Friday, August 29, 2008

Frugal Friday - The "I started my Part Time Job" edition

There is some debate over what "Frugal" is and isn't. I guess it's a personal choice. Some are disappointed in the number of "saving money" posts under Frugal, some are tired of the same old same old.

I view my money saving strategies as a way of being frugal with my families money. There is only so much of it, and it has to go a long way!

There are some things I do that are Frugal, Green and not cheap - CF bulbs for one! There is nothing cheap about them!

Then there are things that are cheap and not Green, probably not Frugal either - I use my dryer! It's cheap because we have subsidized electricity, I still hang a few things out when I can. Sheets are just better dried outside. But with my new energy star washer the clothes are usually barely damp when they come out so the dryer isn't working as hard or as long. I know it would be free to just hang them outside, but what is my time worth? And I don't have enough line to house my 2 loads a day!

We compost which is all of the above, at least when something goes bad before it's eaten it has a purpose, it doesn't just get tossed. We garden, which isn't very cheap at all! Well, the tomatoes that self seeded were freebies, so that helped! I am going to try saving seeds this year & maybe we won't spend so much on them next year!

Coupons - Well they aren't free, even the printables aren't! You use ink & paper, you have to buy the newspaper to get them. Unless you have someone give them to you, like I do, but then I still buy the papers so I have multiples. So I have to use them, and save more than the cost of the papers to make it worth my while. I spend $3 a week. This week I used quiet a few so the papers were more than covered! But I don't every week and they are time consuming, and you have to keep them organized, plus all that time spent planning and surfing the flyers.

I think that the biggest challenge with being Frugal is that it is not "normal," we have been fighting all summer with the kids about why we turned the TV off. While I was at work this week my hubby caved. He lowered our package, but it's still on. I can't say I'm happy. I thought we had decided not to bother, mostly because the package we have doesn't include a lot of the channels we watch regularly (Discovery Home, DIY, Encore) and to get them we'd have to double our monthly expense. So not worth it to me! But it's on & they had better like it, cuz Momma ain't happy!

Some other Frugal articles -

Ramblings of a Penny Pincher

Making a Difference while still being frugal.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Wow! Wow ! Wubbzy! DVD Giveaway!

I am thrilled to be giving away a Pre-Release DVD copy of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! "A Tale of Tails". Wubbzy has been thrilling my kiddos since 2006. It currently airs 40 times a week on Nick Jr. and Noggin. Obviously it is geared towards the preschool set, but my 9 year old seems to like it too (sorry I won't tell your teammates!).

Wubbzy, Widget, and Walden work together to solve everyday problems. Our favorite is when Wubbzy makes a cake "All by himself," but over does it on the baking soda. It's a great lesson in asking for help, working together and following directions. It's also a good lesson for parents to let them do things for themselves once in a while!

This DVD's release date is September 23 and is available from Anchor Bay Entertainment for $16.98. It includes 6 episodes plus 2 bonus episodes, a music video, coloring pages, DVD ring toss, printable activities, birthday party invitations and some sneak peeks.

  • A Tale of Tails - Wubbzy has tail issues
  • Special Delivery - Wubbzy can't resist opening Walden's package
  • Widget's Wild Ride - Widget soups up Wubbzy's Derby car
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Fleegle - Wubbzy doesn't read the manual for his new pet
  • Come Spy with Me - Wubbzy and Widget spy on Walden
  • Wubbzy Tells a Whopper - Wubbzy tells a tall tale after breaking Widget's tool
  • Bonus - Mt. Fizzy-Pop - The gang tries to keep Mt. Fizzy-Pop from erupting
  • Bonus - Puddle Muddle - Wubbzy can't keep clean for his pictures
To enter:
  • Leave a comment here, please leave an email address so I can reach you!
  • For an extra entry, blog about the giveaway, leave another comment here and leave the link (and your email)
  • The winner will be chosen at random on September 5th 9PM EST.

If you don't win this is still a great gift for your preschooler, check it out at Anchor Bay Entertainment. This is a great stocking stuffer one that will amuse them for a while!

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Busy Week Menu

Aren't we always busy! Well I start my new part time out of the house job, so until I get settled in that I'm sure it will throw a mild curve ball into our routines! Mostly laundry. I'm not sure how, but it seems like I am doing laundry 24-7!

The first football game is Saturday, practice every night. Plus we have to set up our shelter tent for a birthday party on Saturday (friend's house). The Prince starts school on the 3rd, the Princess the 9th.

So my plan for this week is basic & mostly out of the pantry.

