“Here Comes the Sun”: A Groovy Lab in a Box Review!

Introducing Groovy Lab in a Box, the fun and exciting, hands-on science kit company that delivers right to your mailbox (by monthly subscription) everything your child needs to complete awesome and educational science projects and experiments!
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Every science kit offered by Groovy Lab in a Box has been created to inspire in your child a genuine love of learning! Each kit has been designed by scientists and educators with the promotion of critical thinking in mind and utilizes the STEM method of education: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math!

We were very honored recently to have received the kit, Here Comes the Sun which the folks at Groovy Lab in a Box so generously sent us to try out and review for you all! sun.

I’ll admit that I was very skeptical about the claim on their website that everything we needed would actually really be included in the box. True to their word however, I am delighted to say that our kit did come with everything necessary to make a solar air balloon, solar oven, and a conductivity tester.

In addition to the projects listed above, each kit also suggests completing an engineering design challenge and our kit was no exception. Our challenge was to imagine that we were on a deserted island and that we had to use only the contents of our kit to survive and be rescued!

I have to be honest and report to you all that we did not feel as if we were up to the challenge, at least not at this time, anyway! However, we can revisit the idea at a later date if we should ever decide we want to tackle this extra challenge in the future!

Solar Balloon Construction and Launch
*A word of caution when blowing up the solar balloon with a hair dryer. Do NOT use the hot or warm setting on your hair dryer to fill your balloon with air. We do not have a cool setting on our hair dryer so we used the warm setting instead and it melted the bag! As you’ll see in the videos below we finally resorted to using a mini fan which worked very well in filling our solar balloon with air!*

balloon bag collage

Solar Oven Construction

You may be tempted (as we were) to complete your projects by relying on the many detailed drawings in the instruction books and skip altogether carefully reading the written directions! Please don’t! In fact, you might even benefit by reading the instructions more than once.

As you can see in the Lab Book collage and the Solar Oven collage below, we mistook the picture of the cupcake tin to be the plastic bowl and the oven thermometer to be the cupcake tin. (We thought we were making different sized crayons!)

Had we actually READ the instructions, rather than just look at the pictures we would not have melted the plastic bowl in our solar oven thus necessitating the use of our own glass bowl in the conductivity tester project!

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You can see that we tried to cook a little piece of hot dog in our oven! Our experiment was successful! We checked the contents of our oven about two hours after placing it in the sun. The crayons had melted and the piece of hot dog was thoroughly cooked !

oven results collage

Conductivity Tester Project

buzzer collage

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After reading this review and witnessing for yourself the completion of our fun and exciting solar projects   I have no doubt that you just can’t wait to subscribe to or order your very own groovy science kits!

Groovy Lab in a Box offers four subscription plans to choose from, or if you prefer there is also a “one time only” order option as well!

Currently, other than Here Comes the Sun, there are four other kits available to choose from online!

When Spring time rolls around why not check out Swing into Spring?

If your child likes to launch projectile “weapons” then Out to Launch might just be the perfect kit for him or her!

If your kid is into rocket science, I recommend the Parent’s Choice Award winning Lunar Launch!

Is your child fascinated by flight? Then the Fly With Me kit is just the ticket to get your child interested in studying more about aviation.

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I would like to offer you a few final suggestions when considering choosing your Groovy Lab in a Box science kits:

1) The website states that each kit is for ages eight and older. However, If you are planning to just hand over the kits to your children, expecting them to be able complete all the projects and activities on their own without any parental assistance or supervision, I would suggest waiting until they are about age twelve or older.

2) I would not order, Here Comes the Sun, unless you live in an area that is blessed with a lot of sunny, cloudless and windless days. I believe that we would have had better results with our solar balloon if we had waited for a cloudless, windless day in which to do it. Unfortunately, we don’t very often have perfectly clear blue skies and non-windy days in our part of the world. Plus we were in a time crunch to get the projects done and this post published on time!

3) We did encounter one minor problem with our kit. It was nearly impossible to peel the end of the tape off of the tape dispenser that came with our kit. We easily rectified the situation by abandoning it altogether and used our own packaging tape instead.

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*Other than being sent the “Here Comes the Sun” science kit, I did not receive any compensation for this honest review*
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Friendship Friday: Sunshine!


