Friday, July 30, 2010

Crafts I want to do

Here are some things I am going to do...someday!

(as usual..I just copy pics for reference later and if you would like credit for a picture posted here or would like me to take it down, just let me know and I will)

This felt flower to use as a hair bow for Cutecumber, pin for a purse or on a headband for Ms. Thang. Here are the how-tos

Something similar to this to house my dog Wednesday's crate, bed, and toys:

This embroidery hoop art. I already have a few hoops (thrift shops and garage sales) and some fabric pieces. (Crystal and Cassandra this would be cool with all your awesome fabrics)

One of these for the scientist, but I'll make it out of wood (jigsaw) and spray paint painting it silver

One of these for my garden in the font, but out of mismatched pots or terracotta I have from garage sales:

These plates for the kids-See how here

This puzzle for the Scientist he can use real tools on:

And this type of sign (with clips) for lost socks in the laundry room) I have some really cute craft paper I want to use on this project:

Those are just a teeny tiny portion of all that I have saved and plan on doing. Maybe I can bust out a few this weekend. Some would make great Christmas gifts this year too.
What are some of your stored away craft ideas? I might want to add them too my pile lol

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Slice of life - Summer 2010

Just a few updates on me and the ones I love:

My Honey- Loves his new job aside from the long hours. I wish he had more time with us, but the money is good and soon enough we will have the $$ to do really fun family things on his days off and have awesome vacations together. At least at this job, he is home every night. Maybe not in time for dinner, but he does come home. He is happiest when he is providing and protecting. :)

Ms. Thang- Just weeks away from her first day of Jr. High. Every day she leaves her childhood further in the past, at (what seems to me) an alarming rate! We can share more things, conversation, music, stories at this level of maturity and I enjoy it. Every step she has taken out on her own has been in the right direction, and if not, she's still at the stage where mom's advice means something and she listens. She's a wonderful person, and on her way to becoming a wonderful young adult. Her love of life/living leaves me speechless and inspired at times.

The Scientist- We've worked a lot this summer on "obeying" and showing him that he can't hold his own reins quite yet. I do try and keep the balance though, allowing him to be a child and express himself. He's in a rough spot, as the middle child and only boy. I have to parent him differently..learning as I go, hoping to teach him how to be an awesome adult, because lord knows he has all the ingredients of greatness. He is an amazing kid. So easy to read because he doesn't pretend to be anyone different. A quality I love in his father.

Cutecumber- I'm learning more and more about this little person every day. She's such a well balanced kid. She's introvert and extrovert, right and left, smart and creative, sweet and strong, with little extremes, but yet not totally predictable. Easy going, but still full of surprises. She'll be two in Sept. and I've never felt more prepared for the age as I do now. Having her in my 30s vs my teens and 20s with the other two has its advantages. I think she is getting the best years of me. I'm a different parent now than I was then. I've got a few children under the belt, a more relaxed approach and know better which battles to choose. This one is witty though, so luckily I'm on top of my game.

Me- I've focused a lot on being a mom lately and the other parts of me have been a little neglected. I think once school starts, I'll have a more time for me. I need to get out more (which I've been saying for years so don't think you'll see tons of progress here over night lol) but I feel motivated to work on me (not crafts, but ME) and we'll see what comes of it. It's a case of classic Mom Syndrome, where you put yourself last on the list. Luckily I've had a lot of encouragement from My Honey to do something nice for myself and he's pushing rather hard. Life could be a lot worse. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kitchen video review

I had intended on making some comments about the video when I posted it, but time got away from me (Mario kart was calling my name) so here is the usual Q & A I do for the Home Tour Challenges.

These are a few pictures of the kitchen when we bought it:

And you'll just have to watch the video to see the changes. I'm too lazy to take new photos and upload them. lol

What I love: With the citrus color pallet, this room makes me the most happy and I especially enjoy it in the spring and summer months. I wish it's true vibrancy showed on the video.

