Friday, July 31, 2009

SAT success in 45 minutes per day

I know for some people is the end of summer holidays and will be going back to school soon. Some kids cannot wait to go back to school and some just wants it to be summer holiday forever and not go back to school.

I have a love hate relationship with school. I love going to school because I'm able to see my friends and hang out with my friends without much difficulties because during the school holiday everyone is busy with activities arranged by their parents that you don't have time to see or talk to you friends. The reason why I would not like to go to school is because than we will have to study, do assignments, exams and that also means that we'll have extra classes before or after school.

In Malaysia parents tend to prepare their children for SPM equivalent to SATs in the United States a couple of years earlier. Since I've been in the United States for quite some time I know that the SATs are as important as our SPMs.

Although is only the begginning of a school year I think that students that will be sitting for their SATs on March 14th should start preparing for their SATs. If students would get the Bringhstorm they would only need to practice 45 minutes a day and do excel in their exams thus being able to atend college of their choice too. Currently Brightstorm's SAT Package Special Offer. Originally $147, it's selling for $98. In includes:
• 14+ hrs of online videos covering content review, strategy, tips and tricks
• Interactive quizzes and downloadable practice problems and study guides
• Self-diagnostic test to point out areas to improvement with links of specific videos to review
• SAT practice problems and sample tests
• Daily study planners
• 24/7 access to online videos and downloadable practice sheets
• Dynamic teachers who use real life examples to make learning fun

What a great deal is that! With the special discount and just needing to spent 45 minutes a day students will do so well in their SATs. Maybe I should let my friends know about this offer so they can get this package for their children to prepare them for the coming SATs.

Code Of EthicsCode Of EthicsCode Of Ethics

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Web hosting service

I’ve been blogging in the blogging world for about 6 years plus now. I first started using xanga and eventually I switched to blogspot. I love the idea of blogging because I can write about anything online and post it and yet have it forever because I can always login to my page and read it over and over again. I’ve been pretty happy using both xanga and blogspot but I’ve been thinking of getting my own website for quite some time what more hubby gave me the ok signal to go ahead and get one.

I came across Web Hosting Geeks while trying to do some comparison and research on which web hosting provider I should use. I like this website because they have really detailed information that I need to know to easily choose which provider I should use. I am actually thinking going with Inmotion because they offer unlimited space and traffic for just $8.95 a month and they have about 98% host rating the best among the list that they have. I don’t think is that bad to have my own website for just under $10 a month! I could just tell hubby to not eat out one meal during lunch and it would pay for my own website..muahhh

*this is a sponsor post*

Collision Repair Expert

Ever since we moved down here to Houston we are slowly getting used to the fact that there are more people hence more cars driving around on the road thus we have to be more careful when driving to and from anywhere. There are accidents everyday, everywhere and any time of the day hence it is nice to know that there is a collision repair expert out there that can help us anytime if there is an accident. It is comforting to know that there is someone you can trust out there since we don't know many people down here.

*this is a sponsor post*

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cream Cheese Custard Oat Buns and Butter Buns

I've been wanting to bake some buns the past weekend but was pretty busy with stuff going on. I was determine to bake some buns on Monday but that did not happen because it was raining like cats and dogs thus the thunder strike my DSL modem hence I'm not able to login to the Internet which sucked big time for me. Thankfully hubby's aunt lives by the side of us. I asked them if I could get access to their Internet and so Aunt L gave us her username and password to her Internet connection..muahh!!! So to thank Aunt L (She loves bread) I decided to make two kind of buns for them(hubby, Aunt L and Uncle Richie) for their breakfast/snack.

Cream Cheese Custard Oat Buns adapted from Honey Bee Sweet

Ingredients for cream cheese custard

250g cream cheese, room temperature
90g caster sugar
1 egg
35g cake flour
150ml fresh milk
1 1/2tsp fresh lemon juice
20g unsalted butter (I used salted coz that's what I had)


1. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together till creamy.
2. Add egg and mix well. Then stir in cake flour and mix till well combined.
3. Add the milk and stir well, then using double boiler method, stir and cook the mixture at medium heat till it thickens and bubble.
4. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and butter.
5. Let the custard cool then refrigerate it till needed.

