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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 30

I can't believe that I have actually wrote on my blog for 30 days in a row and it wasn't that hard, but with so many things to be thankful for has made it easier. Brenda over at Garden of Learning has hosted this Gratitude Challenge and she is also hosting a meme for December that I think I will participate in also. So stop by tomorrow & see what I have to say for the Holiday Bliss Meme 2010.

Today I am thankful for the TOS Crew. For those of you who do not know I am part of The Old Schoolhouse Crew this year. It consists of a group of homeschooling moms and dads that review items to use in our homeschools. I have received some really great products to use with the girls, but it's not just about the curriculum, I have met some great people that I would have never had the opportunity to meet. I have also learned so much just setting up and maintaining my blog.

Monday, November 29, 2010


The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has a fan page on facebook and they recently started having Schoolhouse by State articles in their notes. Every Monday they have a post on a different state, and since I live in Nebraska I volunteered to write for the NE week. Here is my article that was added to their fan page on Monday, November 22, 2010.

 Hello and welcome to Nebraska. When you first enter our state the sign reads:

NEBRASKA….the good life

Home of Arbor Day

As a home schooling family we love living the good life in NE. The home school laws in our state are very easy to comply with. We notify the state of our intention to homeschool by completing the forms mandated by the state. We are required to teach language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and health for 1,032 hours for elementary and 1,080 hours for high school. We are considered “exempt schools” and parents must file for the exemption under either Rule 12 or Rule 13.

~Rule 12 states that the requirements and accreditation required by law interfere with the decision of the parents or guardians directing the child’s education.

~Rule 13 states that the requirements and accreditation required by law violate the parents or guardians sincerely held religious beliefs & they do not have to comply with immunization laws.

The compulsory attendance ages are 6-18. Parents have the right to exempt a child from starting school until the age of 7 and may also graduate a child when they have finished their home school program or after the age of 16.

There are so many things to do and visit here. Nebraska is home of Arbor Day, Kool-Aid, Buffalo Bills Wild West show, first lighted airfield in America, and a piece of the Oregon Trail.

Families have voted The Henry Doorly Zoo as one of the bests zoos to visit. It is located in Omaha and according to Wikipedia it features the largest cat complex in North America, the world’s largest nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp, one of the largest indoor rainforests, and the “Desert Dome” is the largest indoor desert in the world.

Nebraska City is home of the Arbor Day. Most holidays are celebrated to remember the past, not Arbor Day. It is a day to celebrate the future by planting a tree. Julius Sterling Morton knew the value of trees and along with all the support & publicity he had there were over a million trees planted in Nebraska on that first Arbor Day. Every state celebrates Arbor Day with varying dates for each region.

Nebraska has the privilege of being home to the Strategic Air and Space Museum where you can see and learn about the history of military aircraft. (

You can take a look at man’s progress in the last century by visiting Pioneer Village in Minden ( Learn about transportation and communication from the past 150 years at a museum that arches across Interstate 80 at Kearney, The Great Platte River Road Archway. ( At Stuhr Museum in Grand Island ( they teach us history of the Prairie Pioneer by giving classes for school age children and by visiting the businesses of the past.

Kool-Aid was first developed in Hastings and you can learn all about it at the Hastings museum and by visiting Kool-Aid days held in August of every year. (

Intrigued about the Pony Express, you can visit an actual building that was used as a stage stop in Gothenburg. (

In North Platte you can learn about The World War II Canteen at the Lincoln County Historical Museum. ( Visit the first lighted airfield in the United States, Lee Bird Field, it was the site of the first night airmail flight in the early 1920s. A visit to the house where Buffalo Bill Cody lived at the Scout’s Rest Ranch is a must. ( And if you are here in June you can enjoy the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. (

The Straight Arrow Bison Ranch ( near Broken Bow offers a wealth of information about the buffalo, why they were hunted and what each part of the buffalo’s body was used for.

