Trim Healthy Mama Journal

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In order to begin my Trim Healthy Mama (THM) journey, I needed to write things down and be able to SEE what I was doing during my day.

So, the Trim Healthy Mama Journal was born!

This is a place for you to either plan out your day OR to track your day–complete with little circles to put “S, E, FP, etc.” for what type of fueling meal you have eaten.

I also love the place for notes/goals.  This is where I put down “Drink more water!” or “Exercised for 45 minutes today–do it again tomorrow!”

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Hope this helps some of you just starting out on your journey!

Download yours below and print!

THM Journal

and if you’re all about getting this bound at Kinko’s into a serious journal, we need a cover, don’t we?

Behold…the cover:

THM Journal Cover

Or perhaps you are more visual and need to cross off those glasses of water you have hydrated yourself with–and need a place to write page #’s for recipes:

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And the cover, of course:

THM Journal Cover2

Happy Trimming!

Bettering Myself…

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Motherhood.

It’s difficult to fit time in for anything other than cooking, cleaning, schooling, changing diapers, laundry, first aid–the list goes on and on.

But it’s a beautiful list.

A list we’re called to do.

Sometimes, though, our health takes a backseat.

After having our third child, I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism.  I didn’t really think it was that big of a diagnosis.

Sure, my thyroid didn’t work properly–it seemed almost common these days, right?

I had no idea the lows and highs that would come with Hypothyroidism, and while it was being tamed, I was an absolute mess, and my husband will probably be canonized one day because of it–along with all of my children.

With Hypothyroidism also comes weight gain–the icing on the cake, amen?

As someone who has struggled with body image since my freshman year (that’s what you get when ONE person says you’re fat!  I was a size 5, people!), weight gain means a severe mental game with how I look, what I wear, etc.

After a few more babies, I’m happy to report that my thyroid meds are at an all-time LOW, but the weight hasn’t budged.

Perhaps it’s because I was averaging one meal a day–maybe two–due to homeschooling, trying to keep up on the house, running after toddlers, etc.

Apparently that makes your already-low metabolism (thanks to Hypothyroidism!) tank even further, and your body hates you.

And to show how much it hates you, it just decides to roll around in the fat and la-la-la-love it.

And I then roll around in self-loathing–FUN!

I just haven’t liked myself.  As a person, as a mother, as a wife–just not thrilled with who I have become.

So, I was introduced to Trim Healthy Mama awhile back from a good friend and fellow homeschooling mom as we would sip on Goodgirl Moonshine at her house on playdates, but the “plan” seemed way too complicated for my life.

Because, um, I homeschool?  And I can’t figure in eating every 3 hours.  And I’m dealing with five kids here.  Ain’t nobody got time for that, you dig?

So, after getting on several Trim Healthy Mama facebook groups and just…stalking…and trying to figure out the crazy language these women spoke.

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The success stories were highly motivational.

My Hypothyroidism, however, is the most unmotivational thing ever.

So…nothing happened.

I tried checking the book out from the library a year later, but I couldn’t get it, so I just went ahead and nabbed it and dove in.

Because, hello, my name is Delena, and I’m a sanguine who jumps first and thinks later.

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Guess what I found out?

These mamas who wrote the book?  They’re homeschooling moms.  With way more kids than I have.  So, there went that excuse.

If they could manage to eat every three hours to rev up their metabolism while changing diapers, changing toddlers, and yelling out spelling words, I can do it.

ANYways, I started the plan on a Monday.  By Saturday, I tried on clothes that were…a size smaller.

Seriously.

But you want to know what I noticed first and foremost?

I’m…hot.  Like, hot a lot.  When you have Hypothyroidism, your body (and feet especially!) are constantly cold!  (Another cause for sainthood for my husband:  sleeping with quilts in the summer because his wife is FREEZING.)

Could that be my metabolism being jolted awake from a VERY long hibernation?  I don’t know, but I’m not complaining.

I have…energy.

I have endorphins that are flooding my brain, and I am…happy.  Dare I say…joyful?!

And…I’m so completely full from eating the foods on the “plan” that I don’t feel hungry at all.  It’s crazy.

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And that energy?  I have exercised nearly every day.  (I took Sunday off.)