What I hate: My counter tops and the cool toned tile. I don't know if it shows in the video, but there are chunks of counter missing along the side of the bar area. I'll get a new counter someday and I've almost decided that I want them fairly dark. Surprised? I am lol

What I want: All new stainless appliances! I hate my stove, it came with the house. I think has the ugliest burners I've ever seen. I also hate the microwave. We bought it when we first moved in and apparently I suck at buying appliances. I could tell you everything that is wrong with it, but lets just say cheaper is NOT always better. The rest of my appliances came from my il's so I can't complain! Nothing is wrong with the fridge or the dishwasher, I just want the stainless for purely cosmetic reasons. lol I'm also over the "watermelon" looking stripes, but I can't find a green that I love. I was not going for watermelon when I put the stripes up. Not lovin' it.

What I need: I don't like the "center piece" on the table. I want something cooler but for now, it's got the necessities (salt, pepper, napkins) so it's functional. I would love this though:

Something old: The stools at the bar are actually from an old Walgreens. My fil worked there for a LONG time and had these in his shed and asked me if I wanted them. The tops where a little tattered and I decided to recover them in some creamy leather I got from my mil. I only finished the tops and planned to finish the bottoms, but My Honey stopped me and said he liked them two toned. I stood back and had to agree! They look like topless oreos and I think that's fun. :)

Something new: The painted pantry is new, and so are the place mats which I made.

Good bargain: Almost all the items on top of the cabinets were less than a dollar or given to me as gifts. (thanks mom!) The table was also given to us and we just painted it white. Even the island was given to me and actually belonged to My Honey's ex girlfriend at one time lol

Most expensive:uhhh... hmm. Probably the green kitchenaid mixer (which I loooooove)

Most meaningful: I have a ceramic chicken not shown in the video that my grandma gave me. I remember getting candy out of it as a kid. (old pic)

I also have pieces of Fiesta ware from my mom and other gifts from her around the kitchen. These were actually my first fiesta ware pieces given to me by my mom, but they broke when a shelf fell off the wall while we were away. :(

They are in a color called Persimmon and it started my whole Fiesta ware craze.
I also like the painting of the girl "Lemontine" because I did it myself.

And where is the bird?: There is a cute fat one on the shelf that also holds my cookbooks, a couple of roosters on top of the cabinets, and a little owl by the bread box.


I've been thinking of doing stripes like these:

(added them digitally to an old photo)

to complement the art over here:

What do you think? (ugh..I'm really not liking the print on those chairs at all anymore.)

I also thought of doing the green stripes in a more organic form with leaves or swirls like these,

I wouldn't do it exactly like it's pictured, but you get the idea. It seems like a lot more work and I don't want it to look too busy, so I probably will not go this route unless I get the stripes up and they look boring.

Speaking of bored, Miss Thang and I are always looking for videos on YouTube to share with each other and somehow I came across this one boring evening. I don't know which is funnier, the fake lyrics or the guy in the video. It's a little racy for children, plus the woman's voice is terrible, so I'd listen to this while you are alone so no one thinks you're a freak. There, now that I've made it sound swell, check it out!
Benny Lava

Ps. Where can I find good quality, heavy fake tulips? I'm thinking I need to look at Michaels, but I fear that they will be $6 each and I'll end up embarrassing myself and buying them one at a time over a week with their 50% off coupons. lol

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Kitchen tour- by Ms. Thang :)

Ms. Thang got an iphone from her dad (could you die? I could!) and did a little tour of my kitchen with the video feature. I'm pretty sure I need the iphone if only for the easy video access.
Anyway, here it is, hosted by my daughter :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Heck yes!

A few wonderful things happened the other day and I guess I am possibly ruining it all by sharing a couple of private pictures and conversations...
Meh, I'll risk it!

If you brag enough about finding thrifty treasures, you can convince even the most reluctant of friends to go and save money! Through persistent peer pressure of course, but when you know you're right..keep it up! That's my motto. :P

A person (I will refer to as "Dimples") is a self proclaimed clothing snob. Yeah, that's right and we still remain friends,.. I know! And she shutters at the thought of my children in lice riddled clothing bought second-hand at garage sales and thrift shops, but because she loves me, she still remains my friend. It's deep!

So yesterday I get a phone call and a couple of emails. Guess what ol' Dimples did? Uh huh, she risked lice and cooties, to walk through the aisles of Goodwill! Of course she avoided the clothing and washed her hands immediately after leaving (possibly in alcohol, then peroxide, and finished off with a mild acid) BUT she left with some items! I have a picture of them that I shall cherrish forever, and I thought of posting it here, but one of her adorable children are in the background and he is so adorable you'll bust out in song and I really can't risk it. You may be reading this at work.

