Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Uncle Ronnie's chicken bog {& a list of freezable meals!}

I sat down here to write an update on the Ranger household. But rather than jot those deets, I veered off the path to share another recipe for comforting chicken stew (that makes two in a row).

Because sometimes your pal Jenny--a wonderful friend and beautiful person inside and out--asks you for easy, freezable meal ideas in anticipation of her first bundle of joy, and you must answer the call. Once a boat mate, always a boat mate. So I hope you'll forgive me for sharing this recipe instead of an update today, and I believe you will once you've learned how easy and delicious it is.

Only picture of me (2nd from left) and Jenny that I can find right now. She's the badass on the right.


My uncle that I was telling you about the other day--Uncle Ronnie of the sorghum syrup--is a wealth of information about recipes from the old south. He usually gets the tips from his Dad, who is an even greater wealth of information on the topic. So you can see, I've tapped into a great wellspring of recipes for you folks.

My latest discovery via Uncle Ronnie is chicken bog, a stew from the eastern Carolinas. Perhaps it would sound more tasty if I called it chicken and rice stew, but I prefer to let the title lie as is in all its odd, humble glory. Although the name is quirky and less than delicious-sounding, chicken bog is neither of those things.

A recipe as simple as this one deserves to be left without the decoration of superfluous adjectives, so I'll just tell you it is GOOD. And if you're a soon-to-be mom, you should also know that it is easy and definitely freezable. All you need is time, but if you're anything like I was during the nesting phase, you're spending lots of time rewashing the layette anyhow and can spare a few minutes for waiting and stirring.

Uncle Ronnie's dad dictated few instructions. Mainly he said to cover the chicken with water, simmer until it is falling apart, strain the stock into a container, top the chicken with 2 c. white Carolina rice, pour in 2-3 c. of the saved liquid, and simmer 15 more minutes. You can certainly do it as simply as that, but I added a few fussier ingredients thanks to this recipe by Vivian Howard of A Chef's Life.


Uncle Ronnie's chicken bog
serves 8

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, skin-on and cut into parts
1 onion, quartered
bay leaf
fresh thyme
salt & pepper
2 c. white rice (I can get Carolina brand at the regular grocery)
butter

Directions:

  1. Place chicken pieces in a Dutch oven. Cover with water and throw in the onion, bay leaf, a few sprigs of thyme, and 1 Tbs. salt and a few teaspoons of fresh cracked pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer the chicken over low heat for about an hour and a half or until chicken is falling apart. You will have rendered the fat off the skin, and even the breast meat should come right apart if poked with a fork.
  2. Turn the heat off and let it sit covered in its liquid for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board to cool. Strain the stock into a container. Shred the chicken, leaving some big pieces of breast meat, and discard the skin bones. [Note: If you are freezing the recipe, stop here. Put the shredded chicken into the stock, label it with the name and date, and put it in the chest freezer. When you're ready to use it, defrost it overnight in the refrigerator, and move on to step #3.]
  3. Return chicken to the Dutch oven. Top with 2 c. white rice if you're serving 8 people (if you're serving 4, save half for later in the week at step #2, then cook fresh rice at that time). Don't rinse your rice before putting it in, since the extra starch is helpful for thickening. Follow rice directions for how much liquid to add (usually 2:1 ratio of liquid to rice). Simmer for approximately 15 minutes until rice is tender. Careful not to simmer too long, for though you want the chicken soft, you want the rice to maintain a bite. Drop in a pat of butter and maybe some lemon juice or parsley if you like it fussy. Just do me a favor and don't tell Uncle Ronnie's dad.

For Jenny & the other moms-to-be out there, here's a list of freezable recipes from the blog:

My one and only piece of advice when it comes to post-baby food is this: invest in a chest freezer! I promise you won't regret the investment even if you don't cook that often. Last I checked, they sell a reasonably large model for around $100 at Home Depot.