Mac & Cheese with tuna and peas

CrackerBarrel's Hashbrown Casserole with meatloaf and a veggie.

Crockpot lasagna I have half a box of oven ready noodles, that's more than enough.

Freakin Awesome Zucchini Pancakes for breakfast night.

Busy Day Csserole with veggies.

I don't have the neighbor's kids this week, but I'm still going to make something for snacks. And I'll have to check the lunch item inventory!!!

I have a pantry list I keep of things I always have on hand, so really the only time I need a plan is when I am trying a recipe & there are things I don't have on hand. That isn't much though!

I got a recipe from this weeks Carnival of the recipes.

Check out other menus at I'm an organizing Junkie.

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Hershey's Chocolate Syrup - MYO

Hershey's Chocolate Syrup

1/2 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of salt

Combine cocoa, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Add water, and mix until
smooth. Bring this mixture to a boil. Allow it to boil for one minute,
being careful that it does not boil over. Remove from heat and let
cool. When cool, add vanilla extract.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Garden #4

I am blessed with a large yard, so our gardens are large. But I think we took on too much. I have a bumper crop of weeds and very little harvest to show for all our work. I seem to be weeding a lot, even 15 minutes a day I have become over whelmed. The weeds are alien & they are taking over! Of course I am counting the flower beds too. One of which is 90% natural so I can't fabric & mulch it. The other needed this season to gather some more organic matter, why we used the straw for mulch. I have planted some perennials there but most of it was annuals. So next season I will till in the organics, fabric and mulch it around the perennials.

I was inspired by I've Paid for this Twice Already...'s shopping bag challenge to think of a creative use for my horde. So I bought a couple bags of ceder mulch on sale (love end of season) and I'm going to edge my "natural" bed with long pieces cut from plastic shopping bags & cover it with the mulch. I think I'll hold it in place with flat rocks & just cover everything. I'll share pics when it's done. I was just going to use landscape fabric, but this way it's practically free!

Today's harvest netted 3 ears on corn & a bunch of green beans. Now that the bushes have finally started producing more than a handful at a time I am going to have to restrain myself into leaving pods to collect seeds from.

Things I am noting for next year
  • Study - Newspaper, Pennies, Cardboard, and Eggs--For Growing a Better Garden: More than 400 New, Fun, and Ingenious Ideas to Keep Your Garden Growing Great All Season Long
  • Sprout my difficult seeds before planting in seed starter, I had too few actually become seedlings
  • Use Willow branches as a "rooting" hormone to take cuttings off of my lilacs, wisteria & roses and pot them.
  • The pumpkin garden can't have other vine plants in it. I'm thinking next year we stick with corn & sunflowers along the outside.
  • Cucumbers should be on a trellis
  • watermelon is hard to grow
  • I am going to use landscape fabric, or start saving my pizza boxes now (and the neighbors)
  • Plant 2x as many plants as I think I need, except for tomatoes.
  • Save seeds from your harvest, the pumpkins we saved last year are doing great!
  • I may have our soil tested next year
  • I am not going to plant perennial fruits here, but I am going to put some in at my Mom's
  • The kids I babysit cannot be trusted in areas of the yard where plants are. Or animals, or toys...
  • The compost bin has been neglected & needs some TLC.
I have orange tomatoes! Maybe some day I'll be able to pick some, even can some.

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Back to School Shopping

I know some kids are already back to school, but here they make us wait another 2 WEEKS!

My shopping is almost all done. I can't say it's done, because we still need some zip-top bags and a new backpack (think I'm pulling the K & 1st grade one back out, that was still in good shape, 2nd grade bit the dust), but the basic supplies are all here!

The best part is, I didn't spend a fortune. I picked up a few things everytime I went shopping after they started filling shelves with it. Skipping over the glossy sparkly stuff (I only had to buy for the Prince, Princess doesn't need much if anything) I managed to get everything on his list for just under $8. Not bad for all that is there! The most expensive item was the glue sticks, from a MEGA pack, so I still have a bunch at home for me and the Princess to craft with! Between the practically free stuff I picked up at Walgreens, the cheap 5 cent notebooks at Wal-Mart I was able to pick up a few extras for me (like pens).

The biggest difference between 2nd & 3rd grade - matching notebooks & folders, he's a big boy now 3 subjects ~ tear, sigh~ and they had to be the same. Otherwise everything was similar, except he needs an old sock for a dry erase board. I'm ass-uming to learn cursive writing, but I could be wrong.

