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12 Activities to Get You in the Christmas Spirit!

Can you believe that Christmas is only about a week away? If you’re anything like me, you’re saying, “No way!” It just doesn’t feel like Christmas! Thanksgiving bumped up to December this year, leaving Christmas cards arriving later than usual, less lights going up on houses, and a mad scramble to get gifts. We had no time to recover from Thanksgiving! So if you are feeling like me and need to get into the festive holiday mood pronto, follow this simple holiday to do list!

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1) Bake cookies. There’s nothing to get you in the mood for Christmas like baking cookies for Santa and decorating them. Grab some friends or your family and insist on baking together, with uninterrupted (i.e. no cell phones!) bonding time. Cooking can inspire conversation and is a great opportunity to get some laughs and just have a great time. Invest in some fun cookie cutters, and use this recipe for simple and buttery sugar cookies.

2) Listen to Christmas music. It may be a great idea to combine our first suggestion to this one, because cooking to music makes the food taste better in my opinion. Even if you don’t have time or just happen to forget to turn it on at home, be sure to tune in to your local Christmas radio station.

3) Sing. Some people think singing out loud is silly, but that often goes out the window when it comes to holiday songs. Everyone can join in because they often know the words, and you may be surprised when your friends or family join in with you. Just let go and have fun, that’s what the holidays are about. To quote the movie “Elf,” “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

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4) Wrap presents. There’s something therapeutic about methodically wrapping gifts and making them look beautiful. Many rush the process, so I suggest putting an hour or two aside to wrap presents especially. Just enjoy it, don’t let it be the aggravating thing that is making you late for a party.

5) Watch the classic Christmas movies. There are tons of cheesy Christmas movies around nowadays, some only made for TV. Though they may be wonderful, it’s the time of year to pull out your family’s old fall-backs and let the happy memories from over the years wash over you. You know, those ones you’d watch every year while opening presents. Be sure to gather blankets, get a cup of hot chocolate, and cozy up!

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6) Make an ornament. When we were kids, we’d often make ornaments in school or an event, but as adults, we rarely make one. You may rely on your kids to make these little handmade treasures, but it can put you in a really festive mood to make one! Check out these easy recommendations from Buzzfeed.

7) Go through old photos. This is the perfect time of year to look back and reminisce about trips you took and things you did over the year and beyond. Look at old baby pictures, birthday moments, and silly memories.

8) Make snowflakes. Remember in school when you’d spend hours cutting up a folded piece of paper, anticipating what it would look like when you were done? Do it again! All it requires is a square piece of white paper and scissors. Simply fold the paper in half (into a triangle) and then again (it should still be a triangle). Then cut fun shapes! Avoid cutting completely down the folded edges, as this will cause your snowflake to fall apart.

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9) Go for a drive around your neighborhood at night. Seeing your neighbor’s homes all lit up is so much fun, especially as you snake your way slowly through the twinkling lights. Be sure to bring some hot cocoa and turn on some of that Christmas music!

10) Enjoy a fire in a fireplace. I know this may be tricky if you don’t have a fireplace, but it’s so nice to get cozy next to a fire and smell the wood burning. If you don’t have a hearth of your own, see if a friend or family will open their home to you. In return, be sure to provide the egg nog/hot chocolate and candy canes to thank your hosts!

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11) Go out and shop. I know most people do shopping online now, but there really is something fun and festive about going somewhere and actually walking through the shops. Christmas music is playing, sales people are especially nice and attentive, and people are generally nicer than usual (though occasionally some may be a little stressed). Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s invigorating to go out and enjoy window shopping.

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12) Give back. See if there’s anywhere near you to volunteer, like at a Senior Center or Homeless Shelter. If you can’t donate your time, then donate a gift or toy to a local drive. Look up online where you can find a station in your area. The mall often has a giving tree with gift tags and suggestions for gifts for children and seniors in need.