They were mainly things to redecorate her huge house that I'm so jealous of and yet..STILL her friend. More specifically items for her boys room, but it gets even better.

What do I collect and can never have enough of? That's right, PEARS! (don't worry if you didn't guess correctly, I think my point will still pan out)

Look what dimples got me!

Isn't it a beauty! I have yet to touch it cause she lives far away, but at the rate we mail items to each other, I may be holding it as soon as Thanksgiving 2011! It's practically a trophy. I may have to frame a picture of it with the inscription "Worlds Best Thrifter- Helping cheap decor find permanent homes"!

It's midnight and I'm still waiting up for my Honey. Apparently loneliness and lack of sleep make me a little silly and long winded, when usually I am not...Ok ok that was a lie, but Dimples still loves me and one day I'll have a pear to prove it. :)

Ps, I love getting people on the Thrift Train, but most are so willing and easily coaxed. Dimples was really reluctant so the victory seems sweeter.

Do YOU need a little convincing? Here are the top 3 reasons why you should buy items from Thrift shops and resale stores:

1. Places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill use the money they make on those items to help men, women and children in your very own community.
2. It's green! You save items from the landfill and reduce the need for more items to be produced and the energy it takes to produce them.
3. You save money!

It's totally worth risking the cooties. :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Good Eats

Today as we were eating a "healthy" lunch of lil' smokies and broccoli w/cheese, my son asked me which animal the sausages came from.
This is a sore subject with my oldest and when I answered her question as a toddler about where her beloved bacon originated, she swore off most meat and still has issues with any meat that sports a bone.

So I was a bit leery answering the question. He's asked before about where certain meats come from and reacted ok, so I was just straight forward about it.

"It's pork, and pork comes from pigs."

His response?

"Mmm I love to eat pigs. Pull that tail straight and cook em' up!"

I was suddenly full.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Go me, it's my birthday! (no it's not, but go anyway)

I've always wanted to use this picture in a post but never had a reason until now. With my Honey working long hours and home a lot less, the list of Honey-do's is getting out of control. I've had to step up and mostly this included small things like taking out the trash (hate it) and putting batteries in the Scientist's menagerie of toys. But today I decided to hit a few of the bigger, more pressing issues that can't wait any longer. Today I fixed my leaking washing machine!
I hate to admit this, but it's been leaking for 2 weeks and I have just been using old towels to keep the water at bay.
Honey worked a lot of overtime trying to get caught up (in a time I'll refer to as "The Big Job Switch") and most of that ended up going to an unexpected air conditioning fix. Then he had jury duty and actually had to serve on the jury for awhile, then go to work after court each day and work into the weeeee hours just to stay afloat because jury duty pays beans. No time for the washing machine there. Then when jury duty was over this week, he worked more overtime trying to get caught up for the days he had missed. Then come Sunday (today) which is his day off, he got called into work.

My poor over worked honey. :( I decided, that I would try and fix the washing machine myself. Well, at least attempt to.
I armed myself with a little pre knowledge from Google. I followed a check list and soon found that there was a pinhole in the plastic drain tube that runs underneath the washer.
First of all let me brag by saying I laid on the floor while holding the machine at a tilted angle (cant lay them down or the balance will be off) for hour! I used one hand to remove a clamp, find the hole and tape it up. I probably should have removed the whole thing and bought a new one as a replacement, but this is my first time and I chose the easy, temporary fix. I bought my honey some time if nothing else.
The scientist was a HUGE help to me. He fetched the electrical tape for me and even held the flash light for me.
Well, I say flashlight, but really it was the light pen that goes to the kids glow station. But hey, it worked!
I'm proud that I did it, and proud that I took a little brick off of my Honey's overloaded shoulder haul. Now I can use my washer towel-free, and tomorrow I'll have one bicep bigger than the other from holding up that machine.
I'm prouder than I should be. It sort of makes me sorry about the evil thoughts I have when Honey half-ass cleans the kitchen and wants me to thank him as if doing something I do thanklessly every day deserves a little jig when he does it.

