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Hmaxey

Summer Time Snack-a-holics

By June 20, 2017 Let's Feed the Beasts

I love summertime. I worked in education for 18 years and I can remember that at times, I LIVED for summer. There is something exciting when summer arrives. You’ve watched the snow melt away, the leaves and flowers bud out, and now you are enjoying this fresh green world around you. Now, where you live you may not experience that, but I live in Idaho. We not only have 4 seasons, but we have whiplash weather that changes so frequently it is not unusual to see people walking around with a jacket and shorts year round.

As much as I love summer, and I love the kids being out of school, the down side is the kids are out of school and they become bottomless pits of feeding insanity. They have lost their way with no hard structure, and to fill the boredom they search out and destroy any sort of food in the house. At times I swear I need to hide any leather shoes we may have, they may think its jerky!

So how do you cope with the swarm of hungry invading your kitchen for 3 months. Well, you can pray you have a super bountiful garden and can send them out to forage, or you can try a few of these ideas.

SNACKS 

1. Make your own trail mix. You know best what your kiddos love. Hit up the bulk section at the grocery store and have them help pick out the perfect blend of healthy and maybe a bit of a fun surprise. ( I am a die hard for M&Ms in my trail mix. )

2. Homemade Popsicles. I absolutely love these. We got our Popsicle makers from Walmart here and we have had such fun creating great flavors and adding in fun things. You can mix up lemonade and drop in fresh strawberries or raspberries and get a cool treat with a tasty snack.

3. Football Ice Cream.   Not only are your kids hungry , but maybe the ” I’m bored!” comments have started flying. I love this because it gets them moving and playing and they have created their own reward at the end. The folks at Food.com have a great recipe you can give a try to at this site .

4. Frozen Grapes. Oh these are tasty and perfect on those really hot days. Wash your grapes, roll them in some sugar and toss them in the freezer for just a bit. The cool and sweet treat is sure to please, and even though you use sugar, it still fairly healthy. You can also try using other fruits like strawberries, raspberries, or even maybe blueberries. I’ve never tried it with blueberries, but I bet it’s tasty.

These are just a small sampling of quick and easy ideas that the kids can even help you make with minimal fuss and muss. Then once they are ready, they can enjoy them and be ready for the next round of who knows what!! We personally like to build forts and play chase.

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Can A T-Rex Tinkle in the Potty?

By June 19, 2017 Family Life

I was seriously beginning to question my ability as a mother. I had bought all the treasures, candy, the celebration decor. We talked about it daily, and I mean DAILY. My darling little T-Rex just refused to go on the big boy potty. He would want to try, but then he would hold it until he got a new diaper on. I was beginning to think I would be sending diapers with him to school. That was until this weekend.

We were home and enjoying a rare lazy day. We curled up and watched movies. We ate together, we had “coffee” together. His was cocoa. It was a spur of the moment thing I decided to strip him down and said, ” OK,  if you have to go potty, you go on your car potty OK.” He just grinned and said no he wanted his diaper. I stood my ground. I was compassionate and said ” No way! You are going naked and you are gonna try today.” I am so kind some days.

As I got up to make lunch, I hear the sweetest giggle drift to me followed by , ” Mommy, I went potty!” I won’t lie, my first feeling was not joy. My T-Rex has refused to potty train for months now. He has peed on the floor in protest. I knew he had done it again. I carefully made my way to the den and peeked in. His little head was bent over the potty chair examining the contents inside. I seriously though he put goldfish crackers in there, but I asked if he had truly gone.

I have rarely seen my son peacock, but in this moment he did. He stood up as straight as could be, put his hands on his hips and said, I did mommy.”  I’ll be darned if he hadn’t. I squealed and jumped up and down, clapping and signing, and telling him how big he was, and then the topper to it all. He got a cup of M&Ms. We were both grinning like a couple of fools, but for different reasons at that moment. He had been eyeing that container of candy for a while now, and I was thrilled to not be scrubbing the floor.

