8/31/2012

My little artist

Alicia came home with an assignment a few days back and she said she was to draw anything she wanted. I asked her what she wanted to draw and she said she wanted to draw a boat.

And this is the final product:


She did the drawing, the decorating and painting on her own!
And she just turned 4 in July! :P


What I did was to show her a picture of a simple boat (from her brother's singlet: pic below) and I got her to observe the lines and shapes to draw. After her boat was done then she added in the extra kiddy touches of the smiling sun and the clouds. She worked with oil pastels and poster colour for this piece of work. :) And we added in the jewel stickers after everything was done.



After her fabulous performance at observation and demonstrating the ability to translate what she sees to paper (and her bugging me to sign her up for art class), I've decided to enrol her for art lessons at HeART Studio (read my review here) and we're starting tomorrow! :)


Linking up with:

Guest blogging at A view from Mama's desk

Today I'm guest blogging at A View from Mama's Desk!:

http://bit.ly/OBh5Z7

Do check it out :)

8/29/2012

Precious Sleep

I love how my children sleep - priceless moments. While some old folks caution against taking photos of kids while sleeping, I really cannot suppress the urge to capture these beautiful moments.

With Alex and myself down with flu now, sleep is most precious (and restful sleep terribly hard to come by with lil boy having difficulty breathing through the nose).

This is him last week when he was not down with flu: 


knocked out after nursing :)


I have an album in my computer titled 'Sleeping Beauty' for Alicia. Maybe I should start one for Alex... but what should I name the folder? :) 

Any suggestions?


Linking up with:

8/22/2012

Scotch™ Kitchen Scissors from 3M Giveaway reminder

Hi all,

Just a reminder to participate in the Scotch™ Kitchen Scissors from 3M giveaway if you haven't already done so. Giveaway ends on 27 August! 

Read the review of the scissors here.

Here's how you can participate!:


Win Your Own
Stand to win! 10 pieces of Scotch Premium Kitchen Scissors worth $15.90 each up for grabs!

How to Win
Answer this question: Scotch Premium Kitchen Scissor helps to reduce bacteria breeding for better food safety.
True or False
Send your answer, name, I/C number, mobile, email address and indicate which blog you have seen this contest to officebiz@mmm.com by 27 Aug 2012.


Other Information
· This contest is open to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents aged 18 years and above.
· It will run from 7 Aug –27 Aug 2012. Announcement of winners will be on 1 Oct 2012.

Review and Giveaway: Scotch™ Kitchen Scissors from 3M

The kitchen scissors is one of the most important tools in the kitchen, especially for me as I always use it to clean up the meat and bones I buy from the wet market to boil soups for the family.

What I dislike most about cleaning the scissors after that is how I can’t clean the blades thoroughly.

The picture of my ordinary kitchen scissors:

See the circled portion in the pic? It’s almost impossible to get it thoroughly clean!

Besides not being able to get some parts of the scissors clean, homemakers and frequent kitchen users are often unaware of the amount of bacteria a simple kitchen scissors can harbour. Like the cutting board, ordinary stainless steel surfaces of regular kitchen scissors can become uneven over time, creating ridges and rough spots which trap food residue. Consequently, conducive breeding grounds for bacteria such as Escherichiacoli and Salmonella are formed, and the probability of cooking contamination and food-borne illness is increased.

Given the risks of contamination and having to change my kitchen scissors very often (read: not very economical to have to keep buying new kitchen scissors!), I was very pleased when I was invited to review Scotch™Kitchen Scissors from 3M.
The Scotch™ Kitchen Scissors from 3M



The scissors when the blades are detached




This is what I do regularly throughout the week – washing and cleaning up the chicken bones for boiling soups. It’s so easy to use this pair of scissors: cuts through the bones with little effort!
Besides using it as just a pair of kitchen scissors, I put it to the test the other day when I needed to cut through some plastic bottles to make something fun for my daughter:



Cutting with the 3M scissors



And let the fun begin!:



It wasn’t all that easy cutting through the thick plastic, but we were thankful that we had a pair of scissors that could cut through the bottles!

