Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Treadmill 5k

I am not a runner. But for a while now, I've been challenging myself to run (well, jog) a WHOLE mile. Not necessarily every single day, but at least add it into the rotation a few times a week. Even for just one mile, it take a bit of mental prep for me. I just don't really care for running. It's hard! And I have to wear shoes. I don't like shoes. Being on a treadmill, I simply set it to a steady 5mph pace, so it's a 12-minute mile. I can jog for twelve measly minutes, right?

I've been doing this for several months now. My jog is often my warm up before my weights workout. On rare occasions, I'd feel good, or a specific song would come on that would encourage me to keep going ... and I would. There were days when I'd do a mile and a half, or even two miles. Back in February I did 2.5 miles, my longest run to date. In that post I mentioned at SOME point, I planned on doing a treadmill 5k.

I have done ONE 5k in my life (My First 5k). I THINK I jogged the whole thing, trying to keep up with my kid on a scooter, but I may have stopped to check on another child (the oldest had pushed a little too fast and I found him sitting along the side of the road as I caught up).  I've been wanting to try an actual race again, but have never gotten around to it.

But I finally did a 5k on the treadmill!

I prepped myself mentally. I am going to do this. I put on the shoes I hate the least (I've been trying to break in some new ones that I'm not sure about yet, I used my older ones). I redid my playlist (I shared five of my favorite 5mph songs here, those five and others helped me get through. I'll be sharing more of my motivational music in an upcoming Friday Five).  I was ready.
I did it. It wasn't even that hard. 
Being one the treadmill, and being a bit OCD ... I didn't feel like I could stop at 3.1, so I continued to finish the lap at 3.25, 40 minutes. You can see my treadmill overestimates on the calorie count. My Fitbit came in closer to expected. I probably should have taken the time to slip on my HRM, but it does seem pretty consistent with the Fitbit for straight jogging.

I'm sure I'll try my treadmill 5k again. I'm not sure when ... should I try to commit to once a month? Hmmmm. I'd really like to join an actual 5k again too, just something local and small. I'll be keeping my eyes open for some possibilities. I don't know that I'll be actively trying to improve on my time, as being on the treadmill, I just stick with a set, steady speed with my matching music. But if I give an actual race a try, it will be interesting to see how I do when I don't have the treadmill determining my pace.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Blog Hops and Link Ups

I started my blog about a year ago. I really have no interest in becoming a high-profile blogger. I'm not doing this to earn an income, endorsements or recognition. It's really just for me. That being said, it IS still nice to have someone reading and get a little feedback.  Blog hops and link ups are a great way for a new (or even established) blogger to get their name out a bit, and to find new friends and blogs with similar interests. I'm quite the blog hopper myself. I keep a link-up list here on the blog, and keep a Pinterest board to help me keep track.

I'd been a pretty active contributor in the Motivation Monday link-up, and a few months ago, when Wendy said she was looking for some new co-hosts, I told her I was interested. It's been fun to be on the hosting side of a blog hop, as well as just a participant. 

I've been thinking about blog hops ... what makes it successful. I found a couple blog posts with tips and recommendations (here & here).  I've been thinking about what I like when it comes to a blog hop ... and I've love to know what others think too!

  • Consistency: I don't know about you, but after participating in a blog hop for a while, I come to expect it to be there *Ü*  I am disappointed if I have MY blog ready and then I go to link up and the blog hop isn't there that week. Has that ever happened to you?
  • Theme: I go back and forth on whether I like there to be a specific theme. On one hand, a theme can serve as a writer's prompt, pushing me to write something I might not have otherwise. I do know, if there IS a theme, I do like to know about it in advance so I can be thinking about my post, and not writing it that day. Did you like it when our Motivation Monday's had a theme, or do you prefer just the general link up? Did the list of themes ever inspire you to write something not originally planned?
  • Links: Blog hops will generally show as simple links, or photo image squares. I DO like the picture option, it makes it a bit more personable. As a host however ... the picture option does generally carry a charge with it, and it does add more length to the original blog post each time (it can look a bit cluttered). What is your preference?
  • Duration: Most blog hops run for about a week, but I've come across some that only go for a day or so. Often times I've taken the time to write up my blog post, then I go to link up only to find it has closed. 
  • Linking Back: I normally always try to link back to the blog host on my post. I know some blog hops actually require this (you're link will not be accepted unless there is a link-back present). I will also really try to follow the request to check out (and comment) on a few of the other blogs in the link up. I actually think commenting on the other blogs will make the connections more than just posting your own link.
Those are some of the items that impact MY participation in blog hops. I do like where there are multiple hosts, as that does help spread the info about the blog hop a little more. Some blog hops will showcase a link or two from the previous week ... I like that! Having a clever name, and a cute button can impact participation too I think! I do take notice when the blog hostess takes the time to come and comment, although I know that can be a practical impossibility with some of the larger ones!

There are so many blog hops out there ... sometimes I will link up for more than one on a single post. Do you have any thoughts on that? Is that considered bad etiquette? 

Blog hops definitely motivate me to blog more ... and as I'm blogging about a healthy lifestyle, I like to think that they help motivate me there too, simply so I will have something to write about! What about you? Do you participate in blog hops and link-ups? Why or why not? What draws you to a link up? What don't you like?  Leave a comment telling me ... and if you'd like, link up with the Motivation Monday team in our blog hop each Monday and get motivated!

The link-up entry is below, but going along with this topic, I thought I'd recap my weekend and linkup with Marvelous In My MondayMove it Monday and Motivational Monday.
  • Friday was actually pretty good, even with late start at the middle school and early out at the elementary I got in pretty good steps ... this was mostly because of an impromptu treadmill 5k. I plan on writing a little more about that on Workout Wednesday, as it's pretty monumental and I think it deserves it's own post! *Ü* I spend the evening at a basketball game for #3 where the kids were on fire and hitting three pointers all night long!
  • Saturday started with a growling tummy. I had really controlled calories Friday and my stomach was complaining! Hubby just looked at me and asked "what exactly is going on over there?" It was a busy day, we had five basketball games and one soccer game (overlapping, so I attended two basketball games, Daddy handled the soccer and #2 hitched a ride to his double header). TOM hit and I went to bed early. Like 8:30 early.
  • Sunday we had some family activities, went up to my brother's house. I resisted the treats there but still overindulged in hubby's delicious BBQ that evening. I took a rest day ... didn't even get to 4000 steps on my pedometer!
I'm usually really good on Mondays, motivated and ready to get back at it. I'm feeling quite sluggish today though. It's cold and dreary outside and that doesn't help. Hopefully I'll shake it off, I need to as the weight IS up after the weekend.As always, you can keep up with my daily activities in my Day to Day Doings. I am trying to stay current!

