Friday, June 29, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 53.

Goodbye schizophrenic week of weather starting with breezy and cold, ending with sweltering heat.
Goodbye baseball game-ball awarded to our son: way to rally with a big hit!
Goodbye golf, golf, and more golf - watchout USGA Kids.
Goodbye celebrating Super Hubby's birthday with Brave and cake with 7-minute frosting.
Goodbye cleaning up a patio table tragedy.

Hello attempting a popcorn run as we're down to the last kernel.
Hello waiting and waiting for the cable guy to come and fix our Internet connection - day wasted!
Hello hairs cuts for the boys and feeling better without the mop in this heat.
Hello working out a better blog writing schedule that allows me more fun with my son (why do I have a feeling it means less sleep for me).
Hello July and enjoying the dog-days of summer and seeing where the warm breeze leads us.

My lessons learned this week will help you avoid a lot of frustration. This may seem obvious but are you setting yourself up to be a victim? Do you leave your umbrella up to your deck or patio furniture set? DON'T!!!! It was Monday (Super Hubby's birthday), it was cool, it was breezy. I left the umbrella up. We hear this huge crash while inside the house and began hunting down the disturbing noise until we got to the back deck. There was our 15-year old table from our patio set, over-turned, glass broken into a million, tiny pieces, and the umbrella cracked and blowing in the yard. Oops!

The clean-up was mind numbing, glass everywhere, through the cracks of the deck boards, falling below the deck - all had to be cleaned up or we may never be in bare feet in the backyard ever again. Thank you to the neighbor's wet/dry vacuum. Along with the glass, it picked up half the rocks and mulch below the deck, too, but clean-up was a lot easier.

I like my son's approach to seeing the positive in a situation such as this. He took the ring of the table that once housed the glass, took the broken slat of the umbrella arm, and turned it all into a toy from Colonial times - way to go kiddo: another lessons learned! You'll notice he's wearing the boots for his protection from all the broken glass.

Be sure to check out LOVD's latest giveaway celebrating 1-year of blogging! Click here to leave a comment for entry!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

You Know You're a Blogger When...and {A Giveaway!}


You know you’re a blogger when…

10. You’ve attended more Linky parties in one week than you have cocktail parties all year.

9.  You watch the weather forecast for sunshine and schedule those days to take photos of your latest craft or recipe to get the best natural light.

8. “Just give me 5 minutes, son” turns into 45 minutes because you’re visiting other blogs and commenting.

7. You look for scrap pieces of paper to jot down a random thought you just had in line at the grocery store because you don’t want to forget it for a future blog post.

6. You save tons of cool recipes but never get around to making any of them.

5. You don’t look at everyday items the same way anymore because you think, “How could I use that in a craft project?”

4. Your family thinks every time you whip out the camera it’s only to take pictures for the blog.

3. A lot of your pictures in your photo library are close-ups of inanimate objects.

2. You’ve been late picking up your child from school because you couldn’t tear yourself away from Pinterest.

1. You know in your heart bloggy friends are real friends.

The Giveaway
This giveaway is going to be a bonus for me as much as for you, so thank you in advance. Here's the prize: $20 gift card to my LOVD Etsy Shop. It's not even open, yet? Yes, I know! But having a $20 gift card floating around out there in some one's hot little hands will force me to list my wares!!!! Above is a small sampling of what I'll be listing. Tons more from where this came from, trust me!

How to Enter
Be sure to leave a comment for each activity you do:
1. Leave a comment telling us if you've ever shopped on Etsy.
2. Become a LOVD Follower via GFC, Linky Follower, or "Like" LOVD on Facebook - be sure to leave a comment saying you did so or if you are already!
Comment entries deadline: Monday, July 2 at midnight! Check back on Tuesday for the winner announcement!
Winner will be chosen using Good luck!  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I Made Wednesday {Delicious Homemade Pita Chips}

Stacy's Pita Chips
Dear Stacy,
I do so love your pita chips. I love your hip commercials and print ads. What I'm not loving, lately, is the rising price of your product. I've been with you from your humble beginnings. I've dipped your chip in many a hummus, never to be let down, but I'm afraid the ol' mighty dollar forces us to part ways.