About Scotch™ Kitchen Scissors from3M
These are the main features of Scotch™ Kitchen Scissors:
· Country of origin: Blades are made in Japan (Japan-made JFE SUS420J2Stainless Steel);the parts are assembled in China
· Design: symmetrical shape for comfortable cutting and shearing
· Blades:
(a) Its micro-serration blades add an extra level of sharpness so the device is strong enough to cut through meat and bones, yet delicate enough to snip fresh herbs and fruits.
(b) Scotch™ Kitchen Scissors come in 2 functions - detachable and non-detachable.
(c) Blades are treated using 3M’s unique electro-polishing process to combat growth of microbes and bacteria and enhance the material’s ability to resist corrosion.

My Detailed Review
(a) Easeof Use:
Blades are easily detachable during washing but stays firm during cutting. Ergonomic design makes the scissors comfortable to use.
Overall, it’s well-designed and easy to use.
(b) Washing:
The scissors is very easy to clean and the detachable blades allow the whole pair of scissors to be cleaned and dried for hygiene purposes.
(c) Quality:
The blades are sharp and cut very well!
(d) Overall Value:
Scotch™ Kitchen Scissors come in 2 functions -detachable (S$19.90 with GST) and non-detachable (S$15.90 with GST). I personally prefer the detachable blades scissors for greater hygiene – for just $4 more, why not? J

What I like about it:
· Very easy to use, wash and dry
· Gives me peace of mind to know that my scissors is really very clean - especially when the same pair of scissors is used for cutting raw meat and snipping fruits into smaller pieces.
· Provides an alternative to using the chopping board and knife (I have one less item to clean!)

What can be improved:
· The non-detachable blade scissors could be made available at a lower price as I feel that the main feature I love about this pair of scissors is the detachable blades.

Win Your Own
Stand to win! 10 pieces of Scotch Premium Kitchen Scissors worth $15.90 each up for grabs!


How to Win
Answer this question: Scotch Premium Kitchen Scissor helps to reduce bacteria breeding for better food safety.
True or False
Send your answer, name, I/C number, mobile, email address and indicate which blog you have seen this contest to officebiz@mmm.com by 27 Aug 2012.


Other Information
· This contest is open to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents aged 18 years and above.
· It will run from 7 Aug –27 Aug 2012. Announcement of winners will be on 1 Oct 2012.
· Terms and conditions* apply.

Submit your entry now and good luck!

Scotch™ Kitchen Scissors from 3M is available at at all leading hypermarkets, supermarkets, D.I.Y stores and major bookstores.

For more information, please contact 3M at 64508888



*Terms and Conditions
No purchase is necessary.
One entry per person.
The contest is open to Singapore Citizens and Permanent
Residents aged 18 years and above
By participating in this contest, you agree to be bound by
these Terms and Conditions.
3M employees and their immediate family members are not
eligible to participate.
Incomplete entries and/or entries received after the above
stipulated time and date will be disqualified.
3M will not be responsible for the loss of opportunity to
participate due to entries not received or for any other reason(s).
The selection of winners is up to 3M's discretion.
Contest Duration: 7 Aug to 27 Aug 2012 | Announcement of
winners: 1st Oct 2012
All winners will be notified by post.
The judges’ decision is final and no further correspondence
will be entertained.
Each winner is only entitled to one Scotch Premium Kitchen
Scissors for the duration of the contest.
Prizes must be claimed personally with proof of identification
provided at time of entry. In the event of any discrepancy
between the entry received and the documents produced for
verification, the entry will be deemed as disqualified and the
prize forfeited.
Prizes are not exchangeable for cash or other products.
3M reserves all rights to replace any of the prizes with other
items of similar value without any prior notice.
If the winner is unable to collect the prize personally, he/she
has to issue an authorisation letter to authorise another party to
collect on his/her behalf. Identification of the authorised person
and the winner must be produced at the point of collection.
Winners are responsible for arranging transport, delivery and
insurance of his/her own prize, and all taxes, charges, levies,
fees and all other charges in relation thereto.
3M reserves the right to replace any winner if he/she is
disqualified.
Failure to redeem your prize or to produce the required
documents for identification within one month of notification
will result in the prize being forfeited and donated to charitable
organisations.
The decisions of 3M on all matters relating to this contest are
final, conclusive and binding and no correspondence will be
entered into.
3M reserves the right to change the Terms and Conditions
as it deems fit, without prior notice.
3m will not be liable for any claims, costs, injuries, losses or
damage of any kind whatsoever arising from or in connection
with this contest or with the acceptance or possession of any
prize (including, without limitation, claims, cost, injuries, losses,
or damages related to personal injuries, death, damage to,
loss or destruction of property, rights of publicity or privacy,
defamation, or portrayal in a false light).
3M accepts no responsibility for any tax implications that may
arise from the prizes or the use thereof. Any tax filing obligation
or any tax payment due to any tax authority as a result of
receipt of the prizes remain the sole responsibility of the winner.
It is the responsibility of each participant/winner to seek
independent advice on the possible implications this may have
on his/her own financial situation.

