Monday, December 23, 2013

Kidoodle.TV Subscription Video Entertainment App Review #MC

I participated in a Blogger Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kidoodle.TV. I received a promotional item and a free trial as a thank you for participating. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

There are several video subscriptions apps/sites out there but few that are made specifically for kids. Why is that important? Well for me, when I have young children using my tablet, laptop, etc. to watch movies or TV shows online, I want to make sure they are watching age appropriate material. Sometimes it can be way too easy for them to accidentally click over to the adult videos.


The Kidoodle.TV app is built just for kids ages 12 and under giving them an easy, user-friendly experience while giving parents peace of mind. Once you sign up for an account, getting your child's profile set up is a cinch. It took me less than 5 minutes to create profiles for each of my 4 boys. In the "Parents Room" you can:
  • Select a color and profile image to customize your child's experience
  • Filter your content with the appropriate age settings. My eight year old appreciates this since that means he doesn't have to wade trough toddler programming to get to what he wants.
  • Manually select or deselect titles.I love this feature because it allows me to remove a specific show from my child's profile. So for example if there was a show I heavily disliked listed there, I can just deselect it and my son will never even see it as an option.Thankfully I haven't come across any forbidden for him titles yet so we're all good.


One of my favorite features is also the Time Limit function. We all know we need to keep screen time to a minimum as best we can, so having this little reminder that it is time to "unplug" is perfect. You can set the limit up knowing that if you are distracted by other children our housework, the app will help you and let the child know they are done.


I have been using the iPad app more than the website and it has been great so far. It is set up almost exactly like the website so you don't need to learn a new interface in order to use it. Since my four year old doesn't really use the computer yet but is pretty darn fluent on the iPad, this was perfect for him to scroll through and pick videos to watch. As the youngest of 4 boys he tries so hard to be independent and this makes him feel like he has a little bit of that.


Once your child is on their profile page, they will see all the titles available to them based on the restrictions that you have set behind the scenes. The site is crisp and clear making it easy for little  eyes and hands to navigate. I also really like that I see different titles here than I do on other video subscription sites. For instance the National Geographic videos shown on my 8 year old's profile above. He loves animal related documentary style videos and these are so perfect for him. He hasn't made his way through them all yet, but he will.

Kidoodle.TV has been awesome for our family so far and I'm looking forward to continuing to use it over the next few months.

Free Trial & Giveaway!
Try Kidoodle.TV for FREE and enter by December 31, 2013to win 1 of 10 tablets or 1 of 10 Kidoodle.TV year-long subscriptions! To enter visit Kidoodle.TV to sign up for a free trial. Follow the on-screen directions and submit!

Connect with Kidoodle.TV
Website: www.kidoodle.tv
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KidoodleTV
Twitter: @kidoodleTV

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Take Netflix With You This Holiday #NetflixKids #StreamTeam

This post is brought to you by Netflix. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The days around the holidays are some of the most traveled days of the year and when traveling with children, especially young children, it can be stressful and exhausting. I am lucky that the furthest we have to travel is an hour, but plenty of families have much further to go. Netflix can help keep the kids busy in the car or while sitting in Grandma's house impatiently waiting to open present.


When you download the Netflix app to your smartphone or tablet, you can then watch your favorite movies and shows wherever you have WiFi or 3G/4G. I have it on both my iPhone and iPad which gives me the ability to have 2 kids watching 2 different things at the same time. Tell me that isn't awesome? So when they are getting antsy on Christmas Eve, I can divide them up to buy myself a few minutes till present time!


We love Christmas in our house and in turn love watching Christmas movies. So between Thanksgiving and now, we've been using Netflix to watch some of our favorites like The Polar Express and enjoy some new to us ones like Dreamworks Holiday Classics, which is  made up of 4 short films. My four year old absolutely loves those Madagascar Penguins so he likes to request that one. All of my boys also fell in love with Little Brother, Big Trouble and when the little guy had 104.6 fever over the weekend (thank you strep throat), we snuggled up on the couch and watched it together.


