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Keeping Kids Busy: 10 Great Activities Your Kids Will Love This Summer

Keeping Kids Busy: 10 Great Activities Your Kids Will Love This Summer

Summer is here. What will you do with this free time?

At least one in three teenagers feels bored and stressed most of the time they’re at school. It’s no surprise why kids look forward to summer break.

But this year is different. Due to the coronavirus, the past few months have been particularly stressful for all kids in the U.S.

Kids are out of the classroom, but that doesn’t mean those feelings of stress and boredom go away when summer arrives. Many parents are still faced with the “I’m bored” complaints from their kids.

So what’s a parent to do?

Luckily, keeping kids busy is possible with a little creativity. Read on for some activities for kids that will keep them busy and entertained all summer long.

1. Start a Goodreads Reading Challenge.

If your child is 13 or older and likes to read, encourage them to sign up for a Goodreads account. They can keep track of the books they’ve read or want to read and connect with their friends.

Once they have an account, they can start a Goodreads Reading Challenge. They can choose a number of books to read for the year and they’ll get reminders and encouragement along the way. Working towards a goal will keep them busy.

Since social distancing is still important, your child could also start a virtual book club to talk about books with friends. They’ll get some social connection while staying on track with their reading goals.

2. Plan a weekly family movie night.

Movie theaters are closed across the country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a summer blockbuster.

Choose a night of the week, like a Friday or Saturday, and find a new movie to watch. You can find movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, or even YouTube that the whole family will enjoy.

Pop some popcorn and enjoy a new family tradition.

3. Check out local water parks.

There’s no better way to spend a hot day than relaxing by a pool. Load up a bag with towels, sunscreen, and sunglasses to enjoy a day in the sun. This is a great activity for the whole family, whether you have toddlers or teenagers.

Before you head out, make sure you understand the CDC guidelines for social distancing at water parks. You’ll enjoy yourself more when you’re doing everything you can to protect your family’s health and safety.

4. Sign them up for an online class.

If you have older kids or teens, consider signing them up for an online class on a subject they like. If your child’s school doesn’t offer specialty electives like photography, horticulture, or cooking, an online course in the summer is the perfect solution.

Look on websites such as Lynda, Udemy, or MasterClass for courses. Your local community college or university might also offer classes like this in the summer. If it’s not in your budget, you might also find great courses for free on YouTube.

5. Try backyard camping.

If your normal summer camping trip isn’t in the cards, you can try camping in your backyard. Your kids can help set up a tent, play some yard games, and roast marshmallows.

If you’ve never been camping before, backyard camping is a low-risk way to try it out. Plus, it’s one of the best things to do with kids in the summer.

Backyard camping is also the perfect opportunity to learn about the constellations. Your kids can download a free stargazing app to learn about the stars they see.

6. Get crafting.

If you’re one of the many parents working from home right now, you might not have a ton of time to entertain your kids. That’s where crafting comes in.

Younger kids can color, finger paint, and draw pictures. They can also make artwork to decorate your door or front windows. Your child will feel proud knowing they’re bringing joy to your neighborhood.

Older kids can do crafts such as coloring, painting, and making jewelry. They can even learn to knit, sew, or embroider with the help of a YouTube tutorial.

7. Visit a state park.

Fresh air and exercise makes us feel stronger and it boosts our mood. That’s why summer is a great time to visit a nearby state park. Plus, you can enjoy the great outdoors at a North Carolina state park while still social distancing.

To make a day of it, pack a picnic with your family’s favorite foods and plenty of bottled water.

For younger kids, you can have them do a nature scavenger hunt where they can make note of the nature they see. If you have older kids, it’s a chance for them (and you!) to learn how to identify plants, trees, and wildlife.

8. Decorate with sidewalk chalk.

If you’re looking for summer activities for kids at home, don’t forget about sidewalk chalk. A simple box of chalk and a sidewalk or driveway will keep your kids entertained for hours.

They can make up new patterns and write out fun messages to the neighbors, all while getting some fresh air. Plus, when it rains they’ll have a fresh canvas to work with. They can even draw out a hopscotch court or make up a brand new game.

