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NEW from Santoki, LEGO Stationery!

Posted May 26, 2016 By dealinanddishin

Santoki, LLC is thrilled to introduce LEGO Stationery! #LEGOStationery

This one-of-a-kind product consists of an assortment of buildable school supplies that use LEGO elements and all work together as a system.

The collection includes a colorful assortment of pencils, erasers, pens, markers, journals, organizers and buildable rulers. What’s so cool about the product is that your child can build on the products and create something while learning!15611_fb_system

If you’re attending LEGO KidsFest in Louisville, you’ll also be able to try them out at the show: Santoki has an activity area devoted to playing and coloring with the product line.

LEGO Stationery is available at Barnes & Noble, LEGOLAND California Resort, Legoland Florida Resort, all LEGO Discovery Centers and Boxed Lunch!

Get more details here

I am counting down the days to our weekend of fun in Louisville, KY..centering around LEGO Kids Fest! I have been looking through the list of stations and checking out Instagram to see a sneak peek. Right away I noticed this new Santoki LEGO Stationery. My 8 year old daughter will be all about this!! Kids love dressing up their pencils and getting any kind of unusual erasers, rulers, etc. Getting to build on them will be a big hit.15611_fb_pieces

The Kentucky floor map of the LEGO Kids Fest just got posted, and I will be planning our visit. This booth will be a definite stop for my kids!

I was very excited to get some more information from US Family Guide as one of their bloggers to see about trying out a set here and reviewing it…fingers crossed!

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Star Wars Lightsaber Necklace Craft

Posted May 2, 2016 By dealinanddishin

It was such a great coincidence that our Girl Scout troop meeting fell on May 4th I had to plan our meeting around it! In case you don’t know May 4th is Star Wars day. Why? “May the Fourth Be With You”!

My girls LOVE crafts (and snacks)! So this meeting I came up with an easy but cute Lightsaber Necklace for each girl to make! This doesn’t have to be just for girls. If you have Cub Scouts or boys at home, but they don’t like a necklace just shorten the lacing. They could tie it to a key chain or a zipper on a backpack or tote bag.

I had the snack planned (have yet to make it) months ago. I bought those Wilton candy melts that come in a rainbow of colors at Joann Fabrics (either a sale/coupon/or both always going on) in red and blue. I bought a container of pretzel rods at my local, Aldi. I will dip these and serve as our snack, lightsaber pretzel rods.

I also found some Star Wars face photo props at Five Below that we will use for some end of the year photo fun.

I have plain cardstock on a horizontal orientation with a simple line across a couple inches from the bottom for them to design their own lightsabers. Each sheet will be cut in half vertically. We will roll them up and tape. Here is a screenshot. You could draw the line, skip the line, or use Word like I did.

Now to our main craft

Lightsaber Necklace


I bought pony beads in Black, Gray, and Blue for the traditional Jedi lightsaber. I also bought a spool of Plastic Lacing. These are all in the same section of Joann Fabrics. You get way more than you need, but I figure it won’t go bad and there will be future crafts at home or scouts we can use it for. It helped that I had 40% and 60% off coupons from the app and website.
Price breakdown: Gray Pony Beads (720 pieces) $3.99, Black Pony Beads (250 pieces I think) $2.49, Blue Pony Beads (400 pieces) $3.49, and 100 yard spool of Clear Plastic Lacing $3.49. After coupons and before tax this all came to $6.58!! That is a great deal and you should be able to make around 50 of these necklaces depending on the blue beads.


We are using:

7 Blue Beads
1 Black Bead
3 Gray Beads

2-3 feet of lacing

We are keeping this as simple as possible.

Thread the first blue bead onto the lacing thread until you get to the middle of your piece. Then fold the thread together and put the rest of the beads on in order, Blue, Black, and Gray.
BeadingYou will tie a few knots after your last gray one to hold the lightsaber in place.
FinishingThen knot the necklace to your desired length. This lacing does have some give and pull when you tie it.

There you go, an inexpensive, quick, easy, cute, Star Wars themed craft for May the 4th or any time you want to have some Star Wars fun!


