G-Force Academy

Florida Homeschool Family Fun!

Thanksgiving 2011

The holiday season is upon us and I have been on the hunt for resources to make it fun, meaningful and memorable for our family. I hope the following resources help you to make your family’s Thanksgiving holiday.

Here is a wonderful article by Family Life that will help you slow down and enjoy the celebration Teaching Life Lessons at Thanksgiving.

I wrote some time ago about the resources we have used to celebrate Thanksgiving HERE.

Check out my Autumn and it’s Holidays Board on Pinterest for even more inspiration! Here are a few of my favorites:

Try it Mom’s Caramel Apple Bites

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The Old Schoolhouse Digital Holiday Supplements

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Barbara Rainey’s, Thanksgiving a Time to Remember, is a true keepsake to hand down to future generations. She speaks to my heart in this article adapted from her book Thanksgiving a Time to Remember.

The Legend of Squanto Radio Theatre Drama

Focus on the Family presents our Radio Theatre production of "The Legend of Squanto," a fascinating account of the origin of Thanksgiving and one American Indian’s journey to freedom.

Part 1

Part 2

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Disney’s Family Fun website is chock full of Thanksgiving Family Fun. You will find recipes, crafts, printables, games, decorations and more. Have fun playing with your kids and making your holiday dinner table special.

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You Are There (TV series 1953–1957)

The Sailing of the Mayflower

Walter Cronkite

Original Air Date:  22 November 1953

I am so excited to have found this episode on

My Audio School. Enjoy!

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Here is a sweet find for Thanksgiving ideas by the Aussie Pumpkin Patch.

And last but not least a Thanksgiving tradition from my childhood growing up in the Big Apple is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs nationally on NBC-TV to an estimated 50 million viewers and is widely considered to be the "official start of the Holiday Season." It will air from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, November 24, 2011.

 
Happy Thanksgiving!

"O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving-kindness is everlasting."

1 Chronicles 16:34

Eat Turkey & Go Make Memories!

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November 18, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force 411, G-Force Academy, Holidays, In The Kitchen, Once Upon A Family | , , , , | Leave a comment

Organized Optimist: Family Mega Chart

I decided to post a series of how we are getting Organized as a family. Check out my Pinterest Board: Organized Optimist to see where I get my inspiration.

I designed this chart to have all we need to know and do in one central place for all the family to see. We have tried it for a month or so. After a few tweaks we will have a new and improved one with color I will send it to print and get laminated at Staples. I plan on using wet erase markers with it.

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This chart is 16 x 20. It is a week at glance that includes a spot for our daily family schedule, chores, the zones of the house that get blessed each and a big box for the family scripture memory focus of the week. It has a column for everyone to write their to do’s or places to be. Service Opportunities are where the kids can see the above and beyond available for hire. Weekly chores get rotated on a weekly basis. More on how we do it all in other posts.

happy Homemaking!

October 8, 2011 Posted by | Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force Academy, In The Kitchen, MOMtime, Moni's Homeplace, Organized Optimist | , , , | Leave a comment

Compartment Food Craze!

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I thought I was going all out with my kids lunch when I bought these trays some time ago. Then I saw the muffin tin craze. I loved the idea! I was looking for a way to have better portion control especially for our snacks. and this has been a God send.

What is a Muffin Tin Meal?
Pretty simple here. It’s a meal served in a muffin tin. For
Muffin Tin Mondays we make them for our kids, but anyone can have a muffin tin meal! A muffin tin is also known as a muffin pan, cupcake tin or cupcan pan and for our purposes here, we also use silicone and paper baking cups, pans and tins.

But even that pales in comparison to the Bento. Simply put Bento is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. S6300500

Now the fun or crazy fun comes from a character bento. This style of Bento is called kyaraben. The food is made to look like characters.

They are so stinkin’ cute!

Read, learn, and be amazed. Maybe you will even be inspired to try something new for your family’s lunch box.

Calvin & Hobbes a family favorite!

 

From Wikipedia

Bento can be very elaborately arranged in a style called kyaraben or "character bento". Kyaraben is typically decorated to look like popular Japanese cartoon (anime) characters, characters from comic books (manga), or video game characters. Another popular bento style is "oekakiben" or "picture bento", which is decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items such as flowers and plants. Contests are often held where bento arrangers compete for the most aesthetically pleasing arrangements.