As always, SteerList is here to help you from getting into the Christmas spirit to picking up New Year’s Eve party supplies. Get last minute gifts and don’t forget to pick up the fruitcake, all while getting your weekly groceries and remembering to fill everyday prescriptions. SteerList is the ultimate to do list and reminder app… and you don’t need to check it twice!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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Four Creative Ways to Wrap Gifts (No Wrapping Paper Required)

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Maybe you want to be a little more eco-friendly this year, maybe you’ve never really understood the point of buying wrapping paper only to have people rip it off a gift, ball it up, and throw it away… Maybe you’re just looking for a unique way to display your presents this year, or maybe you just ran out of wrapping paper and it’s too cold to go out and get more. Whatever description best describes you best, we have four ways to help you wrap your gifts with items you probably have around your house. Turn on the radio, and let’s get wrapping!

1) It may have once been an old joke to wrap gifts with newspaper at the last minute, but you can definitely pull off a great (and purposeful) clean look with just a page of newsprint. The black and white design makes a great backdrop for a brightly colored ribbon or other fun details for a pop of color. You can even use a sprig of evergreen from your Christmas tree to add a fresh detail.

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 (Also, if you’re careful, you can curl paper like you curl ribbon!)

2) Cloth/a scarf. What’s better than a gift wrapped in another gift? It’s like the Turducken of the holidays! Simply wrap the scarf around the box/item and tie a good knot. Simple, and nothing to throw away after unwrapping! Or, you can go to a fabric store and pick up some scraps for a low price. Wrap the gift as though it’s paper and secure with safety pins. Hopefully, your gift recipient will save the cloth to use as a patch or make into something else.

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(We recommend using safety pins instead of sewing pins, pictured above. Safety pins will be much safer.)

3) If you’re anything like me, you have tons of old magazines lying around. Magazines are great to use as wrapping paper because it’s a little more structured, meaning you can accessories your gifts with your own handmade baubles. Check out this very easy tutorial for making your own fun bow (featured in the photo).

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(You can make variations of this by stopping at step 5, then cutting the additional straight pieces slightly shorter)

 

4) Your kids may be too young to wrap gifts this year, but if you want to include them in the ritual, you can use construction paper or white printer paper to wrap the present, then hand it over to your kids to decorate with colored pencils, crayons, glitter, construction paper shapes, whatever their little hearts desire! Be cautious handing over the pens though. It’s best to put the gift in a box that can take any bleeding ink so you don’t have to worry about the crafting damaging the gift.

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(The photo above features “The Big Bang Theory” themed wrapping/hand drawn details)

 

No matter what, don’t forget the very important tool that is the free SteerList app. We are doing everything we can to make this your least stressful holiday season ever by simply doing what we do best—being a reliable and easy-to-use list app. We use location based reminders so you don’t forget to get that perfect toy from Toys “R” Us, you’re reminded to stock up on tape when you drive by Target, and you take time to stop by your best friend’s house to pick up her extra magazines for your wrapping needs!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steerList

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SteerList

   

Make a Trip to the Art Museum More Engaging!

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With rainy days becoming a regular occurrence, it’s time to surrender and start moving out activities indoors. One of my favorite rainy day activities is to go to an art museum. There’s something quiet and ethereal about walking into a museum, everything is hushed and everyone walks around in awe almost like walking into a church. Of course, going to a museum can be a different task when going with a child. Here are a few quick ideas to program to your free SteerList app to keep the kids engaged on a trip to the museum.

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1) Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Have your child mimic the pose featured in a portrait (at a fair distance) then ask them questions. Ask them if it’s hard to hold the pose, or how they would have positioned the model differently if they were painting or sculpting the piece of art themselves. If you’re allowed to take pictures, you can take one or two to show off later. Just remember to remain respectful even if a pose is especially silly.

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2) Get inspired. At our local museum, they include art packs that anyone visiting can pick up and use to their heart’s content. The kits have colored pencils, paper, sketching pencils, and an eraser. You can just bring a notebook with a pencil (that has an eraser attached to the end) if you’d rather go simple. I’d recommend a “put everything down before you stand up” rule, or “Hand everything to mommy before you go near the art.” Don’t want any temptations to “add” to the existing art or room for accidents. Like checking the photo policy, it is probably good to ask at the desk if it’s okay to sketch in the galleries. Most museums allow it, but it’s always good to double check.