Which was the WHOLE point of this extremely long-winded post:  my little exercise routine that I have been trying to implement.

It’s very simple, and wonderfully mortifying:

I dance.

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Yep, that’s it.

I have always loved dancing, did it in high school, and still love to bust a move with the kids in the middle of the kitchen pretty much every day.

So, I made a playlist, hit “play,” and the next thing I knew, I had danced for 45 minutes.  (The kids, meanwhile, were downstairs picking up toys in the basement, and the baby was napping).

And then I did a set of three planks, stretched, and downed a full glass of water.

And then I was ready to begin the rest of the day.

(Yes, I realize I’m starting sentences with “and,” and I don’t care).

So, here’s the playlist:  (Disclaimer:  it is possible there are slightly off-color words in here.  I honestly don’t know because when I listen to music, I rarely am thinking about the words–ask my husband, I have severe lyric issues.  I’m thinking about harmony and the rhythm.  So, proceed with caution if you are sensitive to things like that.  I also used Spotify, but you could use YouTube.  Please keep in mind I am not endorsing any of the music videos because I have no idea what’s in them.)

  • “This is gonna be the best day of my life” by All American Authors.  I danced around while unloading the dishwasher to warm up.
  • “Lips are Movin'” by Meaghan Trainor
  • “All About that Bass” by Meaghan Trainor
  • “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  • “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (yes, twice in a row because I AM happy, and I love the song!)
  • “I gotta feeling” by Black Eyed Peas
  • “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (yes, again–I love it)
  • “Pump It” by Black Eyed Peas
  • Random techno music.  When I was a freshman in college, I danced several hours a week with friends at clubs, and I was in pretty killer shape–like, size 3 shape.  My favorite was techno music because the beat seriously keeps you going for hours.  I turned this on today and just kept going until the 45 minute marker.
  • “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele.  This is the cool down for me, and I also do the planks at this point.
  • “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith.  This is what I use to stretch.

So, that’s it.  That’s my plan.

In order to be a better mom and a better wife, I have to start by being a better me.

And there are other aspects to this, not just physical.  Reading Psalms, praying more, keeping a gratitude journal, focusing on more patience and perseverance, etc.

But this is a start.

And we all have to start somewhere.

On the Feast of St. Patrick…

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Well, it’s the Feast of St. Patrick today, and that is a VERY special feast day around here!

And now just because of our Czech, German, and French roots!

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St. Patrick was originally born in England, and he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken as a slave to Ireland.  He lived as a slave in Ireland for six years before escaping and returning back to his home in England.  He would later have dreams of the people in Ireland, and he decided to return.  He became a Catholic priest, was ordained a bishop, and he spent the rest of his life preaching about Christ throughout Ireland.  He died on March 17th–which is why we celebrate him on this date!

If you’ve ever wondered why the shamrock is popular on St. Patrick’s day, I can tell you it has nothing to do with leprechauns or shakes at McDonald’s.  In his efforts to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity, it is said that St. Patrick used a shamrock to explain to the faithful.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost–all three separate, but all the same.  Make your head hurt?  Don’t worry–that’s why it’s a mystery.

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So, that’s a little bit about the man behind St. Patrick’s Day.

How do we celebrate in this house?

We will begin our morning by reading about this saint.  The kids will work on these Feast of St. Patrick packets I made a few years ago:

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The packet is full of information on St. Patrick, coloring pages, recipes, and activities–like making your own holy card of St. Patrick!

We will also eat our Shamrock Sugar Cookies and talk about the Holy Trinity.

The kids will get to eat these with a little Irish Breakfast Tea.

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In the afternoon, the younger kids will watch an animated movie about St. Patrick, and the older boys will watch:

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While I know Irish Soda Bread is a traditional item to have on St. Patrick’s Day, our family just doesn’t much care for it.

What we DO enjoy, however, is making Irish Beef Stew that we have had every year on this feast day since our oldest was little.  The recipe can be found in the St. Patrick Activity packet above!

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And last, but certainly not least, our oldest will be serving at High Mass that evening–which he is VERY excited about.

Happy Feast Day!

What do you and your family do for the Feast of St. Patrick?

Three weeks of lunches in just an hour…

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So, while I’m already avoiding dairy due to baby H’s allergy to it, I’m also avoiding grains.

