Archive | holidays

HOLIDAY SURVIVAL GUIDE: 4 WAYS TO MAKE HOLIDAY DINNERS FUN FOR KIDS (AND ADULTS)

Holiday meals with kids can add an extra level of stress to time with family but we’ve been at it a long time and have found a few ways to keep our sanity in tact while also making it more fun for the kids (and adults too). It took us a long time to get to this point so hopefully these tips help you in someway!

  1. Having a plan for before and after dinner. It’s a given that kids will get bored (and starving) so having a couple light snacks and a craft or activity before dinner is so helpful. It’s also a given that kids will finish eating before the adults so having a plan while everyone finished eating (and chatting) is smart too. Otherwise there will be constant interruptions by little people asking for pie! (Our pregame is usually a craft like the paper headbands or hat pictured or something from Target and postgame is a short Christmas movie like rudolph. Also, pushing nap time back a little always helped with our younger ones so they wake up right before dinner.)
  2. Getting kids involved in the table setting. Ours usually make place cards and drink tags or draw pictures on note cards to leave at each plate. Older kids can write conversation starters and fill up water glasses, etc. Putting napkins at each place setting is easy for little ones… or kick it up a notch for big kids and try fancy folded napkins (found these fun ideas!)
  3. Get on the same page! Discussing expectations of the kids (and adults) beforehand… what they eat (slash don’t eat), etc. Also, some manners refreshers the week before thanksgiving is usually a good idea in our home. Things get pretty wild (i.e. loud) around our dinner table.
  4. Ignore the haters that think it’s crazy you excuse your kids from the table when there’s still food on their plate or that don’t understand why you would let them have pumpkin pie when they didn’t eat any turkey. Just because they care doesn’t mean you have to… I mean, who wants to spend their holiday meal in a power struggle with a preschooler, toddler or grandparent (lol) over being a part of the clean plate club. Save that for normal family dinner nights ;)

(excuse the abundance of griff and poppy pics. i couldn’t narrow down my favorites!)

Do you guys set up a kids tables during holidays or mix company at the main table?

We’ve done it both ways but usually have the kids at the adult table so they can get involved in the conversation. Plus it’s a shorter walk (for me, lol) when they need seconds, or help with something!

XO, Rae

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PHOTOS FROM HALLOWEEN IN SEATTLE 2018

On Halloween We:

Dress up like — Darth Vader (Griffin), Planet of the Apes (Espen), A soccer player (Tilly), Minnie Mouse (Poppy), Mickey Mouse (Johan), and a Strawberry (Me)… Not pictured were Ozzie and his sweet girlfriend who dressed up like a baseball player and an angel for Angels in the Outfield (so cute!)

Make last minute costume changes — Poppy, who was 100% committed to being a strawberry (because in her own words, she luuuuuvs strawberries. she luuuuuv eating strawberries and she luuuuvs being a strawberry.), woke up from a nap 15 minutes before heading out to trick or treat and was repulsed by her strawberry costume. Like wouldn’t go within 10 feet of it. But luckily she was wearing a black dress and we had minnie mouse ears on hand from going to the kids’ classroom parties (costumes aren’t allowed but headbands don’t count, right?) so it all worked out.

Try something new — We usually hangout in our neighborhood with a group of friends (who we love!) but this year decided to switch things up a bit so headed to Queen Anne for their trick or treating event and then walked to Johan’s sister and brother in laws place for dinner, candy eating and a movie.

Hold hands — probably my favorite part this year was that in between going into the shops and knocking on doors, there was always someone’s hand to hold… my favorite!

Count, sort, trade and then taste test the candy — always the first thing that happens once we’re indoors after trick or treating. Do your kids do the same?

Watch the nightmare before Christmas — or at least we did this year after getting back from trick or treating. Am I the only person that isn’t into this movie?

Listen to Christmas music — after the festivities, on the drive home of course, lol.

Carry around a pet ghost balloon — Just in case one of the kids got separated so they’d be able to look up and find us…. it was kind of annoying to drag around (mostly for the other people walking on the sidewalk, lol) but actually came in handy when Tilly wandered off. I’ll explain below!

