“No rest for the wicked”

I’ve been in church for many years now, and never heard this cliche’…but while growing up in an “unchurched” household I heard my step-dad quote this often. I never really knew what it referred to or what it meant until I looked it up today. It has biblical roots!! My step-dad always quoted it when we were BUSY or when LIFE seemed HECTIC. But, I never knew until today that it was in reference to HELL and the torment that we would suffer there! Hmmmmmm….the reason I found this so interesting was because my step-dad was not a church going man or what I would consider to be religious or spiritual in ANY WAY! So what does this have to do with my post today, you might ask?

Well, I guess the only thing it has to do with it – is that I’ve been extremely busy and have not been able to meet my weekly goal of posting to my blog like I promised. Therefore, I was going to say (as my step-dad often said, when busy)…there’s been “no rest for the wicked”…but I don’t like confessing that over myself or claiming to be wicked…since I really consider myself “too blessed to be stressed”…Yeah, I like that one better!

It’s been crazy! I’m having a good month. There’s something to be said for having a little downtime (as I did in December) to plan your goals for the New Year and to figure out how you want to do things differently from the past.

1) First, of course (as with most) it began with some healthy lifestyle goals: Gym 2014 me

I don’t take “selfies” so all you get is a shot of my knees working out! But, it’s been challenging to say the least! I posted about my first week of success on Jan. 10th. You can read about it here: http://dancingthruyears.com/2015/01/10/weight-loss-myths-other-misc-mumbo-jumbo/

My second week didn’t go as well. I maintained, but didn’t lose anything. After some reflection and introspection I realized that although my morning workout routine was consistent and improving, my eating, food planning, low fat cooking, etc needed some tweaking! Probably my biggest challenge is that I enjoy eating out and often don’t make wise choices when I do. I also have a hubby that doesn’t eat healthy and rarely wants to eat chicken or fish, so if I’m going to eat healthy it means I fix two meals (one for him and one for me). So, my third week was better with a loss of 2.8 lbs. I have to stay on top of things or I just gain and lose the same 5 or 10 lbs. over and over again. Ugh!

So in week three I made a big pot of 5 ingredient soup: Simple, fast, and high in protein & fiber….5 ingredeient soup

If you are watching your intake of sodium, it might not be the best recipe (all canned stuff), but could easily be adapted using fresh or frozen ingredients: 1 can of chili beans, 1 can of black beans, (drained & rinsed), 1 can of corn, 1 can fat free chicken broth, 1 can diced tomatoes. It can easily be doubled or tripled if you plan to eat on it all week, like I sometimes do. You can also use fat free refried beans, if you want it to be thicker, or creamed corn if you want it to be a bit sweeter. Regardless, it is about 4 WW points per 1 cup serving and it is very tasty!

2) Then, my daytime activity of taking care of Grandson, Jackson returned January 5th. He’s such a little stinker! Love my little “ginger”!! Jackson standing When he leaves at 5:00 as much as I would love to get in my chair and relax …my evening activities begin.

3) After fixing a bite of something to eat for hubby and I, I retire to my sewing room to fill any orders that may have come in through Etsy or Ebay..

http://my.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?MyEbay&gbh=1&CurrentPage=MyeBayAllSelling&ssPageName=STRK:ME:LNLK:MESX

I don’t know if these links will work. Just in case they don’t, you can find my shop on Etsy as LindasLikes or on eBay as bittygirl51. I got a surge of cord cover orders over the last two weeks. I am running a special: Purchase four cord covers: the fifth is FREE. I already offer FREE SHIPPING, so I’m still the most inexpensive place to get your cord covers. I was about to go bonkers making cord covers (about 35-40) dark brown cc closeup when I got my first two baby pillow quilt orders: They were shipped just yesterday and are still two of my best sellers: Baby Owl PQ w yellow closeup

Hot pink, zebra, eyelet PQ close up

4) In addition to all the household activities, I’ve been busy with church festivities. We have an awesome church family and love our brothers and sisters in Christ so much! What’s been extra special for me is that for 17 years I’ve sat alone in church (hubby was the sound technician), but since the 1st of the year I’ve been able to sit with my hubby. After 32 years of running the sound he has finally retired and passed the baton to a younger man. We still go to church early for choir practice each Sunday morning and afternoon, so Sundays are extremely full and busy, but it’s been nice to be a “couple” for the first time since we got married! In fact, one of our older saints in the church said, “I’m glad to see yall’ finally got married”…the other day! Ha! Ornament exchange 6 We had a Christmas ornament exchange in December that was a lot of fun.

In closing, I’m all caught up on my “paid sewing”…just have a pillow quilt to finish today for a friend at church who is expecting a grandchild in 11 days. Hubby is fishing this morning with the baby son (Jackson’s daddy) but later is taking me out for my birthday dinner at Red Lobster. I will also be having a piece (just one piece) of birthday cake. Yum! Can’t wait! Cake is my cocaine and I’ve been waiting all month for my birthday to arrive just so I could have cake! LOL. Hubby decided we would celebrate early (my birthday is Wednesday) – no complaints from this girl…that just means I get cake four days earlier then expected! LOL

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Weight loss myths & other misc. mumbo jumbo

If you haven’t already read my previous post, you may want to make a trip there before reading this one: http://dancingthruyears.com/2015/01/02/a-combination-of-factors-aka-what-a-lack-of-monitoring-will-do/

Suffice it to say it’s been a good week! My first week back at embracing a healthy (not perfect) lifestyle has rewarded me with a 4.4 lb. weight loss! Yay, Me!! I’ve proven once again that taking care of grandsons, having a work from home job, eating out 2-3 times a week, having a hubby that won’t eat healthy (even though he needs to), having too many sedentary hobbies blah, blah, blah are all EXCUSES! When a person makes up their mind to eat healthy and become more fit – they can! Plain and simple! We want to make dieting so complicated! (I don’t even like using the word “diet” but it’s everywhere go nowadays, so I’ll use it.) That’s why you see so many diet plans out there! Some folks are so convinced that you should go “low carb”. Others think you should go “low fat”. Others say you need to banish all the white from your life, white bread, white rice, white potatoes etc;

As a former Weight Watchers leader I can tell you first hand that the majority of your success will not come from the weight loss plan you are on (I couldn’t really say that when I worked for them); but it will come from your determination to do the work!! How bad do you want it? Let’s just talk about this week: do you want to lose weight bad enough in this next 7 days to make better food choices and to go to the gym and work out each day? Take it one day at a time!! After you have one successful day under your belt (if you are choosing wisely), you will say to yourself, “hmmmm, that wasn’t so bad”. “I think I might be able to do that again tomorrow”. But you have to have a plan! You have to be prepared! Your frig and pantry has to be stocked with good healthy foods. If all you have in the house is cakes, cookies, pies and chips guess what you will eat?

