A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Daily Ramblings, recipes, photos and whatever else I like to share along the way.

Merry Christmas



Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Nut Roll Recipe


Nut Roll - a family holiday tradition that I have not had in many years. 
I finally attempted again this year with success!
I can remember eating this every year as a kid and loving every last morsel. 
As I got older, I would sometimes place a nice pat of butter on top.
Not like it really needed the butter but....
This recipe is one that my mother's family has passed down for generations.
This is one tasty holiday treat that will not disappoint.

Tips:
1. When rolling out the dough it needs to be quite thin.

2. The ground walnuts I used were from Oh! Nuts.
Nicely ground, fresh and wonderful nut flavor. I highly recommend them. 
Their products are always fresh and flavorful. 
3. As you roll the dough up, you will need to roll it really, really tight. Otherwise it will
split open and become a mess. Ask me how I know.
4. Your nuts need to be ground very, very fine. (Food processor is your friend.)

Nut Roll:

4 cups of flour
2 1/2 sticks butter- make sure it is room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp of salt
1 egg
2 tsp. baking powder

Mix with fingers flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and butter for about 10 minutes, the longer you rub the flakier it becomes. Beat the egg and milk together and pour over top of the flour mixture. Work well until the dough forms a ball. Refrigerate over night. Split dough in half. Roll the dough out thin on a well floured surface. Spread evenly the nuts over top and roll up tightly. Use water to seal the seam and you will want to tuck in the ends. Repeat with the remaining dough. 

1/2 pound nuts (ground fine)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar 
cold coffee to make the mixture spreadable (about 4 Tbsp.)

Mix all ingredients together and spread atop the dough.

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2012 - ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas Programming List


Start planning now for family holiday fun.
This is the 2012 list for ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas.
You can click on the image to enlarge.

Direct link for the list>> Programming

Chipmunks Christmas CD Giveaway


Christmas songs bring and make wonderful memories of the holiday season.
Who doesn't find themselves singing along to the Chipmunks when they hear them? 
I was treated to receiving a cd to listen to and one to give away. 
This is your chance to win a FREE copy of the newest CD from Capitol/EMI featuring the Chipmunks.
Chipmunks Christmas
I love The Chimpmunk Song and no matter what I find myself singing along.
It's the Chipmunks..how could you not?!

This CD is packed wit18-track CD and digital collection of their most-loved holiday classics.
You and your children (young & old) will find yourselves singing along to.

Such as:
Here Comes Santa Claus
Jingle Bells
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
White Christmas
Frosty the Snowman
All I Want for Christmas
Deck the Halls

One of the top-selling music acts of all time, The Chipmunks have enjoyed more than half a century of loyal adoration by three generations of fans around the world, with each new generation embracing the delightfully mischievous trio. The collection features brand new art and two festive songs from Bagdasarian Productions:  “Here Comes Christmas” and “Ho Ho Ho” by Janice Karman. The cd is well made and has wonderful sound quality even with the older songs. 

How to enter:

Let me know who is your favorite Chipmunk.
Alvin, Simon or Theodore 

Winner will be Selected:
11/30
Winners are selected via Random and notified by email.
You have 48 hours to respond; if no response, the prize is forfeited and an alternate winner is chose.
This giveaway is only for US citizens only.
Shipping is of NO charge to the winner. 

NOTE: I did not receive a payment for the review of this cd or the giveaway. This blog does not accept any 
forms of cash for advertising, sponsorship or paid topic insertions.



 

Crusty Bread - Recipe



I am one for always trying out new bread recipes.
I was very curious when I stumbled upon a recipe that you let rise over night.
Really?!

This one did not fail me and was so good.
So very easy to make and had such wonderful flavor.
You could even make this for your holiday dinner
or
for the day after for left over sandwiches.
You will not be disappointed and easy enough to make weekly.
I used dh's cast iron dutch oven but you can use any large pot that can handle
450 degrees and has a lid.


Crusty Bread Recipe:

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 -18 hrs. Overnight works great. Heat oven to 450 degrees. When the oven has reached 450 degrees, place a cast iron pot (or one that can stand the heat and heat for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating. Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough. Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and place on a cooking rack to cool.

 Recipe from: Simply So Good



Veterans Day...Thank you



"The willingness of America's veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude."
- Jeff Miller


Please remember to thank a veteran or those currently serving our country. 

We would not be who we are today without those who have fought for us.

Thank you. 



Free Clip Art

Beautiful View from Caesars Head




We were up and out of the house early today to head up to Caesars Head State Park not far from us.
 The leaves have turned and it was a perfect time to take walk in the woods. 
We timed our arrival just right before some groups arrived.