It is really cool to see deeply eroded ruts made by the wagon train at Windlass Hill in Ash Hollow Historical Park. ( Chimney Rock looks the same to us today driving west as it did to the pioneers in their wagons. (

Have you heard of Stonehenge? Well NE has it’s very own replica Carhenge. Located in Alliance along Highway 87 and was created from vintage American made automobiles.

There are a few things that Nebraska can boast about and one is that North Platte is the home of the largest railroad classification yard in the world, Union Pacific Railroad’s Bailey Yard. The yard is over 8 miles long and 2 miles wide, the yard handles 10,000 railcars a day. (

We also have the Kingsley Dam, located in Ogallala, it is the second largest hydraulic fill dam in the world. This creates Lake McConaughy which is 22 miles long and 145 feet deep. It is said that if this dam would break it would completely destroy North Platte, which is 50 miles away, in 45 minutes.

These things and many more including camping, fishing, boating, hiking, and hunting are what makes Nebraska The Good Life.

Gratitude Challenge Day 29

I'm sure that we are all different today than we were years ago. Some changes in our life happen overnight and others take year to develop. Today I am very grateful for change in my life. Since becoming a Christian I am not the person that I used to be, I have changed for the better. I would not want to go back to my old self in any area of my life.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 28

Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, stuffing, homemade noodles, sweet potatoes, chicken broth, & corn, mix it all together and what do you get? After Thanksgiving Soup. I am always thankful for my crock pot on Sunday & today I am thankful for all the left overs to put in it. We started making this soup a few years ago & now it is one of our favorites, we look forward to it every year.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 27

The smell of pumpkin & cinnamon baking, who can resist. I am very grateful for pumpkins. There is nothing better than pumpkin pie with a little bit of whipped cream and black coffee for breakfast. What about pumpkin bread, pancakes, and cookies. What can I say I like anything with pumpkin.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 26

I love a deal, today I am so grateful for Black Friday shopping. I got several things that were on my Christmas shopping list for a lot less than what I had planned on spending. I am also very thankful for friends who like to go shopping with me. My friends also got great deals. One of them bought a WII with extra games for $199.00 plus she got a $50.00 gift card with her purchase. She also bought the Cricut Expression in Green at Wal-mart, it was on sale for $185.00 the price matched the Menards add & she got it for $148.00. Woo Hoo, I love a bargain.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 25

Happy Thanksgiving!!
Hope you all enjoy this day with your family and friends.
Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, rolls, pies, my list of the food we eat on this day could go on and on. I love to cook & most of it is from scratch, but I am so thankful today for grocery stores. The fact that we can run down town and buy any kind of food is such a blessing. I don't have to worry about milking the cow, making cheese, growing my own wheat, etc. Our country has such an abundance of food and for that I am very very thankful.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 24

We all love to play games at our house. Every year at Thanksgiving my dad & step mom come out for Thanksgiving and we have traditions we do every year. We play games, go bowling and just hang out for three days. One tradition my kids have kept going is having Papaw Larry bring out Big Red in a can. For a long time we could not buy Big Red here in NE. Now we can buy it in the 2 liter bottle so I told my dad he didn't have to bring it any more since we could get it here. A couple weeks ago Alaina asked my why Papaw Larry didn't bring Big Red in cans to her any more. I explained to her that we could buy it here & she said it just isn't the same in a bottle it has to be from a can. So Papaw Larry wanted to please his 5 year old granddaughter and brought her Big Red in a can. I guess some traditions will never be broken & I am very thankful for that.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 23

It was so nice to be able to spend time with my oldest daughter this weekend and I am very grateful that she has grown into such a responsible adult. She works very hard at jobs she would have never thought about doing. Morgan is not a follower, she stands her ground on what she knows to be right and leads by her example to others.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hands on Geography

PhotobucketAre you looking for extra activities to include in you Geography studies? Do you have trouble coming up with ideas to use for teaching Geography? Then you may be interested in Hands on Geography. This 142 page book written by Maggie S. Hogan is published by Bright Idea Press.