But, I digress…remember the opinions expressed in this post are purely my own – take em or leave em, but I admit I do feel very strongly about them ūüôā

Weight loss myth #1) You can gain weight from diet colas!! I laughed so hard when I first heard some one say “she’s gaining weight because she’s drinking too much diet coke” that I almost wet my pants! Diet coke does not have any calories! If you aren’t consuming calories you aren’t going to gain weight from it! She meant it in the LITERAL SENSE… Let me clarify: Yes, diet colas & the artificial sweeteners in them, can cause you to crave other sweet things, thus you eat those other sweet things and gain weight – that I will agree with. But it’s the other things, not the diet coke per say that is causing the weight gain! That’s why I decided in the new year, to cut back on diet coke and limit myself to one small glass per day. (I really think it helped, because I wasn’t craving refined sugar like I normally do.) Sugar free gum can create the same cravings.

Weight loss myth #2) You won’t lose weight if you are a late night snacker or eat after 7 pm, 8 pm or some other designated time. It has absolutely nothing to do with what time you eat! It has to do with how many calories you are consuming and how many you are burning each day. You’ve got to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight – it’s that simple! Thursday night (day seven of my first week) I was eating tortilla chips and Salsa at 9:30 pm. I was hungry for a little snack before bed (I went to bed at 10 pm). The scale still said I’d lost 4.4 at 6:30 am Friday morning. What’s up with that? Oh, and by the way, those were FULL FAT corn chips (not baked, or fat free)…for those of you who think everything needs to be fat free or low fat. (It’s good to watch your fat intake, but your body needs some fat for energy and other body functions).

Weight loss myth #3) Muscle weighs more than fat. Not true! While at the gym this morning I had this conversation with my friend, Maria. We were working out on the weights and she had been told and was worried about “bulking up”. Don’t take it from me, instead hear it from a trainer that works for Weight Watchers: “Muscle does not weigh more than fat, any more than lead weighs more than feathers. A pound is a pound is a pound. Where the misunderstanding often comes in is that muscle is much more dense than fat, so that, by volume, it seems to weigh more. That is, a pound of muscle occupies less space than a pound of fat. In addition, because a pound of muscle burns more fat than a pound of fat, even at rest, by increasing your lean muscle tissue mass, you’re helping your body burn more calories.

If you only have a small amount of weight to lose, then you may feel like the weight training is not helping you move down on the scale. In fact, the number may even go up, but you will look thinner. This is due to an increase in lean body mass (muscle, bone, blood volume) and a decrease in body fat. In other words, even if the scale doesn’t change much, you will probably see a difference in how your clothes fit.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of weight to lose, you will also experience an increase in lean body mass and loss of body fat. But the results on the scale will probably be more dramatic.” William R. Sukala M.S. C.S.

I hope I don’t sound like I’m preaching. That’s not my intention. But, that being said, the best job I ever had that I enjoyed the most was working for Weight Watchers! After losing 55 lbs on their program I was a believer! Don’t misunderstand me! I’m not promoting Weight Watchers in this blog although it is a good program, it’s not for everyone. And their “points system” can be highly misunderstood and misinterpreted! It’s not all about points! It’s about making healthy, wise choices.

Some of the healthy habits that I developed as a result of being a WW leader were to choose 1) whole wheat bread over white bread 2) brown rice over white rice 3) limit my intake of saturated fats 4) drinks 4-5 16 oz bottles of water per day 5) eat sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes 6) hold myself accountable by writing down everything I put in my mouth 7) limit my intake of red meat BLAH, BLAH, BLAH…

There are so many more that come to mind but of those listed when I “backslid” during the holidays the only thing I was still doing faithfully was drinking plenty of water! LOL

So, in closing I’d like to leave you with a healthy meat sauce recipe I made yesterday. I was in the mood for some pasta and garlic toast and so here’s what I made:

Meat Sauce:

Brown one pound of ground turkey or 93% lean ground beef in skillet. Add 1 cup of shredded carrots to meat. IMG_20150109_105006212

Dice about 1/2 an onion and add it to skillet as well, continuing to saute with meat. (I always season my meat, but that’s just personal preference). IMG_20150109_105350499

While pasta is cooking in a separate pot, I add 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes and 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce to the meat mixture in skillet. I season with some sweet basil, oregano, garlic powder etc; You can use, fresh or dried. Turn heat to low and & cover. Let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes so all your flavors will blend together. The shredded carrots give you a serving of vegetables and sweetens your sauce without using sugar. IMG_20150109_111259916

I chose whole wheat Ziti for the pasta. Remember, portion control is crucial! Look up the portion size, calories or points you can have prior to serving yourself! I made a nice fresh lettuce salad to go with my pasta & meat sauce and chose fat free Ranch dressing for my salad. If pasta and meat sauce is a RED LIGHT food for you, it’s better not to fix it at all!! Red Light means you can’t exercise portion control!! And, yes – I made garlic toast with REAL white french bread and used 1 T. of Land o Lakes light butter. I season my garlic toast with garlic powder, garlic salt and a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese. I only made myself one slice therefore I wasn’t tempted to eat more. (Hubby had 5 slices made with REAL BUTTER!!)

I have a very healthy appetite and can put away a lot of food especially Italian food! So, I was quite proud of myself for having measured out my pasta and meat sauce and adding the salad and 1 slice of garlic toast. I felt empowered and satisfied! That is key! It’s not about deprivation or starvation and if you are hungry or feeling deprived you are doing something wrong.

I am entering a new week with new hope and determination and trying to stay focused on treating myself as a priority. That’s also why I have to make it to the gym first thing in the morning because the rest of the day I am sitting on the floor playing with this little one IMG_20150106_102504002

or in the evening sitting at the sewing machine working on cord covers, pillow shams and quilts…Baby Zoo animals PQ closeup

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Pinks PQ close up front

Make it a great week, friends!

