June 30, 2017

The Mother of All Worries

If you asked my mom, she would likely call me a “worrywart”.  I’m definitely no stranger to the phrase. Growing up, I was always worried about one thing or another. Mostly about others or things that were completely beyond my control.

When I took on the role of “mom”, I knew that worrying was part of the job description. But, I had no idea how much different the worrying would be.

A Day at Woodbine Beach, Toronto

On one hand, I am happy to rid myself of the days where I used to put so much onus on what people would think of me, what was happening days down the road or even about something that happened days before.

One the other hand, the worrying is now bigger picture. With a 15 month old daughter who watches my every move and knowing that every choice I make impacts her in some way, well, that’s a lot of pressure for a mama. How can you not be plagued with worry?

I have officially entered the uncomfortable world of maternal anxiety.

A Day at Woodbine Beach, Toronto

Worrying is nothing new. And as moms, we all worry about similar things - “Why won’t baby stop crying?”, “Is my baby getting enough to eat?”, “Is my baby normal?” or even, “Am I a good mom?”, just to name a few.

As a mom, I also know that the worrying has only just begun. As Morley grows up, the worries will only change. Until that day, I focus on the present and the normal worries of a mom with a 15 month old daughter. And, most importantly, I will continue to focus on the joys of being a mom with a 15 month old daughter, like getting to build sand castles at the beach.

A Day at Woodbine Beach, Toronto

Becoming a mom has taught me what is important and what is not worth fretting over. One thing I don’t need to worry about is keeping her comfortable and dry, whether at the beach or overnight.

The NEW Pampers Baby Dry diapers now have the same Extra Absorb Channels that exist on Swaddlers and Cruisers. Unlike ordinary diapers, Pampers has three absorbent layers to stay up to 3x drier, pulling liquid away, so our little ones can sleep soundly all night long. The Pampers exclusive thick-to-thin technology distributes wetness evenly and locks is away so babies are even drier than before. 

A Day at Woodbine Beach, Toronto

Pampers Baby Dry may have a new look, but they are still the same diaper (plus, even more absorbent) you have come to trust to give you and your baby up to 12 hours of overnight protection. And that is one worry you can strike off your list.

New Pampers Baby Dry diapers are starting to become available in sizes 5 and 6 now – sizes 1-4 will be available this fall! 

How do you deal with mom guilt and worry? What are some things you worry about? I’d love to hear!

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Pampers but the images and opinions are 100% my own.

June 27, 2017

Canadian Podcasts Worth Listening To

While Canada may not necessarily be known for producing quality television shows, one thing that we can be proud of is Canadian radio content. This includes podcasts.

Podcasts really aren’t that different than any other kind of radio program. The only real difference is that these free programs are made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, such as an iPhone. 

Podcasts come in many forms - long, short, single and series - and cover almost any topic that you can imagine. They can make you laugh, they can make you cry, they can share a good story and they can teach you something new. Many popular programs already on the radio are also available in podcast form. Then there are programs that come strictly as podcasts, available nowhere else. 

Top Canadian Podcasts

Because you can download podcasts that match your interests and listen as you please, it is essentially like creating a customized radio station focused entirely on the topics you want to listen to, whenever and wherever you want to listen.

For me, podcasts are the perfect way to kill time on the long commute to and from work each day.  I can turn on a podcast, pop in my headphones and escape the rat race that is my hour-long commute.

During the summer months, podcasts are the perfect accompaniment to help you relax on the dock with a cold beverage, or fill the air while hitting the open road to explore someplace new.

In honour of Canada150, and our love for a good road trip, I'm sharing the top 10 Canadian podcasts podcasts worth listening to.

Top 10 Canadian Podcasts Worth Listening To

General Interest

1. Vinyl Cafe
While creator and storyteller Stuart McLean passed away earlier this year, I must still include CBC Radio's Vinyl Cafe as #1 on my list. This podcast holds a place in my heart, as we listened to story after story of the adventures of Dave and Morley on our road trip home from Alaska, eventually leading to the naming of our daughter.

