Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Make It From Scratch #22

Lucky for me, I get to host this week and I am looking forward to sharing all of the entries with you! Unfortunately, I was having a lot of problems receiving all of the entries and so I apologize if anyone was overlooked. It was not intentional, but just a bad technical glitch.

Please be sure to check out what is going on next week on the 23rd edition of Make it From Scratch, hosted by "...And Miles to Go Before We Sleep."

DeputyHeadmistress presents Caraway-Seed Bread posted at The Common Room.

Warren Wong presents The Life Pursuit Of Money posted at Personal Development for INTJs. Warren says, "Why should making money be a life pursuit? Because making money actually helps people! Here's why."

First time making

Joy in the Morning has included a recipe for Giant Soap Bubbles. Loni shares, "Big-time bubble making is a bit like fishing. You'll have much better luck in cool wet weather. Early evenings, nighttime and early mornings are often good. Just after a rain is ideal. Don't throw any leftovers away either. The longer your solution sits, the better it gets."

Michelle Mitchell presents Placemat Purses posted at scribbit.

Devildogwife presents Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies posted at Marine Corps Nomads. This is her first time creating her very own gluten free recipe. Great job!

Stephanie presents Catching the Rain posted at Stop the Ride!. She shares ways that they have found to collect rain water and cut back on her water bill. This is a great green and eco-friendly idea.

Delilah presents Bringing Home Baby.... posted at The Miller Way... This post shows how Delilah's crafty abilities helped her make a new baby seat cover.

Laurie Bluedorn presents Experimenting with Decorations for the Wedding posted at Laurie Bluedorn.

Heather presents We TRIED Homemade Ice Cream posted at It's all for the best. She attempted making ice cream in a coffee can, but it didn't work out so well. I would just tell the kids that it was a science experiment and congratulate myself on being such a cool mom! Great job, Heather!

Alexandra presents Make It From Scratch/Copy Work Pages posted at Happy Hearts At Home. There are some great free and printable worksheets that you can do with your children.

Becca presents Making it from Scratch... posted at Unplugging the "Stuff" Machine.

Y-2K Hippie shares how to make a headband out of an old shirt. This looks like a fun and easy craft!

Over here at The Motherload, my son and I made thank you cards together. You can read my entry at, "Teaching my Kid to Say Thank You."

I've made this before

Karen Bastille presents 50 Ideas For Filling Your Water Bin (51 if you count Water) posted at Summer With Grandmother Wren. This is a great list of materials that you can use in your child's water table and a fun recipe for "clean mud."

Bridget presents The Best, Hands Down, Sour Cream Enchiladas posted at And Miles To Go Before We Sleep..., saying, "Includes directions on how to fold a burrito"

GP presents Breakfast 'Round The Campfire posted at Fish Creek House - INNside Innkeeping, GP offers, "Breakfast round the campfire.. and directions to get you there !"

Veteran Military Wife presents Remembering Your Past Duty Assignments posted at Life Lessons of a Military Wife,. She shares "This is an idea for those who move a lot and would like to remember (fondly) where they've been!"

Joanna presents Camping Breakfast posted at Sunflowers in my Kitchen.

**That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of make it from scratch! using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.**

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Your Blogging Story Carnival: The MomAdvice Story

Chilihead has started a carnival dedicated towards people sharing about how they got their start in the blogging world. It has been interesting to read everyone's story and their tips on how they began their blogging journey. If you are a blogging momma, I encourage you to take part in this and read the entries! What could be better inspiration than that?

Here is my story...

How did you start blogging?

This is a tough question to answer, but since I had probably never heard of the term "blogging" before, I am sure that my techy hubby had suggested it as another outlet for us to get our site to be more known.

I had wanted to blog about motherhood and my children, but found it too creatively challenging and also didn't feel that it was very cohesive with our website efforts. I made the decision to turn it around and make it focus more on saving money and it seemed to mesh better with my personality and was a great way to share some quick tips versus writing an entire article on a subject.