I'm a smart and resourceful girl, so I did the only thing I could do to protect my child's college fund, I made my own Pita Chips. These bleak economic times have caused many a heartache and our relationship has also fallen victim. I hope we can still be friends.
- Lilly

Lilly's Homemade Pita Chips

What You'll Need
My pita choice, available online

Small, Plain Pita Bread
Olive Oil
2 cookie sheets or oven trays

What You'll Do
1. Cut the pita in half. 2. Cut the half, in half. 3. Cut the quarter in half. 4. These pita breads are double-layered so peel them apart. (I keep some doubled.)
Lightly coat, do not soak, the cut-up pita chips in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all up using your hands.
Divide the pita chips onto 2 trays. Make sure the pita chips don't overlap entirely.
Place in a pre-heated 350-degree F oven (177 C). After 8 minutes, toss the pita chips on the tray and bake for another 2-3 minutes, or until golden and crispy. (Dirty oven! Look away!)
What You'll Need to Know to Finish
Allow baked chips to cool on trays for 5-10 minutes.
These chips are absolutely delicious. I like that you are in control of the amount of salt that goes into the chip. My plan is to try a cinnamon and sugar version one day - YUM!

 And, if you're looking for a great dip to go along with this chip, try my White Bean Dip from this What I Made Wednesday, click here! So much tastier than hummus, in my opinion.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Celebrating a 1-year Blogiversary

272 Posts.
30,000 Page Views.
65 Countries.

My jaw is to the floor, my heart flutters with astonishment, and my cup runneth over with the generosity you all have shown me in the past year. One year ago today I began feelLOVDeverday with one intention: to introduce my Etsy shop of handmade jewelry. A year later, the Etsy shop is still not open for business and my daily musings through words have become my main objective at this Internet address. Whether I've lost focus (highly probable) or found a new path (slightly possible), I know that I love to write, and so, I do. Having an actual audience, well, that's just a bonus. A bonus I appreciate tremendously because I did have a goal with my writings and I think that has been a constant: to uplift and inspire readers in a beautiful way. I wanted this place to be an escape from your daily grind, your moment of chaos, and offer a respite by sharing some hearts, laughs, and yes, even heartaches. My posts have always been rooted in truth and have always been an extension of my heart, shared with you. Thank you for sharing back.

My first post, a year ago today, helped me to snag the honor of BlogHer's 2012 Voices of the Year! Here's the link if you missed it. Click here.

The most popular What I Made Wednesday post was the Milemarker Bucket List Project when I turned 40 years old this year. If you missed it, click here.

And, Gratitude Journal Monday and Lessons Learned are the most popular posts each week. This gratitude photo alone was pinned 1,841 times on Pinterest.

So, dear readers, I humbly thank you for your commitment to stopping by and visiting this little ol' blog. It wouldn't be the same without you. Many bloggers say they'd keep writing posts, even if only their mom read them (thanks, mom). But to be honest, I'm not that dedicated without an audience (with the exception of my family). I write because I want to reach out, I want to spark a thought in you, or heal an emotional wound and tell you it'll be alright. I need that interaction, so if that makes me less of a pure blogger, than stuff me with fluff preservatives and call me a Twinkie. I need you, dear reader. Thank you for taking the time. Thank you for caring. Thank you for coming back. I only hope I continue to earn your views and clicks. LOVD tidings, Lilly

What would a 1-year celebration be without gifts?? Come back and check out the giveaway on Thursday!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gratitude Journal Monday

Sometimes you get really, really lucky. Sometimes you're gifted a life where the Higher Power watches out for you. He makes sure you meet the right person, the one you'll spend your days with making a life, sharing a laugh, and shedding a tear. It's the one you were meant to be with because you know in your heart of hearts there isn't anyone out there more perfect for you than the one you're with. That's how I feel about Super Hubby - my perfect match, my guy, my soul mate, the love of my life. I look at his intense, yet gentle eyes, those cute little ears, and that humble smile that always suggests he's trying his darnedest, no matter what the task. Today is your birthday, Love, and I celebrate you for all you are and what you mean to our little family. We love you more than I think you'll ever realize in a lifetime, but we'll do our darnedest each day, showing you how special and important you are to us.
Happy Birthday, Super Hubby/Daddy!

