Parents Please Check Your Child’s Cubbyhole.

Parents, please check your child’s cubbyhole. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. We live in a very fast paced world. Every day you are rushing to get out the door, drop the kids off, get to work, maybe you have to do errands on your break and the list goes on. In the evenings it’s not much better. Once again you are rushing to get the kids picked up and heading home. It is easy to forget things.

Parents, please check your child’s cubbyhole.

Later on that evening, you are at the dinner table talking to your child, when they mention there is a field trip tomorrow. They tell you that you need to sign the permission slip and they need money. Another one of your children may need something special for the ‘letter’ of the week or to bring for show and share. Maybe they need to bring something special for a craft project. Maybe your baby is out of diapers or wipes. Once again, you realize you forgot to check their cubbies at day care/school. It’s okay, it is so easy to do. Yet, it is really important. There are so many things that show up in a cubby including:

*Art Projects
*Candy (From holidays or sometimes as potty treats)
*Hats/Gloves/Scarves in the winter
*Sunscreen/Sunglasses/Ball caps in the summer

Parents Please Check Your Child's Cubbyhole

Photo courtesy of Roman Mager via Unsplash

Please Check Your Cubbyhole.

To really important things like:

*Permission slips/requests for field trip chaperones
*Daily sheets
*Fundraisers
*Special announcements from directors and staff
*Progress Reports
*Accident reports
*Opportunity for improvement (behavior)
*Invitations to birthday parties from classmates

When personal items get left behind and important forms don’t get seen, it is frustrating for everyone. Teachers too. Teachers have to account for permission slips, money for field trips and fundraisers and make sure all the necessary information is on daily sheets. Like you, we forget things at the end of the work day too. It is a team effort between teachers and parents alike. If you’re having trouble remembering, set an alarm on your phone with a fun ring tone and make it an enjoyable part of your day. You may find a great progress report or an announcement of something fun coming up ( the former day care where I worked would have a bounce house or the snow cone truck come once in awhile) and you will always know how your child’s day was. A cubbyhole is not only an important place to store your child’s belongings, it also stores a lot of information for you too. So parents, please check your child’s cubbyhole before you go home at night. This way everyone can stay informed and on the same page.

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Giving This Holiday Season: Family Style

I love to give, no matter if it’s encouragement or love with words. A hot meal. A baked good. Or a gift. There are many ways to give and doing it as a family makes it even more fun. Here are some of my ideas for Giving This Holiday Season: Family Style.

Giving Family Style: Ages 5-12

There are many ways this age can learn to give.

* Explain to them that some kids don’t have toys to play with. Then help them clean out their play rooms or toy boxes and donate the gently used toys to a children’s home or shelter.

* Help your child look through their books and donate gently used ones to a shelter or even their classroom at school. Day cares especially have limited budgets so this would be greatly appreciated.

*Show them the Toys For Tots box and ask if they would like to spend some of their allowance to help another kid have a good Christmas. If there is a Salvation Army Angel tree at your work, pick a child off the tree and take them shopping with you.

*If you have a child that loves animals, call your local shelter and see if they have an angel tree set up at a local store for the animals. Our local no kill shelter does. Have them pick an animal off the tree and buy it some presents.

Giving This Holiday Season: Family Style

Photo courtesy of Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

Family Style Giving: Ages 13-19

*Ask your teen if they would like to adopt a friend who may be from a divorced or single parent  home and buy them a few special presents this year with their own money.

*Ask your teen if they would like to clean out their closet and donate the clothes and shoes they don’t wear.

*See if you can find an outreach that matches your teens interest and ask if they would like to give their time for a few days over Christmas break. (Do you have a reader? They could read to seniors at the nursing home. Have a cook? Serve at a homeless shelter. Animal lover? Volunteer at the animal shelter, etc.)

*Have them volunteer as a bell ringer for The Salvation Army.

Family Giving: Mom

*Cook a meal for an elderly neighbor.

*Bake some treats for an elderly neighbor.

*Help a friend wrap presents.

Giving This Holiday Season: Dad

*Help a neighbor put up their outdoor lights.

*Shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk.