I felt like I had to save as much as possible on the supplies because clothing is outrageous! My boy is a husky, that usually means big bucks & good luck finding anything in a store (ok rural here remember, I'm an hour away from any mall)... Hopefully football will slim him down enough to avoid that challenge. At least he doesn't need a closet full of new things, that would be bank breaking!

I am also pretty sure that he has a bunch of pants he can still wear. He just needs some new shirts, for some reason my kids can stain things by looking at them! Towards the end of school last year he started wearing a t-shirt EVERYDAY, it was painful. Of course he'd wear jogging pants everyday if he could too, he really is his father's son LOL!

I am trying to get his wardrobe down to a manageable inventory, but the kids has more than I do. Hopefully I can get him down to
  • 7 pairs of pants (jeans & khakis)
  • 5 dress - polo shirts
  • 14 t-shirts (he has at least 50 so this is a biggie, lawn sales, hand-me downs, grandparents)
  • 5 PJ sets - 4 of these are on the list, he has outgrown all but 1 pair of feety jammies!
  • 5 pair of jogging pants
  • 5 Sweat shirts
  • 2 Sweaters
  • 1 All season jacket - also needs to be purchased, we like the kind with zip outs, they tend to last longer. The last one he had from
*Just so I qualify the chunky-ness of my son, he is about 54 inches tall (4feet 6inches) and will be going in the football program at 101 pounds. He has a belly, but he's mostly just a solid little guy. The coach apparently had to weigh him twice couldn't believe it.

I have discovered that we ALL need to up our cardio a little not just him...

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Give your tech stuff ears

Extend your Wi-Fi for free give it ears...

I had to check this out, mostly because I think it's hilarious, but because we have a lot of house in between computers. I wonder if there is a similar technique to boost my cordless phone signal. I have a 5.8, you'd think I could walk into the laundry room and not lose signal, but alas...

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My Laundry Room Closet

I swore I had posted about this project before, but I can't find it now...

My coat closet may not be as pretty as the Organizing Junkie but when it's cleaned up it's functional. Barely, but hey details! I was hoping for more space to use the shelves & the top self is so high I can almost reach it using m y step ladder... It's become a good place for hubby to store his hunting gear.

We moved the dryer to carve out this space. When we moved in there was a table here for folding, but my old dryer wouldn't fit side by side with the washer. Now that I have 2 new appliances they fit in the proper space. Of course they usually look like this.

It's hard to fathom just how much this house has changed since we've moved into it. I hope it likes us! We rip out carpet and walls & paint over ugly wallpaper, bad owners!!!

I have no idea how I'm going to pare down our stuff when we sell. But the house we are moving to (maybe, someday, 3 years down the road...) is HALF the size of our space... I am just going to keep decluttering and hope that I can get rid of a lot in the auction my parents will HAVE to have when they move.

This room photographs well, the ugly purple paint doesn't look so ugly or purple in these pictures. Maybe I won't have to paint it! And I found the border at the dollar store, so I know the previous owners didn't spend a small fortune on this room to decorate it!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blogging the Recession

How are you doing? Faithfully clicking through those feeds? I am trying.

I am also clicking through on your adsense, just one way to make a difference!!! LOL! One penny at a time.

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Someone "Hearts" me!

The Nest Egg bestowed an award on me, I am honored, thank you, I'm glad you "heart" my blog!

Now I have to "heart" 7 blogs, oh where to start!!!

Mom Giveaways

Stop the Ride

The Hunter's Wife

A year of CrockPotting

Lis Garrett

I've got a Little Space to Fill

We are THAT Family

I get SO many great blog feeds in my Google Reader, it was hard to chose only 7, so I did it kind of randomly & included 2 that I've read for a long time.

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Frugal Tip #15

Homemaker Barbi has a list of 50 frugal tips.

My favorite ~ ~12. Use a 30-day list. To curb impulse buys, create a 30-day list. When you want to buy something, other than a true necessity (medicine or food, for example), put it on this list, with the date you added it to the list. And make it a rule that you can’t buy anything for at least 30 days after you put it on the list. And stick to it. You’ll find that you buy a lot less with this system.~ I think I will start doing this with the kids they seem to want something new every 5 minutes...

I think the best frugal tip I have today is to have breakfast for dinner at least once a week. Eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage all are relatively cheaper than most main meal items (steak anyone!)

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Way to go Jenn!

Congrats on your Women's Pole Vault Silver medal!!!

