Year End Wrap-Up

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

As promised, here are the numbers for this year's groceries.

I mentioned before that I allot myself $20 a week for groceries, so our yearly grocery budget is simply based off of $20 x 52 weeks, which is $1,040 for the year.

I came in at $981.49, with $58.51 remanding. What a good feeling to come in under budget, when I never thought I could feed us off of so little a week! God has definitely provided for us this year, and we are so grateful for all He has given us.

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Grocery deals 12/29

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We didn't get a picture of yesterday's grocery deals, since we were tired and hungry when we got home. Earlier in the week, we grabbed a half gallon of milk at the gas station on our way into town.

Here's a rundown from yesterday, I'm doing this from memory:

Farm Fresh

We got about 3+lbs of boneless skinless chicken - about $7
2 small steaks - about $4
a can of mushrooms - $1
Bumble Bee tuna - free
Softsoap hand soap - free
2 bags of Krunchers chips - $2
2 boxes of Celestial Seasonings tea - $1.80
State Fair corn dogs - $1.20
2 naval oranges - $2

Our total came to $19.91 - just under budget. Before coupons, the total was about $31.


David and I each got a bottle of Tone body wash, sale price $3.88 and you get back $3 ECBs. We had two $1/1 coupons to make a small money maker.
David' s bottle was on clearance for $2.49!

I also got a 12-pack of Charmin for $3, which I paid for with my ECBs.

Total OOP (tax) was 88 cents. I have $7.79 left in ECBs now and David has $5.79.

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A Year Ends Review

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

A few things to catch up on...

Neptune Festival

Regent University v. TCC

A bunch of Regent Law students got together to play the community college soccer team. We weren't in the best of shape, but it is amazing how the older more experienced in life players no matter how untrained, out-of-shape, and pick-up-like the team is the older team gets the best of the younger team.
I feel like this is the way it just is in life.

I was the keeper and it was a shutout.

Millennium Falcon


And Now...

It's Christmas Time...

Yes you did see him in the Woods

Triple "R" Ranch
They have a nice Christmas in the Country
With a live nativity and other festive things.
We went for the first time this year and would
Like to go back next year.

Merry Christmas!
Remember we can enjoy eternal life because
God loves us and gave Himself for us.

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Merry Christmas!

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

We're leaving tomorrow for Chicago for a week, so we'll have at least two weeks (this week and next) off of grocery shopping. That money and then some will be going to meals on the road. When I get back, I'm looking forward to seeing how I did with my grocery budget for the year :) Have a great Christmas, everyone!

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Grocery Deals 12/8

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I know everybody must think that David and I eat an awful lot of boxed brownie and muffin mix, based on these pictures. The truth of the matter is that we have a very full shelf stuffed with boxes of brownie and muffin mix! I need to get around to donating them. In the meantime, they are good filler items in transactions I want to do at the store because they are free.

We spent $10.08 on the items above. We saved 68% on the total after coupons. We went to Walmart yesterday and picked up several groceries I needed for specific dishes for various Christmas events and the homemade pizza I made last night, and spent about $12, putting me $2 over budget this week. That rounds out the groceries for the week.

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Free Candles at Target

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Airwick candles are on sale (or rollback or something) at Target for $2.99. I have some $3/1 Airwick candle coupons from a SmartSource, which made them free! I got the last two candles that the Military Highway Target had. Yay for free candles!

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Grocery Deals 12/1

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There were some good deals at Farm Fresh yesterday, such as this cocoa, on sale for $1 each. I had three $1/3 coupons so I paid 3 for a dollar after doubled coupon. I had coupons for the free chips and free crackers. The pecans were my only real splurge, I had room in my budget and they were on sale for $4.29. Besides this picture, I got food for dinner that night,but they were already in use by the time the picture was taken :) So I spent about $9 for all the groceries pictured. You can find matchups at The Coupon Challenge HERE.

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Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

We're diving headfirst into Christmas events this week. It all kicks off with a cookie exchange I'm going to this evening and each of our weekends before Christmas have something going on. Tomorrow, we start reading The Advent Book, which is one of my favorite traditions. I love going through the Christmas story every day in December and enjoying the beautiful heirloom-quality book. I'm so thankful that my mom got us a copy last year before our first Christmas together!

