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A Chocolate Classic – The Chipped Cookie

Posted by casey on June 30, 2009 in In The Kitchen, Sweet Treats

I swear I have been cooking, I just haven’t been documenting.  So, just in time for the 4th I thought I would put up a quick post on a classic favorite.  This is my go-to Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.

img_6660_edited-11. Warning: The recipe is HUGE. (I make the whole thing to freeze and the dough cooks up better than any refrigerated or bought frozen dough)
2. They are delicious and you won’t be able to eat just one.
3. A batch makes a great hostess gift if you are going to a cookout or something!

INGREDIENTS

1 pound unsalted butter

1 ¾ cups granulated sugar

2 ¼  cups packed light-brown sugar

4 large eggs

3 cups plus 2 Tablespoons pastry flour

3 cups bread flour

1 Tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 pounds best-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I tend to also use milk chocolate chips)

 

DIRECTIONS:

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats

Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined.

Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

 Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies. Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Bake at 350 Degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Freezing Tip:
- roll the dough into individual cookie balls and place on a plate
– put the plate in the freezer for 10 minutes to stiffen the dough
– remove the plate and pull off each individual cookie ball
– place these in a freezer quart bag (9 or so to a bag) and then double bag it
– label and freeze up to 3 months

 
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Today’s Top Ten

Posted by casey on June 30, 2009 in For Your Funny Bone, Home, Life as I Know It

As I have finally had a few days to myself this summer and have gotten some things done, I came to a realization.  While most of my friends and family would say I have always been “a little mother”, or “a raised hostess” ready to organize, nurture, etc. I am fully aware that I am now 100% what I call “domesticated”.  To help you out, I bring you the Top Ten Reasons You Know You Too Have Been Domesticated.

10. When you are getting ready to go out of town, the directions on caring for your dogs is so OVERLY organized it could be a manual.
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9. You have a cooling rack, know what it is, and use it…for home baked cookies.
(progress from letting them cool and stick to the pan itself)

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8. You have more than three flavors of tea to brew yourself a hot, soothing cup full.
(tea instead of booze makes you old)img_6644_edited-1

7. It takes spilling something on your shirt to remember to put your ADORABLE apron on, at which time you get giddy to wear it.
(Yes, I own an apron – several actually.  Need I say more about the domestic title?)

6. The items in your refrigerator line up in rows.

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5. Instead of having a closet full of tshirts you rarely wear, you would rather have cleaning rags….so you cut them into squares.
(How to save $$$ tip of the day, thank you.)

4. All of the sudden things like Better Homes, D Magazine, Southern Living and the dreaded Oprah start showing up in your mailbox in the form of a magazine.

3. A sick sense of joy is gained as you see the vacuum container fill up knowing your floor is that much cleaner.  (Go Dyson!)

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2. The highlight of your day consists of a huge decision that you weighed heavily…you changed laundry detergent…and were so excited you found as many things to wash so you could have as many fresh loads of laundry as possible.

And ladies and gentlemen, the number one reason you know you have been domesticated is…..

1.At night, you take the time to sit and write a blog about these things that are as embarrassing as they are funny, but most importantly true. 

Welcome to the domestic life, there is no turning back.

 
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HGTV a la Kazmann

Posted by casey on June 28, 2009 in Home, Life as I Know It

For any of you who have “settled down” or are in your own place HGTV is probably on your TV quite often – Sundays maybe?  Okay fine, some of you single folk might apply to this as well.  Okay fine, some of you hate HGTV and have never turned it on.  I however hadn’t really tuned in until my brother and sister in law, the parents to JP and  Braiden exposed me to its addictiveness on Sundays at their house.  So now, in addition to laundry tossing, apron wearing housewife you can add avid watcher of HGTV and have a few laughs at my domestic attributes.  Done laughing? Thank you.

It is more of a background channel for me, but then the dangerous ideas set in…
– “Oh, look at that so re-tiling your bathroom isn’t hard at all. I just need….”
– “I had no idea you could knock down a wall like that.  My office would be so much bigger if that wall wasn’t there.”
– ” A deck is just what we need.  Lumber and a saw, a few nails. No problem.”

