Monday, December 30, 2013

21 Bingeworthy Shows for Winter Watching

Good news TV Bingers, We're Not Alone!
According to Netflix it's OK to binge on TV shows and entertainment!  Whew, I thought I was the only one!
Who needs DVD's?! Leveraging the power of my beloved Roku box, Verizon Fios on Demand, and Chromecast combined with my amazing Amazon Prime Instant Streaming account (AP) Netflix (N)  (streaming only account) and ACORN MEDIA (AM) TV, there are hundreds of awesome bingeworthy TV shows with no commercials out there waiting for you!
Are you an Anglophile? Do you LOVE British TV?
Me, too! Then AcornMedia TV might just be for you! With new shows added every month and the most extensive catalog of all my favourite series and documentaries all streamed handily though my Roku box, this is a brilliant addition to my steaming addiction! (Sign up for a 30 day Free Trial to give it a go then 4.99 a month)
Here are my 21 picks of great bingeworthy TV!

So, once you finish with Breaking Bad and the 2.2 days it would take to watch ALL of Mad Men, what then? Here's my list of Netflix (N) & Amazon Prime (AP) and British TV Acorn Media (AM) golden nuggets of pop culture entertainment that can liven up your Winter Break! Get out your fuzzy socks & why not cook up the Drunken Sugared Nuts & Brie recipe below to enjoy with or take to that New Year's Eve Party!
Murder, Mystery, & Mayhem...
Add These to Your Watchlists!
American Horror Story Season 1 Murder House & Season 2 Asylum
"Darling? There's a latex covered geek crawling around the house"..."Can't hear you dear I'm seducing the maid who is ancient yet looks oh so tasty, let's chat later"  "Oh right, later then"
These series are not for the faint of heart but are kick butt awesome! Jessica Lange's acting chops can't be beat!  It's hard to believe the same mind that brought us Glee brings us this excellent ensemble series that are shockingly horrific and breaks ALL kinds of boundaries. NOT for the kiddos. TV-MA (A) (N)
The Walking Dead - Missed a few seasons? Didn't see the first one? Want to see how Carl went from an annoying little kid to a kick ass Zombie killer? Yes, I quite thought so! Catch up NOW before the second half of this seasons game changer starts! I love this show but it's VERY tense! NOT for the kiddos! TV-MA 3 seasons on Netflix but costs $ on Amazon. 

Torchwood  Do you like Doctor Who but wish it was edgier? Maybe a little sexier? How about a whole LOT sexier? Try Torchwood! I've been a fan since 2009, when I wanted to Save the CoffeeboyTorchwood (2006-2011) is a spinoff of the iconic Doctor Who that was intended to be (and is) sexier, scarier, more adult, and literally down to Earth. It's about an elite, secret task force, based in Cardiff Wales, that investigates alien activity, led by the rather amazing omnisexual Captain Jack Harkness (super sexy John Barrowman). Torchwood is the reason I finally started watching Doctor Who. That's the geeky cart before the horse in a great big way, isn't it? I had to catch up and fill in Dr. Who as I went along and Matt Smith was my first full time LIVE episode Doctor which answers a lot about my devotion to the raggedy man.
Torchwood ran for two seasons and two miniseries, Children of Earth (outstanding) and Miracle Day (sort of sucked, unfortunately). Although there has been no official announcement, it is unlikely that there will be more Torchwood. Although you never can tell. One can always hope! DO NOT watch with the kiddos I did say sexier, right?
(A) (N)
The Fall - Gillian Anderson stars as an expert MET detective searching for a serial killer in this gripping thriller set in Belfast. Seen from both perspectives,  this one will have you guessing - how can it end? Short commitment, only 5 episodes! (N only!)