9. Head to a drive-in movie theater.

While a lot of movie theaters are closed, drive-in movie theaters are open. They’re the perfect way to catch a movie while still social distancing.

If your kids have never been to a drive-in movie before, now is a great time to check it out. Kids of all ages will enjoy watching a movie under the stars. It might even become a new family tradition.

10. Learn a new skill.

If your child misses learning new things at school, encourage them to learn a new skill. Learning magic tricks, sewing, playing a musical instrument, and cooking are just a few fun examples.

Check out some video tutorials on YouTube to get started. By the end of the summer, your child might have an awesome new skill to show off.

Keeping Kids Busy and Healthy Over the Summer

Keeping kids busy over the summer can be a challenge for all parents. After all, you want them to relax without getting bored. Hopefully, our ideas gave you some inspiration.

In the midst of all your summer fun, don’t forget about your children’s dental health. Make an appointment today to book a routine cleaning.

Our 5 Favorite Greensboro Activities to Enjoy While Social Distancing

Our 5 Favorite Greensboro Activities to Enjoy While Social Distancing

Social distancing doesn’t mean the end of summer fun.

Under normal circumstances, summertime is one of the most bustling and exciting seasons in Greensboro, North Carolina. From learning about reptiles at the Science Center to shopping the market at Summerfield Farms, there’s never a shortage of Greensboro family fun!

However, social distancing has changed the way we spend our free time. Tons of our favorite spots have temporarily closed to the public or have a strict limit on the number of visitors they can accept at a time. What is a Greensboro family to do this summer? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered!

Read on for the Farless Dental Group’s top 5 suggestions for Greensboro weekend activities you can safely enjoy this summer.

How to Practice Social Distancing While out and About

Before we get into our favorite spots to spend the summer, let’s look at some of the ways you and your family can practice social distancing when you head out for some family fun.

Bring your masks.

You may not need to wear them the whole time you’re outdoors, but it’s best to have your mask on your person whenever you venture into public. That way, if you decide to step into one of the open facilities in Greensboro or you have to walk through a crowded spot, you can have that extra layer of protection ready.

Keep at least six feet of distance.

Whether you’re meeting up with another household or are surrounded by strangers, stay at least six feet away from those who don’t live with you. Even if you’re walking with friends, you should still maintain that six-foot distance the whole time. If you and your friend were to stretch out your arms and could touch each other’s fingertips, you’re a little too close!

Have a backup plan.

According to the CDC, a key factor of social distancing is avoiding mass gatherings or large crowds. For that reason, we recommend that whenever you make a plan for some Greensboro family fun, you come up with a backup plan. That way, if you get to your destination and it’s way too crowded, you can move on to the next spot — no harm, no foul!

Greensboro Family Fun

Now, let’s take a look at some of the best spots in Greensboro this summer — and what to expect when you get there.

1. Bring your boat to Lake Brandt.

Normally, Lake Brandt is a great place to rent a canoe, paddleboat, or kayak in the spring and summer. To cut down on face-to-face interaction and the spread of germs, they’ve closed their boat rentals for the season. However, you can still take your personal boat out on the water at any time during the day! Head out in the mornings or evenings to avoid the high heat and enjoy the calm of the lake.

2. Camp out at Oak Hollow Campground.

If you love to spend a night or two under the stars, head to Oak Hollow Campground! Their campsites are open for the summer season, and you’ll find plenty of great hiking trails nearby. The only thing to keep in mind before you head for Oak Hollow is that they’ve closed their bathhouses. That means guests are expected to be self-sufficient in regard to any bathroom needs.

3. Stroll around the National Military Park.

The Guilford Courthouse at National Military Park is one of Greensboro’s biggest attractions for both residents and tourists. This national park was the site of one of the landmark battles of the Revolutionary War, and visiting it is a great way to have an interactive history lesson.

Unfortunately, the park’s facilities, like the visitor center and restrooms, are closed. Guided tours are also suspended; however, the outdoor areas are open to the public. With a little bit of research, you can still teach your family a thing or two about North Carolina’s contributions to the war for independence!