Friday, April 25, 2014

WWI#41 & Five Favorite Blogs

Well ... THAT wasn't a good week! Thank you Easter Bunny Bawk Bawk! Hubby touted that familiar statement on Easter Sunday and the kids just looked at him with confused faces. He looked up the old M&M's commercial on YouTube ... the kids are now familiar. It has been repeated many, many MANY times since Sunday, still causing laughter, and I'm sure we'll enjoy it again every Easter for years to come.

But seriously... I blame Easter! It seems like I struggle every April, putting on a few pounds just in time for summer. There has also been stress and not sleeping, as I mentioned in my post yesterday. And I guess it will be TOM time any day ... I guess. It came early last month, so I don't know if that shifts the whole schedule or what.

NUMBERS: Yikes up, 1.9.  My average was up too, the average weight for the week is actually 152.4 as well, that's the first time they have lined up exactly. No deficit at all this week, I was over ... only by 750 calories (not the 7000 the almost two pound increase would suggest). Average intake was 2600, which IS higher than I recall it ever being. So Easter + stress ... I said I wasn't stress eating, but I guess maybe I was when I look at the numbers. Average burn stayed pretty steady at 2846. I did take a complete rest day on Sunday (can't remember the last time I didn't exercise at all). 

In the past weeks, I'd say "well, at least my MFP ticker is still showing my 30 pounds lost" ... hanging head. Not so today. It's slipped back to 28. I really hate the slipping back. Now time for that delicate balance of "don't be too hard on yourself, you'll get back on track" and "girl, get it together, this is completely unacceptable!"  Linking up with Fitness Friday.

With the Internet Accountability behind me, time for ...

I didn't linkup to the Friday Five Linkup at Eat Pray Run because it was themed, and I'd already planned on showcasing my five favorite Easter treat temptations. This week however, I didn't have anything planned, so I was happy to have a theme to inspire me.  It's Follow Friday, time to feature bloggers you follow.

I follow a LOT of people ... I struggle to keep up (future blog post coming up trying to find the best ways to follow all my favorites). You can see I keep a HUGE list of bloggers down on my sidebar. I'm constantly adding to it too. It's hard to pick just five ... but as I featured five favorite songs a few weeks ago (5 Favorite 5mphSongs), again, how do you pick just five? For that post, I picked my five Top20/Popular type songs ... I'll be showcasing songs again, with my top 5 songs of different themes (so check back) but I thought here, I'd pick five of my favorite blogs that are BIG blogs, those with large followings. Popular/Professional (in the future I'll try and hit other blogs according to different themes). Anyway .... my featured five:
  • Katie at Runs for Cookies: I think I first found this blog after it was listed in a magazine. Katie writes almost every day and is just so personable that you feel like you actually know her. Her weight-loss and dedication to running is very inspiring.
  • Diane at Fit to the Finish: Another inspiring weight-loss success story ... and she has seven kids (I thought I had my hands full with five). I really like her posts, they are often though provoking and meaningful. 
  • Jill at Fitness, Health and Happiness:  Lots of great articles, and she hosts some fun blog hops which have helped me find new blogs, and I believe brought me new readers as well. Both Jill (and Diane above) have taken the time to come back and comment on my blog too. That's nice personal contact when you know they have a lot of readers!
  • Katie at Healthy Diva Eats: Oh my heavens, her little baby is SO cute. She writes in such an easy, conversational tone, you feel like friends. Touches on a lot of topics, shares recipes and reviews, and hosts the MIMM blog hop, which is very popular!
  • Amanda at Running with Spoons: I've really enjoyed the "Thinking Out Loud" blog hop on Thursdays, and Amanda almost always takes the time to come comment. That immediately impressed me, as it's a pretty big link-up list! I've seen her pinning articles too, spreading the love. She is also very conversational, easy and enjoyable to read featuring fitness and food and everything inbetween.
So there's my list for today ... give a little shout out to five bloggers YOU are following.

Also linking up with the other Friday Five Blog Hops!  
What to you know ... there are five!
Five on Friday at Hello Happiness, Friday Favorites at Running4Cupcakes,  Friday Favorites at Housewife Glamour,  High Five Friday at LaurenElizabeth and Five Things Friday at Fitting It All In

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Check Engine

It's amazing how much stress a little light can create. We've actually been dealing with the engine light in my son's truck for a while. We took it in for repairs, $400 later ... the light was still on. We took it to our regular mechanic (they had been closed the first day, which is why we tried somewhere else), another $400, and it was STILL on. We figured perhaps it was just defective ... but #1 took it in for inspection and registration and it didn't pass the emissions test. Back to the mechanic with the problem in black and white (Cylinder 8 Misfire) and they said that is internal, and will require an engine rebuild.

That doesn't sound good. We haven't figured out what we are going to do yet.

I hate car problems...I'm sure I'm not alone there. I don't even like cars though, they are a necessary and expensive evil. I really don't like driving at all. I actually have extreme anxiety in the car. I don't drive freeways or downtown, and even as a passenger, I struggle. I'm tense and anxious the entire time. I do okay driving around the neighborhood, those trips required for school and shopping. Basketball pushes my boundaries at times. I had to drive across town Tuesday night for #3's game. Last night #2's game was too far. It would have required the freeway. I had to have him catch a ride with a basketball buddy and I missed out and seeing him play.

Now ... I'm getting stressed on even the smallest of drives. Why?  Because the engine light has now come on in MY car now too. I'm seriously sick about it.

Hubs says we'll work it out and I'm sure we will. I just don't know how. I don't know when we'll have the time for any of us to have a car in the shop. I guess we can rent a car for a few days, but still, just the thought of having to find someone to deal with the problem, fix it, pay for it ... and we're under a deadline with the registration expiration too.