Sherlock - Oh Benedict Cumberbatch - how did we live without you and your frenetic version of a modern day functioning sociopath Sherlock Holmes?! And how did we survive without the Otter-Cumberbatch, meme? [shakes her head wonderingly]
Please, if you haven't watched this - go now! Short commitment only 3 epsisodes per season - 6 total. The long awaited 3rd season starts on PBS on Jan 19th (A) (N)
Midsomer Murders - My favourite long running British mystery series! 80 awesome episodes of small English villages, beautiful scenery, scandal, and murder! Even catch a young Orlando Bloom showing up with a bare bum on the episode Judgement Day!  Looking for a particular episode or want to vote for your favourite? Visit the awesome but "old school" Midsomer Fan Site & follow the show on TwitterNetflix! Amazon used to carry it, then one day it was GONE! This is the show that made me join Netflix! (AM) Acorn Media Only for the LATEST Episodes!

Foyle's War - British murder & mayhem set in WWII Hastings, England.  A set down from Michael Kitchen is a thing of restrained beauty!  (AP) (N) (AM)

Agatha Christie's - Poirot - my favourite little Belgian detective with his ever so active little grey cells! Add in gorgeous Art Deco stylings and exotic locales and you have classic brilliant TV worth watching! Alas, the end is near after 25 years of solving crimes David Suchet retires. [snif] The clip above makes me cry every stinkin time! (AP) (N) (AM)
Miss Marple Whether you like classic Joan Hickson or perky (and sometimes scandalous) new versions starring Geraldine McEwan, Miss Marple doesn't let you down! Just don't visit St. Mary Meade unless you want to get knocked off. (AP) (N) (AM)

Haven  Based on the Stephen King short story "The Colorado Kid," this is just super cool freaky deeky! Plus I fancy rotten! First 3 seasons are the best!  FREE on Netflix but $ on Amazon)

Grimm A homicide detective discovers he is a descendant of hunters who fight supernatural forces. On this show, it's who I find crushworthy! S1 & S2 Not avail on Netflix but included FREE with Amazon Prime
Inspector Lewis - More British murder mysteries set in beautiful Oxford with all kinds of classical references! And super sexy Lawrence Fox (who is joyfully married in RL to Rose aka Billie Piper!) is quite easy on the old eyes, eh wot? [hums angelically] (A) (N)
Twin Peaks - Before American Horror Story and LOST there was Twin Peaks. Cherry Pie, quotable quips, murder, sex, sins, small town scandals, and damn good coffee. You're welcome. (A) (N)
Vikings  - Think Game of Thrones without the dragons. NOT for the kids. (Amazon Prime only)
Sons of Anarchy Seasons 1-5
I was slavishly devoted during the first few seasons, then I sorta got lost. But it's great TV! (A) (N)

X Files - The Truth is Out There....yeah, it's a CLASSIC.  (A) (N)

Just for FUN!
Psych - This show makes me LOL! It's chock full of pop culture references that make geeks like me super happy! Oh and hello...this year they made a 2 hour musical! Yes, that's AWESOME! All seasons FREE on Netflix - they cost $ on Amazon
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy - Groundbreaking and heartwarming! (N)
Orange is the New Black - umm awkward, uncomfortable, & hilarious. Created by Netflix - brilliant, right?
Archer - TVMA Think sexy animated Bond meets Mad Men (N)

Spoil Yourself: TV Worth the Money$
Bates Motel $1.60 an episode Amazon SD  
This one snuck up on me - my friend Sondra insisted it was good so I added it to my DVR but didn't watch it right away. When I did, it was like WOAH!  The acting is amazing!  Critically acclaimed performances by Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore I can't wait to see where this series goes next.
Sleepy Hollow  OhMyWord! - British actor Tom Mison really sells Ichabod Crane! - His acting, earnest delivery, and swoonworthy good looks (see blue eyes penetrating below)  are mesmerizing! Oh, and errr....the show is pretty awesomely campy and fun, too! Ahem! $1.99 an episode or 19.99 to buy the whole first season. OR set your DVR to record them - they may even do a marathon!

Ooops! Did I Just Write That?
Umm re-reading this post it sounds very TMI Tiger Beat to me now! Shamelessly sharing my twitterpated celebrity crushes with all you dear readers - do forgive me!  Heh heh...ah well, tis the season to be swooning, tra la la la la!  

