Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Oh Dear!

It's been a VERY long time since I blogged!  Summer got away from me, and then school started - and as I'm sure it is for all of you, it was hectic and crazy for me!  With our move this summer, I thought I'd have all this time in the afternoon - forgetting that now I have a very active (nearly) 2 year old who needs and wants constant entertainment - and who I want to entertain every day!  So my blog  took a backseat... but now that the fall is WELL underway (those of us in Boston may even agree that fall is over and we're into winter...) I have a bit of a routine and hope to find a little more time to blog.

But, in other news, just because I haven't been blogging, doesn't mean I haven't been creating!  This fall I've been focusing on my reading program - I've always done small guided reading groups in my class, but always find myself struggling with activities to go with each story.  So this fall, I have been working to get myself organized.  A bunch of years ago I ordered a bunch of holiday books in multiple sets.  I've always used them, but each year the "follow up" activities have varied based on how far in advance I've planned.  So this year I put together a bunch of comprehension questions for each book - they're designed to be used as packets - one page per chapter (usually 3 or 4 questions per chapter) and after we read, I have my students work on answering them before moving on to other reading activities.  I've been using them all year and they're a great way for my reading groups to reflect on what they read with me, while also working alone (or with their group).  Plus it gives me another "grade" or way of checking understanding besides just answering questions in our group.  I have my students write their answers in complete sentences - or in just plain answers for students who need a modification.

I am working to put them together into bundles based on seasons - with a great price discount - if you happen to have all the same books as me.  But if not, I posted them separately so you can just get what you need!

Check them out!  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Mrs-Hart/Category/Guided-Reading

I'm going to try to be better about blogging now - I've been off Instagram and blogs in general and I've missed it!  

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

August Currently!

It's that time again!  I'm so surprised that it's August already - I just don't know how that happened!


Listening: to the baby monitor.  My little guy was so tired tonight, he ASKED to go to bed!  So now I'm listening to the white noise of the monitor in the background.

Loving: fresh blueberry donuts - we went blueberry picking today and OF COURSE had to pick up 6 blueberry donuts to take home... which we then ate before leaving, so we had to buy 6 more.  :)

Thinking: I can't believe summer went so quickly - no explanation needed here.

Wanting: new printer ink!  I have all these great things in my TpT cart that I want to buy, but until I have new ink, I'm afraid to... If I can't print them immediately, I worry I'll forget about them.

Needing: ice  for my back.  I'm still in a lot of pain, despite my chiropractor visits!

1st Day: September 4th.  I go back a few days before then, but I can't remember the date... and I don't really count it because it's very casual and I always enjoy those first few days seeing all my friends!  



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Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Made It: Food

I'm linking up for Monday Made It again!!!  I did something to my back last week, which has made moving around practically impossible.  So, rather than a detailed craft, this week I made ice cream.  Standing up hurts my back less than sitting down, so this was a good choice for this week!  I still have 4 weeks left to go before heading back to school, so I'm going to try to wait 2 more weeks before starting any school crafts and projects.  



My sisters gave me the ice cream attachment for my FAVORITE piece of kitchen equipment (my Kitchen Aid stand mixer!) for Christmas a couple years ago.  It was a drizzly day, and I had all the ingredients, so I decided to make some!  I'd put my ice cream bowl into the freezer when we moved in, so it was all set to use.


My sisters also gave me the Ben and Jerry's recipe book - so after some debating, my husband and I agreed on Oreo... I'd always prefer chocolate - it's my FAVORITE flavor for anything, but my husband doesn't really love it.  So we "compromised".

I'll put the recipe at the end of this post, and I will post the pictures I took - I seriously felt like I should be on a Food Network show while taking these pictures.  I was trying to be all artsy (see the whisking picture below!) and kept laughing at the whole thing! My husband was in the living room and I was trying to get this whole thing done without him seeing me - I can only imagine the grief he'd give me if he caught me trying to "style" our food!  :)




How cute are these measuring spoons BTW?  I think they're Martha Stewart - they're magnetic so the whole set stays together, and they have two ends - one that's oval shaped to fit into the narrow necks of spice bottles.  GENIUS!


