Bistro Table Makeover

Waste Not Want Not Wednesday Week 1: Bistro Table Makeover

It’s amazing what a can of “rattle can” paint can do, isn’t it?! I had grandious dreams of mod-podging the top of this table with bright colored paper, and then sealing it with weather proof seal. After some cleaning and painting, however, I was reminded why I wanted to salvage this old table in the first place. My husband wanted to throw the old bistro table away, because it had seen too many winters outside, but I knew it was structurally sound and just needed tome TLC to make it new again. The simplicity of the black metal and textured glass looks so classy, it really didn’t need any added color, thus making this makeover quite easy and simple.

Step one: Clean. I used a wire brush to scrub the metal and remove the surface rust. I used soft scrub and a scouring sponge to clean the built up gunk off the glass.

Step 2: Mask. Use painter’s tape to mask off all of the glass.

Step 3: Paint. Using a rust resistant outdoor spray paint (i.e.:Rustoleum) paint metal desired color.

Step 4: Dry. Allow paint to set 24 hours in a dry weather proof place, such as a garage or shop. If you leave it outside, dust and bugs may stick to the paint.

Step 5: Polish. Remove tape immediately after paint dries. Use adhesive remover to remove any left over adhesive (such as Goop Off) and polish glass with rubbing alcohol.

Step 6: Dress. Place potted flowers, tea cups, napkins and spoons on table and enjoy a cup of tea with your lover.

He he, that last step is totally optional, but it sounded good to me. Here are some pictures of the final product!

Have a seat!

The table looks so much better after a good cleaning and fresh coat of paint. And to think, my hubby was going to throw it out!

Had to throw in a picture of my new Noritake (Legendary) Sweet Leilani. I scored an entire service for 8 (minus two tea cups I plan to replace) at Goodwill for $40 I can’t wait to use them this Christmas!

Pink and Green Toddler-Size Rag Quilt

Makeover Monday Week 2: The Quilt

I don’t have a before picture for this quilt, but I will give you a quick rundown of the before for this post. For those of you wonderful readers who read last weeks post (Painting the Big Girl Room,) you know that we are giving Little R’s room a little makeover. One of the things I had planned to do was graduate her to a “big girl bed,” but after lots of consideration, Mr F and I decided we would rather her stay in a small toddler bed as long as possible, thus allowing her more floor spacer to play. Unfortunately, while I still had the notion that we were going to buy her a twin sized bed, I designed a twin sized quilt and purchased, cut and began sewing the fabric. So this morning while the rest of the house was still in bed, I pulled the fabric out, spread it out on my kitchen table and completely redesigned a new toddler-size quilt. Although the fabric is already cut up, I think I can use the extras to design pillow cases and shams to match! I’m actually really excited about this makeover. It is a small feat, but it is still exciting to be one step closer to the finished product. Hooray for me! So here is my “after,” which is really more like a before, because it’s not sewn together yet. At least it’s an idea of what the quilt will look like when it is done.

Pink and Green Rag Quilt Toddler Crib Bed spread


Pink and Green Rag Quilt Toddler Crib Bed spread

I’m sharing this post on Metamorphosis Monday!

Fabulous Family Fun Friday! Week 2: Indoor Bounce House

A few weeks ago we took Little R to the indoor bounce house in town. It’s a very large room, with several of those blow up “bounce houses,” only way cooler! (yeah, I said “way cooler”) These things are giant, and they have slides and obstacle courses of varying sizes. The tallest slide was about 12 feet tall, and had a climbing wall that you had to scale to get to the top of before sliding down. At first glance I was concerned that most of the obstacles would be too much for our little one, but after about 15-20 min she warmed right up to the bigger ones. Thankfully, they had blow up areas for kids of all ages, so even if she hadn’t warmed up to the bigger ones, she still would have had fun with the smaller ones. The obstacles challenged her gross motor skills, and boosted her self esteem as she overcame each one. This was very exciting and rewarding for Mr F and I to watch. Call me crazy, but I swear she walked just a little bit taller when we left.  Entry to the bounce house was very affordable; kids cost eight dollars, and adults get in free! Totally worth the eight dollars to see her have so much fun and gain so much self esteem in one day. Plus, we had a lot of fun on the slides too!