I'm stressed. I've been doing ok as far as not letting the stress affect my eating. I overindulged this past weekend, but that was Easter, not this. I've been trying to outlet my emotions in exercise ... hitting the elliptical or treadmill. Zumba makes me happy ... except that I drive to those locations and that little light just blares at me every time I go anywhere. I wake up at night and worry and can't get back to sleep. 

So Thinking Out Loud this Thursday.
THAT is what has been on my mind lately!

First world problems I know. We're lucky that we have three cars to start with. That although I'm NOT looking forward to the cost, it probably won't devastate us financially (I'm sure hoping not!).

It would be interesting if our bodies had warning lights on them. Maintenance required. Check Engine. If there was a little light that wouldn't turn off until you dealt with the problem ... hmmm. There's food for thought.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wii Fit Funnies

My home gym has an elliptical, a treadmill, a stationary bike, weights ... and a Wii. The Wii isn't a huge part of my exercise routine, but I do try to get in a little WiiFit here and there.  And as I've discovered Zumba, I've given the WiiZumba a try too.

A little funny/fail from the other day ... I was dancing along when the song ended. I needed the Wii remote to move through the options, the next song ... I looked all around. I could NOT find the remote. I seriously searched for about 10 minutes.

It was in the Zumba belt.
The belt I was wearing on my waist.
Duh. But I had to laugh ...

I also laughed when my son shared this YouTube video with me ...
  A trailer for the new Super Smash Brothers Brawl.
The Wii Fit Trainer joins the battle.
Pretty funny!

Do you WiiFit?

Linking up with the HumpDayBlogHop ... and FitFoodieRuns (which also features the hump day camel this week. BTW, the commercial?  My boys think that it is HILARIOUS and love to repeat it every Wednesday!) Also check out the WorkOutWednesday and WeighInWednesday linkups...

... check back on Friday for my official weigh-in (fair warning, it is NOT looking good this week after Easter indulgences) ... sometimes I wait until Friday to link up with Ashley, but at the end of that little video, it says "Wii Fit Trainer Weighs In" ... so I thought today was appropriate after all *Ü*

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I've been Liebed! That is, nominated for the "Liebster Award" by not just one, but THREE blogging buddies. I hadn't gotten around to a post today, so I figured I'd go ahead and get this done.

Each of the three people who nominated ME, asked 10 questions. You can follow the links back to their blogs, see what questions they were asked, and see other blogs they nominated and how others answered these same questions.

Theresa at A Change of Pace asked ...
  • What is your favorite way to sweat? I discovered Zumba this year and I have to say it is the "exercise" I look forward to the most.
  • What are you most proud of? I think I'm most proud of my kidlets ... they are great and I'm really proud to call them mine.
  • Why did you get into blogging? I used to scrapbook ... photos and journaling. That's really what a blog is. And as much time as blogging does take, it doesn't take as long as scrapbooking! I love that it's easily available to share with family and friends and I really like how it can be so easily organized (labels, chronologically, search, links) to find past posts.
  • What is the the last book you read? Wicked Lovely ... I like the YA fantasy, dystopian stuff. You can see all my books on GoodReads (I love and recommend this site!)
  • What is your secret guilty pleasure? I love to lay out in the sunshine and read a book.
  • What is your favorite way to pamper yourself? See above :)
  • Chocolate or vanilla? I LOVE chocolate, but I'm actually a vanilla gal.
  • If you had a warning label, what would it read? Caution ... easily overwhelmed!
  • If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take 1 item, what would it be? I guess my Iphone, mostly for my Kindle app (I love to read) and I sure hope that island had electricity to recharge it!
  • What's your favorite healthy snack? That is an oxymoron ... I'm not sure if any of my snacks are healthy.
  A Different D's questions were ...
  • Why blog, why not just keep a journal? I have kept a journal for years. Now, I do keep a journal portion on my blog (my Day to Day Doings). I love the blog though, for adding images, graphs, links and organizing everything. The blog is so easy to share too ... I DO still keep a private journal for those more personal ponderings.
  • What is you favorite form of exercise? I've been loving Zumba, but my easy go to exercise  is the elliptical.
  • If you had 3 wishes what would they be? Can we ask for more wishes? I'd love heath for me and my family, freedom from financial worries and ... world peace.
  • Do you think a 35 hour work week should be THE LAW everywhere? I think it's too hard to place a universal restriction, it just wouldn't work for some people/professions ...
  • Lipstick, Lip gloss, or chap stick? All three!
  • What is the best meal you have ever had? Hubby's barbequed steak, chicken and mashed taters (see here).
  • What are your top 5 songs on your playlist that you HAVE to hear? It does depend on mood and activity (am I jogging?) ... some favorites right now are "Shake" by Victoria Justice, "Chasing the Sun" by Sara Bareilles, "Move a Little Faster" by Dionne Bromfield, "Say Something" by A Great Big World/Christina Aguilera and "Best Day Of My Life" by American Authors.
  • What are your blog goals? I don't really have any. Just to keep it up, mostly for me. I don't really have big plans.
  • Bed, wed or dead? Brad Pit, Chris Hemsworth, Will Smith. I'm just too literal to play this game ... I mean I'm already married (as are they), so both wed and bed are out, and I'm certainly not going to kill anyone. I'm boring, I know ...
  • What is your favorite post that you wrote? I guess it would be my "Wondering About a Fitbit" post. I'm a Fitbit fan, and I hope my post helps anyone considering getting one.
Jasmine at Fleurty and Fit asked...