According to the introduction Geography is often neglected and as a nation we are geographically illiterate. I would have to agree to this, I have acquired most of my knowledge of geography as an adult from teaching my own children and traveling. I want my kids to have a good grasp of the world that God has given us to enjoy and Hands on Geography has a lot of fun activities to help it become real to them.

Hands on Geography is not intended to be used straight through, you pick and choose what activities you use when. The book contains reproducible maps, directions and cards for homemade games, projects for making and using different types of maps, you can create a passport, or take a journey with Joseph using a map, and your bible. This book has so much, there is a chapter on Missionary and Geography, Genealogy and Geography, Nature and Geography, Language Arts and Geography, & History and Geography to name a few.

We signed up to participate in a United States post card swap this school year & are using several of the activities in this book to go along with it. We made a USA Passport by using the geography flash cards (which has the state shape, capital, state flower & bird) and included a page blank page for each state. Every time we get a postcard in the mail we add information about that state into our passport. We are also using some of the questions from the My Country Notebook pages to record other information. The book also suggests writing a letter to the Chamber of Commerce for each state to receive free information like maps and brochures. We are in the process of doing this activity and we decided to use manilla envelopes to hold our information & will make a notebook of states once we get enough items.

We will be using this book for years to come and at $14.95 I would recommend this to anyone with children in the K-5 grade levels. You may purchase it at Bright Ideas Press.

The members of TOS Crew reviewed several different items from Bright Ideas Press so if you would like to see what other items were reviewed and what people have to say about them you can do that at TOS Crew site.

As a member of TOS Crew I received Hands on Geography from Bright Ideas Press free of charge in exchange for my review.

Gratitude Challenge Day 22

I am so thankful for my home, we have been gone all weekend & it is so nice to come home. We had a lot of fun & got to see my daughter, but nothing is like being home. Our house was built in the early 1900's and we have been slowly remodeling it for the past 6 years. It may never be completely finished but it is home.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 21

I want to show my gratitude today to men who have given their lives to preach God's word and their wives who stand behind them. They always seem to know exactly what I need to hear.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 20

Love is in the air. Today I am very grateful for weddings, Christian weddings. Two young people who want to put God first in their marriage. Congratulations Brandon & Amanda.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 19

I am very grateful today for the my daughters creativity & desire to give to others. Every time they make something they want to give it away. Amber, Delaney & Aliana all made themselves a notebook using our Cricut, laminator & Bind It All.

Then they decided they wanted to make one for their friends. They ended up making 7 notebooks and giving 4 of them away to their friends. They loved making them & their friends really liked receiving them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 18

I am very grateful today for the gift of reading. It has been such a blessing to my life to teach all my kids how to read, watch them learn to read well & enjoy it. I read aloud to them everyday & it is always a book that is above their reading level. We always have a pile of books to read next & once in awhile we reread a favorite. I know we have found a good one when I hear "just one more chapter".

Do you have something to be thankful for today? You can still join in on the Gratitude Challenge for the rest of the month at Garden of Learning. Or you can just hop over and read what others are thankful for.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 17

I am very grateful for my 4 amazing sisters. We may be miles apart (900 miles to the nearest one) but we are only a phone call away from each other, and I know that we will always be there for each other. Growing up together has made us part of who we are today.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 16

Farkle anyone? Today I am so thankful for daughter-in-laws who stops over in the middle of the afternoon for games & just to hang out.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 15

I am very grateful for today because it is my husbands birthday. I am very thankful that God has given him another year to be here with us and that he is so willing to put our interests before his own.

Deer hunting season always falls on his birthday. For those of you who know Mike, knows that he isn't very fond of hunting. I don't think it is really the hunting, it is being out in the cold sitting there for hours at a time and some years day after day. I think he was relieved when our son was old enough to go hunting on his own & then our oldest daughter decided that she wanted to start hunting, so he took her. Now this year she has moved away & he thought he might not have to go, but our 9 year old daughter decided she wanted to start hunting. He was off work yesterday so he took her & and they got a deer. I think he was glad to get it out of the way, now he doesn't have to hunt on his birthday.

