Family * Travel * Food

Unveiling the Benefits of Online Games for Adults

When it comes to online gaming, many people often associate it with a pastime for children and teenagers. However, the world of gaming extends far beyond the boundaries of age. In recent years, an increasing number of adults have discovered the joys and benefits of playing online games. Beyond mere entertainment, online gaming offers a range of advantages that can enhance cognitive abilities, foster social connections, and provide a much-needed break from the demands of daily life. In this blog post, we will explore some of the key benefits that adults can derive from playing online games.

Cognitive Enhancement:

Contrary to popular belief, playing online games can have a positive impact on cognitive abilities. Many games require strategic thinking, problem-solving skills, and quick decision-making, which stimulate and challenge the brain. Engaging in complex gameplay can enhance memory, attention span, and cognitive flexibility. Furthermore, some games specifically target cognitive skills, such as puzzle-solving or memory training games, which can help improve mental agility and keep the mind sharp.

Stress Relief and Relaxation:

Modern life often brings a significant amount of stress and pressure. Playing online games provides a much-needed escape from the daily grind, offering relaxation and stress relief. Immersing oneself in a virtual world can help reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and temporarily alleviate the burden of real-life responsibilities. Engaging in enjoyable activities, such as gaming, triggers the release of endorphins, which contribute to a sense of well-being and happiness. 

I stumbled upon a game online called Pizza Chief, and started playing it last week. It's a super simple game to play that required you to arrange the pizza toppings on a blank pizza to match the sample pizza above it. The higher the levels you get, the more challenging it becomes. It definitely serves as a fun way to relax and enjoy some me time. This particular game has upbeat yet calming music in the background. If sounds are not your thing, you can disable that feature. 

Social Interaction and Community Building:

Online gaming is not just about playing against the computer; it often involves connecting with other players from around the world. Many online games offer multiplayer features, enabling players to interact, collaborate, and compete with each other. This social aspect of gaming can foster the development of new friendships, build communities, and provide a sense of belonging. Joining guilds or clans within games can create a supportive network of like-minded individuals who share common interests and goals.

Skill Development:

Playing online games can also lead to the acquisition and refinement of various skills. Cooperative multiplayer games, for instance, promote teamwork, communication, and coordination. Competitive games can enhance strategic thinking, adaptability, and the ability to perform under pressure. Moreover, some games require the mastery of specific technical skills, such as problem-solving, resource management, or hand-eye coordination. These skills can be transferable to real-life situations and even have professional applications. 

Speaking of hand-eye coordination, this game called Hidden Food will challenge you in that area. I was playing this one and started to sound like my teenage son when he yells and squeals while playing video games. 

You can check out the Hidden Food Game online for FREE. I think I need to start playing this one at night since it helps me cycle down from my busy days. 

Continuous Learning and Adaptation:

Online games often provide immersive environments with complex narratives and mechanics, encouraging players to learn and adapt. Many games require the acquisition of new knowledge, understanding of game mechanics, and constant adaptation to changing circumstances. This continuous learning process enhances cognitive flexibility, creativity, and the ability to adapt to new situations. It promotes a growth mindset, where individuals are motivated to improve their skills, overcome challenges, and strive for personal growth. 

Online gaming is not limited to a specific age group, and adults can reap numerous benefits from engaging in this form of entertainment. The cognitive enhancement, stress relief, social interaction, skill development, and continuous learning offered by online games make them a valuable pastime for adults. However, it is essential to maintain a healthy balance between gaming and other aspects of life to ensure overall well-being. So, why not explore the vast world of online games and discover the joys and advantages that await you?


3 Beginner Tips To Help You Master the Art of Horse Riding

Are you hoping to pick up horse riding as a hobby? Whether you’ve dabbled in horse riding in the past and have recently decided to get serious about it or whether you’re a total newcomer to the sport, there are several important tips that can help you learn the ropes of this unique hobby quickly. Take a look at these three tips that can help beginners quickly master the art of horse riding. 