  • What was the first blog you ever read? The very first blog was probably my sister's family blog? As far as looking at fitness types, I think it was Runs for Cookies (which was featured in a magazine).
  • What are your top five pins on Pinterest? I'd have to say the top five that I have been glad I discovered are: Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats (yummy!), Brazilian Cheese Bread, Chocolate Mint Brownies, Baking Eggs (instead of boiling) and Making Your Own Laundry Detergent. I have these (and others) on my Pinned, Tried, Reviewed board. 
  • What is your go to easy recipe for dinner each week? Spaghetti or tacos. 
  • What is your favorite social media site? I'm mostly a Facebook gal (I set up a profile just for my fitness following and posts). I'm trying to use Instagram more ... I set up a Twitter but then I don't think I've ever been back.
  • Where do you see your blog in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? I still figure I'll be blogging in a year. 5-10 years? That is long term, who knows? I plan on still keeping up the family blog, but I rather hope by then I've been maintaining goal weight for so long I've run out of things to say here ...
  • What is your favorite thing to do for fun? I do enjoy playing games with the family. 
  • Who is your best friend? I don't know that I've had a "best friend" since high school ... 
  • How do you promote your blog? I don't pay for any promotion or have any ads. I do participate in blog hop, comment on other blogs and post to Facebook, and hope that might drive some traffic back. 
  • What is your favorite Disney Movie? The Little Mermaid 
  • If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, with unlimited funds--where would you go? I'm really not a vacationer ... I might like to try a nice cruise, or go see the leaves turning on the East coast. Maybe Hawaii ...
Have YOU been nominated for a Liebster award? Would you like to be? Honestly, one of the things that keeps me from participating in something like this is that I supposed to nominate 10 other blogs. But ... I've seen this Liebster award around everywhere and I really think that almost all the blogs I read have already participated. But if you haven't, and you want to ... I nominate YOU (I also know I'm not the first to do this, some of us are just rule breakers!) And you can pick your favorite 10 questions from those asked above to answer on your own blog.  Here are the official rules too (hey, I followed the first couple ...)

The rules:
1.) you must link back to the person who nominated you
2.) you must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominator
3.) you must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)
4.) you must create 10 questions for your nominees
5.) you must notify your nominees

Monday, April 21, 2014

... and Easter Is Over

Hoppy Easter from the Blackham Bunnies
It's Motivation Monday ... I have YET to get motivated after the Marvelous (MIMM) Easter weekend (marvelous in family and fun ... not in eating and exercise!) It's Spring Break for my kidlets. They were out of school Thursday and Friday, and still today. So I slept in this morning. I didn't prep my blog post yesterday. It WAS Easter and we had a lot going on.

We go to Easter celebrations on both sides of the family. We hit my folks on Saturday. Over the years, it's evolved that I am in charge of bringing the eggs. I'm not exactly sure when or why this happened, but I don't mind. I did NOT buy any new eggs this year, these were all ones I'd stored from years past. I was SO grateful to these two kidlets, as they were a huge help in filling the eggs for me. Some with candy, but most with little toys, stickers, balloons, etc. There were still plenty of eats and treats. I did make a lemon jello cake too, and it was devoured. I made another for Sunday's party, and will make another today (I was asked to bring a cake to a funeral open house for a friend's father).

We did try to jump off some of the calories. I didn't jump myself, but I got in a good arm workout! The jumprope was such a hit at the Saturday party, we took it to Sunday's gathering, and they loved it there too!

Saturday evening we were relaxing, waiting for the kids to go to bed so that the Easter Bunny could come. Suddenly, the house rumbled. It wasn't the kids playing basketball in the front room (slamming into the wall), or a hard slam of the front door, although that can shake the house too. We also live close to a small airport and army depo (with blackhawk helicopters making the rounds causing some shaking) ... but this FELT different. It wasn't just the house. It was like the "earth moved under my feet" ... I looked at hubby and asked "was that an earthquake?" The three older boys came in and asked the same question. I quickly checked on #4. He has suffered from a severe weather phobia (terrified of tornadoes, even though we don't get tornadoes ... any wind, thunder, lightening will send him running to his room.) but he was fine, he hadn't even noticed.

It took a little while for the news to verify that it had indeed been an earthquake. 3.2 centered in a city to the West of us. My folks (to the East) hadn't felt a thing. But then again many in our neighborhood (including my two younger boys) missed it too. Very minor. But still, the first time I felt an earthquake!

The Easter Bunny did come ...
I couldn't help but contrast this with last year ... (ALL FIVE boys got hit with a stomach flu and it was SO bad!) This year, some treats, some toys, some clothes, and the DVD "Frozen" ... I hadn't seen it yet, but #2 had specifically requested it! I've finally seen Frozen. Very cute!

I didn't get in ANY exercise on Easter. I took a rest day ... first rest day in, um, I'm not really sure. Just shy of 5000 steps on the Fitbit, just under 2000 calories for the day. Ummmm, that was burn, I was definitely OVER that on intake.  The scale is definitely showing an upward swing after the Easter activities and eating.  Time to get back at it, even with my slow start this Monday morning.

Check in with the Motivation Monday Team ...
Link up YOUR Monday/Motivational post.

I'm also linking up with Move It Monday ... even though this last weekend was lacking. My last WEEK was good. You can always see what I'm up to with my Day to Day reports.

Friday, April 18, 2014

WWI#40 & Friday Five (Easter Treat Edition)

Another week down ... well, NOT down. Actually up just a bit. Not a lot, but it was one of those weeks where I didn't weigh in under 150 the entire week. Not great. At least my MFP ticker is at 30 pounds lost, it's been shifting almost daily.

I knew this week would be a little off with Spring Break and the Easter holiday. Added to that, #4 stayed home sick on Monday. He went to school Tuesday but then threw up and I had to run get him for another day at home. Wednesday was early out for the elementary, as well as an assembly for #5. Then the kids were out of school yesterday and today, and will be out Monday as well. Nothing huge, just enough to throw things off just a bit. As always, for more details, check out my Day to Day ...

Numbers ... up .7 from last week, average up too (.93). High was 153.5, low was last week's weigh-in of 149.8.  I did have a deficit for the week, but it was only 1670.  Average in 2386. Average out 2883.

Linking up with Fitness Friday & Follow Through Friday 

 As I've been tracking my weight over these past several years ... I always felt like I had a bump up in April. I wondered if Easter, and Easter treats had anything to do with it .... hmmmm. 

I decided, as Easter is just around the corner, that I would use the Friday Five/Favorites link-ups (Five on Friday at Hello Happiness, Friday Favorites at Running4Cupcakes,  Friday Favorites at Housewife Glamour,  High Five Friday at LaurenElizabeth and Five Things Friday at Fitting It All In  to feature MY Easter Treats.