There are plenty of holiday titles to choose from on Netflix ranging from preschool ages shows like Super Why to family movies like Santa Paws and finally more adult oriented flicks like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Basically, there is something for everyone to help get you in the holiday spirit!

More Holiday Fun

Movie Treats
Looking for something delicious for the family to share while watching some of your favorite holiday movies? Check out this recipe for Chocolate Candy Cane Smoothies. I love this because it uses all natural ingredients and is packed with some protein.

http://www.alwaysorderdessert.com/2013/11/movie-treats-chocolate-candy-cane.html

Traveling
If you and your kids do have a long car ride ahead of you this holiday, bringing along something fun for them to do is a must. I love the idea of this Traveling Lego Box, which can keep their minds and hands busy for a while. Like I said, we aren't going to far for Christmas, but I plan on using this idea when we hit Disney in 2014 (Connecticut to Florida is a long drive with 4 kids!).

http://www.klscrafts.com/craft-styling/diy-traveling-lego-box%E2%80%A8-netflix-com/



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Grove Square & Caza Trail K-Cups Review #MC #Giveaway

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Sturm Foods, Inc. I received a promotional item and product samples as a thank you for participating. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Between my husband and myself, we drink a decent amount of coffee in our house. Because our tastes are so different, I usually go for flavored, decaf coffee while he leans toward strong regular coffee, getting a Keurig was pretty essential for us. With what seems like an endless choice of K-Cups available, I sometimes get overwhelmed with which ones to try next. Grove Square and Caza Trail offer a variety of K-Cup coffee blends as well as hot cocoa, hot cider, etc.


I received 3 boxes of K-Cups to try out and you wouldn't believe how fast they disappeared. No seriously, my husband had finished almost all of them before I even had a chance to take photos! The first to go was the Caza Trail Dark Roast, since regular coffee is his favorite. I let him have them all since dark roast is a bit too strong for me. Instead I went straight for the Grove Square French Vanilla Cappuccino. This was very tasty and was perfect for those rough mornings when I needed caffeine to get me functioning properly. Now that it is freezing out, I love to curl up on the couch with this in my mug and my Kindle in the other hand. Once my husband finished up his dark roast, in literally just a few days, he gave the Cappuccino a try and he loved it as well. This was kind of a shock since he never drinks flavored coffee. But he liked it so much that now I pick it up regularly from our local Wal-Mart.


The other huge hit in our house was the Grove Square Hot Cocoa Holiday Variety Pack. Here in Connecticut the winters are pretty darn cold and filled with lots of snow. Neither of which I am overly thrilled about, but my boys sure do love the snow. In the past 7 days we have had two snow days already and after they spend a few hours playing outside, they love to come inside to some hot chocolate. Having it on hand in a K-Cup makes it really easy for me to whip up 4 mugs of it and since my Keurig can make different size drinks, I will use the largest setting and then divide that into 2 cups. We enjoyed the Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate flavors a lot. I did find them to be a little too sweet, but adding just a touch of whole milk to each cup balanced it out plus helps cool it off just enough for small mouths. The only flavor we weren't crazy about was the Peppermint - it wasn't bad, but just not our style so to speak.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Holiday Shopping for Kids at Target #MyKindOfHoliday #Giveaway

This post has been brought to you by Target. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

I have four young boys, which makes my holiday shopping absolutely insane. Between the amount of gifts I have to buy and all of my trips to the store, I am exhausted by the time Christmas finally rolls around. Target is one of my favorite stores to shop at year round but even more so at the holidays because they always have what I am looking for.


Earlier this Fall we got the Skylanders Swap Force game, but we are still in dire need of the swappable characters. Most of the other stores I looked at locally are sold out, so Target was my last hope. Luckily when I turned into the Skylanders/Infinity aisle, I saw it was still pretty packed.


Armed with my list of characters that Grammy already purchased I was able to find 4 of the new Swap Force swappable figures that we still needed. All 4 wound up in my cart.