Digging into poppy’s bucket after she said it was getting heavy, lol! Just doing my part to help a sister out!

Two pics above, everyone’s in the frame while Johan is figuring out settings for the camera so we can ask a stranger to snap a family pic. One pic above, Johan hopped in the frame but do you notice someone else missing? HA! Tilly somehow wandered across the street and we didn’t notice until we were finished with the pic and saw her standing on the other side of the crosswalk looking at us like, “where have you guys been!?” Sooooo glad she stayed put and didn’t keep wandering down the sidewalk… it’s my biggest fear on Halloween. Also the reason why I appreciate starting trick or treating before it get’s dark.

(might be the world’s worst at making a kissy face, hahahah!)

Our days of trick or treating are numbered so feeling extra thankful for our little halloween together, trying something new and having the best time. Hope you guys had the best Halloween yet!

Let me know what your favorite part was in the comments please… I love it when you share!

XO, Rae

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BEST OF HALLOWEEN POSTS

I have a couple fun Halloween posts planned over the next couple weeks but also love so much of the Halloween posts from years past so thought I would round up some faves… It was hard to choose, but take a peek below and click on the links to head to the full post!

Still one of my favorite halloween posts and probably the oldest too!

Remember when we made Halloween headbands with the land of nod!?

Boo worthy Halloween snacks and lunch notes.

Need to print these out again to use this year.

Boo-ing — still one of my favorite October traditions!

These tattoos make a fun addition to any October playdates or classroom parties!

Must do this again this year too! Hoping those felt flags are stashed in the attic still.

This kid party is full of good inspiration.

Just bought this ghost cookie cutter to make yummy cookies and spooky shaped sandwiches too…it’s the little things you guys!

You can search “FALL” or “HALLOWEEN” in the search bar to the right to find more.

Here’s to the next few weeks being full of all things spooky (but still cute), snuggly, pumpkin-y, and yummy.

XO, Rae

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5 THINGS EVERY KID’S PARTY NEEDS + POPPY’S 4TH BIRTHDAY BASH

My goal with this online space is to always keep things functional and doable with a heaping side of style and fun. I believe it’s important to celebrate motherhood and family (the big and small things) but not at the sake of my sanity or relationships. A stressed out mom is no fun for anyone! Even if it’s all for a good cause, like say, Birthday parties. Considering the endless amount of pinterest-y photos, it can be easy to feel completely inspired to throw a picture perfect party and I so admire the mamas that can pull it off and enjoy the process (teach me your ways!), but in my experience attempting to do so is not very practical for my bank account or my life and only makes everyone cranky. In an effort to keep things simple but also special, here’s my short list of kid party must-haves that make the day of festivities so much easier along with a few pics from Poppy’s 4th Birthday party a couple weeks ago!

I would also really love to know what would make your must have kid-party list!

MY 5 KID PARTY MUST-HAVES

  1. BALLOONS | any and all balloons welcome because they add instant party vibes and are an inexpensive way to decorate. Sometimes I make a bundle of helium filled balloons and other times we grab a few packages from Target to blow up and throw around the party space for the kids to kick, hit and play with. Love these letter and word foil hanging balloons (here’s a gold version – party city also carries them) we used for Poppy’s party that don’t require helium (saves money) and doubled as a good photo backdrop…. festive, decorative and personalized! Rainbow pom-pom garland is from Target and will get used over and over again!
  2. ACTIVITIES | I mean, what good are decorations if the party goers aren’t having fun!? We were lucky to have the beach and water for endless entertainment but since the weather wasn’t that good we also put together a slime making station (Tilly’s idea and it was a huge hit!) and a “pin the sprinkles on the POP-TART” game (using a big chalkboard and paper ‘sprinkles’) which I forgot to snap a pic of and didn’t get played with, lol. There are lots of good games out there and you can’t go wrong with activity tables (so kids can participate when they feel like it). I’m a sucker for all the old school ones such as scavenger hunts, relays, duck-duck-goose, bobbing for apples, musical chairs, and anything that involves freezing :)
  3. SIMPLE BUT YUMMY FOOD | same goes with food as activities… if kids (or their parents) are hungry or you’re stressing out in the kitchen, does anything else even matter? I like to have a variety of finger foods and kid friendly snacks and then plan a crowd pleasing meal that I can either make or prep ahead of time (i.e. hamburgers + hot dogs, or anything that bakes in the oven or crockpot) or order (i.e. pizza) and for sides, anything that comes from a bag (i.e. salad and chips!). Bonus if I can get ALL OF IT at Costco which is how it worked out for Poppy’s party. Even the cake and drinks.
  4. ANYTHING THAT IS A BIG DEAL TO THE BIRTHDAY KID | maybe it’s a special theme or activity, but whatever it is I try to make it happen. Poppy didn’t have any requests this year but for Tilly it’s usually a cake request and special party favors, Ozzie was always about having his favorite foods, Espen wants to make sure certain friends can make it and Griffin LOVES a piñata.
  5. PARTY FAVORS | I usually go overboard with this because I love goodie bags and containers and helping the kids pick things out! But really a wand of bubbles and hand drawn signs are all you need to say “THANK YOU FOR COMING!”