2. This Is That
Another brilliant podcast from the minds of CBC Radio. This Is That is a current affairs programs that doesn't just talk about real issues, it fabricates them.  Each week, the hosts will introduce you to the voices and stories that give this country characters in this 100% improvised, satirical podcast.

3. The Debaters
Add a little comedy to your podcast playlist with the Debaters, brought to your by CBC Radio and hosted by Canadian comedian Steve Patterson. Each episode includes two sets of debates, where two comedians argue their stance on deliberately comedic topics. The winner is then chosen by audience reaction at the end of the debate. 

Current Affairs

4. The Current
Brought to you by CBC Radio, Anna Maria Tremonti's The Current is a meeting place of perspectives, ideas and voices, with a fresh take on issues that affect Canadians today. 

5. Quirks & Quarks
For the science nerd in all of us, CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks covers the quirks of the expanding universe to the quarks within a single atom, and everything in between. Not to be missed if you enjoy learning about dolphin sex, worms that eat plastic and peeing in the pool.

6. Today in Canadian History
Dive into Canadian history with this daily podcast. Each short episode contains an interview with a Canadian professor, journalist, author or "everyday" historian and focuses on a unique event or moment that took place on that day in Canadian history. A first step to learning more about our past.

7. Canadian True Crime Podcast
Crime buff? If you loved Serial, than this one's for you. Go on a journey through many of the most heinous and shocking crimes in recent Canadian history. 


Ok let's be honest here, hockey is a big part of Canada so there are obviously a number of hockey-related podcasts worth noting (per my husband).

8. James Duthie Presents: The Rubber Boots Podcast
For the sports lovers, my husband would mention this weekly podcast, brought to you by the host of TSN Hockey, James Duthie.

9. The TSN Hockey BobCast
With more than 35 years of experience covering hockey, TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie is the definitive authority on breaking news and analysis from every corner of the hockey world. 

10. Hockey Central @ Noon
Sportsnet 590 The FAN's Hockey Central @ Noon brings you the latest hockey buzz with host Daren Millard and former NHLers and NHL execs.

What are you listening to? Do you have any favourite podcasts? I'd love to hear!


June 22, 2017

50 Essential Outdoor Summer Activities

Happy Summer!

It's hard to believe that the longest day of the year has come and gone. The pessimist in me would say, "It's all down hill from here, the days are only going to start getting shorter." BUT being an optimist, instead I say, "Let's get out there and enjoy summer while we can!"

Take advantage of the warm weather and sunshine! Get outside with your family with these 50 essential outdoor summer activities.

50 Essential Outdoor Summer Activities

  1. Go to the beach.
  2. Build a sandcastle.
  3. Visit a local pool for a swim.
  4. Play beach volleyball.
  5. Camp under the stars.
  6. Go for a hike.
  7. Watch the sunset.
  8. Make homemade popsicles.
  9. Clean up a local shoreline.
  10. Go kayaking or canoeing. 
  11. Play with sidewalk chalk.
  12. Go fishing.
  13. Set up a lemonade stand.
  14. Have a water fight.
  15. Have a bonfire.
  16. Make s'mores over a bonfire. 
  17. See a movie at the drive-in.
  18. Play mini golf.
  19. Ride a roller coaster.
  20. Pick berries at your local farm.
  21. Have a family BBQ.
  22. Eat watermelon.
  23. Nap in a hammock.
  24. Have a picnic in the park.
  25. Go to an outdoor festival/carnival.
  26. Play tennis.
  27. Take a road trip.
  28. Make a summer playlist.
  29. Go to a baseball game.
  30. Concoct a signature summer cocktail.
  31. Try a new recipe on the grill.
  32. Watch fireworks.
  33. Celebrate Canada150.
  34. Visit your local farmer's market.
  35. Sleep with your windows open.
  36. Take a day trip to a new location.
  37. Hang a bird feeder in the backyard.
  38. Go on a nature scavenger hunt.
  39. Make your own sand box.
  40. Fill up the kiddie pool.
  41. Have a water fight.
  42. Start a garden.
  43. Make a wild flower bouquet. 
  44. Wash your car.
  45. Mow the lawn.
  46. Create your own outdoor movie theatre.
  47. Go to the park.
  48. Go on a bug hunt.
  49. Run through a sprinkler.
  50. Take in an outdoor concert.