Five Favorites On Friday ... Easter Treat Edition

  • Cadbury Mini-Eggs: I'm including them here because everyone ELSE seems to love them. Me? I actually don't care for them. I mean, I will eat them, I don't think they are disgusting or anything, but ... eeeehhh, they are just chocolate.
  • Robin Eggs: Now the malted milk eggs (by Whoppers) ... I LOVE those. If I have a bag open by my computer, all of a sudden that bag is empty and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who ate any. I try to eat them slowly, sucking on them until they simply dissolve.
  • Peanut Butter M&M Eggs: I discovered these a few years ago and was addicted. I actually haven't had any in a couple of years. I like regular ol' peanut butter M&Ms, but these eggs? Something about the shape, and the ratio of chocolate to peanut-butter is actually better!
  • Reeses: I do love Reeses. Peanut butter and chocolate. Yummy! The actual Reeses Eggs ... they seem to have a different chocolate to peanut butter ratio, so I do not care for them as much (check out this review of Reeses ratios ). Hubby did bring home a HUGE Reeses from New York.  I'll stick with the miniatures. The individual wrapping will hopefully slow me down, and provide proof of how much I actually ate. The three older boys love Reeses as well, while to two little ones can't stand peanut butter (#5 is actually allergic we think, had a bad reaction several years ago that landed him in the hospital ... we still have peanut butter around but he is very in tune to avoiding it!)
  • Meringue Nests: This final treat was something I was introduced to in elementary school. A friend made these for me every year and eventually passed me the recipe, and I've been making them ever since. It's just a basic meringue cookie recipe, egg whites and sugar whipped until peaks form. Some people actually pipe it for a nicer look, I just plop it by the spoonful into circle shapes, with an indentation in the middle ... trying to make it look a little like a nest. We really don't care what it looks like, we just want to eat it. After it is baked and cooled, it is melt in your mouth numminess! I made some yesterday and will be making a second batch today. The kids love them ... hubby isn't sure what all the fuss is about.

We had some jelly beans around yesterday ... I really only like the red ones. I had the kids filling eggs yesterday ... for some reason I've been the designated egg bringer to the family party for the past many years. We do fill many with edible treats, but I also grab a bunch of little toys and stickers so there isn't so much sugar. 

If you picked FIVE favorites ... what would they be?
Are you ready for Easter?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fitbit Finds, Fitbit Fails

It's Thursday ... and Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud. It's Thursday afternoon though. I generally TRY to get my post up first thing, even writing it the night before. Didn't happen. It's Spring Break here. The kidlets are out of school. There was some sleeping in and it feels like a Saturday. My Saturdays are generally not very productive. Today has not been terribly productive.

So, I wasn't going to post. I mean, I don't HAVE to post every day. 
But here I am ... Thinking Out Loud.

Almost 18000 steps today ... but that's slow for a Thursday.
Will I hit my 22,000 goal by end of day?

I did get to Zumba today. After Zumba, I drove down the street and hit Kmart. I didn't really "need" anything, but I had $13 in credit to spend. I received the credit simply by signing up for their new FitStudio, which rewards participants for being active (thanks HealthyDivaEats for bringing this program to my attention, you all KNOW I love reward programs that link with my Fitbit! I plan on doing a full write up and review of FitStudio coming up soon). I grabbed some stuff for Easter, got a couple clearance steals ... and apparently my purchases gave me another $12 credit for my next visit. I wonder how many activity points rewards I can add to that before my next trip in.

With all these awards programs ... my little Fitbit has literally paid for itself.

I just hit 50,000 points on Achievemint.  I've requested my payout. My dad reached the 50K to0. We'll both be watching our emails. My son recently received his $50 payment. It took a couple weeks but no further followup on our end. I do plan on another Achievemint Update post soon with these recent experiences.

I've earned "cash" rewards from Everymove and Walgreens rewards programs too ... just by linking my Fitbit. I'm mean, I LOVE my Fitbit and the feedback it provides. It motivates me. These rewards? They are just an extra bonus! I've donated a bunch to charity with these types of programs too. I think I can count my savings today as an NSV.

As much as I love my Fitbit ... we've had our Fitbit fails too.

I bought a Zip for hubby. I wasn't sure if it would click with him, so I went with the least expensive option ... he wasn't going to wear it to bed to track sleep anyway. Yea, I was right. I didn't click. #1 son, who had a Flex, decided he was tired of wearing one on his wrist, so we switched him out to the Zip. The Flex is currently sitting unused at our house. The Zip? Well ... #1 lost it during their recent trip to New York. Fitbit Fail. I had signed him up for an Achievemint account too, but I was thinking he'd never end up getting there ... I just went to check on it and guess what? He had hit the 25,000! $25 reward. I may make him pass it on to me to pay for the lost Fitbit (and the lost Jawbone up before that). I've been impressed with #2 (15 years old) not having any issues in almost a year of use.

My "Wondering About a Fitbit" post is still the most visited post here on this blog. By far!
Fitbit. Fitness AND Frugality! I am a fan.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Trying Something New

I'm quite notorious for staying in my comfort zone. I find something I like and I stick with it. Generally, I don't change things up until change is forced upon me. A few weeks ago, I mentioned I had grabbed some DVDs from my local library (Library Love). This was an attempt to TRY something new ... without making any real commitments (borrowing before buying).

First off, as I'm attending Zumba three times a week already, I didn't find the time to try the HipHopAbs DVD for more cardio (as I'm getting my elliptical and bike in each day as well). That one went back to the library unwatched, but I hope to give it a try at some point in the future. 