Did you intend to be a blog with a big following? If so, how did you go about it?

No, I never expected to have anyone really reading it except for my friends and family. It was quite the shocker that anyone would read it, as I really don't think I am all that interesting! I was just hoping for a few people so it was an incredible surprise that anyone was actually reading it.

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

My goal has been to inspire people to be creative with their money. I try to focus on not what you can do WITHOUT, but what you can do WITH. I want people to know that they don't have to live a life of sacrifice, just because they are trying to live within a budget, but that they can learn to be creative so that they can have everything they have ever wanted without spending money they don't have.

I am not an extremist and I hope that appeals to people. I try to be reasonable with my ideas and let people know that I am actually going through the journey myself with them. I am learning right along with everyone else and constantly discovering new ways to save. They might not be for everyone, but I hope that in some small way, it can have a positive impact on your finances.

I do feel like I am reaching my goals because the emails and comments I receive from my readers helps me feel validated. Your comments do mean so much...more than words can say. For me, I try and have a conversation with people. I want them to interact with me. If you are having a conversation with someone and all you hear is silence on the other end...well, sometimes you just want to hang up. I try to keep talking, but it does mean a lot to hear something back!!

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?

I think I was trying to hard to retain my audience and was not trying hard enough to redirect people to other blogs. The blogging community can be very supportive of one another. It is important to share what you read with your readers, and redirect people to other blogs that have great posts.

Once a week, I do a Notebook entry where I share great things I have read throughout the week. I learned that by sharing these links with others, that blogs found out about me and started linking to me for other things. I started to gain traffic through my efforts and also developed some really great friendships with some fellow bloggers. I wouldn't trade any of that for the world!

Being stingy with my readership was not beneficial, but sharing the love has been an incredible way to get more readers and to keep them coming back to our blog.

Do you make money with your blog?

Yes, I do receive money from my blogging efforts. Our website has advertisements throughout and we receive revenue from our advertisers. The money I bring in does fluctuate depending on the amount of page views we have or how much particular campaigns are paying out each month. I feel very blessed to be able to contribute any money towards our household income and to be able to do what I love AND be home with my children is more than I could ever ask for!

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?

Yes, I tell everyone and their mom about my blog. Because I just write about money, I don't feel like I need to have any real sense of privacy on that topic. I don't think they necessarily read it, but they know it is out there!

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?

1. Festivals and Carnivals can be a great way to get more exposure and new readers coming to your site. If you go to Blog Carnival, you can see all of the carnivals and festivals that are taking place right now. Set up an account and submit your entries to these. You can also contact the Festival or Carnival owners and find out if you can host one week. This can be another great way to build up your traffic.

2. Don't write a post just to have something up for the day. I think it is far more important to put out one good post rather than three posts that will not be remembered. I try and approach my blog entries as mini-articles. People expect a certain style of writing from me and I try and make the posts actually have some good meat to them. If you write well (don't forget your spell check!!), people will appreciate that and want to read more from you!

Be sure to check out the other entries and thanks to Chilihead for putting together such a great carnival!!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Amy's Notebook 03.22.07

Save Some Money:

Baby Cheapskate shares about the new Amazon program for parents. They will automatically ship your diapers at regular intervals and knock off fifteen percent. Not sure if this would be that good of a deal? Check Baby Cheapskate for the nitty-gritty details.

Boston Gal’s Open Wallet shares a Fortune Magazine article that discusses whether you should pick paper or plastic when you are at the grocery store. There are some very interesting quotes in this one.

Frugal for Life shares the different ways you can stop buying books without using the library. Our library rocks though so I can’t imagine not using it, but there are some people who are funny about using that resource.

Mighty Bargain Hunter has an excellent post about the social needs we have that require us to give gifts for occasions and certain people in our life, just because it is obligatory. How does one break this cycle?

MyMoneyBlog has a great post on discussing whether homes are a good investment or a horrible investment. Some of the statistics that were quoted were quite interesting!

