August Birthdays

IMG_9634Sharing a family update today.  The end of summer is more then just busy with back to school, we have birthdays in our family.

Anyone else busy with August birthdays?

It’s a busy month, it’s not just summer holidays in the mix too.

Today is my birthday. A big shout out to all my other birthday buddies in the world.


Happy Birthday

3 years ago this date was also my seconds sons due date.  He is the only one of my kids that’s gone overdue, so thankfully we don’t share the same birthday. Having birthday’s close in the family makes for interesting family get together’s. I have lots of nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and cousins with August birthdays.

My Aunt and I share the same day!

Does being a year older make me wiser?  That always is my grandfathers question.  He’s 96 years old, I think so.

How I celebrate my birthday today is very different then how I used to. As a kid I counted down the days in August. A teenager, I learned where the present hiding spots where. End of August birthday also meant no one was around for your birthday party as they were all going on that one last holiday with the family.

When I graduated, it meant the first week of college was literally a week away. Just after I turned 22, I was getting married in a few short weeks.

For a short time when we first got married I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday, it’s just another day, NO IT’S NOT. Why bothering sharing this. Believing your not worth it is a dangerous mind set to live with.

Celebrate YOUR day. Your worth it.


Today, as I said, I’m celebrating differently then I used too.

I texted my husband spontaneously and we had lunch together as a family. Dream come true, that was never possible before. I put on my favorite earrings, summer dress and did my makeup. After lunch we picked out candies at the old fashioned store and sat at the park across the street and enjoyed our treats.

My oldest asked me today when my friends where coming over, “isn’t that what your supposed to do?“. I also bought a bunch of sunflowers from the flower stand in the little village.

“Mom, your friends are supposed to buy you flowers, not you”……

On the drive home I told him I was having lunch with my friends. It’s my hope that when your older you will see me more then just a parent but a friend you can always talk too.

Side note: Fighting in families isn’t fun, it makes for birthdays and other special occasions especially difficult.

The day isn’t over yet, looking forward to what’s ahead.

Again, if your birthday is today, August 28, HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Remember: celebrate YOUR day, YOUR worth it.

Home Tour update: I’ve learned attempting to photograph the kids rooms on top of regular family life is quite the challenge.  You will see more once it’s done.

It would be great if you could follow my blog. I also am on social media with Facebook and Instagram.

Have a great day, I know I will.





Home Tour

I’ll be doing a series of post with a Home Tour of our home. We are finally have the time  to start the much needed renovations. I’ll be sharing our Kitchen, Living Room and Upstairs bath.

Noteworthy Tip: If you are buying a home and it’s been “renovated”.  Take someone with you that’s done renovations or does renovations for their line of work.

No one wants to re -renovate a “reno”. 

Brief Background:

Since before my husband and I got married I’ve binged watched on home renovation shows. Have a huge appreciated the work of Interior Designers and their creativity with designing and Home Decor.

We live in the Fraser Valley, just outside of Vancouver BC. The housing market here is nuts. 4 years ago we sold our renovated townhouse and bought this house.

With our budget and the neighborhood we wanted to buy in, this was the right house for us. Since we had already done renovations with our first home our realtor knew he could show us homes that needed some much needed reno’s but still livable.

The only rooms that have done are the kids rooms.  Everything as you see in the photo’s is still as is.

The Kitchen – 1970’s anyone? This kitchen is hanging onto the 1970’s.


We suspect there was an attempt to paint the cabinets? I think that’s why there’s a 2 toned thing happening?  At some point this kitchen got a new counter top and flooring.

This kitchen may seem big, but this is it for cabinets, it’s a challenge for food storage.

Living Room


I’m not an expert on home decor or furniture. There’s lots of “styles” out there. Here you get a glimpse of what we like.  Home Decor and Furnishings can get expensive fast. Working at a home decor store and helping interior designers taught me that. I’ve done what I can currently with a limited budget to still have solid pieces.

When it comes to “styles”, I found this in one of my magazines which sums up what I think is my style. I would change the word cottage for country.