Patchwork Doll Quilt


We have received some really fun review items from the TOS Crew & my girls really enjoyed this one from Corps of Re-Discovery. They sent us a Patchwork Quilt Kit from their Pioneer & Colonial craft kits.
My five year old always pretends that she is "Grandma Ruthie" so she had a lot of fun with this review. She sat in her rocking chair & made her sisters sit in the other rocking chairs so they could all be "Grannies" sewing together.

The quilt kit is sold for $14.99, right now it is on sale for $11.99, and makes one doll quilt using the "nine patch" pattern. It included 27 squares of fabric (ours contained a few extra), a piece of batting, the backing, string and yarn. You will need your own iron, sewing and yarn needles. The directions were very easy to follow for this project. All three of my daughters, ages 5, 8, & 9, worked on the quilt with the 9 year old doing the majority of the sewing. They have all three have used a sewing machine, but this was their first time hand sewing an entire project. We did run out of white thread & used some we already had. That was because we had to remove some of our stitches, due to our own mistakes.

The Corps of Re-Discovery is a home based family business providing American Indian, Pioneer and Colonial, Frontiersmen & Leather Working craft kits. They also sell Study Packs with Kits, these include a guided unit study & activity book along with some craft kits. You can read more about the company on their website.

We have completed sewing projects in the past & the hardest part for my girls is getting all the squares cut the exact same size, or they get tired of cutting them out & I have to finish. It was nice to have the kit because this was already done for us. I think the kit is worth the money and I would recommend The Corps of Rediscovery Kits to my friends.

All the TOS Crew members did not receive the same kit, so hop on over to the Crew webpage and read about other kits from the Corps of Rediscovery.
As an member of the TOS Crew I received this patchwork quilt kit from the Corps of Rediscovery free of charge in exchange for my review of this item.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 14

Today I am very thankful for having healthy children. Being up most of the night with a sick kid helps me to appreciate the fact that none of them have health problems that have to be dealt with on a daily basis.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 13

Today I am so grateful for my light fixtures. When we were remodeling our house the dinning room had one light fixture that was at one end of the room. My dear husband so sweetly cut another hole in the ceiling and ran wires for a second light. Before we actually had the room finished we purchased our table. Our table is 10' long, so I thought it would look nicer if we had 3 light fixtures instead of 2. So Mike gave into my wishes and had to cut 3 new holes (the other 2 weren't centered to have one in the middle). I had to patch the holes that were made, but it was well worth it. Mike is so good to me that he put in 5 recessed lights & one main light fixture (that matches my dining room & living room lights) in my kitchen.

I am also very thankful for GE Reveal bulbs, I love the true white light that they give.

If you are grateful this month you can join in on the Gratitude Challenge.

2010 Holiday Digital Supplement

2010 Holiday Digital Supplement/Idea BookI am so excited......the The Old Schoolhouse 2010 Holiday Supplement is ready for your FREE download!
Yes it is FREE!
Everyone can use this to help them Celebrate the Holidays.
Make sure you check out the recipe section pages 89, 94, & 96 because I have recipes published on those pages.
2010 Holiday Digital Supplement/Idea Book

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 12

It is cold and rainy here today, so I am very thankful for my coffee pot. I have the Krups Aroma Control coffee pot & I love it. It makes such a good cup of coffee & with the thermal carafe I can take my pot to the table, outside, or wherever we decide to sit to read or do school.

I love black coffee in the morning, but later in the day I am very thankful for my Krups Espresso maker. I think today I might have a cup with pumpkin, marshmallow & vanilla, would anyone like to join me.