Disclosure: This is an advertorial and I received a pair of Scotch™ Kitchen Scissors from 3M (detachableblades) for the review.


Bath time fun

Took out these foam alphabets and numbers for the kids to play the other day and thought, hey, I should bring them to the bath for the kids.

Alicia loves sticking these foam letters on the wall, sorting them by colour, letters and numbers, lining them up in a straight line etc.

And this is what Alex does with them...

I'm gonna try to hit these off the wall!!!


ok, failed. I shall munch on my ball instead. :)


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8/21/2012

Thankful for the simplest things in life

3pm on Sunday and hubby remarked that he hadn't had the chance to brush his teeth or wash his face. I replied that it's ok, I haven't either. I'm just thankful that I could get out of bed.

I was struck with vertigo on Saturday evening - totally ruined the long weekend. After the art class trial, we went to stock up on kiddos' food stuff at Square 2 then headed home and that was when it hit. I was patting the overstimulated Alex to bed, bent over his cot. Perhaps I was bent over for too long but the dizziness that came right after never did go away fully until today.

It was so bad on Sunday that I couldn't get out of bed and when I sat up I just felt like throwing up. So I lay there in bed, immobilised, giving instructions to hubby about what to feed the kids in my faint voice. I had planned to make Alicia's favourite steamed egg with minced meat, but there was no way hubby would manage to make it for her. So I just told him to cook sweet potato porridge. And Alex could eat pasta with pasta sauce (sans cod or broccoli - not sure if I had enough energy to convey how long to steam the food for or how broccoli should be cut).

And so, the kids had a compromised lunch because mummy couldn't get out of bed - the simplest act which is taken for granted every day.

So when I got out of bed on Monday morning, still a little giddy, I was still thankful that I managed to get out of bed and go about the usual chores, albeit a little slower than usual.

It was a good experience for hubby too I guess. Not being able to get up for the kids meant that everything had to be done by him (except breastfeed Alex). Not that he doesn't appreciate what I do on a daily basis, but it was still a good reminder that stay home mommas don't really have it that easy as people think. The chores we do are mundane and repetitive, but they aren't easy for everybody. :)


Linking up with:


Review of HeART Studio

We had been looking forward to the art class trial all week and we were glad when Saturday finally arrived. :) Alicia had not attended any classes since a long time ago so she was quite apprehensive when she entered the class. She'd been asking if mummy would be going in with her throughout the car ride there. I wonder why she was so apprehensive considering she attends a 3-hour nursery on weekdays...

Nevertheless, she was willing to pose for a shot before class started, all ready to begin with the apron provided. And that the teacher was friendly and approachable helped a lot too in easing the tension. :)




Alicia attended the class for 3-4 year olds (little Dali) and the theme for that day's lesson was flowers.  Their teacher was lively and animated and definitely captured the kids' attention. First he explained that they would be painting either a daisy or a sunflower for the lesson.


Then he went on to tell the kids about the colours they could choose for the background:





After that, the kids were asked to pick a colour each and start painting the canvas with the acrylic paint. My lil girl chose red instead of her favourite colour blue! But I decided not to interfere. :P





They were then supposed to dry their own paintings before moving on to the next step. There were only 2 hairdryers (there were a total of 5 kids that day) so they had a chance at turn-taking.


Next, they were asked to choose a colour and draw a big/small circle depending on whether they chose to draw the sunflower or daisy. 



Alicia tried to jump the gun by drawing in the petals...