My son kept walking into the kitchen while I was working on this.  My stand mixer is very quiet, but it was still a noise he wasn't use to.  I kept catching him standing on his tiptoes trying to peek.  It was adorable!


The recipe claims to make 1 quart - but I ended up with almost 2 full quarts.  So we'll be all set for ice cream for a while!!  (And by a while, I mean a day or two...)



The ice cream was still pretty soft when it was done churning, so we froze it for a while.  After dinner, we broke into it... and it was YUMMY.  I highly recommend it!

Oreo Ice Cream 

Ingredients
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup Oreos crushed up

Directions
Whisk eggs in a bowl for a minute or two until frothy and light yellow
Add sugar slowly and whisk another minute
Mix vanilla into the milk
Mix the cream and milk into the eggs
Add the mixture to the ice cream machine 
Follow your machine's specifications (mine was 25 minutes).
2 minutes before it's done churning, add in the chopped Oreos slowly...
Then freeze an hour or two!

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Friday, July 25, 2014

5 for Friday!

It's Friday again!  Time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!!



1.  Corn Fields

When I was little, I secretly always wanted to be a pioneer girl.  Seriously - there was something so charming to me about simpler times - and come on, who didn't read Sarah Plain and Tall or Little House on the Prairie when they were growing up and maybe want to live that life? (It's this secret side of me that gets super excited each fall to go apple picking and preserve things!)  Anyway, I'm sure I would have long forgotten this dream, except my parents live in as rural of an area as you can get in Boston - and each time I go to visit, I drive through this corn field and laugh.  It's honestly one of my favorite sights of summer - tall corn stalks blowing in the wind.  If I ever had the courage, I'd pack up my family and move west.  But for now, these trips through the corn will have to do!




2.  Yogurt Treats

I recently discovered this yummy combination.  Sometimes I have it for breakfast, sometimes for a dessert - I only use a tablespoon of chocolate chips (so I can tell myself it's healthy!) and this coffee flavored yogurt is one of the only Greek yogurts I've found that I like.  



3.  Play Dough

While on a walk with my son yesterday (keeping up with my #StepItUp goals!) we stopped at CVS.  The summer stuff is ALL ON SALE (which I hate because it's still summer!!!) and on one of the shelves I found these little packages of Play Dough.  I have only just introduced play dough to my little one, and although most of it ends up in his hair/mouth/eyes/on the floor, I figure he'll get better with practice.  And these seemed pretty PERFECT to take with us to restaurants or other places (side note: I never worked in the restaurant industry, but my sister did.  I always try to have something to distract my little guy while we're out, and I am careful to help clean up any extra mess he makes.  So if the play dough were to end up on the floor - we wouldn't leave until I'd picked it up.)  I'm not even ashamed to say that I bought their whole supply - they were on sale, so were less than $1.00 a piece.  Now I have a drawer full of them... 





4.  Bedding

If you've read my blog before, you know I'm having so much trouble deciding on bedding for our new bed!  Right now we're using our old duvet and quilt - which are queen sized - too small for our king bed.  We end up fighting over them in the middle of the night, and have resorted to having "private blanket parties" (my husband's term).  I'm trying to fix this problem QUICKLY!  I want our room finished and I'm tired of fighting over blankets in the middle of the night.  :)  The most recent duvets I've found came today from Target.  I really want something mostly grey and white... Here they are:


The one on the right is black and white, not grey and white, and the one with the red in it also has a light sea foam green in some of the flowers as well.  Anyone have any input???  Should I keep looking, or are these good?

5.  Lunch

I'm having lunch today with a sweet teaching friend of mine who I haven't seen since school got out almost a month and a half ago.  We live less than 2 miles from each other but have just been so busy we haven't had a chance to catch up!  I'm really excited to see her!!!
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#SLANTbox

I'm linking up with Jameson at Lessons for Coffee to share my SLANTbox!  For those of you who don't know what a SLANTbox is, head over to Lessons with Coffee to learn all about it.  I didn't know what it was just 3 weeks ago, and here I am, already opening my first box!  