1. Prepare With All the Necessary Accessories and Safety Gear

Before getting on a horse, it’s important to make sure you’re properly prepared with all the necessary horse jump accessories and other safety gear essentials you may require. This gear can help keep you and the horse safe in the event of an accident and is an absolute must for both beginners and those riding at a more advanced level. If you’re just now shopping for your safety gear and other basics, make sure to pick up:

  • Helmets
  • Knee pads and elbow pads
  • Sturdy riding boots
  • Riding gloves
  • A safety vest
  • Riding pants

2. Practice Getting On and Off Your Horse

Although it may sound simple, beginners may need a little practice mounting and dismounting a horse. Spend a little time just practicing this one skill before moving on to others. To successfully get on your horse, you should:

  • Start from the left side of your horse
  • Hold the reins loosely in your left hand
  • Start by putting your left foot in the stirrup and step up
  • Swing your other leg over the horse and take your seat carefully

3. Take Lessons and Practice Essential Horse Riding Skills

Lastly, you may want to consider starting off your riding days with some professional lessons to help you master the basic skills you need to know. Having a strong foundation can help set you up for quick progress. You can opt for individual or group lessons for beginners that can help you learn more about:

  • Trotting and walking
  • Trail riding
  • Standing quietly
  • Mounting and dismounting
  • Slow reversal
  • Side-passing

Learning to ride horses as a hobby can help you stay in shape, bond with these majestic animals and enjoy a time-honored tradition. If you’re a beginner, these top tips can help you master the basics of horse riding in no time. Make sure you have all the safety gear you need, practice mounting and dismounting and consider taking lessons to move from beginner to pro at a steady pace.


3 Benefits of Owning a Horse

Are you searching for a new hobby that will occupy your time and provide joy? Owning a horse is an extraordinarily fulfilling way to spend your time. Every day is an adventure with these beautiful animals. The gratification of training them and seeing their improvement in different areas is one of the best feelings in the world. Here are three ways owning a horse can enhance your quality of life.
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1. Better Physical Health

Are you looking for a way to tone your body and get more exercise? Your core and back muscles are constantly engaged while riding horseback. Your arm and leg muscles are also being activated, so you get a full-body workout each time you ride.

Along with building muscle, you can improve your overall physical skill. Galloping and using horse jump equipment during training helps to improve your balance and coordination. These are just a handful of the numerous benefits to your physical strength, stamina and endurance.
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2. Increased Accountability

Horses require a lot of attention and care which instills accountability in their owners. People who own horses tend to be more responsible individuals. Various challenges are sure to arise when you own a horse, be they behavioral or health-related. To find a solution, you need to be willing to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Good owners hold themselves accountable to provide proper care.

You can apply these skills to other parts of your life. Whether it is becoming a reliable, dedicated worker at your job or keeping everything together at home. You become accountable because you care about the well-being of your horses.

3. Improved Mental Health

Doctors attest that spending time outdoors and getting plenty of fresh air has a positive impact on the mind. This can be a great way to get the stresses of the day out and use your time in a healthy way. Training, riding and taking care of a horse can all help build self-confidence, too. Horses also make excellent companion animals because they are very intuitive creatures, so spending time with them can be therapeutic and beneficial for cognitive dexterity in general.
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While horse ownership is a tremendous responsibility, it can also be incredibly rewarding. The challenges involved are outweighed by the wonderful memories that are made during the time spent together daily. Horses are intelligent beings, and the companionship they offer can provide joy in your life. Apart from the tangible benefits you receive, the bond you develop together over time is priceless.

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Are Aquarium Fish Good Pets For Kids?

Plenty of studies have shown the positive impacts of having pets for your children. Not only does having pets provide health related benefits but they also provide them with a great learning experience. Children with pets are said to be more kind, loving and tend to become more responsible. These are some of the reasons in getting a pet for your kids.

But often times due to several reasons (like allergies) parents don’t get a feline or a canine creature for their kids. So what other options are available for these parents? If your kid hasn’t owned a pet before, then fish would be a good option to consider.

Fish can prove to be amazing pets if taken care of properly. However, without careful consideration, you could end up with the wrong fish for your kids.

Albeit, keeping fish as a pet will instill responsibility and ownership in your kids, not every species of fish is meant to be kept as a pet by kids.

Quite a lot of breeds require way more attention and commitment than others. Knowing which fish would be ideal for your kid is the building block in the process of being able to provide your kid with the perfect pet fish.