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LEGO KidsFest June 3-5, 2016 in Louisville, KY  at the Kentucky Exposition Center!

Disclosure: As a US Family blogger I am receiving tickets for myself and my family to go to LEGO KidsFest in exchange for my sharing about the event, hosting a giveaway for 2 tickets to the opening night session, and writing a review afterwards.

I’m so excited to be going to the LEGO KidsFest again!! I had already planned to go to this whether or not I was selected. I even booked a hotel in Louisville (my money) months ago so we can make a weekend out of it. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for photos and updates of the event and weekend!

We went last year to the one in St. Louis, MO. That was our first ever LEGO KidsFest, and had a blast!!  I am excited to see what is new this year. Read about the fun things we did last year,  here!

These LEGO KidsFest events SELL OUT, so don’t wait too long to get your tickets!  Keep up with LEGOKidsFest ticket updates and news on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

LEGO KidsFest 2016

Charlotte, NC: Feb. 19-21 (Charlotte Convention Center)
Harrisburg, PA: April 8-10 (Farm Show Expo & Expo Center)
Kansas City, MO: May 13-15 (Kansas City Convention Center)
Louisville, KY: June 3-5 (Kentucky Exposition Center)
Milwaukee, WI: Oct. 7-9 (Wisconsin Center)
Houston, TX: Oct. 21-23 (NRG Center)

lkf1604pinterestancmtgrphx736pxThe award-winning LEGO KidsFest returns to Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY from June 3 – 5, 2016. Those who attended the previous show can once again expect hands-on building, creative experiences and one-of-a-kind activities. Children of all ages and builders of all skills and levels are welcome. LEGO KidsFest features dozens of new activities and popular favorites on the three-acre show floor.
SOME ACTIVITIES (activities are subject to change)

* LEGO Model Museum: dozens of life-sized models made entirely from LEGO bricks
* Race Ramps: build a custom car, then race it down the ramp against friends and family
* LEGO Star Wars: build and display a Star Wars model
* Creation Nation: build your own creation to add to a custom map of the U.S.
* LEGO DUPLO: younger visitors can explore imagination through building
* LEGO Retail: purchase LEGO merchandise and official KidsFest tour goods
* Brick Pile: a gigantic pile full of LEGO bricks for creative play and enjoyment
* Monochromatic Builds: bricks of a single color to foster group creativity
* LEGO Friends: build for the five empowered friends from Heartlake City
* LEGO Ninjago: spin the way to being a Spinjitzu member
* LEGO Mindstorms: build and program robots and snakes
* LEGO Technic: get hands-on with the cool, realistic vehicles at the booth
* LEGO Disney Princess: create a princess scene to add to a LEGO story book

Tickets are $19 for the Friday and Sunday afternoon sessions, and $22 for both sessions on Saturday and the Sunday morning session.Five sessions – all identical and 4 1/2 half hours in length – are held at each tour stop.  LEGO KidsFest tickets can be purchased at

FYI: The Kentucky Exposition Center has more than 19,000 parking spaces. Parking is $8 for cars and $20 for buses.



TICKET Giveaway Details:

One of MY followers will win (2) tickets to for the opening night session on Friday, June 3 2016 (4-8:30pm). I encourage you to LIKE and Follow LEGOKidsFest on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram for all the latest ticketing updates as this event has been selling out in prior cities.

Must be 18 to enter, 1 entry per day allowed, random drawing by USFG!

Winner will be randomly chosen by USFG on and announced on my Blog and notified via email,


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No Bake Breakfast Bites

Posted April 20, 2016 By dealinanddishin

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day is what I’ve always heard, however mornings and I do not agree. The less functioning I have to do the better. This is especially true so since my son started middle school, and that means getting up an hour earlier.

My go-to breakfast has been the Jimmy Dean Bacon, Egg, and Cheese biscuits. I love these things, but they are high in sodium (720 mg) and price. They are okay calorie wise (310), but I needed a change.I started looking on my favorite place, Pinterest, for some good breakfast options. I tried the baking eggs and omelets the day before, but didn’t care for them at all.