Here are a few pics to see what kind of obstacles they had. Sorry the images are not very  clear; the lighting wasn’t real great in there.

The “tire” obstacle.


The Ball Pit. R with her favorite ball; the green ball.


We had so much fun together, we will definitely be going back again. What kind of fun can you find in your town?

What Martha Isn’t Telling You About Christmas

Christmas starts in July. That’s it! That’s the big secret that Martha and every other Martha Stewert-Like blogger isn’t telling you about Christmas, and all of those beautiful hand made decorations and gifts. I am sharing this little secret with you, because every Christmas the same thing happens to me.

It starts in the Fall with Halloween; I call it Holiday Fever, and I get it bad! I see all of these beautiful hand made decorations and gifts everywhere. They sparkle, and shine — and taunt me. “Make me. Make me! Make Meeeeee!” They call from the magazine rack in the grocery store. “Don’t you want to give me to your friends?” They beckon from my e-mail. “Your house will be the prettiest on the block,… if only you will decorate it just like this.” I hear as I scan my favorite craft blogs every morning. But what they aren’t telling you is, you have to start planning months in advance to achieve these beautifully decorated houses and handmade gift baskets. If you are a procrastinator with high hopes, like myself, then you may have attempted to get all of these things done in previous Decembers, only to have Christmas come and go in a hot, stressful, flash; leaving you feeling unsatisfied and disappointed.

How can you achieve a beautifully decorated home, make heartfelt handmade gifts and still have the time to enjoy your friends, family and true spirit of the season? Easy, start now! There are so many things you can do in the summer to prepare you for the Fall Holiday Season. Here are a few (ok, several) suggestions to get the ball rolling.

1. Start collecting! Start collecting pine cones for decorations (or one of these cute, homemade fire starters) on your next camping excursion. Not only will you save time, but you will save money, buy not having to buy them.

Click picture for link!

2. Spray Paint now! If you have items (like your pine cones) that you want to paint gold or silver (or white, or green, or red…) do it now. Spray paint doesn’t dry well in the wet Fall weather; dry summer heat is ideal for spray painting.

3. Get cooking! (Or canning.) Homemade jams or jellies, and liqueurs are always appreciated. Jams can be made and stored for months in advance, saving you time later. Liqueurs need time to infuse with flavors and taste better with a little age, so they really need to be made ahead of time. In order to save yourself precious “holiday time,” avoid giving “fresh baked” gifts that have to be made the same week they are given. If you like giving fresh baked cookies, consider making the dough ahead of time and freezing it in an airtight container. That way you will always have fresh baked cookies on hand within 15 minutes.

4. Get Sewing! Or Crafting. There are so many handmade gifts that can be sewn or crafted ahead of time. My current favorite blog is They have…

5. Simplify! Don’t try to design a different homemade gift or basket for every single person on your list. Pick one or two crowd pleasing themes for your baskets, (or sewing pattern, or craft) and stick to it. Here are two of my favorite gift baskets:

  • Coffee for Two Basket: Include 2 coffee cups, homemade irish cream, chocolate or coffee liqueur (made ahead), a tin of your favorite coffee and a bottle of milk or cream. Save your coffee tins and frappuccino bottles over the summer. Remove labels and decorate with your established theme between now and Halloween. Set aside until Christmas, then fill with store bought bulk coffee and milk or cream just before gifting. You can even make Biscotti a month in advance and store in an air tight container, or cheat, and buy it from your bulk store. Oh, and one more tip; wait to buy your baskets until you know what is going in them! This will save you money, and a head ache, when you go to put them together. I speak from experience on this one.
  • Spa Basket: Make skin care items over summer and decorate the jars ahead of time, so all you have to do is put the basket together come gift giving time. Here are a few recipes for DIY Skin care products: Exfoliating Scrub, Bath Salts, Bath Bombs.

6. Pick one theme and stick to it. Whether it be red, green, and blue plaid; blue and white snowflakes; snowmen or nature inspired; pick a theme and stick with it. You will be amazed at how much easier it will be to decorate your home, and your gifts, if you pick one color combination or character and focus on that when purchasing or creating your decorations. Plus, your friends and family will be amazed at how well “put together” everything looks when even your tree decorations and presents match.

