Smart Parents in the Know: February Wins

Smart Parents in the Know: February Wins

Ideas for Parents in February

Here are things that I’m learning and loving in the month of February! I will talk about a few things that I am learning and loving in my life right now. This may include recipes, books, movies and gadgets, etc. Here are some ideas for parents in February. I will do this sometime during each month. (Here are December and January) Let me know what you are learning and loving so that I can add that to future posts!

Ideas for parents in February

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Ideas for parents in February

Learning:

The 10 best ways to “hygge”, I mention some tools for this below. Once I learned about this a few years ago, I determined that I should have been Danish😃

I learned that I can do new BIG things when I hosted an online summit, Next Phase Parenting Summit. I have made a great new friend, and we were able to help so many parents of teens, young adults, and empty nesters. I encourage you to try something new and difficult, it can be fun and really rewarding!

Loving:

Book:

The Energy Bus -Jon Gordon I had to read this at school for a book club with other teachers. It is SO good! The story is that George’s day starts out with a flat tire, and in his opinion his day goes down from there. Everything in his life is falling apart -his marriage, his job…

George ends up taking the bus to work, and meets Joy, the energetic bus driver. Joy and the other passengers on the bus give George 10 lessons for living life with positive energy which makes a huge difference in his life.

Other books by Jon Gordon that are on my list to read! One thing I like about him is that he has some children’s versions of a few! And, the fables he uses to tell all of his stories are so relatable. 

Show:

Centennial -the mini-series based on the book by James Michener This was one of our favorite mini-series back in the day, and we have had such a great time watching it with our kids! The cast is amazing, which of course they do not even realize. It is super cheesy, but very engaging to connect with these generations of characters who lived and interacted with each other in the town of Centennial, CO. You should give it a try! 

And, if you haven’t read anything by Michener, you should give him a try. The beginnings are always full of geological facts and data, but if you can make it through those pages, the information is always so pertinent to the story that he tells about a region.

Gadgets:

I love this tiny cutting tool! You can attach this to your keychain, have one in your car or wherever!

__________________________________________________________

Weekly dose of parenting encouragement

Quote:

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home.Edith Sitwell

I love this quote because it perfectly sums up winter for me.❄️❤❄️

One of my favorite winter concepts is “hygge”, basically getting cozy and warm with people you love! There I nothing better! Here are some tools for hygge: this blanket looks luscious, BEST hot chocolate mix, and finally a recent book that I loved (and that I found out is part of a series!)

Ideas for parents in February

Holidays:

Groundhog’s Day (2), Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day (first Saturday), Superbowl Sunday (date varies), National Pizza Day (9), Valentine’s Day (14), President’s Day (third Monday of the month), Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday (date varies), Ash Wednesday (date varies), National Margarita Day (22), Leap Day (29-the next one is 2024)

I hope that you have learned some things with these ideas for parents in February!

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure you subscribe to my Parenting High Schoolers newsletter below for more articles about surviving and thriving with teenagers. Simply enter your information below and you will be all set! You can also like my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

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Ideas for parents in February

Best Valentine’s Gifts to Give and Get For Teens

Best Valentine’s Gifts to Give and Get For Teens

Valentine Fun!

Valentine’s Day can be such a fun time for teens. Even for teens that do not have a special “other person”, giving gifts to a bestie or other friends can be fun! Finding the best Valentine’s gifts can be a lot of fun, and there are many great activities as well that I list at the bottom for fun!

We encourage our boys to give gifts at least to us and their grandparents, even if it is just a card. These can mean a lot, especially if they are homemade!

Showing someone that you care is a life lesson, and there is no better time than Valentine’s Day to make sure that this happens!

Encourage your teens to reach out to someone or many someones with a message of friendship and/or love.

I put together the following list of Valentine’s gifts with help from my boys and my middle school students. These vary in price from just a few dollars up to a lot -most are really inexpensive items of less than $25. Our teens need to remember that it is the thought that counts more than anything.

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Best Valentine’s Gifts!

Red or pink nail polish

Heart boxers

Heart pillow

 Giant hersheys kiss

Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” ―Eleanor Roosevelt

Pink earrings

Heart sweatshirt

Love dish

Shaving kit

Heart mug

Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” ―H. Jackson Brown Jr.