I would not eat this! It’s just wrong to make THAT face into food! LOL!

From Wikipedia:

There are similar forms of boxed lunches in the Philippines (Baon), Korea (Dosirak), Taiwan (Biandang), and India (Tiffin). Also, Hawaiian culture has adopted localized versions of bento featuring local tastes after over a century of Japanese influence in the islands.

         A typical bento                                    Bento served at a restaurant in Japan


I wanted to try this at least once because it is too time consuming for this homeschool mom. As I searched the wonderful www. I found some doable Americanized versions of this fun food.

Check these sites:

Lunch In a Box

Lunches Fit For a Kid

Not Exactly Bento

Bentobloggy

Happy Little Bento

Ohayo Bento

Bentolicious

 

 

Photo by Bentolicious

Happy Eating!

September 15, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, In The Kitchen | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another teenager in the house!!!

 

We now have 3 teenage boys in the house! We are so blessed!

Zachary waited all day to celebrate with his dad after he got home from work. He chose to have Macho Nachos but, with french fries instead of tortilla chips for dinner. It’s easy peasy and hearty.

Macho Nachos

Ingredients:

Tortilla Chips (you can use french fries instead)

Refried Beans

Ground Turkey (You can use any meat you prefer, we used both chicken and ground turkey.)

Taco or Fajita Seasoning Packet (or season any way you like it)

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Shredded Lettuce

Jalapeños

Diced Tomatoes

Sour Cream and/or Guacamole

Taco Bell Hot Sauce

Directions:

  • Lay aluminum foil on a cookie sheet and spray with non-stick oil spray.
  • Cook meat according to packet directions
  • Layer tortilla chips evenly on pan
  • Top with refried beans, meat and cheese
  • Bake @ 350 for about 10 minutes, or until cheese melts
  • while baking chop lettuce, tomatoes and jalapenos (we sometimes use jalapenos from a jar)

Once the nachos are served every one can customize theirs with the varied toppings available. It’s a a fun and easy meal. Enjoy!

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He got his favorite donut cake. Do I need to share the recipe for that? LOL! He opened all his gifts from the family, including a card with moola from Abuela.

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Even his little sister made him a card and bought him a gift with her own money. They have a great relationship even thought he enjoys annoying her. They are very good friends. Checkout his shirt, “3 Things I’m Good At: video games, watching t.v., annoying my sister!” All true!

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We are looking forward to his Disney Birthday Celebration in a few weeks. Our seasonal passes are currently blocked out. Dad has a special treat in store for him. He wants to go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Thank you Lord for such a loyal, sweet, loving, creative, cuddly kid!

Happy Birthday Zachary!

We Love YOU!

August 7, 2011 Posted by | Familia, Family Fun, In The Kitchen, Once Upon A Family | , , , | 1 Comment

HOT & NOW!

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Krispy Kreme Donuts are the family favorites. When we lived in Miami it was just a few blocks away from our house. Whenever their neon sign “Hot & Now” was flashing you can count on the line going out the door and the drive thru line backing up street traffic. There is a location about 30 minutes from us. While on one of our Disney trips we spotted the flashing neon beacon to yummy family fun. What a thrill to watch the tasty clouds of yum pass by on the conveyor belt. Give it to us HOT & NOW!

Here’s how to make them at home Quick and Easy, Hot & Now!

Tasty Clouds of Yum!

  • 1 can of refrigerated biscuits
  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • Powered Sugar
  • 2-4 Tb of water

Heat an inch or two of oil in a frying pan. Use a bottle cap or apple corer to make the center donut hole in each biscuit. Save these little balls. They will become your donut holes.

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Mix 1/2 cup of powered sugar with a couple of tablespoons at a time of water. Continue to add water until you achieve a glaze consistency.

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Fry up the donuts. it only takes about 30 seconds per side.

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Dip them in the glaze.

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Enjoy!

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March 17, 2011 Posted by | Disney Fun, Family Fun, G-Force 411, In The Kitchen, Once Upon A Family | Leave a comment

Calvary Couponista Fellowship

There has been a growing interest in couponing in our area. A lot of my Facebook friends were posting their shopping trip savings and a lot more (including myself) were wanting to learn and asking lots of questions. I asked a few ladies form our church if they would share with others what the y know. Within a month we put together a meeting. I have learned much more. I learned a lot more. Our panel of Couponistas all did their couponing different from each other. Their different way of organizing their coupons helped me a lot. I am still trying to figure what will work best for me. What we all had in common is our love for our Lord Jesus and wanting to help and encourage each other to be better stewards, wives and moms.