I kept coming back to energy bites. A friend of mine has tried them, and she told me I could find the ingredients at Aldi. 

I grabbed the basics with my own alternation… I use Almond Butter. Most use peanut butter, but it doesn’t agree with me. I have also tried Sunbutter (Sunflower seed) and that worked good in the S’mores one, but in can overpower lighter flavors like Almonds.

I’m going to share the Breakfast Bite base, and some of the variations I have tried the last few weeks with the nutrition information. All the photos are from the Almond Chocolate Chip batch I made.


Almond Chocolate Chip pictured

Almond Chocolate Chip pictured


Breakfast Bite Base

1/2 Cup Almond Butter

1/3 Cup Honey

1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds

1/2 Cup Flax Seeds (ground can be used as well)

1 Cup Rolled Oats (not quick)

1 Tsp. Vanilla (optional)

This is the base. You can stop here, or add dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc. 

Mix all in a bowl. Refrigerate for about 5-10 minutes. Scoop* and roll into balls. I recommend using food service gloves to make it less messy. You can buy those at Sam’s Club or GFS, etc. Keep refrigerated.


*An ice cream or cookie scoop works great. 

Servings: 14-16 1-ounce balls

Easy way to calculate a recipe is with the My Fitness Pal app. It is free, and you can enter all the ingredients and servings for it to calculate the nutrition. So much easier than all the scraps of paper I had laying around with recipes on them. I can save them too!

Variations I have made with nutritional information are below. You can decrease or increase any of the add-ins as you wish. This will change your nutritional information.

I found the oats, Almond butter, Chia Seeds, and Flax Seeds all at Aldi. I also get the honey there now as well. The almonds I bought at Sam’s Club. Ingredients

Almond Chocolate Chip Bites
(Makes 16)
Breakfast Bite Base
2 ounces chopped Almonds
2 Tbsp. Mini Semisweet Chocolate Chips


  Peanut butter Chip Bites
(Makes 14)
Breakfast Bite Base
3 Tbsp. Peanut Butter Chips


S’mores Bites
Makes 14)
Breakfast Bites Base
1 serving of (dehydrated marshmallows)Mallow Bits (5 grams)
2 Tbsp. Mini Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Right now the S’mores is my favorite either with the almond butter or sunflower seed butter. I love that tiny bit of sweet, the crunch of the marshmallows and seeds, plus it is still creamy.

I normally have 2 of these bites (whichever flavor for the week I have made) and a banana plus a couple cups of coffee. That fills me, gives me energy for the gym, but no “heavy” sluggish feeling.

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Instant Pot One Hour Chicken and Dumplings

Posted January 25, 2016 By dealinanddishin

As part of my Adventures in the Kitchen series we met the Instant Pot. I’m in love with this guy. It has made meal time so much faster, and opened up dinner and lunch options!

One of my Hubs favorite meals is Chicken and Dumplings. Notice I say it is his favorite. I love eating them, but I have never liked to make them.

Originally I would boil chicken, make my own dumplings, and cook it that way. That is my least favorite way by far!!

Then I found a crockpot recipe for chicken and dumplings that used frozen premade dumplings, and this was a recipe I liked a lot. However, this one takes hours to make!

I wanted a fast hot meal this weekend for lunch. I never ever would attempt Chicken and Dumplings for lunch unless I plan to get cooking at the crack of dawn. I can barely make my coffee when I get up, much less deal with ingredients.

I got out the Instant Pot, and ended up with One Hour Chicken and Dumplings! The fastest and easiest recipe I’ve ever had for them. The Hubs and I are both happy now!

One Hour Chicken and Dumplings

1-1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless frozen chicken
10.5 ounce can Cream of Chicken Soup
Can of Water
2 cups of Reames Frozen Egg Noodles
2 tsp. Chicken Bouillon (optional)
1/4 cup Diced Onion (optional)
Makes 46 ounces of Chicken and Dumplings, which was enough for lunch for 2 adults and 2 kids and leftovers 1-2 adults and 1 kid.