Rustic Cottage Style: Distressed paint, tarnished metal and reclaimed wood; collected antiques, heirlooms and flea market finds. This style is a reflection of a well-loved space with a story to tell that gets richer over time. Style at Home Magazine

There’s a lot in our living room of heirlooms, antiques that is well- loved with stories to tell. When it’s time to fully renovate the kitchen and living room, you will see the Rustic Country style more in our home.

Currently we have bought a custom designed couch and my hubby got his big leather chair. We are looking forward to the day we can get rid of the carpet.


Upstairs Bathroom

On the listing for this house, it claimed to have an updated bathroom. This was the first house we settled with living with someone else’s DIY Reno.  This is why I shared my noteworthy tip in the beginning.

Our realtor commented we weren’t his usual clients and picked out things most people wouldn’t.

You learn a lot about a house when you renovate one.


The blue, in my opinion is intense. It’s on the ceiling too. I’m glad my decor from our townhouse fit in. I also found a shower curtain that works with this space.


I’m not a pro photographer, this picture was hard to take.

This bathroom is functional (ish). We have gotten used to the outdoor tile on the floor. I’m surprised the cabinet doors and drawers are holding up, considering the granite (I’ve learned to dislike) is custom fitted. The under mount sink also doesn’t fit the counter top, it’s a mold fest under there.  We’ve stopped trying to fix the drain plug.

What’s next?

We’ve been shopping for supplies and this weekend will be moving things around to start making this place more our own.

If you have been reading my blog, you will know Music is a big part of my life.  To give a hint of the space we are updating, you will notice my piano isn’t in these pictures.

My Piano is in the area of the kitchen.

When the renovation is done I’ll post a before and after. 

Until then I’ll give a tour of the kids rooms. I love how our boys room turned out. I’ve already shared on Instagram a sneak peak.

If you haven’t already, Please follow my blog and for more everyday living of what I’m up to you can follow me on Instagram or like my page on Facebook.


Camping mistakes and how to avoid them

Summer 2009 023_LIMy husband and I have been camping, mostly with our tent, for 10 years.  We’ve made some camping mistakes over the years. Most of this happened in our early years of marriage, communication might have played a part.  Either way we have learned from the mistakes and our love for camping hasn’t deterred us.

Camping Mistake #1: Not making a packing list

This might be super simple and complete common sense. I just need to share that on one of our first trips ever camping together I thought I had packed everything from my list that I kept in my head.2009 Random 161 (2)

Somehow I didn’t mentally check off pillows and condiments for our hot dogs, to name a few things. This happened at Weaver Lake BC at the forestry campsite. A convenience store is just “down the road”. Also our site was covered in bugs that got into EVERYTHING.

Make a packing list. 

Start with basics and as things pop up in your head, WRITE IT DOWN. As you pack cross it off.

Camping Mistake #2: Not checking the weather ahead of time

We didn’t do this on another one of our earlier trips and didn’t know that at night the temperature was going to go below zero. Everyone else was in RV’s and giving my husband funny looks as he set up the tent. The resort on the other side of the lake liked our business as we ended up renting a cabin for the rest of the trip.

Check the weather, just do it……

Camping Mistake #2: Not researching or reserving campgrounds

We definitely have a list of campgrounds we will NOT camp at again.  The location we will go back to but we will be reserving a campsite at a different campground.2009 Random 255 (2)

In my top places to camp in BC and Alberta I mentioned Tofino.  Yes, we will go back, it’s amazing there.  But we will be booking ahead. We had such a bad experience at the campground we stayed at we actually cut our losses and left early.

This happened….the entire town ran out of water. We happened to score the best tent site. We weren’t camping in the open field and having to parallel park our vehicle in front of our site, like everyone else.

Research and Reserve

Despite all the above, we’ve made some great memories and so fun stories that my husband likes to bug me about.

I’ll never hear the end of the story another time we didn’t research and reserve and ended up tenting BESIDE an active train yard. By the way a long coal train backing up sounds like a shot gun going off over 100 times. Somehow my husband, who is a deep sleeper, was asleep and I woke him up, that wasn’t a good idea.

I hope this is helpful.  As someone who didn’t grow up camping I’ve learned from these mistakes. We’ve learned as a couple to communicate better and just about do all the packing together so nothing is missed and spend the weeks ahead of a trip planning.

Plus they make great stories around the campfire while camping.