Then they chose a colour for the petals. She was a bit afraid to spill the paint when mixing so the teacher helped her out.

In the midst of painting her daisy

Filling the petals with colour

Then off to the hairdryer again!


Next up, they could choose any colour to outline their flower with the oil pastels provided.


The teacher explained how to do the outline as well as fill in details in the centre of the flower and the details on the petals.


Once she was done, she was off to the washing area to clean her hands. I like that the sinks are at the right height for the kids and the area is kept dry. And she even got a small towel to dry her hands!


End of class and that's her masterpiece. Not particularly outstanding because of her choice of colours but I'm glad the teacher respected her choices and allowed her to proceed.


And with such a nice teacher, we just had to have a photo taken together! :)


We arrived just on time for the lesson so I took just a few shots of the place quickly after class ended - you can see that there are 3 classrooms (for the 3 age groups - 3-4 yo (little Dali), 5-6 yo (little Picasso) and 7-12 yo (Young Van Gogh)):


And here's the other side of the corridor:


If you're interested to paint with your child, you can even opt for the Splash! on Canvas class (age 5 and above). Please call for more information. :)

And of course, if you have people waiting for you in that 1 hour, they can always wait at the waiting area which is beautifully painted by the teachers:

My hubby and Alex (and yummy durian puffs from a nearby bakery)

Good news!
For readers of Simply Mommie, you can enjoy a special 5% discount if you take up a term (10 lessons) at HeART studio. Simply quote HSTSMB6 to enjoy this discount!

HeART Studio:
101 Soo Chow Walk Singapore 575385
Tel: (65) 65547563
Email: info@heartstudiosg.com
www.heartstudiosg.com

Disclosure: We were invited to attend a complimentary trial class. All opinions expressed are my own.





8/17/2012

A motherhood moment - when pain and joy collide


In case you're wondering what's going on here, that's my lil girl using her elbow to massage my lower back while my son is erm, well, finding white hairs (?)

Don't underestimate that skinny girl. She really is quite good with her elbow technique. And of course, this is followed up with walking up and down my back - which is also shiok. She attempts to crack my back too by jumping and landing on my back.

My lil boy? He's just busy frolicking with mummy. Or at least he thinks he is. He's always slobbering me and asking for snuggles. I could spend a good 15 minutes just enjoying being slobbered :) But here I think he was trying to pull my hair. Perhaps he spotted a white one.

This was a painful moment because of the massage (and the hair pulling) but it sure felt good inside, knowing and feeling how much my lil ones love me!


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8/16/2012

Musings about canes...

Read a friend's blog post about canes today and I was inspired to write my thoughts about it too.

Does caning really break a person's spirit? I don't really think so. I grew up with the cane being an all too familiar 'tool' in the house. And no, it wasn't hung up in the house for show

My mother is quite the perfectionist and she always wanted us to get perfect scores when we were young. I remember coming back home from school one day feeling very happy that I got 98/100 for English but all she saw was that it wasn't 100/100. Why did I make that silly mistake? Why did I mix up 'blink' and 'wink'? Till today, the difference between blink/wink is etched deeply in my heart. I wasn't caned for that test though. I think I hardly got caned for results. It was always the behavioural problems that rendered Mr Cane's presence. 

I used to dislike how my mother disciplined me - she's very old-school. But then I think about how it has shaped me as a person. I'm very stubborn by nature and I think it wasn't easy to get me to obey her. Would reasoning have helped? I'm not very sure since I don't recall her trying to reason with me. What I do know however is that I think she instilled enough discipline in me so I sailed through my studies, got my scholarship and degree (for semesters I scored a string of As, she would ask why not A+ - some things never change), got my diploma in piano... basically I think I fulfilled my duties as a daughter academically. Of course, all that doesn't really matter at the end of the day since I chose to be a stay home mom. :) 

What matters to me now, is how I'm going to instil the same sort of discipline in my children, not only for academic success, but more importantly, how to be a good person. 

I don't have a cane in my house, not even for show. I don't really want to buy one though I always joke about which colour cane my daughter wants when we walk past a shop selling canes. Not using the cane doesn't mean that I'm not old-school. My daughter gets her fair share of beatings discipline when she's naughty. I reason most times with her, but sometimes I think it's not all that harmful to discipline the kid once in a while. After all, I do believe in 'spare the rod and spoil the child', though I am currently not using a 'rod' per se.