Heart magnets

Heart shaped sunglasses

Leather ear pod case


Pink candle

Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.” ―Ben Carson

Weekly dose of parenting encouragement

Pink or red tassel earrings

Personalized pocket knife

Heart socks

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” ―Pablo Picasso


Heart jammies

Bedshelfie

Nintendo switch

Heart shaped box – Use these to create something beautiful to then fill with some other gift for your Valentine.

Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” —Booker T. Washington

Photo box explosion album -My son got one of these for Christmas from his girlfriend! It is so cute! She did say that it took some time to put together.

Some fun activities for spending time together on this special day!

•Watch some movies about love! Then, make some Valentine’s popcorn and enjoy a date night!

 

•Make heart shaped cakes, pancakes, waffles or cookies– Here are some links to recipes.

       Cupid floats, 20 Valentine cookie recipes, 14 Valentine’s dinner ideas

 

•Set out some simple Valentine’s Day decorations – Some links to fun decor…

      V-day decorations round-up, Dollar Store decor for Valentine’s, Valentine’s vignettes

 

•Create a Valentine tree -I think these DIY twig trees are so cute! This one is cute, too.

 

•Write someone love notes and/or coupons -you get to choose what to offer.

 

•Spend one on one time with your teens -watch movies, play games, take a walk… Here’s the link to  a post my friend wrote about creating a fun day with her teenage daughter!

 

•Get them their own box of candy -always a favorite!

 

•Hot chocolate bar with these cute supplies -Here’s a great Idea for a charcuterie board, and an easy recipe for crockpot hot chocolate.

 

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure you subscribe to my Parenting High Schoolers newsletter below for more articles about surviving and thriving with teenagers. Simply enter your information below and you will be all set! You can also like my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

Related posts: 25 Valentine Movies, Best Easter Baskets for Teens, Best Graduation Gifts: The Ultimate Guide

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Smart Parents in the Know: January Wins

Smart Parents in the Know: January Wins

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Ideas for Parents in January

What I’m learning and loving in the month of January! I will talk about a few things that I am learning and loving in my life right now. This may include recipes, books, movies and gadgets, etc. So, here are some ideas for parents in January.

I will do this sometime during each month. (Here are October, November, and December) Let me know what you are learning and loving so that I can add that to future posts!

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

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Ideas for parents in January|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Learning:

Need some proof that teens are doing good works in this day and age? We hear al the time about problems that teens get into and bad things that they do. Here are some amazing examples of positive things!

Here is a great story about some teens that rescued some kids in the surf.

Here’s another story about a cheerleader coming the the rescue of a younger kid.

A teen develops armor to block stray radiation during chemo treatments.

Teen makes prom dress for older sister, flooded with other requests!

Ideas for parents in January|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Loving:

Book:

Giver of the Stars– Moyes

I could not put this book down!  Set in the 1920s in a rural Kentucky, a young woman who married to escape her boring life in England, has found out that life in the states is possibly worse married to a young man with some issues of his own, plus an overbearing father-in-law. She answers the call to become a rider for Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library. There is adventure, romance, intrigue and true friendship. Grab a copy and get started! (It is based on real events.)

Movie / Show:

I usually recommend a movie, but this time, I am going to say, go with the full series of Schitt’s Creek. We would not have survived the pandemic without this show. Whenever something especially heavy would happen, our 16 year old would say, “Let’s watch an episode!” We watched many series over the past months, but we always knew what he meant when he said this:) 

It is definitely been a family favorite!

Gadgets:

Have you tried this stuff? It is amazing! I have some by my bed and by the couch downstairs. I love that it is fragrance free. And, the price! Less than $7 for 16 oz. I could not survive winter without this.

Quote:

As you step into this new year, be bold enough and daring enough to believe in the abundant good that has been prepared for you.“—Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Holidays:

Festival of Sleep Day (3), National Bagel Day (15), Martin Luther King Day (3rd Monday), National Hugging Day (21), Chocolate Cake Day (27), Inspire Your Heart With Art Day (31)

I hope that you have learned some things with these ideas for parents in January!

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure you subscribe to my Parenting High Schoolers newsletter below for more articles about surviving and thriving with teenagers. Simply enter your information below and you will be all set! You can also like my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

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Ideas for parents in January|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

25 Movies for Valentine’s Day: Teach Your Teen About Love

25 Movies for Valentine’s Day: Teach Your Teen About Love

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Valentine’s season is here, and it’s a great time to watch some movies about love. These are not all about romantic love, but love between friends and family as well. These are great movies to use as a springboard to some conversations about realistic love.