4. Go bank fishing at High Point City Lake Park.

Normally, North Carolinians have to pay a fee to receive their fishing license, and most public fishing areas require proof of that license. For the time being, High Point City Lake Park has suspended this rule! That means fishing season is open to anyone with a pole and some bait. This is great news for families with kids who want to give fishing a try. Grab your gear and head to the park for some quality bank fishing, or, if you have a private boat, head for deeper waters and see what’s biting!

5. Support local eateries and have a takeout picnic.

While restaurants are closed for sit-down service, many of our local and independent eateries are open for delivery or takeout. Supporting these staples of our community is a great way to give back while social distancing!

Order takeout from one of Greensboro’s finest and head to any of the parks we’ve already mentioned — or even your own backyard! Having a nice meal outdoors can do wonders to boost the spirit and return some sense of fun and normalcy to our lives.

Don’t forget your dental health!

Establishing a new routine with your family can seem difficult, especially now that school is out and summer activities are supposed to commence. Fortunately, there is still plenty of Greensboro family fun to be had as long as you practice proper social distancing!

As you find ways to adjust, don’t forget the importance of routine. Creating and sticking to a thorough dental routine — brushing for two minutes twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and rinsing with a fluoride rinse — is a great way to maintain consistency in uncertain times. Plus, it’s an easy way to stay mindful of your overall health and boost your immune system!

At Farless Dental Group, we’re doing everything we can to keep our patients safe while they get their dental needs taken care of. Make your appointment today, and we’ll make sure your dental health is in tip-top shape!

How to Help Your Future Self Keep Your Teeth Healthier Longer

How to Help Your Future Self Keep Your Teeth Healthier Longer

Keep your smile shining bright by focusing on these important factors for lifelong oral health.

Taking a serious approach to oral care doesn’t just mean we’ll have a beautiful smile to share now,  but also that we’re preventing future oral health issues from occurring years from now.

Oral health is just the same as general health—in fact, they’re both directly connected. Just like eating well and exercising benefits our bodies immediately and in the future, caring for our teeth and seeing the dentist regularly offers the same advantages for years to come.

Here are 4 important factors for lifelong oral health, including tips on how you can master each one.

1. Perfect your at-home oral hygiene routine.

Your at-home oral care routine has the most significant effect on the long-term health of your teeth and gums.

Scrape your tongue, floss, and then brush.

Before you brush your teeth, use a tongue scraper and floss. By scraping and flossing prior to brushing, you’re loosening up any stubborn food debris and plaque. This makes brushing much more effective and ensures a better clean.

Brush twice a day for two minutes.

The ADA-recommends brushing twice a day minimum. You can choose to brush after every meal, which is a good idea if you’ve eaten something sugary, sticky, or feel like you have food stuck in your teeth.

You should brush using the proper technique and a fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes. It’s easy to underestimate how long two minutes really is, so set your timer on your phone to give yourself a reminder.

Invest in an electric toothbrush.

If you’re currently using a manual toothbrush, consider upgrading to an electric model. Electric toothbrushes have a number of benefits, including better plaque removal power, ease of use for those with mobility issues, healthy gum stimulation, and an overall more effective clean. Many also come with a built-in timer to help you brush for the full two minutes.

Don’t skip bedtime brushing.

You should strive to brush twice a day, morning and night, but you definitely don’t want to skip that bedtime brushing. Brushing before bed ensures your mouth is clean before resting for eight hours or more. Skipping bedtime brushing is more likely to cause bacteria growth and decay.

Finish your routine with a mouth rinse.

If you don’t already use a mouth rinse, consider starting. Mouth rinses are a great finishing touch for your at-home oral care routine. You can find mouth rinses suited for any concerns as well, such as freshening your breath, controlling plaque, or soothing your gums.

2. Eat a nutritious diet and adopt healthy lifestyle habits.

Your diet and your lifestyle habits are the foundation of your overall health, including your teeth and gums.

Switch to a healthy diet.

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional sweet treat, but if you find yourself eating a diet high in sugar, fats, salt, and processed foods, your oral health will suffer. Switch to a diet high in vegetables, low-acidity fruits, lean meat, and/or other protein sources. Focus on whole foods rather than processed foods.

Stop smoking and using tobacco products.

