Monday, April 29, 2013

Saving My Family Money ... or Not (Be Mindful!)

Okay, so I have a ton of giveaways coming up Wednesday, so this will be the last post written all about moi for a couple of days before you have to get busy entering giveaways for awesome stuff like a $300 American Girl Doll gift card, a $115 Hyland's starter kit, a Gotz Doll and a SURFACE PRO computer! These all hit on May 1, MAYDAY, MAYDAY!

So for today enjoy the non-musical stylings of some stuff I save bank on (and what I used to spend when I was not saving money):

I used to spend $4 for a box of 5 packages of 2-point Weight Watchers chocolate drizzled crisps. I found these at Aldi ... 6 packages in a box for also 2 points and only $2.

At gymnastics they have a Naughty Vending Machine. Sometimes when I am being lazy and think I am rich, I will give each kid a dollar to buy something like these below. Actually, EXACTLY these. So I would spend $5 for 5 of these. At Aldi, I spent $1.19 for a box of 6.

Sometimes my quick breakfast is an Aldi Fit and Active protein meal bar. The chocolate peanut butter ones taste like a Whatchamacalit bar! They go for about 66 cents a bar, which is not cheap, but if you pair it with a piece of fruit it makes for a decent breakfast.

What do you save money on? I don't save money enough. Sometimes I'll pay $9 for 6 corn dogs at Sonic when I could have Joel run into the store and pick up like 4 TIMES that for the same price! And then I wonder why we don't have any money despite my husband's decent salary! I have to really think before I spend!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

My 6th Child ...

Okay, so in the summer of 2011 I posted about Toshiba, my 6th child. (Jeez, you guys always think I'm knocked up when I post about my dog or my computer!)

I would like to update you on Toshiba's formative years:

  1. Unfortunately, I did not put the lock on the brakes of her stroller and she rolled in a lake at a park in Lenexa, Kansas in October of 2012. She was taken to the computer doctor, my husband, and was fixed pretty quickly. WHEW!
  2. A short time later, though, her brother Joel was getting frustrated with her Internet connection speed and took a fist to her keyboard area, damaging her hard drive. She was in a coma for many months.
  3. Just about a month ago, her hard drive was replaced  by my husband the GENIUS, and she is working very well. She helps me make money doing proofreading and writing jobs at as writerkerrie, write articles, send inspirational emails to friends and screw around on Facebook.
  4. We like to make sure she is unplugged from the wall a few hours a day so she won't be too dependent on electricity.
  5. Two little paper Pikachus, made by her brothers, guard her screen.
  6. She is a hard working laptop and I am grateful for her!
  7. If you want to know more, just wait for the family Christmas letter, where I will go into pages of detail about her latest exploits!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mompetition (and Examples)

Don't you love mompetition [competition between moms]? I've never really been competitive; maybe it's the Only Child thing. I just don't really care what other people are doing and don't have the desire to one-up them.

You know when you're dealing with one of these. They ask you a lot of questions about your life. Not normal questions in a normal manner, but lots of POKING questions, trying to find your weak spots, where can they be BETTER than you?

Here are some examples of mompetition:

"My kid is only 12 and is almost an Eagle Scout." [for those of you non-Scouters, an Eagle Scout rank is HARD to get, takes a while, involves a major service project and is usually earned by an 18th birthday.]

"Yeah, we homeschool using XYZ curriculum, which costs $2,000 per year per kid, and we homeschool for about 8 hours a day. We're on track for Harvard." [WTH? Just put the kids in private school for the same price and go run a small country or something, lady!]

"In the last school fundraiser, we my kid sold $10,000 of wrapping paper and $5,000 of cookies to the diabetic lady down the road ALONE. All together we sold half a mil and SAVED this damn school."

"Yeah, I think we're just going to learn 3 foreign languages this year."

"Wow, you really need a gray hair touch-up! When I get wrinkles like yours I am SO going for Botox. And are your boobs SUPPOSED to hang like that? I'm getting a reconstruction when I can save up." [yes, mompetition is also mom-to-mom combat, not just pitting kids against kids]

"Shoot, I have to go. It's time for 2-year-old Mitzy to go to her gymnastics competition, 5-year-old MooMoo to go to National Cheer Competition and 7-year-old Mark to go to his National LEGO Robotics competition." [it's not all the activities here that bother me; it's the ages of the kids! start 'em early!]

