heard of her until my Mom came back from Florida and was talking about her last year. Mom likes to was the American Idol show and Lady Gaga was on there as well. She’s younger than I thought. Anyway, I liked the idea of shiny, chrome daisies when I saw them come up with the new stuff on Facebook. Daisies are nice in all kinds of designs. I especially like them done in blue and white. Chrome would be pretty too, more glamorous than pretty maybe.

I also found that you can get chrome daisy styled tail light covers if you have a VW Beetle car. That would be pretty cute. Though they would suit the head lights better, since they could be white then instead of red. But, it could be less than safe to have anything partially covering your head lights.