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Tackle it Tuesday #18

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I am tackling a few things right now!
~ My desk, the pile is stuff, but it is in file folders!
1. Coupons
2. Resumes
3. To be filed
4. Mail

The rest is mostly cleared off! WooohooO!

~ The house
  • 1. We inherited my parents hot tub, so this week has been all about cleaning it, setting it up, filling it, only to find it needs a part we have to have shipped.... Hurry up and wait, I just love it!
  • 2. I have a home inspection today with social services. The kids I babysit for are "funded" so I had to set up a "daycare" account. They are just coming to make sure I have a "safe" environment.
  • 3. Laundry - mostly putting it away, I really need to stop being bad at that part of it. I don't mind the washing & drying...
  • 4. Surfaces - I know they are evil, but nothing is sacred here, not even chairs or the couch. If it's flat they will put something on it!
~Hamster cages
  • We lost Mater to a prison escape last month, this week we lost Princess to an unknown illness we have given her a proper burial. But now I have 3 empty hamster cages to deal with. Think I'll just put them in the basement until we are ready for new ones. Maybe the chipmunks can use them as condos.
  1. We have recently made a HUGE decision to sell this house in 3 years and buy my parents. They are building a new house on property they own. I have a feeling that I will spend the next 3 years finding ways to fix up this house without spending much money & convincing my Mom to let me take down the blue wallpaper on her dime LOL! We are already working together on a new exterior paint scheme. Of course I will be the one painting! Oh yea & the carpet in the kitchen HAS to go!
  2. I start an out of the home job on Monday! It's part time office help, at a non-profit organization. It's flexible, I get to do all the stuff I like in an office setting & I get paid for it!
  3. So my lists are all the things I have to get done in the next week, and all the things the house NEEDS in the next 3 years! It really could be 2 years, but we've also thought about not selling this house & keeping it as rental property. It also depends on how fast my Parents new house gets built. It's a DIY job, so it won't be up in 2 weeks! But they have already started hard core acquiring of lumber.
~Football practice
~Cleaning out the freezers & fridge this week, mostly to avoid shopping, but also because there is all kinds of weird stuff in there!

It's going to be a busy week here at the Money Pit. You can check out other great tackles at 5 Minutes for Mom.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

10 Money Rules for Parents to Live By

10 Money Rules for Parents to Live By from Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, September 2008, is a good read!

These are good rules to live by! The best rule would be to live what you want them to. If you tell them they can't have something because you don't have the money right now, but you stop and buy a $5 coffee, it's a mixed message. Also, no one is perfect, and making mistakes is a great learning tool. Let the kids learn the value of a dollar the hard way, earn it. They'll figure out soon that if they spend their $10 on some toy, they won't have it to spend on the $50 video game!

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Menu Plan Monday 8-18 to 8-24

There were a few items on last weeks menu that didn't get made. Dinners ended up being a grab as you can thing. I think I am going to give myself some slack here & start with a general plan. I shouldn't have to go to the store this week, maybe to grab milk & bread. so we'll use what we have on hand.

Monday - Breakfast for dinner
Tuesday - Inspection day (for babysitting), plus football practice so grilled cheese is probably as in depth as I will get!
Wednesday - Clean out the fridge day #1
Thursday - Pasta something, mac & cheese maybe
Friday - Out, pizza, fish, no idea yet
Saturday - Grill night. We have an early morning football scrimmage, but we will probably stick with hot dogs or burgers.
Sunday - Clean out the fridge day #2 (Monday is garbage day)

Snacks & Desserts
Peanut Butter Cookies with peanuts in them. Before we eat all the peanuts...

Check out other menus

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sometimes I forget about my stuff!

I just did an amazon order & I forgot to get myself a copy of 5 Meals for $5 - How to Feed 5 People 5 Meals for $5.00 - $8.00 or Less! You Don't Need to Be Wealthy To Eat Healthy Guess I'll have to add it to my next order. Hubby wanted The Hobbit: 70th Anniversary Edition. You know, before the possible movie & while he's reading the LOTR series for the 20th time this summer. I forgot to add my items from my wish list. Oh well, the book was a really late birthday present anyway. He changed his mind about 12 times for what he wanted... wishy washy!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Annual Credit report

Just found this Annual Credit Report site. Of the 3 I was able to access 2, there is an issue with my 3rd. Grr.

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Easy Cake Mix Cookies

I don't usually use cake mix for something other than cake, but I happen to have A LOT of it on hand at the moment!

Devil’s Food Cookies

Yields about 5 dozen cookies.

