Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 First Sentence Recap

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Last year, I did a year end recap of my blog posts ~ just posting the first sentence of first blog post from each month. Each title is lined to the post itself ~ you know, in case you are sucked in and have to read more! :) Again…I cheated on a couple, because one {or two} were either giveaways {and who wants to be reminded that they didn’t win?}…but it’s all for fun!

When singing the praises of the Hope diamond to your children, one should remember the interpretation of the word "huge".

February ~ Ka-Bub TaDa!

We're trying to get Kaleb to tell us his name and since he knows and says the names of everyone else, we figured he should pick it up quickly.

Zachary was sitting at the table writing and asked the girls, "What's Mommy's middle name?"

Since I was alone for some of our time in Puerto Rico (Rick had to work), it was just me and the camera ~ and self portraits aren't my thing.

Somewhere in the back of my mind there is always the thought that when I have my quiet time it must be just that: QUIET. No distractions. Nothing.

I fell off of Jillian's Shred wagon.

While I'm trying to fall asleep at night I have all these lovely, wonderful and witty ideas for posts swimming around in my head.

In case you were wondering, the back of the Goo Gone bottle is not a place for uplifting and encouraging writing.

Rick and I found a discount coupon for a nearby water park and were debating about taking the kids because of the cost. We had measured the kids to see what price range they fell into and realized Kaleb would be the only one to go at a discounted rate.

Days before we were heading to the U2 360 tour, there was a little back and forth Facebook banter between my friend Crystal and me about our excitement in going to the concert.


A reader emailed me recently and asked why I have two blogs and truthfully, it's a really good question.

Well, ok. Really he has changed a lot.

After writing this post, I found a 2009 Blog Recap Carnival over at Musings of a Housewife, so I’m joining up ~ since it was already done! :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Santa Gets NO Cookies!

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cookies for Santa
We were getting ready to put out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve and Kaleb came into the kitchen and started talking to me:
K: Santa gets NO cookies! They’re OUR cookies. He has his food.
{a little possessive of all those yummy cookies we were baking…}
Later Kaleb came back into the kitchen and pointed to one of the cookie containers on the counter.
K: Santa can have those cookies.
Me: Why those?
K: ‘Cause I don’t like those cookies. I like these cookies.
Poor Santa…
Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Fall Into Reading 2009 ~ The Wrap-up

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Over the last few months I’ve been busy reading whenever I have a spare moment, actually reading a few of the books on my list but completely going off on a tangent for the most part. Overall, I’m pretty happy with what I was able to read, even though I missed a few that I had wanted to finish up.

My favorite book? I really enjoyed the first book I read by Philip Gulley {literally made me laugh out loud} and I am looking forward to reading more from him. I am SO glad that I got around to reading the first two books in the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. I cried when finishing up the second one yesterday!

If you are a young mom {or even a seasoned one!} pick up the book Blue Like Playdough by Tricia Goyer. That book had some wonderful little nuggets in it {link to the full review is below}.

I’ve included the list of the books that I actually DID finish. If you are interested in seeing my original list {with a ridiculous amount of books to read} you can see that here. The titles below link up to the reviews/posts that I did on some of the books {in case you want to know more about the book}.

Finished non-fiction list:
  1. Blue Like Playdough by Tricia Goyer

  2. 25 Days, 26 Ways by Ace Collins

Finished fiction list:
  1. Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley

  2. Dawn’s Prelude by Tracie Peterson

  3. The Carousel Painter by Judith Miller

  4. Farraday Road by Ace Collins

  5. Swope’s Ridge by Ace Collins

  6. Watch Over Me by Christa Parrish

  7. A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers

  8. An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers

  9. The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis {read with the kids}

Still in Process:
  1. Beautiful in God’s Eyes ~ Elizabeth George {1/4 finished}

  2. Closer: Devotions to Draw Couples Together ~ Jim and Cathy Burns {a few weeks into a 52 week study}

  3. The Heart of Anger ~ Lou Priolo {1/4 finished}

Don’t forget to visit some other ladies that participated in the Fall Into Reading Challenge and see what they were up too!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Queen of the Road

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Yesterday I did something so incredibly fun and exciting. And when you hear what it is…you’ll probably think that I am completely off my rocker.

No, really you will.

I was helping my brother move {that’s not the exciting part} and was in charge of getting the rental truck. And driving it. All 26’ feet of it.

