Monthly Archives: February 2015

LEGO KIDSFEST: Kid Approved

Yesterday afternoon we took the hour trek up north to the biggest LEGO Party known to man- LEGO KidsFest at the University of Phoenix Stadium.  Raymond knew about the “LEGO PARTY”(that’s what we called it) and had been anticipating our trip for quite some time.  And it did not disappoint!legokidsfest5

Parking was easy-so many options-and all clearly laid out. Loved that we didn’t have to park far away… especially when the three and one year old ask to be carried.  As we ran down the ramps and entered LEGO KidsFest Raymond just stopped and stared in pure awe.

LEGO bricks as far as the eye could see.

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There were so, so, so many LEGO creations to take pictures with at KidsFest.  We spent easily an hour walking around and letting the kids explore the life-size creations.

TODDLER FAVORITES:

Emma Marie wanted pictures with: R5D4(Star Wars), Cinderella, ALL OF THE ANIMALS, Woody & Buzz, AND The Hulk until she got right up next to him and realized he was MUCH, MUCH BIGGER in real life… we have lots of dress-up outfits-princess, super heroes and such- and she LOVES to dress up like The Hulk. Anything that moved was just a little too realistic for her and she preferred to be carried.

 PRESCHOOLER FAVORITES:

Raymond wanted pictures with: R2D2(Star Wars), Dragon, Darth Vader, Clone Trooper(sensing a trend…), Lightening McQueen, Shredder, and the “real life” Ninja. My ears are STILL recovering from the loudest squeal of glee when Raymond saw R2D2-LOVED the Star Wars section of #LEGOKidsFest.

Dreams do come true people.

Dreams do come true.

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WOOKIE

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 READING CORNER

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 YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME

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 DUPLO LEGO FUN

 You take your eye off your toddler for one second… and they put a LEGO in their mouth. True life, with kids.

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 R5D4

 She knew just how COOL this area was because Raymond let the entire 30 foot radius know… She learns from the best.

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A dream is a wish your heart makes. When you’re fast asleep.

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 SO THIS IS LOVE

Emma Marie proudly carried around her own map and goodies throughout our trip.  Seldom did she let go of those keepsakes, save to race a car, or grab a picture in the photo booth with Mom. LOVED the free Princess Photo booth.

 

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 Proud Little Man

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That is one BIG kitty.

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My favorites were definitely a throwback to my childhood with THE SHREDDER. Loved all of the TMNT at LEGO KidsFest AND perhaps the kids should’ve donned their matching Ninja Turtle t-shirts.  They ask to wear them every day… Raymond gets that they need to be washed. BUT Emma? She doesn’t take well to the word, “No.”

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 That face says it all. Dreams DO come true.

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THE PILE

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Clutch Family Photo with the Arizona Cardinal

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 Emma Marie was smitten. Purely smitten with this display.

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Whenever she wanted to take a picture with a display she would ask for me to grab the camera and then would run over to the display and every so slowly back up into it. Pretty priceless.

Raymond and my husband spent easily an hour in The Pile and building cars to race down ramps so Emma and I had a fun time exploring the arena.

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 The Force is STRONG with this one.

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 Framing this. STAT.

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Lightning McQueen was a BIG DEAL at our #DisneySide @Home Cars Celebration two weeks ago and goodness were both Em and Raymond excited to see a full-size replica of him.

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We left after two FULL hours of fun! LEGO KidsFest is definitely an entertaining event! AND it sells out in every city! Make sure to grab your tickets while you can-memories were made that night.

We ended up going to the Chipotle a block away from the event for dinner-it is one of two allergy-friendly restaurants that we can safely eat at-and boy were we all famished.  Burrito bowls for all!  On the trip back home we sang Raffi songs and talked about our favorite moments of the day.

I love being able to sit down each day and find out what was most memorable for each of them. Sometimes it is the smallest thing that made their day… and it is a helpful reminder that not everything has to be perfect to be wonderful.

For more information about LEGO KidsFest check out this post: LEGO KidsFest Phoenix.

Plan on uploading our Race Footage to my YouTube Page- HERE.

Have you been to LEGO KidsFest? Did you grow up playing with LEGO bricks?

Goodness we had three massive containers to make all sorts of contraptions. Thankful for those fond memories that help me go to “my happy place” when I step on ANOTHER brick in the house. Never fails.

 

 

Sponsored by LEGO KidsFest. All opinions as always are 100% my own.

#DisneySide @Home Cars Celebration

Loved hosting our #DisneySide @Home Valentine’s Day  Cars Celebration with a bunch of our little preschool friends! Our #DisneySide Box was full of party supplies, games, and fabulous party favors for our guests(and their parents!). You can check out our #DisneySide Box Reveal- HERE.