Relationships can be so complicated, and with all the social media options available these days, it’s even more important that our kids know that communication is key. Not texting, but talking. Relationships can and should be grounded in friendship first, and there is no rush to any of this!

These movies can really help open the door to difficult conversations!

After a painful breakup one of my boys experienced, we watched a few of these movies. He ended up liking some of these, even though, at first, he thought they were chick flicks. Watching these together opened up some great conversation that he later said really helped him. Here’s a checklist to keep track of the ones that you have watched:)

Here is our family’s list of the best movies about love to watch for Valentine’s Day!

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

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Movies About Love

Valentine’s Day– This is great! This is the story of many intersecting stories about love. Mother love, romantic love, puppy love and more… Each relationship in this movie is special for different reasons, and there are lessons to be learned in each situation.

You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not,” Jodie Picoult in My Sister’s Keeper

Sweet Home Alabama– A young woman in the big city learns that she can leave home, even recreate herself, but leaving the past behind is not as easy as she thinks. 

You always gain by giving love,” Reece Witherspoon

Ghost– Love from beyond. The spirit of a young man comes back to warn his love that she is in danger. Appearances are not always what you think!

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same,” Emily Brontë

10 Things I Hate About You– A complicated of boy meets girl, boy wants to date girl, girl not allowed to date… A fun story about love/hate between sisters, their dad, and the boys who want to date them.

I have decided to stick to love; hate is too great a burden to bear,” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Movies About Love

The Proposal– Love conquers all even when the girl is the office “witch” and the movie starts out with the boy hating the girl.

When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you’d like them to be,” Leo Tolstoy

Grease– Lesson learned here is peer pressure can be intense. Be who you are!

Love was made for me and you,” Nat King Cole

Weekly dose of parenting encouragement

Some Kind of Wonderful– Lessons about growing up, the freedom to make your own decisions

Love is a friendship set to music,” Joseph Campbell

When Harry Met Sally– Harry wants to prove to Sally that men and women cannot be friends because sex always gets in the way. I love the evolution of their friendship throughout the movie, and ultimately sex does complicate things as he predicted. Classic!

Love is friendship that has caught fire,” Ann Landers

Pretty in Pink– Love conquers all, friendship and the struggles across social and economic classes are a few of the themes in this classic John Hughes film. If you want to show your teen a glimpse into the ’80s, then this is my pick!

Love recognized no barriers,” Maya Angelou

Movies About Love

Dirty Dancing– Another classic. Set in the ’60s, this has love and conflict wrapped up in Kellerman’s family camp in the Catskills, this movie delivers a young protagonist who “was smart, funny, reckless, tenacious, awkward, curious, righteous, strong- and instantly real.” 

Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary,” Oscar Wilde

You’ve Got Mail– Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, enough said!

I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly,” Kathleen, in You’ve Got Mail

While You Were Sleeping– A girl who imagines herself to be in love with the “perfect” man, finds out that love is so much more when you find the right guy.

You don’t marry someone you can live with — you marry someone you cannot live without,” unknown

Sabrina– I liked the original Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, but LOVE this remake with Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford! Girl loves boy who doesn’t have a clue she exists. Girl goes away and grows into beautiful woman. Girl comes home and then things get complicated when boy finally “sees” her.  

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other,” Audrey Hepburn

Hope Floats– Great movie about starting over after all seems lost. 

Love yourself first, and everything falls into line,” Lucille Ball

Movies About Love

Where the Heart Is– Talk about starting over! Natalie Portman is great as a young pregnant woman who is abandoned at a small-town Walmart. Ashley Judd steals the show as the sidekick. 

Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you,” Misty Copeland

Steel Magnolias– My girlfriends have my back no matter what, and this movie goes to show that we all need our girlfriends through the situations that life can bring us.

A good friend is like a four-leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have,” an Irish proverb

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days– This is a cute rom-com about a relationship that has every reason to fail from the start.

“You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly,”  Sam Keen

Fried Green Tomatoes– Another example of girl friends being there through thick and thin.

Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart,” Eleanor Roosevelt

The Vow– True love twice! An amazing true story…

You are my sun, my moon, and all my stars,” E.E. Cummings

Movies About Love

Beaches– Girlfriends again. Even when a friendship seems to end, their love for one another shines through in the end…

There are friends, there is family, and then there are friends that become family,” unknown

Regarding Henry– True love, true friendship, and what is important in life is what Henry and his wife discover after a horrible accident.