Good luck, Jenny! And snuggle that baby. They grow all too fast.
xoxo,
~J

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

{NPN carnival}: don't fear the tears

Welcome to the February 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Fears
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about parenting fears.
***

Before I became a mother, there wasn't much I feared. Who needs fear when I knew everything already? For instance, I knew that by being calm, my baby would be calm. I knew that because I have always slept like a rock, I'd of course have a baby who slept well.

But I didn't. Instead of sleeping, my baby preferred to cry for three months straight from two months old to five months old. When people used to cite the incident where Michael Jackson held his baby upside down as evidence of his eccentricity, I would dryly reply they must not have ever had a "colicky" child. Like Chris Rock once said, I'm not saying he shoulda done it, but I understand.

If my experience taught me one valuable lesson, it's that you can't always control whether your child cries. 

You can cut out dairy, breastfeed on demand, co-sleep, burp the baby only while perching her at a 90 degree angle, swaddle her, un-swaddle her, use an amber pacifier, hand-knit diapers made from wool spun by Tibetan monks, add a humidifier and a noisemaker, and wash all your linens in vinegar or your own tears. You can do all that, and you might still end up with a baby who cries at all hours of the day and night.

Here's what I learned: it's okay to let them cry. 

I'm not here to judge any parenting style. I'm simply suggesting you can let your baby cry at times without applying a title to what you're doing. There's a fantastic article on Natural Parents Network that suggests allowing crying is not necessarily the same thing as the dreaded moniker "cry it out" (CIO).

You can't always prevent your toddler, preschooler, or kindergartner from crying either. You won't always understand why they are crying or be able to comfort them. That's certainly been true for my second daughter, who went from being one of the most content, sleepy babies I've ever seen to a three-year-old who cries at the drop of a hat. Literally, her hat could fall off her head, and she'd cry.



Speaking about parenting styles, there's a style referred to as RIE, Resources for Infant Educarers, that has been highlighted recently in a Vanity Fair article. [Update (2/11/14, 5pm): I added a link to the Vanity Fair article that was missing. When I first read it, I felt like the author sensationalized RIE, making it seem like a fad and conflating different notions about what RIE is and isn't. But you should be able to make up your own mind.] It will likely mean RIE will be in the limelight for a while, and some RIE principles apply to this discussion.

The foundations of RIE are built upon awareness and respect. You could say it's the opposite of helicopter parenting. Instead of making snap assumptions, interfering, and rescuing, RIE followers let their sensitive observations guide their actions and listen closely before responding. What would you call that, drone parenting? Okay, so maybe I'm not all that good at describing RIE either. But lucky for you, Janet Lansbury is; her RIE parenting basics (nine ways to put respect into action) is particularly useful.

I haven't always handled my children crying well; sometimes I interfere and attempt to rescue them or even try to silence them. And hey, I'm not judging you if you've done that too! But what works better is if I treat my child the same way I'd treat a doula client if she cried during labor, with patience and respect. I'd let her struggles happen because they bring her strength.

The important distinction here is the same as one I teach parents in a childbirth education class: There is a difference between pain and suffering. To prevent suffering, we must not numb or avoid pain but be mindful of its motivation. Just as there is physical pain in labor that serves a purpose, there is emotional pain in childhood that serves a purpose. Painful emotions can be self-correcting and self-healing. Trying to quell the expression of the pain won't make it go away, and indeed it could serve to stifle their ability to self-regulate their emotions. Part of childhood is learning to express and control emotions without our interference.

[A note for new moms: If you're anything like me, on days your baby cries you might end up crying too. Take heart. Feelings of loneliness and isolation are normal! You can relieve them gradually by seeking interaction with other new moms in a support group, yoga studio, or free library music class. Friendship is just around the corner.]