My box came from Amber at Creative Upper Grades.  I know I've mentioned her before, but seriously you guys, I was SO lucky to get such a perfect match.  We had so much in common, and during our emails, I found myself telling (and asking!) things I normally may not have to a near stranger.  Seriously Amber, how much fun was this month?  I'm sad it's over so we don't have a reason to email anymore... not that'll stop me BTW.  :)

Here's what was in the box!  It was all wrapped in perfectly SUNSHINEY yellow tissue paper and each part had a sweet note attached.  Side note: how great is that pen???


This collection of things are PERFECT for school, and went straight into my "bring to school when you go there" drawer.  I was running out of notepad pages at school in the spring and intended to buy more this summer - but now I don't have to!  That note pad is perfect for reminder notes, quick notes home, and even grocery lists!  There are also some really cool smelly markers - they were ALL THE RAGE in my class this year, so I know they'll make me extra popular in the fall.  :)



Amber also sent this great roll of duct tape and these highlighters.  We never even talked about how much I like highlighting things - my plan book is a hot mess of post its and highlighter - I love how it looks when I open it when it's all colorful.  Clearly she just gets me.  :)



The note on these two things said "something only a teacher could love" which was SO right!  These clothespins are AWESOME.  They're bedazzled (I love being fancy!) and I'll use them to hang my class rules on my board!  I had been thinking about what to hang them up with, and now that problem is solved! And I never have enough Clorox wipes.  I'm not sure any teacher does!  My school provides some, but I'm always adding them to my grocery list...



She even sent something for my little guy!  How sweet is this construction hat and tools?  I've got to try to get a picture of him in it to send to Amber.  


I'm sending a box this week to Courtney at Ramona Recommends.  I've been getting it all together, and am so glad to see what was in Amber's box - helps me to know I am on the right track with what I've come up with!

THANK YOU so much Amber!!!
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It!

Last week was so fun for me, that I'm back again!  



This week was pretty easy.  We have a couple of these HUGE bookcases.  One lives in our office, and one is in our little guy's bedroom.  I was tired of how plain it looked, so went on a Pinterest search.  Pinterest is my best online friend.  Anytime I have an idea, I just search for it, and dozens of ideas come up!  I searched for bookcase decorating and came up with this...

Fabric backed bookshelves!  What an easy and quick fix!  I went with grey polka dotted fabric because 1. it's my favorite decorating color and 2. it's gender neutral.  So the bookcases will be useful no matter what happens with our family in the future! 

It took me a little while to get it all done, but I'm loving how it turned out.  I wasn't sure how I would like it, so rather than glue the fabric straight to the shelves (making it permanent) I glued it to foam board I'd cut to fit the shelves.  Then I just pushed the foam into the shelf and it stayed.  The benefit of this is I can remove the fabric if I ever want to!






Materials Needed 
bookshelf
fabric
spray adhesive
foam board
scissors or an exacto knife


Directions
Measure and cut the foam board to fit the back of your shelves.
Measure and cut the fabric with an extra 1 inch perimeter.
Spray the foam board with the adhesive.
Lay the fabric on the foam board and press down to make it stick.
Fold the edges over.
Then, press your foam board into the shelves.

I wedged the foam board into the shelves and it stayed there - maybe I cut it a little too big?  But it works so that I don't have to adhere it to the shelf.  You may have to, in which case you can just use duct tape on the back...

Sorry I again don't have great pictures.  I didn't think to use this as a post until AFTER I'd completed the project.  Just imagine the shelf as plain white before I started... now it's backed in cute polka dotted fabric.  This would be great in a classroom too!
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lingo

I still am really new to this whole world, but over the last few months I've started picking up on some of the language.  I was confused and overwhelmed at the beginning because I didn't always know what things meant.  So, I figured I'd put together a list of lingo I've learned in hopes that it will help someone else out... I'm sure this has been done by better bloggers than I as well!