251. I'm grateful I get to spend my life's journey with Super Hubby.
252. I'm grateful Super Hubby has given me the joy and purpose in my life: our son.
253. I'm grateful Super Hubby is so wise, of high moral character, honest, and funny.
254. I'm grateful Super Hubby works hard for us, each and every day, whether it's growing his own business or working daily on catching and pitching baseballs with our son.
255. I'm grateful I married my bestest friend.

Super Hubby, Kiddo, and a friend of ours all went out to brunch yesterday for a birthday celebration. The four of us came up with life's best wishes between bites of strawberry pancakes, omelets, and prime rib, so get ready, here it is: Long Life, Good Food, Great Friends! 

Gratitude can begin by thanking the people in your life that you love, and those that love you back, no matter what! My hope is that your list is a long one, for you are truly blessed. Want to know more about starting your own Gratitude Journal? Click here.

Who would you thank for being in your life? Who makes your days better?

You, LOVD reader, make my days better, too! Tomorrow is my 1-year Bloggy Anniversary. If you like and enjoy reading feel LOVD everyday, please consider following me via Google Friend Connect (found in the column to the right). I'd love to reach 100 Followers by June 26 and would be ever-so-thankful to you for helping me achieve that goal.
LOVD tidings, Lilly 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 52.

Goodbye baseball game rain-out earlier this week (looks like our rain dance worked, friend).
Goodbye sprinkler time, pool time, sno-cone time, and fun times with precious friends.
Goodbye bathing suit shopping that had the potential for disaster but ended on a happy note thanks to Lands' End.
Goodbye heatwave that lasted all week, making me less than a happy mama.
Goodbye starting up at the links again with a brand new set of golf clubs for my growing kid.

Hello golf and baseball on schedule for the rest of the summer.
Hello to my kid swinging at something every day of the week.
Hello Super Hubby's birthday weekend and coming up with a way to make it special for my special guy.
Hello break in the heat and getting back to feeling normal.
Hello beginning jogging and feeling the ache in my muscles and knees, already.

My lessons learned this week is heat and humidity are not my friend. How do you girls in the hot States do it? Do you get used to it or something? This I know: it was in the 90's all this week and I was a hot mess! I had a headache every day. If you wanted to find me, you'd have to look for me in the air-conditioned house laying on the living room sofa with a cold compress glued to my head. How pathetic is that? I've got to do something to get used to functioning in this kind of heat or I may very well miss the entire summer! No, that is NOT happening!

Happy weekend, friends. I hope where ever you are, in what ever climate you live, you are comfortable.

Did you notice this is Lessons Learned #52? There are 52 weeks in a year so LOVD is coming up on its 1-year anniversary!!! If you like reading feel LOVD everyday, please consider becoming a Follower via Google Friend Connect (see it to the right?). I'm celebrating one year of blogging on June 26 and would love to have 100 Followers by then. Thanks so much for helping me achieve that goal!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Too Hot

Too hot to cook.
Too hot to blog.
Too hot to type.
Too hot to jog (likely excuse).

Too hot to sleep.
Too hot to drink.
Too hot to work.
Too hot to think (OK, I'm not trying).

Perfect for swimming.
Perfect for sitting.
Perfect for reading
In air-conditioning (meant to rhyme).

Luckily for me I'm inspired often and my blog posts practically write themselves. Today, not so much.

Happy First Day of Summer!!!

How are you beating the heat?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I Made Wednesday {A Harry Potter Birthday Party: Wrap-Up}

Welcome to the Harry Potter Birthday Party Grand Finale. I know, I know: some of you are relieved, some of you are disappointed, and some of you may be confused. If you have stumbled upon this post and are a bit boggled, no worries. Here's links to what you have missed:
Class Schedule

Hogwarts School Class of 2012
Caught up? Good. This last Harry Potter Birthday Party post will discuss the unique way we thanked each and every guest that attended. Super Hubby always goes the extra mile when it comes to, well, just about anything. So, of course, my idea of buying the pre-made, massively-manufactured Harry Potter thank you cards from the party store just wasn't going to cut it. How could it, after all the work we put into the party and the amazing way it was pulled off! No, this party deserved to end on a high note. Thanks to Super Hubby's amazing talents, that note was breaking glass, baby. 