Folks, I'm just happy being me. Maybe that's because I'm almost 42 and I've lived long enough to know what's important and realize it has nothing to do with how much stuff my kid sells, whether or not my kid gets into Yale, how much I weigh, how few wrinkles I have or what I do for work or fun.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Library Collection Agencies and My Multiple Library Credit Cards

I have a problem. I need to attend BLA meetings. That would be the non-existent Book-Lovers Anonymous meetings. I have library cards for myself and my children. When one gets a fine, I just switch to another card. Library cards are like book and DVD credit cards in my world. My husband says when a child is born to me, I get it a Social Security Card and a library card.

The morning of Callie's First Communion I went to pick up Joel at a campout. While I was gone, a COLLECTION AGENCY called and explained to my husband how I have some crazy fines on one of my library credit cards. [When did this turn into a confessional blog? Oh, yeah, when it first started.]

Notice the variety of books in my picture. Some are for article research. Some are for OCD research for one of my sons. I have homeschooling books and writing books. And a book that I think I would love but am afraid I won't get to while I have kids in the house because I have the attention span of a gnat currently: The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing. I think it will rock. I also think it's a hard one to read with kids yelling all around you, and my precious Quiet Time is reserved for writing for dinero.

Other fines are from me being a Pushover Mommy and letting my kids check out too many DVDs which we will never watch. Then they get lost. Then the dog eats them. Then Library Guido comes to my door. Currently we have a REALLY high fine, another one with fines and then there is the third card I cling to with my life.

I'm eyeing my daughters, who are 5 and 8. I think they each need a library card.

I obviously have a problem.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Helping Daddy, by Eva

Wecently I had the opportunity to help my Daddy. He was putting in a handrail at the front of our house for people who might need a little extra support getting up our steps. He's willy sweet like that; thinking about other people and stuff. I asked if I could help with the C-ment.

Daddy said YES! He always lets us help, even if it means we will make a mess or get dirty.

So I stirred and scooped C-ment and helped him complete his project before deadline. Ha!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My #WeightWatchers 25-pound Charm

Okay, so when you join Weight Watchers, your first weight loss goal is to lose 5% of your current weight because there are great health benefits to doing so. Then when you lose 10% of your starting weight you benefit in many more ways (lowered risk of diabetes, greater mobility, etc.). So when I lost 10% of my weight I got a keychain that looks like a 10.

Then as you go along you get more charms. I'm working toward an Activity Charm by being way more active than I ever used to be. I love being able to run and not be out of breath. I'm in better shape at almost-42 than I was in my 20s.

Today I weighed in just in case I couldn't make the meeting tonight and (I'm not gonna lie) because obviously I weigh less before lunch than after dinner!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's National Ford Mustang Day ... What's Your Favorite?

Today, friends, we celebrate National Ford Mustang Day! Which is fortunate, because I have always been in love with the Mustang (my husband rented one for me for my 40th birthday weekend!). It's my favorite car, followed closely by the Camaro. And you know me, I love the vintage AND the new. But here is my favorite (what's yours?):

Fun fact: Both Aron's mom and mine owned a Mustang in the 1960s!

Wordless Wednesday w/LINKY: Flowers Inside Flowers

One of the girls picked a daffodil from our yard and gave it to me. Then my other girl brought in a tiny purple flower (my mom will kill me for not knowing the name of it! ... hyacinth?) and placed the purple one inside the yellow one. It looked so pretty I had to take a picture.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Callie's First Communion

Last Saturday was Callie's First Communion ceremony! It took her 2 years of preparation, and she was so sweet and beautiful at the service! Nana made the cake/cupcakes, which were gorgeous and yummy! A wonderful and generous friend from church came by with her granddaughter and a gift after the ceremony. Friends and family came to a party afterward, and we had a scrumptious lunch brought by Plaza Catering. It was a special event.