*Help a friend haul home their Christmas tree.

 

These are just a few ideas for donating your time, talents and income this holiday season.  It is always better to give than to receive, cliched I know. However, as busy as we are the rest of the year, taking  the time to do some giving this holiday season, family style, will draw your crew together and create closer bonds.

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3 Ideas For Christmas Kid Crafts

Once again you are trying to figure out what to make in your classroom to use to decorate for Christmas. Here are 3 Ideas For  Christmas Kid Crafts to spark some ideas.

3 Christmas Kid Crafts.

Scratch n Sniff Gingerbread Man-Print out gingerbread men on white card stock and then mix brown paint with glue. Let the kids paint their gingerbread men and then sprinkle cinnamon on them before they dry, shaking off the excess. Use buttons, scraps of ribbon, glitter, etc to decorate their eyes, hands and feet. Punch a hole in the top and string ribbon through to make an ornament.

3 Christmas Kid Crafts

Photo courtesy of Aaron Burden via Unsplash

Build A Snowman- This is an ideal craft for older kids. (4’s n 5’s and up) Cut small squares of cardboard. Glue a large marshmallow to the cardboard then top with another one. Then add one last large marshmallow. Decorate the face with black tube icing, use pretzel sticks for the arms and use an orange Mike n Ike candy for the nose. Let dry completely. (For a completely edible snowman, build on a graham cracker base and use frosting to build snowman.) A yummy idea for a Christmas Kids Craft.

Another Christmas Kid Craft Idea.

Stuffed Stockings-Print off stocking patterns on colored card stock. Cut out pictures of toys, books, electronics, etc from magazines. Have the kids glue on pictures of what they would like Santa to bring them. Add pulled cotton balls to the top of each stocking. Write the child’s name on their stocking in glitter paint. Punch a hole in the top and hang on your bulletin board or from your classroom ceiling.

There are tons of ideas for Christmas crafts all over the Internet. These 3 Ideas For  Christmas Kid Crafts are easy and are quick to gather the supplies for.  Happy decorating!

 

 

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Unique Ideas: Gifts For Preschool Teachers.

You love your child’s preschool teacher and the various other staff at the day care they attend. However, it can be hard to figure out what to get them at the holidays.  Here is  a list of out of the box ideas for gifts for preschool teachers.

 

Gifts For Preschool Teachers.

A Planner- Planning a school year is tough work. Add in personal events and appointments and it can get quite chaotic. Help your teacher keep their sanity by getting them a planner.

Online Gift Subscription to The MailboxThe Mailbox is a magazine for various age groups. It is a digital magazine full of activity ideas, tips and craft ideas and can be a real life saver when a teacher is ‘stuck’ on what to do this week or month. The Mailbox Gold package they offer is just $2.99 a month and includes access to the whole site, free activity newsletters, and The Mailbox Magazine online delivered each month. Other perks to make a teacher’s life easier include being able to print everything they have saved in one click, being able to fill out a calendar and  having access to many print and make tools.

Gift Cards to Starbucks or Local Coffee Shops-These are great to have for in the morning to be able to just zip through the drive through. No counting out bills or change, just swipe and go.

Personalized Tote Bag- Find out what your eductor’s favorite color and/or interests are and order them the perfect tote bag.

Jumbo Book Of Teacher Tips and Timesavers-Written by veteran teachers, this book covers tips for discipline, communicating with parents and students, working with substitutes, etc.(Barnes&Noble, $25.11)

Gifts For Preschool Teachers

Photo by Andrew Neel via Unsplash

More Gifts.

Chicken Soup For The Soul Teacher’s TalesTeaching is not an easy job and everyone needs some inspiration sometimes. (Barnes&Noble, $12.96) These would be good gifts for preschool teachers from the owner/director as well.

Personalized Hobby Gifts- Find out a little more about your child’s teacher.  What are their hobbies? Are they an artist or like crafts? Get them a gift card to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. Do they like to cook? Look into a one evening cooking class or a cookbook according to their favorite cuisine. Reader? Bookstore gift card.(Don’t forget your local independent bookstores too.) Writer? Try a new journal or a subscription to Writer’s Digest.