I am also grateful for fresh roasted coffee beans. I buy mine locally from The Oasis Coffee Roasting Company & they are so good, my favorite is the Sumatra Tiger. When we get a new bag, everyone loves to smell the beans. There is nothing like a good cup of coffee with fresh roasted, fresh grounded coffee beans.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 11

I am so grateful for all the Veterans who have served our Great Country through war and peacetime. Thank You to all of men and women who have given their lives & time, so that we can live in freedom. It is easy for us to take our military for granted, but those men and women have given up so much for us. While we are sitting at home enjoying our friends & family...where are our servicemen? Fighting a war, deployed far from their own family, missing their kids events while growing up. I could never thank them enough for all they have done!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 10

Homeschool Moms....are such a blessing. It is so nice to go on field trips or classes where the moms can have some chat time. Some may be close friends, others I only talk to a few times a year but it is such an encouragement to see the same ladies teaching their
 kids year after year.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 9

Today I am thankful for our piano. It isn't the nicest or the prettiest piano, we only paid a couple hundred dollars for it 15 years ago & I can't even play it. Amber, Delaney & Alaina are all three learning and it is such a blessing to hear them play for fun. I don't have to make them practice...... they want to & like to. It helps that they have a  really good teacher! Thanks Shelby!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 8

Today I am so very thankful for my Kitchen Aid 6qt. mixer. I love to bake and could spend every day in my kitchen. Having a 6qt. Kitchen Aid mixer has made baking even more fun. My favorite things to make are honey wheat bread, sub buns, cinnamon rolls, cheesecake, cookies, pizza dough & bread sticks. My list could actually go on & on, some days I will use my mixer a dozen times. This is my favorite kitchen appliance.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 7

 Today my gratitiude goes to my home business, what started out as something to do 20 years ago has really blessed my life & provided extra money for our family. Thank You to all my have made my business what it is today. You can view more cake pictures on my website or my Facebook fan page.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I don't have a bar counter to sit at, so I didn't realize there was such a thing as extra tall bar stools. They have them at All which is one of over 200 CSN stores. They carry items for the household, home improvement, fitness equipment and items for your yard including greenhouses. I will be doing a review on one of their products soon but I'm not sure what yet. Maybe I'll get this Scrapbook Case Chest Storage  to use for school or scrapbooking or maybe I'll find something else to review.

I will be choosing an item from a CSN store for free in exchange for a review of that item.

Gratitude Challenge Day 6

My gratitude today is for my husbands job. I am so very thankful that the Lord provided him with a job he loves doing with good pay & good benefits so that I am able to stay home and play homeschool our kids.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 5

I am very grateful for my dining room table. It is 10' long and I have 10 matching chairs. One Sunday after church we had 22 adults and children eat at our table. We all fit! :) We used the piano bench and every extra chair we had in the house & garage. We have had such good fellowship at our table eating, playing games or just sitting around talking.

Books Books Books

We started buying children's books before our first child was born in 1990. We started homeschooling in 1995, we now have 2 graduates & 3 still in school with the youngest being only 5, so you can imagine how many books we have. We have 8 full bookcases in our house and we even have books in the garage. So you can imagine the excitement over my newest review for Book Collector 7.0 Pro. offers Collection Database Software that allows you to catalog your personal collection of
CDs, DVDs, books, MP3's, photos, comics & video games. This is a down loadable software so that it is on your computer & you can access it while off line.

We reviewed the Book Collector 7.0 Pro, it was pretty simple to add books, you just enter the ISBN # and the author, title, publisher, date, number of pages and a cover picture show up automatically. I don't have one, but you can buy a scanner to scan the bar code of each book. We do have quite a few books that do not have an ISBN #, these books I added by typing in the name of the book and the author. If the book has been reprinted several times Book Collector Pro will give you a list of the books along with the publisher, date, and page number to help you chose the right one. E-Books and Audio Books can also be added to your collection by using the file or folder name as the book title.
This is a screen shot of my books. You can see my book collection on the left and you can also see the book covers on the top. In the bottom of the screen you can see the selected book along with the Product Details: the language, cover price, dimensions, # of pages. There is also a direct link to Library of Congress & Amazon to see more details about the book.