This recipe can be adjusted as you like. You can use less chicken, more noodles, or more soup and liquid. It is up to you. The more noodles the more liquid you will need..they soak it up good.
I used up what was in a bag I found in the freezer. It makes a very meaty recipe, which is very filling.  It had a thick liquid that still could have rolls dipped into.

Put the chicken, soup, and water into Instant Pot.

Seal and set on Poultry. The default is 20 minutes, but I did it for 25 since it was frozen. Release steam (use a long utensil to turn the valve), and cut up chicken. The extra five minutes made the chicken fall apart, and so easy to cut. I scooped it out into a bowl and shredded it up with a fork.ChickenCooked

Add the 2 cups of Reames frozen noodles. AddNoodles

I prefer these to their dumplings for the size. They seem to be exactly the same, but one is in small strips. Turn the Instant Pot to “Slow Cook” for no more than 30 minutes with lid off. Noodles willstick, so be sure to stir. Now is also the time to taste and add extra seasoning if needed. I added 2 teaspoons of Chicken Bouillon, pepper, and onion powder. My noodles were ready in 15 minutes.

That’s it! You are ready to serve in under an hour!ChickenDumplingsDone

Next time: I will add 1/4 cup onion to the chicken when I put it in the pot to cook.

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Adventures in the Kitchen: The Instant Pot

Posted January 24, 2016 By dealinanddishin

I have been burned out and stressed out all December with things to do, and I have slacked off so bad with cooking. That then has been very visible in my appearance as well. Way too much eating out. You know sometimes it is the best option you have. I’m really trying now to get ahead of those weeks and get some easy meals for us to have.

I love the crock pot..I really do! My highest viewed post ever is my Creamy Crockpot Potato Soup Recipe. On days when I am home all day it is fabulous to throw everything in a pot and let it work all day.

However, I’m not great in the morning at thinking of what to make for dinner 12 hours later. I’m getting kids off to school, trying to go to Y, run errands, plan meetings, etc. I think about dinner closer to lunch time. That’s too late for most of my crockpot recipes.

This Christmas my Mom and I each got an Instant Pot. The price was great at $75 (with silicone mitts included) from Wal-Mart, and the reviews were overwhelming positive. The price has gone up since Christmas, but still a great deal for all that it can do. We tried hers on Christmas day with a pot roast and were impressed. Now we are both emailing each other weekly with whatever new thing we did in our pot!

What is the Instant Pot?

It is basically an electric pressure cooker, but has more functions than a traditional stove top pressure cooker. You have slow cooker, saute, rice, soup, poultry, meat, bean, porridge, multigrain, plus manual settings!

My mom had the stove top pressure cooker with the jiggly bit on top, and it worked but you had to baby it. It would lose water, so you had to keep checking that. The stove burner isn’t even so you would have to adjust that. You would have to pay attention to when pressure was reached, start timing, and then get it when done. Honestly, I’m in the kitchen enough with the prep and clean up of meals I don’t want to be in there the whole time it is cooking too.

Instant Pot gives me the freedom of a crockpot with the speed of a pressure cooker. It builds up pressure with a little steam release, and that’s the last you noise you hear it make until the time goes off. It automatically starts timing once the pressure is reached. You lose hardly any water..I’ve noticed  1/4 cup loss of water after I cooked potatoes with a 1 cup of water to start. Please be sure to read your manual before using your Instant Pot. There is also a recipe book, plus their website has lots of recipes as well.

Hint: The pressure will come shooting out of the top if you release it manually. It is a touchy valve, so I just use a plastic spoon to turn the valve on mine to avoid any possible steam burns.

It has been a month since I got mine, and I’ve used it 6 times already. One day I used it twice for dinner, because it is that quick and easy to clean up. I made the main dish and then some potatoes to go with it.

I can’t wait to start sharing the recipes I try, and hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

Plus..this is so cute to me. It has this happy chime when you get the lid on and seal correctly!