Perfect view of Table Rock



Such a beautiful view- we could see the morning fog rising below us.




So peaceful




Looking North - NC just on the horizon.


New Stairs to Devils Kitchen
The stairs used to be wooden with no handrails. 


Devils Kitchen - tight fit
Always gives me the creeps going through it.


Love the trees.



Stairs on our trail hidden by leaves.




Simply a wonderful morning to
 crunch the leaves
 enjoy the silence 
 take in the breathtaking view from Caesars Head.


Caesars Head Information >> here




Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts - Baked



You know fall is in the air when you start baking with apples and pumpkin. 
I bought a donut mold last month just waiting for the right time to make some treats for the family.
Nip in the air = Perfect time 

I was a bit skeptical that a baked doughnuts would taste good but oh.my!
These doughnuts were very easy to make and so tasty.

The recipe stated that it would make 12 but I ended up making 21 (one happy camper).
The doughnuts were quite moist and full of pumpkin flavor.
The cinnamon and sugar topping added the right amount of sweetness. 

Grab your doughnut pan (or you can use a muffin tin) and whip up a delicious treat for breakfast.




Brevard, NC - day trip








Last Saturday we piled into the Jeep and headed north. 
The destination was to be a small town in SC but...
we decided to check out another park with a look out for birds but....
we missed the turn off on a REALLY twisty, narrow road so...
we just drove until the road ended in NC and opted to
 spend some time in Brevard, NC. 
Brevard has White Squirrels and was on a mission to snap a picture of one.
I did see one scampering about on a lawn but did not have my camera ready. :-(
Spencer on the other hand kept saying, " Hey, there's one. Ooo... over here, Mom, this way."
Guess it was his lucky day to be the white squirrel spotter.
We spent our time strolling around the town, checking out the quaint stores and just enjoying ourselves.
Some of the sites of town.


LOVE this cinema - notice the lights above each of the doors. 
Would have really liked to have been able to see the inside.



Beautiful quilts outside one of the quaint stores.



Such a fun city sign. :) 




Loved the white squirrel next to the planter.


Such a fun chair.



Crow Sculpture - missing one crow in the picture



Lunch was at a great pub that DH had been to before while working for another company.
Check out Dugan's Pub  - excellent Fish & Chips!


Great time - now to snap a picture of the white squirrels the next time we get back. 



Call Me Maybe... Big 10 Mascots

I simply had to share the Big 10 Mascots doing "Call Me Maybe."

Great Job!

You will need to view it on YouTube because of licensing content.

It is worth it, you will smile.

I may bleed Blue & White but  I love Sparty *blush*.

Watch Me...

New Driver and Mustang Dreaming...



Yes, we now have another permitted driver in the house.
I can't get over the fact that he can learn how to drive. 
(feeling old here)
Nate could have went for his driving test last year when he turned 15 but driving does not really interest him.
Seriously.
I can recall counting down the days, hours and minutes until I could get my license.
Now we have to get him behind the wheel of one of our cars and drivers ed lessons. 


Then he can go for a full license!
eep. 
I can say we are kicking ourselves for not getting him his beauty last year.
He expressed a tiny bit of interest in this '65 Mustang Convertible 
 Until Now...
Heavy Sigh....
It was a great deal and of course has been sold. 
Now....
We are on the look out for another.



Just calling out for a new home. 


Still had the Pony.



Under the wraps... and looking good.




Baked Garlic Cheese Grits - Recipe


Mmmm......
Cheese Grits
The first time I ever had them was in Charleston, SC with shrimp a few years back...delish!
Yet I had never, ever made them.
I needed a carb for a side last week with some grilled chicken.
Cheese Grits ..why not?!
Need a recipe and decided upon one from Paula Deen.
I opted to swap out a few items from her recipe to make it a tiny bit healthier. :)
So, I used low fat cheddar cheese, no sodium chicken broth, and 2% milk.
You could not tell the difference.
One other item - I used quick grits even though they were not recommended and no issues.


Seriously good.
                      
* Exported from MasterCook *

                        Baked Garlic Cheese Grits

Recipe By: Paula Deen
Serving Size: 6     Preparation Time: 10:00
Categories: Side Dishes

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  3       cups  chicken broth
1/2      teaspoon  salt
1/8      teaspoon  ground pepper -- prefer fresh ground
1/8      teaspoon  garlic powder
  1       cup  quick-cooking grits
  8       ounces  reduced fat cheddar cheese -- cubed
1/4      cup  milk, 2% lowfat
  2       large  eggs -- beaten
1/4      stick  unsalted butter
  4       ounces  reduced fat cheddar cheese -- white cheddar used - grated

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease a square 8x8 inch dish.
  • Bring the broth, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to a boil in a 2 quart sauce pan.
  • Stir in the grits and whisk until completely combined. 
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the grits are thick, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the cubed Cheddar and milk and stir.
  • Gradually stir in the eggs and butter, stirring until all are combined.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle with the white Cheddar and bake for 35-40 minutes or until set.