When we were thinking about a time to do our party that would work for our family we decided that the week before Valentine’s Day would be perfect!  I thought that making a Valentine’s Day Craft to give to parents and friends would be fun(albeit messy)-and I was right on both counts.

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I LOVED how we used our DIY Chalkboard Wall as a photo backdrop complete with Cinderella quote and with the ever-so-essential #DisneySide Hashtag.

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Plus kids with photo props are pretty priceless.

 

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Gift Bags and Extra Goodies for Parents

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 Gift Goodies

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Twinings Tea & Crumpets Station

 

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The extra goodies are from Mindy Alyse Celebration Inspiration. Her Valentine’s Day in a Box came with the BEST assortment of goodies for the holiday.  The sparkles, cupcake liners, cupcake decorations, cake banner, love banner, napkins, paper straws and extra goodies! I loved how those sweet touches helped with our Tea Station.

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For those that don’t know we have a lot of food allergies in our family and cupcakes-cake usually don’t make the cut because they need to be nut, egg, and gluten-free… hard to make and not the best tasting. SO marshmallows were the winner and they were a HIT with the kids.  Marshmallows on a stick-who knew? Plus it felt rather royal…

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The iced-tea bar was superb! The temperatures were in the mid-70s here in Phoenix and these non-caffeinated teas were quite refreshing! Plus, the fact that the kids were able to have “tea” made for a special moment.  We even talked about pinkies out(is that really a thing?!).

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Raymond made Valentine’s Day Cards for all of his little friends before the party. Loved how simple this craft was.

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 Chalkboard Photo Wall

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 Photo Props for the win!

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 Food Station

Fresh veggies, dip, Foodles, chips, salsa, popcorn, bell peppers.

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Fabulous Banner from Mindy Alyse 

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FOODLES

CrunchPak Foodles– DELICIOUS Snacks for our littlest guests.  In the past two weeks since the party we have actually grabbed a couple more of these from the store… they are perfect for when you are just a tad too busy, like say, with a toddler and preschooler. Genius and healthy.

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 Apple, Cheese, and Pretzels

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 Apple, Cheese, and Grapes

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Allergy-Free Pizza AND the Heart Shaped Papa Murphy’s Pizza. WIN-WIN. Safe and easy way to feed a hungry crowd-thankful that we picked up TWO heart-shaped pizza’s from Papa Murphy’s. YUM.

 

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 Fresh Lemonade-Thankful for friends that bring bags of lemons from their backyard to us.

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Outdoor Craft Area

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Art Supplies, Bubbles, Jake Coloring Book

Loved doing our Valentine’s Day Craft.  We used a paper plate with some paint(washable of course because? Preschoolers).  I cut up five celery hearts and the kids dipped the hearts into the paint colors of their choice and made flower bouquets for their family and friends. Simple and easy!

DisneySide24Emma Marie dislikes anything to do with paint-so luckily our #DisneySide Party Kit came with this incredible coloring book.  Jake and the Neverland Pirates are a favorite in our house.  We named our “Secret Hideout” after the one in the show.  Oh and our password? Yo-Ho-Ho.

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Flower Bouquets for Nana

 

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Emma Marie devoured her Foodles. She LOVED that the container was in the shape of Mickey! She kept talking about how it was Mickey and that it was her favorite. Pretty priceless.

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A Disney Party without some BLING?! How could I?

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One of the games that we played was Pin the Smile on Mickey! This was the first time Raymond had played such a game and it was fun to explain the rules… kids are so darn trusting and he really enjoyed being the first person to go. I guess a privilege of being the hosts? Yes, I think so.

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For the little ones that were a year old we didn’t have them wear anything covering their eyes.  We gave them the option-but not one liked the idea of that handkerchief on their head. Can’t blame them.

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I am so thankful for being able to host this #DisneySide @Home Cars Valentine’s Day Celebration with our friends and family!  My kids had so much fun helping set-up-which of course meant that everything took longer- but it was well worth it.  Everyone left with a large swag bag full of toys, stickers, HP Photo Paper, Chore Charts(they are fun ones I swear), and Cars treat bags with goodies. We ended the night with popcorn in big red solo cups watching the original Cars movie.

Definitely thankful for preschool teachers- a bunch of 2 and three year olds(with a couple babies) take it out of you! Oh my goodness!

Thanks for sticking around!

Now I NEED to know- What games do you play with little ones at parties?

I need a couple other family friendly ones for two birthdays coming up! Please and thank you!

 

 

The party kit was provided from Mom Select Media.  All opinions as always are 100% my own.

