Tonight’s 8pm performance of Finding Neverland at Bass Concert Hall has been cancelled.

Due to inclement weather, The University of Texas at Austin campus will be closed on Tuesday, January 16. Consequently, tonight’s 8pm performance of Finding Neverland at Bass Concert Hall has been cancelled.

Refunds and Exchanges

Tickets purchased through Texas Performing Arts at the Bass Concert Hall or Frank Erwin Center Ticket Offices, online at texasperformingarts.org or by phone at 512.477.6060, may be exchanged for a future performance of Finding Neverland. To request a refund or exchange, please call the Bass Concert Hall Ticket Office at 512.471.1444 or email tickets@texasperformingarts.org. Exchanges must be processed at least four hours in advance of the new performance.

Subscribers should call the Subscriber Hotline at 800.731.7469 (Mon – Fri, 9AM to 5PM) to complete refund or exchange requests.

ALL single ticket purchase and subscriber requests for exchanges or refunds must be completed by Friday, January 19 at 5PM. Seat locations and ticket prices vary by performance.

New Effort Aims to Bolster Music Venues

As you nod along to a catchy tune over dinner or drinks with friends, you might not even think about the live music you’re enjoying. For many people, live music is simply part of the ambiance of their local bars or restaurants. For others, it may be the main draw. Either way, people often don’t give much thought to the price of that entertainment.

For small business owners, however, paying for a license for that music can be a major worry. While playing live music in a venue without a license is copyright infringement, creating potential liability for lawsuits seeking large amounts of money, it is often impossible for business owners to figure out which licenses to buy, for what and from whom. Despite the explosive growth in access to information of all kinds online, there is still not a single comprehensive and actionable database of music copyright ownership and licensing that exists today.

If a person wants to buy licenses for copyrighted music, they currently must sift through a sparse patchwork of incomplete databases – covering only some copyrighted works, like those maintained by the performing rights organizations (PROs) that license song performances. Those databases are often unhelpful and usually state that they can’t be relied on to be accurate or up-to-date. Business owners wanting to offer music to their customers are often not equipped with the tools necessary to make rational decisions based on opaque data.

This leaves business owners either guessing or forced to buy all of the licenses. Increasingly, venues like restaurants, taverns, wineries and hotels are walking away from hosting live musicians altogether. In fact, a 2016 industry survey by WineAmerica estimated as many as 32 percent of wineries throughout the United States have either canceled or are considering canceling their live music programs. This can put venue owners in a no-win position and leave them denying opportunities for new and upcoming artists to do what they love and discover new audiences.

Bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) may provide a solution to this problem. The Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act would help establish a neutral, searchable, digital database of historical and current copyright ownership and licensing information, free-of-charge.

“Beverage licensees have been clear that their focus is on bringing transparency to the music licensing process and already support songwriters by collectively paying millions of dollars in licensing fees to PROs,” said John Bodnovich, executive director of the American Beverage Licensees trade association. “This is a bipartisan issue, affecting hospitality businesses in every town, city and state across America, and this bill is a sensible step toward a more transparent system.”

The proposed legislation is a step toward creating an open and accessible music licensing system, ensuring that venues can safely continue to provide live music for their patrons.

“Transparency is the only way for wineries to make sound business decisions when it comes to music,” said Tara Good, vice president of WineAmerica. “Music and live music performances play a huge part in promoting wine tourism and creating a memorable and unique experience.”

With more transparency and access to music ownership and licensing information, venue owners can buy the right licensing with confidence and you can keep enjoying live music. To support live music at local venues, call your members of Congress and urge them to support H.R.3350 – Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act. (Family Features)

SOURCE:

MIC Coalition

New Year Deals: Why Winter is the Perfect Time to Buy a Boat

Winter may be frigid for many, but it’s an ideal time to plan for warmer days ahead and make dreams of owning a boat a reality. Beginning in January, boat shows across the country offer some of the hottest post-holiday deals around, with special pricing and incentives on new boat models and marine accessories – a major draw for the 142 million Americans who take to the water each year, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. For those ready to plan their summer adventures on the water, boat shows are the best place to start.