GIVEAWAY: Kick start your summer vacation with this great giveaway - your chance to WIN a one night stay at any Radisson in Canada or the US. Simply share THIS POST on Facebook (and be sure to tag @Radisson).

In need of some seasonal inspiration? See also: 50 Essential Outdoor Winter Activities and 50 Essential Outdoor Spring Activities.

While enjoying the great outdoors with your family, don't forget to protect yourself against the heat and ultraviolet rays. Need to take a break from the heat, and escape to the indoors with your family? Check out these ways to keep baby cool during the summer months, and these great places to visit in Toronto to beat the summer heat. 

What are your favourite outdoor summer activities? I'd love to hear!


June 20, 2017

Creating an Animal Lover

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PurinaMysteries #CollectiveBias

We live in a world filled with animals. Whether it be in our own home or at the local park, a character in a book or movie or even our favourite stuffed animal from childhood, animals are all around us. 

Children are naturally attracted to animals. They are also sponges for learning - absorbing, retaining and using new information at incredible rates. Teaching our future generation to love and properly care for animals from a young age is extremely important, regardless of whether you have a pet at home or not.  

Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

There is a long list of reasons for why children should love animals, but topping that list is their own personal gain. Studies have shown that loving animals as a young child helps boost confidence and teaches responsibility, empathy, compassion and respect. For young children, animals are the perfect vehicle to allow them to practice building these social and emotional skills they need in order to be successful.

But, before a child can love something, they must first have a connection with it.  

Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

As animal lovers ourselves, having a daughter that also loves animals is something that is extremely important to my husband and I. 

At just 15 months old, we have seen Morley's natural curiosity of my family's two chihuahuas blossom.

Morley loves her woof woofs, Tity and Nonna (also known as Titus and Lola). She can't yet say grandma or grandpa, but she sure can say the names of her two favourite pups.

Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

One of the ways that we help build the connection and foster her love for the woofs woofs is to lead by example. This means being gentle with the dogs, taking them for walks, rewarding good behaviour, knowing when to give them their space and feeding them only the best food and treats.

Once a recent family trip, Morley recently took on the task of "walking" the dogs. Luckily, Titus has the patience of an angel and no matter how slow she was or how much she swung the leash handle as she walked, he calmly walked by her side. 

Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals
Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

Another one of her favourite tasks? Giving them a treat. 

The go to? Purina® Beggin’

Purina has a wide variety of food, treats, and litter for your cats and dogs which helps take the mystery out of how to care for your pet and give them what they truly want.

Interested in finding Purina Beggin' dog treats for your dog? Hover over the above photo to click through to PetSmart.com and buy them!

No pet at home? No problem. There are many other ways that you can help build the connection between your children and animals. Below are just a few of my favourite. 

10 Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

  1. Visit a local zoo, aquarium or farm.
  2. Read books about animals. [These are a few of our favourites.]
  3. Go for a hike and look for animals.
  4. When out for a walk, pick up trash. Explain how littering can hurt the animals. 
  5. Watch child- and animal-friendly movies.
  6. Visit friends and family that have pets.
  7. Raise money for a local animal shelter.
  8. Hang a bird feeder in the backyard. 
  9. Donate birthday money or allowance to an non-profit organization that helps animals. 
  10. Enroll them in an animal-focused camp. 

Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals
Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

A variety of Purina products can be found at your local PetSmart. Check out the dog treat aisle for Purina Beggin', which is the aisle closest to the cash at my local store. 

Don't forget to take advantage of this great offer: During the month of June, PetSmart shoppers can get a $10 Petsmart gift card when they purchase $40 in participating Purina products. For more information, check this out. (Offer available at US stores only.)

Ways to Help Foster Your Child's Love for Animals

Do you have an animal lover in your home? I'd love to hear!