Homemade Treats- These are always a hit. Everyone loves baked goods but it doesn’t have to stop there. You can also make homemade coffee creamer, hot cocoa mix and tea mixes as well as different kinds of snack mixes. Check out Taste Of Home and Pinterest for lots of ideas.

Blanket-Sometimes classrooms get chilly, a fleecy, cozy blanket makes a great gift for a preschool teacher.

Children’s Books For The Teacher’s Library-Some day cares have a very limited classroom budget.  Let your child pick out some books that they would like to have in their classroom. Speaking of limited classroom budgets, craft supplies are always a welcome gift as well.

Contigo West Loop Travel MugThese travel mugs are amazing, keeping hot drinks hot for 5 hours and cold drinks cold for up to 12 hours. The best part is they won’t spill. (Walmart, various sizes and prices.)

If you’re looking for gifts for preschool teachers, I hope this list sparks some inspiration.

 

 

 

 

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Do I Need A Business Web Site For My Day Care?

Do I Need A Business Web site For My Day Care? It always amazes me when I’m researching a day care and they don’t have a web site. In this day and age it is vitally important to a business. I know some business owners think it’s too expensive or that it would be a hassle. Some just don’t understand why they need one. There are many reasons a day care should have a web site.

Do I Need A Business Web Site For My Day Care?

Your current clients. Working in day care for six years, I have seen parents and teachers alike get frustrated by a lack of communication in so many ways. So many important announcements would get left in cubbyholes or not noticed until it was too late. A web site for your business would make this so much easier. Your web site is a one stop shop for your business. It is a tool to make your life easier. Parents can log on any time day or night and get the latest news on events, fundraisers/field trip money that is due, and the latest happenings in each classroom. They can find out what is on the lunch menu for the week. Also, if you choose, they can log into your web site and watch their children in their classroom during the day. The days of missed announcements and miscommunication would be over. You can also send out a weekly or monthly newsletter that your parents sign up to receive in their Inbox.

Do I Need A Business Web Site For My Day Care?

Photo courtesy of William Iven via Unsplash

More Reasons Why Your Day Care Needs A Business Website.

Not having a web site hurts your business. Sure, word of mouth and referrals are great. But what about the family that lives in the next state over or across the country who is moving and is going to need childcare? What about the family who lives in another part of the state who is going to need to place their child? If they search for day cares in your area and you don’t have a web site, you are missing out on new clients. Your competition will be getting your business. Another perk about having a web site in this regard is parents being able to both email you directly with questions and being able to download and fill out an enrollment form online. They can then email it back to you with their information. This makes things so much easier.

 Why Have A Blog?

Having a blog on your day care web site is important. A blog can give parents information on the latest topics in parenting, the latest updates on the center and even fun posts from the staff about something cute or cool that the kids are doing in the classroom.

Keeping Up On Your Website.

This is where the beauty of a freelance writer that specializes in the parenting/day care niche comes in. You don’t have to do it all yourself, you can hire someone to write your content for you. This is perfect if you are not a wordsmith or just don’t have the time. Freelancers can keep your content clear, fresh and relevant.

The Cost Of A Website.

The cost of a web site really isn’t all that expensive. There are many companies that offer a lot for very reasonable prices. The key is that you want to set up your own domain name, not a free web site. When you own your domain name, that is your own piece of real estate on the internet. Also, setting up a web site isn’t all that hard either. Some can set up via drag n drop and others can be set up by watching a tutorial on YouTube using the theme you want to use.

As you can see there are many reasons that you need a business web site for your day care. There are many things to think about. When you ask yourself the question,  “Do I need a business website for my day care?” The answer is yes. Why? Because you want to be seen as current and you want to make it easier for your parents (and future clients) to get the information they need. If you haven’t considered the question why do I need a business web site for my day care, think about it. Keep in mind it will make your life easier as a business owner and much more convenient for your present and future clients.

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Day Care Checklist: Snowbird Edition

Today’s post is called Day Care Checklist: Snowbird Edition.  Before we know it, the snow will be flying and the wind will be howling. As a former day care teacher, I thought I would write a reminder post about the upcoming items that will be needed for your child. This way, it will be easier to get things accounted for early.