There is something exhilarating about driving a piece of machinery that large. Next to little cars. Down steep hills and then successfully maneuvering it BACKING UP without causing damage to the truck or any other object.

Well, unless you count that tree branch, but since it didn’t complain, we won’t talk about it.

I am proud {yes, PROUD} to say that I handled that big baby well and only wish that my husband would have been around to see me…or that someone would have had a camera as proof that I did it.  I know that it seems like something insignificant, but apparently a big box truck with air brakes…well, that gets me excited.

I’m easy to please…and off in search of someone to let me ride in an 18 wheeler next. How pitiful am I?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Caught RED handed

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Zachary kept coming to me, saying his hand was bleeding and I couldn’t figure out what in the world was going on. Everytime I would look at his hand, the red would wipe away easily enough there weren’t any visible scratches, so I would send him off on his merry little way.

Later in the morning I was cleaning up in the kitchen and looked down at the fronts of my white cupboards and saw a child-sized red hand print smeared down the cabinet front. I stopped in my tracks and then a little light-bulb went on in my head.


I opened the freezer and checked the shelf with our frozen strawberries and noticed that the bag was suspiciously open. I hunted down Zachary and asked,

“Zachary. Were you in the freezer this morning?”

His answer?

“Why would I be in the strawberries?”

Busted, boyfriend.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Handbell Strikeforce

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If you need a good laugh today, you should head over to YouTube and check out some of the videos from Improv Everywhere. This one is GREAT for the holidays!

Can you imagine being the poor guy ringing the Salvation Army bell? :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fancy Words = Higher Prices

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I’ve come to a conclusion on bedroom comforters and accessories. If the name sounds ‘fancy’ enough, the company feels the need to charge more.

Take for example the difference between a ‘comforter’ and a ‘duvet’. Which one sounds fancier? Which one costs more?

Which one is basically two sheets sewn together that you have to shove another expensive blanket into?

Over the last few months I’ve been looking for a new duvet cover, finding little that I liked and even less-so in the price department. I would find entire comforter sets for decent prices and then a plain and boring duvet cover for double {or triple} the price.

So I gave up on searching for my fancy cover. Instead, I found a comforter set that was exactly what I wanted, got brave, and started pulling it apart ~ one stitch at a time. After the stitching on one end was removed and all the fill was yanked out {and strewn across my living room by my kiddos} ~ the end result is a LOVELY {much cheaper} duvet cover.


Mind you, that isn’t MY bed...yet. But the new cover is on our bed as a little surprise for my husband when he gets home from a work trip later this week.

Surprise in the sense that his vacation time next week will involve a trip to the paint store for some primer and a gallon of paint…to go along with our altered duvet cover.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dear Santa {Take Two}

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Not to be left without Christmas goodies, McKenna also sat down to write her own letter to Santa. All spelling {including use of parentheses} is her own. :)

My Cristmas list

~ A pair of slippers

~ A Hearts club horse {black} ~ I want this the most

~ A Genaration Doll horse, Motercicle

~ Anna’s sisster {Heart’s club}

~ Gift card werth 22 dolers {to buy Sunny}

{Sunny is a Genaration doll}

~Cristmis movie

~ New ballay soot

The sweetest part of this list? McKenna got a new Generation doll recently for the tooth loss, and now she wants the gift card to buy Laurianna a doll.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dear Santa

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This was the list that Laurianna worked so hard on the other day. All spelling and cross-outs are copied from the list.

Dear Santa Clause,

I hope you won’t feel bad if you can’t g I like anything I get, it doesn’t matter to me.

Love, Laurianna

My Cristmas list

~ A Pair of slippers {I would like this the most}

~ A Genaration Doll horse, motercicle or bed

~ A hearts club horse {white}

~ A weaving loom

~ A pack of elastic pony tails or head bands for myself

~ A charm bracalet

~ A wonderful day

Saturday, December 12, 2009

25 Days, 26 Ways {Book Review}

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image Not too long ago I read a few fiction books by Ace Collins {Farraday Road and Swope’s Ridge} and got completely hooked on his fiction. Enough that I am anxiously waiting for the conclusion of the trilogy.

For the Christmas season, Ace Collins has released a new book that focuses on ways to put the JOY back in Christmas: 25 Days, 26 Ways To Make This Your Best Christmas Ever. Each of the twenty-six chapters in the book shares ideas for looking at holiday traditions, frustrations, and expectations and making Christmas what it should be ~ a time of peace and focus on Christ.