June 16, 2017

Celebrating Canada150 in Toronto

Canada is such a beautiful country. I don't think you really get the full appreciation for how big and how beautiful it is until you see it with your own two eyes.

I've had the privilege of travelling a large portion of the country, crossing Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec off of my list. I've had the opportunity to experience things that make this country I call home truly amazing, such as the big white bears of Hudson Bay and the towering Rocky Mountains in BC. 

This year, Canada will celebrate its 150th anniversary, making summer 2017 the perfect time to experience all that this beautiful country has to offer. 

In celebration of Canada150we've chosen to stay Canada this summer and have been keeping our travels local. Camping at Ontario Parks, trips to the family cottage on the Bruce Peninsula and exploring our own city of Toronto, all fill our family adventure list.

How to Celebrate Canada150 in Toronto

For those visiting, or even those that are proud to live here, Canada's 150 also marks the perfect time to learn what it means to be truly Canadian. In honour of the sesquicentennial, I'm sharing a list of 15 ways to celebrate Canada150 in Toronto, or more specifically, 15 of the most Canadian things to do in Toronto. If you're visiting Ontario's capital this summer or beyond, make sure to check them out. 

15 Ways to Celebrate Canada150 in Toronto

  1. Cheer on the home team at a Blue Jays baseball game at the Rogers Centre. 
  2. Learn about the iconic Canadian species at Rouge National Urban Park, Parks Canada's first Urban National Park.
  3. Take a dip in Lake Ontario, the smallest of the Great Lakes, the largest group of fresh water lakes in the world
  4. Get a birds' eye view of the city from atop the CN Tower. If you dare, take a walk outside on the EdgeWalk. 
  5. Devour a peameal bacon sandwich at the St Lawrence Market.
  6. For dessert, grab a uniquely Canadian sweet treat, the Beaver Tail. 
  7. Wash it all down with a double double from Timmies. 
  8. Indulge in an adult beverage at Canada's largest independent craft brewer, Steam Whistle.
  9. Visit the preserved blue whale skeleton at the Royal Ontario Museum.
  10. Say hello to Lord Stanley's cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame. 
  11. Take a walk (and try not to get lost) in the PATH, the world's largest underground shopping complex.
  12. Rent a kayak and paddle through the Toronto Islands, all while taking in the sprawling skyline of Canada's largest city.
  13. Take in an independent film at the Toronto International Film Festival, the second most prestigious film festival in the world behind Cannes. 
  14. Ride a TTC street car, the largest streetcar system in the Western hemisphere in terms of regular riders, length of track and number of cars. 
  15. Take a walk back in time at the historic Distillery District, formerly the home of the largest distillery in the world.
How to Celebrate Canada150 in Toronto
How to Celebrate Canada150 in Toronto

Whether you're visiting family and friends, crossing iconic Canadian landmarks off your bucket list or celebrating the anniversary of this great nation, let Radisson help you get there and save big! With locations in several Canadian cities, each hotel is uniquely designed with individual style all their own. Be sure to join Radisson's Club Carlson Hotel Rewards Program and let the points add up.

Visiting Toronto this summer? Be sure to check out the Radisson Admiral Hotel Toronto -Harbourfront, located downtown Toronto just minutes from many uniquely Canadian experiences. With stunning views of Lake Ontario and downtown, the Radisson Admiral Hotel Toronto -Harbourfront offers a beautiful setting for work and leisure. The perfect destination for your next Canadian getaway. 

Plan your Canadian adventure today with the help of Radisson and SAVE! To learn more details, check this out.

How to Celebrate Canada150 in Toronto


Want to WIN a FREE one night's stay at any Radisson in Canada or the US? It's simple - visit To & Fro on Facebook, share the link to THIS POST, make sure you tag Radisson in the shared post, and you're entered! [Must be 18+ to enter. Contest open to Canada and US. Ends July 6/17.]