Super Hubby created his own version of The Daily Prophet, the primary newspaper for wizards in the Harry Potter world. He thought he was going to have to conjure up articles to fill the newspaper space but, after all that occurred during the party, the newspaper nearly wrote itself. Unexpected events and circumstances that occurred during the party ended up being newsworthy, so Super Hubby went with it.

So, our version of The Daily Prophet acted as our son's thank you card to each and every young wizard. The front of The Daily Prophet was exactly the same for each child, but the back of the newspaper was not. Super Hubby added a Picture of the Week section and we put the recipient's picture there, along with a personal thank you note from our son. This part was really special and was worth the time to personalize each one.

Here's the front and back of our Daily Prophet. Please note, the children's names have been changed, you know, just because.

Front Page - Click "paper" to enlarge 
Back Page
Individualized paper's included a photo of the recipient
and a personalized thank you from the birthday boy, posted in the Classified Ads section.

This time around we did forgo the Owl Post and delivered the news via U.S. Postal Service. Plus, we didn't want, or feel the need, to repeat our Owl Post idea from when we delivered the invitations.

Kudos to Super Hubby for tying up the last loose end of this Harry Potter Party in genuine fashion and choosing to stay in character of the theme. It took some extra effort, but after all we did, who's keeping track, now?

Just the other day, Super Hubby and son were playing LEGO Harry Potter on the Wii and we all decided we really missed ol' Harry. The World of Harry Potter had been so much a part of our lives over a good 6-months in preparation for this party, that not having it be part of our daily discussion has us feeling a bit empty.
Many people ask us if it was all worth it. To be certain, this party was a lot of work, but only slightly more work than the previous birthday parties we've thrown over the past 10 years for our son. Yes, we went a little overboard because it was a decade celebration. Yes, perhaps we went a little above and beyond "our normal" because it may very well be the last themed party my son is willing to have (you know when kids get older, they just want to "hang-out"). So, if this ends up being the finale, then we did it big, and yes, we are proud! Planning our son's birthday parties have always been a family project that easily unites us towards one goal: making sure the birthday boy and all his guests have a blast! As a family, we work together to make it all happen, then enjoy our efforts on the big day. Super Hubby and I get just as excited as the kids and if I could bottle that feeling up, I would send it to you so you can feel it, too! But since I can't do that, I hope the past several What I Made Wednesday posts have captured a little bit of the magic we experienced and given you a taste of our good times and memories-in-the-making.

Thanks, LOVD readers, for sticking it out with us for 7 weeks! If you're really itching for a What I Made Wednesday recipe, check out this post from last week using COOL WHIP Whipped Topping! We'll resume our regularly scheduled W.I.M. Wednesday programming next week.

If you like reading feel LOVD everyday, please consider becoming a Follower via Google Friend Connect (see it to the right?). I'm celebrating one year of blogging on June 26 and would love to have 100 Followers by then. Thanks so much for helping me achieve that goal!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Best Graduation Gift Ever

One of the best graduation presents I ever received, besides the Howard Miller Mantel clock that just brings me joy every time I hear its bells ring, was this 3-ring bound book from my sister-in-law. I underestimated it at the time. I was a cocky, new college graduate that was going to rule her own world, all on her own, so the title (or rather the word "Need") threw me off, a bit. Where's Mom Now That I Need Her? is the most useful graduation gift I have ever received. In fact, I still use it today, every Sunday, for the best pancake and waffle recipes known to the Western hemisphere.

The 3-ring binder design is sheer brilliance because the inside pockets of this treasured book is home to guiltily torn-out magazine recipes from doctor's offices, hair salons, and grease-scented lobbies where you wait while your car gets an oil-change, pumped tires, or some car-fix too expensive to want to remember. Yes, this little book has grown fatter than the rest of me over the years and I'm so happy for it. It holds many of my family's stand-by's. The recipes are easy, tried and true, and absolutely delicious. If you don't believe me, then try the French Onion Soup recipe first.