Santa just happens to be bringing the boys the Disney Infinity for Xbox game this Christmas, so we are going to need a few of those characters too. Ya know, because the 50 Skylanders we already have isn't enough.  I'm not sure what Santa was thinking here. Target had a bunch of figures to choose from and thnakfully they had the only one I was looking for: Davy Jones.


Now as if the holidays alone weren't enough, 8 days before Christmas is also my youngest sons birthday. Which means even more shopping. I always find this a struggle because I start to run out of ideas for him. Since he is obsessed with Batman lately (he will be 4), I headed over to the DC Comics toys to see if I could find anything for him that didn't have 50 million little pieces.  And right there on the bottom shelf was a talking Batman doll - perfect! I can totally see him lying in bed with this while wearing his Batman pajamas, he's going to love it.


With that, I headed over to checkout with what was hopefully the last of my Christmas shopping. I felt rather satisfied after this shopping trip because I got everything I walked in the doors for. And luckily I had my husband with me to distract said youngest child so he didn't notice everything I was buying. In the end I purchased the 4 Swap Force figures, 1 Disney Infinity figure, talking Batman doll, 2 Minecraft dolls, DC themed Hotwheels cars, kid's toothpaste and a snack of Goldfish for my little monkey.


The second best part of this trip was being able to pay with my eGiftCard using the Target app on my iPhone. While I love shopping online, especially during the holidays when the stores are crowded, there are times I just prefer to shop in person. So it is pretty cool that now if I get an eGiftCard for Target, I can use it to shop in either place.And if you are struggling with those last few people on your holiday shopping list, you can't go wrong with a gift card.


Have you done any shopping for your children at Target this holiday season?

Check out the great deals on Kid's toys only @Target!

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Dream Printer: Encouraging Children to Dream Big #DreamPrinter #MC

I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting (#MC) on behalf of Konica Minolta. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.


As a mom, I want my kids to dream big and hold onto those dreams, which is why I love hearing my eight year old tell me he is going to be an astronaut when he grows up.  Konica Minolta wants to celebrate extending children’s imaginations and encouraging big dreaming with the “Giving Shape to Ideas” initiative. They created a “Dream Printer,” placed in a New York State park, where kids could approach the printer and share with it what they wanted to be when they grow up and the printer then gives them a caricature style picture of themselves in that profession. My son would have flipped out to see a picture of himself as an astronaut! What are your kids dreams?

Please take a few minutes to watch the video below and be sure to share it with your friends.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Zact Mobile Helps Parents Give the Gift of a Smartphone this Holiday #MC

I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Zact. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.



It seems like everyone has a child asking for a smartphone this holiday season. If you are like me, you want them to have a phone as a way of getting a hold of you but you also have concerns about how they use it and for what. Zact Mobile is a no contract, nationwide mobile service that has parental controls where parents can easily set amount of text and data usage, set curfews (such as meal and bed times), set allowed or blocked contacts, and control which apps your child has access to. Plus the Zact plans are shareable which means if you have more than one child on the plan, they can share not only minutes but text and data as well. If your child is asking for a smartphone, check out Zact Mobile and learn how their features can provide you with peace of mind!


Parental Controls with Zact
from Zact Mobile on Vimeo.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Soundfreaq Sound Spot Bluetooth Speaker Review #SoundSpot #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Soundfreaq. I received a Soundfreaq Sound Spot to facilitate my review.

We love music in our house. Whether it's listening to top 40 songs or Christmas music, my boys and i love to jam out and sing along.  Since my classic iPod dies earlier this year, all of music is now stored on my iPhone plus I like to use several different streaming music apps on my iPad. Now let's face it, I love my Apple devices, but the sound quality on the built in speakers is just meh. So having any easy, clear way to listen to the music is a must. Last year I had the chance to review the SoundFreaq Sound Kick Bluetooth Speaker and I fell in love.  Now this year, I was given the brand new Soundfreaq Sound Spot to try out and I like it even better!