Colter, however is very logical and practical and doesn’t let these things happen in his home mainly because his “vision” doesn’t often match mine until I am through.  Once I am through he is satisfied.   However, if you remember he has not been home much lately.  In addition to the absent supervisor, I am on summer break.  No, I have not been home very much, but I have made the most of it and previous breaks during the year.  Poor Colter knows that when my Dad comes in town he should always come home and instead of saying, “Honey, I’m hooooome!” he should immediately ask “Honey, what did you do to the house today?”  I should also mention that during my long  life on this planet, color on the walls was a no-no because we were always going to have to re-sell the house.  I have lived in beige, grey and white for 24 years and you know what? (why do I always ask you questions when we aren’t actually speaking?) I’m painting away.  Shoot, if you don’t like it you can always change it back.  So, for kicks I thought I would share some of the projects I got myself into and I never completely go in over my head. 

1. Guest Room #1 – Before…and After. From Funky to Serene

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 Aaaaahhhh now I want to go take a nap upstairs in this room.

2. Empty Dining Room (Still empty, but now prettier) – thank you Dad and Drew
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 3. Downstairs Bath or as some may call it, the Powder Room.
guest-bath         

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 4. The Coffee Table (Thanks to Julia’se-mail tutorial and encouragement)
And before you ask, yes the edges and top of the new table are supposed to look worn.

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Whew! The saws, drills, paint supplies and drop cloths are finally put away (for now)and Contractor Kazmann is on break for a week or so.  Although, Colter is gone a couple days next week….maybe I should look at that tile in the bathroom! :)

Advice
– If you are going to change anything in your house, you have to commit to it.  Just do it.
– To save $$$$ look around your house and move picture frames from different areas and change them out rather than buy new ones
– Invest in a brush spinner.  You can only get them at true paint stores now (not Home Depot) but it will save you tons of time when cleaning brushes and money because you won’t have to buy new brushes!
– Don’t let your dogs in the room you are painting.  Especially if they are white and like to lean against walls.
– Don’t tell your husband you are doing it until it is done and he comes home. :) Just tell him you have been watching TV and eating ice cream all day.  Trust me, he will believe it.
– Enlist help in the form of your Dad and Brother when necessary….but only if they are handy.  If they aren’t, don’t ask.
– Remember, if you didn’t like it before the worst thing (potentially) is that you still aren’t going to like it.  Just like your hair color, you can always change it back.

 
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Long-Distance Relationship

Posted by casey on June 21, 2009 in Escaping Home, Friends, Home

While long distance relationships have quite the bad reputation, I on the other hand give them a two thumbs up for success.  No  I am not talking about Colter althoimg_6295_edited-1taggedugh his traveling schedule could almost qualify us under this category, and no  I am not talking about  a man on the side (I mean puh-lease, I am not dumb enough to publicly blog about that…duh!) I am talking about friendships.  Several of my friends that I have had the longest live nowhere near me….maybe that is why we are still friends.  Oh no, I think I just realized I am that hard to be around!  Regardless, friends are friends and we make a point to see each other despite our distances and busy schedules.  Brianne, who is based in California went on a week long cruise with me this past spring and Christine who has settled down in Tulsa is coming in town on Wednesday for a date.  Even those girls I can count on that are near like Leah, Emily and Kirby have set aside days just for us.  It truly is all about making time and a week ago I was able to make five days worth of time for a trip to Arizona to visit Jordy.

img_6290_edited-1I was blessed as a naive, nervous freshman in college with a wonderful suite mate.  I always “label” Jordan as my roommate freshman year because my roommate got kicked out (a little problem with an illegal substance) and hers was in and out, so we shared our bathroom and our lives.  Jordan, or Jordy as I have called her for six years is just one of those people you wish everyone had.  A loyal friend, a smart woman and just a solid, good friend.  I am so proud of her (yes I know I am not her mother) for moving out to Arizona on her own and making a life for herself.  She has done so well and I keep reminding her of how happy she is going to be that she had these years to herself 10 years from now.

The other thing we are going to be happy we have ten years from now is each other.  She wrote a great entry about how no matter how long it has been we are always able to pick right back up where we left off.  We also don’t limg_6341_edited-1taggedet ourselves be clueless as to what is going on in each other’s lives, and yes we both put the work in but every time it is as if we have seen each other every day.  Jordy was a wonderful hostess as she dealt with me being sick and exhausted my first day ( I literally slept for 24 hours)and then continued to chauffeur me around town and to Sedona!   I know she is in good hands when I am not there because I was able to spend time with several of her friends and she must be relaxed enough because the views in Arizona are stunning.  We both agreed that this should become an annual trip and as long as she is there I will go out to remind her of her Texas upbringing.  Once she leaves though…I am thinking Mexico, or Napa or well anywhere really.  It was so nice to reminisce about the good old days, catch up on the current days and plan again for the future.