Whether you fish or sail, enjoy cruising, riding personal watercraft or wakesurfing, boat shows provide the unique opportunity to browse and board hundreds, sometimes thousands, of boats while taking advantage of once-a-year pricing and boat show specials. Boat shows also provide an avenue to enjoy a taste of the boating lifestyle during the off-season, plus they offer educational opportunities and alternative ways to get on the water for novices looking to get their feet wet.

Whether you want to fulfill that New Year’s resolution of spending more time on the water with family and friends, or are simply in the mood to escape the winter doldrums, Discover Boating, the national awareness program to help get people on the water, offers three tips to get started in boating at a 2018 boat show:

Escape cabin fever for the year’s best deals. Unlike auto shows, boat shows are the place to buy. Hundreds of new-year models are available to buy right on the show floor at some of the best prices of the year, with many exhibitors offering special show pricing and other incentives. Boat shows make it easy for you to shop all the region’s dealers in one location. Plus, it’s the perfect time to order a new boat to ensure it arrives ready to launch in the spring.

Test the waters. Boat shows are a great place to learn the ropes of boating and take advantage of onsite training, which is usually offered at little to no cost. Educational opportunities at boat shows include everything from knot-tying and DIY boat maintenance seminars, to sailing simulators and boating lessons. You can often find fun activities to entertain the family and get everyone into the outdoors, from practicing how to reel in a fish to learning to dock and more.

Look for the seal of approval. When shopping for a boat at a show, online or at a dealership, always check to make sure it is certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association. An “NMMA Certified” seal means a boat has met strict industry standards for safety, construction and federal regulations, enhancing an improved and safer boater experience. Look for the NMMA Certified sticker near the helm of a boat, and find a full list of certified boat manufacturers at DiscoverBoating.com.

Visit DiscoverBoating.com to find a boat show near you, a list of certified dealers and manufacturers, and unbiased advice for getting started in boating. (BPT)

Sonesta Bee Cave Features Holiday Hours, Menu, Special Offers and New Year’s Eve Celebration

Looking to escape family or treat yourself and your loved ones to a relaxing getaway in the Hill Country this holiday season? 

Sonesta Bee Cave is featuring the ultimate gift this holiday season, 25 percent off when you book four nights or more. Sonesta’s restaurant and lounge, Meridian 98, is featuring a new winter menu and holiday cocktails perfect for warming up on these chilly days and nights.

 

Pork Belly and Tomato Sliders

Pork Belly and Tomato Sliders

Some of the  rich, robust flavors with a sophisticated Texas twist, including Pork Belly SlidersBacon Mac HushpuppiesRisotto Ballz, and Mini Texas Chili Dogs. Chef Newman’s menu retains such perennial favorites as Fire-Roasted SalsaBacon-Wrapped Gulf ShrimpCrispy WingsBarbacoa Street Tacos and Beef Stuffed Empanadas. There are gluten-free and vegetarian options, and 90 percent of the menu is Texas-sourced from local farms and ranches. The menu is paired with an extensive selection of cocktails made with Texas liquors – including a draft margarita made with locally sourced honey – an all-Texas lineup of micro-brew beers and Texas wines.

In addition to being open Christmas Eve and day and New Years eve and day, Meridian 98 is hosting a New Year’s Eve party including a DJ, hors d’oeuvres, giveaways, champagne toast and a spectacular view of the Hill Country Galleria firework extravaganza. 

The Lincoln Center Theater Production Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I

Ambassador Theatre Group and NETworks Presentations, LLC announce a national tour of The Lincoln Center Theater Production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I, will play Bass Concert Hall in Austin for a limited one-week engagement, December 12-17, 2017. Tickets on sale now.

Joan Almedilla as Lady Thiang in Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Joan Almedilla as Lady Thiang in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

THE KING AND I directed by Tony Award® Winner Bartlett Sher won four 2015 Tony Awards® including Best Revival of a Musical.  The production is currently playing an open-ended Broadway run at the Vivian Beaumont Theater (150 West 65 Street).

Bartlett Sher is reunited with the award-winning creative team from South Pacific and The Light in the Piazza. THE KING AND I has sets by Michael Yeargan; costumes by Catherine Zuber; lights by Donald Holder (all three nominated for 2015 Tony Awards®); sound by Scott Lehrer (2015 Drama Desk Award nomination); and casting by Telsey + Company/Abbie Brady-Dalton, CSA. THE KING AND I features choreography by Christopher Gattelli based on the original choreography by Jerome Robbins.