To my sheer delight and joy, he went 3 more times that night. Each time being rewarded with candy and praise and singing. He thinks it is the greatest thing on the planet when I make up silly songs for him. I am hoping that my bullheaded little angel on’t have this be a single day thing. However, as a fore mentioned, he is a bull headed little twerp if I ever met one. He gets it from his fath…. me , he totally gets it from me. I am just as strong willed as he is. God help us when he gets to be a teen.  Its taken months to persuade him to potty train, lord knows how it will go with me asking for him to clean his room, or put clothes in the hamper.  Actually, he really is a polite boy, I can’t complain. He is bull headed though.

Do your kids , or spouse, or fur babies eve just have that ornery streak? I love it and I have trouble with it! How do you deal?

 

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Raising the Next Universal Champion

By June 13, 2017 Family Life

My house is huge into the WWE. My husband can tell you all sorts of crazy trivia about all kinds of different wrestlers. Yes we are very aware that it is choreographed. Yes we know that they are all story lines and some of those sworn enemies are truly best friends. However, there is something magical about having friends come over and watch matches and root on your favorite guy and eat and laugh and enjoy the awesome that is WWE

Now with this in mind, it was hilarious to me when my child became aware f himself as an entity. He initially said things like me and I, and then one day he started only referring to himself in the third person. The first time he did it, I roared. I was sure it was a subtle silly quirk he’d outgrow and I ignored it. As time has gone by , he does it increasingly so. To the point that I think Vince himself may have subtly planted the next champion in my home.

I tried to correct it and make sure he was using the correct verbiage, but somehow he sucked me into it. I will parrot back to him the exact way he says things. Then I am shocked by how quickly I forget that I am supposed to be teaching him to be a non arrogant functioning member of society!

” The T-Rex is mad at you, T-Rex is so mad at you!” echoes through my house more often than not anymore. It just cracks me up. Now we just start poking the bear and ask random goofy questions to get him to respond in third person. I realize this is a form of torment, but it’s a harmless torment. Questions like, Is that my motorcycle? Is that my shoe? quickly get replied to with NO! It’s T-Rex’s …whatever it may be. It has yet to make me not laugh. Even in his most defiant and trying moments, when he decides to use it, I have to remember I am being a disciplinary figure and not his audience. Then I walk to another room and roll.

To top the whole thing off, he is becoming a huge wrestling fan himself. He sees their logo and begins jumping up and down and yelling, ” Dubya E!!!” He has a wrestling buddy that he grapples with during the show. Yes, he commentates and T-Rex always wins, he’s the good guy. Ha!

Do your kids ever do anything that just makes it hard to get through the moment without bursting into laughter!

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A Pumpkin Chili for All Seasons

By June 9, 2017 Let's Feed the Beasts

My hubby and I love to make dinner. It seems to be the only meal we get to all sit down together and eat. I have my other meals with my little goober, but as a while family, oh dinner is it. I tend to love to do things a little bit more complex, and the husband, he loves simple things. We can both agree however and this one recipe we found years ago. Pumpkin Chili.

I have no idea where we found the original recipe at, but even when we first made it we started doing what we do best. We modified and modified and made it our own! We are avid chili lovers anyway, and this just never seems to make up the same way no matter how hard we try to do it exactly the same. It is always amazing, and always different. The best part, Little T loves it! He adds cracks to his bowl, because he swears it is soup, but if he’s happy I’m happy. Especially since we are at the lovely phase of everything is icky or gross, or looks weird, or lord knows what!!

The recipe calls for it to be made in a Dutch oven, but we just use a big ol pot on the stove. SO if you are a Dutch oven lover, this is truly for you. If you have no idea what a Dutch oven is, grab a soup pot, stock pot, or a cook tub of some kind. If you love pumpkin, and even if you hate pumpkin, this is also for you because the pumpkin taste is light to non existent, and the texture oh the texture, pumpkin lovers  you will melt! So without further ado, I will present you the recipe that I tweaked. I can also post the original if anyone is interested. I hope you enjoy this as much as my little crew does.