The couples that are meant to be, are the ones who go through everything that is meant to tear them apart, and come out even stronger,” unknown

A Walk to Remember– Be true to yourself. I showed each of my boys this movie when they were in middle school. Peer pressure, love, family, and how to stand up for what is right are all themes in this great movie. The book is great, too!

You know it’s love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you’re not part of their happiness,” Julia Roberts

The Notebook– Loyalty and lifelong love are the story here. I cry every time!

I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day.” Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

She’s All That– Another great teen flick. Their relationship starts on a dare. Pygmalion updated…

To the world, you may be one person, but to one person you are the world,’ Dr. Suess

Clueless– Another update. This time Emma is the story, and Alicia Silverstone is hilarious as the heroine.

She was one of those, who, having, once begun, would always be in love,” Emma, Jane Austen

I hope that one or many of these movies about love will help you to enjoy the Valentine’s season!

We love to use movies to teach a lesson in a totally “innocent” way. These movies about love and friendship can spark great conversations about all facets of life and love. Have fun, and enjoy some movies about love with your teens this Valentine’s season! Remember to download the checklist to keep track of the movies that you have watched!

Related posts: 49 Movies to Watch for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, Best Valentine Gifts for Teens to Give and Get, 7 Things to Know If You Love a Teenager, and The Best Sports Movies to Watch with Your Teen 

I have to include one more movie for the Leap Year! This is a cute rom-com with Amy Adams.This movie’s theme is that you can’t control love!

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure you subscribe to my Parenting High Schoolers newsletter below for more articles about surviving and thriving with teenagers. Simply enter your information below and you will be all set! You can also like my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

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Middle School:  Advice for Success

Middle School: Advice for Success

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Start Early for Middle School Success!

Middle school is a time of transition and growing.  Your child leaves elementary school, and has three years to be ready for high school!  How is this possible?  Here are some hard-won lessons learned from getting three kids through these years for middle school success.

Both you and your teen have lots to learn.  It is a challenging time, in fact, this might be the most challenging age since they were toddlers!  These years can be difficult, but you can help your child start some forward thinking with some of these strategies, and you guys can survive.

Quick update: I am now teaching middle school. I can tell you that these kids are savvy!  They already have ideas about what they want and don’t want. Take advantage of this time! It goes so quickly…

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Middle School: 9 Tips for Success|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Start the thinking process!

Begin talking about things that your child likes to do or that they are interested in or are good at.  Do a Google search for schools with different majors that you think of together. Start conversations with your child when you are with other adults and talk with them about their jobs.

Check out my book.  Some, if not all, of these conversations really are better if started before high school!  Here’s a link to the book,  College Bound:  The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School.  

What types of things do these adults like, and/or dislike, about their jobs.  What are the expectations at their workplaces?  Do they have really long hours, or maybe just a four day week?  How much did they make starting out?  How much school was required?

Adults usually love it when a kid is willing to talk and have an actual conversation with them, so encourage them to ask away.  Plus, it’s an added bonus to that adult that your child is asking questions and interested in them.

Think about future job possibilities.

Help your child to start looking around at different jobs that people have wherever you all are.  Even when watching a show, try to notice how many jobs there are on that show.  Watch the news for different stories about people’s lives and what they do during the day.

These conversations can be very interesting to say the least, it’s amazing what they know and think that they know.  Remember, though, that it’s a conversation, not time to lecture!

My video goes into more detail about this here. And be sure to read on below the video for the rest of the story!

Try new things.

Middle school is the perfect time to try some new things.

Try a club if it sounds interesting.  Try to stick with it for the year.  Sometimes these start out a little boring because no one knows each other yet.  Give it a chance.  If it is just not a good fit, then try something else.

Run for an office in a club or be in charge of a particular event.  This is good practice for more leadership in high school.

Try out for a sport.  This is the time to do some of these things to get a taste to see if it is something that might be a good fit.  Most kids at this age make the team.  It’s a good time to learn about a sport, especially if your child hasn’t played it before.  There are lots of beginners at this age as well as other kids who have played for years.  You will see it all in middle school!

Try out an instrument for all of these same reasons.

Again, if your student doesn’t just love something, then they have tried and now they know!  The great thing about middle school is that it’s practice for being in high school without the pressure of grades counting and everything being super competitive.

Thankfully, middle school success doesn't depend on playing in band!

Take the aptitude tests seriously.