Apartment Therapy discusses an article from the Wall Street Journal which states that children are not going to the library as much. The parents are purchasing the books for children or children are relying on their computers for information.

Make Some Stuff:

Visit The Sampler to get instructions on how to turn an umbrella into a kite. This would be a great way to recycle my umbrella that turned itself inside out last year!

Foodie Food:

Home Ec 101 shares how to make your grocery dollars scream in mercy. They suggest roasting a chicken and have some really great tips on how you can roast the perfect chicken. I love these ladies!

Moms the Word shares ten frugal date ideas that you can accomplish without spending more than twenty dollars.

Clean & Organize:

The Simple Dollar has compiled a fabulous list of all the things you should be keeping in your car, should you ever face an emergency. Be sure to read this one!

Get Rich Slowly shares a timeline for when you should replace those common household items.

Carnivals & Festivals:

Carnival of Debt Reduction

Festival of Frugality

Carnival of Personal Finance

Make it From Scratch

Carnival of the Recipes

Carnival of Family Life

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

This Week in Festivals & Carnivals

The Festival of Frugality is over at Blogging Away Debt.
MotherLoad Article: Aldi Supermarket Price Sheet & Store Information
Must Read Article: Frugal Cooks

The Carnival of Debt Reduction is located at the Mighty Bargain Hunter.
Must Read Article: War of the Off-Brand Sodas

The Carnival of Personal Finance is currently at My 1st Million at 33. They are taking votes on your favorite posts so feel free to leave a vote for whose article you enjoyed the most.
MotherLoad Article: Aldi Supermarket Price Sheet & Store Information
Must Read Article: Selling My Books on Ebay (be sure to read the comments!)

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Festival of Frugality #36

Welcome to this week's edition of the Festival of Frugality. Please do not dispair that your finances are in terrible shape- just visit our site & this festival for great tips on how to save money.

There were many great entries this week and I am honored to be the hostess. Be sure to visit the festival next week over at
Blogging Away Debt.

Here is just the inspiration you have been looking for!


“Free advice is worth the price.” Robert Half

No Credit Needed revisits a past entry and shares a link to free graph paper. Now I can start drawing up graphs of high chair placement in our house. For some reason there is nowhere to put this. I will have to put this freebie to use in our house. I also will graph out placement of husband, two children, and dog…

Money & Values gives you the scoop on how to see plays and concerts for free. You will have to read that blog entry to find out more about these great opportunities.

How about some free money? The Good Human shares how a bank’s system of rounding up their purchases has beefed up their savings account. They even get free money from their bank every single year. I don’t know about you, but my bank doesn’t give us crap…oh, that’s right. They fee us! Thanks Wells Fargo!

HollyRhea shares stories of her life growing up…and dumpster diving. You read that right- how about getting something for absolutely nothing, just by doing a little hunting through someone’s trash. Read her tips of the trade here.

I am also including my own blog entry on Aldi Supermarket. How about menu planners, information, and an entire price sheet for the store in one blog entry, all for free! Hope you can get some use out of this one!

Financial Wisdom

Money will buy you a bed, but not a good night's sleep, a house but not a home, a companion but not a friend.” Zig Ziglar

Free The Drones shares tips on how to keep your kids from busting your budget with demands for designer clothes. I would personally introduce them to a couple of little places called Goodwill & Salvation Army and let them dig for those hot brand name items.

Debt Free offers a whole slew of money-saving tips on how to save your money. Learning to cut your own hair & line drying your clothes, are just a couple of the topics covered. Just when you think you couldn’t save enough, you find out there are even more ways to save yourself some cash. For those of you who scoff at saving money, Debt Free says it’s okay to purchase a plasma television. Bet you wanna read it now!

Frugal Wisdom from Wenchypoo’s Warehouse offers a compelling look at the poor here in the United States versus the poor in other countries. It is a long post, but eye-opening, about how the poor in various countries differs.