One of my top five strength’s is Input. You can read my earlier post about Strength’s here. Input goes along perfectly with couponing. Here’s why:

Input

You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information — words, facts, books, and quotations — or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls, or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives. If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away. Why are they worth storing? At the time of storing it is often hard to say exactly when or why you might need them, but who knows when they might become useful? With all those possible uses in mind, you really don’t feel comfortable throwing anything away. So you keep acquiring and compiling and filing stuff away. It’s interesting. It keeps your mind fresh. And perhaps one day some of it will prove valuable.

Inquisitive: learning about couponing did not intimidate me, it energizes me

Collect things and information: hello! I’m collecting coupons and information off of websites and blogs

Acquiring and storing: This is the beautiful thing, after a few months I can donate my expired coupons to military bases

With all this said I put together lots of information that was shared at our meeting and then some! Here are the files for you to download. There is a lot of 411 on the internet on couponing. I tried to give credit to the places I received info from. I hope it helps you on your journey.

Happy Shopping!

Monica

DOWNLOADS:

February 6, 2011 Posted by | Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force 411, In The Kitchen, Moni's Homeplace, Printables | Leave a comment

Couponista

I went to a coupon workshop by True Couponing last month. A few things spoke to my heart while I was there:

  1. Bringing my family’s $600 food budget to $200. This blesses my husband!
  2. How funny, vibrant, exciting and informative the presenters were. They should have a TV show!
  3. The idea that I can bless others from my stockpile. This made my heart skip a beat. I love giving to others! They are a ministry! Their tag line is “Savings for Yourself, Blessings for Others”
  4. The sense of community that this has created.

Even though it has been stressful  getting started, I welcome the challenge. If others can do it so can I! I also have goals for the money saved; college tour travel, Washington DC, Independent Christian Film Festival in San Antonio, Disney Cruise, FPEA Convention, and the list goes on!

Here is a picture of my first shopping trip to Publix. I paid $45 for $175 worth of groceries. My husband and I left that store so fast. It felt like highway robbery in reverse. We were the ones that got away with something! All that cereal was not only FREE I made money on it! I am now a Couponista!

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If you are in the Tampa Bay/Orlando area and want to learn more about couponing attend a True Couponing Workshop. For other areas Just Google and You Tube it. There is so much info out there your head will spin. When you google it make sure to put your location in because stores vary by location and you want to find someone who is blogging the deals in your area.

Here are some of my favorite sites for couponing and some that friends have told me about. Put them in your favorites file.

True Couponing

I Heart Publix

Southern Savers

Deal Seeking Mom

My Sweet Savings

Money Saving Madness

Couponing 101

Couponing to Disney (a girl after my own heart. She’s saving for Disney trips!)

Addicted to Saving

I am a Proverbs 31 woman!

Happy Couponing!

January 11, 2011 Posted by | Favorites and Cool Finds, In The Kitchen | 1 Comment

In the Kitchen-Luscious Lemon Parfait

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After a sweet and much needed outing with my girlfriend at Panera, I came home and made with my little momma these outrageously yummy parfaits. They’re easy and fun to make and the kids loved them. Tastes like lemon pie!  Enjoy!

Lucious Lemon Parfait

Ingredients:

  • 1 qt. Dannon® Natural Flavors Vanilla lowfat yogurt
  • 3/4 cup lemon curd, prepared
  • 1 1/2 cup graham crackers, crushed
  • 3/4 cup toasted coconut
  • Whipped topping

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Directions:

  • 1. Place six 10-oz. parfait-style glasses on a clean work surface. Into each parfait layer:
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon curd
  • 2 Tbsp. crushed graham crackers
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut
  • Repeat process and serve.
Yields: 6 x 10 oz. parfaits
 
                                                                  
My little momma always ready to work in the kitchen and serve her family.

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October 23, 2009 Posted by | Family Fun, In The Kitchen, MOMtime | Leave a comment

From my Kitchen-chocolate chip/banana muffins!

A yummy, healthy and filling breakfast I know they will all eat!