Ingredients for buns

Set A:
50g instant oats
150ml fresh milk

Set B:
275g bread flour (I used more because the dough was still sticky)
50g instant roll oats
60g caster sugar
1 tsp honey (I omitted this)
5g instant active yeast
5g salt
1 whole egg
150ml fresh milk
40g unsalted butter, room temperature


1. In a small pot, cook the instant oats with the milk in Set A with low fire till the mixture is thick and lumpy. Remove from fire and set aside to cool. Refrigerate the mixture for an hour before use.
2. Mix Set A with Set B. I put everything (Set B) in my bread machine according to the manufacturer's direction to knead for about 25 minutes. Mine is wet ingredients, then dry ingredients and lastly make a well then pour the yeast in the well.
3. Since my bread machine dough don't reach the window pane stage after kneading so I take the dough out and hand knead it a little. I also use the throw & bang method and count to a hundreds.
4. If dough is very elastic and pulls to almost see through without breaking, then it's done. If not just throw&bang the dough another fifty times.
5. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof for at least 90 minutes to 2hrs till double in size.
6. After proofing, divide the dough into 12 portions. Roll each dough piece into a ball and let rest for 10 minutes before moulding.

Moulding Method

1. For each dough ball, cut out about 1/6 of it and set aside for the plaited dough on top.
To the remaining dough, roll it our flat using a rolling pin into a flat disc.
2. Scoop about 1.5 tbsp of the cream cheese custard filling in the center and seal it up tightly.
Place the sealed dough on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
3. With the 1/6 of the dough, divide into 2 and roll into small logs and pressing one end together, twist the 2 logs together to get the plaited pattern.
4. Place the twisted logs gently on top of the filled dough, in the middle. Then repeat with the rest of the 11 dough balls. Let the dough proof for another 20 minutes before baking.

Butter Buns recipes adapted from Beachlover Kitchen

300g bread flour,sifted(I used 50g whole wheat flour and 250g bread flour)
1 tbsp instant dried yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter (room temperature)
250 ml whole milk (Since I did not have whole milk I used 150ml 2% milk and 100ml heavy whipping cream)
1 egg


1 stick (8 tbsp) butter,soften and mix with
4 tbsp granulated sugar
*chill it in the fridge for 1-2 hours before use*


1 egg,lightly beaten
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp sesame seeds(I omitted this)


1. I put everything in my bread machine according to the manufacturer's direction to knead for about 25 minutes. Mine is wet ingredients, then dry ingredients and lastly make a well then pour the yeast in the well.
2. Since my bread machine dough don't reach the window pane stage after kneading so I take the dough out and hand knead it a little. I also use the throw & bang method and count to a hundreds.
3. If dough is very elastic and pulls to almost see through without breaking, then it's done. If not just throw&bang the dough another fifty times.
4. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof for at least 90 minutes to 2hrs.
5.Remove the dough,then punch down the dough to release the air.Knead the dough a couple of times,then divide the dough into 12 pieces,about 80 gm each. Let the dough rest for about 10minutes.
6. Roll the divided roll into ball shape.Flatten and roll the dough into round shape.Wrap the dough on your palm,then fill with 1 tbsp butter filling.Shape the dough into rounds again.Then place the butter dough in a greased pan .Keep repeat the same procedure until the dough finish.
7. Cover the shaped dough with a piece of damp cloth or damp paper towel and leave aside to rise until doubled size.
8. Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Brush egg wash on top of the round dough. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
9. Remove from oven and let's cool 5 minutes before serve warm.