Sausage Pumpkin Chili

1 pound pork sausage

1 small onion diced up

3/4 cup green peppers ( we omit these sometimes, but Hubby loves them)

2 Tbsp Chili powder

2 tsp cumin

8 oz tomato sauce

15 oz can of pumpkin

2 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp mulling spice

1/2 tsp- 1 tsp garlic powder

*optional *

corn

rice

You are going to get a pan and brown the sausage and onions together. Drain off the grease from the sausage. Add all the other ingredients to the sausage and onion mixture. Bring it to a boil; cover it and simmer for 25- 30 minutes. You now have a beautiful chili you will want to serve it topped with cheese, and maybe even green onions or parsley.

 

We always have left overs, and this freezes beautifully.

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Fear is a four letter word, usually followed by other four letter words.

By June 9, 2017 Family Life

Everyone has fears. You can be tough and say you don’t have one, but everyone has a fear. It can be something as tiny as germs, or something as massive as clowns. I have two major fears. One being Spiders. I hate them, oh I hate the thought, sight, sound , YES spiders make a sound. Its an evil chortle as they descend to get in your hair!

My deep loathing of the arachnid nation has been an ongoing battle since I was tiny. Now at almost 6 foot, and enough years under my belt to know that I’m bigger than they are and so it shouldn’t be a big deal. No matter how many times I tell my brain that, it revolts and tells me it is most definitely a big deal and that it is possible we need to carry a blow torch at times for our protection. When T-Rex was born I vowed to myself I would do all I could to keep from transferring my fears to him. Especially since my husband loves those eight legged freaks. He had two tarantulas for a while, and living in the same space as those tiny terrors was a lot to handle.

Fast forward almost three years. My precious toddler spots a delightful treat, Satan’s little pet. I of course do what I do best in that situation, I scream for my hubby and burst into tears as I grab my child to flee this horrendous situation. My husband decides this is a great opportunity to teach our son about his passion. So sitting in tears I relinquish my favorite little person in the world. He toddles over to his dad and watches as my crazy husband picks up the stupid thing. I am now borderline falling apart into a million pieces. Trying desperately to be a supportive and non-fear transferring mother, I squeak and nod happily as he giggles watching the acrobatics of this demon as it tries to crawl all over to escape.  I try calmly to remind them both that handling spiders is not a game and can be dangerous if we do not know the spider.

A week later as I am swinging in the backyard watching my little boy play, I notice him stoop down and start talking to something. He then stands up and is very clearly holding something, and makes his way to the tree. I call out and ask my dear little angel what h is doing. Without skipping a beat he turns, grins, and holds up his tiny clenched fingers and shouts out, ” Mommy , I have a spider! I put him on the tree.” Now it was my turn to not skip, and I yelped and ran screaming drop it drop it drop it.

It was that small moment after admonishing repeatedly how there was not to be picking up spiders unless daddy was there that was a turning point for my son. He now is afraid of spiders and they are everywhere and to be blamed for everything. He stubbed his little toe and when I asked him how it happened he told me a spider made him do it. I try really hard to not just roll laughing at that point. I realize two things very clearly now. 1) I failed in an epic way at not transferring my fears. and 2) the spiders that live around my house are very organized and are responsible for a lot of mischief. My darling boy now has the best cop out ever when asked what happened. Those darn ol spiders did it.

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Pampering Yourself

By June 4, 2017 What I love this week!

I am not a big girlie girl. I grew up camping, riding motor cycles, playing in the dirt, and building forts. Don’t get me wrong, I had my Barbie dolls and my stuffed animals and my dress up gear. As I grew up, I found I needed very little makeup, and was not that into the latest fashions. I do so love however to pamper myself in the areas of hair care and lotions and nails. I especially fell in love with Perfectly Posh products.

I absolutely love everything I try from them. I use their soaps, moisturizers, hand lotions, body butters, foot scrubs, and my most recent love is their End Mend!! I have crazy thick hair. I also have a toddler who happens to embody the spirit of a tiny T-Rex. To say my hair gets to be a tangled mess is sometimes the understatement of the century. I used all kinds of things. Coconut oil, argon Oil, Johnson and Johnson detanglers. Nothing made me feel like the world had been set aright, until my sister gave me a sample of end mend.