Thank you to Karla, a blast from the past (1995, anyone?), who provided us with the dress, veil and shoes and wanted nothing in return. Karla, I snuck a Target gift card on your entryway shelf and still owe you!

Monday, April 15, 2013

#GIVEAWAYS and #Blogger Opportunities!

(check my Blogger Opp site for your chance to get into most of these giveaways FREE if you are a blogger!)

5/20 $398 Coach tote

5/22 Decked Out Dad's Day Prizes TBA

7/1 $1,000 Back to School Event (gift cards)

The Clean Plate Club

Below are last night's members of The Clean Plate Club. We joke about this at Weight Watchers a lot since so many of us were brought up to clean our plate at dinnertime before we got to go play or have dessert. It can be a challenge to leave some food on your plate (or not get seconds) when something is super yummy. We try not to place huge servings on our kids' plate so they don't feel like they have to finish every drop. But last night they really dug my Baked Spaghetti (recipe to come with photo, OF COURSE!) and even had seconds!

Without further delay, here are my members (and no, we are not in a halfway house; this is our own home, thank you very much, it's just that my husband recently turned into a (wallpaper) STRIPPER:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

#GIVEAWAY: Set of 14 Essential Oils ($54.95 value)

NOTE: *Sponsored post, see below disclosure for more details.*

Welcome to the Plant Therapy Essential Oils Giveaway!

hosted by: Search With Vonni
Sponsored by: Plant Therapy
[caption id="attachment_4137" align="aligncenter" width="250"]
 image credit: Plant Therapy[/caption]  

Kerrie here to bring you another cool giveaway. I only team up with other bloggers to give you the chance to win things I would want for myself (like cutlery sets, $300 SWAG bags, Coach tote bags and more!) Wouldn't this set of 14 essential oils be fun to mess around with? I'm thinking I could use one called "Energy" or "Stress-Free"!!! Read on to find out how to enter!

Plant Therapy was "founded with one goal in mind... to provide the highest quality essential oils (and accessories) at a price that everyone can afford. Plant Therapy provides oils that are 100% pure, undiluted and therapeutic grade." How can they do that? Because when you purchase from Plant Therapy, you are paying just for the oil and a very modest profit. No middle man. It's that simple!
Plant Therapy
Search With Vonni was given a free 14 Essential Oil Set from Plant Therapy, and you can read her FULL REVIEW for more information.  

PRIZE: 14 Essential Oil Set (7 Synergies and 7 Singles) includes 100% Pure, Therapeutic Grade of: Sensual, Energy, Germ Fighter, Relax, Immune-Aid, Tranquil, Invigor-Aid, Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Orange, Lemon & Cinnamon. 10 ml each. (valued at $54.95) RUNNING: April 13 - April 27

OPEN TO: US residents only DISCLOSURE: This blog was not compensated for this post (other than link on giveaway form) nor associated with the company listed. I, nor Search With Vonni are not responsible for prize shipment. No purchase necessary to win - must be 18 or older to enter. This promotion is no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other Social Media Network. Shipment of prize will be sent to the winner by the above sponsor upon email confirmation. My opinions are my own and my differ than those of your own.
Use the below Rafflecopter for your chance to win! Good Luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Picking My Boogahs: A Post by Eva

Last week at gymnaskits I made my teacher laugh. She saw something shmugie in my hair even though I just had a bath. She asked if it was gum or a boogah.

I said, "It can't be a boogah because I gave up picking my boogahs for Lent."

Does anybody know how long Lent is?

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Tone of an Email

I have heard that people should not communicate via email if they can help it. That TONE is misunderstood a lot in email. So I have a plan since I like to communicate that way and especially since I prefer to have confrontations that way ... so I can think about my argument and try to hash things out before meeting in person, maybe.

Here's what I'm going to do with future emails before I start my communication:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Squiggly Wormie: A Post By Eva

Here is a convahsation between my mommy and me wecently.

Eva: Look, another wormie!
Mommy: Oh, he's sweet. You can keep him.
Eva: No,  he's not Squiggly Wormie. I let him back in the wild. I miss Squiggly Wormie.
[keep in mind my Rs sounds like Ws]
Eva: I found a nice comfy bed for new Squiggly Wormie. He's gonna need a pillow.