Smoking, vaping, and the use of other tobacco products is detrimental to your general health and oral health. Stopping these habits isn’t easy and can’t often be done “cold turkey,” but beginning the process of breaking these habits through self-help or professional help is always worth the effort.

Address bruxism and TMD issues.

If you experience temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) or bruxism (tooth grinding) symptoms it’s important to seek treatment. Not only do these disorders negatively affect your sleep and can leave you with headaches, but they also can lead to permanent damage to your teeth. Speak with your dentist if you’re experiencing any issues with unusual jaw soreness or a widespread dull pain across your teeth.

3. Take a proactive approach with preventive dental care.

Preventive dental care is the key to protecting your future oral health.

Don’t skip routine appointments.

Schedule your six-month dental checkups and cleanings ahead of time and do your very best to not skip them, even if your teeth feel fine. These routine appointments give your dentist a very important opportunity to catch developing issues before they become serious problems.

Don’t wait to get care when there’s a problem.

If you’re aware of an oral health issue, it’s vital that you react quickly and make time in your schedule to take care of it. If you’re very busy, speak with your dentist to see if you might be able to make a special appointment. If you feel anxious and afraid, reading about dental fear and having a private conversation with your dentist can go a long way in making you feel more comfortable.

Take issues like gum disease seriously.

Tender gums and light bleeding while flossing are early signs of gum disease. If your dentist has mentioned you have gingivitis or you suspect you do, the faster you seek treatment, the better. Gingivitis and mild gum disease are very treatable, but allow it to go too long and periodontitis will occur.

4. Preserve your long-term health with restorative dental care.

Even if your decay is under control, restorative dental care will ensure your teeth, gums, and jaw stay strong for years to come.

Protect weakened teeth with crowns.

Crowns are a common solution for protecting weakened teeth. If your dentist suggests a crown for a problem tooth, it’s for a good reason. Even if the tooth is now healthy and you have zero pain, a crown will prevent that tooth from developing further issues and potentially even breaking.

Get your missing teeth replaced.

Tooth loss doesn’t tend to affect your health right away, but over the course of a few years, it can lead to teeth shifting and even bone loss in your jaw. By replacing missing teeth now you’ll really be helping your future self.

Ask your dentist about tooth replacement options and which are best for you. Dental implants are highly recommended and well worth the additional cost and recovery time. They are the only tooth replacement option that actually prevents bone loss from occurring.

The team at Farless Dental Group can’t wait to help you on your journey to healthier teeth and gums.

Farless Dental Group is currently closed for non-urgent appointments due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you have a dental problem, please call our office to speak with one of our staff to determine if you’re experiencing an emergency.

We look forward to getting back to the office as soon as it’s safe and to continue helping patients like you achieve their best possible level of oral health.

 

8 Ways to Support Your Family’s Immune System During Times of Stress

8 Ways to Support Your Family’s Immune System During Times of Stress

Help your family stay healthy and strong while coping with the stress of COVID-19.

Over the last few months, families across the nation have been overcoming a number of challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Parents are home from work, kids are out of school, and stay-at-home orders are still in full effect. These changes, combined with very real concerns over getting sick, have left parents and kids alike feeling more stressed than ever before.

Stress isn’t just a simple natural reaction to difficult situations. Chronic stress also hurts our immune systems and makes it harder for our bodies to fight disease, as well as build immunity to new viruses. The good news is there’s plenty you can do to keep your family’s immune system strong and healthy.

Here are 8 effective things you can do to help bolster your family’s immune system.

1. Base your family’s diet around whole foods, including plenty of vegetables and fruits.

Your family’s diet is the foundation of their overall health and is what powers their immune system. Research shows that a low-fat, plant-based diet heightens white blood cell function, which, in turn, helps our immune system produce more antibodies to fight viruses.

Diet is a very personal matter for every family, but it’s universally recommended by health authorities to base meals around whole foods and a variety of fresh produce as much as possible.

2. Motivate your family to take the time to do whatever makes them feel less stressed.

We can’t stop stress from affecting our family members, but we can be there to remind them to take care of themselves. Decompressing, or releasing stress and tension, by practicing self-care is something everyone—from preschoolers to grandparents—can benefit from. It also positively impacts our immune system function.