Not only are there recipes in this clever little book, there's tons of information a new graduate will want to know when venturing out on their own. Information like getting out stains in clothes, the proper substitute to buttermilk, first aide, nutritional food facts (like why I should choose the brown-rice option at Chipotle, instead). I've never read it cover-to-cover, but use it as a reference, instead. The 3-ring binder version is a must if you don't want it to get lost amongst the other cookbooks in the moving box that ends up in storage.

There's a companion book called Where's Dad Now That I Need Him?. I never got this book but I suspect it's just as good if the format is the same.

So, what's the best graduation gift you ever received?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Gratitude Journal Monday

Super Hubby & Son on Father's Day
Security, a quiet companionship, support, trust, unconditional love: that is what my Dad, my Tata, gives to me. I'm my Daddy's sunshine, his only sunshine, and I don't tell him enough that he makes me happy when skies are gray. My Tata is patient, wise, reserved, and a man of few words, but when he does speak, you know it will be important, for no breath is ever wasted when it comes to my Tata's choice of words or message. His sense of humor comes out on rare occasions, but when it does you'll be in stitches for days. He listens, and listens, and listens. He's the person in my life that wants for my genuine happiness. What ever that turns out to mean for me, he's OK with it. One day I hope to grow up to be just like my Tata.

246. I am grateful to have such an honorable man for a father.
Tata & Grandson
247. I am grateful he taught me doing right is more important than being right.
248. I am grateful my patient Tata taught me how to drive.
249. I am grateful my Tata taught me about grace and humbleness.
250. I am grateful I have my Tata to learn from and enjoy, still today.

To my Tata and, of course, Super Hubby, and all you great dads out there, it is not the advice you give but rather the example you live that makes all the difference in your kid's life. Thank you!

Start your own gratitude journal today. Click here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 51.

Goodbye 7 yards of mulch, spread in record time by many, many helpers.
Goodbye deck re-staining and placing deck furniture for summertime enjoyment.
Goodbye Flag Day - you look better and better with each passing year.
Goodbye breathing baseball dust and cheering on a few wins this week; nice hits, son!
Goodbye soreness as Super Hubby proves to our son that practice makes progress.

Hello 89th birthday to my darling grandmother.
Hello Father's Day and knowing I'm so lucky my dad is my dad; love you Tata.
Hello allowing the laziness of summer to slowly take over now that all the outdoor work is done.
Hello meeting friends regularly at the pool so the kids can catch up on playing and I can catch up on that all-important girl talk.
Hello buying another set of golf clubs for our kid who just can't stop growing taller year after year.

My lesson learned this week is a work in progress. I'm coming up to a year in blogging, every day, Monday through Friday, never missing a day, EVER! I'm kind of proud of my commitment as I'm the type of person that starts something with full passion, but then pitters out when the excitement wears off. So, my dedication to this blog of mine is surprising, even to me. But, now it's summer and my son is off from school. I've spent the last several weeks of his summer vacation glued to this computer. I'll admit, the last couple of What I Made Wednesdays have been VERY time-consuming, with getting all the Harry Potter Party Details in post-form. No less than 4 hours were invested in each of the last 5 What I Made Wednesdays, and frankly, that's just too much time to spend.

I don't want to take a break because I love you guys too much, and I love writing too much! Sharing our words with each other is a marvelous thing so I'm not stopping. But I do have to figure out a balance, especially during the summer when my son is home and he deserves my attention and my full presence. Unless you're a blogger, you cannot imagine the time and energy that goes into just one post. But, I'm not complaining because I love it. It's why I do it. So, no, I don't have that balance figured out, yet. If you've got any advice for me, I'm all ears, please share.

A special welcome to all the new Followers that joined this past week. I truly appreciate you being on board. Happy weekend, friends!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summertime is Family Time

Summertime, and the living is care-free, slowed-down, and delicious. Summertime is a special season when folks adopt a more casual tone; where time spent with family and friends becomes a bit more celebratory when lived between those welcomed cool breezes amongst the waves of the heat.