I’ve been reading the book daily and love the insights and perspective that Collins offers. It’s been a great encouragement and way to refocus my perspective each morning. At the end of each chapter there is a little ‘shortcut’ that provides an idea on how you can apply the topic of the day. Chapters cover topics on the meaning of old Christmas carols, the significance behind the Magi's gifts to Jesus, Advent, and preserving the holidays. The daily readings are quick and a great start to my morning quiet time. This is one book that I will be keeping handy each Christmas season for a reminder on the important things in life.

Other books collecting dust sitting on my nightstand

Be sure to stop by and visit 5 Minutes for Books and their monthly meme called "What's on Your Nightstand?" and also the Saturday Review.

This books was given to me by Zondervan for review purposes. I did not purchase this book. All opinions expressed in this post are solely mine.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Glorify ~ John Mandeville

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John has been working on the video for his single “Glorify” and it released officially on Friday. Just wanted to share it with you all!

He also has new Christmas single "Christmas is You" that is playing on the radio now and available on his website. LOVE it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Peppermint Meringues {Recipes}

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Holiday baking officially started this week and I tried out something new. I’m a huge fan of peppermint and chocolate, and they went together so WONDERFULLY in this light and airy cookie.

Peppermint Meringues


~ 2 egg whites {room temperature}
~ 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
~ 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
~ 3/4 cup sugar
~ 1/8 tsp. salt
~ 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
~ 4-6 drops of food coloring
~ 6 oz. mini chocolate chips

  1. Combine room temperature egg whites and peppermint extract; beat until foamy.
  2. Gradually add sugar, a little at a time, beating until stiff peaks form {do not underbeat eggs}.
  3. Fold in food coloring and chocolate chips.
  4. Drop cookie mix by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets.
  5. Bake at 300 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until dry and set {cookies shouldn’t brown}.
  6. Cool on wire racks.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Proper Word Use Works Every Time

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As I was pulling the last of our schoolwork together for the morning, Zachary came into the kitchen holding his Leapster.

“Mom. Is it okay if I sit in the living room for a little bit and play my Leapster? It has educational games on it.”

My response?

“Absolutely! Go tell the girls to get theirs out and sit on the couch to play.”

I’m thinking if my kindergartener can use the word ‘educational’ appropriately in a sentence, he’s due for a little free time. Am I right?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jotham's Journey Giveaway

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If you are looking for a great Advent book to read with your family, head over to my other blog Homeschool Creations right now for a giveaway of two books in the Jotham's Journey series!! It's a part of my 1,500 subscriber celebration!

Giveaway ends on Monday, December 14th at 8pm.

Homeschool Snow Break

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Snow isn't something that generally accumulates for long where we live, so ANY snowfall is met with squeals of excitement and kids wondering if they can play outside constantly. This weekend we had almost six inches and there is a great kid-sized hill right behind our house ~ perfect for sledding.

As we were sitting doing schoolwork this morning the kids kept asking, "When can we go sledding? Can we go now?" I had our day all planned out and was prepared to stick to my plans and then realized the snow isn't going to be here forever ~ the schoolwork can wait! So Mommy declared a ‘Snow Break’ and we all trekked outside to enjoy the last little bit of it!

And after all is said and done ~ and the pictures are uploaded to the computer, how could I have even THOUGHT of making them stay inside instead of having them sled without a sled…


or watching someone step out in a brave and daring new way…


Or just looking so lop-sided cute, you want to kiss him?


Or seeing cute little pinchable pink cheeks…


And realizing that they are growing up way too fast right before your eyes…


An hour just isn’t enough, really. Next time, it needs to be a whole day.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Why Fake Trees are the BEST Trees

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I grew up with the wonderful tradition of cutting down our own trees…hiking through snow up to our knees in search of that perfect one.

When really after 3 hours of cold, wet snow – anything will do.

Rick and I decided our first year of marriage to continue in that tradition and envisioned many happy years of visiting the tree farm, or trekking out in the woods to pick out our family tree. So our first Christmas, we decided to visit our local tree farm in search of the perfect tree.

It had been an unusually warm fall/winter season, which should have our first indicator to prepare for some….well, company. We found a lovely 8 foot tree and cut the tree, had it shaken to make sure any dead needles {and possible critters} fell out, strapped the tree onto our car and traveled home to decorate our beautiful find.