Jose Llana as The King in Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Jose Llana as The King in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

One of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works, THE KING AND I boasts a score which features such beloved classics as Getting To Know You, Hello Young Lovers, Shall We Dance, I Have Dreamed, and Something Wonderful. Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher, whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children.

Ticketes start at $30.Tickets are available at BroadwayinAustin.com, texasperformingarts.org, the Bass Concert Hall ticket office, all Texas Box Office Outlets, by phone at (512) 477-6060.  For groups of 10 or more, call (877) 275-3804 or email Austin.groups@broadwayacrossamerica.com

Throw a Festive Season Cookie Party

The next best thing to baking cookies for many home chefs is baking cookies with friends. Dust off your favorite recipes, create a festive playlist and fill your home with the tantalizing aroma of baked goodies for the ultimate Festive Season cookie party.

Turn things up a notch and swap classic sugar cookies for these festive Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies, Peppermint Truffle Cookies and Almond Gingerbread Cookies. Along with those tasty treats, don’t let your guests go thirsty. Add peppermint extract to a slow cooker hot chocolate so guests can sip and be merry throughout the party.

Find more holiday recipes at McCormick.com.

Peppermint Truffle Cookies

  • 8          ounces bittersweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2       cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1          cup sugar, divided
  • 1          egg
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
  • 2          cups flour
  • 36        milk chocolate kiss-shaped candies, unwrapped
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In large, microwavable bowl, heat chocolate and butter on high 1-2 minutes, or until butter is melted. Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly. Add 1/2 cup sugar, egg and peppermint extract. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gradually beat in flour on low speed until well mixed.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Press chocolate candy into center of each ball, forming dough around candy to enclose it. Roll in remaining sugar to coat. Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets.
  4. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until cookies are set. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Almond Gingerbread Cookies

  • 3          cups flour
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Ginger, Ground
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Cinnamon, Ground
  • 1          teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Nutmeg, Ground
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 3/4       cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4       cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2       cup molasses
  • 1          egg
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/3    cups sliced almonds
  1. In large bowl, mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
  2. In separate large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla extract; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into thick, flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours, or as long as overnight.
  3. Heat oven to 350° F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sliced almonds, pressing almonds into dough. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.

Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate

  • 1/2       gallon (8 cups) whole milk
  • 1          can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1          package (12 ounces) dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
  1. Place whole milk, condensed milk, chocolate chips and peppermint extract in slow cooker. Cover. Cook 60-70 minutes on high, or until chocolate is melted and mixture is heated through, stirring every 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to warm or low to serve.

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

  • 1 2/3    cups flour
  • 1/3       cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4    cups granulated sugar
  • 2          eggs
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons McCormick Red Food Color
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2       cup confectioners’ sugar
  • nonstick cooking spray
  1. In medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, food color and vanilla extract; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Refrigerate 4 hours.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in confectioners’ sugar to completely coat. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are puffed. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
McCormick

6 Simple, Festive Cocktails for the Festive Season

Eggnog Martini and Maple Amaretto Sour are two festive season cocktails that could easily be found on a festive bar menu. However, you can make them yourself in the comfort of your own home. Dazzle guests with an easy, simple trick: extracts.

A simple drop of an extract – peppermint, maple, rum or almond – can transform a holiday cocktail or warm drink into a truly special experience. Add rum extract and nutmeg to white chocolate liqueur and cream for an Eggnog Martini. Or try a few drops of maple extract with coffee, whiskey and half and half for a festive Irish Coffee.

Find these cocktails and more recipes at McCormick.com or on Facebook and Pinterest.

  1. Chocolate Coconut Martini– A dusting of delicious coconut and rich chocolate syrup makes for a drink that’s a dessert and cocktail in one. Coconut extract takes the decadent flavor to the next level.