A combination of factors AKA “what a lack of monitoring will do”..

It’s time to get REAL!! I stepped on the scale this morning and it has given me a NEW FOUND COMMITMENT!! Amazing what an inanimate object can do! I weighed in at 171.6!! OMG!! Just one short month ago I weighed 162!! You see, around Thanksgiving time, I made a conscious (that’s right, I said “CONSCIOUS”, how’s that for ownership?) decision to give up walking, and tracking my food! In other words – I threw my “health lifestyle” out the window! A month to 6 weeks ago I was already 15-20 lbs over my goal weight…but was losing it. Now, I’m back where I started!! Well, not really because back in 2006 I weighed my highest 199.8…but if I keep justifying my 170 by comparing it to that 199 number I WILL be back where I started in no time! My ideal weight is 145. I know it’s not all about the numbers…but is also about how you feel.

Well, I feel like crap! Started taking Zantac and eating TUMS again etc; The cold weather had set in and so I told my walking buddy that I would not be walking thru the holidays and would get back to the gym after the first of the year. I’ve honored that commitment by meeting her there this morning. It’s been a good day, thus far.

So what was it? Well, this 25 lbs from goal weight to where I am today has been a combination of factors:

1) I started eating more red meat (less chicken and fish)
2) I quit weighing and measuring my food
3) I quit exercising
4) I started eating more white food again (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes etc;)
5) I started slathering on the butter again!!
6) I quit writing anything down that I was eating!! (thus no accountability)
7) I quit stepping on the scale (thus no accountability)
8) I stopped focusing on fruits and vegetables and ate whatever was quick and handy!
9) Even though I didn’t do a lot of baking during the holidays I ate far too many sweets! (The more sugar I ate, the more I wanted it)!
10) I started buying larger and stretchier clothing to accommodate my expanding frame (namely my belly!)
11) I stopped reading anything that would convict me of my unhealthy ways!

Do I need to go on? There’s so much more I could say on this subject since I was once a very busy Weight Watcher’s leader! My goal with this blog is to hold myself accountable and to pay it forward. I know there are going to be many “Diet blogs” this month telling you which diet is the best one to go on. All baloney!!
It’s about you, not the diet you choose to embrace! It’s about getting our head in the game!! A healthy lifestyle isn’t something you “quit” for a month or two, like I did! I knew and know better. A healthy lifestyle is just that – a lifestyle!! So, it wasn’t just one thing that created this weight gain. It was a combination of factors AKA what a lack of monitoring will do!

We can only ignore it for so long and if we will listen our body will tell us when enough is enough. So, I’m back on the bandwagon again. Wish me luck. I know it’s not going to be easy but it will be worth it. I’m not going to waste any time beating myself up over my irresponsibility. I’m just going to do what I know I need to do and what I know works. Primarily it will be to put myself at the top of the list again and make myself a priority! How bout you?

An old wive’s tale….

My now deceased mother-in-law used to say that “whatever you do on New Year’s Day you will do all year long”. Well, I think about that every Jan. 1 and wonder if I’ve done what I want to be doing all year long. Hmmmmm…since moving to Texas I also have heard that it’s supposed to be good luck to eat Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s day. Blecckkk!! I don’t like black eyed peas and not being the superstitious type it’s gonna take more than the promise of good luck to get me to eat them! But, I digress…

So, let’s see what did I do today? Well, I made my bed. That’s a good habit to have all year long, I guess. I washed my face and brushed my teeth more than once so I guess that’s another good thing I can manage all year long. Hubby started a new novel today. He loves to read and I guess that’s not a bad thing either. Hmmmm…let’s see, BUT did I do anything of real significance or importance, that is the question…Well, I began my day with devotions; talking to the Lord aka praying, and reading some scriptures – I could definitely get better at that and make sure that it is not a neglected task this year!!

I had a very restless night and didn’t sleep well, therefore I slept in this morning not waking up until about 8:30 (having only fallen asleep at 4:30 am). Ugh! That is not something I want to continue in the New year! I didn’t eat “healthy” today, but plan to the rest of the year!! I didn’t exercise today, but plan to the rest of the year. So, I guess if the old wive’s tale is true I am going to have challenges in the “healthy lifestyle” area this year. That being said, I do have a plan to meet my girlfriend at the gym first thing in the morning and I do also plan to start tracking every BLT (bite, lick or taste) again!!

I did quite a bit of sewing today (cord covers, pillow shams and quilts). Since, I love to sew, that would be something that I would love to continue all year long. I also made a trip to the fabric store today to take advantage of their awesome New Year’s Day sale. Taking advantage of sale prices can’t be a bad thing, can it?

It rained all day today. Does that mean it’s going to rain all year long? Hope not. Hubby napped most of the afternoon. Oops!! Not so sure about that one! But, he does have a business appointment first thing Monday morning which means he will be writing some business and making some money! A good way to start the New year.

So, as I continued to ponder what Granny used to say about today, I took it to the next level. Did I say a kind word or kiss my hubby? Yep, many times! Did I show kindness to a stranger? Yep, at the fabric store! Did I speak kind things to myself? Not easy, but yep I did. How about friends and loved ones besides hubby? Did I tell or show them that I care in some way? Yes, (primarily via text) but that counts nowadays, doesn’t it?

Those are all things that I definitely want to continue all year long. I also want to add blogging to my year long “to do” list. I want to be more consistent with posting a blog at least once a week (I admire those that can blog every day) – not this girl, not gonna happen; but once a week, I think I can do that. So, as I end this first day of 2015 – I look forward to what lies ahead and appreciate the simple things in life.

Stay tuned and I will be posting in a few days the little “excursion” hubby and I just returned from. Happy New Year, friends!

Miscellaneous musings & memories

Some days this month it has been totally awesome and joyful and at other times it has been extremely stressful, but suffice it to say – I’ve not found it within my power to post anything of importance or anything I felt anyone would be interested in reading about! That hasn’t changed!! But, I’ve decided to re-trace my November steps and just share some miscellaneous thoughts, meanderings, activities and memories (in no particular order)!! I just hope I don’t bore you to tears! LOL

Yesterday was one of the nicest Thanksgivings we have had in several years. We were blessed to have four of our seven adult children present. Their spouses & kids were also present and I had the pleasure & responsibility of doing all the cooking!