Once you have decided on letting your children keep fish as pets, you need to prepare your aquarium for them so that the fish have a safe and secure enclosure.
Initially, regardless of what tank you think of purchasing, you’ll need to be patient. Prior to adding fish to your aquarium, you’ll ideally need to wait for around two weeks. This is because the filter needs to produce the healthy bacteria that will aid in removing the fish waste. If the fish tank’s not ready, the fish can die from ammonia poisoning.

You should discuss the importance of keeping the water tank clean with your kids. To make them responsible you can also ask them to clean the water tank themselves. However, if the aquarium is situated in a location which is not easily accessible for your children then its probably best you do it yourself. However, if it is easy to get to and your floor won’t be ruined by a few splashes then let your children take care of it.

Also make sure that you keep your kids well informed on the dangers of overfeeding the fish. This could also cause the ammonia levels to rise which could cause your fish to perish. You can also come up with a chart which has details of what every person in the family is responsible for and put it on the fridge.

The kind of fish you should get for your children can vary, as discussed before, it’d be best if you get a low maintenance fish for your children. But you should also make sure to get a strong and healthy breed of fish which can survive harsher conditions in its enclosure, because if it dies your children could get really upset.

Think about getting a few fish instead of just one. It is always fun to have a tank with plenty of fish to look at and your children will also have a good time watching them swim around. However, make sure that the aquarium is big enough to provide enough room for a few fish in lieu of just one. You should also consider getting colorful fish to keep your children attention. Unlike adults, kids don’t understand logic quite as well; they get attracted to whatever is aesthetically pleasing. Therefore you should get them the kind of fish they would appreciate the presence of instead of just giving them something they wouldn’t know the importance of.

Platys are a good option to look at because in addition to being hardy they are also compatible with other fish which makes them a suitable option for your aquarium.
Apart from Platys, Swordtails are also a good option to consider. They are colorful, hardy and also very playful which makes them a lot of fun to watch.

It is probably best to get your children involved right from the start, from when you get the aquarium so that they feel the ownership of it and become responsible. Tell them about how everything works and what the benefits of doing some things are.


Ordering Trees Online- Is it Legit?

Have you ever considered ordering trees or plants online before, but was a bit skeptical? We have been planting trees in our yard since removing the old, overgrown ones. Thankfully for us, we were super lucky to score trees on clearance at our local home improvement stores. So far we have several evergreens, a corkscrew willow and a weeping cherry. Now that the pretty trees are in the ground, we decided on a pretty shade tree. I did many hours of research online and read probably close to one hundred reviews.

We finally settled on getting a Tulip Poplar tree. I went to a few local places and they wanted anywhere from $109-$170 for one. This didn't include delivery or planting. I'm sorry, that was just way too much for one tree. After getting the other ones for so little, I got spoiled and didn't want to spend a lot. I decided to take a chance and order a tulip poplar online for way less than half the cost of what I found locally. The company I used is actually located in SC about an hour from where I live, so this made me feel a little better. I figured if the trees are grown and harvested in SC, then they should be able to thrive. Here is what I got...

I was so thrilled to see how well the tree was packed and that it arrived in excellent shape. I ordered a 4-5 foot tree and got exactly that! The tulip poplar is expected to grow up to 30-50 feet with about 5-7 feet of growth each year. In the spring, it will have bright yellow tulip-like flowers that attract hummingbirds. The leaves will be big and broad, perfect for shade all summer long. In the fall, the leaves are supposed to turn a very bright yellow. It will be beautiful for all seasons! If you want to know where I ordered the tree from, send me an email.

My little guy was so excited to help his dad plant the tree while I supervised. Now we just have to keep it watered and watch it grow. I will post an update later in the year to let you all know how she's doing :)

We got a moss ball!