Happy Camping

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Top Places to Camp in Alberta and BC

Here’s my list of “Top places to camp in BC and Alberta”.

I have Family in Alberta and I went to college there. Now I live back in the Fraser Valley and we like to explore lots of different places with our family.

1: Banff, Alberta

Our honeymoon was in Banff.Honeymoon 062

Obviously the first time we stayed in a nice hotel….the next time we stayed at the provincial campground. Ironically the campground is right beside the resort we originally stayed at.

Expect to see lots of wildlife. We witnessed a LARGE bull elk chase (thankfully not charge) a nature photographer; we wondered why he was packing up and moving so fast. I’m guessing the photographer got to close to his ladies.

This area has A LOT to tour around and see. We stayed for a week and did lots of excursions. We did go outside of Banff for Horse Back Riding in Kananaskis.  

This will probably be the one and only time I’ll ever get my husband on a horse.

The top thing to do there is the glass elevator that takes you to the top of Sulphur Mountain (pictured above). The view is incredible. You really get a bird’s eye view of the Rocky Mountains, it can’t get better then that.

2: Waterton Lake National Park, Alberta

I’ve been to Waterton a couple of times.  IMG_5247

The last time, my brother got married IN Waterton Lake Park. It’s quite something to watch my husband be in the wedding party and have pictures taken in such a picturesque place.

Camping at the campground we saw LOTS of deer and even a few foxes running around. While we were there a bear was trapped in town and got relocated.

We plan to go back. We haven’t done the boat cruise yet. Plus, we love this photo.

3: Osoyoos, BC

I mentioned in Camping Adventures, about family camping in Osoyoos.  It’s tradition.  My husband’s family has been camping with his mom’s childhood friends from high school since they all got married (I think?).Osoyoos_003

What started out as 3 families camping, became 11 (last time I counted), adding in the extended. Let’s just leave it at, it’s a LOT of people.  It’s taken me some time to get used to it.

In camping adventures I mentioned I didn’t grow up camping. Camping with extended family is a little different then just with your own family, or my husband and I doing our own trip. It’s fully worth it for the memories that are made.

Osoyoos, like Banff, has lots to see and do. I love to go trail riding.  There’s wine tasting tours and of course boating, to name a few.

I could go on….It’s a great place.

Noteworthy Tip: Book ahead if you want to get a good campsite.

4: Tofino, BC

I’ve been to Tofino as a kid.  My highlight on that trip was flying on a float plane over the ocean and seeing the coastline. Having a father with a private pilot licence, those are the “tourist” things we did sometimes.

2009 Random 257My husband and I went to Tofino in our first year of being married. We had a great time and the WORST time here. I’ll explain more in my “camping mistakes” post, coming soon.

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Yes, the views are incredible and I had no idea BC could become more beautiful.

I thought Banff with the Rocky Mountains was amazing. The campground we stayed at was right on the beach. They had a mini trail and there was the beach (pictured above) and the ocean.

We plan to go back, when it works for our family.

5: Harrison, BC

IMG_1427This place is close too home and if you haven’t visited here, you will want to come back. My number one place on the list was Banff; Lake Louis isn’t far from there.

If you like Lake Louis, Harrison Lake is the BC version.

However, we don’t camp at the lake.  We camp at a friend’s private property, not accessible to the public on the river.  The picture above is taken on the river. That water is beautiful.

IMG_9229I have so many memories of this place and I haven’t camped there near as much as my husband did during his childhood, I can see why it’s one of his favorites and becoming one of mine.

We only go when our friends are going, but camping is just that much better with friends anyways.

My sons favorite bear has the best view from our recent trip. The kids love this place too.

There are lots of other campgrounds to go to or hotels to stay at. We’ve stayed at the Hot’s Springs Hotel for our anniversary a couple times. A Breakfast buffet with a view of the lake, is a nice perk along with the hot springs pools.

I think I’ve officially written my longest blog post.  I’ll stop here.

Comment if you have visited any other these places?  Love to hear from you.

Remember, “Camping Mistakes” is coming up.

If you want to read about Tofino being one of the Worst….subscribe.

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Camping Adventures

Camping Adventures

Camping Adventures, is something I didn’t grow up with but have grown to love.