After we had pigged out!

After we had pigged out!

Preparing for an event like this takes a zillion times longer than actually eating what’s been prepared! Isn’t that a funny realization that many of us have had? Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures when the table was set and we had just sat down to eat…I remembered when we were sitting around visiting with dirty plates in front of us! IMG_20141127_134621665_HDR

We have a large dining room so there was plenty of room for our large dining table as well as another 6 ft table and card table. This is not my hubby’s comfort zone, preferring small gatherings to large ones and he really relishes his solitude. He was a good sport about it all, considering the holidays are difficult for us both. We both lost our dads in December many years ago, so December is still quite challenging emotionally for us and as Thanksgiving and holiday traffic and shopping start approaching we have a tendency to get a little “funky, sad” feeling. He’s having a more difficult time this year than I am because we lost his mother and brother last year.

We had some pretty stressful days taking care of the two grandsons this month. Once they would leave in the evening, we would chat about it and try to figure out what was making it so stressful for us. I think the conclusion we came to ..was NOT that it was taking care of either ONE, Kash, the 3 yr. old, or Jackson, the 9 mo. old….but the combination of taking care of BOTH. You see, now, in the last couple weeks, Jackson has become much more active. He has gone from the famous “commando or crab crawl” to the normal “on all four” crawl to pulling himself up on the furniture and trying to walk! Adventuresome jackson 5

One evening when we were out at Applebee’s eating a greasy burger (great for a stressful day…especially if french fries are included! LOL) I was reminiscing as to why taking care of these two very active boys was so stressful for me. I realized that #1) when my now 45 yr. old son was a little tyke he was very laid back. He would play for hours and entertain himself with his Fischer Price little people and his Matchbox cars! I didn’t have to sit on the floor and play with him as much as I find myself doing nowadays with grandsons! #2) I only had ONE little boy so when he did require my attention – he got ALL of it. I feel quite torn sometimes when I take care of Kash and Jackson because I have to watch Jackson like a hawk, and thus feel like I’m neglecting Kash!! Adventuresome Jackson

Here’s both boys on a trip to the park/playground…Dble stroller close up

I have so much fun with the boys, but some days I feel like I just can’t do enough and I’m emotionally exhausted and drained when they leave!! Kash and I have awesome conversations and talk non-stop about everything! He’s so smart and so curious about everything! Jackson is such a joy to watch when he “explores” new territory all over the house and observes Kash. They both love the other even though they share NO BLOOD relation and light up like Christmas trees when the other shows up! I think the reason Jackson is coming on so quickly is because he watches everything that Kash does!

My evenings all month have been spent sewing. I was busy finishing up my grandaughter, Hannah’s quilt for her 17th birthday. Hannah's quilt finished

Hannah's quilt back

She & I were happy with the way it turned out and it will keep her very warm during these chilly Texas nights. She was the last of her siblings (5) to get a quilt from Maw Maw. I monogrammed her name on it and backed it in the zebra print.

I had several custom orders for baby quilts this month also that I had to work on and get shipped out. Hot pink, zebra, eyelet PQ close up
This one has been a hot seller. I usually make these little pillow quilts 30″ x 36″ but I had a request to make a 40″ X 48″ for someone. This is a close up. Check out my listing on eBay @

Another baby quilt I made this month was made of flannel…IMG_20141122_161706325 in a CHUBBY BLUE OWL PRINT. Have you noticed how popular OWLS are? I collected owls before owls were popular back in the 70’s. Most of them I have since gotten rid of, but at one time I think I had over 200 owls in my house!

A sweet friend from church had her second baby girl this month and so I also made her an adorable “girly girl” pillow quilt…IMG_20141115_221447558 This one is my favorite! It has machine embroidered rosebuds on it and is very feminine, don’t you think? You can also check me out on Etsy @

My cord covers were actually more popular than my quilts this month, so when I wasn’t working on quilts, I was making and shipping out cord covers. IMG_20141128_172011654_HDR

The holidays really snuck up on me this year!! I had intentions to list a lot more Christmas items on both Etsy and Ebay …some that I had made too late last year to list 20141126_143758 like these cute quilted pillow shams!

I like changing out all my stuff for the holidays. I take down a lot of the knicknacks and pictures I have up throughout the year and replace with Christmas candles, knicknacks etc; Unfortunately, due to a little varmint that crawls everywhere and pulls himself up on everything, we won’t be putting a big tree up this year! Instead, I made several of these adorable ribbon trees and sold a ton of them to my realtor, daughter for her clients. IMG_20141119_230215820_HDR

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These ribbon trees are a lot of fun to make and very relaxing to work on in the evening after a long day with the boys. My daughter (Kash’s mommy) made a job change 6 weeks ago and so now Kash is with me from 7:30 til 5:30, while my daughter-in-law, Ava (Jackson’s mommy) has had to stay at the school later each day for tutoring and working extra before the holiday break. It definitely makes for a long day. I’m thankful for nap times!

When I was reminiscing (I do that a lot, especially during the holidays) I was remembering the BIG WHEEL, my son used to entertain himself with outside when he was little. I think he had two or three of them, before he had his first bike, because he wore them out cruising around the neighborhood!! Do you remember these?
bigwheel_small

Do they still make them? I know Kash doesn’t really like pedaling anything!! He has a battery operated four wheeler at home that all he has to do is push the gas pedal on. It makes pushing the little razor scooter that I bought him seem like too much work!! LOL He’s also inherited his older brother’s bike that he rides when he is at Maw Maw’s house, but that’s also WORK for him!! LOL

My baby girl & her hubby arrived from Wichita Falls, TX on Tuesday evening to spend a quick holiday with us. They left early Friday morning. Tanya always has great ideas for some quality time spent with family. Before arriving she had texted her sister, niece and I to see if we were interested in her signing us up for a Painting class Wed. evening prior to Thanksgiving here in our town. She goes to one in her home town and has really enjoyed it. Being the creative types that we are – we were all game for a fun 2 hr “girl get-together”. 2014112695210642_2

I don’t know if the reason she suggested it was because the “boys” were going fishing 2014112795072656 but regardless, a great time was had by all!!