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Welcome back to Friendship Friday, the gathering place for us to share a little glimpse of our lives with each other! I’m so happy you came! I love seeing old friends and making new one! Everyone is welcome here!
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Malcolm, Bethany, and I were privileged to enjoy an Incredibly Awesome, Monumental, Incident Free Day at Sylvan Beach last Sunday! Bethany was happy and well behaved all day for nine whole hours to be exact! She also fell in love with the roller coaster! She is now no longer interested in riding the FREE carousel! It did our hearts good to see Bethany so happy and genuinely enjoying herself. It recharged our hope batteries! Maybe we should move to the beach!
Sylvan beach collage

Jeremiah and I have been frantically (in between too many cloudy, rainy days) trying to complete the projects in the solar energy kit, Here Comes the Sun which was given to us to review by Groovy Lab in a Box, a subscription science kit program! Our projects were all very exciting I can assure you!

This collage is just a sneak peak. Please come back next week to see more photos and videos showing how we made a solar balloon out of black garbage bags, a solar oven out of the same bags plus the box which the kit came in as well as a few other items. We also made a buzzer buzz using salt water!
solar collage

Bethany is still in love with her cut and paste spelling worksheets. In fact, she loves this learning activity so much that I decided to get creative and use my Boardmaker computer program to design a new set of animals names for her to learn. If you are interested in using Boardmaker symbols without purchasing the computer program you might try these resources or maybe these. index You may be wondering why Beth looks a little weird in the photo. She was telling me to stop taking pictures of her! This blog will be in big trouble if my star subject follows in Jeremiah’s footsteps and asks not to have her life showcased here for all the world to see!

And lastly… I know I shouldn’t complain, but with our painters either working all day, away at camp, or in living China for the summer, our house painting project is taking longer than I had hoped it would! However, I’m happy to announce that we now have three sides of the house finished!
house collage
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Elsewhere in the blog:
What’s the Word Wenesday?
Spreading Awareness: Mesothelioma Cancer
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Well, now it’s your turn! I hope you’ve had a fabulous week!

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*This post contains affiliate links. Thanks if you should decide to purchase an item!*

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Spreading Awareness: Mesothelioma Cancer

I was recently contacted by Cameron Von St. James, the husband of Mesothelioma cancer survivor, Heather Von St. James asking me to help spread the word about this aggressive form of cancer that affects the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen.

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I urge you to view Heather’s story and learn more about this nasty form of cancer. Please watch the video A Mesothelioma Cancer Survivor’s Story.

I had never heard of mesothelioma and I’m betting that you aren’t familiar with it either, because this type of cancer is very rare with only 2,500-3000 diagnoses in the United States each year.

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This type of cancer is also difficult to diagnose because it’s symptoms mimic other common maladies. If you would like to read a list of the symptoms of mesothelioma please click on Mesothelioma Symptoms.

Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos-related diseases. The primary cause and risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. If you have this type of cancer and believe that it was caused by exposure to asbestos you may be eligible for financial compensation from the asbestos manufacturer.

Those diagnosed with mesothelioma can fill out a form to receive a Mesothelioma Treatment Guide. You will receive a complimentary mesothelioma and asbestos exposure information kit detailing new mesothelioma treatments, active clinical trials, top doctors, as well as how to obtain compensation for asbestos-related health conditions like mesothelioma.

Currently, There is no known cure for mesothelioma but treatments including surgery and chemotherapy can help to improve prognosis.

Not many people are aware that mesothelioma even exists. Please join me in bringing awareness of this dreadful and deadly disease to the public’s attention!

Spreading awareness might encourage research to find a cure for mesothelioma.

Spreading awareness about mesothelioma just might help save lives!

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What’s the Word Wednesday? # 3

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1) I know the crushing devastation of having a child with no real friends of her own to invite to a birthday party. See what happens to help this lucky boy have a happy birthday after all! No One Came to This Autistic Boy’s Birthday Party… You Won’t Believe What Happened Next

2) Let’s get this precious little boy who has an inoperable brain tumor some birthday cards!
Boy with brain tumor just wants box of cards for birthday

3) I’m not sure how I feel about this. I think people with disabilities should be able to earn the same amount of money as anyone else, but if this law prevents some people with disabilities who want to work from working at all, then maybe it’s not a good thing. Obama Signs Law Limiting Sheltered Workshop Eligibility

4) Watch this video of an awesome lady pour her heart out about being a special needs mom in her, Listen to Your Mother speech! My Listen to Your Mother Video: Being a Special Needs Mom

5) I love the beauitful lady who started Brain Builders Inc.. Brain Builders Inc. uses project based learning and the Montessori Method of education to help children experience success. Current learning experiences offered include Sewing Lessons, Creative Math Programs, Hands On Science Times, Poetry Tea Time; we also offer Civility and Etiquette Training to promote Social Awareness. Open Studio time is available everyday where children can delve into work that interests them and be mentored to become Champions.