On the first couple dates with my husband we both said we said we liked the “outdoors”, but we both had different ideas on what “outdoors” meant.

I grew up in the country and love to be outside in the yard, with animals or gardening.  To him outside is hiking, camping, and fishing to name a few things.

The only “outside” thing we had in common, at that time, was hiking.

The more we got to know each other it didn’t take long and I was heading up to Osoyoos with him and his family, camping.  That was just the beginning of our time together and the many camping adventures ahead.

Osoyoos (11)

Since being married I still can’t believe we’ve been officially tenting for just over 10 years. We have worn out his old tent and some camping gear.  Bought a bigger tent, that my husband could stand up it (it’s a must have when your over 6 feet tall).

Recently we purchased a travel trailer; you can see that in my “Travel Trailer Tour”.


We have had our share of camping mistakes; remember I didn’t grow up camping. Learning to get to know each other and communication might have something to do with those mistakes.

 “Camping Mistakes” 

Post coming soon….

We also have camped at many places here in BC and some in Alberta.  It’s hard to choose a favorite place as there’s many we would love to go back too. One main place we go is Osoyoos, we camp with family.

This Year we got to start new adventures with our new trailer.  Plus we are camping as a family of 5.

“Camping with Kids”

 “Places to go camping in BC”

Posts are coming soon……..

This past weekend we went camping, yes, we have a 5 week old Baby.  We never would have camped with a newborn before.

I’m looking forward to more camping adventures, especially with our trailer.

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Summer Music Practice Sheet

Summer Music Practice SheetSummer is finally here at our home in the Fraser Valley.  We have had some cloudy cold and windy days lately.

Today the sun is shining.

I’m excited about today’s post.  I have a resource for anyone who has a kid in music and how to keep them playing over the summer.

It all started when I saw a YouTube video for a Summer Clipboard system.  I’ll add the link below. If this lady has it figured out for her 5 kids (soon to be 6) then this system must work.

We started out with our summer bucket list.  It didn’t take long and we have a FULL list, of small items and big ones. I have to say, now that it’s written out, we’ve talked about it and we see it every day in our kitchen it’ll keep my husband and I accountable to follow through.

We made sure to keep most of this list cost friendly expect for some bigger items.

In the video where I got the free printables from she showed one of her son’s lists and there was a thing for soccer kicks.

Our son is in soccer this summer as well, so I added that to his list.


He was also in Piano Lessons this past year.

My house and family isn’t as big as Jordan’s from Fun Cheap of Free so I didn’t use one of her printables.

Instead, I made a music one for my son and I’m actually making one for myself.  I have it available for FREE as well.

I called it a practice sheet in the title, as that’s what this would traditionally be called, I find ‘music play list” is more fun for summer for kids.

Here’s the Summer Music Play List

Summer Music Practice Sheet


I kept it very simple with only having 6 things. It honestly isn’t that much. So long as he plays one thing a day I’m happy.

I have things like:

  • Play a song from your book
  • Play a scale
  • Make up a song (My son LOVES this one)
  • Memorize a song or section
  • Play for someone (I have a video of him playing for his baby sister)
  • Bonus: Do a mini recital

Want to use this but aren’t sure what to include on it? Ask their piano teacher OR go through their practice notebook from their weekly lessons to get ideas.

For me the point is to keep them playing and to make it fun. It helps them not loose what they have learned over the summer.

Let me know if you used it?

If you have a hard time printing it please contact me and I’ll e-mail it to you.

Here’s Jordan Page’s video from Fun Cheap or Free.

Happy Canada Day


Canada Day
6 year old helped make this graphic!

Happy Canada Day

from our


 Family home to you!

It’s here, the long weekend. I’m so happy my husband is home and we get to be together as a family.

Our Canada Flag (pictured below) has been hanging in the front of our house since spring.  The flag post holder and flag was his father’s day gift last year.

My husband is very proud to be able to hang the Canada flag all spring, summer and a bit of fall, until I tell him, it needs to come down.

It just so happens to a cold and rainy weekend, typical BC, Fraser Valley weather.  Last year was HOT and we got to join friends for the Canada Parade.

This year we are keeping it pretty low key.  Plus, I can’t fit my Canada Clothes I bought last year.  Shopping this morning I spotted a Canadian onesie for our new little one.  I didn’t buy it – because she JUST grew out of preemie clothes, there’s always next year.