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Bread Becker’s Basic Muffiin Recipe

2 1/4 C whole wheat flour (I usually grind my own wheat but I used King Arthurs Whole Wheat Flour)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 C of buttermilk (if I’m out I just use plain milk with 1 TB of apple cider vinegar)

1 egg

1/2 C olive oil

1/2 C honey ( I prefer raw honey but I only had “bad for you” refined sugar. Oh well. still yummy)

Mix dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and whatever flavors you like. I used white and semi sweet choc. chips with 2 mashed bananas. I love experimenting with froz blueberries, peaches, apples, etc.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Enjoy!

Happy Baking!

October 23, 2009 Posted by | In The Kitchen | 2 Comments

Pizza and a Movie!

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FAMILY FUN FUN FUN! It was so much FUN making pizza together and singing “Figaro” as dad rolled out hte dough. We all talked like italiens and have manytopping ideas for our next pizza night.  It was so yummy and inexpensive. The best part was the memories we created. Now go make some memories!

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IF YOU ARE READING THIS ON FACEBOOK, THERE IS BETTER FORMATTING ON THE ORIGINAL BLOG FROM WHERE THIS IS BEING IMPORTED FROM. Visit www.gforceacademy.wordpress.com

October 23, 2009 Posted by | Family Fun, In The Kitchen | 2 Comments

Sneaky, $-Saving, Easy, and Healthy Breakfast

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I love Walmart. They have added more organic and whole foods to their aisles. My kids favorite breakfast is cereal. It’s fast and easy. But with four growing kids it’s not the healthiest choice or the most affordable. When Kashi is on sale I stock up and with those savings I’m able to buy soy or organic milk more often. I have started mixing the cereals with fiber rich whole grain cereals. They last longer and are healthier and more filling. Add some sliced bananas, raisins and or strawberries and you have got a winner boht in your wallet and thier tummies. Try my favorite mix pictured above! Let me know if your family likes it or some of your ideas.

Happy Eating!

May 27, 2009 Posted by | In The Kitchen | Leave a comment

BIZARRE FOODS WITH DAD!

I made a turkey last night. As I began to prepare it I found “the bag of horrors”, and it dawned on me, Alf eats this stuff! Ah- Ha! Bizarre Foods in my home! We love watching Bizarre Foods wih Andrew Zimmerman. Why we love getting grosssed out, I don’t know. We have issues I guess. But I must say that we have learned a lot from different cultures and why they eat all those crazy things. My son Mikael, the aspiring director put this video together for your, shall I say “enjoyment” ? Happy Eating!

February 5, 2008 Posted by | In The Kitchen | , , | 2 Comments

Menu Planning 101

“Dinner’s ready!” That’s music to my ears. Not only does it signal the coming end of the day, but it’s our time to be together, share about our day and relax. Unfortunately, when I don’t have a plan for dinner the only sounds to be heard are the open and shutting of cabinet doors, “what’s for dinner?!, the fridge door closing, is dinner ready, I’m hungry and the doorbell It’s pizza delivery guy. It’s O.K. to order pizza and go out to eat but in order to be good stewards of our time and not provoke ourselves and others in our family to sin we must have a plan. There are many ways to accomplish this. I will share with you what works for us and some resources you might find helpful for your family. 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for thiey shall be filled. Matt. 5:6.  My verse for the day as I searched for menu planning help. I was “hungry and thirsty” for His righteousness in our home. My kids and hubby were literally hungryJ. Praise the Lord for all the Godly women online and for google. Most everything I have learned from other seasoned homemakers, books and websites. If I have the links or resources where I found the information in my notes I will add them.

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  Menu Planning is having written down what you will eat during the coming week with a corresponding grocery list. 

Challenges In The Kitchen:

  •  Having many activities outside the home, especially those conficting with dinner time.        
  • One income, one family vehicle requires a plan and budget
  •  Nutrition goes out the door without a plan    
  • Wasted time, more grocery runs    
  • Stress        
  • Budget buster: eating out    
  • Picky Eaters

Solution:

Menu Planning        

  • Use a planner. I use a binder zipper type planner and have customized the pages for our family       
  • Make a master meal list of family favorites, recipes to try. Use a sheet of paper per category; breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, desserts.        
  • Pick a day to plan. Sunday works best for me because I plan my homeschool lessons that day and hubby is around to help with the kids       
  • Plan around scheduled activities, appts., holidays, etc.
  • Start by looking at your cupboards, fridge and freezer to see if you already have items that can make a meal (one less day to shop for)         