Sound Spot ($69) is Soundfreaq’s brand-new, award-winning wireless home speaker, which has already received a “Mashable Choice” Award.

It has a small footprint so it fits anywhere in your home, making it easy to take with you from room to room so you always have music playing in your life. It now comes in 11 fun color combinations in addition to the all black and wood & white versions.

Sound Spot was conceived to be portable yet look great in your home, amongst furniture, artwork and accessories. With mid-century design inspiration, Sound Spot's clean, modern look complements your home d├ęcor while filling any room in your house with your favorite music.

Sound Spot streams audio via Bluetooth, the wireless standard for smart devices, so Sound Spot is compatible with all of your and your family member’s wireless devices.

Sound Spot is ready to bring anywhere around the home with its small size and built-in rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, which allows for up to seven hours of AC-free listening.

Sound Spot includes a USB power port so you can charge your phone, even while Sound Spot is running on battery power. Sound Spot is simple to charge just plug it directly into your computer or any powered USB port for quick and easy charging.

With two Sound Spots, you have the ability to daisy chain two units together via line-out for an even louder acoustic experience.

I received the two Sound Spot units show above: one in white/wood and one in all black. The first thing I loved about this speaker was the size. While the Sound Kick is great, it is also larger which it makes it a pain to move from room to room. The Sound Spot is the perfect size to room hop along with you and fit into tight spaces. So now my Sound Kick has a permanent residence in my kitchen while I can use my two Sound Spot speakers everywhere else. Since listening to music is a must in the shower for me, my black Sound Spot spends a lot of time in there or in my bedroom. The shelf in my bathroom is tiny, but that is not a problem for this speaker.

Sound Spot on my bathroom shelf, playing some Lady Gaga.
The white/wood Sound Spot has been spending a lot of time in the boys' bathroom these past few weeks. We just renovated this bathroom over the summer and the design fits in nicely. And at night when I am the foreman to the showers/teeth brushing/getting ready for bed assembly line, now it is accompanied by  music. The boys like having music playing to sing with, especially since we've been playing Christmas songs. And well, the music just help keeps me sane.

Sound Spot in kids' bathroom.

 While both Sound Spots have spend a lot of time in our bathrooms, their simple design allows them to fit in with the decor of any room in my house. So when I want to bring them down into the living room or home office, either one would blend in just fine.

Sound Spot in the living room.

Something to point out is that while I have my iPhone right next the Sound Spot for the purposes of this photo, it does not need to be that close. I have no problem adjusting volume or skipping songs while in another room of the house. This will be particularly useful during my son's 4th birthday party next week, where I can stay in the kitchen feeding people and be able to control the speaker in the living room. The music played through the Sound Spot is crystal clear and provides a wide volume range when using both the volume on the device and on the speaker itself. I could not have asked for a better speaker!

My only semi-complaint is that I wish I could connect both of my Sound Spot speakers to my iPhone at the same time so I can have the same music playing in different rooms of the house. I would just love to have Christmas music playing upstairs in my bedroom while simultaneously playing in the living room.  Though honestly I'm not sure if that is something that can even be done with current Bluetooth technology, but I sure would love it!

Sound Spot is available in several colors.

The Sound Spot is available in a variety of both neutral and fun colors that are sure to fit your style and decor. Retailing for just $69, the Sound Spot makes a great holiday gift for the music or tech lover in your life.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Boys & Girls Clubs of America Give the Gift of a Great Future #GreatFutures #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Boys and Girls Clubs of America. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.


This year is the 3rd annual Give the Gift of a Great Future Holiday Campaign, where the Boys and Girls Clubs of America inspires us to reflect on the true meaning of giving. On the site you can vote in the Kids Give Back contest, showcasing BGCA kids giving back in their communities throughout the year, create and print holiday gift tags with the Gift Tag Generator and learn tips on how to inspire your kids to give back. You can also check out holiday offers and giveaways from some sponsors while you learn how you can volunteer in your own community!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Bring Books to Life with Netflix #StreamTeam

This post has been brought to you by Netflix. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I am a huge reader and I am doing my best to get my kids to be avid readers as well. Something that we all enjoy is watching our favorite books come to life on the big screen. Since Netflix is probably our main source of TV watching these days (it has been 7 years since we had cable), I love that they have a selection of movies based from books.