 

Day Care Checklist.

Extra Shoes-Please bring a pair of shoes for your child, it is difficult for them to walk around in snow boots all day. Having a pair of shoes to wear will also help cut down on accidents from melted water puddles from said boots.

Two or Three Extra Sets Of Clothes-This is important all year round but especially in the winter time. Sometimes kids fall in the snow on the way to school, they have accidents during art projects and blowouts/sickness is chronic. It is important to have extra clothes on hand so they aren’t being sent home in summer clothes from a dwindling extra clothes supply.

Hats/Gloves or Mittens/Scarf-We all know how easy the temperatures fluctuate. It can be cold in the morning and then frigid and bitter by the evening when it’s pick up time. Don’t forget a hat, gloves or mittens and a scarf for your child.

Day Care Checklist: Snowbird Edition.

Day care Checklist: Snowbird Edition

Photo courtesy of Nathan Wolfe via Unsplash

More Items On The Day Care Checklist: Snowbird Edition.

Extra Socks- Extra socks are great to have on hand in the winter due to puddles of melted snow from boots that may be lurking from arriving in the morning.

Winter Coat-Once again, it is important to send your child in a winter coat due to fluctuating temperatures.

Snow Suit-Some day cares allow their kids to go out for limited periods of time IF the temperatures are not too cold. Check with your day cares policy on this item.

I hope this list will help you round up the winter essentials you will need in the coming months ahead. If you’re like me, even as an adult it’s nice to have a list to remind you what to look for. I hope my Day Care Checklist: Snowbird Edition is most helpful.

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Five Ways To Help Prevent SIDS

SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is one of the most horrifying, terrible things a parent can go through. It is also a chronic thought in the back of the minds of care givers. The good news is, there are many ways that parents and care givers can avoid this. Here are five ways to help prevent SIDS.

SIDS Prevention Tip #1

Vaccinate-There are many discussions and arguments over this topic.  However, it is important to keep your child up-to-date on vaccinations. Being immunized for chicken pox, measles, etc reduces the risk of SIDS by 50%.

Five Ways To Help Prevent SIDS.

Don’t Place Baby On Their Tummy To Sleep-Oh how the times have changed. When I was a baby, this was how our parents were told to put us down. Since then they now tell parents to put babies to sleep on their back because they can breathe better.

Five Ways To Help Prevent SIDS

Photo courtesy of Amanda Jorden via Unsplash

Other Ways To Help Prevent SIDS

 

SIDS Prevention Tip #3

No Stuffed Animals-Although they look super cute near your baby while they are sleeping, stuffed animals are dangerous. Eyes, legs and arms can become dislodged and cause a choking hazard if they become lodged in your babies throat.

SIDS Tip #4

Keep Your Baby From Overheating-Dress your baby in light, comfortable clothing for sleeping and keep the temperature of the room comfortable for an adult.

Consider Putting Your Baby Down With A Pacifier- Put your baby down with a pacifier, but don’t force them to take it and if it falls out when they are sleeping, don’t put it back in their mouth.

These are just five ways to help prevent SIDS, there are many more. Although this is just a start, keeping these in mind will help to prevent this horrible tragedy.

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Smiles Intact: What To Do With Your Leftover Halloween Candy

What to do with your leftover Halloween candy. The big night is over, Halloween has come and gone. Even though you had a wonderful time with your children, you may be up to your eyeballs in candy from school, day care and the night itself. I’m sure you are looking at your stash and thinking, we can’t eat all of this. Believe it or not, there are many ways you  can use that candy for doing a lot of good. Here are some ideas to keep those smiles intact as to what to do with all of that  leftover Halloween candy.

What To Do With Your Leftover Halloween Candy.

Bake-Pick out the best chocolate, caramel, candy bars, etc from your stash and freeze it. This will save you lots of money compared to buying regular priced Christmas candy. You can use it in many ways from using a chocolate bar to make shavings for a dessert, adding caramels to brownies or decorating a cake with foil wrapped miniatures.