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We didn’t enjoy the loud music they played thru the entire class…and for Tanya and I, at least, it would have been much more peaceful & relaxing without the music. She really wants us all to attend her class in her town now, because in her opinion the comparison would be glaring. We kept a positive attitude though, and didn’t gripe or complain until we got in the car!! LOL Still just getting together with both my girls and my granddaughter was a nice way to spend a pre-Thanksgiving.

The boys were happy to enjoy a pot of stew I’d prepared and left on the stove when they returned from a chilly night of fishing! It’s a good thing, because the one fish you see in the picture was their only catch – about a 5 lb. Channel Cat. (catfish).

I also spent some time this month re-organizing my thoughts on my “little sewing business” and trying to figure out ways I could market/promote myself to increase my sales. I haven’t been on Facebook for 2-3 years, but realized that I needed more Social Media exposure if my business was going to grow. It’s the future. So, while my daughter was in town she helped me get my business page set up for Custom Creations. My page is not complete but it’s a start and by the first of the year I hope to have it completed.

Rob & Tanya decided to have Christmas while they were here with their niece & nephews and so after Thanksgiving dinner was all cleaned up the kids got to open presents! IMG_20141127_151309193 This is the only picture I took (someone else was taking all the pictures) of Kash sitting in his little Ninja Turtle beanbag chair. Uncle Rob and Auntie Tanya outdid themselves and spoiled their niece and nephews to the MAX! Uncle Rob went out (all on his own) and bought his niece, Hannah a Northface jacket! Wow! Was she ever surprised!

Most of our family will be all spread out over Christmas and it will be impossible to get together, so it was nice to enjoy this little gift opening session with the kids. Paw Paw and I will be going away the week between Christmas and New Years just for some quiet time and reflection. We are looking forward to it and know that it will be just what the doctored ordered. 2014112795122147 Here he is with my two girls. I’m thankful that they love and appreciate their step-dad.

Scrapbooking, recipes & more!

Well, when the month of July began I really thought I would be blogging a whole lot more than I have. ¬†I’ve not had the job of taking care of grandsons this month (except for four days with Jackson, and one more coming up this Thursday). ¬†But, because I needed to replace lost childcare income with sewing income I have been extremely busy sewing and selling baby quilts on e-Bay, Etsy and here locally. ¬†I have also been busy making and selling cord covers and still monogramming kitchen towels for the two Realtors that I have as customers (one being my baby daughter). ¬†Needless to say, I haven’t been online near as much as I thought I would be and in fact have been scanning my e-mails and deleting most of them on a daily basis.

If you have been following my blog you know that several months ago I expressed a concern over the fact that my baby quilts really weren’t selling very well. ¬†That has definately changed recently and in June I believe I sold 6 of my unique, one of a kind Pillow Quilts….Pink & Green PQ closeupand in July so far, I’ve sold 7!! ¬†I was very excited the other day when I discovered that I had sold my first quilt on Etsy! ¬†That’s been my work/”duty” related stuff that I’ve been staying busy with. ¬†But, because I had the entire month off from taking care of grandsons I had a few fun activities planned also.

A week ago this last Saturday, I got together with my older daughter, Theresa and we spent the entire day scrapbooking.  She and I were way behind on keeping up our scrapbooks and it had been three years for her and almost as long for me since we had done any.  We had been planning it for weeks and had gotten all our pics prepared.  I had even made a list of some of the pages that I wanted to get done.  I think I did 12 two page layouts and she did even more Рand we still barely put a dent in it!  Theresa scrapbookingI have a large dining room table that seats 6 comfortably, so we spread out with a big old mess and had a ball!

I made white chicken chili in the crock pot so we wouldn’t have to take a break to cook and Theresa brought cornbread salad. ¬†Yum! ¬†Linda Scrapbooking 2I love the creative endeavors!! ¬†I was so far behind!! I started at 8 am, and didn’t stop until 6 pm. ¬†I left the mess out for 24 hrs. thinking I might try to do some more, but once household and church responsibilities got a hold of me – no more scrapbooking inspiration occurred! ¬†Here’s a sample of my work: ¬†Christian's graduationAnother:

 

Ethan & Kashand another…..

Hannah's scrapbook pageIf you haven’t figured it out yet, the focus was on grandchildren. ¬†Although there were other photos, events, persons to scrapbook I always have more fun scrapbooking pages about my grandchildren. ¬†Jackson's scrapbook page 2I like to journal on my pages and have somewhat of a “title”. ¬†If I go too long without putting my photos into scrapbooks, I forget the details!! ¬†Jackson scrapbook pageTheresa and I scrapbook the old fashioned way. ¬†We do our pages with glue sticks, die cuts, stickers etc; ¬†My youngest daughter, Tanya prefers digital scrapbooking to the old fashioned way. ¬†She turns out beautiful pages just like the old fashioned ones, the only difference is that she creates her pages on a computer and then prints them out to put into albums. ¬†It just personal preference. ¬†The digital technique seems a bit quicker, less labor intensive and is especially great for someone who’s extremely busy as she is.

So, now you know one of my other hobbies that I enjoy a whole lot.   But, enough about scrapbooking!  

So, this past Saturday I had planned to have some of my sisters from church over for another “quilting social”. ¬†Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of sickness going around lately and so my turnout was poor. ¬†There were only three of us and so there was more “social” then “quilting”. One gal forgot her electrical cord for her sewing machine and the other didn’t bring her machine, so instead of actually sewing, I showed them how to begin a t-shirt quilt (a project I am currently working on) and also showed them how to make their own “Crazy Quilt” Christmas stocking. ¬†We still enjoyed great food and fellowship and afterwards went to Hancock’s for their “Super Saturday” sale. ¬†I had a request for the soup I made in the crock pot. ¬†It was my own concoction (I love creating soups from the ingredients I have in the house.) ¬†I will put this in my recipe tab as well…but for now here it is:

MEATBALL MINESTRONE

Start with 6-8 cups of beef broth (in 6 qt. crock pot). ¬†Brown in a skillet about 18 small meatballs. ¬†(Melon ball size) ¬†I’ve made these meatballs with 93% lean ground beef before, but this time I used ground venison. ¬†(lean and delicious!) ¬†Season how you prefer. ¬†I used Montreal Steak Seasoning. ¬†Don’t overcook because they will cook more in the crock pot. ¬†Just get a good sear on them in the skillet. ¬†If they are still rare, that’s okay as long as they are browned on the outside. (Let them sit in skillet while you do the following):

Add to your beef broth, 1 – 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 – 15 oz can of tomato sauce, 1 – 15 oz can of green beans, 1 – 15 oz. can of kidney beans (I used white cannelini beans).