My youngest son is three years old and one of his favorite books is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. He has already watched the short animated film on Netflix a bunch of times and he never grows tired of it. What is especially nice is that it includes four more of Eric Carle's stories. Our twins (6) got a kick out of watching The Little Engine That Could since it is a book i have read to them countless times over the years.


For Little Kids
My oldest son (8) is sort of in that caught in the middle phase between little kid and big kid. While he still enjoys some of the "Little Kids" show, he definitely is starting to gravitate to some older movies now. We recently had a family movie night where we all watched James and the Giant Peach together. This isn't a book he has read yet, and my husband was shocked that I never read it as a child, but watching the movie has sparked is interest in the book. So it might pop up under the Christmas tree this December


For Big Kids

"Read the Book, See the Movie" and then have even more family fun with themed crafts and snacks!
A crafty person I am not, but these Book-Covered Letters are simple enough for even me! If my three year old had his own room we would be all over this as we have 3 copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and could certainly donate one to this project. However since he shares a room with the twins and wall space is limited, I can only admire it. (Yes, I have 3 boys sharing one bedroom - feel sorry for me). These would look awesome in a baby or toddler bedroom, especially if your family enjoys Erica Carle books. Get the complete tutorial here.

http://www.klscrafts.com/craft-styling/read-the-book-see-the-movie-craft-netflix-com/

Family movie night isn't complete without some tasty snacks! Now that the cold weather is here, gathering the family together to watch a movie and indulge in a warm treat sounds rather perfect. These Mini Peach Pie Pockets are inspired by the movie James and the Giant Peach. They are simple to make and the kids will love having their very own miniature pie. Get the recipe!

http://www.alwaysorderdessert.com/2013/10/movie-treats-mini-peach-pie-pockets.html#.Um_nZ3DksfU


And while Netflix certainly has a great selection of kids movies and shows based off of books, don't forget they have them for adults too! With the release of Catching Fire quickly approaching in a week, I plan on getting comfy on my couch one night after the kids are in bed and re-watching The Hunger Games.

What book inspired movies do you and your family like to watch?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

World Prematurity Day & RSV Prevention

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for MedImmune. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

November 17 is World Prematurity Day; a day where in countries around the world we raise awareness about premature birth and how it can be prevented. Each year 13 million babies are born prematurely globally, and more than one million preemies have died in 2013 alone from the serious health challenges they face. Currently, the US rate of prematurity is 12.2%- one of the highest rates of preterm birth in the world. Even more alarming is that the rates have risen by 36% over the last 25 years. Yet many parents still aren’t aware of the risks of being born too early - the leading cause of neonatal death. A recent survey found that 75% of parents don’t know the definition of prematurity (birth at or before 37 weeks gestation), and during prenatal care, most pregnant women don’t ask their healthcare provider about the risk of delivering prematurely and the potential consequences of preterm birth for their child.

As preemies often have specialized health needs, it’s important to raise awareness of the increased risks that often come with premature birth. One of those risks facing preemies is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). When my youngest son was just three weeks old, he contracted RSV, which was most likely brought home by his four year old big brother from preschool. In older babies, RSV is just a bad cold, but in newborns and especially preemies it can be life threatening. Preterm infants are born with undeveloped lungs and immature immune systems that put them at heightened risk for developing severe RSV disease, often requiring hospitalization.