 

  1. Eggnog Martini – There’s no taste that says “holiday” quite like eggnog. Swap the actual rum or bourbon for rum extract then mix with white chocolate liqueur and cream for a less alcoholic version. Top with snowy whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

  1. Maple Amaretto Sour – Give the sweet-tart Amaretto Sour – made with amaretto, simple syrup and lemon juice – the seasonal treatment with warming maple extract.

 

  1. Almond Ale Shandy – This nutty riff on a shandy calls for almond extract, which joins pale ale and cilantro in this lemony, fizzy drink. For a non-alcoholic version, just replace the beer with micro-brewed ginger ale.

 

  1. Peppermint Martini – The crisp bite of peppermint extract and the smooth sweetness of white chocolate liqueur unite in this quintessential winter martini. Be sure to use colorful mints for a candy-dipped rim that’s both pretty and tasty.

 

  1. Maple Irish CoffeeFor a seasonal twist on Irish coffee, add a few drops of maple extract. It brings authentic maple flavor to this warm favorite when combined with hot coffee and whiskey. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
McCormick

Helpful Festive Season Recipes for the Home Chef

With everything that goes into creating a full festive season menu for guests of different ages and palates, taking on that task can be a challenge for any host. However, simple recipes that please the masses can help make life easier for home chefs.

From the main dish all the way to dessert, plus the drinks in-between, put these recipes to the test to help make your festive season gathering a breeze. Put your adult guests at ease with a cranberry-flavored cocktail, followed by a main course made sweet thanks to this turkey brine. As things come to a close, finish off any leftover appetites with a quick cookie recipe.

To help make your festive season hosting easier, find more tips and recipes at Culinary.net.

Dessert in a Snap

After spending hours preparing appetizers, drinks and the main course for holiday get-togethers, many hosts are ready to call it quits in the kitchen. However, that won’t stop guests from getting those late cravings for a tasty treat. If you’re looking for a reprieve from being the lead chef, go for a quick dessert like these Gingersnap cookies, which take just 10 minutes to bake and can leave hosts with more time to mingle. For more quick, nutritious recipes for every meal, visit AICR.org.

Gingersnaps

Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research

Yield: 24 cookies

  • 3/4       cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2       cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2       teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4    teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/3       cup dairy-free butter shortening sticks
  • 1/2       cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 2          tablespoons unsulphured molasses
  • 1          large egg white
  • Glaze (optional):
  • 1/3       cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2          teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In mixing bowl, whisk flours, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, pepper and salt.
  3. In separate bowl, use electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat shortening sticks with 1/2 cup sugar 2 minutes. Add molasses and egg white; beat 3 minutes. Set mixer on low speed and mix in dry ingredients to combine. Don’t over-mix. Batter will form soft ball.
  4. Place remaining sugar in wide, shallow bowl. Pinch about 1 tablespoon batter and roll it between palms, forming 1-inch ball. Place ball in bowl with sugar and roll to coat then place on light-colored, ungreased baking sheet. Repeat, spacing balls 2 inches apart. Discard leftover sugar. Using bottom of a glass, press to flatten each ball into 1-by-3-inch disks.
  5. Bake cookies 10 minutes.
  6. To make glaze, if desired: While cookies bake, in small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar with lemon juice, mixing until sugar is completely dissolved.
  7. When cookies are done, immediately use spatula to transfer to wire cooling racks. Using tip of knife, spread 1/4 teaspoon glaze on top of each warm cookie. Cool completely.

Note: Can be stored in cookie tin up to 1 week.

Cranberry Cocktail Cravings

If holiday cocktails are on your menu, give guests a twist on a classic with this Cranberry Moscow Mule made with Nemiroff Original Vodka. This premium vodka is bold with a smooth, full-bodied finish that hints of citrus and fruit. Combined with cranberry juice and ginger beer, it’s an ideal holiday cocktail. Find more holiday cocktail options at nemiroff.vodka.

Cranberry Moscow Mule

  • 1          part Nemiroff Original Vodka
  • 1          part cranberry juice cocktail
  • 2          parts ginger beer
  • 1          tablespoon lime juice
  • ice
  • orange wedges, for garnish (optional)
  • fresh cranberries, for garnish (optional)
  • rosemary sprigs, for garnish (optional)
  1. Pour vodka, cranberry juice cocktail, ginger beer and lime juice into copper mug filled with ice. Gently stir to combine.
  2. Garnish with orange wedges, fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs, if desired.