Tonight we are having BBQ’d burgers for dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast will include bacon.

Our Canada Day won’t include the parade this year as we will be in Church.  We intend to see family tomorrow and get to be together as a family.  Hopefully get to see some extended family from my side when they arrive.

I can only imagine next year will include the Parade, More BBQ and family time.

Thankful to have been born here in Canada, it’s a great place to have grown up and now have a family to raise.

Enjoy your weekend!


Career Path in Music

Career Path in Music

I advertise on my blog bio and on my social media pages that one of my topics is music. Here’s a brief intro about my career path in music.

‘Career Path’ is a great way to describe having a career…..we are all on a path.

Graduating high school in 2004, I went straight to college for a career in Music.  If you’re just finishing high school and want a career in music, it’s possible.  I played piano as a kid and in high school played mainly flute and clarinet (for a short time) in band.

Many people can question if you can ‘make money’ with a career in Music or seem unsupportive, but you know yourself best and what’s the right fit for you. I knew I played music well and was a passion for me.

I graduated Keyano College’s Musical Instrument Repair program (no longer available) in 2006.

Carries Pictures 234

I went to work in Vancouver right from college and apprenticed under a well-known Repair Technician and Musician, Bob Mac Donald. Bob became unwell shortly after I started working with him. In 2008 Bob, my music mentor and friend passed away, shortly after I left the shop.

I got married that fall and after working in another shop (closer to home), I learned working for someone else shop wasn’t for me. I closed up my toolbox and went back to school to become an Educational Assistant.

Even though I stepped away from a career in music, music has never left me.

I’ll admit, playing music wasn’t the same as fixing instruments, I missed it (I didn’t realize it at the time). So I stayed playing for church on a worship team. As I said before, you know yourself best and what’s the right fit for you. You will see more what I mean below when I talk about family.

2014 is the year we decided to sell our townhouse and move into a bigger house. We already had one child and wanted to continue to grow our family.

After house hunting for a long time, when I walked through the basement in our current home I saw my shop. My kids call it “mom’s garage”.  I’m still working to make this space mine and figure out how to make it fit.  It’s an awkward storage spot in our home.

Now that we are done having kids I finally feel ready to open my tool box again and expand my knowledge with tuning pianos. As I said before “working in a shop wasn’t for me”.

Having my own business/shop fits my life for my family.

Today I’m continuing to go on my path with a career in music.

Plantinga Music – is coming in the near future.

Theresa Lynn Photography 023-21.jpg

Last year I was making steps to get my music business started. Getting photos done was one of those things. Favorite memory was getting asked by someone if I played with the symphony, ummm no.

Thank You to Theresa Lynn Photography for doing this Photo Shoot at the River.

Shortly after taking the photo’s we became pregnant, so I had to put working on the business on hold for a bit. I started up this blog in the meantime, when it’s monetized, income from this blog will help our family and get tools/supplies for my shop.

You can follow my music adventures on: Instagram @plantinga_music 

I’m still working out this new “fit” with a young family.  One way I know I can make it fit is post useful and noteworthy tips for Music on the blog.

If you have any questions about my career path in music or a topic you want me to write about on the blog please contact me.





Homemade Grapevine Wreath

Homemade GV Pic 2

I’m excited to start sharing some of the things I’ve been making and re-purposing in my home. I shared this in my DIY – Sneak Peak this grapevine wreath. I already knew  I was going to start with this DIY when I ask;

‘Which one do you want me to share first?’

Since moving into our current home I was happy to find out that our new neighbors love gardening like I do. They have a very healthy grapevine growing alongside the fence that goes between our properties.

How Healthy was this grapevine?

With help from my mom, (how taught me canning), we made 26, 1 cup jars worth of grape jelly.

We couldn’t eat it all so we gave lots of it out as gifts to family and friends.

Canned Grape Jelly Pic

Back to the wreath…..

I noticed there was vines growing most of our backyard length, Like 20 – 30 feet long.

I cut 2 of these 20 – 30 foot lengths and attempted to wrap it into itself.

I love that it’s not “perfectly round” like craft wreaths from the store.