Both buns turned out awesome! I always have problems shaping the dough after I fill the dough with filling. I have problem sticking the dough together to shape it thus causing the filling to leak out. I would appreciate it if someone can advice me on this! Apart from the slight problem I have the I ate the bun as soon as it got out of the oven because it smelled and looked so good. The buns still taste really good the following day but since I like my buns warm I warm my buns 20 seconds in the microwave before I ate them.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Confession of a Shopaholic

I feel like I'm like Becky Bloomwood from the confession of a shopaholic this past weekend. I'm not as bad at least I think as her but I think I can be almost as bad as her :P..I started my weekend shopping craze by ordering 4 dresses, 2 shorts and a belt on Friday night which I'm currently still anticipating the arrival of my goodies..:)

On Saturday I told hubby that I wanted to go to the mall to walk around and see if I could find some spots bra since we are going biking almost every evening hence I need more sports bra and work out clothes. After brunch hubby and I made our way to the mall without any intentions of buying anything because I've not been able to find anything suitable for a long time for me. Apparently this time round I could find things that's suitable for me and hubby (this trip me more than him because he's already bought a bunch of new clothing the last few trips when I could not find any).
Kipping messenger bag, Kippling purse, Champion sports shorts (yellow), Nike Sports shorts (blue), 2 Reebok top (green and white on top of the bag), hubby's black Nike top, Adidas yoga pants, Reebok sports bra and a New Balance sports bra.

L-R a pair of New Balance running shoes for me (alas I found a pair of sports shoes that I love and is comfortable) and 2 pairs of sports shoes for hubby because he's got wide feet and we have problem finding shoes for him too therefore we quickly bought 2 pairs when we found some that fits him

These are the damage done to our bank account (remember not including the other clothing that has yet to arrive). I also bought a pair of Aldo gladiator sandals but they did not have my size so they had to order it and it'll be delivered to my house (free shipping how cool is that) so I do have a pair of new sandals but it doesn't feel like it because it hasn't arrived.

I had to take my car for inspection on 7/29/2009 (in Houston you have to get your car inspected every year) so I took the opportunity to go walk around. I bought and already wore (hence no picture) a champion sports bra and a champion shorts just like the one I bought during the weekend but different color.

I was tempted to buy a pair of Dr Marten's mary jane. I walked out of the store and I walked back in the store again. It was the last pair there and I was so tempted to buy but I told myself that I didn't need it and I would not really wear it. I kind off still regret it and hubby offered to stop by the mall to get it for me but I am not sure if I really want it. Moreover I reminded myself that I still have a new pair of sandals coming. I am so tempted to run to the mall to go get it. I have to hold myself. I guess if it's mine maybe this weekend if I stop by there and is still there that means I should really get it. Does that make sense?

Well I have to say I am really happy with my purchases. I am not even sure why I need the Kippling bag but it's been a long time since I bought a new bag and I love Kippling and I don't have a blue Kippling monkey and is cheaper than Coach (that's what I told myself and hubby when we bought it) I guess it justifies why I bought that bag huh.

Honestly after spending quite a bit on my dresses and shorts I had no intention on going on a shopping spree the next day. I just assumed that I would not be able to find anything as usual I guess one should not assume anything!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Kneading Bread is a good workout for the arms

I've mentioned before that lately I'm in the mood to make bread. I am not sure why actually but then I guess is better than cookies or cakes. I am going to have to make a cake for hubby's birthday next month too and I've not decided what cake I actually want to bake.

It seems to me that every time when I make any kind of bread aunt L is either not around of she's already eaten hence too full to try the bread but uncle Richie will polish what ever and most of the time Aunt L don't even have the opportunity to try them. I made some chocolate swirl bread on Monday but forgot to take pictures and the moment I took it out of the oven hubby and Uncle Richie started eating them already. Aunt L is actually not home this week because she has training at the University of Houston hence she's staying at the hotel there. University of Houston is just situated about 20 minutes from where we live but since it starts so early the company wants them to stay nearby so they don't have to travel back and forth and they don't have to be late for classes because traffic is horrible in the mornings and evenings.

Anyway Aunt L will be returning home tonight and I thought as a treat I will bake her some fresh bread upon her arrival (I know she didn't go far or long). I've decided to make a some what healthy bread so that hubby, Uncle Richie and Aunt L can actually munch on it and have it for breakfast tomorrow too.

