Manic Monday- Pampered Chef

Get ready for shameless self promotion.  I admit it.  But, I don’t sell or stand behind anything I don’t love.  I love Pampered Chef, and I am a consultant for a second time.  This time, I am not in school, cook daily, bake professionally and want to find something to take me to the next phase of my life.  Plus, I want to get a discount on something I love.  I love these products.  All of them.

Which are my favorite?  I love the mandolin.  It is dangerous and I have twice gotten more in my salad than I planned, but that way my own dumb self not using the food holder and showing off.  But, it makes amazing slices for chips, salads, soups, stews, and something I use daily.  Yes, it is pricy, but it is worth every penny.  I would invest in a safety glove for the pieces that are too big for the food holder.  Those are the pieces that got me.  Doh!  But, lesson learned and it is a gadget that never gets put away.  There are four different blades, the V-shaped blade is my fav, followed by the grater.

The manual food processor is my new must have.  It is perfect for baby foods, salsas, and chopping onions without the tears.  Lub it.  I can coarsely chop veggies and my kids can finish the chop to mince.  Cooking is a family event in our home, and now the kids can safely be involved.  And, they want to help when the gadget is this cool!

I don’t think Jeff is as pumped about my new job as I am.  He knows that I am a sucker for anything kitchen related.  He knows that I like to test what I sell.  And, he knows that I can’t be talked out of good kitchen gear.  Have a question about an item?  I can probably answer it based on my 10+ year history using these items.  Want to see and try before buying?  Holla and I’ll come cook for you and do a demo.  I love to cook, love to chat and would love to do your Pampered Chef party.

Daily Prayer:  Dear God, please bless me with clarity of my head.  I pray that you help alleviate my Jan/Feb allergies.

Daily Thanksgiving:  I am thankful I am not in Austin or San Antonio right now where I am sure the cedar is outrageous.

Kardashian Kash:  All organic vitamins.  I’d spare no expense for health food and supplements.

Happiness Project:  So in Feb, I am continuing my no wheat and adding no sugar, except for one cheat day a week.  Today is milk shake Monday and I said no.  I didn’t even have a sip of Eastons, nor did I eat a single Raisinette that the kids ate for dessert.  What does that have to do with happiness?  It will help me lose my last bit of baby weight and get to a new level of health.

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Day:  Lime- lime cookies filled with a cream cheese and lime curd filling.  MMMMMMM!




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Foodie Friday- High Fructose Corn Syrup

I’ve known for awhile that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is bad for you, despite what the corn industry says, but I didn’t know how to explain it.  It is hard for me to tell my family why they can’t have certain treats anymore, or to convince my husband to read a label to check for HFCS.  Why is it important to chose sugar over HFCS if you are going to consume something with sweetener?  Sugar is sugar, right?  Wrong!

According to, “(fructose and grains) affect the hormone insulin, which is a very potent fat regulator. Fats and proteins affect insulin to a far lesser degree.”  Furthermore, Dr. Mercola says, “research by Dr. Richard Johnson, chief of the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension at the University of Colorado and author of The Sugar Fix and The Fat Switch, demonstrates that large portions of food and too little exercise are NOT solely responsible for why you are gaining weight. Rather it’s fructose-containing sugars that cause obesity – not by calories, but by turning on your “fat switch,” a powerful biological adaptation that causes cells to accumulate fat in anticipation of scarcity (or hibernation).”

Not only does HFCS affect insulin, but it is largely produced from genetically modified corn.  This corn is created to be “Round Up Ready”, meaning it is genetically built to have pesticide as a part of its DNA.  In other words, no amount of vinegar or fruit and veggie cleanser will rinse away the pesticides on GMO produce.  It is in its DNA.  Gross, not something I want to consume.  Further more, if GMO produce isn’t produced for human consumption, it is produced for animal feed.  Either way, it ends up in our food supply.   The high price of organic grass fed beef doesn’t sound so bad, anymore.