But THIS is different. :P

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Garage sales!

Honey got a little bonus so I got to do a little shopping!

First of all, can I just say that Cutecumber lives up to the "cute" in her name? Today she went with me and scored something at almost every house we went to. It isn't unusual for her to get a few free things but today she really raked it in. Here is her loot of free items, each being from a different sale.

Hat- which I'm thinking of adding to and using in her Tea Party themed Birthday coming up.
mini rolling pin- the guy that gave this to her was really cute and told her to save it for her husbands head lol
Carebear dvd- I think we might have a new favorite
2 carebears- (each from a different sale weird huh?) I love carebears because they are so well made and I can just throw them in the washing machine!
GIANT dolphin- It's bigger than she is and the cats on it are a cute Japanese style I think, but not really sure why they are on a dolphin. She found out it was a squeaky toy while I was driving. Not so cute.
Jelly bean bracelet- It's a little big, but really cute! Ms. Thang may ask to borrow it. Even mom might... lol

Can you believe her haul? How can one resist?

She was supposed to be napping but here she is standing on the toy box. I had to go get the camera because she was being so charming. She did have a big flower in her hair today too. Honey said she looked like a little senorita lol

Here are my PAID FOR items:

Label maker- In the master lock box is an embossing label maker. It's like new! It's "old school" where you have to turn the dial to each letter and pull the trigger. It's got about 10 or more rolls in different colors too. I hope the kids have as much fun with it as I did when I was younger.

Blue organization box- I'm going to use it for craft stuff I think. I'll be testing out that label maker... lol

Tissue paper and 3 little flower wreaths- I plan to use this for Cutecumbers tea party.

Silver pear- I collect pears and this one is big and beautiful just like me :P

mug rack- I've been looking for one of these. I'm going to paint it and use it for Ms. Thang's necklaces OR Cutecumbers tea cups in the play kitchen.

Cute dress- 3T so it's too big, but it can be for warm or cool weather depending on what I pair it with. It's super soft.

Yellow plate- I love yellow and this one says cheerios all over it. It was an impulse buy at $.10 lol

On top of the blue box- sun glasses for the Scientist along with a key chain measuring tape for him as well.

Ready for my grand total?.......

$5.35 and $3 of that was on the label maker. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fake Plants, cookbooks, and horny toads

Here are a few little things I've been doing:

Added a few fake plants from the Dollar tree to my "owl" and "hive" planters. There are actually 3 different small plants in the big pot and I think it looks fairly realistic.

Sorry for the blurry pic. I still need to add moss around the base of the plants. I had forgotten about that until now. Also pictured is a little walnut shaped trinket box I found a few weeks ago but I can't remember where. I love it, but so far it's spent most of its life here being pried from Cutecumbers fingers.

Have I ever shown you the "family" recipe book I've been working on at a snails pace?

It's titled, "Never Trust a Skinny Cook". I'm not going to google it because I don't want to think, for even a moment, that I am not as witty as I think I am and find a book with a similar title. It's funny because I actually hate to cook and do NOT enjoy it at all. I'm more of a baker and even then it's occasional, but the women in my family all like cookbooks, and I've inherited quite a few. I have to admit, slowly I find myself picking them up and enjoying them. Sometimes I can almost taste a recipe after reading it.
A quick note about the one titled Slow Cooker in the photo: Ms Thang read the title and wondered aloud why I had a book for a SLOW cooker, as in a mentally challenged cooker. Honey and I had a long laugh over that one and he always says that's her book and plans to put that in a box to go with her when she leaves for college. lol

The scientist's grandpa brought him an unexpected treat from the garden today:

The horns are the only scary thing about this horny toad. His little flat face is grumpy but kind, and even though the scientist let him go a few hours ago, he's been casually strolling the yard and hanging out. I used to catch a bunch of these when I was a kid, but now they are really few and far between. As a matter of fact, this is the first one I have seen in at least 5 years although I'm not really hanging out in the brush these days. lol I know when I was younger I was told I could not keep them because it was against the law. I'm not really sure if there is truth in that, or if my parents were just trying to keep the poor thing from being loved to death. I would spend hours rubbing their bellies and putting them into "hypnosis". This one was having none of that, making a liar out of me in front of my son who would have thought I was Super-Mom if it would have cooperated.
I've also heard they can shoot blood from their eye. I have a hard time believing that, but it's a little random and weird for a lie to get children to leave them alone. :S

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pantry makeover for under $20

I did a little pantry makeover this weekend.