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 3) Invent games that will encourage kids to take a second look at a piece. Kids can sometimes have a look-and-go policy. Playing a game like “I Spy” can force a kid to stop and really explore every inch of a piece of art with their eyes. They may notice things they didn’t see the first time, or just learn to go a little slower and to fully enjoy the piece. (Can you spot the one lily pad that’s floating on its own in the Monet above?)

All of these things add a little fun to a trip to the museum for a little one, but it also teaches a lot about art appreciation and the concept of art being thought provoking. Always ask a lot of questions, try to lead to a discussion.

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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Stay Warm With Our Cozy Etsy Finds

The temperature is slowly going down and, if you’re quiet, you can almost hear the home thermostats all quickly being clicked up in unison. Unfortunately, you can’t change the temperature outside, so the minute you open the door to your warm cocoon of a house, the bitter wind comes in and blows that warm feeling off your cheeks. It’s time to bundle up. But just because you’re forced to wear sweaters and jackets, it doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice fashion!

Unisex Scarves

This grey cowl neck/infinity scarf from HandmadeABM is great for a guy or girl. Thick and comfy, with buttons to add a little flair, this style makes a classic color more modern.

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This yellow plaid scarf sold by Merrysewingnfabric is made from soft flannel so you feel like you’re in your pajamas all day! The pop of color adds a great punch of personality to brighten up your look and your day!

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Screen Printed

Screen printed scarves are like jewelry or art. If you’re bummed about having to wear a jacket over your perfectly planned outfit, wear a cute scarf like this navy blue one with gold feathers printed on it. It may not be thick, but the thinner fabric will still keep the chill off your neck. If this particular look isn’t you, SoKoDesigns offers more in their store!

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If you want something a little more clean and chic, try out this great bird silhouette scarf. A little whimsical, but still professional, this scarf from ASlideDesign is a great balance of work and play.

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Young and Fun Scarves

If you’re looking for a gift for someone young or just young at heart, these funky and slightly geeky scarves add a splash of bold fun to a winter outfit. I personally LOVE this purple tentacle scarf from Creeplings. Unfortunately, the seller is marked as “On Vacation,” but hopefully he/she will be back soon!

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This Nyan Cat scarf is inspired by the viral phenomenon that is Nyan Cat. If you don’t know what that is, here’s the video that made it famous.

With that in mind, this scarf from seller EinavIzack is perfect for any internet fanatic!

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Gloves

These fingerless gloves by lilyogini are a little rustic, but in a walk-in-the-woods-come-home-sit-by-the-fireplace way. They are both cute and functional, with thick knitted yarn and no cumbersome finger coverings, they are too adorable to pass up.

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These grey fingerless gloves would go well with that scarf we featured earlier. These fingerless gloves from YarnBlossomBoutique are a clean grey with black button detail. They look both cozy and stylish.

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If you like having gloves with fingers, check out these great studded leather gloves from Eastworkshop. A blend of hard and soft, the leather is balanced with a girly bow detail. These are definitely a statement piece for any outfit.

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Hats

This burgundy red flowered hat from AnnasFashionJewelry is super cute and is in the Oxblood red family (the big color of the season). The color is really what makes this chapeau such a great winter accessory.

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Last but not least, this bright yellow hat from SENNURSASA is a sunny reminder of spring and summer. The flapper style is also fresh and different, making this flattering hat a definite head-turner.

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Finally, if you’re no stranger to knitting needles and are inspired to make your own gifts or accessories this year, check out the Nice and Knit blog for ideas and patterns! We highly recommend checking them out!

The free SteerList app is here to help you remember everything you need to keep you warm this season!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steerList

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SteerList

Easy Caramelized Brussels Sprouts That Kids Will Love!