Mr. and Mrs. Hackney, thank you for raising such a wonderful girl for me to have as one of my best friends.  I will always be indebted to you for her. (And yes…I tore apart my coffee table and successfully put it back together again!)

img_6394_edited-1Oh and after two rounds of guessing in the Snapshots section there was only one big winner – Dad!  Although, I did like how after guessing Leah pointed out she should have paid attention to the trees in the background  for a size reference since she thought it was a small sundial!  The piece of peace was in fact and old water wheel from a mill but it goes to show you how you can make something old and rusty quite beautiful from a different angle!  Thanks Jordy for the trip to Sedona!  Today’s tip – get yourself in a long distance relationship, or uhhhh friendship.  Not only will it make your bond stronger and test your dedication, you will get to visit amazing places along the way!

 
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A Helpful Hint

Posted by casey on June 18, 2009 in Snapshots

So defeated before your guesses…already giving up!  I think this next picture will give you a hand in what the piece of peace really was!
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When you look at things differently you can see them for more than what they are!

 
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Tales From a Trip

Posted by casey on June 16, 2009 in Escaping Home, Home, Life as I Know It

For the past five days, I relocated myself to Arizona to visit a wonderful friend of mine, who is in fact from Texas…she just works in Arizona  now, but she will never be from there. Never.  I am so glad I could clear that up for you, because I know you were concerned and we all would hate that.  So, now that I cleared that up, I am going to clarify were I am right this very moment.  The Phoenix Airport.  Despite my past feelings about waiting in the airport, today I am ansy and not digging it.  I can’t get comfy, my eyes are too tired to read, someone next to me is eating something that smells like vomit (literally) and I haven’t seen one person smile.

 Either way, I always take mental and written notes as I travel of all the humorous, unbelievable, sad, outrageous and down right moronic things I watch take place because as I have said before if traveling is good for only one thing, it is for sure, people watching.  Until I can sit down and re-cap the trip I thought I would share a few short tales from this trip’s travels.

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Humorous - I saw three different people sprinting barefoot through the terminal to catch a plane.  I hope that is never me, and while it may be one day I hope someone watching me enjoys it as much as I did, because frankly, it never gets old.

Sad- While waiting on the passengers of a connecting flight to board I read my book in my aisle seat.  Across the aisle and one row up was Mr. Blackberry who I got a snooty vibe from when I boarded and chose not to sit next to him.  There was only a middle seat left in Mr. Blackberry’s row and not too much longer had passed when a shaky, older man who was navigating the aisle with his cane approached the row.  Tired and not wanting to walk back any further he decides he should probably sit here.  Mr. Blackberry is OBLIVIOUS.  So, Mr. Cane looks at him and very quietly, and very politely says “Excuse me, would it be okay if I sat there? Do you think you could let me by?”  Finally Mr. Blackberry gets out of his aisle seat and stares at this man who has a hanging bag and a shoulder satchel which he is struggling with.  Again, he has to ask the man for help before it is offered because the bins are full and well, he is weak.  Mr. Blackberry is all huffy about it.  At this point I am showing him where his bags can fit and as it is obvious to me that getting in that middle seat is a ridiculous task for him I quickly offer up my aisle seat, no big deal.  But alas, he could not accept a seat from a woman and make her more uncomfortable.  I mean seriously I didn’t mind and tried again, nothing.  You would think at this point, this might wake up Mr. Blackberry into being a decent, elder respecting if nothing else, human being and offer his, but nope…he just stood and watched him shake and shimmy into the seat. (He then left him there when we landed without offering to get his bags, or help him out.)  One day that will be you, or your father Mr. Blackberry and you are going to be sorry.

Kind - An Iraq Veteran was sitting next to an elderly cowboy at the gate in DFW on the way here.  Mr. Cowboy was speaking on his phone to Mrs. Cowboy when his battery died and the poor man was looking everywhere for an outlet.  Mr. Veteran sees an outlet way under a row of contaminated airport seats (the airport makes me a germ freak) , jumps up, walks him over there and asks if he can plug it in there. He then proceeds to swiftly fall into a push up position, shimmy under the seats and plug in elderly Mr. Cowboy’s phone.  At least there is some respect left with some people.  I later thanked him for his service and sacrifices because well, even if they don’t want to be bothered, I think all veterans should be thanked and acknowledged.