I diced up 1/2 a white onion and minced a couple cloves of garlic and added it to the pot.

I had about two cups of frozen mixed vegetables (peas, corn, lima beans & green beans) in the freezer that I also added. Now add your meatballs and season your soup. ¬†I seasoned my soup with basil, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, Italian Seasoning etc; ¬† This again is about personal preference. ¬†Just keep tasting until you get it the way you like it. ¬†Don’t overdo it, because it will become more flavorful the longer it simmers. ¬†This soup is also very good with some fresh spinach added, but I didn’t have any this time. ¬†The last ingredient you want to put in the pot (the last hour or so) is pasta!¬† I prefer whole wheat elbows or rotini but I didn’t have any, so I added about two cups of no yolk egg noodles. ¬†If you put your pasta in the pot too soon it becomes very soft and soggy and falls apart. ¬†Don’t like overcooked pasta!!

About four hours total time on low should do it! Since your veggies are mostly canned and frozen veggies the only thing that would be crunchy would be the onion if it hasn’t cooked long enough. ¬†So, this is a pretty healthy soup (other than sodium content) and one I originally created when I was working for Weight Watchers. ¬†At that time it was about 7 POINTS for a 1 1/2 cup serving. ¬†I can’t attest to that POINTS VALUE anymore but still feel that soup is a good choice when you are watching your weight unless it’s cream based. ¬†

And that brings me to my next subject….Yes, I’m back on the bandwagon!! ¬†My youngest daughter, Tanya (who tries to live a very healthy lifestyle and like myself is a lifetime member of WW) inspired me to get back to eating healthy and exercising this month while the boys are away. ¬†She went back to WW to get 4 or 5 extra pounds off her petite frame (I can see your eyes rolling) ¬†LOL and she suggested we be accountability partners. ¬†I thought this would be a good month to tackle the extra 20 lbs I’m carrying around. ¬†My other daughter, Theresa decided to work on her fitness a little too, so we meet at the gym twice a week to workout together. ¬†The other three days (Mon, Wed. & Fri) I walk 3 – 3.5 miles with sisters from church at 7:30 in the morning. ¬†It’s been fun and I’m seeing the difference in how I’m feeling. ¬†Still extremely tired but I blame that on age and my insomnia problem but the scale so far has been kind to me. ¬†I use my WW online tracking tool and I weigh in here at home very Friday morning. ¬†First week: 3 lbs gone! Second week: 1 lb gone! This last Friday: I only lost 1/2 a lb.…but I’m not discouraged. ¬†I had Chinese one day and I know the sodium didn’t ¬†help matters. ¬†4 1/2 lbs in 3 weeks is not too shabby! ¬†I know for sure that it has been easier to stay away from sugary snacks without the boys here! ¬†When they return – they too will be eating more fruit and less candy!!

In closing, I will leave you with the most requested recipe at the WW meetings I used to lead:  

WW Cake

For most cake mixes: 12 servings of cake = 4 points

24 cupcakes = 2 points each

Mix together the following and bake according to the instructions on the cake mix:

Cake mix (your choice)

I can of diet soda (your choice)

2 egg whites (the egg whites make the cake a little lighter in texture and does not change the points value.

POPULAR COMBOS:

Spice cake mix with diet Sunkist

Banana cake mix with diet root beer

Lemon cake mix with diet 7-up

Chocolate cake mix with diet coke

Lemon cake mix with diet ginger ale

Orange cake mix with diet mountain dew

Cherry Chip cake mix with A&W diet cream soda

Lemon cake mix with Sprite Zero

Yellow cake mix with diet Sunkist

White cake mix with diet peach

Strawberry cake mix with diet Big Red

Spice cake mix with diet ginger ale or diet root beer

Chocolate cake mix with diet cherry coke

Devil’s food cake mix with diet vanilla coke

Marble cake mix with diet cream soda

White cake mix with diet sprite or Sprite Zero

Red Velvet cake mix with diet cherry vanilla or diet Dr. Pepper

Pineapple cake mix with diet squirt

Since they are now on the POINTS PLUS system I cannot attest to the PP value of this, but back in the old days the POINTS VALUE was as stated above. ¬†I guess, just to be safe I would count a cupcake as 4 PP (double it’s original value). ¬†Still great bang for your buck if you are craving cake.

I would ice my cupcake with 1 or 2 T. of Cool Whip FREE.  (No more points added.)

Signing off for today – i hope you enjoyed my long post. I will try to get back to post at least once more before leaving for our anniversary trip next Monday.

If all else fails, call Betty Crocker!

I know I’ve been AWOL for quite awhile, but I haven’t been idle. Anyone who knows me, knows I struggle to be “still”. (My laid back hubby thinks anyone who struggles to be still has ADHD. I don’t buy it.) Blogging just hasn’t been high on my priority list. I’m more “addicted” to quilting right now then I am to blogging, I guess. I’ve been a real busy beaver with my sewing this past month…

1st Sat. Fellowship

1st Sat. Fellowship

Although Granny has passed and I no longer have the responsibility of her care, I am still taking care of my 2 yr. old grandson, Kash.

Shopping at Walmart with Maw Maw

Shopping at Walmart with Maw Maw

This week it’s been kinda quiet, because Kash has been with his daddy all week. He returns to my house tomorrow. So, I’ve tried to take advantage of the time he’s away by working on the quilts I’m making for Christmas presents…

Country Lace

Country Lace


and catching up on the “domestic arts”.