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Girl Scouts Snack Badge Printable Recipe Cards

Posted January 9, 2016 By dealinanddishin

We are in our first year of Brownies, and have been working on some of the legacy badges.
LegacyBadgesSome badges can be done in one meeting or field trip, but a couple have a lot more parts. Those two are the Painting and Snacks badges.

Snacks will have us trying a sweet snack (we made a s’mores snack mix), a savory snack, a drink, and an energy snack. That is a lot for one meeting. It could work for an overnight, and that’s how we plan to get the drink and energy parts completed.

This meeting we worked on savory. I decided to make a cheese ball recipe a friend gave me years ago. I used a cookie scoop and scoop some of the mixture on each of their plates (13 in total), gave them food service gloves, and they were able to roll their own. We rolled ours if they chose to in bacon bits. Cheese balls are very simple and there are so many recipes online, but mainly have a cream cheese and shredded cheese base with extras added depending on what flavor you might like.

The other way they got involved they wrote down the recipe on these cards I made in Word. The ones I used have just ingredients on the front and directions on the back. That worked out perfectly for this age. When printing these selecting to flip on the “long side” they lined up better for cutting out. There are two on each page. I would suggest cardstock. Recipe Cards (front and back) 

I also made this style with directions started on the front and continuing to the back, and when they get older we will use those. When printing these selecting to flip on the “long side” they lined up better for cutting out. There are two on each page. I would suggest cardstock. Recipe Cards (together)RecipeCards1

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Paper and Yarn Star Ornaments

Posted December 18, 2015 By dealinanddishin

StarOrnament1I needed a fairly simple and fast craft for 20 Girl Scouts (Second graders). Being close to Christmas I wanted something festive. There are some other cardboard and yarn ornament crafts, but they use circles. I wasn’t in love with the outcome.

I got out my Slice cutter and noticed a I had a star pattern..hmmm. Wonder how that would work?

It worked really well. Cut out 4″ stars. You could use Word to make a star and print on card stock then cut, or make a template and trace. I used Card Stock (Hobby Lobby sells big multi-color packs, and lots of sales there!)


Make a small snip in between the points.


I used some glitter yarn, taping the end in place on the back. Then going through the holes as demonstrated in the video you make another star! Snip your string, tape to back. Hole punch and use left over string for a hanging loop! It takes the girls a minute to figure it out, but most of them did and could help others. It ended up being really cute and cost nothing out of pocket!

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Here Comes The Elf on The Shelf

Posted November 28, 2015 By dealinanddishin

I would say almost everyone knows what Elf on the Shelf is, but if not I will give a little explanation as I understand it. The Elf on the Shelf is a visitor of Santa’s that comes and stays with a family during the Christmas season. The elf reports back nightly to Santa of the behavior of the children in the house. I guess it is supposed to encourage good behavior, which should be year round in my opinion. Most important you cannot play or touch the elf! Our rule is the parents can move ours if needed. Elves now are more into mischievous antics, jokes, or bringing goodies during the month. Here is the official Elf on the Shelf website.

Some have already started their Elf on the Shelf tradition, but we wait until December 1st. It coincides with our Advent calendars (this year LEGO Star Warsand Barbie ).

We are starting our third year of elf antics from our friend, Snowflake. I have to say she has done a little too much that first year. The bar got set a little high, so I’m always looking for ideas for the elf.

In case you are in the same boat I am, here are last year’s elf antics to help you out! Another fun thing is a letter from your elf announcing his or her arrival. Ours made a code, which you can see here!

(Post contains affiliate links for purchasing items mentioned. Post contains my own opinions.) I included links to Amazon for the products mentioned, but I would also recommend checking LEGO and Target for the LEGO Advent calendar as well. They sell out, and at times very early in the year. I buy ours in October or as soon as the LEGO one is released!

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LEGO KidsFest 2016 Dates Released! #sp #LegoKidsFest

Posted November 13, 2015 By dealinanddishin

As a US Family Guide blogger I got to go and giveaway tickets to LEGO Fest St. Louis last year! It was a great time, and I really want to go again this June to the one in Louisville! Stay tuned…

Heads Up!! These do sell out!