Soon we'll be drinking eggnog and driving around looking at Christmas lights, and before you know it, we'll be in Chicago for a proper white (cold, at least) Christmas. :)

So tell me - what specific events or activities are you particularly looking forward to before Christmas?

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Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

If you're on my Facebook, you know that I roasted my turkey yesterday. It's the 13-lb Butterball that I picked up for 58 cents a pound a few weeks ago.

Growing up, my mom was always up early on Thanksgiving morning working on the turkey. I always thought that roasting a turkey was such an intimidating, difficult process. Last year, with great trepidation, I did my research and roasted my first turkey and it turned out amazing. Now this year, I was able to do it with very little hands on time, no fear and trembling, and once again we got a perfectly roasted turkey. I had no idea how easy it could be! Of course a 13-lb turkey is a lot easier to handle than the big birds my mom always had to cook to feed our whole brood.

Some of the tricks I learned (online, mostly) for the yummiest turkey is to stuff the cavities with quartered apples, onions, lemon and fresh herbs and roasting the turkey upside down so that all the juices run into the breast and stay there. You end up with the most flavorful, juiciest turkey breast! What are your favorite tricks and tips for Thanksgiving morning?

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A Word About My Grocery Budget

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

I just want to start by saying that I'm very thankful for how God has provided for us. He has given me a job that (almost every day) I enjoy and the health and energy to do it. He also has placed David and me in an area where coupon deals are abundant and kept our coupon-printing equipment working.

Today I want to give you a little peek into my grocery budget and how it works.

1. David keeps our budget on a very complex, but easy to use Excel spreadsheet. He keeps track of every penny and has really done a great job figuring our budget out.

2. I try to spend $20 or less a week for groceries.

3. We get nearly all of our produce along with some other food from the food bank at the school. David volunteers at the food pantry often and although we aren't financially strapped enough to be dependent on the food pantry, they are often trying to get people to take the food so they don't have to throw it away.

>>>>>This explains why you rarely see produce in my grocery trip posts!

4. Our budget is really a monthly and yearly budget. I can spend $20 for 52 weeks in a year (this takes care of the 5-week month problem). In other words, if I go over my budget one month, I can just spend less the next month to make up for it so that I stay within my overall grocery budget for the year.

5. We budget eating out separately than the grocery budget. Often when I splurge and get a Starbucks or another treat, I may mentally take it out of my grocery budget and simply spend less on groceries that week, when in actuality, David puts it under Eating Out in our budget.

6. Drugstore purchases are separate from the grocery budget, but our drugstore/toiletry budget is $0. While playing the "Drugstore Game", we rarely pay for more than tax and are able to get all of the razors, shampoo, body wash, and feminine products that we need.

7. I do like to serve food as healthy as possible, but our downfall is snacks and desserts :) Right now I would like to change to organic and local foods, but it is not a change I am able to do at this time. Once David gets out of school and I'm at home, this will become a priority to me and I'm looking forward to it. I've told him before that when our grocery budget expands, this will be the first thing I will change. It doesn't make much sense now to buy organic produce, for example, when I can get my produce for free.

There you have it! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

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Grocery Deals 11/3/10

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Happy Birthday, Mom! I celebrated by getting lots of freebies at the store today. You can have any of them that you want, ok? :)

First we hit up Harris Teeter's super doubles to use the $5 catalina I had to use this week from some deal a few weeks ago. I walked away with these groceries, paying $1.76 out of pocket and got another $3 catalina (from the Grands biscuits) to use next week :) :) :) Oh and the Garlic powder? I just ran out and it was on sale. Sweet deal. The Coupon Challenge has great matchups HERE.

Then we went to Farm Fresh to see what was going on there.

Why yes, yes that is a turkey. When you spend $25 (before coupons), you can get a Butterball for 58 cents a pound. The only problem was that WHERE ARE WE GOING TO PUT A WHOLE TURKEY!?! I didn't really plan ahead for a turkey sale today. David rearranged the freezer while I took the picture. Turkey is safe.

I also did the deal on the back page of the ad - buy 10 participating products, get $5 off at the register. That explains almost everything else in this picture. Oh by the way - I spent $15.83 on all of this. Including the turkey. Thankfully, the people in line behind me were impressed rather than impatient. As always, you can find the matchups at The Coupon Challenge HERE.