Nursing/Retirement Homes-Call your local nursing homes and see if they take donated candy. If they do and the home is small enough, buy leftover treat bags at a reduced cost and make treat bags for the residents.

Animal Shelters-Donate some of your candy to the staff at your local animal shelter. They definitely deserve a treat for all they do. This is a great idea for what to do with your leftover Halloween candy.

What to do with your leftover Halloween candy

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo via Unsplash

Other Ways To Use Your Candy.

Homework Help-Teach your kids math skills by using candy as an example. This is a great idea for what to do with your leftover Halloween goodies.

Operation Gratitude-Operation gratitude will take your leftover Halloween candy and send it to our troops overseas. For  more information, click on this link. https://opgrat.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/halloween-candy-for-the-troops/

Halloween Candy Buy Back- At a candy buy back businesses  offer various things (coupons, cash, toothbrushes, creative exchanges,etc) in exchange for your leftover candy. The candy is then sent to our troops overseas as well. To find out more information, visit http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/

Coffee Treat-Add a Hershey’s kiss to your coffee in the morning and let it melt. Mocha bliss.

Homemade Hot Cocoa-Use some of your leftover chocolate bars to make homemade hot chocolate.

Art/Craft Projects-There are many ways to use candy in art and different craft projects to use as gifts for the holidays.

These are just a few ideas about what to do with your leftover Halloween candy.  This way you can give back and keep those smiles intact.

 

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo via Unsplash

 

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How We Saved Some Gold On Our Irish Wedding

Dreaming of a destination wedding to Ireland? Can’t afford to go kiss the Blarney stone and your husband at the same time? Think you need to chase a pot of gold to have an amazing Irish wedding here at home? Nope. We did it and had a blast. Here are some of the ways we saved and still had a great theme wedding.

Irish Wedding Attire.

The Dress. I found a quaint little shop that carried overstock dresses and previous season dresses, as well as two or three designers to order from. In the end, I wound up with the third dress I tried on (off the rack), which ironically had patterns on the bodice similar to an Irish Claddagh. Total cost for my dress with alterations: $632.38.

Groom’s Attire. We decided that my husband would wear a traditional Irish Grandad shirt, vest, black pants and black dress shoes. We found the shirt on the web site www.IrishInspiration.com. We found the vest on www.Gentleman’s Emporium.com. The pants and shoes came from Walmart. Total Groom’s attire: $140.00

Rings. In the grand scheme of things I didn’t feel like our rings were too over the top. I picked out a unique wedding set with a sapphire in the heart of the Claddagh and sapphire chips in my wedding band. My set cost around $1700. My husband on the other hand found a cool black and blue titanium ring on Overstock for $58. This is how we saved some gold on our Irish wedding.

How we saved some gold on our Irish wedding.

The Irish Ceremony.

Ceremony Music. We hired a lady to play the bag pipes for our ceremony music. My husband was referred to her by a customer where he worked at the time. She did an excellent job and we saved a lot of green. She only charged us $200. We used an iPod loaded with Irish music for our reception. Contact your local Irish Society to find connections to Irish musicians.

Time Of Day. We got married on a Sunday in the middle of the afternoon. We were supposed to have the ceremony on the square in the middle of town, but it started to pour down rain ten minutes before the ceremony started. So, we had our ceremony in the quaint, little room that was reserved for our reception. That was prearranged just in case of bad weather. We definitely got our money’s worth that way.

Traditional Vows, Blessings, Handfasting and Jumping The Broom. These were the most important heart of the matter and best of all, free.

A Great Reception.