1 (18.5-ounce) package devil’s food cake mix without pudding

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups chocolate chips (semi sweet)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine cake mix, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop batter by teaspoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets and cool completely on wire racks.

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Rebate Program - Frugal Tip #14

Caregivers Marketplace is a site I wish I knew about when I had diapers in the house. I use it now to get cash $ back on the flushable wipes and supplements I buy.

Their purpose is clear, to help ease the financial burden of care giving. The categories cover baby & juvenile diapers, bathing & skin care, dentures, dietary supplements, digestive health, home health care, incontinence care, mobility and independence, nutrition and pain relief. The amounts of the rebates may seem low, but when you combine them with a program like CVS Extra Care Bucks, you can see how somethings would be free, or even money back.

There is no limit on the number of forms you can submit, you send in a form every time you have purchased 5 or more eligible products, & send an original receipt. The clerk will gladly (or they should) print you multiple copies of your receipt, so you can combine, items & offers.

Check out other tips at Frugal Friday.
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How to be Disorganized & Unproductive #1

Number 1
Never have any fun on the job, sometimes I can relate to that. But that depends on the hat I'm wearing at the moment. LOL!

Links from Links

I was reading my feeds, started off all innocent like, then I got to Sweetney's post linking to Cake Wrecks. When I got to this picture I ALMOST spit coffee all over the keyboard LOL! I can only imagine the non-hilarity that ensued!!!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Garden #3

Out in the garden today! It was time, everything is so wet, but I had to, it's been days since I've been able to get into it.

It was a good thing, I found 2 of the largest cucumbers EVER! All of my plants seem to have died, so they are the last 2.

Look, I finally have beans! There should be more than a zip bag here!

My one lonely jalapeno pepper! I finally have A flower on my green pepper plants. We also have lots of green tomatoes. The yellow guys are the last of my garden's lemon cucumbers. The one's I have in the planter are flowering, but not fruiting yet.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How to be Disorganized & Unproductive, # 2 in the series!

How to be disorganized and unproductive #2. Ah the ugly "Perfectionism" word... It has taken most of my adult life to get over the "If you can't do it right, don't do it" Wait did I just say I was over it??? Yeah sure I am!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

From my Feeds #4

This weeks Carnival of Recipes is up! Looks yummy!

$74 worth of P&G coupons fill out a survey.

Part #3 of the how to be disorganized and unproductive series.

10 Things a Hunter Should Never Buy his Wife. Numbers 8 & 10 had me spitting coffee out my nose (ok, just all over the desk)

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Tackle it Tuesday #17

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I am making dishcloths for some upcoming gifts, I've gotten 3 and a half done. I have finished the 4th last night but I kept having to stop and watch the US gymnasts win the Bronze!!!

Laundry, practice, laundry, practice...

My Garden needs some attention & today is our only day without rain. It's gonna be muddy out there though!

I need to empty, reload, run, & empty the dishwasher too. I really just dislike hand washing ;-P

The list is short and sweet because I think we are running to town today (hehehe) I think we need to buy a circuit breaker, guy stuff!!!!

Check out what others are tackling today here

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Frugal Energy

I am reading Flush with Energy and I am annoyed. Not at the article, but at the idea. The writer talks about how Denmark gets 20% of it's electricity from wind and the US only 1%. My annoyance comes in to play from an ongoing local battle to build wind farms.

There are companies that want to come in and put up wind turbines to increase that percentage. Only they are meeting with constant protests, obstacles & problems. The first site was no good because it might possibly disrupt some bird migration or some such nonsense. Because what the birds will be lost and not find their way around? This group of concerned citizens even had lawn signs printed to show support for their "Good Idea, Bad Location" campaign. Because of birds, aren't these birds more likely going to be injured by the SMOG and other pollution if we don't start using more renewable energy sources? This group have tied up the first company so long that a second company has stepped up to try to get it built. The second site, even more rural than the first has met with zoning issues & neighbor protests. Think country people, neighbors is really different out here!

We are doing research right now on what it will take to build our own turbine generator. It doesn't take much and we always have wind! I hope my neighbors don't complain. I'll probably be violating some zoning law.

Everyone wants to complain but the second someone tries to fix the problem, they find something new to complain about. "They" seem to want to be "Green," just don't put it in my back yard. I seriously hope that we are the only backwards county out there & these companies aren't being discouraged like this all over the US. If they are that 1% will stay 1% for a long time to come.

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How to be Disorganized & Unproductive, # 4: Don’t Plan Your Time

#4 Don't Plan Your Time. I am loving this series!!!

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