Source:
  "http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/baked-garlic-cheese-grits-recipe/index.html"
Copyright:
  "2012"
Yield:
  "6 "
                                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

NOTES: If using regular grits cooking time will be 8-10 minutes. 








Happy First Day of Fall


                   Happy Fall!!

Time for apples, apple pies, caramel apples, cool nights, 
and crunching through the fallen leaves. 

                     I love fall. 



Mixing it up with Soy Wax

Sharing some more soy wax experience - just may help someone.

I like to make my own soy melts and I have to say that I have been able to create some darn good ones.

But....

I wanted some with lasting power. Those that I could burn a bit today and still have fragrance left for tomorrow. I plowed through various websites to gain more information on what I could do. I like working with soy and did not want to give that up. What I found was to use a mix of a soy wax and a parafin wax. Now, my job was to figure out the ratio I wanted to use and the other wax.

I had settled on KY Para-Soy  &  KY 133 Votive Tart Wax as the two I would use.

What I decided upon was an 80/20 mix of the two waxes. I wanted to create a wax that would give me a longer throw and I seemed to have found what I was looking for. I created oh, about 12 batches with the 80/20 mix and had great success with it. (woot!) I wanted to make sure that I had found what I was looking for and I did some batches (4?) with a 90/10 mix and it too worked but I wanted that longer 2 day burning experience. I am using about a 7% -  8% fragrance load in the wax and having wonderful success. :-)

Remember:
To test your product! I can't stress this enough. What works for me may not work for you. Test, test, test.

Here are my previous posts about soy wax:

soy help here and working with soy here

Remembrance - 9/11


May we NEVER forget.

Surgery/Recovery


Those are my toes under the sheet there. :)
Two weeks ago to the day I was in the hospital.
I have debated on writing about this and I thought I would share.
 Perhaps, something I say will help someone?!
So, let me back up the trolley on the story.

 I had been dealing with a bit of uterine prolapse for the past four years. 
(which is not all that uncommon due to having children.)
I went for a second opinion (thank goodness I did).
I was told there was no rush for surgery unlike
what I had been told by a previous Dr.

Fast forward to last month - I was lifting some heavy items (not really thinking) and uh, yeah.
I knew right then and there that the whole plumbing had just fallen. 
Great. 
I spent the rest of that weekend upset at myself and knowing I had to call the Dr.
So, at the Dr's visit he told me what I had figured - time for surgery.
My uterus had totally fallen and there was no going back.
 da Vinci Surgery for Partial Hysterectomy here I come.
Next up was a trip to the Urologist. 
Oh.joy. 
I also had an issue of leaking. 
It was decided that I should have a bladder sling (pig skin) added onto my surgery.
I had five weeks to prep myself for surgery and get my ducks in a row.
It was just my luck that my surgery date was the same date the boys went back to school.
What were the odds?

Surgery scares the bejesus out of me.
I had my gallbladder out 11 yrs ago, all went well but being put to sleep...
Really freaks me out. 
I read may posts on a site called Hystersisters - I would highly recommend it.
I know everyone is different and kept that in perspective. 
There was at least a place I could go to get a "feeling" for what I was about to go through.

Surgery:

My pre-op nurse was wonderful. 
Full of great helpful information about how to deal with my issues.
I get sick from anesthesia so that required a sea sickness patch.
No cleansing for me the night before. *phew*
Just to eat light the day before.

Now, I can tell you that the chill mat that they had me move over to in the surgery room 
was $#%#$* COLD!
The nurse had me sit slightly up to wash my back off with alcohol. 
Could I get any colder?
My nurse kept saying, "I'm sorry, dear."

Then it was lights out once my anesthesiologist had me take two deep breaths.
I was sore - the abdominal area from where I was injected with air. 
Meds in the hospital were super.
Sea sick patch had to come off because it made me uber dizzy. 
I was up within 24 hrs walking gingerly around the hospital, showered & home.


Yes, that is a slice of the strawberry shortcake.
This hospital has some of the best food for a hospital. 
(Spencer was born in their women's hospital and I had really good food then, too.)