Photography. Even though you want top notch photography for your wedding, it does not mean you have to go with the most expensive photographer in town. Ask friends and relatives who they use for just their normal family photography and weddings. There are lots of amazingly talented people who have studios out of their homes or just do it on the side. Our photographers worked with my Mom and did a fantastic job. You don’t need to get tons of pictures either. We got a smaller package of 150 photos with photo CD and also a slide show DVD. We paid less but we didn’t sacrifice on quality. Total: $200

Decorations. We used second hand china tea cups with flowers. The cups were found at local Goodwill stores. Imitation gold coins were scattered around to decorate our tables at the reception. We also had a Claddagh cake topper that we bought at our local Irish imports store. Our flowers we purchased at Michael’s at a discount when the fall season ended the year before. Cost: $122.50

Food. Since we were married in the mid afternoon, we decided against a sit down dinner. This allowed us to serve hor d’oeuvres, drinks and cake. We also didn’t serve alchohol, which also cut down costs. We had 40 guests including wedding party. Total: $500

So as you can see, there are lots of great ways to save on a theme wedding and make it memorable. My husband’s Irish eyes were definitely smiling once we tallied the savings on our Irish wedding. In a world where the average wedding costs $31,213.00, we only spent $3,552.88. That is the story of how we saved some gold on our Irish nuptials. Who knows, maybe we will get to take that trip to Ireland someday after all.

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How To Save Money On Holiday Baking Supplies.

We’re coming up on that time of year again. Halloween is fast approaching and after that let the holiday planning begin. If you’re like me and love to bake, you are going to love this post. Today I’m talking about how to save money on holiday baking supplies.

Save On Baking Basics.

Aldi– My favorite place to get my basics is at my local Aldi’s store. I can get flour and sugar for a under two dollars a bag. I can get baking soda for .49 a box and baking powder for about $1.99. Chocolate chips (various varieties) all run $1.79 a bag, marshmallows run from .89-$1.99 a bag (depending on size), vanilla extract runs $1.99 and they also have graham pie crusts for $1.19.

Baking Mixes-Once again, Aldi is my life saver. I can usually find boxed baking mixes for around $1.99-$2.49, depending on what it is. Usually around the holidays they have all kinds of specialty mixes like Snickerdoodle bars, Hot Chocolate cupcakes and Caramel Chocolate cupcakes to name a few. I don’t buy a lot of these, but it doesn’t hurt to have them in a pinch either. Just another way how to save money on holiday baking supplies.

How To Save Money On Holiday Baking Supplies

How To Save Money On Holiday Baking Supplies.

Leftover Halloween Candy- Every year, I raid the leftover Halloween candy the day after at Walmart. I tell you, this is a baker’s dream. I have gotten big, 48 oz bags of Hershey’s kisses and Reese’s miniatures for $4.50 in the past, and normal size bags of Twix, Butterfinger, Snickers, etc for $1.50. This definitely beats having to pay regular price at holiday time.  I just take it home and freeze it for later.

Foil Pans, Decorative Trays and Bakeware– I usually buy my 9×13 foil baking pans for $2.98 (2 pk w/lids). One year in the Christmas baking aisle I found a set of decorated, oven safe, cardboard baking papers (assorted loaf sizes and mini muffins)  for $8.98. Also, if I need any extra plastic trays to give things away on, I can get them for around two dollars.

(Tip:  Speaking of cookie trays, check this out for a money saver. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then take a bag of starlight mints and arrange them in a circle. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes and then let cool completely. You now have an edible cookie tray. I haven’t tried this yet but I definitely plan to this Christmas season!)

Cereal-If  I am making s’mores bars, I buy a big bag of Malt-O-Meal Honey Grahams for around $6.00.  I can make two 9×13 pans with one bag. I’m not sure if they have rice cereal or not in this brand, but you can always be adventurous and try something else.

More On How To Save On Holiday Baking Supplies.

Spices-Another holiday baking supply that can get really expensive is spices. I usually buy mine at our local Big R or also at Aldi’s if I’m out. A lot of it depends on what I need. Aldi has a decent spice collection but our local Big R store has a massive one. Many people swear by the ever popular McCormick brand but I do not. I have found that inexpensive works just as good as the big brands. I can get spices at Aldi for around $1.99 and at Big R for a little less than that. If you don’t have either of these stores in your area, take a look at your local Dollar General or Family Dollar.

 

Now that you know how to save money on holiday baking supplies, go start baking! 🙂 Feeling inspired? Tell me what you plan to make in the comments, I would love to know.

 

Photo courtesy of Stephanie McCabe via Unsplash.com.

 

 

 

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