A Sweeter Centerpiece

A holiday meal is only complete with the centerpiece of the table: a tender turkey that side dishes and desserts can complement for guests of all palates. For a new twist on a holiday classic, add some sweetness to your main course with a Sweet Tea Turkey Brine, featuring Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea. It’s freshly brewed from real tea leaves using simple, quality ingredients free from preservatives, colors or added acids. The family- and certified women-owned business offers a multitude of beverages, all with the same dedication to quality and excellence. Find more information and recipes at drinkmilos.com.

Milo’s Sweet Tea Turkey Brine

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 15-20 minutes per pound

  • 1          gallon Milo’s Sweet Tea
  • 1          cup kosher salt
  • 3          large sweet onions, quartered
  • 4          lemons, sliced
  • 8          garlic cloves, peeled
  • 5          sprigs rosemary
  • 10        cups ice
  • 1          turkey
  1. In large stock pot over medium heat, combine tea and kosher salt. Stir frequently until salt is dissolved. Add onion, lemon, garlic and rosemary. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  2. When brine has cooled, pour into food-grade, 5-gallon plastic container. Stir in ice.
  3. Wash and dry turkey. Remove innards. Place turkey, cavity-side up, into brine, making sure cavity gets filled. Cover and place bucket in refrigerator overnight.
  4. Heat oven to 350° F.
  5. Remove turkey from brine, draining excess, and pat dry. Discard excess brine.
  6. Cook turkey 15-20 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature reaches 165° F on instant-read thermometer, reserving drippings for gravy. (Family Features)

SOURCE:

Culinary.net

Simple Seasonal Safety Tips

Limit your home fire risk during the festive season

It may be the most wonderful time of year, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. Along with the cooking and decorations that make the season magical, the festive season presents risks for home fires and burns.

An independent survey conducted by Shriners Hospitals for Children® found that many Americans do not follow key fire and burn safety tips despite being aware of dangerous risks. For example, 25 percent of respondents reported leaving lit candles unattended, and 27 percent said they have left them in reach of children.

“Some of these findings seem alarming, but each year our burn hospitals see the unfortunate results – children who have been injured in cooking related accidents or in fires associated with holiday decorations or candles,” said Kenneth Guidera, M.D., chief medical officer for Shriners Hospitals for Children. “These injuries can mean years of ongoing treatments and extensive rehabilitation for a child. That’s why we encourage families to learn about fire safety and prevention before a tragedy occurs.”

Fire and burn hazards are prevalent in many homes throughout the festive season, and Shriners Hospitals for Children offers these tips to remind families how to stay safe:

  • Never leave lit candles unattended. If you must use flame-burning candles, make sure to extinguish them when you leave the room.
  • When cooking, turn pot handles toward the back of the stove, out of the reach of children.
  • Never leave a hot stove or oven unattended.
  • While cooking, keep a lid or cookie sheet nearby to cover a pan if its contents catch fire.
  • If you decorate using a live, fresh-cut Christmas tree, water it daily.
  • Keep trees and other flammable decor at least 3 feet away from heaters and flames.
  • Discard decorative lights with bare wires, frays or kinks.
  • Make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
  • Have an escape plan in case of a fire and practice it with your family members so they know how to react if a fire does occur.
  • Know the burn care resources in your community.

The Shriners Hospitals locations that specialize in burn care provide critical, surgical and rehabilitative care to children with varying degrees of new and healed burns. Their state-of-the-art burn facilities are staffed and equipped to provide reconstructive and restorative surgery for healed burns, as well as treatments for various other skin conditions. With 22 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the health care system provides advanced care for children regardless of the families’ ability to pay. Learn more at shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.

Visit beburnaware.org to learn key fire safety practices to help avoid injuries this holiday season. You can find activity books, tip cards and a five-minute online quiz to help identify and eliminate potential risks.