Have you really read your food labels, lately?  It is pretty scary.  Almost all baby food, from yogurt to the little finger foods, to cereal, to fruit bars all contain HFCS.   And, this ingredient is usually one of the top three, meaning it is the biggest ingredient in the product.  Food producers have to list their ingredients most to least.  If HFCS is the first thing listed, it is what the product is mostly made of.

So I can be a big eater if I just watch my gains and sugars?  Yes!  And so can my kids.  In January I did an experiment.  I cut out wheat to see if cutting out the grain would make a difference.  I haven’t had any HFCS in months, except when I had some Blue Bell ice cream, and I haven’t had anything artificially flavored in more than four months.  I didn’t count calories, but I did limit my processed food consumption.  I lost eight pounds doing nothing.  This month, I am going to continue, but add sugar to my list of no-nos.  Once a week I will eat like poo, but six days a week I will eat only whole foods and limit my grains and sugars.  I am excited!  I have so much more energy simply from cutting down on my grains and artificial/processed food consumption.

So what pantry items don’t have HFCS?  My baby loves graham crackers.  But it is hard finding any without going to the super expensive organic food section.  I know I should shop there, exclusively, but my budget only goes so far.  I found that Nabisco Graham Crackers don’t have HFCS or anything artificial.  Please read the labels yourself, because I have missed crucial ingredients, getting distracted by my three year old knocking down displays or the baby having a blow out in the middle of my shopping trip.  And, products’ formulas change.  But, you have to read labels on even “healthy” foods.  For example, so called healthy yogurts for babies are filled with sugars and HFCS.  Yikes!  Is anything safe?  Is there anything you don’t have to slave away and make yourself?  Yes, but you do have to read labels.  And it is a pain when you are a busy mom or dad.

It is totally worth it, though.  Watch your children’s behavior change.  Watch attention spans improve.  It is not a quick fix.  It takes a lot of work preparing foods, reading labels and spending money on a higher quality diet.  The hardest part is getting the whole family on board.  Older children complain when you don’t allow them to have soda, sports drinks or certain juices made with artificial colors, flavors and HFCS.    They will cry when you no longer buy certain chips or let them eat certain fast food.  It isn’t fair.  Husbands buy what they want, like and what’s on sale.  But when you go the whole food route, attitudes get better, grades go up, and dispositions improve.  Seriously.  That is the magic formula, all natural ingredients.  🙂

My Daily Prayer:  Thank you God for second chances.  I pray that you continue to walk with me and help me to keep my eyes on You.  AMEN!

Daily Thanksgiving:  I am thankful for Easton who thinks he spells his name “EON”.  I am thankful for Baby Q who barks at my wiener dog slippers.  I am thankful for Syd who wishes her family was normal.  I am thankful that one day she will see that normal isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.

Kardashian Kash:  I would try laser body sculpting just ’cause.

Happiness Project Update:  I am working on my stand up routine and pumped to try an open mic night in March.  Despite an over the top set back the last few weeks, I am back and back on track.

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Day:  All of our products are all natural, with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.


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Thankful Thursday- TGI Don’t Work at Friday’s Anymore

I loved working at Friday’s when I was eighteen years old.  I really learned a lot about myself that year.  I moved out of my parents’ house on a whim, my only major boyfriend left to go into the military, and I was utterly alone yet surrounded by lots of new people.  It was a real test of character, and I didn’t do so hot most of the time.  But, it was an experience that made me who I am today.  I learned how to dress more appealing.  I learned the definition of customer service.  I learned how to take care of myself.  It took a long, long time, but eventually I learned how to be happy with myself and that I am worthy of a happy, healthy relationship that wasn’t long distance.  I learned what I wanted out of life, and not what I was told that I wanted.  I really found myself.

One night at Friday’s I was shift leader.  I worked with more seasoned servers, was the youngest person waiting tables and ready to tackle anything that came my way.  I was unstoppable.  Until that night.  I had tables from hell, someone complained about my service, I continued to get double and triple sat and just couldn’t catch a break.  The manager saw my utter frustration and let me go early, replacing me with not just another shift leader, but two shift leaders.  They made leaving hellatious.  I had to do extra cleaning than normal, had tables that sat and sat and sat and wouldn’t leave, and was bullied by these two much older (probably a whopping 25-30 years old) men.  It was utter hell.  I might as well had sucked it up and just finished my leader shift.