Weekend Festivities

 

Hope your weekend was wonderful! We started out with a rough patch with both little ones spotting a fever-luckily the crud only lasted 24 hours and were feeling much better come Saturday morning. Saturday morning we spent getting haircuts for the guys, grabbing coffee, and then it was time for my first Galentine’s Day Party!
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Lovely Bloggers Photo Cred: Photography Hill

The Arizona Blogger Group met-up in downtown Chandler to hangout, enjoy delicious Waffle Luv treats, Sharis Berries, and a small gift swap.  Goodness did it take me long to figure out what I was going to wear… hear me out. I’ve lost 40 pounds in the past three months(all the baby weight is gone-HAZZAH!) and the clothes that fit are now rightly five years old back from my teaching career… AND BOY has fashion changed.  Flare pants? Well, I have A LOT of flare pant jeans.

Having to buy new clothes is not a bad problem to have.  A lack of style sense is though.

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Lovely Bloggers Photo Cred: Photography Hill

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 Lovely Bloggers Photo Cred: Photography Hill

Galentine’s Day Friends

I LOVED meeting people “In Real Life”-one’s that I have followed for quite some time on social media.  So nice to see that they are just as great, if not more so, in person! We already have plans for a more casual meet-up later on. LOVE THEM.

When I got home Emma Marie and Raymond both grabbed my goodie bags and asked about my time.  I love walking in and seeing them excited to see me. It’s not often that I’m away, seeing as I work at night or when they are sleeping. It’s the little things in life.

After being tackled, we all got our swimsuits on(the kids) and washed the Prius, splashed in puddles, and rode bikes through said puddles.

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Selfie with The Little Man

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Not Impressed- But she LOVED her loaded nachos.

After demolishing our dinner, it was off to bed.  We called it an early night, because? Tired.

Sunday we decided to go see the Peach Blossoms and visit Schnepf Farm.  So off to the “real farm” we went. Gorgeous day for a stroll.  Loved the new farm stand with fresh organic veggies-so good that Raymond and Em ate two whole peppers on our adventure(while the hubby and I finished the biggest cinammon roll known to man). Because? #Priorities AND I ran into a lovely friend from college and got to meet her little man.

 

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We ventured to the back of the farm to feed the goats! Emma Marie had watched Raymond feed them the past three visits and finally garnered up the courage to feed them. Giggles and squeals echoed through the peach trees.

At home, while Emma Marie took a nap I went through 16 boxes in our garage FULL of baby items that we no longer need. I just wanted to go through it and get it done because it is tied to so much emotion as I was not prepared to be “done”. BUT there are friends having babies and well? We are not. So packages of baby goods have been readied. Feels like a big load off of my shoulders.

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday!

 

Did you do anything fun this weekend? Any style advice?(help a girl out)

AZ Renaissance Festival

For years I have heard about the elusive Arizona Renaissance Festival. When I think of a Renaissance Festival, I am reminded of one of my favorite shows-The Big Bang Theory- and their love of the costumes, food, and people watching.

The Renaissance Festival blew every notion I had out of the water! The FOOD, PEOPLE, and EVENTS were spectacular and the kids haven’t stopped talking about it!

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This past weekend we took the 45 minute drive out east.  Parking was easy-and getting in line to enter was a scene in itself- there were multiple “characters” milling around and keeping the crowd highly entertained.  This piqued Raymond’s interest and he giggled through the wait to enter.

What I want to SHOUT from the ROOFTOPS is just how sweet everyone was that we came into contact with.  Every.Single.Person dressed-up through our entire four hour stay was kind, patient, and calmed both of my little one’s fears.  Stranger Danger is real-and although some of the characters were undoubtedly meant to be mean(and they were to others on purpose) were some of the sweetest people we’ve come into contact with at any event, EVER.

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Walking in I immediately felt overwhelmed with the vastness of the marketplace.  The Renaissance Festival is massive and one can get quite lost easily.  Thankful for kind strangers and a toddler wielding map-reader.

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If our kids were older I could definitely see staying until closing… so much to do and see AND eat!

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Raymond could not get over how tall he was.  And those hooves. Goodness did we do a lot of explaining during our trip.  Three year olds ask a lot of questions-throw them into the medieval world and they just can’t help themselves.  They NEED to know, everything.

The King and Queen

 

The Royal Court

Emma Marie fawned over all of the pretty outfits.  She kept asking if everyone was a princess.

 

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Oh, you know, just a fabulous lady photo-bombing our family.

She then helped answer all of my questions about where we should go for toddlers and preschoolers.

 

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THE DRAGON

It must be said that there has always been some sort of mystique when it comes to dragons with Raymond.  Although books about dragons now have nothing on meeting a real one.  His jaw dropped to the floor when we saw this beauty.  I asked if Raymond wanted to take a picture with them and I could have been yelling, “ICE CREAM-POPCORN,”- he just walked straight toward them without answering.  I actually was incredibly nervous about him approaching the dragon because we had seen some of the characters be “scary” to others and were worried that our stay at the festival would be cut short by the scare of a lifetime.  I worried for nothing.