5. Start your decorations early. You don’t have to hang them, but most decorations can be made ahead of time and stored unit the fall.

I hope I have motivated you to get started on those Christmas gifts and decorations, or at least got your wheels turning. For more DIY decorating and Gift ideas, see my Pinterest page!


Make-over Monday: Week 1-Painting the Big Girl Room

Hello! Thanks for joining me for my first ever Makeover Monday! I am so excited to share with you every week, something I am making over in my home. I will start with our little girl’s “Big Girl” room, and our still-yet-unfinished-after-2.5-years bathroom! Yes, you read that right. We started renovating and updating our house about 3 years ago, and it is still not finished. What can I say? Babies and weddings can be very costly and time consuming. So in an attempt to complete the house (and give me something to write about) I give you my first of many Make-over Monday!

Week one: Reese’s Big Girl Room Makeover Step 1: Paint Walls!

So a few weeks ago I got this crazy notion that the bright green paint in Little R’s room, wasn’t appropriate for a big girl (all of 2 years old,) and decided that for her Birthday next month, I was going to give her a bedroom makeover to signify her graduating from baby to full-on little girl. (Which happened way too fast mind you.) Thus, paint was sampled, fabric was chosen, and plans for new pieces of furniture were made. . . Her birthday is in less than two months. . . I have a lot of work to do! So today we are working on the first step; painting her walls.
I loved the green paint we chose for her as an unborn, sexless baby (we kept it a surprise) and still do, but for some silly reason I decided it needed to be lighter. I’m honestly still not sure it was the right decision, but I think I will like it more once the room is complete.

Unfortunately, I can’t find the before picture with the first green we painted, but here is a before the remodel pic. Definitely an improvement thus far!

And the “Afters…”

You’ll have to excuse the little “ghost” at the bottom of the pic. She was so excited about her “new room” I couldn’t convince her to leave. She pulled the bedspread off and was putting her stuffed animal to bed.

And the other side…

Well that is it for my first Monday Makeover. Tune in next week to see what we do next!
I am sharing this post on …

Metamorphosis Monday

8 Things Every Parent Should Know For A Successful And Affordable Family Fun Day

I could pretty much sum this post up in two words; PLAN AHEAD, but I will elaborate. If you want your family fun day to be both successful and affordable, planning ahead is key. Following is a list of things to consider when planning a fun and affordable Family Fun Day…

1. Create a checklist of items to take a few days in advance (not the morning of) and check them off as you prepare for the big day of fun. Think towels and dry clothes for beach or lake trips; snacks, meals and drinks; sunglasses and sunscreen for summer days, rain or snow gear for winter days, maps or directions, schedules for events, etc.

2. Check the weather the night before and be sure everyone dresses appropriately. Pack extra clothes, umbrellas, sun hats or whatever is appropriate the night before, so as not to forget in all the excitement of the next day.

3. Plan and pack meals and snacks. Not only will your family fun day go much smoother if your food is already prepared, but it can save you loads of money. The price of a snack at a movie theater could buy you a meal at the grocery store, and beverages are one of the highest marked up food items. Insulated beverage cups are a huge money saver in our house. I use mine every single day, and Little R’s milk stays cool and fresh for hours longer in her insulated sippy.

4. When planning your family fun day, check event schedules and business calendars for discount days and times. Everyone knows mattine movies cost less, but did you know, most zoos offer a discount day, as well as most county fairs? Even our local pool has one day a month when entry is half off. Just be prepared you may have to deal with larger crowds those days.

5. Speaking of crowds, check event calendars for special entry days and times. For example, our local pool offers “toddler time” for a few hours before it opens to all ages. This is great for little ones (or parents) who get a little overwhelmed by large crowds and noisy teenagers.

6. Consider your regular daily schedule and try to keep to it. Family fun time can quickly turn not-so-fun, when interrupting normal sleep and meal times. If your family is anything like mine, they get a little cranky when they are hungry and a lot cranky if they don’t get enough sleep. Try to avoid any activities or events that interfere with normal sleep patterns, and pack “emergency” snacks, meals and beverages. If you have nappers in your house, then be prepared to get out of the house early enough to be back in time for nap, or leave after they’ve woke from nap.