The past two weeks have reminded me of that night, minus the flair and free dinner.  Everything that could go wrong has.  I cried at inappropriate times.  I lost my cool in a situation that I shouldn’t have.  And, it wasn’t just one facet of my life, it has been my home, financial, family, work, you name it.  Fortunately,  my relationships stayed in tact, otherwise I am not sure that I’d be able to write at all.  When I think, “this is it!  It can only go up!”, nope- a new blow.  But, unlike my night at Friday’s, I am not quitting.  The bar closes at 2 AM and I am going to persevere until the last customer walks out the door and the last chair is put up on the table.  I am going to earn my free dinner, and the chance to boss everyone else into doing their side work.  I am going to show life that it takes more than a complaint, triple seating and bullying to get me down.  I may cry and complain to my close friends, but I will keep on keeping on.

It is almost 2AM and I see the end in sight.  We have new opportunities coming our way.  I am the new Environmental Board Chairperson for my daughter’s PTA, I have new amazing friends, Jeff and I each have professional opportunities and he and I become a stronger team every day.  That is my focus.  My children do something hilarious every day.  We can laugh.  We can snuggle.  We can at least enjoy each other every evening.

I watch my tween meltdown and she thinks everything is the end of the world.  Not being eleven anymore is enough to be thankful for!  Man, that is a hard age.  I am thankful that it is almost 2AM and tomorrow is a new day.  Even if something bad happens, it really can only go up and it can also be a whole lot worse.  I have so much for which to be thankful.  I am glad I started my Happiness Project or I would have completely derailed.  It is almost 2AM and tomorrow is my day off where I can sleep all day.  That is how I recovered when I was eighteen.  Now, I get up and have a cup of coffee and watch the news knowing that I am going to have a full day filled with hilarious moments.  Even on our worst day at this house, there is something funny and memorable.  That alone is worth it.

Daily Prayer:  Thank you God for being with me.  Forgive my whining and thank you for opening my eyes to the bigger picture.  You strengthen me through these exercises and for that I am thankful (if not at the moment, I will be soon).  Please stay at the forefront of my mind and guide me down your path and not my path of whining and giving up.  AMEN!

Thanksgiving:  If I didn’t duplicate Pollo Regio’s green sauce, I made some killer green sauce that I may just drink.

Kardashian Kash:  A full family tropical vacation sounds pretty good, right now.

Happiness Project:  I have been wheat free for a full month!  I have been getting up with the alarm for the most part, pretty consistent with full hair and makeup, doing my stuff at night, and staying on the small things.  These past two weeks have been a good excuse to not do it, but although I wasn’t perfect or ideal, I did okay.  That is better than I would have been in the past.  Go me.  I am thankful for the Happiness Project.  I would be in a dark, dark place without it.

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Day:  Lady bugs!  Red velvet cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting and Twizzler antenna.


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Tuesday Pinterest- Cleaning the Microwave and Stove

My family is just now getting used to my new, crazy, hippie-like ways.  I quit using regular shampoo and now use sulfate and parabin free stuff.  No beverage in our home contains high fructose corn syrup.  I have weeded out most of the foods with artificial colors and flavors, and we’ve joined an organic veggie co-op.  The next step was to get more natural with my cleaning supplies.  My favorite is putting water with some vanilla in the microwave and letting it go for five minutes.  Or you can put vinegar water in there, if it is extra tough.  It wipes clean, smells great, and is super easy!  I tried it with the oven, and it worked pretty well, too.  Thank you Pinterest for a real chemical-free cleaning solution!

Daily Prayer:  Thank you God for giving me patience when I don’t have any.  Thank you for calming me down when I am irritated and teaching me self-control over my emotions.  AMEN!

Thanksgiving:  I am thankful for my gas fire place.  No logs, warm living room, and easy start up.  Lub it!  It makes winter not only tolerable, but enjoyable.