Honey Whole Wheat Raisin Loaf adapted from Honey Bee Sweet

250g bread flour
50g whole wheat flour
20g caster sugar
1 heaping tbsp of quality honey
4g instant active yeast
3g salt
50ml fresh whipping cream
160ml fresh milk
20g unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2-3/4 Cup of Raisins or dried cranberry. (I mixed mine up because I had some dried cranberry left over)


1. I put everything in my bread machine according to the manufacturer's direction to knead for about 25 minutes. Mine is wet ingredients, then dry ingredients and lastly make a well then pour the yeast in the well.
2. Since my bread machine dough don't reach the window pane stage after kneading so I take the dough out and hand knead it a little. I also use the throw & bang method and count to a hundreds.
3. If dough is very elastic and pulls to almost see through without breaking, then it's done. If not just throw&bang the dough another fifty times.
4. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof for at least 90 minutes to 2hrs.
5. Punch out the air in the dough and divide it into 3 equal portions. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
6. Roll out each portion into a long flat oval shape and roll up one end to make it into a swiss roll form. Let it rest again for anther 10 minutes while repeat with the rest of the 2 portions.
7. Roll out each portion again into a long flat oval shape and roll up one end to make it into a swiss roll form. Placed the dough into a greased loaf tin and repeat with the rest of the 2 portions.
8. Cover and let proof for another 2hrs or till the loaf fills 90% of the tin.
9. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush the top of loaf with egg wash.
10. Bake loaf in the oven for 35 minutes. If top browns too quickly, cover with aluminum foil till baking time is up.
11.When done, take out from oven and unmold immediately and let cool on rack before slicing.

** The liquid/dry ingredients needs to be adjust depending on how the dough turns out when kneading. I normally have to add more flour when I make bread but this time it was on the dry side hence I added more milk.

This throw & bang method works really well. Ever since I tried this method with the previous recipes I've been using this method every time I want to make bread and it has worked for me times I've used this method.

This bread turned out awesome. It is a complete success and even the picky bread eater me love this bread. I would make this bread again and again. The ultimate test is to wait for hubby to try them and to see the texture tomorrow and how long the bread will stay soft.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I'm itchy!!!Nope not because I have allergies or anything like that. I'm just itchy to buy something for myself. I've not bought any thing for myself for quite some time now. These past few weeks I've been going to different malls AND going to different sites online but I cannot find anything that I really like or that I would like to buy.

I guess it is not a bad thing since times are hard now and we should safe as much money as we can but for me once in a while I like to reward myself with presents to make myself happier. It is not like I'm not happy but I just like to buy something for myself once in a while.

This is the worst and the most see lai (housewife)/aunty problem I'm facing is that I'm actually eying on stuff for the kitchen. I'm actually of thinking of buying electrical or accessories that I can use in the kitchen. OMGosh how see lai is that?

Oh well I guess I won't get frustrated over this that much because I would find something I like eventually

Monday, July 13, 2009

Homemade Meat Balls

I love meatballs hence I love to eat lok lok/steam boat/hotpot because meatballs taste really yummy cooked that way. When I get my groceries from the Asian grocery store I would buy a few package of meatballs. Meatballs is pretty costly at the grocery store therefore I decided to make my own meatballs instead.

Recipe adapted from Sinner

500 gm pork, cut to small pieces

½ cup (125ml) icy cold water
1 Tbsp fish sauce
½ tsp salt
½ Tbsp sugar
½ Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp cornflour
1¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp white pepper
1. Mince the pork in a food processor until a paste is form. Add 5 Tbsp water (a Tbsp of water at a time) to get a smooth paste.

2. In a separate cup, mix together the remaining water, fish sauce, salt, sugar, oil, cornflour and baking powder.

3. Remove the pork paste from the food processor and put in a big bowl. Pour the liquid mix to the pork paste and stir well slowly until the liquid is absorbed into the paste (use either your hand or a fork).

4. For the taste test...microwave or boil a teaspoon of the paste. Season to taste with more salt or sugar.

5. Cover bowl with clingwrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

6. Boil a pot of water. Once the water has boiled, remove the pot from the heat.

7. Add pepper to the paste and stir to combine. Scoop the paste onto your wet hand. Push the paste through your thumb and 2nd finger by making a fist. Use a wet spoon to scoop and drop it into the hot water. To prevent the paste from sticking to your hand and spoon, wet the spoon and hand with water.