Recovery:

Two weeks now - my tummy is still bloated. :( 
It is going down but not as fast as I would like. 
My incisions are healing nicely and the liquid stitch is finally coming off.
Helping out lightly around the house as I can.
Still NO bending over or lifting anything heavy.
I have learned that Oxycodone & Loretabs and I do not get along.
Nauseous with one and dizzy with the other - rendered my quite ill for a bit. 
Just stuck it out with Advil. 
I am sore still in my belly but that is normal for some.
My tailbone was injured at some point (surgery(?)).
Which is not helping with sitting. *sigh*
Drink your water & eat your fruit. :)

I am looking forward to getting out in about 5 wks to go on long walks with Sasha.
She (Sasha) pulls still on her leash (still) and I don't want to do any damage. 
I would highly recommend the da Vinci surgery if it is an option for you.

Gold Star to those who read this all the way through.






Pink Lemonade Pie - TastyKake



Alrighty.
I found this sweet treat last month when we were picking the boys up to return home.
You have to understand that I am not really a big pie fan. 
Sure I will eat a slice of pumpkin or apple (filling first, always) but nothing more.
This little pie caught my attention and simply had to try it.
Plus, it's a Tastykake and nobody can resist a TastyKake. :)


Nice look at the top.


The inside of the pie.

So, what did it taste like?

The crust was very good. 
Flaky, buttery, and so good.
The inside tasted just like pink lemonade!
Really, Really. 
I was thrilled that I picked it up and gave it a try.
My only regret was not picking up a few more to bring home. 



Cornmeal Pancakes - Recipe


Sunday Breakfast = Pancakes

Normally we have buttermilk pancakes but I had been wanting to try something new.
When I saw this recipe I knew exactly what I would be whipping up.
They were light, fluffy and slightly crispy on the outside.
Quite easy to make and such a joy to eat.
Perfect pancakes when you want a slightly different pancake.


     
* Exported from MasterCook *

                              Fluffy Cornmeal Pancakes

Recipe By: Sarah Gabriel
Categories: Breakfast

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1 3/4     cups  buttermilk
  1 1/4     cups  cornmeal
     2        tablespoon  butter -- cut 1/4-inch thick pieces
     3/4     cup  all-purpose flour
     2        tablespoons  sugar
  1 3/4     teaspoons  baking powder
     1/2     teaspoon  baking soda
     1/2     teaspoon  salt
     2        large  eggs
  2 1/2     teaspoons  vegetable oil


  1. Adjust the rack to the middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Set the rack inside rimmed baking sheet and place in oven.
  3. Whisk 1 1/4 cups buttermilk and cornmeal together in medium bowl.
  4. Stir in butter, cover, and microwave until slightly thickened around the edges, 60-90 seconds, stirring once halfway through cooking.
  5. Let sit, covered for 5 minutes.
  6. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. 
  7. Beat eggs and remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk together in 1 cup liquid measuring cup
  8. Whisk cornmeal mixture into flour mixture.
  9. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  10. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat- low heat until shimmering. 
  11. Using paper towel, carefully wipe out oil, leaving thin film on bottom of pan. 
  12. Using level 1/4 cup measure, soon 3 pancakes into pan.
  13. Cook until edges are set and bubbles begin to form on tops of pancakes 2 minutes.
  14. Flip, then cook until second side is golden brown 1-2 minutes or longer.
  15. Transfer to prepared baking sheet in oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil and repeat with remaining oil and batter.


Source:
  "Cook's Country"
Copyright:
  "June/July 2012"
Yield:
  "15 "
                                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

NOTES: I did not use oil to cook the pancakes in. I instead used a tiny pat of butter for cooking the pancakes.


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Scout Bag Rocks!


I took a leap a few weeks ago and purchased a coupon from 
Plum District on a Scout bag.
I knew we would be going back to PA to pick up the kiddos and
 I am always in need of large bags to hold my loot. 
They looked really cute. 
So. 
I purchased, anxiously awaited for arrival and put to use. 
OH MY!!
This bag can hold so much and I am totally in love with her!
She will be going on many, many trips with us.
Interested?




It really works!



I found a recipe for Tub and Shower Magic on Pinterest - pinned and printed it out I knew exactly where I was going to give it a whirl.

Today was the day to give it a try. 
I sprayed the glass doors in the shower in the shower in the boys' bathroom. 


Sprayed on the cleaner and walked away for about 5 minutes. 
Back with a scrubby brush in hand and rubbed the glass.
Rinsed.


Yeowsa! Soap scum was gone. 
I had my doubts but it really did work and worked really well. 
The door now sparkles. 


Quick and easy to make.
So, if you have some stubborn soap scum give the Tub and Shower Magic a try. 