Did  you see this post last week? If so, then this post will make sense to you. I got a moss ball for the fish tank. It is so nice to see the pretty glass pebbles instead of that icky algae. If the moss balls weren't $8 each, I would have gotten about 3. We will see how it goes. So far all of the fish haven't bothered it and it looks cool. It reminds me of a felt ball. Let's hope it helps to keep the algae out of the tank :) 
Do you have any experience with moss balls?
Shelly, Mom Files

You learn something new every day

You are probably looking at this photo and saying, "What in the world?" Looks pretty crazy. An Outback Steakhouse bag as a decoration? Is this a new trend?
Actually, it is a makeshift fix for a pesky problem we have been trying to resolve.  Behind the bag is William's fish tank. We went into the pet store a few days ago to purchase a couple algae eaters and some algae removing stuff. The gravel and ornaments in the tank were slowly getting covered in algae and we knew we had to do something soon. After getting our fish and water treatment, we headed over to the check-out counter.  The cashier asked me if I was trying to get rid of algae in a fish tank. I told her yes and she politely asked if I would like to hear some advice. I accepted and listened. She was very animated and seemed to know her stuff. She suggested some non-chemical methods for me to try and see if they would work. She explained the ins and outs of algae and asked me how often I turn on the light in the aquarium. I told her I had a day and night light and that I run it 24/7. Well.... she told me that was what my problem was. Too much light has been feeding the algae and allowing it to grow. OOPS! That explained it all right there!

She went on to tell me what steps to take. Of course the obvious thing was to turn the light off. She said to only run it at night, maybe 6-8 hours. Next she suggested that I cover the tank in a blanket for 3-5 days without any light and see if that kills the algae. No lie, I looked at her 10 kinds of crazy. A blanket? She told me that if that didn't work then my other option was a moss ball. I noticed them around the store, but didn't know what they were. Here is an example of what a moss ball looks like:
They are supposed to absorb nitrates and prevent algae. Her last bit of advice was to use a chemical although she was against it. I decided to try her blanket idea... hence the Outback bag. Guess what? Blocking all the light for 3 days now has stopped the algae from growing and it is almost all gone! I plan to remove the bag tomorrow and will purchase a moss ball this weekend. I wish I could remember the young lady's name or face so I could thank her for her wonderful advice! I just love home remedies and I certainly learned a whole lot in the process :) 
Shelly, Mom Files

Most husbands have a beer fridge. Look what mine has...

Our family took a trip to Charlotte a couple weekends ago to celebrate William's 5th birthday. Our first stop was the Bass Pro Shop. Actually, we went there 3 times that day! It is Dwayne and William's favorite store. I think they could spend hours in there if you let them. They both enjoy father and son fishing time so me and the girls went our way and the boys stayed at Bass Pro Shop.
When we met back up, I see a styrofoam cooler in Dwayne's arms. I just gave him "the look" and he goes straight into "the pitch". He tells me that the fishing season was getting ready to start and how it would be a good idea to grow his own worms. **Insert stinky face here** Well what is a wife to do... you have to let men do man things from time to time. I listened to his very convincing pitch along with dozens of reasons why his idea was so brilliant. I let him purchase his funky little worm growing foolishness. I won't say that there wasn't any eye rolling involved. 

He ended up not being able to use the styrofoam cooler kit because it was too big for our mini-fridge so he use some of my old food storage containers instead. He poked tiny holes in the tops of the containers.  He purchased some sort of packing material that you add distilled water to that has the food the worms need inside the mix. All that was left was to add your own worms.  
It is all very disgusting to me but I am still amazed at how quickly they have multiplied! I won't talk about Dwayne's debacles with some escapees.
I have told him that as long as I don't have to do anything with his worm growing experiment, he can have at it. Of course the business man in him wants to start selling them. I can't deal with this dude sometimes! I suppose there are worse hobbies he could be into.
And yeah, he is that serious that he has dedicated "worm water". I just can't....

SO, what crazy little hobby does your spouse have?
Shelly, Mom Files

Wordless Wednesday | Lemon tree update

My dwarf Meyer lemon tree is still alive and look at the ginormous lemon on it! I brought it on before the first frost and it has been sitting in my office, by the window. It has lost all of its leaves except for three and I will be picking my fresh lemon this week. Just had to share!
Shelly, Mom Files

FREE American Girl dress and swimsuit patterns

For those crafty mamas out there, here is something you might like. FREE patterns for American Girl dolls clothing. You can get a download a pattern for a Drawstring Dress here and a swimsuit pattern here.