Charlotte, NC: Feb. 19-21 (Charlotte Convention Center)

Harrisburg, PA: April 8-10 (Farm Show Complex & Expo Center)

Kansas City, MO: May 13-15 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Louisville, KY: June 3-5 (Kentucky Exposition Center)

Milwaukee, WI: Oct. 7-9 (Wisconsin Center)

Houston, TX: Oct. 21-23 (NRG Center)

Cleveland, OH: Nov. 4-6 (I-X Center)


 LEGO® KidsFest announces tour stops for 2016 at new and returning markets

Follow on Twitter @LegoKidsFest


(Hartford, CT) LEGO KidsFest kicks off its eighth year on the road with new tour stops and a return to some popular markets.

New tour stops in 2016 include Charlotte, NC (Feb. 19-21), Harrisburg, PA (April 8-10) and Kansas City, MO (May 13-15).

It’s been three years or more since LEGO KidsFest stopped in Louisville, KY (June 3-5), Milwaukee WI (Oct. 7-9), Houston, TX (Oct. 21-23) and Cleveland, OH (Nov. 4-6).

Covering more than three acres of space, the LEGO KidsFest extravaganza brings all of the hands-on, minds-on fun of LEGO building and experience together in an activity-filled event for all ages and builders of all skills.

“Our 2016 LEGO KidsFest tour is going to delight both new and returning audiences,” said Vince Rubino, Events Manager for LEGO Systems, Inc. “We’ve still got some favorites on the show floor, like the Big Brick Pile, Creation Nation and the Race Ramps. There are also many new and unique activities designed for building, learning and fun.”

Five sessions — all identical and 4½ half hours in length — are held at each tour stop. LEGO KidsFest tickets can be purchased at Tickets are $19 for the Friday and Sunday afternoon sessions, and $22 for both sessions on Saturday and the Sunday morning session.

On tour since 2009, previous LEGO KidsFest tour stops have included major cities such as Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Atlanta, San Jose, Cleveland, Richmond, Phoenix, Portland and more.

Some of the activities at the shows include:


  • LEGO Model Museum: life-sized models made entirely from LEGO bricks
  • LEGO Master Builders: live demonstrations and activities from the crew who get paid to play
  • Race Ramps: build a custom car, then race it down the ramp against friends and family
  • LEGO Star Wars: build and display a Star Wars model
  • LEGO Disney™ Princess: create a princess scene to add to a LEGO story book
  • LEGO Super Heroes: pose with a life-size Spiderman model and more
  • LEGO DUPLO®: younger visitors can explore imagination through building
  • LEGO Retail:purchase LEGO merchandise and official KidsFest tour goods
  • LEGO Friends: build for the five empowered friends from Heartlake City
  • LEGO Ninjago: spin the way to being a Spinjitzu member
  • LEGO Mindstorms: build and program robots and snakes
  • LEGO Technic: get hands-on with the cool, realistic vehicles at the booth
  • Creation Nation: build your own creation to add to a custom map of the U.S.
  • Brick Pile: a gigantic pile full of LEGO bricks for creative play and enjoyment
  • Monochromatic Builds: bricks of a single color foster group creativitylkf1604pinterestancmtgrphx736px


About the LEGO Group

The LEGO Group is a privately held, family-owned company with headquarters in Billund, Denmark, and main offices in Enfield, USA, London, UK., Shanghai, China, and Singapore. Founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, and based on the iconic LEGO® brick, it is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of play materials.

Guided by the company spirit: “Only the best is good enough”, the company is committed to the development of children and aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through creative play and learning. LEGO products are sold worldwide and can be virtually explored at

For more news from the LEGO Group, information about our financial performance and responsibility engagement, please visit

LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Minifigure, DUPLO, LEGENDS OF CHIMA, NINJAGO, BIONICLE, MINDSTORMS and MIXELS are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2015 The LEGO Group.The LEGO KidsFest is produced by BuzzEngine, a marketing and events organization. LEGO KidsFest was awarded Best Proprietary Event by Event Marketer Magazine in 2013.



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