7. Dress appropriately. Okay, so I kind of touched on this one, but I want to remind parents that this one is for you too. As a stay-home mom, i don’t get out much. Sometimes I can get a little overexcited when I do leave the house and forget to dress for the occasion. Like I want to wear a skirt and strappy heals to the bounce house. Yeah, I actually did that. Oops! So remember, comfy clothes and tennies are best for keeping up with your kids, and trust me, they will want/expect you to do everything they do.

Last but most importantly…

8. Choose age appropriate activities. Remember, Family Fun Days are all about the kids! This is an opportunity to build lasting memories (as well as impressions) for your kids. You may be an avid fisherman, but your 2 year old daughter may not be ready to sit in a boat for hours on end waiting for something exciting to happen. Young kids have very short attention spans, so activities in which the entertainment changes as quickly as their interest is best. For example; the zoo has a ton of different exhibits, if your child gets bored with one, then you can simply move on to the next. Just remember to stop for drinks and snacks along the way!

4 Games to Play With Pool Noodles!

Summer is in full swing, it’s hot, my little one is bored of the kiddy pool already, and all of our “fun money” is going to camping. What’s a mom to do?! How do I entertain an active 2 year old in the summer heat? Pool Noodles! These babies aren’t just for floating in your swimming pool. I have found several ways to use them as educational entertainment for my little one.
Here is a collection of …

R’s Favorite Noodle Activities:

Noodle Pointer:
Educational Benefits: Gross Motor Skills, Color and Shape Identification
How: Let your little ones pick their favorite color pool noodle, and tell them to “touch” the noodle to the shape, color, object etc. We combined sidewalk chalk with this activity; I drew shapes on the driveway and told little R to “touch” the heart, flower, etc. You could cut out paper shapes and tape them on the ground or omit the shapes completely and tell them to “touch the tree, bush, dandelion, etc” This latter option may be better for your especially energetic kids. You can have them race to the objects, back and forth across the yard. They’ll be wore out in no time!

Noodle Obstacles:
Educational Benefits: Gross Motor Skills and Balance
Use several noodles to make obstacles (inside or outside) for your kiddos to go through without touching the “lasers” (or whatever fun name you give the noodles.) You can lay them across chairs, lean them against tables or walls, or simply criss-cross them on the ground and have the child jump over and between them.

Lacing Noodle Doughnuts
Educational Benefits: Fine Motor Skills, Number, Color and Pattern Recognition
How: First use a sharp serrated knife to carefully cut noodles into 1-1.5 inch slices, making “doughnuts.” Use a permanent marker to write numbers on the “doughnuts.” Lastly, give your little one a long shoelace or rope (may want to ten a big bead or something on the end, so the doughnuts don’t fall off) and have your little one lace the string through the doughnuts. For older kids give them a color pattern or number sequence written on a pice of paper or card stock to follow.

Noodle Doughnut Toss
Educational Benefits: Gross Motor Skills, Color Identification
How: Slice Noodles into doughnuts as described above (or use the same ones.) Next, float plastic plates or upside-down frisbees in kiddy pool. Ask your little one to toss the doughnuts onto the corresponding colored frisbee, or just toss them on a plate. Remember to cheer them on and reward them with lots of hugs, kisses and claps when they make a “basket.”

I hope you enjoy these activities as much as “R” and I did!

Today’s Money Saving Tip:

“When kid’s grow tired of old toys, find new uses for them. “Paint” with toy car tires, tie ribbon onto long bubble wands to make “magic wands,” or simply allow your little ones to take outside toys in, inside toys out, or bedroom toys to the bathroom! You will be amazed at how an old tired toy will become a new favorite.”



I’m sharing these ideas on:

loving this crazy life

Bacon & Jalapeño Backstrap

I threw this together, sort of “off the cuff” last night for my hubby. He had requested Elk Steak for dinner, and I felt my regular recipes were getting tired. I wanted to use the grill, as it’s just too hot to turn the oven on right now. I didn’t want the elk to dry out on the grill, so the obvious solution to me was wrap it in juicy bacon! Of course! As I was looking for motivation online I saw a recipe that included jalapeños, and I knew that would be something my hubby would like. Thus, the Bacon and Jalapeño Backstrap was born. OK, I’m sure I wasn’t the first to wrap bacon and jalapeño around a piece of meat, but it was a new and novel idea for me!
As I stated earlier, I just threw this together, so the measurements are approximate.