Later ... "He needs to go flying" as I toss him in the air.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Life Gets Messy; That's How We Learn

Right about now you are probably thinking I have totally lost my mind.

Nah, been there, done that. It's long gone, friends.

Usually I am not great about letting my kids help me in the kitchen. I don't love cooking/baking and like to get it over with. Aron is AMAZING about letting the kids help, so don't feel too sorry for my kids.

On Michael's birthday I was making cupcakes and the Littles wanted to help out. Usually I find a way to distract them or tell them they can lick the entire bowl if they just wait and let me do the complicated and messy cupcake filling.

But this day I decided to let them do it. The batter was runny and dark, but they just wanted to help fill the cupcake tin! Then I kinda realized that if I'm always doing stuff for them they won't learn how to do it for themselves. Don't get me wrong ... they do plenty around the house where they get to make mistakes and learn. But in the kitchen it is time for me to grow some patience.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

EXPIRED GIVEAWAY of Good Cook Knives and Guest Post from Frugal Ferret

The following is a guest post from my pal Frugal Ferret. Enjoy and then enter the giveaway please!

"I have to admit… I am a knife snob.

If it’s not forged steel with a foreign name on it I don’t want it in my knife drawer… until now!

We received the set of 6 non-stick knives ($125 value) to test and my husband rolled his eyes while laughing stating that these would not pass OUR kitchen test. WOW were we WRONG!

After testing several of these brightly colored knives we soon fell in love for several reasons:

1.The bread knife {yellow} is our favorite addition to the “sacred knife drawer” – the blade isn’t flimsy like other bread knives and we can cut through our morning bagels or night time Italian loaves with ease.

2.The colors — I can’t tell you how many times I dig through the drawer looking for THAT knife because they all look the same. Now in our kitchen it’s “who has the blue knife?”

3.So far the edge has held very well and is still sharp as the day we got them {be careful – they are sharp!}

 4.LOVE the soft-grip handles which are ergonomic

5.Each comes with it’s own safety sheath – this is great for when we want to take them on the road

6.You will love that with the discount code below, these are a fraction of the cost of other knives

Below is a list of the knives we tested:
1.Nonstick Utility Knife, 5” blade
2.Nonstick Sandwich Knife, 5” blade
3.Nonstick Bread Knife, 7” blade {winner winner bread with your dinner!}
4.Nonstick Chef Knife, 5” blade
5.Nonstick Santoku Knife, 5” blade
6.Nonstick Paring Knife, 4” blade

If you are looking for a great set of knives that will fit your budget, consider these Good Cook knives and if you buy now, you will receive a discount of 30% off your entire order at Good Cook.

■Simply enter promo code: NONSTICK ■

Offer is valid through April 15, 2013

Safety note: Although every knife in this collection comes with its own fitted safety sheath, these products are not kids-in-the-kitchen friendly because they are very sharp. Please keep out of reach of children.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Birthday to Michael/How to Make a Birthday Special

Today is Michael's 10th birthday! Of course I still remember being in labor with him, driving to the hospital, labor pains getting worse so my mom took Joel away from the hospital and to a park. He was born within a few hours and had these full lips that are still so gorgeous.

So things have been a little busy around here and Michael had a rockin' party on Saturday but it's really important to me that my kids feel special on their birthdays. It's just a thing I have ... maybe because my parents always made such a big deal out of my birthday. So this morning I was awake around 7 and everyone was sleeping and I asked Aron if I could run out to the grocery store really fast. Michael has gymnastics today and Religous Ed and I wanted him to be able to take some special things to those places. Everyone should enjoy a birthday! So here's what I got; allow me to take you on a tour:

*Keep in mind all you may see is sugar and processed food, but we don't eat this way all the time and birthdays are for sugar. You may quote me on that.

Here we have the illustrious powdered and chocolate donuts. We never have these unless Papa Dave drops them off unexpectedly, so they are a treat. Don't worry, I will also be feeding my kids eggs for protein, Mom!