You can also receive two more free patterns for signing up for the newsletter from Liberty Jane Clothing. Just thought I would share! Enjoy :-)

Shelly, Mom Files

Adding to my cast iron cookware collection

If you have been a regular blog reader or you follow me on Facebook, then you would know how much I love to cook and bake. I have fallen in love with cast iron cookware in recent months. I currently own the big, two-sided griddle/grill, a small frying pan and now a large, deep pan (great for frying) and a shallow pan (great for steaks and for days when the big griddle is too much).

My hubby actually brought them home as a surprise. He bid on them and bought them at an auction. How thoughtful was that?! I am so excited that I have so many different size options and these will get plenty of use in the years to come. I am so happy they are pre-seasoned as well. Hopefully I will be able to properly maintain all of my pieces to be able to pass down to my kids. 

You will be seeing some upcoming recipe posts using my new pans in the near future :-)
Shelly, Mom Files


Isn't William the cutest fisherman? He is so content when he is out back with his daddy fishing. Look at the concentration face! They did catch some small fish. Of course I make them throw them back in the water. Mean momma! :)

Shelly, Mom Files

Meyer Lemon tree update one year later

I just had to share the latest update on my dwarf Meyer lemon tree that I planted last year. Thankfully it is thriving!! I was so afraid since over the winter months most of the leaves fell off and it looked kind of pathetic. I waited until the temperatures stayed above 55 degrees before taking it back outside. I added some more premium potting soil on top and fertilized it. After a few weeks and several rain showers later, I have a full bush that stands about 2 feet tall and it has actual blooms on it!
Do you see the little pink blooms? The tree is loaded with them! I will keep my fingers crossed that we will get some actual lemons this year. I am so excited and will be sure to post another update in a couple months. Hmm, I might have a little green hidden under my purple thumb after all!
I have been thinking about possibly planting a dwarf key lime tree. I guess I better see what happens with this one first and them go from there :)
Shelly, Mom Files

My latest Pinterest find

I love Pinterest. I can sit on the computer all day and Pin all sorts of things. A lot of times I Pin "wish list" items. On occasion I find things that I actually make or try. My favorite one recently was this recycled watering can. I was just nagging... informing my husband last week that I really needed a watering can for all of my plants I have on my deck and inside the house. I was thrilled to find this DIY idea that took no thought and cost nothing!
There are my office houseplants. Now watering them is so much easier.
I took a milk jug and rinsed it out thoroughly. I pierced holes in the cap with a corn holder. Since they have 2 sharp points, it made the process fast and easy. The result is a FREE watering can that may not be pretty but is environmentally friendly and does the trick. I have one in a half gallon size for my indoor plants and one in a gallon size for the outdoor plants.

What things have you found on Pinterest lately that you have tried or plan to try?
Shelly, Mom Files

New fish, Happy kid and the Pet Store Mafia

For William's 4th birthday we purchased him an aquarium. He has a slight obsession with fish so we figured it would be a great thing for him to have. We kept it simple and went with a 10 gallon tank but opted to get the better filtration and lighting system. When we purchased everything to set the tank up, the customer service people at the pet store were very knowledgeable and willing to answer questions and give advice. We always had an aquarium for the girls when they were younger and had great success with it. As a matter of fact, the fish would sometimes get so big that we would have to donate them to the classrooms at the school. We went ahead and started off with all of what we needed to set the tank up and get the water ready to add fish. Back in the day we added fish within 24 hours. Nowadays they recommend 3 weeks! 3 weeks?? Try telling that to a 4 year old!
How happy does he look? 
We went yesterday to purchase some fish and boy was William excited. He made up his own song about going to the pet store to buy some fish. Too funny! We decided on a few glofish in cool, neon colors, a couple "Mickey Mouse"platys and a couple fancy tetras. When I asked the person in that area for help in purchasing the fish he immediately had that "look" on his face. This is how the interrogation... um conversation went...

Fish guy: Do you have your tank set up?
Me: Yes.
FG: Are you sure it is done properly?
Me: Yes
FG: How many fish do you want?
Me: 6
FG: What size is your tank? (At this point he is in my face looking at me like he is a prosecutor or something)
Me: 10 gallons
FG: Hmm, okay. But remember the rules... 1 inch of fish per gallon. Then he stares at me all scary.
Me: Uh, okay

If you could have seen his body language and heard his tone you would have been afraid of even breathing the wrong way. Like the husband says, they are like undercover PETA representatives or something! DANG! I mean come on, they are just fish. If I choose to buy 50 of them then I should be allowed to do so.