That’s what got me to thinking about Betty Crocker and how the world has changed in the past 30 years. OMG!! How life has changed!! I can say, without a doubt that one way blogging has benefited me is by “restoring my faith in mankind” or more specifically in our “young women”. Prior to blogging, my experience with the young women around me was one of disappointment. Most (not all) of them were not good housekeepers, didn’t know how to cook or sew and if they didn’t work outside the home, were generally pretty lazy!! I know how that sounds and I’m not judging just making an observation. I have always been very “domestic” and loved cooking, cleaning, taking care of a home and would go as far as to say, I’m still very old fashioned. My daughters are domestic and love the same, but I can’t or won’t take any credit because I’ve seen the reverse to be true. Some were raised by very domestic mothers, but still have no desire to cook, clean, sew etc; Since I’ve been blogging though, I’ve discovered many young women (mother’s too) that are very domestic! In fact, I often wonder how they do it all with small children. I can still keep my house picked up, dishes done etc with Kash here – but I don’t even attempt to sew, read a book, blog etc; unless he’s napping. He has my full and undivided attention when he’s awake. In fact, he’s quite to little housekeeper!

Washing dishes

Washing dishes

As I pondered the “domestic arts” this week, I remembered the first wedding gift my mother gave me back in 1969. It was a Betty Crocker cookbook. I have owned a newer, updated version of that original one for several years now, but where would my life be without Betty Crocker? She, not my mother, taught me how to cook. In fact, just today, Betty Crocker and I made a chocolate cake together, (one I promised my sister-in-law for her 70th birthday). She requested chocolate cake with white icing. Is it true that nowadays most women would go buy a box mix and some canned frosting or is that just my bias and narrow minded thinking? I love to cook and bake from scratch!!

Which reminds me of a delicious soup my youngest daughter made once recently when we were visiting. It was made with pre-made, store bought frozen meatballs and pre-made, store bought tortelloni, a modern convenience we once couldn’t take advantage of “back in the day”. We are having chillier weather than usual and I was in the mood for some soup when I awoke this morning. Well, although my daughter gave me the inspiration, Betty Crocker gave me an idea of where to begin. As I type this I am enjoying the scent of Meatball/Tortelloni Soup simmering on the stove top. mmmmmmmmm…

So, what’s your take on how our world has changed? Back in 1995, I didn’t even have a cell phone yet!! It was the early 90’s before I ever used a computer!! Now there are few handwritten letters or thank you notes, few home phones, (remember the old “party line”?) way too much Reality TV, Facebook and Twitter – what’s up with all this busy, hectic, craziness? I was on FB, but no longer am. Have actually pondered getting back on to increase my blog readership and possibly to market a new business I’m pondering – but, still very hesitant – cause it steals all my time. I know we control that – but it gets to where you feel like you are missing something if you aren’t on Facebook!!

Nowadays we can look up any recipe we need online. (Not always as reliable as our cookbooks are). We can Google any question we may have. I read recently on one of the blogs I subscribe to that a young person being home-schooled did not know how to use a dictionary thanks to Google!! That is very sad to me. If ya wanna get technical about things…even my quilting (I’m a novice) is machine sewn – not hand sewn as in the old days…

Jackson Dane

Jackson Dane

And to get even more technical, I’ve learned all the quilting basics online!! Quilting tutorials, where have you been all my life?? We no longer have to leave our homes for most things. We can buy postage & groceries from our easy chair, if we prefer. What’s up with that? Are we becoming MORE SOCIAL with all these electronic conveniences, or LESS SOCIAL? It seems LESS social, to me? Texting, communicating thru social media seems so impersonal to me. It requires LESS commitment to having a true & meaningful RELATIONSHIP. I don’t know…I’m sure there are two sides to every dilemma – I’d love to hear yours. Thanks to social media, my son’s and my relationship is more strained then it’s ever been. I’m not sure why he’s mad at me because he’s not speaking to me. (Thus he hasn’t told me directly). I just know he’s mad at me for something I’ve obviously said through the written word. I can be SO MISUNDERSTOOD and have been on many occasions, but most of the time it has been through something I said thru e-mail, social media or blogging. I just don’t know if it’s all worth it! My son lives far away. I love him and miss him. But, he just doesn’t seem to what a relationship with me right now. But, I digress.

Fortunately, at this state in life, I get to enjoy the fruit of my lifetime labor by collecting Social Security (by no means enough to live on) and partake of all the domestic arts that I’ve enjoyed my entire life, but often had to put on the back burner while bringing home a paycheck. I’m still seeking God’s direction as we enter into the holiday season and a new year because as I said, social security income isn’t adequate. With the passing of his mother, my hubby is also seeking new direction. We love being home with each other and are best friends. We are content, but not complacent. The scripture says, “to be content in whatever state you are in”. That doesn’t mean I don’t want more or want to do more. It just means I won’t gripe or complain or dwell on what I don’t have. That being said, if all else fails, I can call Betty Crocker and if she doesn’t answer, I can call on God. ūüôā

I don’t know what to “title” this blog…so get your coffee!

They say your title should “grab” your audience, but what if you just want to ramble? I have so much I want to say and just don’t know how to categorize it into a “topic”…ever been there? A lot of thoughts running through my head most of which you, my reader, are probably not the slightest bit interested in. Back in the day I was a “journal” girl. You were just writing, keeping a diary, so to speak..you weren’t trying to be interesting, creative or trying to grab the attention of anyone. Bloggin has taken journaling to a whole new level now hasn’t it?

Let’s see where do I begin…well, last week was my first week to take care of just Kash, my two yr. old grandson, by himself. His 5 yr. old brother had his first week of kindergarten. I’ve spoken to Ethan and he claims his first week went well. He said he learned “science”. By science he meant he had learned how popcorn kernels become popcorn. I thought that was pretty neat. Kash and I had some good quality time together. A week ago today, (last Wed) we had a bunch of errands to run. Kash likes to get in the car seat and go errand running with Maw Maw, but when Ethan was here we rarely did, because Ethan was such a homebody and didnt’ like running errands.
One of the stops we made was to Walmart to pick up a few groceries and a potty chair. (I know, he’s a little slow on the potty front).