Nina, from QueerCents, shares on an article she read on Americans and excess. This is a great entry on how we have become conditioned to take what is offered- even when we can’t afford it or don’t need it. Great read!

Becoming & Staying Debt Free has shared an entry on how just about everyone already is a millionaire. Don’t believe him? Read his post to find out more. (Be sure to read those comments because I find those just as intriguing.)

Ask Uncle Bill answers if getting your MBA at a big name school versus a state school is worth the cash. He shares his personal experience with this situation.

FDBryant shares a tip on making payments to those nasty creditors. Why not pay two times a month instead of once? Following the wise Clark Howard’s advice, you just might shave off some of that interest paid on your debts. Read more to find out how!

Cheap Living & Traveling

“Own only what you can carry with you; know language, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.” Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Free Money Finance says if you want to save big, you best be moving. Take a peek at this post on the cheapest places to live and how you can make your home there.

Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood offers their experience with finding low cost shelter. This is part two in the series and Stephanie shares some conventional and unconventional ways their family has been able to afford their housing.

It’s Just Money shares some tips for how you can attend out-of-town weddings for really cheap. Read this post before planning your next trip.

Then Things shares her tip on getting the cheapest plane tickets. Another great post to check out before you head on your next vacation.

DIY (Do It Yourself)

“Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.” Groucho Marx

Help with everything shares a list of websites and questions to ask yourself before making that purchase…you know…that one!

Frugal Homemaker Plus shares her frugal mistakes with her readers. If you have ever put something off for tomorrow and suffered a financial loss, you have experienced just what she is talking about.

Five Cent Nickel shares an experience where sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Much like the Frugal Homemaker post, putting things off for tomorrow could lead to losing some money today.

Need some new magnets for your fridge? Bling On a Shoestring shares a craft for making some beautiful magnets for little or no cost.

We’re In Debt discusses how switching your auto insurance can save you, particularly when you are being overcharged for your neighborhood. We used to live in Massachusetts and I worked as an auto insurance representative so I could definitely relate to that one!

Warning: this one is for the girls only. Have you ever noticed how much you spend on tampons or pads? Have you ever considered reusable menstrual products? You can even make these yourself. Visit Tired but happy for the scoop.

Visit The Common Room for a very frugal recipe…Curried Legumes.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

This Week in Festivals & Carnivals

Here is what is happening in this week's carnivals & festivals.

The Carnival of Debt Reduction is over at No Credit Needed.
Must Read Article: How I Reduced My Credit Card Interest Rates (they used Prosper.com, which is a people-to-people lending service that I had never heard of).

The Carnival of Family Life was hosted by Tired but Happy.
MotherLoad Article: Back-to-School Lunch Ideas
Must Read Article: The Best Financial Advice My Family Members Gave Me (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one! Kira teaches us what we should be taking the time to do with our very own children, when talking about finances with them)

The Festival of Frugality was hosted by our favorite celebrities this week. People like Bob Saget, Chuck Norris, & Fred Flinstone all share their extremely unique points of view on the festival this week. I must say that Mel Gibson did the best job out of all of them. Punny Money totally cracked me up today!
MotherLoad Article: Making Your Own Foamy Soap
Must Read Article: Craiglist First Impressions: Lots of Scammers (interesting read as they have just added our area to this free classifieds resource list).

The Carnival of Personal Finance was hosted over at Get Rich Slowly.
MotherLoad Article: Adventures in Shipping
Must Read Article: Keep track of 95% of Your Accounts in 1 Place (he shares about an online service called Yodlee, which again, I had never heard of. Looks like a great thing to look into!).

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

This Week in Festivals & Carnivals

The Carnival of Debt Reduction is over at Consumerism Commentary.
Must Read Article: How We Paid Down Our Debt & Saved Money At the Same Time...It Can Be Done!