Moronic - Hippy Mom and family get to the security gates and whoops, we need boarding passes?  What about ID?  Go figure, they can’t find any of them.  Business men are tapping feet and I am thinking about what great material this is.  The hippy kids are mortified, but have no solutions because they too are just as dumbfounded and/or dumb but I am by no means making that a judgement.  Here they are, bags spilled out in front of the TSA stand digging for anything resembling proof to pass.  Whooo-hoooo they found it!  So, they get to the trays and take none. (Yes, I stayed behind them to see how this played out.)  They just start piling their shoes and bags right there on the conveyor belt while everyone stares not really wanting to help to also see exactly how this plays out. TSA is less than amused which I do not blame them for and once their goods are sorted into bins it is time to go through, or so you would think.  I kid you not, each member had to pass through the scanner 3 – 5 times because they kept not taking everything off.  Your shoes are still on.  Do you have anything in your pockets? Oh look, a handful of change.  What about the other pocket? Nope. I swear. I think there is something in your other pocket ma’am. Oh, my cell phone.  This went on and on.  The best part is that once they got through the TSA employee informed them that he was going to have to search one of their carry ons.  The lady replied, “Oh, it is probably the two pounds of tobacco in there.” (I would not be the least bit surprised if it was “special tobacco”, a little grass if you will.)

Outrageous -   During my journey here I was fortunate enough to walk down the tunnel between two country “gentlemen”.  The first turns to the second and says, “Bill, do you drink in the morning?” He replies, “Of course Joe, but only Scotch and Gin.” (only…duh) Joe, looking relieved turns back to Bill, “Thank God because I am ordering a dozen.”  Ladies and gentlemen, he did.  It was 8 a.m.

Unbelievable - If I can help it, I try to avoid the airplane bathrooms at all costs.  I mean, yucko and I am not claustrophobic at all but those are enough to send you into a tailspin.  Lets just say the mile high club is a negative. Sorry. I have digressed.  Okay, so….I REALLY never use them, I would rather be miserable.  But I was just that miserable.  I drank a bottle of water at the airport (mistake #1) and participated in the wonderful in-cabin service (mistake #2) and my bladder was full.  I begrudgingly walk up to the bathroom to see an OLD man coming out.  I open the door and I swear to you, that old man marked every surface in that bathroom.  Needless to say, I turned around and returned to my seat.  I decided being miserable was better than taking a urine shower.  Never again I tell you, never again.

Happy Travels Everyone.
Happy – Freaking – Travels.

 
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A Pleasant Piece of Peace

Posted by casey on June 15, 2009 in Snapshots

When your eyes are open and your mind is clear you begin to find peace.

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Peace in areas where you may not have noticed it before.
Any guesses as to what this is?
(Answer revealed in the next two days!)

Picture Taken at Sedona’s Slide Rock National Park.

 
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The Fear is Alive!!!!

Posted by casey on June 10, 2009 in Family, Home, Life as I Know It, Uncategorized

You obviously are getting this delayed (well it is obvious to me) since I actually penned this three hours ago on a school spiral while I lived out my biggest fear.
(cue dramatic music heavy with drumbeats)

I am writing this as I am sitting along the cold, rock-hard wall in the basement of my hotel room.  Hmmm…you are thinking, “I never got the privilege of visiting a hotel basement, to what do you owe that wonderful opportunity?”  I am so glad you asked.  We were swiftly “evacuated” to this “safe spot” while whatever higher power you believe in decided if the tornadoes were going to choose us.  Why be afraid of what you can’t control?  That is exactly it – this thing that I can’t control can literally and figuratively tear apart the life I have built.  Yes I am aware that I am being a drama mama saying that, which is rare, but I told you, this is biggest fear stuff here.

Since my years as a true youngsters being terrified of storms and tornadoes has been the case for me.  I vividly remember Dad always wanting to go outside to see the green, swirly sky and search for funnels.  Myself, I was always wanting to prematurely plant myself in bathtub with pillows and mattresses on top of me.  Yes, I prefer suffocation via mattress to a real life spin cycle.

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If you want me to get all philosophical and reflective about it as you so often enjoy, I have come to two specific things that I believe instilled in me the value of fearing a good storm.  That is right, I said value, because well I like to think of it as valuing my safety and life. :) Here we go…
1. Motion Sickness
It has always been a problem and if I had to make a prediction, it always will be.  Therefore the thought of being involved with anything that twists, turns, spins or flips is practically equivalent to stabbing myself in the eye. (Yes I am aware that the likelihood of me being sucked into a tornado and watching/feeling myself spin like in the movie “Twister” is about as likely as me purposely stabbing myself in the eye, but still.)

2. Wizard of Oz
Simply stated, I will be damned if I end up in Oz and the Land on the Munchkins.
(I watched and loved this movie every single day during kindergarten and while I would still kill for those ruby slippers, a trip to the wizard leaves something to be desired.  So no thanks Dorothy, I will pass.)