Day was made.

Raymond proudly exclaimed, “Best. Day. Ever.” And thanked the dragon for taking a picture with him.  As he excitedly walked over to us to chat about his little encounter we saw the dragon scare the crap out of an older child.

 

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Beyond thankful that everyone, EVERYONE we encountered made sure WE had the best experience after sizing up our two tiny tots.

The Ded Bob Sho

 

There are mutliple shows going on throughout the festival and we just sort of “happened” among a few.  Next year we will plan out each show better and will take care to read the warnings on the map. LC next to a show means- Loose Canon- Parental Guidance Suggested. AND BOY was that necessary.  Rookie mistake not figuring that out.  Thankful that sexual innuendos fly over the head of both kids and that swear words are a foreign language to them.

Parent Fail.

BUT- we did see some great shows.  The Ded Bob Sho for about 10 minutes before we went toward the Jousting Tournament. Note to self: will not be able to go see this show with kids until they are teenagers.

Don Juan & Miguel- that show was the BEST! Hilarious, sword fighting, incredible audience interaction. We will definitely be attending that show in the future.  Raymond could not get over how they were fighting with real swords AND I loved the jokes. Win.Win.

Watching the show

 

 

Exploring the fair

 

Walking around there were so many things to just see- the glassblowing, the fire juggling, fire breathing, the blacksmith, the fire whip show.  Seriously, we loved just being able to walk around and come and go as we pleased-a true blessing with a one and three year old.

 

Harpist

 

Loved the live music.

KNIGHT JOUSTING

 

Our knight… they called him “seasoned” which definitely was meant as a jab- he fought valiently and we cheered him on!  He made it to the finals in Her Majesty’s Joust a Plaisance.  I loved that he came over and would talk to everyone in the audience.  He was nearly ten feet away and Emma Marie lost her marbles.  She COULD NOT get over how amazing it was that they were riding horses. Real Horses.  Raymond cheered for our knight and participated in all of the chants from our section.  The entire ride home he talked about which knight color he would be and what horse he would ride when he was older.  Then he spent some time figuring out what colors and horses we would ALL ride.  A family of knights.  He asked if I could be a knight… and I said, “YES!”. I may be a lady but I know how to ride a horse well.

Throwing it out there… perhaps sometime at some fair, there could be a knight that keeps their helmet on and at the end it could be revealed that they are in fact a “she”. I remember dreaming about being a knight when I was little and not a princess.

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We feasted.  The prices for food(CASH ONLY) was awesome and my little ones ate an ear of corn each while watching the jousting competition, a whole skewer of chicken, and I ate a delicious garlic pretzel.  Everything was toddler approved.

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Corn on a Stick

 

 

Eat and Joust

 

 

Fair Stables

After the Joust we grabbed some cold beverages and watched the horses get tended to at the stable.  Raymond could have stayed there all day- a boy after my own heart.  Loved talking to him about the horses.

 

Horse Stables

 Future Knight

Blacksmith

 Blacksmith making a spoon.

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After four hours of fun in the sun, sweet Emma Marie  passed out on my shoulder.  We would have loved to watch another Joust Competition, perhaps next year we will stay for both remaining Joust Competitions as they were the family favorite!

Without a doubt we will be making this an annual tradition!  There is even talk of us dressing up in costume…

To find out more information about the Arizona Renaissance Festival- Click Here!

 

Have you ever attended a Renaissance Festival?  Would love to hear from you!

 

 

I received complimentary tickets for the Arizona Renaissance Festival.  All thoughts and opinions as always are 100% my own.

My Sweet Valentine

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The husband arrived home on Friday with my favorite flowers-beautiful purple tulips-and Emma Marie was just as surprised as I was. Priceless.  She could NOT get over how gorgeous they were and, “Ohhhed & Ahhhed” over them for a good twenty minutes.

 

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Raymond loves stopping and smelling the flowers.  At the zoo, the park, the farm… you name it and we take our time to live in the moment and smell the flowers.

After he grabbed these from the hubby he quickly made his way over to me and said that HE, not dad, got me these beautiful tulips for Valentine’s Day. Well, he through the hubby right under the bus…

 

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Little Tulip Lover

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On Valentine’s Day morning we headed off to the farmer’s market to grab some local cold-brewed coffee, organic veggies, and some local beef from as Raymond likes to say, “The REAL Cowboy,” and sure enough he is a REAL cowboy.  Love shopping local and getting out with my little family on the weekends.

 

 mom-meMy Sweet Valentine- Loved this shirt from our Disney Adventures Last Summer

Love Our FamilyWe had a lovely Valentine’s Day together and YES, we even pulled out the tripod… the kid’s were not amused.

 

Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Pre-kids we celebrated Valetine’s Day at the Melting Pot… love fondue. What are your traditions for the holiday?

 

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