In the end, our boy is completely happy and enjoying his new pets. He is so curious and asks a lot questions about his fish. We look forward to adding some more fun friends as time goes on. We might have to rethink where to buy them from so we don't feel like we might catch a beat-down from the pet store mafia! :)
Shelly, Mom Files

My newest favorite thing

If you know me personally or even through Facebook or Twitter then you know how much I love to cook. You also might know how much I love household gadgets and cookware. My latest addition to my kitchen is my dual-sided cast iron griddle/grill.
My hubby surprised me with it after I might have advertised all over Facebook how badly I wanted one. I squealed when I opened the box! I have already cooked up so many yummy dishes on it and have plans for so many more. One bad thing is that it weighs 16 pounds. It puts a lot of strain on my shoulders from cleaning it. It's worth it though. There is something so special about cooking on cast iron. I am wondering why it took me so long to learn this. I am going to the store either today or tomorrow to purchase a mini pan for cooking eggs and small things. The other evening I cooked up a couple dozen pancakes and my hubby told me they tasted like they came from a pancake restaurant!

Forget shoes and bags, bring on the cookware! Do you own any cast iron cookware? What are your favorite things to make?
Shelly, Mom Files

Lemon tree update #3

For those of you who have been following Momfiles for a while you might recall that I planted a Dwarf Meyer lemon tree back in May. It was wee bitty little thing (see picture below) and I was not sure if it would even grow. I updated again 7 weeks later and you were able to tell that it did indeed grow! I don't have a green thumb at all so I was really happy with the progress.

Well now I am happy to report that my little plant has turned into a bush! Look how big it got! It has now been 5 months and it is still doing well. I actually brought it indoors since our temperatures have been flip-floppy. I keep it in a sunny area of the house and plan to re-pot it in the early spring in a bigger container and return it to the outside deck. I actually found a little caterpillar that had fallen off of it and that explained why a few leaves were chewed up.

I may not get any lemons for a while, but I sure am thrilled that my plant is still alive :-)

Shelly, Mom Files

What William loves

Every single morning when William wakes up he goes into my bedroom and looks through my window. He tells his daddy that he loves to throw rocks in the water and catch a fish. He repeats this at least 6 times.
Since the weather has warmed up, Dwayne takes him out in the backyard to the water to throw a few rocks and to toss the line in (with a live worm). William will swear that he caught a fish. Poor guy, the fish are not biting quite yet. Dwayne can't wait for the day William pulls up his first real fish. I can hear William now saying "FISH ON!" Hopefully we will be able to get a photo or video when that day comes. I have a feeling it will be soon.
Shelly, Mom Files

Family trip to Bass Pro Shops in Concord, NC

10 years ago, our family visited the Bass Pro Shops store in Concord, NC. I took this photo of Dwayne and the girls. We all had such a wonderful time. Some great memories were made.

Now 10 years later, we have revisited the same place (this time with an additional family member). It seemed even bigger and better than we remembered! Our main purpose for going was for Dwayne to purchase Briahnna her very first fishing pole since she has shown interest in her dad's favorite sport.
Dwayne was really enjoying showing the kids the fish in the HUGE tank as well as all the cool gadgets that were on the showroom floor. Do you notice what is in William's hand? He never leaves home without it!

Look at this enormous catfish! I overheard a gentleman saying that it was likely a 130 pounder. You should have seen how many people were crowding around this area.

William really enjoyed seeing all the fishies. He was smiling from ear to ear :)

At one point I could not find Dwayne. He was tucked away in the fishing rods section. He was truly in his playground. He said that growing up, fishing kept him out of trouble. He wants to pass on his love for fishing to the kids. Chardie is more of a girlie girl like her momma so she said she would just watch.
We live on a big pond and Dwayne sometimes sneaks William out there (thinking I would not know) so that they could cast out a few lines. William loves it. When the weather warms up we plan to go check out some fishing spots in some of the state parks. Of course there better be a nice cabin with electricity if this girl is going to be convinced to partake!

Have you ever been to a Bass Pro Shops store before?

Shelly, Mom Files
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