I want to hear from YOU!
What TV shows or series did I miss? 
What shows would you add to this list?
What shows are you currently binging on? 
Do you have a Roku box, Chromecast, or Apple TV?
 Netflix or Amazon Prime? What's your fav?  Would love to hear from you in the comments and thank you as always for your readership!

Catch it Whilst You Can! 
Oh and the Titanic,  Saturday Night Live and lots of movies and shows will expire on Netflix on New Years Eve - so you may wanna get on this right away!

Drunken Sugared Nuts & Brie
Great for a New Year's Eve party or just for binge watching!
14-ounce round of Brie
1/4 cup of brandy
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans or better yet, a mix of the two! (see photo)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Mix the sugar, nuts, and cover with the brandy all together in a covered container and chill in the fridge for at least 24 hours up to a week (or 2!)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Place the brie on an ovenproof dish or pie plate. Bake for 4 or 5 minutes or until the brie is slightly softened. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the warm brie and bake for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the sugar melts and gets all awesome bubbly!
Serve on Town House Crackers or with apple or pear wedges. Enjoy! 
Adapted from a Paula Deen recipe
Later Additions from the Comments, Discoveries, & Tweets
David Tennant as Casanova. Need I say more!? know I will. This is the part that got him the role as The Doctor. It's sassy, saucy, cheeky  - he even mugs to the camera and it has an AliG dressing sequence that just can't be missed....OK, check it out below! Available only on Netflix
Mariela is binging, too! And she recommends Arrow! (N)

Jennifer Northrup likes Sleepy Hollow, too! 
Squee! AcornMedia RT'd me! 
And my MOST RT'd Tweet to Date: 
How did I embed the Tweets? See the next blog post! 

Credits & Resources:
Most all TV related graphics from IMDB, mirrored on my Flickr to avoid bandwidth hogging.

Post inspired by this article: 
All Of The Shows You Should Be Binge-Watching RIGHT NOW
The 22 most binge-worthy shows in TV history

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Daringly Easy Recipe For Your Professional Happiness and a Party, Too!

An Easy Holiday Recipe for Student Engagement & Professional Happiness

For Student Engagement:
Be fearlessly goofy (in moderation and at the right time), laugh at yourself (often!), admit when you don't know something or are wrong both to the kiddos and to your colleagues.  Mix it up, be vulnerable, be daring to try new things, and learn when you fail them. Do not forget to celebrate when you succeed! It's OK to do a happy dance now and then.

For Professional Happiness:
Have empathy and patience for those other educators who don't "get it," are annoying, haters, stuck in the past, toxic, sour to the kiddos, & not supportive. Empathy because they can't or won't change and because they don't get the joy of our calling. They're just putting in time until the next snow day, bank holiday, or break. How sad for them! Bless their hearts!

How to Repress Passive Aggressive Funpires!
 Call out (gently) those people who are passive aggressive or give out backhanded compliments. Just look at them for a few seconds with a puzzled expression & a head tilt, and say "Wow, what did you mean by that? I'm confused"  and then fall silent and wait with a inquiring expression. They aren't used to being called out on it. Most people let them get away with that kinda behavior. They may get defensive and quickly back pedal, they may bluster or try and make a joke of it, rarely will they just own it. But that's OK - you're not trying to change them (they won't or can't) you will find though that they won't likely try it again on you...or at least less often! These types of people are what I call the down low bullies. Shrug it off, move on, & have empathy for them - how sad it must be to be like that inside. I always say I'm not passive aggressive, I'm just aggressive! LOL
What's a Funpire?
Funpires are those toxic creatures who always seem to suck the fun out of any gathering or situation.  Sadly, you can't stake em, but you can avoid them!