During summer, the pace slows down and you exchange your hustle for a stroll, your stovetop cooking for the smokiness of the grill. And your dessert repertoire change, too. The bounty of summer gives way to so many different fruits to try, all plump and ripe for the picking. Summer time is the only time of year my family plays "farmer" as we head to the strawberry and blueberry fields to pick our own. There is something so grounded, so simplistically elegant in eating what your eyes have chosen and your hands have picked from the rich soil. In that brief moment we truly sense our belonging to Mother Earth and are all too happy to partake in her bounty.

For my family, summertime is an opportunity to treat ourselves to something special: daily dessert. Unless it's a special occasion, we typically forgo the dessert course during the other seasons. So why is summer different? Because, for us, summer allows us to enjoy each other more, without the busyness of school, sports, homework, and the early darkness daylight savings brings. With strict schedules shelved, along with longer days and cooler nights, dessert becomes part of my family's dinner plan. Dessert brings celebration to our ordinary day and food always brings people together in a special way. After ending a meal with dessert, my family calls it a good day, no matter what happened between sunup and sundown. If it's summer and there's dessert, it can't be anything but a good day!

Celebrate your family tonight with this simple dessert that takes advantage of summer's fresh fruit bounty of strawberries and blueberries and couples it with COOL WHIP Whipped Topping in a most special way.

COOL WHIP Pavlova with Berries

What You'll Need

COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
Glass bowls

 What You'll Do
This is my take on Pavlova, but using COOL WHIP Whipped Topping instead of egg whites and sugar, and baking in an oven. This is summer, remember? The desserts should be quick, easy, and delicious!

Take your glass bowl, even a glass cup will do, and scoop the COOL WHIP Whipped Topping into the bowl or cup. With the back of your spoon, make a well in the middle, spreading the COOL WHIP Whipped Topping to the sides.

Place the bowls or cups into your freezer for about 2 hours. Freezing COOL WHIP Whipped Topping yields tasty results. It never gets completely frozen to hardness but, instead, becomes firm. It creates the perfect bed for your strawberries and blueberries!

What You'll Need to Know to Finish
When your family is ready for dessert, just remove your bowls from the freezer and add cut-up strawberries and whole blueberries to the well. Enjoy!

If you have a bit more time or you need a dessert for a special occasion, give this Summer Strawberry Cake a try. The time commitment doesn't come from effort so much as it comes from waiting for the various layers to set in the refrigerator.
Summer Strawberry Cake

What You'll Need
3/4 of an Angel Food Cake
Strawberry JELL-O (larger package: 6-ounce)
Vanilla JELL-O Instant Pudding (larger package: 5.1-ounce)
1/2 cup Strawberries, cut-up
COOL WHIP Whipped Topping (smaller tub: 8-ounce)
3 cups Water (not shown)
2-1/2 cups Milk (not shown)
Glass Dish, rectangular
Pot to boil water (not shown)

What You'll Do
I purchased my angel food cake and cut away 1/4 of the cake to be used another day. Tear up the remaining 3/4 of the cake and place the torn pieces in the glass dish. Cut up the strawberries into bite-sized slices and scatter over the angel food cake.

Boil 2 cups of water and add the whole 2 cups to the Strawberry JELL-O mix. When dissolved, add 1 cup of cold water to the mix and pour over the angel food cake and strawberries. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to set.

After 2 hours, make the JELL-O instant pudding, but only use 2-1/2 cups of milk to make it thicker. Mix the milk with the JELL-O Instant Pudding Mix until thick. Pour over the cake, spread the pudding evenly over the cake and place back into the fridge to set for another 2 hours, or overnight.

What You'll Need to Know to Finish
To finish, just top your pudding with COOL WHIP Whipped Topping by evenly spreading the entire 8-ounce contents over the pudding. Place in the refrigerator for another half hour, at least. When ready, slice up and enjoy! Be sure to place this cake back into the fridge after slicing.

LOVD friends, I hope you share some of these recipes with your family and celebrate summer!
Do you have a special dessert you'd like to share? Enter COOL WHIP's Fan Dessert of the Month Contest for a chance to win $500! Simply make a COOL WHIP dessert, take a photo, and upload it here. Enter now!
Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

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