As the future gets closer, tell your student not to just blow these tests off.  These tests are really a tool to help decipher personality traits, likes and dislikes, and many other factors which might help steer your child in a direction they have never even considered.  Many give really good ideas if honest and thoughtful answers are provided.

Right now jobs with good employment rates are engineering, administration, many sciences, and graphic design.  Many jobs are not even listed yet–BECAUSE they have not been invented yet!  85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 do not even exist today!

Middle school success does not depend on these scores, however the information that can be gained from these results if your teen takes it seriously might be really helpful!

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Start early for middle school success!|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Have conversations.

If I could go back and do one thing differently, it would to be to have more conversations about all of this.  We are trying this a lot more with our youngest son.  No decision needs to be made at this point.  But, just having these sort of conversations will really help with everyone’s mindset as high school is looming just ahead.

One big mistake is to wait until junior year to start all these conversations and by then your kids are so super busy and there is a lot going on in general.  Give yourselves the gift of time. Here’s the link to a post with 5 tips to improve communication with your teen.

This is also a good time to start keeping track of all activities because as your child moves forward, especially by high school, a good record of all this needs to be kept from the beginning of freshman year.

Check out my parent toolkit for this and other ways to help your teen through these busy years!

Apply for scholarships.

One thing that I wish I had known with my oldest son, is that this whole process could be started in middle school.  Many scholarships are available starting for students when they are 13!  These are good ones to try for, because who knows this?  No one that I have spoken with about this process has known.

As a parent, you need to set up a specific email just for scholarships, and so should your child–even if you are the only one checking them.  Sign up for scholarship websites, and fill out the profiles. (These can be edited down the road as your child learns more about themselves and their likes and dislikes.)

These websites will start to send lots of emails about different scholarships that are available.  They will be organized in many ways.  Stay up with them and create a list of ones to try for.  Many can and should be deleted.  Don’t go crazy with this.  Maybe try for one a month, more during the summer or over holidays.

Look for scholarships!

Here is a list of scholarship websites for you to look at: Chegg.com, ScholarshipOwl.com, Scholarship Points, Fastweb Scholarships, Scholarships.com, Cappex.com, Niche.com, and Scholly.com

Two AMAZING resources are:

How 2 Win Scholarships
Monica Matthews is a former teacher and a stay-at-home mom of three boys. She’s a mom who worked with her son to earn enough scholarships to attend college for free. Monica has parent, as well as student guides which are extremely useful and worth the $27.00.  I’ve signed up for her newsletters and she’ll let you know when to apply for scholarships. She always has up to date information on her blog.  

The Scholarship System– Jocelyn Pearson. She has a free webinar you can register for here.  She paid for 100% of her college expenses through scholarships.  Jocelyn has definitely done her homework and creates a yearly Scholarship Guide.  I liked her webinar. Very honest and tells it like it is. 

Practice writing a few essays.

Good topics for essays are:  goals and aspirations, how to help the environment, safe driving habits (such as no texting and driving), and where do you see yourself in 20 years. Just having these few essays in their pocket will be super helpful in the whole process because they can be tweaked and used more than once.

There will be more and more writing in high school, so this is good practice.  Also, many colleges require an essay on their application, so these could be used again for that.

Set up a calendar for college related items.

This can be a dedicated calendar for scholarship due dates (pretend that they are actually due earlier than actual date, so they are never late) and also test dates like the ACT and SAT.  Eventually, in high school, due dates for applications can also be added.  There are many due dates, so a calendar dedicated to just college can be super helpful.

Books to read that will help!

Here are some great books to help you through the middle school years! A few by name are: Middle School Matters, Middle Schooled, Middle School Makeover, and Planet Middle School.

This is a lot!!!

Do not try to do this all at once! Middle school lasts three years, so give yourself grace. Try one thing at a time. Get to know your child as they mature and grow into young adults. The main thing is to keep the lines of communication open with your child so that all of this planning and prep work is done together.

It’s too much for any one person.Get on the same page as your spouse, significant other, or ex– or as close as possible because it is your kid’s future that is important right now.  There will be times that you don’t work on any of this because you are busy and have a life.  When you can, take baby steps into this whole process, the chances of middle school success will increase. It is a really exciting and fun time for all!

Related posts:  Why Toddlers and Teens are So Similar, Mom, Take Care of Yourself!

I would love to stay in touch!

Make sure you subscribe to my Parenting High Schoolers newsletter for more articles about surviving and thriving with teenagers. Simply enter your information below and you will be all set! You can also like my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

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