Kardashian Kash:  How cool would it be to have the resources and time to foster kids in need and pets!  It would be amazing to have a big enough place, the resources and time to dedicate to expanding our family.

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Day:  Red Velvet- all natural Southern staple.


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Here is a flash back- ZeroRez is my worst service of 2012.

Almost Domesticated

If you don’t know me by now, let me explain how important customer service is to me. It should be the pinnacle of any business. Everyone can offer a service or product, but the experience is what separates good companies from great. Good customer service is how we treat others the way we want to be treated. We are not perfect, but we can try. Just make a freaking effort! And, if we screw up we can fix it. I may be small potatoes to a company, but I have twenties of readers (hahaha) and a network of mommies with whom I share my experiences. Here are two experiences from this last week. One superb, the other a big fat meh! No, “meh” means that I could take or leave it. This experience I can flat out leave and urge everyone else to leave also.

Let me start with the…

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Saturday Happiness Project

This was a very successful week.  We had a set back with Syd, but she pulled herself together.  This is new.  I am SO proud of my girl.  We’ve done our nightly room check and she’s been a rock star room cleaner.  The old Syd is back.  I just may survive this tween thing after all!

I’ve lost five pounds!  My belly is noticeably flatter.  I am so excited, and I am pumped up to keep up the hard work.  Easton loves working out with me and our new Spiderman move.

I’ve been doing the little things and they’ve been paying off.  I’ll have more next week, my girl needs help with science fair.

Daily Prayer:  God, please help my Girl plan ahead a little better.  Please help strengthen my planning skills so that I may pass them on to her.  AMEN!

Thanksgiving:  I am thankful to have an adventurous family.  I am able to explore this wheat-free thing and they are going along with whatever I do without any complaint.  I don’t force it upon them, but they try my recipes.

Kardashian Kash:  How cool would it be to not have a real job?  I can’t wait to have a job that doesn’t seem like a job!

Happiness Project:  I feel a happiness movement coming on!  What have you been working on to make yourself happier?  My happiness project makes my whole family happier.

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Day:  Nutty Mommy.  Nutella is how I roll.

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Foodie Friday- Coconut Oil

So I’m not a doctor or nutritionist.  That is my disclaimer if I botch up my understanding of the amazing properties of coconut oil.  My family has been using it for awhile for lotion.  I have been reading about its amazing dietary properties and have begun cooking and baking with it.  In everything I’ve read, we should be consuming (after adding a little at a time to your diet) three tablespoons a day.  Holy moly.  How do you consume that much coconut oil?  Why bother?

I have been reading that coconut oil, although a saturated fat, is an amazing super food.    According to the Natural News ( is is one of the four super foods, next to avocados, green tea and I can never remember the fourth.  It will come to me later.  I’ll tweet it.  It is so good for your brain because of the fatty acids, the same in avocados, salmon, and almonds.  Studies have shown a link between coconut oil consumption and better brain function and memory in Alzheimer’s patients.  It helps with memory, energy, and even weight loss.  Who knew that a fat, a saturate fat, would be good for weight loss?  And has been linked in studies to preventing heart disease!  An oil?  A saturated fat?  Dr. Mercola speaks as to why this is helpful.  It makes sense when he discusses it, but I would be useless- here is his link

50% of the fat in coconut oil is monolaurin.  Monolaurin is a medium-chain fat which has anti-bacterial, anti-viral properties.  This is the same fat in breast milk that boosts babies immune systems.  I highly recommend trying coconut oil before a prescription, if you get sick.  What can it hurt?  It is natural, no chemicals and fairly inexpensive.  Plus, eating it every day will keep your body full of those anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties to help protect you if you do get a bug.  Can you tell I am not a doctor?  I just know this is good stuff.  I have a GALLON of it on my stove.  It is pricy at the store, so I just invested into a gallon so that I wouldn’t think about the expense.