(SOURCES | blue berry basket for the favors, kraft food boat, 1/2 lb size pictured)

Look at all these cute party animals!!! So thankful for all the sweet faces in this pic and their parents. We had so much fun celebrating Poppy!

Now, please spill all your tips, tricks and must haves for making birthday party magic… What would make your list?

XO, Rae

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MINI MAKERS: 3 EASY VALENTINE PROJECTS FOR KIDS

The Seattle weather this time of year just about does us all in, so we’re trying to stay busy and distracted over here. A homemade treat, kitchen experiments (slime anyone?), and simple crafts always seem to do the trick tho. If you’re feeling the same way, here are a few Valentines-ey projects that have been giving us life right now and make hunkering down at home feel extra special.

WHITE CHOCOLATE VALENTINE POPCORN

Shared the recipe on my Insta Stories yesterday and added to the “eat” highlight reel for safe keeping too, but it deserves to be documented here too… it’s that good! I cut way back on the chocolate compared to other recipes and will normally add the hearts after the kids dish their bowls so they don’t get too much :)

YOU’LL NEED:

  • 5 oz. bag popcorn or 15 cups homemade, lightly salted
  • 6 oz. white chocolate, melted
  • sprinkles + conversation hearts

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Pour popcorn into a large baking sheet/pan.
  2. Drizzle with white chocolate and sprinkles and then toss until incorporated. Sprinkle hearts over the top. Cover and let sit until chocolate hardens.
  3. Dish up for your little (and big) valentines!

CONVERSATION HEART ACTIVITIES

That don’t involve eating them although we know it’s inevitable. A few ideas…

  1. Pour a bunch in a jar and have the kids guess how many, then count together.
  2. Drop a few in a glass of sparkling water or clear soda and watch them dance around. Kinda fun and science-y!
  3. Play around with making and matching patterns, or sorting.
  4. Give everyone a box of hearts, set the timer for a minute (or 5, lol!) and see who can stack them the highest! When you’re done, grab a few snack items from the pantry and use the candies to make individual trail mixes.
  5. Practice fine motor skills with little ones by scooping, and tweezing  hearts from one bowl to another. Challenge older kids to use chopsticks. Here’s a few more montessori inspired activities!
  6. Take it one step further with these fun family night games. Would be fun for sleepovers too!

HEART GUYS FTW!

Can’t beat this classic! I found colored cardboard hearts and googly eyes at target and then cut up strips of text weight paper into strips. Set all the materials out on the table and let the kids get creative. Most of the finished hearts got taped to their bedroom doors which I love!

YOU’LL NEED:

  • Hearts cutout of card stock or construction paper (found our hearts at Target, but couldn’t find online)
  • Googly eyes
  • Text weight paper, in various colors
  • Tape or glue stick
  • OPTIONAL: smaller hearts cutout for hands and feet, black marker for making a mouth + nose, stickers, pop-pops or other items to embellish with

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Cutout hearts and strips of paper for the arms and legs — ours were about 1-1/2 inch wide and 8-1/2 inch long for the legs and 5 inches for the arms.
  2. Fold the strips of paper like an accordion and tape onto the backside of your hearts.
  3. Embelish with eyes, etc. and you’re done!