BLOG LINGO

Linky Party - an activity that all bloggers can participate in.  You don't have to be invited, you simply have to grab the picture off someone's blog, follow the directions, and post to your blog.  Then head back to the original blog and add your link.  It has been so fun participating in these, and it's brought new readers to my blog!  Some great Linky Parties to check out are: Currently, Monday Made It, 5 for Friday, and Traveling with Ramona.  If you have others, please leave them in the comments.  

INSTAGRAM LINGO

WIDN - stands for "What I'm Doing Now" - this comes up a lot on Instagram.  It simply means, take a photograph, post it, and tag a few other people asking them the same question.

#teachersfollowteachers, #teachersofinstagram, etc - ways to connect to other teachers.  If you add these hashtags (or other ones you create), other teachers will see your post, and maybe want to follow you!  I know I've gotten a lot of my followers from doing just this.

GENERAL LINGO

TpT - Teachers Pay Teachers - where teachers create and sell original curriculum materials.  It's awesome!  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com  Each teacher has a "store" where they post their work.  Check mine out...  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Mrs-Hart

ToU - Terms of Use.  When you create a product to sell (or giveaway) you should include a Terms of Use page.  I'm including a sample of mine below.  This tells your customers what they are allowed to do with your product.  I created a basic one that I save on my desktop and can just add to each product... I edit the font and background to match the rest of the product, but mostly the language stays the same.


Commercial Fonts/Clip Art - are products you can use in your products to sell.  When you buy clip art and fonts, be sure to read if you can use them commercially - if it doesn't specifically say you can, then don't... you don't want to get into copyright trouble!  Usually you pay a fee for commercial fonts and clip art and you must include credit to the person who created it on a CREDITS page (or something similar). Here's my example... (side note, these are some of my favorite designers!)



Preview File - a short part of your file you upload so potential customers can see a sample of your product.  I didn't do this at the beginning, but as I've gotten to know more about the process, I've learned that it's very important!  Lots of teachers will skip over your product completely if there isn't a preview.  Many teachers post cute previews that have small thumbnails of the entire product.  I'm still learning how to do that... so for now I just upload a page or two.  Beware though... a preview is downloadable and USEABLE.  So if your product is only 1 page, and you upload it as a preview file, you're giving your product away for free.

I hope this is helpful for at least one person who reads this!  Also, if you have other things I should add, let me know.  I KNOW there's a lot of language that I'm still learning!!
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Friday, July 18, 2014

5 for Friday!

Happy Friday!!!  During the school year, I do love Fridays.  We have a lot going on in school, and we always try to have some family movie night at home.  During the summer though, it doesn't feel all that much different than any other day of the week.  Sometimes I forget what day of the week it is - which isn't a bad problem to have at all!  If it weren't for my tutoring jobs, I'd go through the whole summer not knowing the date.

Today I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for 5 for Friday!




1.  New Rugs!

I have a weird aversion to buying rugs (and curtains) for my home.  I always love how they look at other people's homes, and my mother is ALWAYS telling me I need curtains and rugs, but I never can make myself buy them.  I don't know why it's so hard for me - everything is returnable and replaceable.  If I brought it home and hated it, I could always return it!  This week though, I decided that our kitchen floor needed a rug to break up all the hardwood.  I spent several days forcing myself to look at lots of stores, and yesterday I found this at Target.  



I loved it.  I think it's a perfect combination of my favorite decorating colors and it goes well with everything I already have in my kitchen.  I ended up getting 2 of them to help fill the space and I'm so glad I did!  (So is my son... I keep finding him lying down on the rugs pressing his face into the soft material.  Maybe that's a sign we need more carpets in our lives?)

2.  "Cheers"

My little guy learned how to "cheers" this week.  Actually he's been doing it for a couple weeks but this week he started saying "deers" when clinking his glass to ours.  It's so stinking cute... I find myself carrying around my water bottle all day so he can cheers me.  