I don’t want to just eat it.  It is good, but I want to incorporate it into my everyday diet.  Dr. Oz has some good smoothie recipes that include a tablespoon of coconut oil.  I saw a recommendation of a tablespoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of chia seeds for an energy boost throughout the day.  Replace butter with coconut oil.  Cook with it- it has a high heat tolerance.  If you have to fry- fry with it!  I replaced shortening with it in my baking.  I am trying to cut down my sugar, so I want more healthy recipes than baked goods and frostings.  It does make an excellent base for my whoopie pie filling! I made Christmas popcorn and used coconut oil for my popping my corn.  I am going to use it in all of my cooking.  Oh!  I just saw a post where someone uses it as creamer in their coffee.  What a great idea!  I melts at 76 degrees, so it would be perfect in a hot beverage.

Here is where I am going to go next:  Make everyday tropical and healthy with coconut oil.  How do you use it, or how will you first try it?  I want to hear your ideas.

Daily Prayer:  God, please soften our hearts, have us treat others as we’d like to be treated and remind us that others are your children, too.  AMEN!

Thanksgiving:  I am thankful for when babies first wake up and are so happy, funny and full of delight and wonder.  I am also thankful for the quiet at nap time.

Kardashian Kash:  I want to travel and check out foods and food preparations all around the world.

Happiness Update:  I got up at 5:25 every day and never hit snooze.  I exercised Monday through Thursday.  I made my lunches, helped Syd keep up her room, and played with my kids.  I feel orderly and less stressed.

Making whoopie flavor of the day:  Carrot Cake QT cakes.  ‘Nuff said.


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Thankful Thursday- Fake it til you make it

Lately, things have been pretty awesome.  Jeff and I have constantly been on the same page.  No fighting, no arguing, and generally feeling happy on every level.  Not that we fight normally, but none of the normal bickering that comes with everyday life and the end of a busy holiday season.  The kids have been good listeners, not sick, and a ton of fun to be around.  It has been peaceful and harmonious.  Then BAM!  I get a call to come pick Syd up from school.

Fortunately, it wasn’t a big deal, but it threw everyone off.  Easton was a pain tonight, Q was cranky, Syd acted like she is mistreated and Jeff came home in the foulest of moods.  What the heck?  So instead of giving into the negativity, I am trying to smile, trying to watch or listen to something funny, and trying not to yell or freak out.  I will not end this day negatively.  Am I perfect at this, no.  I have yelled a couple of times and given the eye to the kids when they were being gross at the dinner table, but I will end this night well.

Tomorrow- Foodie Friday:  Coconut oil and all of the possibilities and benefits.

Daily Prayer:  Thank you God for helping me to act the way I want to feel.  Thank you for helping me to be an example to my kids.  Thank you for keeping me positive when I don’t wanna.  AMEN!

Thanksgiving:  I am thankful for Sydney’s growth over the last year.  Middle school is hard and awkward, but she is learning to handle it with more and more grace and confidence every day.

Happiness Project:  I got up today when my alarm went off, even though I really didn’t wanna.  I worked out, even though I didn’t wanna.  I cleaned the house, didn’t wanna.  I went up and made sure Syd’s room was clean.  And I am writing even though I wanted to just watch TV and fall asleep in my chair.  If I keep this up, I will be on auto-drive and do it anyway.  Man, I am proud of myself and that makes up for what I didn’t do so well today.

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Day:  Sydster Special- chocolate cookie-cakes stuffed with vanilla creme mixed with your choice of Oreo or candies such as Heath, Kit-Kat, or Twix.

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Whatever Wednesday- Honey Boo boo

I am married to an actor, and Jeff is a TV purist and a reality hater.  Not me, I love it.  I don’t DVR any reality, but when there is nothing on or I am sick in bed, there is nothing better than a reality TV marathon like a housewife show, Millionaire Matchmaker, or my standby, the Kardashians.  When I’m on vacation, there is nothing better than to watch one of these shows late at night in my hotel.

So my ultimate closet indulgence is Toddlers and Tiaras.  I only watch it if Jeff isn’t around, I’m out of town, and keep it on the down low.  But, I not so secretly love it.  I’ve caught a couple episodes of Honey Boo Boo.  What the hey is that mess?  I can’t even watch it.  I haven’t gotten through one episode.  For some reason, Easton thinks he loves Honey Boo Boo.  I guarantee you that I’ve never watched it in fort of him.  How would my three year old have even heard of her?  It’s nuts!