Giveaway fine print:

  • Prize is one (1) night stay at any Radisson in Canada or the US (voucher, no substitutions).
  • To be eligible, you must share THIS POST on Facebook, and tag @Radisson.
  • One (1) winner will be selected at random, and contact via Facebook messenger.
  • Winner has 48 hours to respond and provide valid email address in order to claim prize.
  • Open to all Canadian and US residents, 18 year plus. 

What are you waiting for? Get out there and explore!

Of all the Canadian Radisson locations, which city is your favourite to visit, or on your must see list, and why? I'd love to hear!


June 12, 2017

A Family First Camping Trip

We recently kicked off our spring/summer family adventures with a trip to one of my favourite camping destinations in Ontario - Pinery Provincial Park.

Growing up, my family and I spent many summers exploring all that the Pinery has to offer. Now, its my turn to create those memories with my little family and introduce Morley to one of our favourite outdoor activities - camping!

Camping at Pinery Provincial Park

When it was just the two of us, the camping possibilities were endless. Camping at the base of a glacier? Check. A full day back country hike only to camp in the pouring rain? Check. Having a bear huff past your tent and not be able to sleep? Check. Taking a 6-hour ferry ride with plans to camp, only to find out there was still six feet of snow on the ground? Check, check, check. It's safe to say, we've had some pretty interesting camping adventures. But  have also made some amazing camping memories.

So, when it came time to plan Morley's first camping adventure, we figured we'd start small and play it safe with a car camping trip to the Pinery.

Camping at Pinery Provincial Park

Located on the shores of the mighty Lake Huron, just outside of Grand Bend, Pinery Provincial Park is a hidden gem in the Ontario Parks' system. The 21 square kilometres of rare forests and rolling dunes offer excellent year-round outdoor recreations, including 10 walking trails, a 14 km bike trail and 38 kms of groomed ski trails. The Old Ausable River Channel, which runs the length of the park, is perfect for wildlife viewing, fishing or a relaxing paddle in a kayak or canoe.

Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park

Our long weekend at the Pinery was perfect. We spent our four days exploring the trails, the beach, the river, the dirt and just relaxing around the campsite. We couldn't have asked for better weather, or better company. With a jam packed campsite that included my parents, my brother, his girlfriend and three crazy dogs, there was no shortage of good laughs or activities going on.  Morley loved hanging out with her pups, Tity and Dooda (otherwise known as Titus and Lola), and was even introduced to a few new animal friends - raccoons, frogs and chipmunks galore. 

Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park

And even though we slept in the trailer with my parents (Morley would not even go near the tent), she absolutely rocked her first camping trip. This kid continues to amaze me, constantly adapting to every new situation we toss at her.

We can't wait to get out and create many more amazing memories with Morley this summer!

Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park
Camping at Pinery Provincial Park

When heading out on an adventure, whether to the local park or camping, we always consider Morley’s safety first. That is why when it came time to upgrade her car seat, we chose the radian®rXT from diono. Premium materials and thoughtful safety features like a steel alloy frame, aluminum reinforced side walls, energy absorbing EPS foam and five-point harness put your mind at ease as your little one stays safe and sound. The reinforced adjustable head support provides additional side impact protection, and comfort when the little one crashes after a long day of adventuring. 

One of my favourite features of this car seat, which will come in handy on our trip to Alaska in the fall, is that the car seat folds flat for travel and is FAA-certified. Radian car seats fit 3-across in most mid-size vehicles, making it the perfect choice for growing families. And while we are not yet at the stage where we have to worry about that (I promise), one day down the road this will come in handy. 

The radian rXT car seat comes in a variety of colours, but we chose black plum. It adds a pop of colour, while still helping hide the inevitable toddler spills and messes. Find the radian rXT car seat at a retailer near you.

diono radian rXT car seat review

Check out To & Fro on Instagram for more from our camping trip to Pinery Provincial Park. 

Where will your adventures take you this summer? I'd love to hear!

Disclaimer: I received product and/or compensation for this post, however, all opinions are 100% my own. I only support brands that I trust and love.