I have a weight workout on my schedule Mon/Wed/Fri, and while I am attached to my personal full body weight workout, I have shaken it up at times with a DVD. I've tried Jillian's 30 Day Shred, Ripped in 30 and No More Trouble Zones. I've given a few YouTube videos a go as well. I grabbed the DVDs pictured above and did give the other three a TRY ... I admit up front, I probably didn't give them as much of a try (a second or third attempt) as I should have. I know I don't like many workouts the first time around...but I was under a bit of a time crunch with due dates looming.
  • Jillian's Hard Body: If you look at the reviews on Amazon, you'll see two camps. Those who really like it, and others who ... didn't like it. I fell into the latter group. Many people mention the DJ ... I didn't care for the DJ. But for me, I just feel like Jillian is trying too hard to be innovative and different and she creates new routines. So many of the moves were compound moves, and were just moving so fast and difficult for me to follow. Rather than doing a situp, then rolling over and doing a superman ... I would rather do several situps, then do the supermans. I admit ... I just wasn't enjoying this enough to even continue all the way through. I turned it off and figure I'll just stick with 30DS or NMTZ. 
  • The Biggest Loser:  As I watched The Biggest Loser for the first time this past season, it was interesting for me to see Bob and Dolvett in action. I liked these fine, a mix of cardio and strength. I liked the regular people in the background, and the variations. The 15minute segments didn't quite work for me, as they would do a little warm-up ... I'm always already warmed up when I start one of these routines, I just want to get to it. The 15 minute program was too short, and I know you can combine the workouts, but it just lacked continuity for me that way. Right now, I think I'm getting in quite a bit of cardio on my own, so when I'm thinking "strength training" I'm looking more for straight strength training, without the cardio bursts. I may revisit this DVD at some point.
  • Jackie Xtreme Timesaver Training: I liked this workout. One 30minute strength routine. I wore my heart rate monitor and many of the moves, while not cardio, did keep my heart rate elevated.  I liked that. Here, the moves were done for one minute. Let me tell you, at times ... that was a LONG minute. I did have to stop and catch my breath and shake out my muscles a few times.  There wasn't really any dedicated ab work. I need ab work, but I don't really like ab work ... I didn't mind it being missing that much. I am debating buying this DVD to add to my rotation, but even though the $8 price tag isn't high, compared to Jillians 30DS, where you get three workouts for the same price ... Still thinking about it. I also thought I'd check out her Power Circuit which has good reviews before I buy (my library also has it). One thing I noticed ... while she's wearing skimpy little shorts there on the cover, in the video she has on big, baggy boy shorts. For some reason, this was a bit distracting.
Have YOU tried any of these DVDs?
What did you think?

While I was at the library, I grabbed a few MORE magazines. Why? I still have magazines up the wazoo (Mucho Magazines) and current subscriptions with new issues coming every month. Yet, seeing these past issues and wondering if I should add yet another subscription (again ... why? I have a magazine subscription problem) I thought I should check out this magazine aimed at us .... ahem, "older" women.

More magazine is a little more ... articley. There aren't really any of the big bold shout outs, or little tidbit features (like the BS Meter in Self Magazine which caused such an uproar recently). No real exercise routines, or big food features. Each issue does have a feature spotlighting women in their 30s, 40s, 50s. I'm not big into fashion, so these didn't grab me much. I liked some of the articles, others didn't appeal.  That's what makes a library perfect though ... checking something out without having to pay (unless you return it late).

Do you subscribe to magazines?
Which ones do you like?

I mentioned in my Monday post, I was going to try a new Zumba class. I had found the class locator there on and found a Monday morning class. Unfortunately, when I went to check it out, no one was there. I sent a few emails, checking on that class and some others that might fit into my routine and NONE of the classes I was interested in were still going. So ... that "class locator" on isn't very effective if it isn't kept up to date. I DID try though ...

Linking up with Workout Wednesday and Fit Foodie Runs.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Challenge Yourself

It's Monday. I like Mondays! Back to the routine after the weekend. My boys are back. They had a bit of a hard time getting up  early this morning after their week of vacation, and they are still on New York time.  It's a short week though... Spring Break and the Easter weekend.

I visited the pages from the link-up last week. One of those links introduced me to Jasime at FleurtyandFit. She posted about attending a Kangaroo Jump class ... a what?

I've never heard of this before. Have you? Now admittedly, I'm not really a social exerciser. I don't go to the gym, and I've never attended an actual class. I've heard of spin, and body pump, and zumba ... but Kangaroo Jumps? What other unique exercise activities are out there? Jasmine and her friend did a lot ... a Rocky Balboa workout, and outdoor Zumba. If you didn't go visit her blog last week, check her out!
As I continued to browse blogs this weekend, I stumbled upon a recent challenge. The 1800minute Challenge. I'm a little late coming into this challenge, as it officially started April 1 and runs through the end of May. If you break up 1800minutes into those two months, it's a little more than 30minutes a day. If you've been reading my blog you know that's not a problem for me. So even though this doesn't really "challenge" me ... I signed up. You can too!

That is one of my failings ... the challenges that would actually be a CHALLENGE, I don't sign up for. I tend to gravitate toward the programs that simply reinforce what I would be doing anyway.  Like PACT, which I reviewed last week. The fitness and food logging is easy for me, but the veggie pact WOULD actually be a challenge. I've been debating trying that ... starting small, say five fruits/veggies for the week. Hmmmm, still debating ...
In one of the other programs I am participating in,  I'm getting close to my payout! I generally just link my Fitbit and other devices  (Fitbit/MFP/Facebook & Instagram) and forget about it. But as I get close to a payout, I do get a little antsy and start checking in more, and maybe actually do some additional activities that I would usually, just to earn a few more points. 

You can read about my experience with Achievemint, and I plan on doing another update soon. It's been a positive experience and I've had additional payouts *Ü*

Well ... back to classes. While I have never taken a class at a gym, I have attended Zumba at my local church. That lead to me find a couple other church classes. On Wendy's recent blog post, she referenced  I checked it out and found another class nearby... and I'm going to try it today. That IS actually challenging myself, as trying new things is out of my comfort zone.

How do you feel about different classes and challenges? 
Do you seek them out? 
Do they motivate you?
Take this blogging challenge and link-up with the Motivation Monday team!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Spotlight #16 - My Motivators

For today's Saturday Spotlight ... I thought I'd spotlight some of the shows, books and music that has been motivating me lately. I rarely watch tv, unless I'm on the elliptical or treadmill. I read books while riding the stationary bike. Music helps me jog, and is crucial to Zumba. Music is just ... important!

This past Monday morning, I jumped online to record Sunday's episode of "The Good Wife" so I could watch it a little later in the day while I worked out. There hadn't been a new episode. Dang it. I still worked on ... but my Monday was missing a little something. I did go ahead and watch "Game of Thrones" (shhhh, don't tell hubby, that's one we usually watch together. I guess it can be my new "Monday Morning" show now that "The Walking Dead" has ended for the season.) I'm still keeping up with"The Voice" for now. When I don't have a "live" show (that I watch the day after it airs) show to try to keep up on, I just watch a series on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I'm watching Royal Pains at the moment. I do keep a list of what I'm watching (for my own reference, but you're welcome to take a peek too).

Friday, I was having trouble getting Grey's Anatomy and Scandal to record. As they weren't ready and waiting ... it actually impacted my workouts just a bit. I didn't feel that PULL down to the gym, anxious to find out what happened on the next episode (well, I was anxious, I just couldn't watch as I wanted). But I got to them today ...