Candle Safety for the Holidays

Candles are one of the most common sources of holiday fires. Never leave lit candles unattended and take these additional precautions to have a safe and fun holiday season:

  • When candles are lit, make sure they are in stable holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked over.
  • Keep candles, matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Be conscious of nearby surroundings. Never place a candle near drapery, decorations or other flammable items that may easily catch fire. Also avoid drafty areas or fans, which can accelerate flames or accidentally blow a flammable item onto a candle.
  • Know that the safest way to extinguish a candle is with a snuffer.
  • Consider using wickless or flameless candles. There are numerous options that cast a warm glow so you can enjoy the ambiance of a candle without the risk.

Kids and Candles Don’t Mix

Julianna and her mother, Tracy, know firsthand how dangerous the holiday season can be. While at a family Christmas party, Julianna, just 20 months old, snuck away from the activities and was in the bathroom playing in front of the mirror. A lit tea light candle on the corner of the sink ignited her clothes.

Tracy heard Julianna’s screams from down the hall, ran to the bathroom and saw her daughter’s dress on fire. She patted out the flames and family members called an ambulance. Julianna spent three weeks at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Cincinnati to treat the third-degree burns that covered the left side of her body. Julianna, now 8-years-old, is doing well but faces ongoing treatment as she grows.

“We are very lucky,” Tracy said. “Julianna will be fine thanks to the care she received. We all get busy during this time of year, but it is so important for parents to make sure they are following basic safety tips to keep their kids safe.”  (Family Features)

SOURCE:

Shriners Hospitals for Children

Festive Season Guesting 101

If you manage to avoid hosting duties this festive season, you may be dodging some of the hardest work, but remember that being a good guest goes beyond arriving on time and taking your shoes off at the door. This festive season, ensure your host gets to enjoy the festivities by putting these ideas to practice – it may earn you an invitation for years to come.

Make a festive season playlist.  Offer to put together a festive season playlist for the host who will undoubtedly have his or her hands full prepping for the festive season celebration. Try to choose songs specific to the guests, host and overall theme. A good playlist can be a conversation starter for everyone at the party.

Don’t arrive empty-handed. Even if your host shrugs off an offer for help, a gesture of appreciation is always appropriate. It may be a bottle of wine, a seasonal flower arrangement or, better yet, an appetizer or dessert to share, such as this mouthwatering Slow Cooker Banana Cake. This crowd-pleasing cake is made using a Crock-Pot® Cook & Carry Slow Cooker, which has a locking lid and travel clips to help you get to your festive season celebration without making a mess. The 6-quart, removable pot can be used as a serving dish, and is dishwasher safe to make clean-up a breeze.

Stay off your phone. It may seem obvious, but these days, looking at your phone is almost as habitual as breathing, and chances are you don’t mean to appear standoffish or rude by sneaking a quick peek. However, playing with your phone can detract from time you get to spend with family and friends, many of whom you probably don’t get to see often. Tuck away your phone for the party and live in the moment.

Pitch in to help clean. No host likes to be stuck in the kitchen while the rest of the party carries on. After the meal, offer your help to clear the table, put away perishable items and get the kitchen back in order so your host can join the merry-making. If you’ll be opening gifts, grab a garbage bag and collect debris to help keep the mess under control.

Find more festive season recipes and tips at Crock-Pot.com.

Slow Cooker Banana Cake

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 4 hours

Servings: 12

  • Crock-Pot® Cook & Carry Slow Cooker
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 3          cups flour
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 3-4       ripe bananas
  • 2          lemon wedges, juice only
  • 3/4       cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2    cups honey or 2 cups white sugar
  • 3          eggs
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2    cups almond milk
  • cream cheese frosting
  1. Grease slow cooker with nonstick spray.
  2. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In small bowl, mash bananas and lemon juice together; set aside.
  4. In large bowl, use mixer to cream butter and honey. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in vanilla then milk. Gradually add flour mixture. Once combined, stir in mashed bananas.
  5. Pour into slow cooker. Cover; cook on low 6 hours or high 4 hours, or until center of cake no longer looks gooey.
  6. Uncover and let cake cool. Once completely cooled, frost cake and, if desired, top with sliced bananas and walnuts.

Notes: If adding bananas, do so just before serving or they will brown. If using a non-oval slow cooker, cook 1 hour less on high heat or 2 hours less on low heat. (Family Features)

SOURCE:

Crock-Pot