For lunch we have something I got for FREE ... Fast Fixin's jumbo popcorn chicken and chicken nuggets. They sent me some free vouchers to try their product and I have been trying them and they ROCK! They are yummy and the kids love 'em. We also have some ice cream to top the brownies later. I got thte Hi-Lite because a little LESS sugar won't kill 'em.

Here we have an assortment of nastiness. Cupcakes for gymnastics. Cupcakes for Religious Ed. Chocolate chips to go in the brownies for after dinner. A sugar coma is imminent. Check on us at about 9 p.m., please. I also have napkns and NEON food coloring because I had a Q-pon. Aron asked if it was natural food coloring and I said yes, made from beets, carrots and green beans ... NOT! By the way, McCormick, the word TURQUOISE has a U in it. If you need me to proof future packaging for you, just give me a call and I'll do it for the steep sum of: FOOD COLORING FOR LIFE!

Then you have Mr. Geoffrey Giraffe call from Toys R Us and you have yourself a fun day in the making!

I'd like to thank Mr. McLoughlin for making this grocery trip possible, and for helping to make the existence of Michael possible.

Happy Birthday, Michael! I love you more than you can ever know and always will, no matter what.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saturday Craziness/Homemade LEGO Banner

Last night was the Imagine Homeschool Community play! More on that here later, at my homeschool blog.

This morning I have one kid being picked up to go clean a stream with Scouts for a few hours ...

.. and another kid + Daddy going to her First Communion Retreat for a few hours.

My mom is getting her 2nd crown in 2 weeks then bopping over to my house this morning.

Then everyone reconvenes here at 1 for Michael's 10th birthday party. This includes my dad and stepmom, of course, and I LOVE when I get to see my parents in one day. Being an only child, they are the most important people to me in the world next to my husband and kids.

This year we are saving money and instead of going to the party store at $50 a pop x 5, we are using tablecloths we already have, decorating ourselves, using our own plates, etc. I guess you could call it a Year of Cheap Birthday Parties! Anyway, we have a Merida/Brave banner that says HAPPY BIRTHDAY and we tack it up to the wall and then we can just cover Merida's face with whatever we want for the boy parties! For Michael it's LEGO. For Joel it will probably be Pokemon. Anyway, I just pulled a LEGO image and pasted it several times and then put his name in the middle of the page and printed it out. Don't mind the wall; we don't live in a cardboard box ... my husband has stripped the wallpaper so we can paint! The square LEGO creation below the banner is courtesy of Michael.

Here's a picture of how we are trying to organize Michael's LEGOs lately: in knockoff Tupperware. The problem is we have too many and there is still a massive tub full of them!

Have a great day!

Friday, April 5, 2013

How to Take a Family Easter Picture

Had to get this post up since Easter was days ago. What a slacker I am! Anyway, this here's my cute little family in Easter garb. Before you judge, ask yourself if you know how hard it is to get SEVEN people to look amazing all at the same time? Well, do you? Okay, then you'll know that this picture is FANTABULOUS in my book.

Thank God for the timer on the camera and a husband who knows how to use it!

Have a great weekend, everybody!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pictures of Aron & Our Kids as Babies: Wordless Wednesday

Joel, 2001

Michael, 2003
And this is where Blogger likes to mess with me, as it won't let me caption the rest of the pictures! They are:

Callie, 2005
Eva, 2007
Samuel, 2009

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What Would Kerrie Read? (WWKR?)

Look, I don't want to become of them thar book bloggers or anything, but I do like to share what I'm reading ... or attempting to read whilst the kids run around me and I try to entertain a writing career and keep a smokin' hot guy happy (by keeping the house picked up and cooking meals, dirty minds!).

I'll update this sucker whenever I'm into a new set of stuff and will put the newer stuff at the top. Since I like to have several books going at a time, hopefully you can find something interesting that applies to your life. And in the interest of full disclosure, I might make a little something if you click the link and buy the item from Or check it out from your local library Kerrie-style!

And YES -- sheesh -- I do realize I have too many books at one time and should leave some in the library for the rest of you blokes. I have an addiction! My library card is like a Reading Credit Card (don't ask about the fines).