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Grocery Deals 10/27

Posted by: WoodElves / Category: ,

I hadn't realized it's been over a month since I posted grocery deals! Lately I've been so stocked up, I've only been getting a few items each week and haven't been impressed enough to post them. This week, however, I've felt like I have nothing in the house to eat (although we do, maybe I just haven't felt like cooking?) and needed some things so thankfully got good deals on them :)

This is my Farm Fresh trip - I spent $17.61. Before coupons, everything was over $50 so that's a savings of about 65% after sales.

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Rite Aid 10/10/10

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

It's a fantastic week at Rite Aid this week. We spent $15.34 and are getting $15 back in rebates. (There were 2 Lysol wipes but we left one in the car). I can't believe 40 loads of Purex is included in this! I love how good it makes my clothes smell :) I got all my matchups from Southern Savers HERE.

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Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

I dunno...

Do you think this is too much?

I really want to know.

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Grocery deals 9/29

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I got my pumpkin yesterday at Walmart for about $4. :) Just think of all the yummy goodies I can make with it!!

This is today's Farm Fresh & Food Lion trips. Total $7.98, saved about $25. Kind of a random trip but I didn't need anything except the lunchmeat and bread. I wanted to do the cheese deal at Food Lion but they decided not to accept my internet coupons :P so I'll try another Food Lion tomorrow.

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Law for the Layman

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

Wondering what a lawyer knows...
and the things lawyers have to know?

Well, there is a plethora of things that lawyers could know, do know, or should know. But all things considered, most lawyers only know the pertinent information in their field of law or expertise, and may remember some things they may be interested in or remember from ages ago in law school.

Wondering what the layman knows...
and the things laymen could know about law?

Many non-lawyers do not take the time to educate themselves on the law and do not have a need to beyond what the speed limit is, how to file their taxes, and any pertinent laws necessary for their line of work. Everything else, we leave to the lawyers to explain, argue about, and slide by us.

If you are interested...
there are ways the layman can be educated in the law.

The Citizens Law Academy and Citizen Law Enforcement Academy are just examples of how the general public can educate themselves through attending classes open to the public for the purpose of educating everyday people on the law.
Also, if you are really interested in learning the law, you can dive into cases in your state from the past ten year or Supreme Court cases. If you are wondering what the judges in your state are writing about in their opinions you can go read them. LexisONE® is a LexisNexis research tool for personal use. You may search free case law here.

Just another way to learn legal things...
but not recommended for accurate legal information.

Video found here.
BY: Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University

[The information and content on this blog is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed, nor is anything submitted to this blog treated as confidential.]

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Virginia Symphony

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

Under the Stars

A nice mixture of the classics (The Beatles & Broadway)
Combined with the Classical (Rockmaninoff & Russian Dances)

Or if you enjoy the symphony on the sand...

Down at the beach
Enjoy the Classical and Classics.

It was nice to enjoy a free date night
Or a nice time to catch up with old and new friends

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Free Lipstick!!

Posted by: WoodElves / Category: ,

This week at CVS, certain Revlon products, including lipstick, are on sale for $6.99 and you get $5 ECBs back. There is a $2/1 lustrous lipstick coupon HERE which will make them free. However, when I went to my CVS, I found several of the lipsticks with $2/1 peelies on them! The best part of this is that there is a limit of 6 per CVS card! As you can see, I got 6 different shades to try. If I don't like one, I didn't waste anything by trying it out! Tax around here was about 35 cents each stick.

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Grocery deals 9/15

Posted by: WoodElves / Category: , ,

Wow, what a good week! First, Farm Fresh:

We used the cheese catalina from a couple weeks ago and spent $1.12 on the products above! Not happy about the shopper who took all the peelie coupons off my flour though. Get the matchups at The Coupon Challenge HERE. I only got the cookie pouches because I didn't have room for 6 flours and the deal was only good if you got 6 participating products ;)

Then off to Harris Teeter for SUPER DOUBLES! I can't believe EVERYTHING was still in stock this evening. Yay :)

We spent $3.76 on the products above, originally $30.62. I know a coupon that *should* have doubled, didn't but it was still less than I was expecting :) I'm glad about the hairspray - I had just run out. And the Dole juice is thanks to a random $.50/1 coupon that David rescued that someone was going to throw out, so we got $1 juice. :) Despite the matchups, it's still good to go up and down every aisle if you have the time, you never know what you'll find on sale that you have a coupon for.
Find the matchups at the Coupon Challenge HERE.