***
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama
Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting! Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (list will be final around 5pm PST February 11):
  • When Parents' Fears Escalate — If we didn't self-doubt, we probably wouldn't care enough about our children to struggle with understanding them. But how do we overcome self-doubt? Read advice from Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., guest posting today at Natural Parents Network.
  • What ifs of addiction — After seeing how addictions of adult children is badly hurting a family close to her heart, Hannah at HannahandHorn shares her fears for her own child.
  • Sharing My Joy — Kellie at Our Mindful Life shares her fear that others think she is judgmental because she makes alternative choices for her own family.
  • Building My Tribe Fearlessly — A meteorite hit Jaye Anne at Tribal Mama's family when she was seven years old. Read the story, how she feels about that now, and how she is building her tribe fearlessly.
  • Fear: Realized — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen shares how her fear of car accidents was realized and how she hopes to be able to use her efforts to overcome the remaining fears to help her children overcome their own.
  • I'm a Negligent Helicopter Parent — For Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow, the line between helicopter parenting and negligent parenting is not so cut and dried.
  • My Greatest Fear For My Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama admits that she has struggled with not allowing her fears to control her and how the reality of this was blown wide open when she became a mother.
  • Proactive Steps to Calm Parenting Fears — Every parent has certain fears related to dangerous situations, That Mama Gretchen shares ways she is preparing herself and her children for emergencies.
  • Homeschooling Fears – Will My Children Regret Being Homeschooled? — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares an interview with her now-adult children that answers a question she had throughout their homeschooling.
  • An Uneasy Truce — Homeschooler and recent convert to unschooling, Tam at tinsenpup shares just a few of the things she tries to keep in mind when fear and insecurity begin to take hold.
  • Fearing the worst, expecting the best — Tarana at Sand In My Toes writes about fears that come with parenting, and why we must overcome them.
  • Can I be the parent I want to be? — Amanda at Postilius confronts her struggle to peacefully parent a preschooler
  • Out of Mind, Out of Fear — How does Jorje of Momma Jorje deal with her pretty steep, long-term fears regarding her son's future?
  • I Don't Homeschool to Manage My Kids' Transcripts — One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama's fears of parenting is that she will get so caught up in the monotony, the details of homeschooling, the minutiae of everyday life, the routine of taking care of a household - that she will forget to actually be present in the moment with her children.
  • Beware! Single Mom Camping — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her first adventures as a single mom. She laughed, she cried, she faced her fears.
  • Parenting Fears And Reality Checks — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares her three biggest fears as a parent - that most parents share - looks at the reality behind these fears, and offers a few suggestions for enjoying parenting.
  • Parenting fear : to kill a pink rabbit...Mother Goutte tells us the story of a pink rabbit that disappeared, came back, and became the symbol of her worst parenting fear...
  • Roamingsustainablemum considers whether allowing your children freedom to explore the world safely is harder now than in the past.
  • Meeting my parenting fears head-on — Lauren at Hobo Mama had many fears before she became a parent. Learn how they all came true — and weren't anywhere near as scary as she'd thought.
  • Don't fear the tears — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger worried that letting her children cry when going to sleep was tantamount to the dreaded parenting moniker, CIO. She discusses what actually happened after those teary nights, and how she hopes these lessons can carry forward to future parenting opportunities.
  • Will I Still be a Good Mom? — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot worries about her mothering skills now that breastfeeding is no longer the top priority.
  • Pregnancy Fears: It Happened to My Sisters, It Will Happen to Me... — Kristen at Baby Giveaways Galore discusses the difficulties with pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding that the women in her family have had and how she overcame them.
  • Fears — Meegs at A New Day talks about how her fears before parenting led to a better understanding of herself and her desires for her daughter.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

channeling Atticus

Charlie's best impression of Gene Simmons.

The other day I told Nate that I thought Banjo was a good name for a dog. He countered that "Banjo" falls into Category #3 for names, the ones you think are unique but aren't really. He's right, you know. I admit that I fancy myself "cool, but not too annoying." Nate's astute observations are a good reason to keep him around.