Aren’t they cute!? And fun for everyone!

How are you guys having fun and staying sane at home on winter days!? This past Saturday we filled the stairway with mattresses so the kids could slide down, LOL. Anything to get some of their energy out these days!

Hope your week is off to a good start!!! Don’t forget to check classroom valentines off your to-do list!

XO, Rae

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A WEEK OF HOLIDAY SERVICE PROJECTS WITH KIDS

This year, instead of adding activities and service projects to our advent calendar we kept things simple and filled each pocket with candy canes. While I’ve enjoyed not having the pressure of doing  a l l   t h e   t h i n g s , I’ve missed having the built-in prompts and ideas for things to do with the kids. So, I thought it would be fun to plan a week of service and kindness projects to do with them once they are out of school next week!

Here’s what I’m thinking:

A WEEK OF HOLIDAY SERVICE PROJECTS WITH KIDS

SATURDAY | help firefighters handout the toys and books that were collected during the toy drive

SUNDAY | make a pile of winter coats and snow gear to donate

MONDAY | make fudge to deliver to friends and neighbors

TUESDAY | leave Merry Christmas notes and candy canes for the mail and garbage workers, baristas, and other service employees.

WEDNESDAY | say “Merry Christmas” and smile at everyone we see :)

THURSDAY | sign up to sponsor a child

FRIDAY | write a letter to military members stationed overseas

Would love for you guys to join us or share other project suggestions  in the comments… love trying new things and you guys have the best ideas!

(a pic of Griffin and Poppy for Peek Kids, promoting their #givingtuesday event!)

Another thing I like to do randomly throughout the year, but especially over the holidays, is pay for the order of the person behind me in the Starbucks drive thru. Sunday morning Johan and I snuck away (as the kids were getting up and taking over our bed) for a quick and quiet car ride to Starbucks and decided to treat the person in the car behind us. To our surprise it was Santa behind the wheel! HAHAH. Not sure why, I love buying anyone’s coffee, but the fact it was santa made it so much sweeter.

If you guys have ever wanted to buy for the car behind you but worry about ending up with a $50 starbucks charge, all the baristas I’ve talked to let me know the total charge and ask if it’s okay… its usually somewhere between $4 and $12.

Happy Monday!

XO, Rae

PS — other service project ideas: one | two | three | four

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HOW TO DRESS KIDS FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND

Eeek! You guys, we made a video that I hope will take some of the stress out of dressing the fam bam for the holidays. There’s a bonus tip for all you mamas if you watch to the end! Press play below to watch…

There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to planning, shooting and editing video, but I’m so incredibly proud of Johan for his editing job… pretty impressive for a newbie! We have a couple more Holiday videos waiting to be edited and shared but are also anxious to make some adjustments and shoot new content for the winter (and valentine’s day!). If you have any topic ideas please share in the comments!

xo, Rae

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SIMPLIFYING CHRISTMAS + A PRETTY GREEN DRESS

We’re only 4 days into December but just wrapped up a seriously festive weekend and half of me is wishing this is how life always was while the other half is wondering how I’m going to keep up for the next 21 days!? Yesterday after church with friends and a quick visit with my parents, we attended the kids Christmas party at Johan’s fire station. There was Santa, presents, bingo, bouncy houses and an antique firetruck that looked more like Santa’s sleigh (shared a few pics on Insta Stories!). Poppy spent most of the party trying to sneak the bingo prizes and chasing around a little girl that was dressed up like Elsa, asking her to “do the magic!” HAHA! Needless to say, bedtime was easy last night and this morning’s wakeup call was not.

Christmastime with kids is the BEST but can also be exhausting and stressful, even for the little ones. In an effort to keep things somewhat simple while also doing all the things and making it as fun, festive and special as possible — I mean, it is a holiday and birthday all wrapped up into one — I’ve decided to pick a word to focus on for the month.