There you have it, the basis of my fear.  Call it reasonable or not.  Regardless, I have it and it is here to stay.  No enjoying the sound of the rain and the power of the thunder here, I will take trembling with the dogs instead.  Speaking of, lets add to this night terror I am already feeling. (Yay!)
– My husband is “stuck” at the Rangers baseball game.  I say “stuck” because well it is dollar hot dog night so it might be a smidge more tempting to hang around longer.  However, he is outside.
– I can’t get my mind off of my beloved pups who are all alone at the house, shivering alone.  The poor things get so nervous and confused that they will hide under anything. (Preferable Colter’s dirty clothes pile on his side of the closet. Mmmmmmm)
– Last but not least, I am living this, my biggest fear, out with hairsprayed, dancing high-schoolers.  While yes I love them, lets just say they aren’t exactly the company I would like to go out with.

The lights are flickering, there is nonstop banter on walkie talkies and the thunder is eery.  Claustrophobia would not serve you will here, yet hear I am writing away and chewing mad piececs of gum to calm myself. (Woooo-sawwwwww, wooooo -sawwwww…just say it, you will relax)  Whatever gets the job done right?

 

Update – As you can tell we survived and are not still in the basement.  Colter made it home.  The dogs cried when he made it home.  All of our window screens are blown off.  The flowers are bloomless.  Celebrate, because the grill survived.  Say a prayer for me, because storms round two is about to begin.  Woooo-sawwwww.

 
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Deja Who?

Posted by casey on June 10, 2009 in Home, Life as I Know It

Anyone ready to rescue me?  danceteamI am currently in a hotel, 10 minutes from my home at highschool drill team camp with my Officers.  The officers being the few girls chosen to lead the entire dance team which this year is 39 girls.  For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about bare with me and it will be explained soon .  (You will be begging for me to stop)  The real reason for the random update is that I am suffering from a severe case of deja vu.  Or as I am currently calling it,  deja who? –  because I am running into more familiar “blast from the past” faces that are rocking my world.  While yes I knew that taking this job would bring back a lot of that, my head is swimming.  Okay drowning.

I am sure you have done this to yourself as well – returned to somewhere from your childhood or past that you hadn’t been to/seen in awhile.  So much is EXACTLY the same, which is almost as unnerving as the things that have been changed.  Do you say hello, do you reintroduce and the most awkward where to begin???  I mean let’s be honest, when someone asks the infamous “How have you beenn8305504_34845381_5745?” or “What has happened in your life?” how honest should you be.  I am trying to not “define” my life by the unfortunate things that have happened but most who knew me in this life, knew my family.  The involvement of my parents in my dancing life was huge so you can imagine how the events of the past few years are a tad bit challenging to incorporate into a casual update.

Okay yes there are MANY wonderful and positive things I could add to my “what has been going on” list but as you can see, they immediately get dwarfed, then people feel guilty, and the pity starts.  So……I try to avoid as many awkward reunions as possible.  Deja who, however has made that difficult.  So, what do you do…skip over it.  I tried that.  Rush through it?  You always get stopped by the, “wait what???”.  Carry on people, carry on.

When you visit the places from your past that bring you sadness, acknowldege it and then trudge on through because frankly I am too busy to stop there and you should be too.  It is always so humbling to come back to times like this with the experience of having done it and having a new outlook…hilarious in fact.

n8305504_34845384_6181Bless my family for dealing with all of the “drama” that comes along with the roles of being a drill team officer.  If I didn’t say it then (I am sure I didn’t) I am saying it now.

1. Drew, thank you for allowing me to make cookies and treats only for the dance team and not you, and only being slightly furious.

2. Dad, thank you for not forcing me to be a “real athlete” as you men would call it and making me use my lack of eye/hand coordination to catch a ball. ( I have improved though – Colter has had me practice)

3. I am sorry I broke your heart and didn’t get a swimming or water polo scholarship.  I thought you might disown me when I chose dance over swimming into high school.

I don’t really need rescued.  While yes hearing “yes ma’am” every other second makes me feel OLD, and I have realized that I need more arch support as well as a good night’s sleep I am still kicking – literally (ugh) and figuratively.  Hopefully your next blast from the past will be pleasant and have more “Hey!” moments than “Oh no, who was that again?”  Just call it Deja Who?

 
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Independence

Posted by casey on June 1, 2009 in Nieces and Nephews Oh My!, Snapshots

Do it on your own and be happy that you can.

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