Breakfast is easy:  eggs with bacon.

Dinners are easy–I can pretty much modify everything I make for the family.

Lunches, though?  Difficult.  With five kids underfoot who need to be fed first, I generally just end up skipping lunch because I don’t have the time to start cooking up a bunch of meat for myself.

Yesterday, though, in an effort to stay awake throughout the afternoon, I knew I needed to do something to keep myself busy.

So, I whipped up three weeks of lunches with two meals:  Jambalaya and Chicken Tortilla Soup.

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Here’s how it all went down:

Cook up 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts in a pot of boiling water.

Find something else to do while those cook.

To make Jambalaya:

Slice up one package of Kielbasa.  Mix the kielbasa and three of the chicken breasts (shredded) in a large bowl.  Chop up a bell pepper (or just dice up some frozen bell peppers that come in the frozen foods aisle!) and a small onion (or just buy a package of diced onion in the frozen foods aisle!).  Throw that in the bowl and add in a can of diced petite tomatoes.  Season with creole seasoning to taste.  Stir it all around until full incorporated.  Divide up into sandwich size baggies and freeze.  On the day you fix it for lunch, just add your jambalaya mix to some chicken broth!  (If you can have grains, serve this over rice–oh, my!  SO good!)

To make Chicken Tortillas Soup:

Shred up the remaining three chicken breasts.  Throw into the same empty bowl you used for the Jambalaya mix.  Add in a bag of frozen “southwest blend” that has peppers, onions, beans, etc.  Mix all around.  Throw in a can of diced petite tomatoes.  Mix around.  Season with cumin to taste.  Mix around.  Divide up into sandwich size baggies and freeze.  On the day you fix it for lunch, just add your Chicken Tortilla mix to some chicken broth!  Serve with plantain chips instead of tortilla chips!

That’s it!  I then took all of the Jambalaya bags and put them in one large gallon freezer bag that was properly labeled, and I did the same for all the Chicken Tortilla mixes.

I can now pull out a single serving of mix for myself each morning to let thaw and just throw it in chicken broth at lunch time!

Enjoy!

7 Random Books We’re Loving

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Wow.

I had no idea I still knew how to write a blog post.

I guess it’s like riding a bike, eh?

My time has been completely taken up by focusing on my kids and homeschooling, so you”ll let me slide, right?

We have also been spending a lot of time at the library.  A librarian that was a homeschooling mom has started a number of programs for homeschoolers during the week, and there are also some great events for all kids up there.

So, due to spending so much time at the library, our library book table in the kitchen looks…well…it’s a mess.

But it’s a beautiful mess.

We’ve been reading some GREAT books, though.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel a little sad at the thought that there are 24 hours in a day, and we have to sleep, eat, do chores, get school in–there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to read as much as WE would like to!

Without further ado, here are some books you and your kids should check out!

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Oh, my.  This book was large, and it had some REALLY beautiful illustrations with short excerpts about particular animals.

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This one came recommended by a friend due to her 8 year-old loving this book.  This will possibly go on the “to buy” list because the pictures are great, and it’s FULL (it’s incredibly thick!) of information about any kind of organism you could possibly think of.  Excellent book for the science/nature geeks!

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We didn’t even check this one out–just bought it on a friend’s recommendation because we do love to draw some birds in this house.  The book is small, however, it does a great job of telling about each bird, showing which colors you will be using with step-by-step instructions on how to color and shade the birds.  We…are…loving it!

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Last year the kids studied European history.  This year we’re onto American history.  My 8 year-old, like me, loves books with facts that you will probably never need but REALLY hope will come up at a dinner party sometime in your life.  This book quenches that thirst for all things U.S. states.

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I’ve mentioned it before on the blog’s facebook page, and I’ll say it again:  this is a charming book, and we are LOVING it.  The kids beg for me to read it to them every morning at breakfast…and at lunch…and after dinner.   EXCELLENT book!

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This silly little book caught my eye as it was on special display at the library.  Apparently the author is from the Kansas City area.  Cute book, adorable pictures–my kids were laughing quite hard at this book!