How did you do this week?

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Weekly Deals 9/01

Posted by: WoodElves / Category: ,

This is a little late, but here is my picture of the cheese I bought with the deal in the previous post:

I spent $21.53 on the groceries above and have $10 in catalinas to use on my next trip to Farm Fresh. We did three transactions to get 14 bags of cheese (and one carton of sour cream, which I needed). I tried to roll the catalina with one transaction and it didn't automatically print out; they printed it for me, but I am not sure that I would say the catalina rolls.

I've been looking for a good price on graham crackers all summer for s'mores... these were on sale for $3 so I went ahead and got them since I didn't have a lot else on my shopping list this week.

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Free Cheese at Farm Fresh

Posted by: WoodElves / Category: ,

There's a great deal on Kraft cheese at Farm Fresh this week, and combined with the coupon below it makes for free cheese! When you buy 5 participating products, a $5 catalina will print out. Combine this with the $5/5 coupon:

Here's how it works:
Buy 5 Kraft chunk or shredded cheese at $2 each.
Use 1 $5 off 5 coupon above
Spend $5.25 out of pocket including tax
Get back a $5 coupon off your next order

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Grocery 8/25

Posted by: WoodElves / Category: ,

Great trip tonight and it ended up being a big grocery week for me. We went to Farm Fresh after stopping at the hospital to see our friends' gorgeous little baby. We were tired, but Hilary raced me through the store so it didn't take very long.

Before coupons, the total was $50.50 and we paid $14.90, which is savings of 71%. Lots of free items this week - find the matchups at The Coupon Challenge HERE.

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A couple deals

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

Here are a couple random deals that I thought was worth it to go out to the store for, so I thought I'd post them in case you had the right coupons too.

Airwick Compact iMotion FREE at Walgreens after Smart Source coupon

Free Skintimate shave gel at Target after 2 Smart Source coupons

Thanks, Money Saving Mom.

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End of Summer

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

I do feel a little guilty that I've only been posting my weekly grocery trips on here. I know it's a lot more fun to do than to read about.

David started school Monday and Hilary is leaving tomorrow (*sniff*) so it really feels like the summer's over for us. Besides, it's all cool(ish) and gloomy out so it makes me feel like breaking out the pumpkin spice scents and making apple butter. No, seriously. :) But the moment I do, I'll miss summer's fresh fruit smoothies, light clothes, the beach, tan skin...

As far as what we've been doing lately, I've been working full time all summer so I'm afraid I've made it a bit boring for the other two because I come home tired in the evening and just want to relax... and just want to relax on most of the weekends, too. David's internship wrapped up earlier this month and then he set to work getting ready for his last year of law school and doing more perusing job opportunities. He also helped with the village food pantry a lot. We've enjoyed hanging out with the College & Career group from church over the summer, eating and playing games - lots of good times! Actually, church still remains the highlight of our week.

For me, it's been really nice to have my sister here. It's been good to be able to reconnect and just spend time together since the most time we've spent together in the past 6 years was the 9 months of my engagement, and then I was working the third shift and planning my wedding, and she was a full time student and working.
Furthermore, since she has been here, I've had a friend who is more like me. Most of my friends in VA weren't homeschooled, haven't had an upbringing like mine, and don't have as much in common with me. I have definitely enjoyed having a friend here who understands me and has my sense of humor (kind of) and I can have a conversation with while being on the same page. I have just appreciated that so much as it is something I was really missing.

I'm definitely grateful that God has been meeting all of our needs and taking care of us and I've really enjoyed all the blessings He has given us over the summer.

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Posted by: WoodElves / Category: ,

Not a big grocery week for me this week - I grabbed some ground beef at Farm Fresh and a few things at Walmart and that was it for grocery.

I did head to Target though to see how I could do on their deals.

Amongst the items I got, I found these Glade Sense N Sprays originally priced at $8.98 marked down on clearance for $3.98.