8. Continue until the pork balls form a layer in the water. Now turn on the heat but do not let it boil just simmer slowly without bubble....if not your pork ball will not have 'bounce'. While cooking the pork balls, any leftover paste should be kept in the freezer.

9. Fill a big basin with icy cold water. When the pork balls starts to float, leave for a few more seconds. (Cut one in half to see if it is cook. The inside should not be pink). Scoop out and let it cool in the cold water.

10. After the pork balls have cooled, use as required or freeze.

This is actually my second time making this meatballs. The first time my meatballs looks just horrible. This time is not that great but better than the first time. Sinner has a video on how to make/shape the meatballs. This meat balls is worth the time making it and it saves money because buying meatballs from the Asian grocery story can be quite expensive for a small pack (about $5.oo for a small frozen pack) I make this meatballs and freeze it so when ever I cook instant noodles I will throw in a few like it did in the picture.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Seeing Double?

Stanley and Milo is my pride and joy. Although they upset me when they misbehave every now and then I love them very very much. The first 10 minutes when I picked Stanley up from the shelter I was freaked out with the responsibility and I wanted to returned him. I am glad that we didn't and I'm glad that we decided to adopt a pet from the shelter instead of getting it from a pet shop or from a breeder (Around that time I watched one of Oprah's episode about the horrible puppy mills).

Since moving here to Texas we have found many stray dogs here and tried our hardest to find a good home for the dogs. We do not want to put any dogs in the SPCA because there is over flow of pets in the shelter and if the dogs are not adopted they will be put to sleep.

Among all the dogs that we found we decided to keep one. I named him Milo and he's such a little sweet heart. I never thought that I could love another dog apart from Stanley but I did. I love them so much!

Anyway I followed to hubby to work last weekend and we pass by a Petco. I had run in to get some stuff for the dogs and I saw a few dogs from the SPCA to hopefully get them adopted. One of the dog looked so much like my little Milo.

(L) Milo look a like. (R) Milo
My heart almost dropped when I saw him. When I saw the dog in the crate I cannot help thinking about my Milo. I cannot believe that he look so much like Milo. His fur just looks trimmed/shorter than Milo's. My wanted to just take him home so bad. I told hubby about it as soon as I went back in the vehicle. I know that if I push him a little bit more I might be able to persuade him to get Milo look a like but I already have two dogs at home. Two is not plenty but it is enough for me. When I had three dogs in the house I was just hanging to thin ice. I could barely deal with three dogs and it would not make sense for us to have three dogs. I wanted the Milo look a like so bad but I knew I should not. I knew it would be too much for us (two is already a mad house some times).

I'm really hoping that someone nice would adopt Milo look a like. I am really hoping that people out there will check their local shelter/SPCA before buying an animal. The local shelter always has plenty of dogs and is waiting for a good home. Just remember that if you don't see a pet that you want you can always tell them to look out for the one that you want. Also you should check out the surrounding shelter for better option. People should really help out the pets in the shelter if they are looking for one. The animals there are normally well trained and well behave and if there are anything wrong with them the shelter will inform you about it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Welcoming hostess

I am very picky when it comes to having the house clean. Honestly I am a slob as in I have stuff laying around but I cannot have a dirty house. I vacuum and clean the house quite frequently. The other day SIL and Uncle Richie was over and the dogs was running outside somehow they managed to run into the kitchen without getting cleaned first. I had to vacuum the floor there and then because there was sand, grass etc in the house. My feeling is I tackle the dirt before it spreads to other places.

Anyway I was just wondering when someone goes and stay at other people's house do they expect the host to clean up after them? If it was you who stayed at some one's house do you just leave glasses on the counter after using it, leave the filter pitcher empty after you are done drinking the water from the pitcher, walk around people's house with shoes when no one else is doing it, etc..

I don't even do any of the above even when I went back to Malaysia and stayed my parents. I wash my own glass, plates etc. I was so frustrated when we had "guest" staying with us a few months ago because they either walk in and around the house with their shoes or they walk out of the house without shoes and walk around the house after that!!argghhh...I would wake up in the morning (my guest normally would be gone on their daily activities) with dishes in the sink, empty glasses everywhere and the filtered water pitcher empty. The guest do not even have the tendency to fill up the water again!