While my son was not premature, he was still only weeks old and the virus took over his lungs. The five days I spent at the hospital by my baby boy's side were the most terrifying of my life. Watching his little body with oxygen monitors hooked up to him and an oxygen tube blowing into his face was heart wrenching. That is something I want to help prevent other mothers from experiencing.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-R1gubJClBL8/UoUVIC0XvwI/AAAAAAAAELc/2qTpy3HJh60/s320/RSV-Infographic.jpg

Key RSV Facts

  • RSV occurs in epidemics each year, typically from November through March, though it can vary by geography and year-to-year
  • RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States, with approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year
  • RSV disease is responsible for one of every 13 pediatrician visits and one of every 38 trips to the ER in children under the age of five
  • Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers have never heard of the virus

Learn the Symptoms of Severe RSV Disease
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:

  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
  • Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
  • Fever [especially if it is over 100.4°F (rectal) in infants under 3 months of age]

How Can I Help Protect My Baby From RSV?
To help minimize the spread of RSV disease, all parents should:

  • Wash their hands and ask everyone to do the same
  • Keep toys, clothes, blanket and sheets clean
  • Avoid crowds and other young children during RSV season
  • Never let anyone smoke around your baby
  • Steer clear of people who are sick or who have recently been sick

To learn more please visit RSVProtection.com.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Free Healthgrades App Helps You Manage Your Family's Medical Care

I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Healthgrades. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

As a mom of four children, I am presented with various medical needs that require attention: this one needs to see the pediatrician, another one needs an eye specialist, a dermatologist and so on. Finding a well rated doctor or specialist in my area can be a challenge, but Healthgrades has come out with a free iOS app to make this challenge easier. The Healthgrades app allows you to search for doctors in your area by location, specialty and even insurance carriers accepted. One of the best features is the interactivity of reading reviews from other patients and being able to leave your own.


Download the free Healthgrades app for your iPhone today!



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Clean Green with Green Works All-Purpose Cleaner & Win in the Green Works Games!

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Green Works. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and promotional item as a thank you for participating.

So many people have this misconception that doing things a little more clean is harder and more expensive. When it comes to eliminating chemical cleaners from your home and replacing them with greener ones, that is not the case. When I started out on this green journey, there weren't a whole lot of options readily available to buy. So I easily made my own natural cleaners with things like vinegar, water and essential oils. Those work great and they are super cheap to put together. But as a mom to four very active young boys, making time to mix my concoctions isn't always easy. So I also like being able to just grab a bottle of cleaner when there is a mess to clean up. Green Works offers a line of affordable and effective natural cleaners that get the job done without harming your family or the environment.

From the cooktop to the countertop, Green Works® Naturally
Derived All-Purpose Cleaner powers through grease, grime and
dirt without leaving behind harsh chemical fumes or residues.
Green Works All-Purpose Cleaner is safe to use on multiple
surfaces throughout the kitchen and bathroom, including
counters, appliances, stainless steel, sealed granite, chrome,
cooktop hoods, sinks and toilets.

  • Formulated using plant- and mineral-based biodegradable cleaning ingredients.
  • Provides an easy and practical way to use naturally derived products without compromising cleaning performance.
  • Packaged in bottles that can be recycled.
  • Not tested on animals.
  • Green Works All-Purpose Cleaner is now available with the innovative SMART TUBE® TECHNOLOGY that allows consumers to spray every drop of the liquid in spray bottles.
  • Green Works® All-Purpose Cleaner is available in a 32-oz. bottle in both original and tangerine scents.
  • Approximate retail price is $3.49.

Over the years I have used a variety of their products, from their glass cleaner to their cleaning wipes, and I have always been very pleased with them. Plus I love that they are budget friendly and available at major retailers and grocery stores.

Connect with Green Works
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Green Works Pinterest Game
How would you like a chance to win a $500 gift card while having some fun on Pinterest? You can do that with the Green Works Pinterest Game. After you figure out what a word is then you pin an image to your Green Works Games board to match it. Once your board is complete, you submit if ro a chance to win. Check out more of the details below.


I had some fun too creating a Green Work Pinterest board of my own. You can check it out here: www.pinterest.com/greenmamaspad/greenworks-games.


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