I occasionally point out good dog names to Nate in the same vein as I mention boy's names to him; I don't have a specific boy or dog I'm naming, it's just a thing I do. I name stuff. This aside is apropos to nothing I'm writing about today except that I also think Atticus is a good dog name and a good boy name, and typing the title made me ponder my naming proclivity.

******************

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

{47}: reflecting on another week


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
November 19 - 25, 2013


{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.


This is a double duty post to give you our weekly update and check on on Day 14 of pre-holiday boot camp. How was your second week, Mom?

Monday, November 25, 2013

{day 13}: give yourself 15 minutes


Day 13: Give yourself 15 minutes

This is the last official task of the second week, and then tomorrow we can review the whole experience together. It should be relatively easy if you made your self-care list yesterday. Fifteen minutes a day, one day for each activity, is not a lot of time.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

{day 12}: make a self-care list


Day 12: Identify ways to care for yourself

There are many I could have chosen, but on this day these are the five things I like to do at home to nourish, nurture, and relax:


1. Taking a long bath

A long HOT bath. Probably involving one of these delightful French smell-goods.


2. Journaling

You would think that after blogging every day I wouldn't have anything left to say, but you'd be wrong! I love to write down tidbits from my day, and when I remember to go to bed 15 minutes early so I can jot these notes, I never regret that time spent recording life's little moments.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

{day 11}: develop & stick with a budget


Author's note: Check out the start of my minimalist holiday series if you haven't yet so you can follow along with us! The authors of Minimalist Parenting are hosting a holiday email series that starts on November 25th, so you can sign up to read what they have to say too.

I am an impostor when it comes to the subject of budgeting. I struggle with maintaining a budget; what I am good at is making excuses for my purchases. But I try! There are others with great ideas for holiday budgeting, and I will share a few of those resources here today.

Friday, November 22, 2013

{day 10}: kids & mealtime, chowdah, review & giveaway


Author's note: This post includes the Day 10 encouragement for those following the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays series, as well as a review and giveaway of The Family Flavor: 125 Practical Recipes for the Simple and Delicious, and a recipe for creamy chicken soup from the book. Enter the giveaway below and then scroll to the bottom to find out what it's about.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thursday, November 21, 2013

{day 9}: meal planning, sprouts, giveaway


Author's note: This post includes the Day 9 instructions for those following the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays series, as well as a recipe for Firecracker Sprouts, and a review and giveaway of a Craftsy cooking class. Enter the giveaway below and then scroll to the bottom to find out what it's about.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

{day 8}: declutter email


Day 8: Declutter email

It’s not only impossible to respond to every query, it’s perfectly okay to not respond to everything, particularly when lack of response is due to lack of interest. – MINIMALIST PARENTING, Chapter 5

Minimalist Parenting camp described a three-touch rule for email. The first pass is for deleting messages that aren't addressed to you and responding to time-sensitive matters. The second pass is for emails that require more time. The third pass is for the messages that bug or don't interest you. If you haven't responded yet after seeing it three times, you won't! Get rid of it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

{46}: reflecting on the week

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."
No lie, this is one of the best pics from our holiday photo shoot. Why is it so hard to get them both to look and smile?

On the Range
November 12 - 18, 2013


{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

This is a double duty post to give you our weekly update and check on on Day 7 of the first week of pre-holiday boot camp. How was your week? Be honest, you did only half or less of the things, right? That's okay. Being that each will only take you 15 minutes, these items can really be combined into a few days, so don't be discouraged. #LeanIn and soldier on! And if you haven't started yet, you can do it any time. There's no rush.

Monday, November 18, 2013

{day 6}: donate a bag of stuff


Day 6: Donate a bag of stuff

Author's Note: If you haven't yet, read more details about the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays. You can also read what we've accomplished so far in the Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4, and Day 5 posts.