The Festival of Frugality is located at My Financial Journey.
MotherLoad Article: Frugal Exercise Solutions
Must Read Article: Save Money on Groceries With This Hamburger Tip

The Carnival of the Recipes is appearing at Men In Aprons.
MotherLoad Recipe: Sunday Supper- Yeast Waffles
Recipe to Try: Manly Appetizer- Sausage! I think I might try to make these with Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage- that is a favorite in our house.

The Carnival of Family Life is at Everything Under the Moon
MotherLoad Article: Broken Crayons Equal Good Fun
Must Read Article: 21 Ways to Be More Creative

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

This Week in Festivals & Carnivals

Just wanted to post the latest links to the great carnivals & festivals this week.

The Carnival of Debt Reduction was hosted here so you don't even need to go outside this site to find out how to reduce your debt! Summaries for each article are provided with the links to the entries.

The Festival of Frugality is over at Financial Reflections.
Must Read Article: Jim's article on How to Invest With Only $100.
MotherLoad Article: Getting the Cheapest Shipping

The Carnival of Personal Finance is located at Just Another Money Blog.
Must Read Article: Penny Folish's article on How to Start a Blog
MotherLoad Article: My First Purchase (Using Ebates)

The Carnival of Family Life is located at The Pink Diary
Must Read Article: Home Based Businesses: How to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths
MotherLoad Article: Cheap Baby-Making

And we participated in another carnival this week!
The Carnival of Recipes is being hosted by Trub. The sediment of life.
Recipe to Try: Microwave Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie
MotherLoad Recipe: Pumpkin Pancakes

Thanks to all of the hosts for giving us the opportunity to participate!

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Carnival of Debt Reduction (#44)

Welcome to the Carnival of Debt Reduction (#44). I am excited to be hosting my first carnival (or festival, for that matter!) so I hope that you all will enjoy it! If you have not visited this blog before, I encourage you to take a peek. My blog focuses on cheap eating, recipes, frugal shopping, and inexpensive solutions for anyone who is trying to live a more frugal life.

I love to dine out, but because of the expense, I rarely get the opportunity to do so without considerable guilt. Today's carnival is guilt free though and full of good information to bite into. I have divided the posts into different categories. The main dishes are the posts that really shine this week.

Thank you to all who participated. Next week's carnival will be hosted by Money Under 30. Please be sure to stop by there for more great reads.

Finally, if you are interested in hosting, you can find out more information here.

Amanda, the Young & Broke webmistress, shares a new tool at Money Central. This new tool is supposed to help users determine where they stand, debt-wise, and how to proceed towards reducing that debt. Is it a good tool? Check out Amanda’s comments to get the real scoop.

On the Getting Out of Debt blog, Supermom shares her amazing progress that she has made towards reducing her overall debt. You can read her plan of action for the month and where she is planning to put her next funds towards.

The Prince of Thrift, over at Becoming & Staying Debt Free shares how Dave Ramsey encourages everyone that takes his Financial Peace University course to create a financial mission statement. It was because of that that he decided to post his statement in his blog, setting off waves of other PF blogs to also create and post their own mission statements. So what is your financial mission?

Free Money Finance shares some real & true stories of people who managed to pay off their debt, including a couple who had 30K in wedding bills and got them paid down in a year. They implemented things like not eating out and not shopping for expensive toys as ways you can reduce your debt. Hmmm… how about not spending 30K on weddings and say, “I Do!” in Vegas, baby!

Boston Gal’s Open Wallet submits a great piece, entitled “Neither Quick Nor Easy.” Of hot debate: was Scrooge a good guy and just misunderstood because of his frugalness? Or, was Scrooge the villain that the world portrays him as? You be the judge!

One of my favorite blogs, “We’re in Debt” suggests a better way of managing all of that paper. What? The random piles we have established all over the house (and in the car, and under the bed, and under my seat) is not a system? I beg to differ!

Jim, over at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity shares his dilemma on paying his student loans back. No, he is not wondering if he should pay them. He is really just questioning in what order one should pay their bills. The post was interesting, but I really found the comments even more interesting.