I've watched Grey's Anatomy since the beginning I think. It's a bit of a joke in our house. My hubby's name is Gray (Grayson). So OBVIOUSLY I like Gray's anatomy. Ha ha. The spin off "Private Practice" had several seasons (which I also watched), but it wrapped up. Grey's is still going strong. When I mentioned it a few weeks ago in a Friday Favorites post, I got a comment "Is that show still on?" Yes. Yes it is. Season 10.

There are always things that make me think. I love the relationships. The complexity and morality of the medical decisions and issues. It always makes me grateful for MY health, that I haven't had to deal with things that come across here.  In many of the recent episodes, I've been especially aware of the music. It's been remakes of familiar songs, redone in a very quiet, subdued tone.  Just something that has caught my attention. When they did the MUSICAL episode a few years ago? That version of "Chasing Cars" is still a favorite song of mine. I mean, I've always loved that song, but I LOVE the harmonies and the impact it had seeing it in the show. Have you heard it? It was interesting, I didn't know those actors could sing ...

... a final interesting quote from the most recent episode. In regards to an award that everyone in the hospital was talking about. "She didn't win it. She earned it".

I've been busy reading too! A few weeks ago, I mentioned some books I was looking forward to reading.  I have since read "Cress" ... and I was wrong. It isn't the last book in the series (I thought it was a trilogy, but there is a fourth book coming out next year ... so now I'm waiting again). I just saw that my library has "Ruins" now, so I put it on hold and am anxiously awaiting it coming in. As I've had these books I've been excited about, I've had a few days where I actually hit the bike a second time in a day! Just to get a little more reading in. You can see what else I've read recently on GoodReads.

In Zumba ... last Wednesday, there was a new number. It was to "What Does The Fox Say" ... now I'd heard OF the song (who hasn't?) but I had never actually heard the song. I have now. It was an energetic one and everyone seemed to enjoy it. There was a bit of laughter as we danced along. There was another song that I really liked ... enough that I looked it up when I got home. I bought it and added it to my collection. I put it on the ipod and danced around as I cleaned the house today. I thought I'd shine the spotlight on it too.

Any music, books or TV programs been grabbing you?

Friday, April 11, 2014

WWI#39 & Five Favorite Musicals

Time for my weekly recap and weigh-in.
Followed by the Friday Five.
Favorite musicals is the topic today ...
Keeping with the New York City/Broadway theme of this week.

Well, at least today's weigh-in is under 150. First time all week. I think the word of the week is consistent. Not a lot of ups and downs, just very slight variations. Intake was up a little, averaging 2357. I didn't have any huge big days, but also didn't have any low days either. Average burn was up a bit at 2915.  According to my numbers I had a deficit for the week of 3245. I am down .7 from last Friday, but the average for the week is up slightly. High was Monday morning at 152.8. Low is today's weigh-in at 149.8.

Things have been pretty much normal here, even with Hubs and the two older boys gone (see yesterday's post for pictures of their NYC trip). Here at home, I still had to get up and make lunches, get the little ones off to school. Carpools, scouts, basketball. The weather has been so nice ... the sun has called me outside for a bit each day. That impacted workouts a little. My morning wake-ups were the usual, although I  did stay up later most nights, without hubby home to coax me to come to bed. I didn't get in any of my uber-late workouts like I sometimes do when he is gone.As always, if you want more details, check out my Day to Day Doings.

I felt like it was a good week. Consistency is good. Next week is our Spring Break (kids out of school Thurs/Fri/Mon) and the Easter holiday coming up. Also some school stuff on the schedule. That might throw the routine off just a bit. Come back and see how I do ...

Linking up with Fitness FridayFollow Through Friday & Finish Line Friday.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post ... Hubby and company (my two oldest, my MIL, my BIL and his family) went to a Broadway performance of Les Miserables yesterday. I LOVE LesMiz. I discovered it when I was a teen. I had all the music memorized. My brother surprised me with tickets as the Broadway tour came locally. Since then, I've seen it a few more times. Another Broadway tour ... an outdoor performance at Tuachan, an intimate performance at Hale Theater (in the round) and of course the recent movie. Les Miserables is probably my all time favorite musical.

I have been IN many musicals: Annie, The Wizard of Oz, Oklahoma, 42nd Street, The Sound of Music. Performing in a show will always make it near and dear. I like the classics: Fiddler on the Roof,  Man of LaMancha, Bye Bye Birdie, South Pacific, Music Man. Then there are others, with music that just captures me; Phantom of the Opera, Big River ... I have some favorite songs from shows I haven't yet seen (i.e., "Only He" from Starlight Express). Hubby and I saw Wicked a couple years ago. That is a "popular" one right now ... *Ü*

But if I were to choose FIVE favorites, 
in addition to Les Miserables they would be ...

  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: I have seen over a dozen different productions of this musical. It's amazing how I see something new in each one.  I've seen high school productions, community productions, Broadway tours ... and as mentioned above with LesMiz, both Hale Theater and Tuachan have put it on as well.
  • Pirates of Penzance: Although I have seen several live productions of this musical, I LOVE the movie version. Kevin Kline, Angela Lansbury, Linda Ronstadt all do such a great job. Another benefit of the DVD version is subtitles! It's so hard to catch everything in a live performance.
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: I really like the story and music here ... it's a show I would have loved to be IN, but figured I never would make it because all the girls in it dance. I'm not a dancer. I remember seeing this up at Sundance ... the "Lonesome Polecat" song was done off the stage, in the woods ... I've always remembered that. I love men singing harmonies...
  • The Slipper and the Rose: I haven't seen this musical on stage ... I don't even know if it has been performed on stage or if it is simply a movie. A family I used to babysit had this video. I loved it SO much. When it was released on DVD some years ago I was thrilled to be able to finally get my own copy. I love the music and the retelling of the Cinderella story.

Do you like musicals? 
What are a few of your favorites?