This task should be easy. If you've finished yesterday's task, then you already have a bag to donate! You can give to your local rummage sale (at a church, elementary school, or library), utilize one of many charitable organizations that do curb-side pick-up (e.g. VVA or Epilepsy Foundation), or drop the items of at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army donation center.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

{day 4}: delegate


Day 4: Delegate

Welcome to Day Four. It's time to delegate! You can read what we've accomplished so far in the Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 posts. In the Day 4 description of the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays, I mentioned you could identify holiday-related chores (untangling lights, taking down Halloween decorations, etc.) your kids can do and delegate them.



There are many more household tasks to delegate during the holidays. But if you are like me, you have some letting go to do before others can assist in holiday project completion. I learned a bit of this lesson yesterday after Charlie and I raked up all the leaves in the yard. Nate said he was disappointed because he actually likes doing yard work!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

{pre-holiday bootcamp, day 1}: the more and less list


DAY 1: The More & Less List

If you haven't read it yet, see yesterday's post about this two-week pre-holiday minimalist parenting bootcamp. It's time to create our holiday road map. I'm taking 15 minutes to jot down my more and less list, and I'll refer back to the list over the holidays when events and opportunities pop up to see if they're in line with my plan. I got some of my ideas for the more/less list from this great list of 18 things we should be doing more of (thanks, Amanda!).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

the 12 days of {minimalist parenting} Christmas

Following Minimalist Parenting's lead of rebooting the holidays, I am taking the notes I made during their two-week camp and turning their ideas into a list of activities you can do to prepare your home, mind, and family to take a minimalist approach to the holidays.

You can take as much or little time to do these activities, but they are designed to be done over two weeks. Each numbered task below represents one day for two weeks, and each item should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Although I titled the list "The 12 Days of Minimalist Christmas," you could insert any holiday. In fact, beginning tomorrow there are two weeks before Thanksgivukkah, so I suggest starting tomorrow with the DAY 1 activity! You can follow along on the blog, where I'll chart my own progress.



The 12 Days of {Minimalist Parenting} Holidays:


  1. More and Less List: As with every plan of action, draw a road map first. Write down what you want to do/see/create more and less of over the holidays. Like with my minimalist manifesto, I refer to my list often when something--an event, or overwhelm of stuff--threatens to steer me off course.
  2. Tackle your hardest thing first: Spend 15 minutes (use an egg-timer if you want) and do the most difficult thing on your holiday to-do list first. Procrastination drains your energy.
  3. Say Yes and No: This task goes back to what I wrote about last week, regarding saying no. Say yes to events that make you happy or excite you and say no to events that drain you.
  4. Delegate!: Identify holiday-related chores (untangling lights, taking down Halloween decorations, etc.) your kids can do and delegate them. 
  5. Declutter for 15 minutes: Go to a clutter spot in your house, and with a trash bag, spend 15 minutes decluttering by donating or throwing away toys that don't get played with, are missing parts, or are broken and awaiting fixing.
  6. Donate a bag of stuff: This task should be easy. If you've finished Day 5, then you already have a bag to donate! You can give to your local rummage sale or seek one of many charitable organizations that do curb-side pick-up (e.g. VVA or Epilepsy Foundation).
  7. Rest & reflect on Week #1: Go back to the list you made on Day 1. Has anything raised or lowered in priority? Add or remove what is needed. Be mindful of how you feel and offer yourself and others your love, hope, forgiveness, and grace.
  8. Declutter e-mail: Touch each email only three times. First pass is for deleting messages that aren't addressed to you and responding to time-sensitive matters. Second pass is for emails that require more time. Third pass is for the messages that bug or don't interest you. 
  9. Make a holiday menu plan: Figure out 3-5 dishes that can be made and frozen in advance. Good possibilities are mashed squash, cranberry sauce, pie fillings, pie dough, and stuffing. 
  10. Involve your kids in mealtime: Kids can help with grocery shopping and meal preparation. Ideas for how they can help are on the Family Dinner Project website
  11. Develop and stick with a budget: Celebrate the holidays within your means by considering and communicating how much you plan to spend on gifts, food, travel, and entertainment. 
  12. Identify five favorite ways to care for yourself: Make a self-care short list of what nourishes, nurtures, and relaxes you.
  13. Give yourself 15 minutes: Make time in your calendar today and once each week for these 15 minutes to devote to one of the five items on your self-care list.
  14. Rest & reflect on Week #2: Go back to the list you made on Day 1. Was the second week easier or more difficult? What will you plan to continue more permanently in your routine? Add or remove what is needed. Be mindful of how you feel and offer yourself and others your love, hope, forgiveness, and grace.
If you try any of these holiday rebooting tasks, consider leaving a comment here on the blog or over on the Lone Home Ranger Facebook page. I'd love to hear what works and what doesn't!