Happiness is a choice! Optimism, too! Sometimes it's a difficult choice, but a necessary one! Teachers can sometimes get bombarded by the negative when they go into the lunchroom or talk with other teachers. It's important to steer clear of the Negative Nelly's, Debbie or David Downers, and to avoid that toxic downward spiral & strive to stay positive and upbeat. If this means you eat with only a few teachers, by yourself, our go out and drive to the closest neighborhood park at lunch, do it! We have the best job in the world and every new school year and every day is a new adventure!
Have a Happy Holiday Dear Friends!
Thank you dear readers for your support and readership this year! I wish you a very Happy Christmas and a Fabulous New Year!
I was blogging for years early days to absolutely no one! LOL - Ok, maybe my Mom...and a few friends in our #TLChat. You have to keep at it, this blogging thing. You gotta have faith and never give up. Sure, you can take a break if the real world intrudes (example my hospitilzation & recuperation this summer - was working hard on PT and not feelin terribly chatty) it's OK, just don't give up! For more Blog tips please check out a previous post

Just Blog It! Blogging Tips & Ideas

PS. I got the handmade fingerless gloves, headband, & muffler from a lovely Etsy store called RoseDew & tweaked the picture using the fine touch up tools of PicMonkey (who is also nominated for an Eddies Best FREE Education Tool!)
See? Before & After!
#EduTweetOz Gives Thanks and Reflects DownUnder
The amazing educators and PLN of @EduTweetOz  have created a wonderful and inspiring way to give thanks, reflect, celebrate, and plan together as their school year winds down in the next 6 days.
Why not join in, emulate, & connect! I've had the honor and privilege to speak in Australia and the educators there are passionate, energized, generous, and AMAZING!

From their blog:
Sunday – #eduthanks Who do you want to thank this year and why? Let us know, spread the love!
Monday – #eduwins – What did you do that worked well and why? Feel free to share successes, tips, ideas.
Tuesday – #educommunity – What’s your community, how have you connected, what difference has it made, how did you get involved in different communities, what tips do you have for others?
Wednesday – #eduminister – If you were the education minister what would you do?
Thursday – #edugoals – What does 2014 hold, what will you try, how will you learn, share, evaluate?
Friday – #eduhols what are you doing to recover, recharge, re-inspire?
Pretty Awesome, right!??

Happy Holidays!  
Thank you, dear reader, for your support, inspiration and friendship all year long!  It's a busy busy time of year - one filled with family, fun, parties, & reflection. I'm gonna party first & reflect at the bottom of the post.  Here's my favourite, easy to make and always popular party appetizer recipe! My friends like it, my nephews fight over it, and it only takes about 10 min from start to finish...and you can make it days ahead of time, it just gets better!
After that is my recipe for student engagement & professional happiness, too! A little bit of ranting and preaching but all for a good cause!
1 half onion, sliced - yellow, white, or sweet Vidalia!
2-3 tbs (to taste) Maile grainy mustard
2-3 tbs (to taste) Dijon mustard
2-3 tbs (or more) Brown sugar
2-3 tbs water
1 package Smoked sausage, whatever is on sale, regular beef or turkey  - sliced into rounds
Combine first 5 ingredients into a microwave-safe container or dish and microwave about 4 min- stir well before and after.
Add sausage slices, stir to combine coating all as best as possible, add maybe a couple extra tablespoons of brown sugar over the top & microwave 4 additional min.
Take to party or refrigerate overnight (this is the BEST! You can even make a day or two ahead of time - it just gets better!)

Microwave to heat through again before serving. Serve with tiny silver appetizer forks (used in seafood, too) or toothpicks!

Turkey in a Blanket?
You can also take these slices & onion slices wrap them up in 1/4th of a crescent roll triangle and bake for a type of pig in the blanket.  Enjoy!

I got this idea & added to it from my former beloved Media Assistant of 21 years Robin Black. She's enjoying her much deserved retirement. My new assistant Kathi is awesome, too! I am SO blessed! 

**Results are not guaranteed & mileage may vary! LOL

Monday, December 9, 2013

Speed Dating with Books!