3.  A Giveaway!

I'm joined up with My Carolina's Classroom for a giveaway!  If you want to find out more about what I contributed, head here.  While you're checking it out, be sure to follow my blog - and hers too!  There are a lot of amazing things included in the giveaway, including over $100 worth of TpT products AND a $25 Amazon gift card!



4. Big Brother!!

I've been so busy this week I haven't seen ANY of the episodes!  Luckily, I've also been to busy to keep up with my social media accounts (except for Instagram, so THANK YOU to anyone who watches for not sharing details!) so I have no idea what's been happening.  Once I've posted this blog, I'm hoping to turn it on!  I can clean and unpack while it's playing in the background... I hope!

5.  My New Office!

I don't have any pictures of this, but my husband has been busily trying to get our new office unpacked and organized.  We've never had an office before, and we're both SO excited about it!  The room isn't that big, but we managed to get a huge bookshelf (the UNdecorated one that I'll tell you all about this week on Monday Made It) in there along with our desk.  We're both huge readers, so our shelf is crammed full of books.  My husband was actually devastated that both shelves didn't fit in there... I was secretly glad so I could use the other one in the baby's room and jazz it up!  Anyway, our office will be great once it's done.  I'm excited to have a place to hang my diplomas and to keep all my TpT stuff out of our living room!  It used to take over my life like you can't believe... or actually I you can.  I've seen lots of office/living room pictures on Instagram that look JUST like mine!

Happy Friday everyone!
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Last Moving Post... I Promise!

My entire summer has been ruled by our big move.  I'm SO happy that we're in a new home, but also glad that the move is done with!  Moving day was crazy, with all the last minute packing and organizing.  As usual, the last hour before the movers came was spent throwing random stuff into random boxes, that we'll eventually go through later and say "why do we have this?".  Then the movers came, and we were out of the house in less than 2 hours.  So it seems all my extra trips to the new place paid off!

We hired Stairhoppers, and for anyone in the Boston area looking to move, they're a great, affordable moving company.  We've used them several times (I like to move...) and have never had a problem.  They are fast, efficient, and give a discount if you pay in cash!  That is almost incentive enough for me!  They wrapped all the furniture in blankets, and then hauled it out.  Everything made it in one piece, and without a scratch!  They even moved our dressers, FULL OF CLOTHES.  It was amazing, and took quite a bit off of our unpacking list.


Once we arrived at our new home they were again done in less than 2 hours.  And that included taking about 1/2 of our things up to the very hot attic.  I can't say enough great things about Stairhoppers.  :)

Between directing them where to take things, I was also trying to unpack around them.  Even still, after they left, we were left with this... and this shot doesn't even show the bedrooms!  


Because we're gluttons for punishment, (and also because it's a major incentive), we'd invited both our families over for pizza and drinks that night.  So we REALLY had to move fast.  And I'd say, in just a few hours, things looked completely different.  Everything was put away... granted some things were jammed into closets, but we'll get to those eventually...

My favorite part of moving comes after the major unpacking - when I get to reorganize, decorate and shop for new things!  I try not to go crazy, but I always end up with new kitchen decor (rugs, utensil holders, etc) and definitely new curtains and bathroom things.  My poor husband must hate moving JUST because of all the shopping I do afterwards!  We also got a new bed, which is KING sized.  I've never had a king sized bed before, and we've only had it 4 nights... but let me tell you, I will NEVER sleep in a smaller bed again... well, never in my own home.  It's amazing.  My husband keeps joking that he needs a cell phone to call me from the other side.  The extra space is just glorious, especially with a little one who's always in and out.  Anyway, the new bed purchase has added new bedding to my shopping list.  I'm having a very hard time finding what I'm looking for.  I want something grey and white, so that I can add accents of color.  Right now we have a pretty, soft duvet of greens and blues, which is calming... but queen sized.  Plus I'm a little over it.  If I'm going to buy something new, I want a new look as well!  If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be forever grateful... I've looked at Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Target, and Bed Bath and Beyond... I might head to TJ Maxx later today.