I hope I never have to buy a cane.

I really hope so.

Do you own a cane? :)


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8/15/2012

The unstable lil 'walker'

Over the weekend, lil Alex could finally use the walker without tumbling forward :)


Ta da! :)

And I can play with the stuff on the walker too - while standing and holding on to the walker!

And I can be distracted ... and I won't fall!



Linking up with:

Review and Giveaway: Para'Kito™ - Your passport to freedom from mosquitoes

I actually received this Para'Kito™ kit some time back but am only posting the review now as I was so caught up with shifting to our new place. Now that we've settled down comfortably, I brought out the Para'Kito™ once hubby announced that he was going night cycling with my girl - night cycling with a 4-year-old simply means cycling around the neighbourhood and the park connector at night.

Don't go imagining the late night 50km cycling trips peppered with prata stops and teh si on the way. :)


The Para'Kito™ clip in the packaging

The Para'Kito™ clip and pellet (still in packaging)

The Para'Kito™ clip with pellet inserted

The Para'Kito™ clip hanging on our bicycle

So what is Para'Kito™, you ask.

About the product

  • Para'Kito™ is natural mosquito protection in refillable Para'Kito™ fashionable wristbands and clips.
  • Para'Kito™ pellets are chemical (DEET) free and suitable for pregnant women and young children.
  • The pellets are waterproof and last for 15 days.
  • Not having to come into direct contact with the product means that it is suitable even for individuals susceptible to skin allergies and irritations.


How it works

  • Para'Kito™ diffuses a blend of essential oils that are extracted from plants which wards off mosquitoes.
  • Its waterproof property allows you to be protected from mosquitoes in heavy rain, or even during a swim.


The design

  • Para'Kito™ wristbands come in a range of bold colours including blue, fuchsia, yellow, orange, black and white.

  • Para'Kito™ is also available in clips in a range of colours which can be attached to clothing, hand luggage, strollers or in my case (the bicycle!).

Country of origin:
  • Para'Kito™ pellets are made in France.

Cost and availability
  • Wristbands and clips (with two pellets) retail from SGD 26.50 while the packs of two refill pellets retail at SGD 14.90.
  • Para'Kito™ is available worldwide and at 44 outlets in Singapore - Robinsons, OG and Mothercare, just to name a few.

My Review:


What I like about it:

I like that it's compact and most importantly does not need to come into contact with skin. With a little baby and a preschooler, I prefer using products that are formulated for sensitive skin in mind in general. Para'Kito™ is even better because it doesn't even need to come into contact with my children's skin in order to protect them. Hanging it on the stroller also means that as long as we are in close proximity, the Para'Kito™ kit would protect even the adults! :)


What can be improved:

The cost of the pellets is a little high, retailing at SGD14.90 for two refill pellets. If you are not those who love the outdoors, then buying the pellets for one outing once in a blue moon would probably not be your cup of tea. Of course, you can hang the Para'Kito™ clip in the room for protection from mosquitoes at home after that (which is what we are currently doing while we plan the next outing).


Did my hubby and lil girl come back without any mozzie bites after their trip out to the park connector? - I hear you ask. You can be sure they came back unscathed :)

Want to win one of these Para'Kito™ clips/ wristbands?

3 wristbands and 3 clips are up for grabs! (products include 1 pellet)

How to enter
To enter this giveaway, simply follow ALL three steps below:

(1) Like Simply Mommie's Facebook page (skip this step if you have already Liked my page).

(2) Share this blog post on your facebook page (Share button can be found at the end of this blog post, the one in a bar of social media icons together with twitter etc. Tag my FB page so that I know you did. For those unsure, to share you just have to copy and paste this blog post link on your Facebook status.)

(3) Leave a comment on this blog post once you are done or send an email to simplymommie@gmail.com.

That's all! 

But wait...

Additional chances of winning:

  • Follow Simply Mommie's blog (Join as a public follower) - if you are an existing follower, you get the extra chance too (please indicate the name you used in your comment/email)
  • Blog about this giveaway (please provide me the URL of your blogpost when you drop me the email)
Who can enter

  • This giveaway is open to only those with a residential address in Singapore.
Contest duration

  • It will run from 15 Aug - 31 Aug 2012 (2359hrs). 