My sister sells Posh products, its kinda like being related to a crack dealer. She sends me things to try and then I’m hooked. End Mend is my love, its my hair heroin . You spritz it in on your damp hair, and I literally wait like a minute. The amount of time for me to put the bottle down, answer where Lightening McQueen is located and grab my brush. My brush glides through my hair. I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but seriously Ice-capades looks clunky next to this glide. The beauty is, it lasts,  I wash my hair every other day and I love how my hair has barely any tangles in it day two, and if by chance there is one, it takes no time to ease it out.

There are few things in my hair regime, seriously it is pretty sad that my hubby has more hair products than I do, but this, this is put on a pedestal. I share my morning routines with Little T, and he gets lotion, and moisturizers, and his hair did, but he absolutely doesn’t get mommy’s end mend.

If you have hair that tangles easy, be it thin or thick, I so would give it a try here and look under their products. You could also check out the other new love of mine, their absolute passion coconut oil! Just saying 😉 take some time to pamper yourself, and the beauty of the Perfectly Posh company is everything is $25 and under!! You can enjoy all the pampering for a great price and know its natural and good for you too!

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When your husband compares you to a knock off Monet, you still can’t kill him

By May 15, 2017 Family Life

My darling Apatosaurus hubby is sometimes the most over the top romantic man in the world. After knowing how much I deeply loved the movie The Notebook,  he wrote me a letter a day when I went on a trip and then wrapped them in a blue ribbon. When he proposed he spent an entire day recreating all kinds of things we did as children and then purposed to me on the very school playground we played on together as children.

Ok, let’s admit it, that was pretty awesome right. Now fast forward  a few years into marriage.  As a mom, a self employed gal, and wife. Sometimes I have days were the weight of the world is a terrible feeling. I look to my romantic husband to tell me I am still as breath taking and mind blowingly beautiful as the day he married me. However, on such a day a few days ago, my beloved spouse looked at me and told me, and I quote, ” Babe you are very aesthetically pleasing.” I won’t lie, my jaw dropped and I gaped at him for a whole moment. 

Somewhere in his mind he actually thought this was a compliment. In my mind I felt like I had been slapped and hung upon a dentist’s lobby wall. Aesthetically pleasing! I think what he said sank in as he turned and looked at my appalled expression, and then it really sank in when I then told him what a butt he was for comparing me to a knock off Monet painting. He laughed at me. He brushed my hair back and smiled, pulled me into a nice hug and here, here is where I thought he was about to remedy the situation, NOPE! He tells me not only am I aesthetically pleasing, but I have a tolerable personality. Then planting a small kiss upon my cheek he asked me what we were having for dinner.

Let me give you a heads up gentlemen, when women have days were they are drowning in life and they need you to be their knight and their cloud of happiness, do not look at them and tell them they are as pleasing as a houseplant.  It will not give the results that you are looking for. It will result in a wife who wants to clobber you for a good few days. Instead trying telling her things like, she’s as marvelous as a sunset, as breath taking as waves on the ocean. Compare her to flowers or something lovely, anything but a houseplant in the corner of the room or a solemn painting on a wall in the doctors office.

My husband did manage to survive the rest of the night, he has since made it a point to tell me weekly how absolutely aesthetically pleasing I am. He does so with a wicked smile, but has managed to tell me he thinks I am lovely , at least more so than a houseplant.

 

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A Little birdie for Spring.

By May 4, 2017 Crafty Us!

I love being crafty. I think sometimes I look for reasons to have to go to the craft store. I have stashes of yarn, crayons, paint, glue, fabric, pens. You name it, I probably have it. I even went out and bought a heat gun and I do not emboss, I did make some amazing paintings with it though.

When it comes to my little Rex I do all I can to keep him rounded out and part of that is doing hands on crafts together. Spring is trying to peek its sleepy little head up and the birds are making their way into the yard and I thought , ” Oh its time to do some spring crafts!” Enter my sweet little birdie.

I love things where kids can get creative, and I love animals so this just made sense. I gathered all my things together and then realized, my toddler T-Rex was not going to be able to make the pom pom, but it was a small price to pay, because he could do the rest. Hence I set about making pom poms! We have a fabulous little gadget that makes them for you ( found here Hobby Lobby Pom Pom Makers), but if you wanted to go truly old school, you could use two pieces of cardboard and get the same effect.