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My 8 year-old has declared that Monday nights are his night to book.  We grabbed this book at the library several weeks ago, and he has made the “Crunchy Corn Chip Pie” and is about to start making “Italian Sausage with Penne” every Monday in March.  Nice book to help beginner chefs-in-the-making in the kitchen.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface, but it’s a good start for anyone looking to change things up a bit in their normal reading routine.  What books are you and YOUR family loving?

Meal Planning 101

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Oh, my.

Why do I even have a blog anymore?

Perhaps it’s a little subconscious experiment I have called, “IS it possible to completely kill a blog by never posting anymore?”

Seriously–just “like” the blog’s facebook page.  That’s all I have time for anymore–a quick photo or story about the kids, perhaps a good ol’ fashioned debate about Monsanto–because life has been so…completely…crazy.

Good crazy–don’t worry.  Just feeling overwhelmed by everything.

ANYways, I’ve mentioned several times on the blog’s facebook page that we love ourselves some Taco Tuesdays in this house.  I got a text the other night saying this person and her family were now on board with Taco Tuesdays.

Be the change you want to see in the world, am I right?  The world needs Taco Tuesdays.

So, I decided to post a few things about meal planning if you all are into that sort of thing.

I’ve tried monthly menu rotations.  I’ve tried a 2 week rotation plan.

I have scrapped those and just went with what’s working in our house and gets the LEAST amount of complaining.

Every night of the week has a theme, and we will repeat that theme…all month long.

In January, something new will be added and something taken off because December’s meal plan calls for Roast Chicken every Wednesday evening.  Folks, that’s a LOT of homemade broth that I will make using the bones that just can’t go to waste.

Me thinks January will include “Chicken Noodle Soup” on Wednesdays instead.

So, here’s my step-by-step on how I meal plan.  (Have I talked about this before?  I can’t remember.  Who’s the best blogger in the world, baby?  This girl.)

1.)  Make the menu.  Lucky for you, I’m posting our December menu (which is definitely different than most other months because we will be gone from Christmas to after the New Year.  Hurray for a smaller grocery bill, amen?)

Here’s our December menu:  Meal Plan December

2.)  Once you have made out your menu plan, make a list of every single ingredient you will need.  I’m talking, down to “salt” or “sugar.”  (For example:  Taco Tuesdays in our house need the following ingredients:  taco shells [crunchy or soft, you pick], ground beef, cheese, tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and spinach).  But here’s the thing:  if we’re having that four times in the month, you need all of that…times four.  So, yes, you’re going to need to go back to the store and get the fresh stuff because it obviously won’t keep in the refrigerator.

3.)  Once you have your list of every single ingredient you will need for your meals, go through your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator and cross off anything you already have on hand.

4.)  Now, if you go to more than one store to shop, break out your ingredient lists under whatever store you’ll be buying them at.  (For example:  dairy is cheaper at Sam’s Club for us in KC.  Anything dairy goes under the Sam’s Club list.  I know that grape jelly, however, is cheaper at Aldi, etc.)  I would have loved to tell you how much to get of each ingredient for that December list, but we’re a family of 7 with 6 people eating.  Other families are larger, some smaller–you’ll have to figure it out.  Plus, my family just killed 2.5 lbs. of ground beef on Taco Tuesday last week, so I’m still trying to figure out a.)  how in the world that happened and b.)  what we’re going to eat when they are all teenagers.  (On the blog’s facebook page, several people suggested half ground turkey/half ground beef or even chicken for tacos.  I suggested this to my husband this week on Taco Tuesday and was met with the response I knew was coming:  Um, no.

5.)  Go shopping.  

6.)  When you get home, do ANYTHING you possibly can in preparation for your meals.  (For example:  I take all ground beef and make it into mini meatloaves for the freezer, and I put them in separate bags, already portioned out for dinner.   I then cook up the rest of the ground beef and add in my homemade taco seasoning.  I then let it cool, and I package it in portions for the freezer.)  I would love to get back to total freezer cooking for the month, but that generally consists of a lot of casserole type dishes, and since half of us can’t have dairy, and I’m not doing any grains, it makes it rough.  This is the best I can do at the moment under the circumstances, but I REALLY miss being able to just pull something out of the freezer and throw it into the oven.