Kash w new potty chair

Kash w new potty chair

I love this next one, especially…

IMG_20130828_111651_905

Kash and I had a nice neighborhood walk last Wed, before we went errand running, so it was a full morning. We purchased a bucket of chicken to bring home for lunch. I was lifting him in and out of the car several times that morning, and took him to see his mama at work also. While there she asked me to lift him up over a counter so she could kiss him. That was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”…not literally…but I have been (as they say in Texas) “down in my back” ever since. Seems kinda ironic since Kash’s mama was scheduled to have back surgery on Friday. I told her I was having “sympathy pains”. LOL

On Thursday, Paw Paw had to help me care for Kash more extensively since I had had a pretty painful and sleepless night and couldn’t hardly straighten up. I’m not sure if I had pulled a muscle or if it was the sciatic nerve problem I’ve had in the past, but I alternated heat and ice Wed, Thurs, Fri and was able to move a little better by Saturday. Turning over in bed is still quite painful, but I am at about 90%. Of course, this is what usually happens when I am fixing to take some time off and plan to go for a fitness walk or run each morning. Kash was gonna be at his other grandmother’s and with his dad from last Friday thru this entire week, and Granny went to the Hospice house for 5 days on Monday. Needless to say, no dedicated exercise has occurred as planned. Which takes me to the blog topic I was pondering: “MY LIFESTYLE, THEN & NOW”.

Back in late 2010 and early 2011 prior to Granny coming home to be under our care, I was leading a very active, fit and healthy lifestyle having lost 55 lbs with Weight Watchers. I lost the weight in 2006/2007 and maintained the loss until I quit working for them as a leader and was forced a few months later to become Granny’s full-time caregiver. (I only say “forced” because we had no other options). Since, I was already stuck and home caring for her I volunteered to also take care of my oldest daughter’s two youngest children. Combined with these two facts was a third: The gym where I worked out also sold out and went out of business. I could no longer go anyway, since there was no daycare at the gym, and Granny needed me – suffice it to say, my lifestyle drastically changed …

PRE-GRANNY:

Ladies Workout Express

Ladies Workout Express

POST GRANNY

At church, 15 lbs heavier

At church, 15 lbs heavier

My lifestyle then, was going to the gym 3 times a week, walking or running a 5k at least 2 – 3 times a week, weighing and measuring all my food and tracking every BLT (bite, lick or taste), inspring others to do the same blah, blah, blah…sorry if I’m boring you. My lifestyle now, is cooking, cleaning, taking care of Granny and children, reading, writing/blogging, some TV, snacking, and quilting/crafting. I’ve also done some DIY home improvement. Moral of the story: I stay busy, but healthy eating and dedicated exercise has fallen by the wayside. I want to get back to it and am working on a plan. I know from experience that my head has gotta be in the game before I begin! And, although I’ve begun tracking my intake again this week…I’m still struggling with my eating. I’m not beating myself up or complaining because I know this is where God has chosen to place me at this time. He also knows that I preferred my previous life to the current one. But, that being said, it’s not my will but His to be done in my life. So, for now..I stand because

we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

I also enjoyed a visit a week and a half ago from my baby girl. I was gonna blog and title it “My baby girl has arrived” thinking it would grab someone’s attention and they would think I’d had a baby LOL !! At 62 and post menopause that would truly be an immaculate conception! ūüôā

Arriving at Mom's house

Arriving at Mom’s house

Everytime Tanya arrives you would think she was moving in for a month! This was a quick weekend trip. She lives in Wichita Falls, TX…so if you are ever in need of a realtor – she’s one of the cities top ones!

We got a sitter for Granny and while Tanya was here she took her step-dad and I out for dinner.

Linda, Jerry & Tanya 0813

We relaxed most of the time she was here but some of the time I had to share her with her older sister and her neice and nephews. Fun was had by all! I will see her again at Thanksgiving when she & her husband, Rob will be entertaining us in their new home (we haven’t seen yet).

So, having a break from Kash and from Granny has allowed me some free time for my most favorite hobby: Patchwork quilting!! “Online tutorials, where have you been all my life??” I began in 2012 with simple patchwork, but thanks to these tutorials have evolved! I’m having so much fun learning and doing and am now paying it forward by teaching some of my girlfriends the techniques I’ve learned.

My baby step-son his wife are expecting in Feb. This is my second baby quilt:

Baby quilt

Baby quilt

Colorful 9 patch

Colorful 9 patch

Chevron Pillow Sham

Chevron Pillow Sham

Country Lace

Country Lace

This Saturday I will be having my third fellowship with some ladies from church. We will enjoy refreshments and I will have at least 2 cutting and sewing stations set up so we can get started on our quilts for Christmas.

Layout4

Last but not least…since we weren’t able to go anywhere for this time of respite (you will recall, we went to Fort Worth for Anniversay Celebration last month), my sweet, thoughtful hubby planned a little excursion to Lake of the Pines lastnight to visit one of our favorite older couples from church. We just had a relaxing visit and a walk in the woods. (I’m an outdoors, camping type person but hubby is not). That’s why this was especially thoughtful and kind of him. He knows I like to go to the woods!

Well, I hope I haven’t bored you to tears with running my mouth…Church fellowship tonight and two more days of sewing and (depending on my back) maybe a walk in the park or two before Granny returns.

Easy, Peasy, Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Rape a rotisserie chicken of it’s skin and bones. Tear dark and white meat into bite size pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 can of rotel, 1 can of cream of chicken soup, and 1 can of Fiesta Nacho Cheese soup. Stir and combine with chicken thoroughly until well blended.

Lay out 12-15 corn or flour tortillas and add one ice cream scoop size of mixture to each. Roll up and place seam side down in a cake pan. There should be enough mixture to place some on top of cake pan as well. If not, you could pour some enchilada sauce of them.

Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese (I use a Mexican blend) and cover with foil. I bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

Serve with chips, salsa, guacamole & sour cream if you like.

Linda

Shame on you, Food Network!

http://dancingthruyears.com/2013/06/23/come-on-now-food-network-really/

If you have been following my blog for awhile you will remember my disappointment with the handling of the discrimination lawsuit against Paula Deen. I have kept my word and not watched any of my favorite shows on Food Network since I received news of this suit.

You will also note that this lawsuit has been dropped! http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/08/23/lawyers-agree-to-drop-paula-deen-discrimination-lawsuit/

How sad that Paula Deen had to go through all of this hurt, pain and disappointment and that her employer would not stand by her (as honest as she was), but instead chose to drop her like a hot potato (excuse the pun).

I’m praying and seeking the right attitude regarding you, Food Network. I know I must forgive you. But, right now I hope you are hanging your heads in shame!

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