Here we go:

April 2013
Coping With OCD by Bruce M. Hyman, Ph.D., LCSW
My 10-year-old son has OCD, which popped up in 2010 and went away quickly. It has reared its ugly head again and is proving harder to get rid of. Yes, he is in some therapy for it. Yes, we are reading books about it and trying to help him at home. There are hard days and not-so-hard days. I'm betting we will end up writing our own memoir or help manual about OCD someday. In the meantime, there is this.

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
A classic, I hear. I can't wait to read this winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007, first published in 1962. This is the story of a divorced single mom in 1950s London. "Fearful of going mad, she records her experiences in four coloured notebooks. The black notebook records her writing life, the red her political views, the yellow notebook her emotional life and the blue everyday events. But it is the fifth notebook -- the golden notebook -- that brings the strands of her life together and holds the key to her recovery." She  has written tons of things, including a novel called The Fifth Child. The Golden Notebook seems like it could be a little Margaret Atwood Blind Assassin-ish with a story in a story.

The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
Borrowed from Cousin Tresa. When I can get 2 minutes to read it, I love it, and it makes me laugh. When I tell people about it, they seem annoyed, like this guy is trying to be perfect and misconstrue the Bible and make all of us look bad. This book is highly entertaining so far!

Checking out the above book on led me to this, which will be going on my list soon: A Year of Biblical Womanhood (this should be verrrrrry interesting!)

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
I've been trying to get past page 62 in this one for a long time and just can't do it. I'll let you know if I finish it. Kingsolver is an icon these days, and this is one of her earlier works, so I hope I love it and that I will also love her other works.

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
I'm reading this to Joel for our Newberry Award book club with our Imagine Homeschool group, and it makes us laugh but also makes us very sad and makes us appreciate the family that we have and the things we have such as a home, food, transportation, safety, health and more. Set during the Great Depression and told from the viewpoint of a young black boy, this one will make you think.

Around the Writer's Block (Using Brain Science to Solve Writer's Resistance) by Rosanne Bane
I'll be showasing some of my findings from this book over at my Make Money to Write About Your Kids blog, but the cover says it will handle issues like: procrastination, paralysis, perfectionism, postponing, distractions, self-sabotage, excessive criticism, overscheduling and endlessly delaying your writing. Guilty, guilty and check!

Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool through High School by Rebecca Rupp
Just got this in the mail and am super excited! I only have the "What Your X Grader Needs to Know" up to Grade 6, and this book covers basic benchmarks from PreK through high school and offers resources you can check out at the library or go to online. Basically if you use this book you could homeschool for ... mostly ... FREE!

Coming up in May if I can get through April's
Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne with Lisa M. Ross

Get Organized, Stay Organized by Christine D. Shuck

War's End by Christine D. Shuck

The War on Drugs: An Old Wives' Tale by Christine D. Shuck

Voices of Autism

People Who Don't Believe in God

Today Callie whispers to me, "My friend X says she doesn't think [our mutual friend] believes in God."

And do you know what Catholic me said?

"So what?"

Then I asked her what she thought of this person. She said she is a very nice person. She's a good mom.

I asked her if she remembered some of the times that Christians have been mean. Of course she remembers.

Then I got to drive home the point that we are all sinners, we are all just trying to be better people and get along and we often stumble but that just because someone does not believe in God we don't stay away from them.

Their un-Godness won't rub off on us, and we don't try to convert them to our point of view. I happen to really like this person, and her husband, who I believe is agnostic or maybe even atheist. I'm not sure, and I don't care. We sit around and trade homeschooling info and I consider these people to be our friends.

I want my kids to be able to hang out with all sorts of people.

Great Aunt Eva's little dolls. Funny how there are 3 boys and 2 girls like I have now!

*Sidenote: just because I DON'T handle you, doesn't mean I CAN'T ... I'm just trying to be nice and get along. Although I am considering making this coming summer the Summer of Handling People's BS on the Spot. I have a lot of trouble reconciling the Old Testament eye for an eye with the New Testament turn the other cheek. Am I the only one who is bipolar about this?


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