June 6, 2017

Preparing Your Vehicle For Summer Family Fun

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CanadianTire #QuakerState #CollectiveBias

How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

It's hard to believe that in just two short weeks, summer will officially be upon us. Where has 2017 gone?! Despite the calendar still reading spring, the outdoor adventures that come with the glorious summer season have already begun in our house. 

Summer time is travel time. During the warm and sunny months, we love to get outside. Camping, hiking, swimming and exploring our own backyard are some of our favourite activities. We also love a good road trip, usually to visit my parents or our family cottage, both on Lake Huron.

How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

After saying goodbye to our faithful ultimate road trip companion in the fall, we look forward to making new road trip memories with our new crossover. We can't wait to load up the car and hit the open road to create some amazing summer family memories.

But before doing so, we must first make sure our vehicle is prepared to get us to and from our summer adventure destinations safely. Especially with a little one in tow.

How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip
How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

Extreme heat and long drives can be tough on cars, so here are 6 tips for preparing your vehicle for a successful summer family road trip.

6 Tips to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

1. Check your brakes. 
Your brakes are the single most important safety feature in your car, so its important to maintain their condition. Don't put your or your family at risk this summer by driving on worn or even faulty brakes.

2. Inspect all lights and bulbs. 
Having properly working head lights, tail lights and brake lights is important, especially at times when visibility is reduced, whether during rain or darkness.

3. Maintain clean air filters.
It is important to change both your engine and cabin air filters to improve airflow and prevent dust, dirt and allergens from entering both the engine and cabin. 

4. Maintain your air conditioning.
If you've ever driven a car with no air conditioning during the hot summer months, then you what a big difference a little cool air makes. Air conditioning systems are complicated, so if you think there is a fault in yours, take it to the professionals. 

5. Create a summer emergency kit.
A well stocked kit can be a lifesaver if you find yourself stranded, even in the summer months. For the summer, items to include are jumper cables, flares, flashlights with extra batteries, first aid materials, snacks and water. If you're traveling with children, adding an extra supply of diapers and wipes, a few toys, sunscreen and extra snacks and water is key. Make sure to store your kit in an easily accessible place. 

6. Top up your fluids.
In the summer months, important fluids for your vehicle include windshield washer fluid, coolant and motor oil. Remember to keep all topped up, and carry extra in your vehicle just to be safe. 

As a family on a budget, we opt to change our own motor oil. Not only is it cost effective, it is also super easy. Working on our own vehicle also gives us a sense of accomplishment when hitting the open road. 

Quaker State® Ultimate Durability™ Full Synthetic Motor Oil is the perfect motor oil for your summer road trip adventures. Not only do the fuel-saving additives give the oil more durability and help keep the oil fresh, but as engine temperatures increases, heat-activated viscosity improvers and anti-wear additives kick in to maintain oil thickness to help extend your engine life. Quaker State® gives you more durability and more honesty.

How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

Changing you oil is easy! First, we opened the hood and located the dipstick to check your motor oil level. We removed the dipstick and wiped it with a clean, lint-free cloth. The dipstick was then replaced and removed once more to re-check the level (left photo above). When completing this step, make sure the level is between the minimum and maximum level marks. If it is below, add oil immediately. To add oil, we removed the oil filter cap, which is usually located beside the dipstick. Remember to add oil that meets the correct specifications of your vehicle. This information can be found in your owner's manual. Once oil was added, we rechecked the oil level using the dipstick. If the oil level is correct after completing this step, simply replace the dipstick, replace the oil filler cap, close the hood and you're good to hit the road!

Remember to take all necessary safety precautions to protect you, your vehicle and your family.

How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

Quaker State® Ultimate Durability Full Synthetic Motor Oil is a great oil at a great price. It can easily be located in the Automotive Department at your local Canadian Tire. Just look for the gold bottle!

How to Prepare for a Successful Summer Family Road Trip

Whether we're hitting the road to visit the wilderness, family or even the local pool, having a vehicle that is prepared to handle our adventures is key to a safe and fun summer season.

Where will your summer adventures take you? Have you ever used Quaker State® automotive products? I’d love to hear about it!

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