TIPS:·        

  • Use sale flyers, cookbooks and recipe websites to get ideas. 
  • Involve the kids! www.familyfun.com has great newsletters you can sign up for to receive kid friendly recipes every week. Have the kids pick a dish to try. Cook together. It’s fun fosters togetherness and gives them a sense of accomplishment and worth within the family. It is an invaluable way to teach servanthood. Our kids started by learning to boil eggs, scramble eggs, make each other sandwiches.      
  • Make it fun! Play fun music, wear homemade aprons, and name signature family member dishes. My youngest son Zachary’s eggs are called Zegg’s, my oldest and proud to be tall teen Mikael calls his homemade bread Mike’s Tall Bread. For some reason his loaves always come out taller than mine. Anything I make usually gets a fast food name like Egg McMommies, or Mommy Bell. Have fun with it. We once had “worms and eyeballs” (spaghetti and meatballs) for dinner made by our scouts in our backyard fire pit for a merit badge. Have a picnic dinner and movie on the living room floor. Make you own pizza night. Or how about highlighting a country or region you are studying by cooking a typical dish form that country. My kids favorite is having breakfast for dinner, pancakes of course.        
  • FOLLOW THE PLAN! Of course you can alternate days is you rather make Thursday’s meal on Monday. The point is you have a plan and the needed staples for 7 days.        
  • DON’T FORGET THE SHOPPING LIST! I do this all the time. I perforate my planner pages. But you can use a scissor just fine. (Example of my planner pages to come)        
  • Buy store Brand    
  • Shop Thrift Bakeries. Check your yellow pages under bakeries or thrift. Thrift bakeries offer whole grain breads, Thomas’ bagels, Thomas’ english muffins, Boboli pizza crust (whole wheat) etc., so I don’t have to feel guilty about not baking. Most items are $1!!
    Here are two I frequent:      

      Entemann’s Thrift Bakery
      Oxford Square Shopping Center
      9418 Seminole Boulevard
      Seminole, FL 33772

      Flowers Thrift Bakery

8989 66th St N.

Pinellas Park, Fl

 On Wednesday ALL bread is .69 cents. I have bought
there Nature’s Own brand Organic whole wheat bread!! I love it!! This is
also great for parties when you need alot of of hot dog an hamburger buns.
         

  • Cook With a friend. Have a “Cook once a month party”  or “Freezer Fellowship”. Or just find a friend that is willing to swap night with your family. You cook one day a week for them and they cook one a day a week for you. You could try this every other week or once a month. Why not throw in some babysitting while your at it. Dates with our husbands help revitalize us to face the coming week too.        
  • Cook in Batches. Bake (or buy rotisierre ready cooked) one or two chickens at a time shred meat and store in ziplocks for 2-4 dishes for later that week. You can do the same with ground meat (we use turkey). Either when you get it home or when you thaw it out for a meal, cook it all and ziplock it. I will give recipes that will aid in using all these ziplocks on my recipe post later. Don’t forget to label your ziplocks. And whenever freezing sauces or anything for that matter freeze it flat Once frozen you can stack them or stand them up in the freezer for more room. Or just freeze a meal you doubled the amount and bless a friend that is having a bad week.        
  • Bring trail mix, granola bars, pretzels, cherrios, or shredded wheat in a ziplock when you bring the kids shopping with you. It cuts down the gimmes and saves you from the chocolate bar impulse buy at the register.       
  •  Plan meals that use whole grains, like whole wheat pasta and brown rice. These are more nutritious, and are more filling. If your family is not accustomed to the taste try combining half white rice and half brown rice. Before you know it they will be eating just brown.       
  • Use smaller amounts of meat, fish, poultry and eggs. These are higher cost items and we could all use portion control.      
  • Use coupons whenever possible.      
  • THE CROCKPOT IS MY FRIEND! At least once a week plan on using a crockpot. This cooks large batches making it easy to save leftovers for a rainy day. With church meetings, game nights, scouts, etc., you too will say “The Crockpot is my friend.” 

It may be overwhelming when you embark on this journey. Give yourself time to be established in the goals you have for family. Remember kids aren’t the only ones that get “do-overs” 

Listen to advice and accept instruction and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:20-21

October 22, 2007 Posted by | In The Kitchen | 1 Comment

   

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