AboutPMI shares some tips for paying down your mortgage faster. Included is a link to a handy dandy calculator (and I know how much the readers love a good calculator!) showing how much it would benefit you if you paid biweekly versus monthly. Now if I can just get that darn PMI removed over in our house, I would be a happy camper.

Free the Drones asks the question is debt really bad? And if it is, what types of debt do you need to be tackling? Find out about ways you can knock out your debt (oh, and there is a calculator for all of you number crunching junkies!) and find yourself on the fast track to financial freedom.

Steve from Debt Free throws out a suggestion to his readers that maybe if you want to live a debt-free life, you should consider eliminating a family pet into your life’s equation. It is interesting to see the astounding costs associated with owning an animal, but look at their sweet little faces and just try to say no….

The Car Buying Tips blog offers some tips to people who think playing musical chairs with cars is a good idea. Guess what? It isn’t! Read more of Chuck’s blog to find out why you should hang onto your cars and not experience these nasty cases of tradeitis.

Frugal Wisdom From Wenchypoo’s Warehouse discusses a recent letter to the Dollar Stretcher in relation to the fundamentals of economics. Did you ever wonder why the potato chips in those bags are getting smaller and smaller? Well, Wenchypoo explains it all (and then some)!

Paul’s Tips (by Paul, imagine that!) shares how to determine whether you are better off renting or buying. Dust off your calculators, get a pen and paper, & get ready to find out your housing destiny.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Festivals & Carnivals

This week in Festivals & Carnivals....

The Carnival of Debt Reduction (#42) is up at Blogging Away Debt. Our Solutions for Cheap Trash Bags was included this week.

The Carnival of Family Life (#8) is back in its hometown at The Pink Diary. Our blog entry on Simon Mall's Kidgits Program was included this week.

Raising 4 Boys hosted the Carnival of Personal Finance #55 (which was no small task given the holiday weekend). Included within this carnival of finance was our Sam's Club Review (if you haven't read it- it truly is a must read!)

The Festival of Frugality took a vacation this week and will be back, in full force, next week.

This week's good reads....

Pragmatic Finance has a great blog entry on Discover Cards current rewards. Most notably, for parents, is the five percent back on tuition costs (including preschool!).

Supermom in NY has three tips for people trying to get themselves out of debt. She has a particularly useful one on utilizing money orders for people who are not cash savvy.

Tired but Happy has a great blog entry on the public school systems. She is exploring charter schools (just like our family!) and offers some great options for parents when choosing the public schools.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Festivals & Carnivals

The carnivals and festivals are up & posted for the week- thank you to all the hosts who have included us!

Free Money Finance is hosting this week's Festival of Frugality. Included within the submissions is our Friday Freebie: Free Samples.

Mighty Bargain Hunter is the host for the Carnival of Personal Finance (#54). Included within these submissions is our Frugal Momma's Test Kitchen: Starbucks Banana Pound Cake.

Blueprint for Financial Prosperity is hosting the Carnival of Debt Reduction (#41). Our submission of Online Grocery Shopping was included within this.

Finally, the Carnival of Family Life is now traveling and is over at Snapshot. Our Friday Freebie: Free Samples was also located there.

Frugal Momma's top picks for good reads this week:

How Far Do You Go With Cashback? is a great entry on how people have creatively taken advantage of the cashback on their credit cards. The real question is how far is too far AND if one is disciplined enough to actually pay their balance so they get rewards (and not fees!)

The End of My Frugal Rope is a great read for people who are disciplined in the fine art of frugality. What do you do when you are already doing all you can to save your family money? How do you tap into your creativity when you think you know it all?

Free Summer Activities for Your Kids is a great read for parents. I know I am always looking for free stuff to do with my children and supermom points out some great ways to keep them busy!

There is also a great entry on Common Mistakes in Becoming Debt Free that is worth taking a look at. The one I struggle with...Being Pound Wise & Pound Foolish.

Thanks again to all of our hosts! Looking forward to sharing more next week!

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