Hello Book Lovahs, How You Doing? You're Lookin Good! 
Are you ready to make a love connection and to hang out... with a good book?  
Get Engaged!
So, I've been inspired lately by a lot of amazing teacher librarians who have written about doing this lesson or some kind of variation (resource links below) and though they sounded awesome, they were too much work.  Decorations, tablecloths, candles, writing activities, dating profiles on Good Reads, Shelfari, LibaryThing, or Shelfari -- so being naturally enthusiasticaly indolent, I wanted to find a quick & dirty way to get kids looking at books, checking out books, and moving around the library. Voila! This is my version. Think Chuck Woolery cheezy love connection with a dash of Marvin Gaye! How YOU Doin?

Hot Set Up!
Take a book cart and shop for some hot books around your library media center. That's right, be deeply shallow and choose books that have the most attractive covers, are hot popular, and just plain fun.  
Get graphic: why not make up a table of graphic novels & popular non fiction selections for our informational readers? Have some of your media helper or frequent flyer kiddos pick their faves and pile them loosely on your tables. Standing a few up. Grab twins wherever possible, multiple copies of the same book, that way you have backups or friends can read the same book or.....double date! [obvious wink] You're welcome!

A Daring Blind Date!
Laminate some butcher paper book covers with cuts out on the back for bar codes! I made just four. Choose a few books, write short provocative blurbs on oversized post-it notes and rubber band em up! (I deliberately chose books I had several of copies of that I hid on a cart- so that if they were checked out I didn't have to do all the work over again - pop in the next copy! Boom!
Smooth Talkin!
I wrote a fun, silly, cheezy, (you've met me, right?) tongue-in-cheek script with the directions for this activity set to the INSTRUMENTAL version of Let's Get it On by Marvin Gaye, set the Love Time Bomb for 1 or 2 min and Booya! Sometimes I read the script live with the Marvin Gaye track going on in the background & and sometimes I play the recording and pantomime the directions in a goofball exaggerated way! (saves the voice, too! LOL)
Let's Date!
Set the love time bomb and let the kids go! No sitting down  - to find true love you have to be quick on your feet & ready to pounce on the right book! During the 3 or 4 activity rounds you can also play Love Boat Theme by Barry White.
I also said to the kiddos to motivate them, that for the first 5 kids who check out books first they would get a special holiday candy cane scratch & sniff bookmark and could hang out in our READING LOVE LOUNGE! The last round the kiddos can go anywhere in the library to find that "just right" book and then-- in the space of about 15 min almost every kid has a book & they're all smiles!

Vocaroo It
I recorded the script & activity directions on Vocaroo - a fun, free, easy voice recording site that requires no sign-up and gives links, embed code, and a QR Code!

Vocaroo is great! You can also download the MP3 to play in your iTunes! Much easier than using Audacity for quick recordings!----1/15 UPDATE: Downside to Vocaroo - it expires! So, I guess you only have it for a year. So the cool intro I recorded for the kiddos & this blog no longer works, Womp womp!
Love Time Bomb
Have you discovered the classroom timer collection? Too fun! Animated & sure gets their attention!
Not in the Mood?
To the kiddos: "Don't want to check out a book today? Not in the mood? It's ok if you're already in a committed relationship  - I don't want you to cheat on the book you're already reading!  You also don't have to check out a book today if you're not ready to start a new book relationship!  I'm not about to force you - I just want you to see what's out there! It's all good!" LOL 

Resources & Inspiration

Book Speed Dating | Mighty Little Librarian

Blind Date with a Book --or--Speed Dating for Books

Book Speed Dating - YouTube

Thank you dear readers for your visit!


This blog has been honored to be nominated and made a finalist for theEdublog Best Librarian Blog - if you're so inclined and you have found this blog to be helpful to ya or at least entertaining,  I'd love to have your vote! I've been nominated before but have never won. I ain't gonna lie, or be coy, or demure - That would be cool - almost as cool as a bowtie or a fez!  

TL Chat TLVirtual Cafe & Best educational wiki and TL News Night have also been nominated - if you're a TL Chat PLN member we'd love your support! 

Ps. I also was surprised, honored, and gobsmacked to be nominated for Best Individual Blog but you and I know I don't have a snowball's chance in heck to win that one! LOL 


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