I love them and they are pretty easy to use. Once I was wrapped. I hooked them together and snipped around the middle. Then, I put my yarn strand I use to tie the pom pom together, through the middle and tied it as tight as I could without breaking the yarn. I have a thing about pom poms coming apart on me, so I get a little obsessive at times. But I make dang good pom poms!

Now I gathered together my other implements of creation and sat down with Mr. T and showed him my bird. I told him about birds, and how in spring they come back to our area and have baby birds, and went over all the parts of a bird and where they go. His cousins were there, and it was a fun fest of naming beaks, eyes, wings, and then all of us yelling, ” I did it! I win!” We are, apparently, a very excitable bunch. I dispensed all the bits and pieces out to the kiddos, and then asked questions and pointed to my bird to help them get body placement right… close to right.

I ended up with 3 of the cutest birds who may or may not be able to make it in the wild! They had so much fun and loved to look at their baby birds! I mean… check these guys out. How could you not just love them! Heads up, mine is the one that is multi-colored.

I couldn’t be more pleased with our new hatch-lings. I hope you give it a try! Here are the supplies and step by steps for you!

Supplies.

  • yarn
  • pom pom maker ( or your cardboard made one!)
  • googly eyes
  • pipe cleaners
  • glue
  • foam sheets
  1. Pick out your favorite bird colored yarn, let them get creative! Then begin to wind the pom pom maker.
  2. Once you have made your pom pom, trim up any wayward strands and decide on the best side for your little birdie face.
  3. Using the googly eyes, dip them in the glue to coat the back and place them where you think it will be best for your little birdie to see the world!
  4. taking your foam sheet, cut a triangle from it and place the long edge in the glue. Then nestle the beak below the eyes.
  5. Now the fun part. Take the pipe cleaners and fold them in half. I put my finger tip in the loop at the bottom and give it a couple good twists. then I angle the stem to make a foot/leg like this

6. Take another pipe cleaner and shape your wings. You can shape them however you like, we went with the three loops because, well we did. Who truly knows why!

7. Dip the stems into the glue and then push them into the yarn and snuggle the yarn around the stems.

We left our birdies on the counter to dry for a little over an hour before I let them handle the birds. Then, we had fun finding places that they would nest in the house. Mine took up residency in a fern, well just for a bit. Now he sits on my desk with my son’s and they watch me.

Have fun and enjoy the delight these little guys will bring to your little guys!

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Feel a little lift.

By May 2, 2017 Crafty Us!, Family Life

There are days where we all need a little lift. We need something to just make us grin if even for just a bit. When you have kids, if that lift also helps them to develop their gross motor skills, and some social skills, it makes it that much better.

My son is super fortunate to be part of a program called Parents as Teachers. We get to meet with a specialist once every two weeks and we do activities and learning activities that promote growth, exploration, and developing. I love it. He loves it. He always looks forward to the visit and whatever fun new thing we will be making and doing. Mostly because mom then keeps that activity going for a very long.

On of our long standing favorites is the balloons from the door way activity. I think it has a much more fanciful name, something witty and cute. I call like like I see it, and right now I see three balloons hanging from my door ways. It is a great activity because it truly does make them work on their gross motor skills. A big part of the activity is being able to navigate a hand eye coordination. Being able to bounce the balloon off one hand or paddle, and hit it consistently is a big deal, and we have lots of cheering and ” I did it!” happening when we are playing.

Socially we all practice taking turns or helping each other without pushing shoving, being ornery to each other in general. They have to say please, thank you, excuse me. It is adorable to no end to hear these teeny little guys use such sweet manners. It also helps them to learn to be supportive. One of my older kiddos looked at the little ones and while patting him on the back said , ” It’s ok, you can do it.” and cheered him on to try again. Empathy! They are learning empathy!!

You only need 3 things to do it to. If you have kids I am almost positive you have these in the house or are super close to having them there. And if you want to get super fancy, you need just 2 more.