Here is the before:

and after:

What I did:
*I painted the whole interior with 1 quart of Banana Yellow from Wal-mart. A funny thing, the swatch had 4 colors and I liked Banana, Honey liked Lemon, the Scientist liked Taxi Cab, and I even let Cutecumber take a vote, and she pointed to Pineapple. Ms. Thang wasn't there for the tie breaker, so mommy trumped them all and went with Banana. I was tempted to go one shade darker (Lemon) but I'm happy that I didn't.

*I bought 2 plastic bins from the Dollar Tree. The basket I had before had wide gaps and things where always falling out. These work perfectly, one for snacks, and the other for my smaller boxed items like Jello and Jiffy that always seem to get pushed to the back.

*Drawers. I lucked out and found these green plastic drawers for $10 at Target. The top drawer is for dog food, second for potatoes, and bottom is currently holding some bagged items that were taking up room in my baking cabinet like almond bark, flour, etc..

*The door shelf holding the syrup, honey, etc... was actually a bathroom rack with suction cups for the shower. It was always falling off and I actually had it in my box of things I'm taking to Goodwill. I just cut the suction cups off and screwed it to the door. It even has a little compartment for pens. I think I got it at Target originally.

*Labels. Although this wasn't necessary, I think it really makes the whole pantry charming! Best part is, they were FREE!

I used THESE from BananaFrog and just altered them a bit on my computer, but you could leave as is:

Print them and cut them out. I used clear contact paper I had on-hand (from the Dollar Tree) to adhere them to the drawers. Just lay the cut out label down onto the contact paper (printed side to sticky side). Trim it, but leave enough to extend past your label (I left mine in a square shape) and you've got a pretty little sticker that easily wipes clean. :)

In doing this, I was amazed at how much I actually had crammed into my pantry once I got it all laid out. It took up more counter space than my biweekly grocery trip, and even spilled onto my dining room table and this is when my pantry is practically empty! I grouped it together on the counter into categories or "like" items and that helped me organize it when I put it all back in, and see what sort of storage solutions I needed.
I really didn't purge much because I've been on top of that, but I did get rid of a few things on the very top shelf, or found better homes for them anyway. Honey was happy I found a shot worth of Patron back there, and the Scientist was happy for an old bouncy ball that somehow ended up in a corner on the shelf.

For under $20, I feel like the space is better utilized, and the paint color and labels make me happy every time I open that little door.

I still want something like THIS for Christmas though. :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Scientist's corner

I like this picture for many reasons.

1. I won! He cleaned his desk.

2. When he does clean, he cleans like me. Everything has its place. :)

3. Robots, space men, super heros, gears, toy parts, binoculars, and treasure chests means he is a typical 6yr old boy.

4. Reading awards, ribbons and certificates, ever changing lego display, framed artwork, carved pine cone pencil holder he picked out at a thrift shop, means he's the awesomest 6yr old boy.

I feel like it's a frozen moment in time. Each year this same corner changes drastically. Just last year, a toybox sat here, and the crayon marks of preschool art are just underneath that layer of paint. The pegs on that shelf were always pulled out. The top shelf had a giant stuffed sponge bob and chicken little which he opted to donate just a few weeks ago. Some day this corner will have a poster of a bikini clad blonde , a fastfood work shirt draped over the chair, and half finished algebra homework covered by a hot pocket on a paper plate. lol

The pantry

I need some organization ideas for my pantry.
Here is the solution I came up with for the spice cabinet above my stove. 2 lazy susans. I love how this worked out!

Now this is my pantry: (I know it's empty, but I just finished a LONG pantry challenge)

and here are the issues I have with it:

Shelf #3- Canned goods. This shelf is the one that I dislike the most. I try and put similar items together (soups, veggies, fruit, tuna) but when it's full, it's hard to find what I need without having to take a lot of things out. I need a better solution. The shelf extends to the right of the door frame, just behind that wall, and that is where I put jars like peanut butter, spaghetti sauce etc.. I can never get to those without taking out a whole row if it isn't the item right in front.