My water pitcher looks like this but different brand. How difficult is it to fill it up with water after one finish every single drop of water in it?

I know that they are visitors and I don't expect them to do anything but just pick up after themselves. I am not even asking them to clean my house. Every single time my parents comes and visit us they will help me clean the house and I'm not even asking that from my guests! I guess some people can say that I am home and not working anyway BUT I feel even if I'm home I'm not here to clean up after people. I have my own chores and I have my own things to do and is not fair that I have to clean up after the visitors.

I am not sure whether am I just really picky or I do have the right to feel this way. Is it a normal attitude for visitors to behave? Am I just over reacting? Don't get me wrong I love having visitors. I love having people in my house but I just dislike the one that wants me to pick up after them!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Homemade Chocolate Milk Shake

Hubby loves Chocolate milk shakes especially during the hot summer days. I've been telling him that I will make him homemade ones but I've never tried or actually made him one. Earlier I told him that I had a craving for Strawberry malt and was thinking of going to get some. I was too lazy to get out of the house and hubby wanted chocolate malt/milk shake instead so I decided to try making him a chocolate milk shake.

Chocolate Milk Shake
1 cup of Milk
1 cup of ice
2-3tbsp of chocolate syrup (I added a little more. I just squirt it in)
1 scoop of chocolate/vanilla ice cream (I only had butter pecan ice cream so I used that)

In a blender, combine ice cream, chocolate syrup, milk and crushed ice. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.

This milk shake is super simple and hubby loves it. I've made this 3 times in an hour. Now hubby don't have to always buy milk shakes from the fast food places anymore which is so full of sugar. I have most of the ingredients in my house all the time anyway so I can make it anytime when he wants it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Super Soft Milk Bread

I have a ton of white eggs from trying to make breads from the last couple of days. The first time I tried custard bun which turned out pretty good but I kind off burnt the bottom of it so it was pretty hard (I will have to try again). Then yesterday I tried to make sweet potato bread everything turned out awesome but when I made the sweet potato filling I used bad milk hence my filling was bad. I had to throw away the whole pan of sweet potato bun.

I figured I should give up making breads already since I've made two failed bread the past two day but I decided to give bread another try to use up my egg whites.

Recipe adapted from My Home Kitchen:

Bread flour 300g
Instant Yeast 3g
Castor sugar 45g
Salt 3g
Milk powder 4.5g
Fresh milk 138g
Egg whites 65g
Unsalted butter 30g

1. Use your usual kneading for bread. Make sure you knead your dough till smooth and elastic (window pane stage).
2. Cover and proof for 1 hour.
3. Divide into 3 portions. Round up the doughs and rest for about 10 minutes.
4. Roll into Swiss roll style once. Rest the doughs for a further 10 minutes.
5. Flatten the 3 rolls and roll into Swiss roll style one more time.
6. Put the rolled doughs into you Pullman's tin and let it rise till 90%. (within 2 hours)
7. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 deg C for 30 minutes.
8. Unmold immediately. Let it cool off completely before slicing.

I used my bread machine to knead for 30 minutes. I feel my bread dough usually don't reach window pane stage even after 30 minutes of kneading. So, I'll take out the dough and hand knead it. I'll also adopt the "throw & bang" method. I find this method works very effective than hand knead alone! Guess what I "throw & bang" and count to hundreds!

This bread turned out really well. It came out super soft and yummy and since I didn't have the pullman tin pan I decided to use two pyrex to try and make a square bread. I accidentally used 45grams of milk powder instead of 4.5grams but the bread still turned out really good. The first time when I took the bread out it was under cook and I had to put it back in the oven but the second time when I took it out it and try the bread to find it super good. The shape of my bread is out of whack because it was stuck to the pan. I need to remember to grease my pan next time so that it'll be easier for me to take the bread out. I will make this again and again as I think this will be a good sandwich bread providing that I don't mess up the shape of the bread and after greasing the pan hopefully the bread will come out easier.


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