Seriously this stuff rocks! 

Tub and Shower Magic

  • 12 ounces white vinegar
  • 12 ounces liquid, blue dawn detergent

Directions:



  1. Heat vinegar in microwave until hot and pour into squirt bottle.
  2. Add the Dawn soap. Put the lid on and gently shake to incorporate.

  1. You now have a powerful cleaning product that will melt soap scum and tub and shower buildup, clean sinks, appliances and just about anything. Just spray it on, scrub, rinse and be amazed. For tough soap scum build-up, spray the mixture on and allow it to sit as long as overnight. Then, scrub and rinse.

    original recipe here

Sun Pickles



Oh...my...
so..
DELISH!

I had stumbled across someone who posted on a blog about making sun pickles.
Huh..never heard of them.
My mom canned every type of pickle growing up but never recalled a sun pickle.
This required a call and she had no clue as to what they were. 
No clue = a Mission for me
I did some research online and figured that I could make these!
I have to say they are so easy to make and the taste is so, so good.
They are sour, a bit salty, dilly, spicy.. simply wonderful.
I have made seven more jars since I whipped up my first batch three weeks ago.
Yes, they are that good. :)
I left the pickles outside in the sun three days with the first batch, four days with the second batch and 
days with my last batch. The only real difference I have noticed is that the pickles are softer 
(yes, I had to try a jar from each batch when they were done.) 
The items went to the top on the first batch but then settled down on the bottom after the first day.
So, if you want to give something different a try and enjoy a good pickle 
make some sun pickles!

The recipe I decided to use was from April's Cooking and Lifestyle Show blog.
Thank you, April!

How many times ?!

So, this morning I decided to venture into the dreaded teen bathroom. The boys are responsible for cleaning it so I trust them. They have been away for the past 5 weeks and I figured I would give their bathroom a good scrubbing.
All those bottles were empty and sitting all over in their shower. These were in addition to the four or so I removed when they left. Spencer tends to bring his empty bottles to the recycling bucket but Nate is another story. I can't tell you how many lectures he has had about leaving them around. How hard is it to pick them up and take them to the recycle bucket?
Gah! I worry that he will turn into one of those hording people.
I hope he snaps outta this and soon. Not sure how many more gray hairs I can stand.


Blueberry Banana Muffins with Almond Streusel Topping


We love blueberry season.
We have been going to a local farmers market this summer and enjoying the wonderful fruits.
I had printed out a recipe last month and could not wait to get a chance to try it.
(recipe is from Lisa's Dinnertime Dish)
The last sad looking banana that was in the house was put to good use and tossed into the batter.
These muffins were packed with wonderful blueberry and banana flavor. 
The sweetness comes from the topping and the muffin part is nice and light. 
I made four small loaves of bread so that we can enjoy a "summer" treat in the winter.
Excellent muffins!

My slivered almonds came from: Oh! Nuts  always fresh and have an excellent almond flavor.

                      
* Exported from MasterCook *

          Blueberry Banana Muffins with Almond Streusel Topping

Recipe By: Lisa
Serving Size: 24    
Categories: Breakfast

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
For Muffins:

  2           cups  flour
  2           teaspoons  baking powder
1/4          teaspoon  salt
  1           stick  butter -- softened
2/3          cup  sugar
  1           teaspoon  vanilla
  1           cup  non-fat greek yogurt
1/2          cup  milk, 2% lowfat
  1           pint  blueberries
  1           medium  banana
For Streusel:
1/4           cup  butter -- softened
1/3           cup  brown sugar
1/2           cup  oatmeal
1/2           cup  sliced almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 24 muffin tins with baking cups or with cooking spray.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt and milk.
  6. Set that aside, as well.
  7. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  8. Beat eggs in, one at a time. 
  9. Add vanilla and beat in.
  10. Mash banana in a bowl and set aside.
  11. Alternate between flour mixture and yogurt mixture to mixing bowl, a little at a time, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  12. Gently fold blueberries and banana.
  13. In a small mixing bowl prepare the streusel topping.
  14. Combine the brown sugar, oatmeal, butter with a fork until crumbly. Then gently add in the almonds.
  15. Divide the batter between the 24 cups and top with almond streusel.
  16. Bake for 25 -30 minutes until golden brown.
  17. Remove from the muffin tins and cool. 


Source:
  "lisasdinnertimedish.com"
                                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 157 Calories; 8g Fat (43.3% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 16mg Cholesterol; 126mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

NOTES: 
  • Banana can be removed from the recipe.
  • Toss the blueberries in 2 tsp of flour. 
  • This will help stop them from sinking to the bottom of the batter.

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