Current cost at this point: FREE

I was super happy how it turned out.  I had already purchased the leaves from the dollar store for another decor project.

I used wire to attach the leaves. Then used some twine to hang it up and my mantel was ready for fall.


I was so happy with how it turned out.  If you haven’t caught on, I like to make things with little cost possible.

Here’s other versions of the wreath

I have been using floral from the dollar store and more wire to continue to make these.


Here’s the final result: Spring Wreath


I loved how it went above my old keyboard.

When I remade my spring wreath it went on my front door.

It’s the same picture from my other post and my “welcome home” one.  Here it is again.


Close up you can see it’s not perfectly round.  From a distance you can’t tell.

I’m actually taking this one down as summer is here.  You will see in the near future what I plan to do with the flowers in another DIY soon.

If you can’t make one I would recommend this one from Amazon:

Additional Tips:

  • If you want to make one? Find a friend or family member of someone in your community who has a grapevine.
  • Please ask permission once the grapevine is done producing.
    • I cut it once the leaves fell off.
  • Cut off 20 -30 foot lengths (if possible).
    • Shorter lengths will make the wreath smaller.
  • The grapevine will still be green on the inside so it’ll be easier to bend it.
  • If the skin splits – don’t worry.
    • The green part will dry out and become brown.
  • It will dry out and seem brittle, but it dried this way so I don’t see it breaking.
    • I’ve had mine for 3 years and it hasn’t broken.

Another Fall Version


Let me know if you made one?

I would love to know how it turned out.

10 Father’s Day Reflections

Notefull living (3)Father’s Day is almost here again!

I love this photo for this blog post.  My first vision board I cut pasted a similar photo. Without realizing it I took the photo in the frame of my husband and our oldest on a camping trip.

This picture is a favorite to everyone in our home and sits on our bookshelf.

Following up with my Mother’s Day top 10 list it only makes sense to write a Father’s Day one.

I’ll keep this short and straight to the point. This list like the other one also reflects things I learned from my own dad but also other “dad’s” in my life.

I just want to make a quick mention I have a huge respect for men out there that long to be fathers.

10 Fathers Day Reflections:

1: How to use an Ax:  With a wood stove growing up, it only made sense all of us knew how to split firewood and make kindling.

2: Start a fire: Remember the wood stove from the first one…..or you taking a hot water bottle to bed and wearing extra layers.

Carries Pictures 501_LI
First Car and first accident. My dad helped me buy this car and…..fix it up.

3: Drive a standard: Well, we had farm vehicles on our property so I knew at a young age the concept….but my first car I learned on and owned was a standard.

4: Life’s an Adventure: As kids we had mini-bikes, go-carts, dune buggies, airplanes….

Let me take a moment to explain the airplanes.  Not model planes (yes we had those too), my dad built ultralights and we had to mow a runway in the field so he could fly and take us up in the sky.  Childhood memories were more adventures then just a memory.

5: Love your kids unconditionally: No matter what “worldly crap” your kids get themselves into.

Their still your kids, you still love them (even if you don’t say it).

6: Being There: Simply showing up when tragedy strikes for family and friends.

7: Hard working provider:  I was blessed with having a stay at home mom with all the work my dad did.

8: Demonstrating an incredible example of marriage vows: When they say “through sickness and health”, I’ve known and witnessed men in our family and stuff I’ve been through that my husband that these men have stood by, no matter what.

9: Family Leadership: Broken marriages aren’t something that’s common in either of my family or my husbands. I strongly believe that has in part to do with the strong family leadership in our families.

Personal Aside: I’m aware not all families have Family Leadership – It’s something that’s not respected as much in our society anymore. Working to make a difference and making that happen for your family or future family is fully possible. I got to share at my husband’s grandfathers 80th birthday to the whole family and said this, “It shows the great family leadership you demonstrate for your family or they wouldn’t all be here”.  My husband’s extended family gets together lots, it’s not something you see or hear about anymore.

10: Family Legacy:  Similar to family leadership it’s great to watch my husband who is now a Father, live out his family legacy.

Father’s Day might not be easy for everyone, we aren’t perfect people and we all make mistakes.

I hope reading this posts helps see the positive moments from the rough ones.

Happy Father’s Day.


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