Bliss, I tell you. Pure bliss.

Almost one week went by with our lovely tree fully decorated in our living room, white lights twinkling. One night before I was getting in bed, I saw a strange shadow – almost a flicker, on the wall. It looked like a wisp of smoke. I quickly ran to the tree, searched and sniffed it, but didn’t see any fire.

But I did see a teeny, tiny bug. So very cute.

And then I saw all of his brothers and sisters emerging from the center of the tree. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Baby praying mantis’ had hatched from our tree and were crawling out to sit and warm on the white lights of the tree.

Sweet, no?

My husband and I quickly yanked all the ornaments and lights off the tree and threw it outside onto the deck and we pulled the vacuum cleaner out to madly suck up all the little critters that were now climbing the walls to our vaulted ceiling – towards the warmer air. We were standing on the back of the couch, trying desperately to reach the ones that were high, high up. Protected species or not, those critters were getting out of my house!

We later found some “safe” pesticides, sprayed the tree down and let it stay nice and cold outside for a few days. We removed the rest of the nest and then brought the tree back inside to decorate it. Again.

Two days later, another nest hatched.

We were pros at stripping a tree, so it landed on the deck in record time and we didn’t even bother taking the lights off this time. We just figured the neighbor’s kids would love the sight and bought new lights and a pre-cut tree that year.

Despite the fact that I pictured our family taking an annual trip to the tree farm, we now make an annual trip…to our basement. To pull out our beautiful pre-lit 8 foot tree. Which can be put together in less than 5 minutes.

No bugs included.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Losing My Mind...

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Shockingly, this post has nothing to do with any of my children. They weren't even nearby when I felt like I might lose it.

How odd is that?

I went out by myself to run some errands yesterday, had finished up at one store and walked out in the parking lot and promptly panicked. Seriously panicked. I was looking right at the row where I had pulled in and parked ~ and my van wasn't there.

I stood on the sidewalk and literally felt sick to my stomach. I knew I hadn't locked up, so my mind began racing as I thought about the call I was going to have to make to my husband to explain how our van had gone missing in the twenty minutes I was in the store.

I pulled out my phone and started dialing....and realized a few seconds later that our van wasn't missing after all. I was staring at our CAR. The van was sitting at home in our driveway, right where I left it.


I'm convinced that this somehow all ties into our children though....

{Not-so} Itty-Bitty Giveaway!!

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The Itty-Bitty Giveaway!!

I have a fun giveaway going on over at my other blog Homeschool Creations right now for a full year of Itty-Bitty Bookworm's curriculum!! It's a part of my 1,500 subscriber celebration!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, December 12th at 8pm.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mom of 4 = Dependability

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I did something recently that a day later made me question my sanity.

I answered an ad on Craigs*list.

Someone was asking for a ‘photographer’ at a birthday party and since I enjoy taking pictures and am in need of a new camera because of Son #1, any extra cash will help with that purchase.

After emailing and saying I was interested in helping out I started questioning how wise of a decision that was. At that point I didn’t know...

a) where the party was, or

b) anyone that was attending, or

c) if there was a mass-murderer involved.

You know, the little details...

I started a string of emails back and forth with the lady who had posted the ad and ended up calling her to talk ‘in person’. She was a little wary of the whole Craigs*list too, but rather relieved after getting my emails and some links to pictures I’d taken on my blog. She had several other emails from some local college kids, but decided to ask me instead.

Why? Because I was a mom with four kids {and apparently there is a level of sanity in that}.

The humorous part? She was worried that one of the college kids might get a better offer on a Saturday night…but knew that I, as a mom of 4, would most likely be ready to escape help out. I got ‘hired’ because I’m a mom.

All I have to say is ~ I’ll be there. And depending on my day, I might even be early!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

He Hasn’t Changed One Bit…

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Well, ok. Really he has changed a lot. But as I was going through some of the pictures from Kaleb’s birthday party last week, one of them just made me laugh and reminded me of a picture from a few years ago.

There's just a common thread between this…


and this..

Kaleb First Birthday 052

The little man most certainly has a love for cake. Chocolate cake to be specific. Granted there is a lot less mess in the top picture {well, initially there was…}, but that boy knows how to savor every last little morsel of what he loves.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Scared Awake

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A few weeks ago I broke a tie with something that I've had for the past 20 years. I'd been putting it off for months...okay, years really, and finally maneuvered my way around the aisles of Walmart to buy myself a replacement.