Self-care may look different for every person, but all that matters is that it’s effective for that individual. Parents may need to talk with their younger kids to learn more about what they find most relaxing.

3. Refresh your family about handwashing and hand-sanitizing best practices.

Now is a great time to refresh your family about how to stay safe and protect others from exposure, especially kids and teens.

Remind them to wash their hands with soap and water often and for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer can also be used when soap and water aren’t available. Everyone should wash their hands after using the bathroom, touching their face or nose, and immediately after returning from a public area.

You can find more information on CDC-recommended handwashing and general safety guidelines here.

4. Encourage your family to wear a face mask when venturing into public spaces.

The CDC is still recommending that individuals wear a cloth face mask when in public spaces, even if they are not showing symptoms or are at high risk. Exceptions include any kids under the age of two or family members who have a breathing condition.

If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can even make your family some fun DIY face masks.

5. Clean your home often and disinfect high-touch surfaces on a daily basis.

How often you clean your home is based on a few factors, such as whether family members are leaving the house, if anyone may be exposed while at work, or if there are any high-risk family members in your home.

Even if your family is low-risk, it’s advised to still disinfect high-touch surfaces on a daily basis and especially after coming home from running errands or having a visitor. High-touch surfaces include any surface or object you touch multiple times on a daily basis, such as tabletops and countertops, doorknobs and light switches, phones and tablets, remote controls, etc.

For more detailed information on how to properly clean and disinfect, check out this CDC webpage.

6. Make sure your family is getting plenty of quality, restful sleep every night.

Stress can easily affect sleep cycles by making it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. In some cases, a family member may seem to be getting the right number of sleep hours, but their sleep isn’t restful. When sleepless nights start to become a habit, the immune system begins to suffer.

Check in with your family and ask them how they’ve been feeling in terms of sleep. Remind your kids and adult family members that taking naps is encouraged right now.

7. Spend more recreational time in safe outdoor locations rather than staying inside.

A great way to boost your family’s immune systems while also reaping a number of other health benefits is to make a concerted effort to spend more time outdoors together.

Breathing in the fresh air and getting some natural vitamin D from the sun (in small spurts) is invigorating. Being outdoors also prompts higher activity levels and movement compared to being indoors.

Spending time out in your yard or walking around your neighborhood is great. If you do go to a public outdoor space, be mindful of touching any surfaces like park benches or playground equipment.

8. Support your family’s daily multivitamin with a vitamin D supplement.

There is no magic vitamin or mineral to ramp up your immune system, but you can fill in possible nutritional gaps in your family’s diet with a standard multivitamin. Select a daily multivitamin designed for gender and age for best results (i.e. daily women’s vitamin or daily children’s vitamin).

In addition to this multivitamin, you can also include a vitamin D supplement. Doctors have found that an extra 1000 to 2000 IU of vitamin D will ensure you’re not only getting enough of this crucial vitamin but also that your body can properly process other vitamins and minerals, like calcium.

As stay-at-home orders begin to lift, continue taking preventive measures and practicing social distancing.

Governors and mayors will likely begin to lift stay-at-home orders in their cities and states. This is wonderful news, as it marks the start of life slowly beginning to return to normal. However, as stay-at-home orders end, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean social distancing should stop.

Even as your family begins to venture back out, continue taking a proactive approach to safeguarding their health just as you were before. With time, your lives will resume as normal, but until then, it’s worth the effort to protect you and your family’s health.

Beautiful North Carolina: Enjoying the Natural Charm of Greensboro

Beautiful North Carolina: Enjoying the Natural Charm of Greensboro

Experience beautiful North Carolina from your home.

Are you lucky enough to call The Gate City home?

Living in Greensboro, North Carolina comes with many advantages, including quick access to scenic natural areas, cultural hot spots, and some of the best dining and shopping in the state. While we’re all adapting to this new normal and practicing social distancing, some of those familiar favorites might feel farther away than normal. However, you can still experience your corner of beautiful North Carolina from home!

Today, we’re sharing a few ways your family can soak up all the character and charm of our city, right where you are.

Take a Virtual Park Tour

Greensboro parks might be closed for now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tour the Gateway Gardens or get up-close-and-personal with local wildlife!