The word I chose is (drumroll….!):  T O G E T H E R 

Hoping it will bring some focus and clarity to this season and feel like it’s already helping. Particularly when things aren’t going as planned, I’m having a hard time prioritizing my to-do list and commitments or I feel that tendency to compare!

Another way I’m simplifying this month is with this pretty green sweater dress. My kids and husband will attest that I’ve worn it 4 of the last 7 days. You guys know I can’t resist a one and done outfit, but this dress also feels like a snuggie, can be washed and dried on delicate, is long and warm enough not to need tights, and is casual enough for errands but cute enough for church or date night. Oh, and it’s under $100.

Would love to know what your word would be this Holiday Season and what you’ve been wearing on repeat!?

Happy Monday!

xo, Rae

PS — One more way to simplify is by shopping the pop-up and checking teacher, friend and stocking gifts off your list! Oh and don’t forget Holiday cards! Thank for everyone who has already placed an order and have loved seeing everyone’s choices and family photos so much! The shop will close this Friday and all orders will ship by the following Tuesday.

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A THANKSGIVING RECAP

Can you guys even believe how close we are to Christmas!? Going to try, try, try, to get most of the stressful holiday to-do’s checked off this week (i.e. gift shopping and Christmas cards!) so I can enjoy as much of the season with my people as possible. If you’re feeling the same way, there’s a promo happening today for 20% off holiday cards with code HOHOHO in the POP-UP and lots of good stocking stuffers and hostess/friend/teacher gifts too!

Before I get too carried away by the Christmas magic, a little recap of our Thanksgiving. We hosted for the second time and had the best time!

ON THANKSGIVING THIS YEAR…

We hosted friends and family — 10 kids and 9 adults.

Started the day with a 6am run and prayer time with my favorite guy, before putting the bird in the oven.

Made turkey hand drawings and ate lots of the real stuff too! (can’t believe I didn’t snap a pic of Johan carving it!)

The kids drank their weight in sparkling cider.

Made all the kids (even the biggest) drink out of a cup with a lid and guess what? Didn’t clean up a single spill all day.

Was thankful for the paper tablecloth from Target that kept the kids busy.

Played games. Lots of them.

Enjoyed the heatwave (in the 60’s!).

Were a work in progress (always) but made it work.

Had help in the kitchen from both grandmas… hallelujah.

Listened to Christmas music.

Had our Christmas tree up and nutcrackers our — Ozzie called it a “Merry Thanksgiving” ;)

Wore lots of plaid and checks!

Kept things casual.

Annnd, it goes without saying, ate way too much. Didn’t regret it.

Went to our friends post turkey dinner for pie and swimming — shared some on my instagram stories but forgot to take actual pics to share… oops.

Crawled into bed completely exhausted and overflowing with gratitude… should probably make this my goal everyday.

Gangs all here, minus my big brother who was taking the pic!

Hope you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend, got lots of family time, ate too many servings of mashed potatoes and spent lots of time in your jammies eating leftover pie.

Thanks for being so good to us Thanksgiving!

xo, Rae

PS — Prepping this week to ship all your orders from the HOLIDAY POP-UP by the end of the week! You guys are the best! Last day to get 20% off on holiday cards with code HOHOHO… if you want to take advantage of the promo but don’t have an image yet, no worries. Order now and we’ll workout the details later.

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THANKSGIVING WITH BASIC INVITE

I’m teaming up with Basic Invites today (YAY! Thanks for supporting businesses that support this blog!) to share some of the amazing paper goodies they have. When they reached out to me earlier in November, I was prepping to host Thanksgiving dinner at our home and jumped at the chance to order some of their Turkey Day invites. I’m a sucker for a good invite but often forget to send them out for Holidays and family affairs… But not this year!