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Brussels sprouts aren’t the scrunch-up-your-face, stick-out-your-tongue affair they once were. Today, these cute little guys can be enjoyed by even the pickiest of eaters (I can confidently say this because even my boyfriend will eat them)! This super simple recipe only takes about eleven minutes to cook, and the flavor is a sweet-and-salty, nutty, and almost mustard-y flavor. The key to making good Brussels sprouts that kids will eat is to eliminate the bitterness. Besides, if you put the word “caramelized” before anything, it instantly sounds more appealing!

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(Photo courtesy of http://www.cookinglight.com)

 Fool-proof Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

 What you need:

 ~12 oz. bag of Brussels sprouts (Trader Joe’s microwavable bag recommended)

~2 table spoons olive oil

~1 teaspoon salt

~1 tablespoon sugar (throw in a little more if you want your sprouts even sweeter)

1) Wash your Brussels sprouts. I usually use ones from Trader Joe’s that come in a bag (I think they’re supposed to be microwaved, but I just open the bag and use them like regular sprouts) and are marked as “ready to eat,” so you don’t have to worry too much about washing them. I still rinse them just to be safe. If you’re cutting the sprouts off a stalk, it’s probably best to let the sprouts sit in salt water for a little bit.

2) Trim the ends and any leaves that look unappealing off of the sprouts.

3) Cut the sprouts in half. Be very careful doing this because they do sometimes roll around. I personally wedge the knife in a little bit, then hold the handle with one hand and use the other hand to finish pushing the blade through the sprout. That way, no fingers are near or under the blade and you have more control.

4) Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and place in the oven while it heats up.

5) Add your halved Brussels sprouts to a medium bowl, then add the olive oil (2 tablespoons). Mix the sprouts a little bit, making sure the olive oil is covering all the greens. Then add salt (1 teaspoon) and sugar (1 tablespoon), stir until all sprouts are coated.

6) Wait for the oven to be fully heated before removing the covered cookie tray. The tray will obviously be very hot, so use appropriate hand coverings to remove it safely.

7) Empty the bowl of sprouts onto the tray. You should hear a little sizzle from the tray being hot. Make sure all the sprouts are face-down (with the flat side touching the tray). Be very careful while doing this.

8) Place tray back in the oven and set the timer for 10-12 minutes.

9) Check on the sprouts when the timer goes off. Be careful when you open the oven, there will be a wave of steam. I recommend opening the oven and counting to about five before looking in. When they are done, there will be some browning on the leaves. The leaves should look slightly crispy. It’s okay if there are a few dark looking spots appearing, but the whole sprout shouldn’t be black on the outside!

And there you have it! Super easy and fast Brussels sprouts! Remember to add anything you need or might be out of to SteerList, your faithful grocery list app. SteerList is free to download from the App Store!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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Turn a Gloomy Grey Day into a Fun Day!

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Rainy days. They come when you least expect them, blowing in even when the weather man said that it would be dry all day. Rain ruins plans, your hair, and—without the proper footwear—you can forget about warm, dry toes. Don’t even get me started on snow. So, though you may be looking forward to the holiday season, you may find yourself getting a little bit of the fall/winter blahs. Here are some seriously fun activities to brighten up even the greyest and most depressing of days.

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1) Treat yourself to an extra special warm beverage. You know that one uber naughty drink that you’re not allowed to have on a regular basis because it’s like a dessert in a cup? Turn a lame day like a special one by allowing yourself to have a little decadent treat.

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2) Build a nest. A nest can vary from a full-blown fort to a simple fortress of solitude. If you have kids, building a fort is always the right idea on a rainy day when they can’t go outside. If you don’t have kids (or maybe they’re at school), make yourself a super cozy spot in your favorite place. Whether that’s your couch or your bed, make it as comfy as possible, with blankets and pillows. Stock up on things you love, such as books or magazines, maybe a few of your favorite movies or some guilty-pleasure reality shows you have recorded and just waiting to be watched.