Other information
  • Announcement of winners will be on 3 Sept 2012 on Simply Mommie's Facebook page. 
  • I will contact winners for the giveaway contest for your address and submit your particulars to the company. Thereafter the company will send you your Para'Kito™ clip/ wristband.
  • Each winner is only entitled to either a wristband OR a clip.




For more information about Para'Kito™ , please visit www.parakito.com.

Disclosure: I received a Para'Kito™ clip and one pellet for the review.

8/12/2012

Bitter gourd with salted (duck) egg

I've hated bitter gourd (also known as bitter melon) for the longest time. Naturally, I never thought to cook it even though hubby eats it. But after Alex was born, there were a couple of times I felt inspired - I know not why - to order bittergourd from the economical rice stall and I realised I didn't hate it that much any more.

Yesterday, I bravely whipped up my first bittergourd dish and I must say, it was bitter. Well, what was I expecting from a bitter gourd anyway?

I had come across two tips on how to make the bittergourd less bitter:
(i) soak the cut bittergourd in water (with salt and sugar added) for 15min then discard the water and rinse the bittergourd.
(ii) soak the uncut bittergourd in salt water for 15min before cutting the bittergourd.

Which tip did I try?

Well, I tried tip #1. And the bittergourd was still very bitter. I guess I'll be trying tip #2 next time!

For those who love the bitter taste that the bittergourd offers, here's the recipe:

Bitter gourd with salted (duck) egg



Ingredients:

  • half a big bitter gourd (follow tip #2 before slicing!)
  • 1 salted egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2tsp sugar
  • 1/2 bowl water
For soaking the bittergourd:
  • water
  • salt


Method:

  1. Soak the bittergourd in water. Add salt to the water and soak the bittergourd for 15min. Rinse.
  2. Cut the bittergourd length-wise then use a metal spoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice the bittergourd into thin slices.
  3. Add oil to wok (I used my Happy Call Pan) and fry minced garlic till fragrant.
  4. Add in bittergourd and fry for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add in the water, oyster sauce and sugar. Cover the wok.
  6. Meanwhile, crack the raw salted egg into a bowl and cut the yolk into smaller pieces.
  7. When the bittergourd turns a darker hue, pour the salted egg into the wok (as if you are doing an egg drop).
  8. Turn off the fire after 10 sec then cover the wok and let it sit for a couple of minutes before dishing up the food.

Tips for selecting a less bitter bittergourd:

  • Pick one which is a lighter shade of green. Darker green = more bitter!
  • Select one which has less lines on the bittergourd.



8/10/2012

Lil man reaches 10mths!

Lil Alex is 10mths old and I realise I haven't really blogged about him. Poor lil one. That's what happens to subsequent children? Lol. Fortunately I haven't neglected him in real life, and that's what's more important!

Here's a quick update about the little man.


  • He has 3.5 teeth now - one is still emerging from the gums - must be very painful for him coz he's not sleeping well (and that means mummy doesn't get to sleep well too).
  • He has been drinking from the straw since 9mths old and now drinks water from his straw cup during meals all on his own like a big boy (as in he'd sip from his cup when he needs/wants to then eat the next mouth of food).
  • He has been cruising for erm, the longest time. Still not walking on his own though.
  • He is still only 7.7kg (doesn't look like he's gonna triple his birth weight when he turns 1 but I'm thankful he didn't lose weight when he got bronchiolitis (not the same as bronchitis!) recently).
  • He loves only mummy's milk. Offer him a bottle of formula and he'll bite. Quite literally.
  • Favourite foods: cod and broccoli. And he loves to eat them on their own. No mashing up everything into my porridge, thank you. Pumpkin and sweet potato are fine in the porridge though.
  • Hair. Not much. He thinks he's cuter that way so he's decided to let his hair grow real slowly.
  • Potty time? Just took a dump a few days back on the potty successfully and peed yesterday in it (see photo). I rushed to grab the cam this time. I hope he hadn't played with his pee then pose for the shot. I really hope so. *crosses fingers and toes*




There! That's my first photo heart Friday post!


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