As a designer I’m also really picky about the style of cards and often want something less traditional or more personal. Working with Basic Invite and ordering printed samples was super easy and took all the stress out of the process — they have a crazy amount of color options and let you edit all the wording and details — and they turned out so good it was hard to choose one. Here’s a peek at my order, below.

turkey & toasts | this is the invite we ended up choosing. In addition to adding some pink and orange to the text, I loved that I could switch up the  flower and leaf colors around the corners too!

thanksgiving | This one was hard to pass up and I love how the backside turned out too!

friends & family | Loved how colorful, fun and casual this one was.

friendsgiving | It’s hard to pass-up kraft paper and gold foil details this time of year so this one was the runner up, but we also had family coming over and I didn’t want them to be confused by the “friendsgiving” invite.

Such a hard choice, right!? And they look even cuter in person!

Basic Invites has over 250 photo Christmas cards and tons of great holiday dinner party invitation to choose from and is currently offering 30% off with the coupon code: holi30

You can also find them on facebook, pinterest, instagram and twitter to stay in the know regarding products and promotions!

Getting excited for Turkey dinner at our house tomorrow. Nothing better than spending time with friends and family… just hoping all the details and food come together! If your in the same boat, we’ve got this!

xo, Rae

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LET’S CHAT: ESSENTIAL OILS + AN EASY DIY BEDTIME SPRAY

It’s hard to ignore the essential oil bandwagon thats been growing strong now for awhile, particularly within the motherhood community. I’m wondering if there are any other trends we can compare it to? Maybe tupperware parties? Anyways, I often find myself somewhere in the middle of most issues, political, theological, and even more often when it comes to healthcare. I believe in modern medicine, vaccines, and ibuprofen. But I also believe that we often medicate symptoms that can be treated naturally with diet, fitness, supplements and oils.

I was first introduced to essential oils a little over a year ago when Poppy started getting these little wart looking bumps on her torso and elbows. I’ll spare you the details of how gross they were and because it was summertime they were impossible to keep covered and therefore confined. The first time we took her to the Dr. they suggested we let it run it’s course (which takes 6+ months). Unfortunately it just kept getting worse so we took her back in and they subscribed a topical acne medicine. As you might imagine it was harsh, left her poor baby skin dry and red and wasn’t clearing up her bumps. Ugh, I felt so bad for her. Is there anything worse than not being able to help your kids feel better? Luckily my mom suggested we try talking to an herbalist. A quick email to Herban Wellness describing Poppy’s symptoms and they mixed up a magic concoction of oils that started working immediately! After a week her bumps were 80% better and I was in tears — so grateful to have something that not only worked, but was natural and had zero negative side effects.

We’ve since used the oil blend on just about any patch of red, puffy or irritated skin and it always clears up and takes away the discomfort. Lately I’ve been doing lots of research on oils and looking for ways to incorporate them into our lives on a daily basis without having to spend a ton of money or get involved with one of the MLM (multilevel marketing) businesses… (Not that there is anything wrong with doing either of those things!)

To my surprise, I’ve been able to find some great oils on amazon and have had so much fun putting together different blends for roller balls and spray bottles. The best part is that the kids go crazy over them! Here’s a linen spray we put together for bedtime. It helps wind everyone down at the end of the day and makes the room smell dreamy. To make it even more appealing for Poppy who’s always worried about “monsters” at night, we added a “bye, bye monster” label!

BYE, BYE MONSTER bedtime essential oil linen spray!

You’ll Need:

Here’s How:

  1. Add drops of essential oils into glass spray bottle. Fill the rest of the way with distilled water.
  2. Spray around the room, on bedding, pillows and even on jammies…. Don’t forget mamas room too!
  3. Make extra bottles for each room and to give as gifts.

Now for some exciting news!!! In my search for high quality oils I’ve found some cool suppliers and created some delicious and effective blends that will be available to purchase (along with a few other fun items!) in our online HOLIDAY POP-UP SHOP! Hoping to have it up and running starting this Friday 11/17 but will keep you posted later this week!!!

The rollers and sprays are a perfect gift or addition to stockings, teacher gifts or hostess gifts. It’s also a great way to try oils without a huge commitment, filling a cupboard with individual oils and supplies, or having to figure out all the DIY blends.

Now that I’ve spilled my guts about it, what are your thoughts on essential oils and natural treatments? Curious if anyone else feels like they fall somewhere in the middle on the issue, like I do!?

xo, Rae

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