Bacon & Jalapeño Backstrap 
1.5-2# Elk or Venison Backstrap, sliced across the grain in 1-2″ thick slices
1# bacon slices
4 jalapeños (or 1 per 2 slices of backstrap)
Tony’s Creole Seasoning
1/2 c cooking oil
1/4 c cider vinegar
2 TBLS red wine vinegar
2-3 TBLS Worcestershire Sauce
1 TBLS minced garlic
2 tsp horseradish
1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Whisk together marinade in shallow dish. Rub steaks with Creole seasoning and black pepper. Place in marinade. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, turning to coat half way through.

When ready to cook. Preheat grill. Halve the jalapeños and remove seeds and ribs. Grill jalapeños until they begin to soften. Remove from grill. (Leave grill on.) Place half a jalapeño on a slice of steak, wrap with bacon. Repeat with all the backstrap. Don’t be afraid to use all the bacon if there is extra! Grill over low heat, jalapeño side down until bacon is crisp and jalapeño is fully cooked. Flip, crisp bacon on other side. Remove and enjoy!

If you like gravy, reserve the marinade and make a gravy with it. Bring marinade to a low boil, add a couple tablespoons of flour and whisk, whisk, whisk. I had an extra half of a jalapeño left and some white wine, so added them too. I sliced the the jalapeño thin and added them before bringing it to a boil. Then added about 1/2 cup white wine after the flour was whisked in.

Serve backstrap and gravy with potatoes or rice, and greens or grilled veggies.

Not Always So Fabulous

No Sugar added- Blueberry Banana Muffin Recipe

Hello dear Bloggy Friends! It has been far too long since I have written. I had to do some serious soul searching on whether to continue this blog or not. I have recently had some serious recipe failures and was beginning to lose confidence in my abilities as a cook. Iwas starting to think i should call this site “not-so-fabulously-homemade.

I aspire to craft and bake like Martha Stewart, live like Ree Drumond and have the personality of Rachel Ray. Unfortunately, I often fail at most of these goals. BUT, I have decided that’s ok. We all have to start somewhere; don’t we!? So I will continue to aspire towards being more like Martha, Ree and Rach. In the meantime, I plan to share my successes as well as my failures with you and hope you do the same. Take pride in the learning process, for life is a journey. If you focus too much on the destination, you will miss out on all the fun to be had along the way.

That being said, I will share the success and the failure of my quest for a healthy and delicious breakfast this morning. I was up late last night searching the web for healthy crockpot recipes. I found several for crockpot oatmeal, and thought it sounded delicious and creamy and wonderful. I hopped out of bed, threw some ingredients in the crockpot, and went to sleep confident I would wake to a tasty and hot breakfast early in the morning. Well… my husband got called out to work in the middle of the night, so there wasn’t anyone to wake me in the morning. Yes, I still need someone to drag me out of bed in the morning. A habit acquired in my teens that I ashamedly never outgrew. ANYWAY, I overslept by 2 hours and when I woke the oatmeal was very burnt. So burnt, I am really dreading scrubbing the pot.

Luckily, I was also looking at muffin recipes last night! I had found a great, no sugar added, muffin recipe that I was really looking forward to trying. I washed my hands (literally and figuratively) of that darn oatmeal and started right away with my muffins. Did I have breakfast waiting for me when I woke? No. Did I have a delicious, hot and healthy breakfast a half hour later? YES! I’ll take that as a win.

As I was mixing these muffins up, I thought to myself, “If I were making these, and I am, I would do things a little different.” So I did, and they turned out delightfully fluffy and just sweet enough, and I felt better about my baking skills. Win, win, WIN!

Mrs.F’s Winning Blueberry Banana Muffins-no sugar added 
1 c mashed ripe or over-ripe bananas (aprox. 2.5 large bananas)
1/2 c water
1/2 c oil
2 eggs
1 c wheat flour
1 c all purpose (unbleached preferably) flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
tiny pinch of table salt or 4 grains of course sea salt (Most all purpose wheat flours contain a lot of salt, so use salt very sparingly)
1.5 c fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or line 18-muffin tin.