Please read more about this unique educational service and consider donating to help them continue providing excellent educational services to the children in their community. Support this project.

6) Ever hear of Mesothelioma Cancer? Me either. That’s why we need to get the word out!

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An Incredibly Awesome, Monumental, Incident Free Day

Having a special needs child who is seldom ever truly happy is both annoying and heartbreaking. Therefore, it is a real cause for celebration when that all too rare fleeting moment actually occurs that Bethany genuinely and wholeheartedly enjoys herself! We cherish those moments!

We had the privilege of having one such moment yesterday. Actually, we had many such continuous happy moments yesterday as we all enjoyed a precious gem of a whole day without any negative drama whatsoever while spending the day at Sylvan Beach and Sylvan Beach Amusement Park!

It did my mother’s heart (and Malcolm’s daddy heart) so much good to see Bethany having a fun, happy, and enjoyable day. When these kinds of days happen the memories of all the hard ones fade away and don’t seem as difficult as they had once seemed. When happy days occur I feel as if my batteries have been re-charged. These happy days make me feel like I really can get through this life with Bethany that I’ve been given. I live for these extraordinary, happy moments! They give me hope!

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Although Bethany did have a few "little" seizures, she did not use them as an excuse to misbehave, get angry, or cut the trip short!  That is truly amazing!

Although Bethany did have a few “little” seizures, she did not use them as an excuse to misbehave, get angry, or cut the trip short! That is truly amazing!

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Can you believe that she only rode the carousel twice and willingly got off when the rides were over!  Another amazing moment!

Can you believe that she only rode the carousel twice and willingly got off when the rides were over! Another amazing moment!

After riding the roller coaster three times, Bethany has decided that this is now her new favorite ride!

After riding the roller coaster three times, Bethany has decided that this is now her new favorite ride!


I’m sharing at:
Inspire Me Monday
Dream Team Link Share
Special Needs Blogger Weekend Linkup
Summer Disability Blog Hop


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Friendship Friday: More Risky Behavior & The Zoomobile

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Last week I reported that Bethany was behaving aggressively; specifically hitting and pushing when she didn’t get what she wanted. We had another “risky” behavior incident last Sunday as well!

Call us crazy, but desperately wanting to give our angry child a happy moment we decided to drive fifty miles so that she could ride her favorite carousel.

First Bethany asked to see the flowers in Wegmans. We all had a wonderful, happy time shopping! However, when Bethany is done shopping we’re all done shopping! She wanted to sit on a bench while waiting for dad to check out but we couldn’t find any. We looked outside but there weren’t any benches out there either.

I was worried that we were going to have an “incident” in the very crowded parking lot. She has been known to just lay right down in the middle of parking lots you know! But after a little hesitation she did get into the car, Thank God!

She then asked to got to Five Below. It was there that we did have a parking lot incident after she realized that there were no benches in that store either. She refused to get into our car and kept backing away from us if we got too close. She went over to a random car, leaned against it, and covered her eyes with her hands.
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Our strategy was that I would stay in the parking lot to caution other drivers while Malcolm drove our car over by her and then we’d kind of try plopping her into our car. I was a bit terrified that he might accidentally hit her if she decided to bolt, though!

Thankfully and much to our surprise after he moved the car only about two feet she smiled, waved, came over to us and deposited herself into our car. Then off to the carousel we went!

After riding the carousel about seven or eight times we were told that there was a tornado warning and that they had to shut it down and lock up the building.

Guess who would not cooperate with that? Malcolm and I left the building hoping that Bethany would follow us. She did get off the carousel but promptly threw herself down on a bench still inside the building. (She finally found her bench!!) The staff was getting nervous and who could blame them? They wanted to get to safety. We could actually see the swirling black clouds coming nearer.

This drastic problem called for a drastic solution. Malcolm had to drag Bethany across the floor and out of the building. He could not drag her fifty feet across the concrete to the car without hurting her, so we had to wait it out with her lying on the sidewalk.