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(Photo courtesy of http://www.retailmenot.com/blog/cheap-diy-dorm-decor.html)

3) Take your time stuck indoors to relax and enjoy an art project. Who decides what age we stop doing art projects? Elementary school was all about the noodle necklaces and finger paint, then we move up to middle school where we’re lucky to do a diorama of some sort, and then by high school it’s all just educational posters and power points. You don’t have to be a Picasso to find some great craft ideas for adults and kids, some with items you might have around the house. Check out Pinterest for ideas, such as this great magazine strip art that we found. It looks professional, but is actually really simple.

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4) Bake something or try a new recipe! A rainy day can make you feel a little bit like a bump on a log or antsy because you’re not getting what you wanted to do done. If you enjoy feeling accomplished and like you got something done, then break out a recipe you’ve been meaning to try. Baking will also keep you nice and warm, what with the time spent in front of the stove/oven.

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These are just a few ideas to turn your cold and gloomy days into a fun-filled excuse to stay indoors. With any projects, be sure to use SteerList, the free app that helps you get things done. We’re a grocery list app (for that new recipe you’re going to try) and a regular to do list app. Whatever you want to call us, we’re here to get it done!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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Tips for a Safe and Happy Halloween

Halloween gets most of its allure from the feeling of being one with the night. Taking to the streets collectively under the protection of a dark sky can feel like wicked fun no matter what age you are, but whether you’re going out with kids this year or on your own, there are a lot of safety precautions everyone needs to take to ensure a happy and safe Halloween.

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The first thing to do is arm yourself against the darkness. No, that’s not a line from the new “Star Trek” movie, but it should be your motto. Parents should always carry flashlights on Halloween (always pointed downwards so as not to blind or aggravate neighbors). Have kids wear glow sticks or glow necklaces. In addition, add reflective tape to their costumes. Understandably, kids may be resistant to adding tape to their costumes, so if yours looks like he or she is going to have a little meltdown at the thought of sticking things to their costume, then just put it on their trick-or-treat bag. As long as it’s somewhere on their person, there’s more of a likelihood that they’ll be seen even if there’s no moon.

Secondly, you want to bundle up. I was lucky enough to trick-or-treat in California all my life, so I never had to experience the dismay of having to wear a snow coat over my beautiful costume (though there was the infamous year where I cried about having to wear a sweater over my Cinderella costume and my mom compromised by letting me wear it over my shoulders. If you’re worried about your little one getting cold and refusing to put on a jacket, try layering under the costume as much as possible. Of course, if it’s already snowing where you are, you’ll probably need the snow jacket, but try to make the costume as visible as possible.

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If you plan on driving to a party Halloween night, drive with caution. This also goes for pedestrians crossing the street. Use cross walks, and be as visible as possible. Both parties need to understand that on a night like Halloween, everyone is responsible for being aware. Don’t started walking and assume you have the right of way or that the driver will see you. Remove any masks before crossing the street for better visibility/ability to see.

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Finally, the topic of candy. If you’re worried about your kids eating too much of it and getting sick, be sure that they have a good, filling dinner to keep them from going into a sugar frenzy later in the night. It’s a sad reality that every year, the news reports on yet another terrifying candy encounter. It’s a sad fact, but some people take advantage of the trick-or-treat tradition to do unspeakable and dangerous things. First, get rid of any candy that could be unwrapped and re-wrapped without notice (such as foil peanut butter cups, tootsie rolls or “Dum Dum” lollipops that feature the wrapper simply twisted around the stick). Secondly, be sure that your child knows to show you each candy before they eat it. Inspect it thoroughly, make sure it’s sealed properly and there are no small holes or unusual glue spots keeping the candy closed (may have been tampered with). Though you may caution them against eating too much, it’s very important that they not resort to sneaking candy. To be really safe, inspect all the candy on Halloween night just in case.

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Be sure to use SteerList, the free to do list and grocery list app to remember to pick up any last-minute candy to hand out or the glow sticks and reflective tape mentioned above. SteerList is also free, so consider it a special “treat” from us to you!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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