Author's note: I did not get paid anything to write about Minimalist Parenting, but I like the authors and think you'll enjoy some concepts from their book. This post is part of The Homestead Barn HopWorks for Me Wednesday, and LHITS DIY Friday.

{Minimalist Parenting} book review


minimalist parenting
Back in March, I participated in MinCamp, a free two-week lifestyle program run by Christine Koh and Asha Dornfest, authors of Minimalist Parenting and their great blogs to which I linked. Inspired by Red Shutters, I briefly considered writing my thoughts on the book and camp. Then life happened, and now it's seven months later. But, daily blogging is on, so let's do this.

Last week I mentioned one of the ideas I liked best in the book, that moms are curators of the stuff and activities of family life. I appreciated their real-life anecdotes sprinkled throughout the book. For example, some prudent wisdom I have taken to heart is that giving up your baby stuff doesn't necessarily mean you're taking a stand on future reproduction. Christine's idea to ask for used items at a baby shower is right up my alley, so I happily gave my cousin the bulk of our baby stuff cluttering up the basement.

Honestly, I didn't read Minimalist Parenting cover to cover, but that could be because I've been a student of minimalism for a while now and have read copious resources on this topic already. I borrowed it from the library, brought it to the gym with me for a few days and flipped through while on the bike. Much of what it says validates what I am already doing of what I've learned by chatting with girlfriends. Having said that, I do think it's a good and quick read, and it would make a great baby shower gift for a new parent.

While I might not have thought the book itself essential, the authors have made some valuable contributions to the field that I want to point out. First, they maintain a fabulous Facebook page that is continually updated with great articles on topics related to minimalist parenting.

Author's note: They are devoting a section of their Minimalist Parenting website to the holidays! They have some great ideas for rebooting the holidays to enjoy them more by doing less. In the next post, I shared my version of their camp, which is tailored toward the holidays.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

building a tinker tent: {carnival of natural mothering}


Welcome to the November 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering! 

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don't Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month's topic is Incorporating Natural Into the Holidays. Be sure to check out all of the participants' posts through the links at the bottom of this page.


I recently wrote an article in the holiday edition of Rhythm of the Home about how we are trying to limit the amount of stuff we accumulate, both during the holidays and year-round. I have gotten such great positive feedback from y'all that I decided to share some of what we're doing gift-wise for the kids this year.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

the motherhood curator


I was just making some cheesy popcorn tonight in preparation for tomorrow's choir rehearsal--it's my turn for mom snack duty. {It is an easy and delicious recipe; just follow my dad's basic popcorn recipe, then as you're drizzling butter, also sprinkle garlic salt and grated parmesan/romano cheese.} As I was stuffing the finished product into ten snack-sized baggies, I began pondering my week ahead.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

making a molehill out of a mountain {rhythm of the home}

Rhythm of the Home's Holiday edition is out today! Check out my article about simplifying our kids' toys. I'll be conducting our "pre-holiday purge" soon. Care to join me?


Author's note: You can read my past contributions to Rhythm of the Home here.

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