I keep standing around the house smiling like a fool.  I'm just so thrilled with how it's all turned out - and am SO GLAD to be so close to school.  I can't tell you how that will change my days.  We get out of school at 3:30 and between picking up my guy and commuting, I was home around 5:15.  This year... I can do all that and still be home before 4:00.  Everything will just be so much easier... even our milk man agrees!  He rerouted our delivery, and was here ON MOVING DAY to deliver our order.  
  


So that's what I've been up to the last few days.  My FitBit has been loving me... I haven't taken a single walk, but have completely surpassed my daily goal every day, just with the unpacking!  Well, that and chasing my 1 year old around.  :)  I'm off to do some more organizing and decorating... thank goodness for rainy, thunderstormy days!
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Giveaway!

I'm joining up with Kristin from My Carolina Classroom for a giveaway this week!  She's reached a milestone on Bloglovin so will be giving away a bunch of things!  Head over to her blog to follow her and see when it's live - I'll be sure to post here too!


I'll be giving away my Scoot Through Fall bundle!  It's a bundle of 5 scoot games that you can play all fall - what I love about this bundle is that you can play each game straight up, OR you can take pages from each bundle and mix it around - so your students are jumping around in subject areas!  My class LOVED scooting last year (and really loved all the different words I'd use for "scoot" - hurry, move it, make haste, hustle, etc) and it was an awesome, fun, quick assessment tool.  

This game is perfect for 2nd graders, but could also be used in 1st grade (perhaps towards the end of the year) or in 3rd grade.  None of the games are "fall themed" - I just cover topics I teach in the fall.  (I also have a spring scoot bundle and am working on a winter one too!)

Included in the bundle is a Getting To Know You Scoot, which asks the students questions about themselves.  It's a fun way to get to know them while also teaching them the basics of how to play Scoot!  



Also included is a Addition and Subtraction Scoot, 2 Digit Place Value Scoot, Contractions Scoot, and Noun Scoot.  (Fun side note: this is my first time making a "cover page".  It's very basic, and pretty boring, but I'm starting to figure it out!)



In case you don't know about Scoot...  to play, each student needs a pencil and an answer sheet (included in the bundle).  Before starting, give each student a numbered game card.  When you say "go" they look at their card, figure out the answer, and write it in the matching numbered answer box.  After a certain amount of time, you shout out "scoot!" and everyone gets up and moves to another desk, taking their pencil and answer key with them.  I always start the year out with a practice session (Getting to Know You Scoot!) and we take it very slowly, going over where they should move.  By the end of the year, we're racing through the game and they're loving it - and maybe not even knowing they're learning!

So, enter the giveaway!  I'd love to share this bundle with you!
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Made It!

I told you I'd be back for Monday Made It!  It's my first one!  I'm so excited!  I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics - come join the fun!  



Over the years, I have collected a TON of direction manuals.  Between my wedding (Kitchen Aid stand mixer, blenders, coffee makers, etc) and my baby (swings, bouncy seats, cribs, etc) we have A LOT of books of directions.  Seriously.  I never kept them in a safe place, and I rarely needed them... but when I needed them, I REALLY needed them!  A silly example: we made grilled cheese on our panini press.  The plates were all greasy and I just couldn't get them clean.  I wanted to put them in the dishwasher... but didn't know if I could.  So I came up with this simple solution... a binder to hold everything.  I love binders.

Materials Needed
3 inch binder
page protectors
tabbed dividers
direction manuals




 I have 2 tabs - one for house manuals, and one for baby manuals.  On the front cover of each manual I write important information (AA batteries, dishwasher is ok, etc) so I don't have to go through the manual for a quick question.  But it's been invaluable to have everything in the same place and all organized.  I keep warranty information, receipts, and other little papers in the divider pages so I can get to them easily.


As you can see... I'm running out of room! I also need to make a cute cover, but since we just moved, my printer isn't hooked up yet. I'll get to it.  I love organizing things, and I love this binder... I know my pictures aren't great, but hopefully you get the idea!
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