Every day, the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department goes live on its Facebook page to give viewers a virtual tour of one of the city’s natural areas. On-site activities vary from crafting sessions and at-home fitness classes to nature lessons and garden strolls.

If you’re missing your favorite walking trails or picnic spots, this is an ideal way to escape. There’s even a virtual egg hunt that the whole family can check out! Search for #enhanceexpandconnect on Facebook to discover more.

Camp in Your Backyard

One of the bright spots of social distancing has been rediscovering the simple pleasures of home. Some of those might be right in your backyard! Until we can all go to the campground again, why not take advantage of that camping gear in the basement, and host an outdoor family night?

Make s’mores over a makeshift firepit, take turns telling stories, and fall asleep together in a tent under the Triad sky. When you live in Greensboro, you don’t have to travel far to experience the natural wonders our beautiful state of North Carolina has to offer.

Go on a Scavenger Hunt

While you’re sheltering in place, it’s still a good idea to get plenty of fresh air. After your backyard campout, start the morning with a scavenger hunt!

Make the experience complete by creating a map that leads the kids around the yard and encourages new discoveries. You can even weave in alphabet letters and sight words to make the activity part of your homeschool lesson for the day! This list of indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts will keep the entire brood entertained, rain or shine.

Plant a Garden

Instead of focusing on the amenities being taken away during this season, plant something with your family and discover the hope of new growth! This is a perfect time to plant a simple backyard garden and teach your children the enjoyment that comes with watching life sprout up from the ground.

New Garden Landscaping and Nursery is still open, operating under adjusted hours. It’s also offering remote ordering and curbside pickup options. Plan a visit and stock up on all the vegetables, herbs, shrubs, seeds, and plants you need to turn your yard into the ultimate growing zone.

Take a Scenic Drive

Remember when Sundays were synonymous with scenic drives? Over time, we’ve moved away from that tradition but if there was ever a time to bring it back, this is it.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has compiled a guide to the most beautiful drives in the state, broken into the mountain, piedmont, and coastal plain regions. From the Hanging Rock Scenic Byway to Football Road, many are accessible from Greensboro’s network of highways and side roads.

Buckle up the family, pack plenty of snacks, and go for a drive. While most attractions are closed, you can still roll down the window, turn the music up and rediscover why it’s called a joy ride.

Visit the North Carolina Zoo Online

The North Carolina Zoo is only a short 40-minute drive from Greensboro. While the facility is temporarily suspending operations, it’s opening its doors to virtual tours.

At any time, you can log in to watch as elephants, black bears, snakes, gorillas, and more participate in the zoo’s annual springtime EGGStravaganza, where they search for tasty goodies inside colorful paper eggs! You can also pre-register to participate in a weekly Zoo Classroom program. This is a one-hour, in-person broadcast for K-12 students that airs Thursday at 1:00 p.m. EST.

Other virtual programs at the zoo include biologist Rob Nelson’s “Untamed Science” series as well as the zoo’s own distance learning series, “Living With Nature”.

Find an Open Trail

The parks and trail systems in Greensboro are unlike any other in the state. Many of ours are interconnected and weave into one another, including Country Park, Battleground Park, Bur-Mill Park, and others.

While indoor recreation centers, as well as museums and cultural centers, remain closed, city-operated trails and greenways are still open from dusk to dawn, daily. The same goes for most neighborhood parks. This means that a relaxing and mind-clearing stroll might be closer than you think.

Of course, remember to practice the six-foot social distancing rule while you’re running, walking, or hiking! Most lakes and regional parks, including Lake Brandt, Lake Townsend, Barber Park, Keeley Park, and others are open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily.

Fishing is still permitted at these sites, though pier usage is limited to 10 people at a time. This article shares all the updates on closures and openings as of April 22.

Let’s Enjoy Beautiful North Carolina From Home Together

While we’re experiencing this time apart, Greensboro residents, business owners, and students can still connect in new and unique ways. From virtual garden tours and zoo visits to off-the-beaten-path parks and trails, there’s still plenty to do and discover in beautiful North Carolina.

We’re in this together, and we can’t wait to see your beautiful smiles again soon! If you need anything from our office during this time, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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