Shelf #4- This shelf usually holds chips, crackers, pasta, rice, cereal, and the kids snacks because it's on their level (fruit roll ups, hostess cakes, pop tarts etc in that white basket) and I am trying to eliminate those types of unhealthy snacks. It's filling up my fridge pretty fast though with fruit, cheese sticks, veggie and dip, yogurt etc.. I need to figure out a few more unrefrigerated HEALTHY snacks for the kids and then what way to store them. I could probably put a small storage bin with drawers here if the snacks are small. So far I have raisins in mind. That's it. lol I'm trying! Give me some ideas.

The bottom- I know I have a lot of wasted space beside the trash can. That blue storage bin is full of the dog's food and treats. I know I could put shelving there, but it would have to be narrow enough for me to get the trash can in and out. Hmm..If nothing else maybe I could make a shelf for some of my appliances. The very top shelf of the pantry has my lesser used appliances like the icecream maker, juicer, and air popper.

Any ideas?

Here are a few things I found online that I liked:

I like the basket idea for my cans. It would be nice to have one for each group like a basket of soups, a basket of veggies etc.. but once they were in there, wouldn't they be hard to pull out through the door frame on mine? I want to pull out the entire basket. Otherwise it's more of a hassle to dig around blindly inside of a basket, than to pull out a row of cans to get what I need.

Here, I know they don't have food items in theirs, but I like the door storage, which would be perfect for the "sticky" items I have stored on the top shelf (syrup, chocolate mix, honey) so they would still be out of reach to the kids and I could get to my larger appliances easier. I also like the basket/drawers with the paper towels, which might be perfect for the area beside my trashcan. I just don't know where to get items like that. Do they have them at Wal-mart/ Target

These two pictures also make me want to paint mine. I think I'm heading to the Dollar tree today. I'm going to look at their plastic bins, and their contact paper. If I can't get some pretty color there, I might just paint the back walls with some green paint I have left over from the kitchen stripes.

I don't spend ALL my time cleaning and organizing. Today I went to a "muddy" playdate with the kids. It's raining all this week so we let them play in the rain, make mud pies, and use pudding paint to get as messy as they could. Believe it or not, the scientist avoided the mess and chased grasshoppers, but cutecumber loved every filthy second.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pin cushion and egg salad

I've been decluttering my kitchen all day. YUCKY! I only have the top cabinets and a few drawers done and I already have a box of items to donate. For some reason I had a plethora of measuring cups and spatulas. How many spatulas does one really need? I opted for 2, my fav and Honey's fav.

I made a few pin cushions the other day.

Super easy! Felt, colored thread, stuffing (from and old pillow in my case, but cotton balls would work) and a little creativity. I made two and they took me about 20min a piece. This one has a little blue tear drop that doesn't show up well in the picture. I've never done embroidery or anything like that, but it's basically like drawing a dotted line. If you can do that, you're good to go. The other cushion is an eyeball, (I was in a morbid mood apparently) but my son confiscated it as soon as I was done. I might make a whole face and add some magnets. That could be fun for the eraser board above his desk. I'll try and get a pic of that just as soon as I find my camera. :S

Back to the kitchen...I'm thinking of painting the inside of my pantry a fun color. Maybe a chartreuse? I probably won't, but I'm thinking about it.
I've been doing a pantry challenge (stolen from Money Saving Mom, but done more out of necessity) for almost a month now and it is sooo barren. Even my deep freezer is cleared out. It's going to be so fun to finally stock it all back up next pay day and this time of course I promise to go healthier. It's also nice to have room for all the coupon items that end up being bought in bulk and knowing that there isnt a ham from 2001 or a 15yr old can of beets lost somewhere WAY in the back is a nice feeling. It feels cleaner and fresher. I also had to cook some meals I had forgotten about like potato soup (it's been rainy so that was nice) and just plain ol' egg salad. I wonder what my ex-husband's Nana used to put in hers? It's the best by far, and I try and copy it, but it's just never as good. She always said it was all about cutting up the eggs super tiny which I supposed translates into more time and putting in more love. :)

I did finally perfect boiling the eggs. I usually over do them, but now I'm a pro. Thank you google. Now, bring on Easter!
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