A quick search through my coupons found two $3/1 coupons so I was able to get them for only 98 cents each! My target price for these is usually $1 and I love how the Apple Cinnamon scent feels like fall... I'll try to hold these for another month. :)

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Grocery deals 8/11

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Another fantastic week at the stores! I wasn't that excited about the deals at Harris Teeter's super doubles, but once we went to the store and they weren't out of anything we wanted to get, it turns out we were able to get some good deals.
We paid 43 cents for everything in the picture above and saved over $50. We did pay with the $10 catalina we got on the cereal last week, and we grabbed the chips in the checkout line to bring us up over $10. The catalina helped me to get the Glad wrap and oil that I needed and didn't have coupons for. I used the Nabisco coupon for 1 free package of cookies when you buy milk and another cookies available on their Facebook page once a month and the cookies were on sale for B1G1 so they were both free.

After Harris Teeter, we went to Farm Fresh and spent $3.60.

The hot dog buns were on sale for 99c each. They were out of the 25c Nature's Own bread I wanted to get so maybe I'll go back later this week. I was glad to find the Tornados since they aren't listed on their website, and it turns out they were on sale so after my $1/1 coupons they were free.

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Grocery deals 8/4

Posted by: WoodElves / Category: , ,

What a great week at the grocery stores and a fun evening shopping in the middle of a busy week at work!

Please don't judge me based on the pictures below. I promise we eat produce, meat and other healthy stuff. This is just what was cheap this week :)

First, David went to Harris Teeter this morning.

Kellogg's products are 50% off this week, and when you buy 10 products a $10 catalina prints. He also got 2 Pillsbury cinnamon rolls for 60 cents each after coupon. His total for the picture above was $10.08 and he received a $10 catalina for our next trip.

This evening, I went to Harris Teeter again to roll the catalina:

I had to add a pack of gum to this order to bring it up to $10.02. We paid with the $10 catalina and got another one for our next trip. Furthermore, these corn flakes are marked Free after Rebate, so it will be a money maker!

After work, we went to Farm Fresh for bread, free yogurt and cookies, and to do catalina deal that they had running.
Before coupons, the total was over $31. We paid $9.01 and a $4 catalina was supposed to print out but it didn't so they gave us $4 in cash, making our total about $5!! We got 2 juices, 2 Edwards Pie singles and some store brand cookie dough to do the catalina deal. Sweet!

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Grocery 7/28

Posted by: WoodElves / Category: , ,

My husband has been cleaning the house spic and span for me this week, and we finally got our own internet so I feel like I can relax and do a post or two. :) He's the best.

We went to Farm Fresh today after I went to Target by myself.

First, the Farm Fresh trip:
We paid $6.87 for the items above. You can find the matchups at The Coupon Challenge HERE. I had a $1/1 coupon for the Trop 50 that I printed out earlier this month and is no longer available, making the orange juice only $1 each. We saved 73%.

The Target trip is here:

I spent $3.79 and saved $14.78. I couldn't believe that my total before coupons was over $16!! It doesn't look like very much, does it?! It was more than I intended to pay but I guess the pack of socks I picked up were in the wrong spot so I thought they were cheaper than they were. My matchups were from Money Saving Mom HERE.

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Daisies and Twinkies

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

A couple of weekends ago, David and I traveled to Ohio for the wedding of one of my dearest friends, Noel. She and I have been friends since she moved in next door to me my junior(?) year of college and I was honored to have her stand up in my wedding with me.

It was a pretty long trip for just a weekend - 12 hours
each way, with overnight stops in West Virginia - but David pulled over to let me pick flowers off the side of the road along Route 35, so it brightened up the car a little.

Of course, the best part was seeing Noel and spending time getting ready with the girls. It was an absolutely gorgeous wedding with an absolutely gorgeous bride.
When I saw Noel all dressed and perfect, it took my breath away - no wonder Nate teared up when he saw her come down the aisle!

Getting situated for wedding party pictures:

Gotta love the bride and groom Twinkies with the cake!

And spending all that time with my groom, the sweetest man I've ever met! I love going to weddings together because it reminds us of our wedding, not only the happiest day of our lives but the beginning of many happy days together. Nate and Noel's God-focused wedding reminded us of our own vows and our individual roles in our marriage with God as the center. It was a very sweet, although tiring, trip and we are so glad we were able to go.

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Birthday on Deck

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

As good a place as ever to celebrate a birthday is at the docks, watching the boats come in and out, hearing tales of sea adventures, watching the sun go down, eating good seafood, and spending a romantic evening with your beautiful wife.

The Deck Restaurant is a good place for such an evening but you may have to tell your own sea adventure stories.

It's nice to grow old with someone you love and celebrate the years together on this earth before we meet our Saviour.

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