What did I hold so dearly? My alarm clock.

Dumb, I know, but I've had that clock since high school and sadly, it looked like it had been in my possession that long. Somewhere along the way pieces of it had broken off and it was really more of an eyesore than a working object.

The problem? I'm now under the firm opinion that Walmart needs to have a 'testing' area where you can try out a few of the clock's features before bringing home your new little one.

A few days ago I set the alarm for the first time and I'm not kidding you when I say that I almost fell out of bed when the alarm went off. I could seriously have the clock in our basement and hear it perfectly well when the alarm goes off. Even if all the doors were shut.

It is THAT loud.

Usually Rick wakes me up in the morning, but on the mornings when he goes into work early, I'm really not all that interested in being scared awake. Truly.

And if that isn't bad enough, the alarm has started going off even when it's not SET. It's all a little freaky if you ask me.

Apparently I wasted that whopping $5.97 that I spent. Before you say it, I know...I went all crazy-like buying the best, so what do I expect?

I expect I'll be taking another trip to the store today and finding myself a new addition for my nightstand....and probably spending a little more money this time around.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bribery Will Get You Everywhere

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Despite the fact of being of sound mind, I am hereby admitting full guilt to the following: Outright bribery.

The reason? Possible tooth extraction

The culprit? Miss McKenna

The bribe? A doll

McKenna’s two front teeth have been very loose and she is unfortunately on the other side of bravery when it comes to wiggling and twisting. Her two permanent teeth were already coming in {and down} and due to lack of space were showing remarkable potential for some major future dental work.

The dentist gave us two options ~ two teeth out in a week by wiggling or schedule an extraction for both to the tune of $280.

Because I am cheap a smart mom, we opted the route of bribery and told her if she could get the two teeth out SOON, we’d take a trip to buy a lovely doll at Target.

The result? A savings of about $250 and a very happy, toothless little girl.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Birthday Happiness

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This is from a few weeks ago, but I just uploaded all of McKenna’s birthday pics and found this one ~ and it was just too cute not to share!


How can you not love that face?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Complimenting the Inner Mii

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The kids have discovered that they can change their Mii’s on the Wii console and have been having a blast changing everything on their little look-alikes and making them more like little wanna-be’s.

Laurianna was fiddling around with hers and the kids were ooh-ing and aah-ing over her choices. Zachary so sweetly said to Laurianna ~ “Laurianna, you look really pretty with eye shadow on.”

Just made me laugh out loud because it’s a Mii! :)

Zachary came running into the kitchen the other day all excited.

“Mom! Did you know my underwear has pockets???”

He then proceeded to drop his pants and show me the ‘pocket’ in his underwear.

And I tried ever-so-hard not to laugh.

Especially since the boy has been wearing underwear for over TWO YEARS and just realized the ‘pockets’ were there.

Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Friend Makin’ Mondays ~ Thanksgiving

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It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in Friend Makin’ Monday, but I had a few extra minutes this morning and the topic was a quick and easy one. Can you guess? Thanksgiving!!

Amber at {aefilkins} is hosting and had a list of questions for us today.

1. Turkey or Ham?

Usually just turkey ~ and the ham is for Christmas. But I just got a phone call and apparently we’re having both this year. :)

2. Favorite side dish.

Hands down sweet potato casserole. With marshmallows. And chopped up pecans….why we don’t have it more often is beyond me.

3. Favorite dessert.

Pecan pie, but it’s not on the menu this year. Which is probably better for me anyway.

4. Black Friday: Are you going or not?

Absolutely not. I am not fond of crowds. Or fighting with people. Or getting up before the sun does. I try to get my shopping done over the course of the year.

5. If so, what's on the top of your list?


6. Going out of town or staying close to home?

Very close to home ~ my dining room.

7. Hosting or helping?

Hosting and happy to do so!

8. Name one family tradition at Thanksgiving.

Lately we’ve been watching the parade with the kids since they are fascinated by it. I plan to sneak a few games in this year too!

9. What do you do after dinner?

Does recuperate count?

10. What are you most thankful for this year?

More of our family is nearby this year which is a HUGE blessing. Every day I am reminded more and more of all that God has blessed our family with ~ especially these four little kiddos!

Be sure to visit Amber to hang out and make some new friends!

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