You can also see pie or bar charts of how many books you have in each Genre and keep track of books that you have loaned out. This program also adds up all the cover prices of your collection. This could be very beneficial for insurance purposes, you can print your list and the total amount of money you have invested. You can also upload your book inventory online, for $19.99 a year, that way you can access it from any computer, mobile phone, or you can email a link to your family & friends. This Book Collector Connect can be used with the software or as a stand alone program.

This program is a very useful tool to help keep your collections organized. I can think of a few people already that could really benefit from this program. I would recommend this to anyone who loves their home library.

You can purchase The Book Collector Standard edition for $29.95Book Collector Pro edition is $49.95. If you would like to purchase a scanner to make inputting a little easier you can do that at also starting at $19.95. There is also a 30 day free trial so you can see how the program works before you decide to buy it. You can also check out the programs for movies, music, comics, MP3's, game and photo collector at their website

Don't forget to jump over and read other reviews on this product by the TOS Homeschool Crew.
As an affiliate of The Old Schoolhouse Crew I was given the Book Collector Pro edition from in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 4

Today I am thankful for my Cricut. I love to scrapbook and make cards & my Cricut makes it even more fun. I even cut things out in vinyl to hang on my walls.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gratitude Challenge Day 3

Today I am very grateful for my church family. We have such a wonderful fellowship. I know I can call on any of them for whatever I need. Whether it be to talk, play games, drink coffee or recruit them to help out with major events like weddings. They are always willing to go that extra mile for me or any one else.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gratitude Challenge

Today I am truly thankful for my family. First my husband of 20 years, I am very blessed and spoiled to be married to him. It is so nice to be married to someone who takes on the financial and spiritual responsibility for the family. I love him more today than ever before.

My oldest child Michael for always having a good attitude even when things don't go his way. And for bringing into our family a very lovely young lady to be his wife. (hint hint......I can't wait for the grand kids.) And his willingness to provide for her so that she can stay home & take care of him.

My oldest daughter Morgan has been such a blessing to me. I am very thankful for the time we spent together while she lived at home, I miss her company now that she has moved away. She has grown into a very lovely and mature young lady.

I am very grateful for Amber and her ambition in life. She is always looking for something to accomplish and she thinks there is nothing she can't do.

Delaney's attitude is so refreshing, she is the first one to laugh at anything & her laugh is so cute she has everyone laughing with her.

I am so grateful for Alaina and her silliness. She is so cute and such a comedian, she can turn everything into a joke or a skit.

What are you Grateful for today?

Christmas Cards

Christmas is my favorite time of year. We make cookies, snow ice cream, candy, gingerbread houses & sometimes ornaments. We usually make our Christmas Cards and I like to have them ready to mail on the first day of December, so we can spend the rest of the month playing. Since Morgan moved out this year it will not be the same, no late nights cutting & gluing and being silly.

Shutterfly is giving me 50 free photo Christmas cards in exchange for my blog so I think I will take a year off from making my cards and get my 50 free & order the rest. I think my favorite card design is the Peppermint Bliss, red is normally my least favorite color but I love red and white stripes at Christmas time. They remind me of peppermint hot chocolate and watching the snow fall.

What about you? Do you already have a plan for your cards? Shutterfly is offering 20% off any holiday card orders if you want to join me and send them this year. You can see all of their card designs here. Or you could send photo calendars for Christmas gifts.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gratitude Challenge

Brenda over at Garden of Learning started a Gratitude Challenge for the month of November. I have decided to give this a try, everyday in November I am going to share something that I am thankful for. I have so many things in my life that I am thankful for picking out 30 shouldn't be to hard.

Give thanks to the Lord; For he is good; and his lovingkindness endures for ever. Psalms 107:1 

I decided to start with what I am the most thankful for, having God in my life, because without Him my life would not be where it is today. I am so very grateful to Him for forgiving me of my sins and giving me a renewed life.   
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