In mixer, thoroughly beat bananas. Continue beating and add water and oil. Then add eggs, just until incorporated. Do not over-beat. Turn mixer off. In separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Turn mixer back on and add flour mixture slowly, stopping half-way to scrape sides. Mix only until wet and slightly lumpy. Remove bowl, scrape sides again. Fold in blueberries by hand.

Measure 1/2 cup batter into each muffin cup. Bake for 16-18 min. Muffins will be fluffy and bounce back when touched lightly.

Notes: Of course, you can change out the flour for all wheat or all all-purpose; as well as the fresh blueberries for frozen. This is just how I made them. Living in Oregon, and this being Summer, it would be a mortal sin if I used frozen berries. OK, maybe not sinful, but definitely silly! Recipe adapted from No-Sugar-Added Blueberry and Banana Wheat Muffins by Speck on

Cake Truffle Memorials

Memorial day is just a week away! In our house that usually means camping and a 3 day weekend. For others it’s time to hit the beach and work on their tan. Unfortunately, we tend to forget the reason for this three day weekend. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, and even more so, of appreciation for those who have died in our nation’s service.

It has become a tradition in our family to attend a group camping trip and potluck every Memorial Weekend. This year I wanted to bring something patriotic to serve as a subtle reminder to our “fellow funsters” to be thankful for our  nation’s servicemen (and women) who make this weekend (and so many of our other freedoms) possible. Of course my first thought was some naturally red, white and blue foods like berries and whipped cream, but felt that had been overdone, plus there will be plenty of opportunity for that come Independence Day. I racked my brain over what Memorial Day meant to me, and how I could portray that through food. I thought I could decorate cupcakes with our services’ shields, but that wouldn’t travel well when camping. Then I remembered the Iwo Jima Memorial Statue and these cute little flag pics I found at the restaurant supply store a few weeks ago.

I wondered if I could make little cake pops in the general shape of the statue and stick the flag in at an angle. “What a great idea!” I thought. . . I thought wrong.

Sad little memorials. Hope you get a kick out of this pic. I sure did.

They just looked like someone’s horrible, failed attempt at a cake pop with a flag that refuses to stand up. I did however find my little cake truffles made an elegant little pedestal for a proud, high flying American Flag. You can pretty much use any of your favorite cake pop or cookie truffle recipes you have, then simply make the balls much smaller, poke them with a flag pic and dip them in almond bark or chocolate and you are good to go. In case you are in need of a tried and true recipe, I have included a few of my favorites below.

Have a wonderful Memorial Weekend and remember to thank your fellow service men and women!

Grasshopper Cookie Truffles
Originally adapted from Six Sister’s Stuff, this deliciously refreshing mint cookie truffle is so easy to make you are never going to believe it, Ready?

1 pkg Keebler Grasshopper Cookies
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 tsp. Mint extract
1 3.5 oz Dark Chocolate Bar (60+%)
1 pkg Almond Bark – Chocolate flavor
2 TBLS Vegetable oil or shortening

Place cookies in food processor and grind/chop into fine crumbs, add cream cheese and extract and process until well combined and holds together like cookie dough. Pop in freezer to stiffen up a little while preparing workspace, chocolate coating and decorations.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and prepare any decorations you wish to use. Consider using finely chopped nuts, shaved chocolate or colored sprinkles. Chop almond bark and dark chocolate into small pieces, place in microwave safe bowl with oil or shortening. Microwave for 10 – 15 seconds at a time, stirring in-between, until melted and smooth. Remove truffle batter from fridge. Pinch off about 2 teaspoons at a time, rolling into a ball. Poke flag pick halfway into ball, dip in chocolate. Make sure chocolate comes over top of truffle and up the pick about a quarter inch. This will help secure the cake to the pick. Allow excess to drip off on it’s own while holding at a 45 degree angle. Once excess is removed, dip in decorations (if using) then set on parchment paper to cool and set up.

After the coating and decorations have set, you can place these in an airtight container and store in fridge up to 2 days or in freezer up to one week.

Orange Cream Dream Cake Pops
Follow cake and frosting recipes here.
Bake Cake in 13×9 pan, and then follow cake pop tutorial here. Make smaller cake balls and use flag pics in place of lollipop sticks.

Butter Yellow Cake Pops Follow link!


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