Just for the record, I’ve never see Jersey Shore or Teen Mom.  I limit my reality to vacation, sick time, maternity leave (reason in itself to have baby #4) and only watch E!, TLC or network TV.  Oh yeah, there is some History, Tru and Discovery in there.  Jeff actually watches those shows.  Gotta love Pawn Stars and Gator Boys.  Friday nights, we watch Wipe Out during dinner time.  The family that dines together, wipes out together.

Okay, I do have a confession, I set up a timer for all things Kardashian.  But, I am sure you have figured that out.  If I had any more time, I’d also record Ice Loves Coco.  And on that note, good night!

Daily Prayer:  Thank you God for reminding me that now is a new moment and a good time to start over when I stumble.  Thank you for picking me up and carrying me when I cannot walk on my own.  AMEN!

Daily Thanksgiving:  I am thankful to have finally found a church to join and begin to get involved in.  I was scared to go to church for so long, but am so thankful that I found the perfect home for my family, and it is also where all of my neighbors go.  I am thankful to have a spiritual home and a very awesome community.

Kardashian Kash:  Mavericks season tickets.  Or if I have KK, maybe a suite so I can hang with my uncles and biggest fans, next to Jeffro, of course.

Happiness Project Update:  I have been just doing it as far as getting up.  It is so easy to talk myself into staying in bed, but I have been getting up.  It is a Christmas miracle.  Syd has kept her room clean, and I’ve been going up and checking out her room daily.  I have done three days of P90X, have been wheat free for a week, and even though I really wanted a soda, stuck to water all day.  I am happy that I can work a plan, and will be happy when I see results in my waistline.

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Day:  Pineapple Up side Down QT Cakes.  I bite of tropical heaven.


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Pinterest Tuesdsay- DIY

So I jumped onto Pinterest to get my sources for today, but just lost an hour I will never ever ever get back.  Come see my pins-  Like I said last week, I was pregnant, had just moved into my new home, and was on a HUGE budget last year.  Wait, let me rephrase, I was on a major budget.  There was nothing huge about it!  As fate would have it, it was the same time I discovered Pinterest.  Last week I discussed my homemade Christmas gifts, and how I had to make every craft I liked and pinned on Pinterest.

Well, I also discovered homemade baby wipes, dish washer soap, laundry detergent, and this shower cleaner concoction.  When I was home with the baby on maternity leave, these were fun activities and a good way to try to save money, control the ingredients in the products I use, and test different recipes.  Now that I am back at work, I don’t have time for this.  The liquid laundry soap took FOREVER to cook and was not forgiving if you screwed up.  The dish soap made the dishes cloudy no matter how much citric acid or vinegar I used in the rinse dispenser.  Baby wipes were okay, but not good for transporting.  I am still unsure of the shower cleaner.

The shower cleaner is one of those wands for dishes that you put soap in the handle and it dispenses on the sponge for scrubbing.  You fill it with Dawn and hydrogen peroxide and do a little scrubbing every time you shower.  This is great for my happiness project- do the little things, but so far I don’t see a huge change.  I really need to take a before and after picture.  The first day I put the scrubber in the shower, Easton used the entire amount of soap on himself.  It took a few days before I managed to refill the soap/peroxide mix.  So far meh.

I am thankful for Pinterest and some of their crafts and recipes, but I am done with DIY for now.  Until next week.

Daily Prayer:  Thank you God for providing.  AMEN!

Daily Thanksgiving:  I am thankful Jeff let me try all of my Pinterest experiments.  He does the laundry, but let me make the soap for a (very short) spell.  What a trooper!

Kardashian Kash:  Temporpedic bed.  Fo sho.  The kind with heat and adjustable.

Happiness Project Update:  I am getting so much more done!  I am eating better and have even done P90X for two days in a row!

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Day:  S’more- chocolate whoopies, marshmallow filling and rolled in graham cracker crumbs.  All that’s missing is the camp fire.


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