While we were watching this terrifying storm move closer and closer to us, all I could think of was that the swirling black cloud was going to suddenly dip down and swallow up my precious, beloved, yet oh so annoying (at the moment) daughter and take her away from me!

Thankfully, the swirling beginnings of the tornado died out. Then when it started to drizzle Bethany got up and into the car. She hates to get wet!

Just imagine how overjoyed I was after such a stressful couple of weeks filled with anger, aggression, anxiety, and risky behavior, when Bethany accompanied her aide without any hesitation or misbehavior to see the animals in the zoomobile! You can bet that I breathed a huge sigh of relief!

I did meet with Bethany’s service coordinator this week to discuss options available to address her behavior issues. We decided to add a consult and ongoing therapy with a behavior therapist to her CSS plan. I hope we get some real practical help this time!

Bethany got up close to pet this alligator!

Bethany got up close to pet this alligator!

Excited about something that she saw!

Excited about something that she saw!

When she got home she told me that her favorite animal was the rabbit!

When she got home she told me that her favorite animal was the rabbit!

It seems that she liked the chinchilla too!

It seems that she liked the chinchilla too!

Petting the turtle.

Petting the turtle.

Listening intently!

Listening intently!

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Elsewhere on the blog:
Nick Vujicic is an Amazing Man!
Kiwi Crate Craft Kit Sale
What’s the Word Wenesday? #2
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I’m sharing at:
Special Needs Blogger Weekend LinkUp
Summer Blog Hop Series @ A Little Moxie
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Now it’s your turn! I hope you all had a fantastic week!

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What’s the Word Wednesday #2

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1) How about considering setting up a lemonade stand to raise funds for The Epilepsy Foundation? Check out Lemonade for Livy. for inspiring ideas!

Also please visit Livy’s Hope to learn more about Olivia Hope, who was borne with a brain malformation which has caused her to have a seizure disorder as well as other disabilities.

2) Not all teen parents are irresponsible or neglectful parents. Not all children born to teen parents are unwanted, unloved, and neglected or abused. I know this because I was a teen mom back in 1976. I loved and wanted my baby. I was also a conscientious, involved, attentive, and loving mother dedicated to being the best mom that I could be!

8 Lies We Need to Stop Spreading About Teenage Motherhood.

3) It’s Just Benign, provides information, support, and a means of communication for those diagnosed with benign brain tumors.

Most people do not realize that benign brain tumors can be just as deadly and dangerous as malignant tumors. As was the case with Bethany, even though her tumor was considered to be benign, it’s large size and location was killing her and causing significant brain damage. She would actually have died within a few days if it had not been finally been diagnosed and removed immediately.

4) An incredible man with an amazing message for the world! Sweet Inspiration: Nick Vujicic is an Amazing Man!

5) Check out one woman’s experience attending a conference sponsored by the Gay Christian network at Unstoppable Grace: Thoughts on the Gay Christian Network Conference.

6) We Don’t Need No Education is the most impressive site for real life Montessori education with an unschooling feel to it.

This awesome mom creates the most imaginative learning experience and projects for her kids. The fact that the kids actually cooperate and enjoy participating in the projects with joy and enthusiasm is incredible and a testament to what a great mom/ teacher they have! Check out how they make an abacus at Make Your Own Small Bead Frame or Abacus.

7) Is unschooling a viable alternative for educating children with special needs? Find out at Special Needs Kids and Unschooling

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Have you read anything interesting in the World Wide Web this week? Share it with us in the comments!

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Kiwi Crate Craft Kit Sale

Need a little inspiration for some out door summer fun craft ideas or for keeping your little ones ages 3-8 occupied indoors on rainy summer days?

Look no further than Kiwi Crate the award-winning, monthly craft subscription service.

Gone will be the days of frantic shopping trips to numerous stores attempting to locate the all too elusive components to complete projects that you may have seen in a book or online, because each exciting kit arrives at your door complete with ALL the materials needed to create beautiful works of art!

Take a look at a few of Kiwi Crate’s Most popular projects!

(Click on the images)
Spinning Colors
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Busy With Bugs
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Shadow and Light
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Hurry now subscribe to Kiwi Crate today! Monthly subscriptions start at $16.96, but for a limited time only get $10 off on your new craft kit subscription!

(*This post contains affiliate links. Thanks if you should decide to place an order!)

Sweet Inspiration: Nick Vujicic is an Amazing Man!