  • Yarn- for hanging your lovely balloons
  • Tape- they gotta stick up there somehow right! I use both painters tape and duct tape depending on where you are hanging them and how active your kiddo is with the balloons.
  • BALLOONS!! yes we get that excited over balloons at my house.

Now if you want to get super fancy you grab a paper plate and a paint stick. You tape the two of those together and you have a paddle to help your little one learn hand eye coordination to hit the balloon. Having the balloon in the doorway also helps your house not be beaten into oblivion with a homemade paddle as well. Its contained fun! Once they get really good at bouncing the balloon in place, then you can feel brave and remove the yarn and have a whole new adventure.

It is amazing how the kids love this activity. I leave the balloons up for a while and they will naturally go and start creating their own games, and having to take turns. I have different colors of balloons so we can work on the names of the colors as well. I love how versatile this is in teaching the little ones so many different things. I also love that when the kids are not paying attention, every adult in my house plays with them too. Especially since one hangs in the bathroom doorway. The exit from the restroom has never been more entertaining.

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Foam Color Painting

By April 21, 2017 Crafty Us!

I love color. The brighter it is the better. I love animal print too, but that’s another day’s adventure. Today however, it was bright color, and something that smells good while you are doing it. I painted a mug with shaving cream! Insert squealing and happy dance here. I was so excited. I love marbling papers with shaving cream and food coloring, but I wanted more. I’m craft greedy. I needed to reach up and grab hold of the next ledge of shaving. With a wicked grin and a can of shaving cream I searched for and found my acrylic paints and a soup mug.

 

I assembled my finds on the counter and then realized, I needed a container that would hold the shaving cream and allow me to dip in a soup mug without overflowing and allowing my floor and counter to become a victim to a drive by painting. When feeling creative, one reaches out for creative things, I used an empty ice cream container. It was perfect!! I love the fact that its square, that makes it easier to work with somehow, I felt like I could manuver better anyway. Find your container that allows you to move the piece and not feel like you are constantly having to be super careful .

Once I had my amazing work station all ready, I loaded it up with the shaving cream. Yes I did sing the shaving cream song. How do you not when you are using shaving cream. If you have no idea what the shaving cream song is look up on YouTube the Dr. Demento Shaving cream song. You’re welcome for getting that stuck in your head.

After my fluffy pit was the perfect depth for dunking ( about 1/2 inch to 1″ deep) , I picked out my colors. I chose the colors from our wedding, I was being all mushy that day since my darling hubby was home. I used drops, I didn’t just squirt it in. I placed my dots around in there in a semi-random, semi-organized manner. Then I took my tooth pick and I began the same steps to marble paper, the swirls and twirls were fun to do.

If you have ever watched finger printing being done, that’s the method I used, I started on one side and gingerly rolled it to the other. I won’t lie when I picked it up it was a fluffy colorful mess! I let it set out over night and in the morning I knew I had to set it somehow. I got out the Google and did what any person does now a days and I looked it up. Over on Daycare.com they had an article on how to set acrylic paint on ceramic. I reasoned, I used acrylic paint so it made sense to use this method.

I turned my oven on to 375 degrees. I placed my mug upside down on a cookie sheet. I then slid that bad boy in the oven. Now if I recall they said it should bake for like 20 minutes or so. Lesson learned by me and passed on to you, shaving cream in the mix makes that time a lot less. I think we went 13 minutes and the house was filling with a soft haze. After shutting off the oven and opening a few windows, I danced like a toddler at the oven. The shaving cream had , hmm melted I guess and the bright vivid colors and swirls had molded to the mug, I left the oven door a crack and let the oven and the mug slowly cool down.

When my mug was all cool, I looked it over for any spots that may need attention. I found a couple spots where there had been no color, so there was a slight oil left behind. I gentle wiped it away and then set about sealing my mug. Now here I will tell you, there is no food safe sealer. You cannot seal any area where you are going to have contact with it like eating and drinking from it. Again, my hard lesson learned ( my soup mug is now a lovely planter.) I used Mod Podge. After applying 3 coats, my beautiful masterpiece was complete. It now holds my lovely little carnation and I can’t help but grin every time I look at it. Now I have to make one for me to actually use!!

 

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