Linking up with FIVE Friday Five/Favorites linkups *Ü* ... Five on Friday at Hello Happiness, Friday Five at Eat Pray Run, Friday Favorites at Running4Cupcakes,  Friday Favorites at Housewife Glamour,  High Five Friday at LaurenElizabeth  ... check them out and add YOUR own Friday Five!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Vicarious and Virtual Vacation

This week, my guys are in New York City. My brother-in-law was taking his family, so Hubby decided to take the two older boys and his mom and join them. I was invited ... but I'm NOT in a New York state of mind. I am overwhelmed easily and New York City is, well, overwhelming. I have a slight panic attack even thinking about it.

I'm not afraid of flying, but I don't do well at sitting still. Road trips or plane rides are hard on me for that reason. I don't do well in crowds. I can't stand standing in lines. I am a creature of routine. I like schedules and complete control. I mentioned my vacation issues once before (here) ... that trip, I stayed home alone and I don't regret that decision. I did go on the Disneyland trip a couple years ago (Fall 2012). The "Happiest Place on Earth" ...  not for me. I think that was actually the trigger of a depression that packed on 20 pounds.

I'm trying to examine if it's my anxiety overriding everything. If I talked to my doctor, would medication and/or counseling help to overcome some of my issues? Or is it just me? Even if I weren't anxious and afraid, it's just not really the sort of thing I enjoy. I stress about the cost $$ the entire time. There are fitness/food ramifications as well ... I need to exercise. I NEED my exercise endorphins. Seriously. Any sort of vacation is going to disrupt that (although the boys walked so much on Sunday, that they beat me in steps ... I posted a comparison in our Fitbit charts on Monday).

And the eating ...
I have a hard enough time controlling calories here at home ... on vacation when you are eating out for every meal and indulging.  The boys are raving about the food, but that's another of my issues. I'm so picky.  I'm not sure I would have been able to find anything I liked at the places they've gone (I'm not a pizza or burger gal).  I'm really hoping they don't bring home that big (5pound) chocolate bar. Hubby brought that back year when he made a trip to the Hershey Store.

The actual reason behind the trip was to go see Les Miserables. A fellow we went to high school with (Will Swenson) is playing Javart.  Will and my BIL have stayed close friends over the years. I knew Will quite well too. We were in many productions together back in my acting days...

A Christmas Carol (left) and 42nd Street (right).
He also took me to prom.

That was my one regret. I LOVE Les Miserables, and it would have been great to see Will in it. But I didn't want it enough to overcome my anxieties and issues (hubby even asked if I'd want to fly in JUST for the show). But the cost would be too high. Time, $$, emotional breakdown. Besides, someone needed to stay and take care of the younger kids. The New Yorkers went to see the show yesterday ... Hubby said it was awesome (he loves LesMiz as much as I do). I have yet to hear what the 18-year old thought. Apparently the 15-year old fell asleep. 

Rambling a bit ... but it is Thursday, 
and Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud.

Am I the only woman in the world who would say NO to a trip to New York?
How do you feel about vacations?
Do you love Les Miserables?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Workouts, Weigh-In and Wonderful Weather

The weather has been wonderful this week. I've seen many friends across the country commenting about it, so it seems this nice forecast is fairly widespread ... except in New York, where Hubby and the boys are on vacation. Chilly with some rain there. With the warmer weather, I see MANY of you joyously jogging outdoors. Me? I'm still an indoor exerciser, regardless. In fact, this warmer weather can be a bit of a detriment to my workout routine. I feel the urge to go outside, stick my lower half in the sunshine and get a little color on my legs; happily reading and relaxing under the blue skies. Sing with me ... "I'm gonna soak up the sun" ...

I was a bit of a bad mommy today. My little one came downstairs early this morning as I was on the elliptical saying he didn't feel well. My first thought was "you can't be sick, I have Zumba today!"  Now ... not that I really think he's faking, but the last couple times he was "sick" and I let him stay home, he really didn't seem bad at all during the day. And there was a miraculous recovery right around the time school let out. I really have been one to err on the side of caution. So much so that last year I got a nasty letter from the elementary school saying my child had missed too many days and any further absences would require a doctor's note. So today ... I "encouraged" him to try school, saying he could call if he still wasn't feeling well. He was pretty much normal by the time I dropped him off, and I haven't got a call. And I got to go to Zumba *Ü*

I wear my HRM during Zumba. It was misbehaving a bit today, I don't know why. Not showing a heart rate, telling me to check the transmitter. Sometimes I need to stop and restart when that happens, but I really didn't want to do that, as then I wouldn't get an accurate reading of the full class. It did finally start registering again, but I know I missed out on it recording for a few minutes. These gadgets, they can be fun and motivating, but very frustrating when they decide not to work.

My Zumba stats today ... HRM and Fibit
(I keep stats from every Zumba workout here). 

I really like seeing the stats from the HRM ... but I don't always like to wear the HRM. It's just a bit of a pain to put on. It's tight around my chest, not super uncomfortable, but I'm always quite conscious of having it on. When I put it on ... brrrr, it's COLD (maybe I'll appreciate that more in the hot summer). If I put it on a second time during the day (as I do multiple workouts throughout the day), sometimes it's still sweaty. Ewwww.   I did go ahead and wear it for an elliptical session, and a bike session, just to keep tabs on its information for those activities ...

 30 minute bike ride.

20 minutes on the elliptical 

The problem with the elliptical ... if the HRM is correct (or closer to correct) in its calorie estimate, then my Fitbit is over-estimating by over 50 calories. Not a huge deal, but that is per workout, and I do three-five elliptical sessions a day. So then, that's a difference of  250+. That is a little high. I do try not to eat back all my calories. I attempt to leave an extra exercise calories as a buffer (in addition to the 500 deficit I'm already calculating in), but ... I'm not always successful. I've discussed my exercise estimates before (Trying to be Truthful, Exercise Estimates). I'm just a numbers gal ... I like to crunch the in and out and hopefully work it out so that I lose some weight.

Speaking of weight (and linking up with Weigh-in Wednesday) ... this is NOT going to be an "under 150 all week" week like I did a couple weeks ago. I'm just barely over this morning, and have been all week long (check back on Friday for a full report). My body really seems to like 150! I'm ok with it, I'd just like 145 a lot more. Goal is 135. I know if I paid less attention to numbers and just ate better, I'd probably have better success, ahhhh, just can't quite get to the "eating healthy" part. Of course, many years ago I would have said there isn't any exercise I like either, so ...

Linking up with Workout Wednesday and FitFoodRuns.
How's YOUR hump day?

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