I just finished reading, Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life and have begun reading, Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action! Both of these books tell the amazing story of Nick Vujicic’s life without limbs.

Many of you probably already know all about him, but just in case you don’t, Nick was born without any arms or legs. His incredible story of faith, hope, and love is astounding.

I was shocked to discover that even though she was a Christian, when Nick was born his own mother had a very difficult time accepting his disabilities. At first she would not even look at him. Thank God she did eventually come to love and accept Nick just the way he is.

After adjusting to the shock of his condition, His parents went on to create a life full of love and hope, instilling in him the belief that he could do anything! Today, Nick’s many accomplishments are nothing short of miraculous!

After a period in his childhood feeling depressed, suicidal, and believing that he would never be anything but a burden to his loved ones, Nick found faith in Jesus and with it a passion to inspire others that they are perfect and loved just as they are and that they can move beyond the obstacles in their lives that are holding them back from living joyful, meaningful, productive, and satisfying lives!

As the mother of a daughter with multiple disabilities I really appreciate this wonderful blessing of a man!

I have fallen in love with Nick Vujicic and his message. I think you will too!

You can learn more about Nick and his ministry at Life Without Limbs



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Other books by Nick:

(This post contains affiliate links. Thanks if you should decide to purchase an item or two!)

I’m sharing at:
Inspire Me Monday
Dream Team Link Share
Pour Your Heart Out

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Friendship Friday: Still Learning!

Welcome to Friendship Friday! I hope your summer is turning out to be as awesome as you had hope it would be! What have you been doing so far? Have you gone on an exciting trip or are you, like us having a staycation?

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Our son, his wife, and our grandson are planning to come up for a visit in August. We do have a few fun activities planned, but we are- or I should say- my husband will be continuing to work on the house, getting it ready to sell!

Bethany has discovered that she loves spelling animal names! I found the awesome activity that you’ll see in the collage below in This Reading Mama’s Farm Pack 2!

I presented this farm animal spelling game to her as a cut and paste activity, but then I realized it is intended to be used as a bottle cap spelling game. I guess you are really supposed to glue the letters onto bottle caps which you use to place over the blank circles to spell the words. This way the activity can then be repeated over and over again

If you do want to present this as as a cut and paste activity you will need to print out two or three copies of the letter page in order to have enough letters to spell all the words.

Bethany loves this activity so much that she has has asked to do it several times. I think I just might laminate it and use velcro dots or magnets on the letters, rather than using bottle caps to make it a permanent activity. Printing it out over and over just uses up way too much ink and time and it would take me years to collect as many bottle caps as we would need!

In the collage below you can also see that she spelled each word in sign language!
animal word collage

Bethany has also been working on her sticker book this week!
sticker collage

Even though I am not a big fan of loading kids up with sugar, I agreed to let Jeremiah try out this “Recipe” for Oreo cookie dip, because I figured it would get him off the computer for a few minutes! It turns out that he was not all that impressed with the finished product! It was really just an alternative and very messy way of eating Oreos! I’m glad I didn’t pay a higher price for authentic Oreos!
oreo collage

Speaking of Jeremiah- he has once again requested that I not post pictures of him or feature him as a “subject” here on the blog. So after one more post of him completing a couple of science projects from Groovy Lab in a Box, there will be no more news of Jeremiah until he gives me the green light to resume including news about him here!

Rachel has arrived safely in China PTL, and that is all the information that I have about that! She will be returning home on August 10th!

Here she is getting ready to leave for the airport!

Here she is getting ready to leave for the airport!

Rebekah and her boyfriend are enjoying working with their kids at camp. They sometimes come home for a day or two to do some shopping and such, then head right back to camp again!

Here they are on a break watching the soccer games!

Here they are on a break watching the soccer games!

I am also very proud to announce that our son Nate, has earned his Bachelor’s Degree in technology! Nate is another one of my sons who doesn’t want his life on display for all the world to see, but I just couldn’t help telling you all about his awesome accomplishment! This marks our fifth child to graduate from college! Today is also Nate’s 24th birthday!

On our grill! Cabbage steaks marinated in Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice and Portabello mushrooms marinated in white wine and topped with butter and parmesan cheese!  So delicious!

On our grill! Cabbage steaks marinated in Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice and Portabello mushrooms marinated in white wine and topped with butter and parmesan cheese! So delicious!


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Elsewhere on the blog:
Our Good Behavior Reprieve is Interrupted
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