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7.)  Stick to the plan.  I find that if I print OUT the menu plan and hang it on the refrigerator, we stick to it.  If I write it out, for some reason, I’m more apt to change things around, disregard what we’re having, and I’m tempted to grab something from a restaurant instead.  Print it out…hang it up…and look at it every day.  Make sure you are pulling things out of the freezer if you put them in the freezer.  Whole chickens need a few days in the refrigerator to thaw–and even then, I generally have to put them in the sink with some water just to be sure.

That’s it.  That’s what I do at the end of every month to start prepping for another month.

Or, today is the 13th, and I already made December’s menu plan out.  Whatever you need to do, people.

Bonus recipe?  Thought you’d never ask:

Homemade Taco Seasoning (so much tastier and healthier than the stuff in the packet!)

2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground oregano

Make up a bunch of this.  Keep it on hand.  Pull out how ever much you need to season your ground beef.

Catholic Schoolhouse Lapbooks

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I’ve had A LOT of people e-mail me as of late to ask about how we either do Catholic Schoolhouse in general or how we do our lap books.

So, this is a post on CSH lap books.

First of all, we’re taking two weeks to cover every one week of Catholic Schoolhouse this year.

Why?  It allows us to stay on pace with our little CSH group (two other families and us) when it comes to Art and Science.  We’re only meeting two Fridays a month, so my kids finish a week and get to do the Science and Art activity from that week–so far.  We’ll see how far off course we get once cold/flu season hits!

The other reason I’ve chosen to take two weeks to cover every one week is so we actually have time to do the fun projects I’ve been saving.  This year we’re discussing American History and Westward Expansion, and since we live in the heart of Westward Expansion Territory, we plan on really using this to our advantage.

But onto the lap books.  Lap books are one of my boys’ favorite activities.  We did a few last year, but this year I thought we would do a lap book with all of the information from each week of Catholic Schoolhouse.  As stated above, this gives us two weeks to finish one lap book–much more manageable!

What do you use for your lap books?

File folders.  We then hole punch them and tie them with yarn or shoestring.

What do you put in your lap books?

I put all of the information from each week of CSH in each lap book.  Some of these pages I make myself, others I get off the Internet.  Pinterest has been an absolute lifesaver in this regard.

Here is Week 2’s lap book.  Feel free to click on the images to see a bigger version.

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I designed the lap book cover.

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The timeline sheets were a Pinterest find–LOVE these!  Love seeing the boys’ artistic interpretations of the events on the timeline!

The other information on the left-hand cover was stuff I printed up in Microsoft Word.

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Drew up a quick “All About Saint…” sheet in Microsoft Word.  The kids filled it out about St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

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This is a “Master Composer Report” I designed in Microsoft Word.  They filled it out about Bach.

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This was a Pinterest find.  They have all sorts of coloring pages for historical characters.  This was Hernando de Soto.

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Another coloring page for Francisco Coronado.

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This is a “Person of Interest” page I made in Microsoft Word.  The boys were horrified by the actions of Sir Francis Drake (I surely don’t remember hearing in school about how he sacked and destroyed Catholic churches in the new world–I believe he was presented to us as a sort of hero!).

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And then they colored a picture of Sir Francis Drake.  (Technically I think this was supposed to be Sir Walter Raleigh, but that hat…that feather–it just looked like a guy who would sack some Catholic churches!)

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These pages were another Pinterest find to help us expand upon the Reptiles and Amphibians part of Science.

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The back inner and outer back cover where they had to write their skip counting and the next part of Psalm 22, and paste the Latin they are learning.

(For those confused, the Psalm we are learning is typically referred to as Psalm 23 by most people, however, it is Psalm 22 in the Catholic Bible.  I just happened to make a typo and write Psalm 24 when making this.  But it’s Psalm 22.  Confused?  Good.)

And that’s our lap book for week 2 in Catholic Schoolhouse.

We did lap books for Week 1 as well, and the kids also dressed up in costumes they put together and portrayed a character from that week’s information.

P was Juan Ponce de Leon.

D was a Hopi Indian Chief–complete with some homemade Indian fry bread we made so he could serve it to Dad while he watched the “show.”

E decided to be a bat.  Because we studied mammals.

The kids are currently working on week 3 this week, and we already have a good chunk of our lap books already done.  I’ll try to post pictures next week of the finished product–and hopefully get a picture of them in their costumes on “Presentation Night.”

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