Celebrate Pi Day!

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Celebrate Pi Day with these Activities

(For resources used with our study units, click on the Resources tab above.)

pi day picture

March 14 is coming quickly! Make your plans now to celebrate math with Pi Day using some of these neat resources, books, and ideas. We have links to tons of websites with activity suggestions for all grades. We also have a list of books that you can read and follow up with notebooking pages or lapbooks.

We have started out our day with headbands. On the front of the headband we attached a triangle resembling a slice of pizza pie or a circle resembling a whole pie. The kids colored in their favorite pizza or pie. Then wrote the word “Pi”, underneath that “3.14”, then “(the pi symbol).” We wore our headbands for the rest of the day, so that whenever we looked at one another, the “visual” learners had a reminder of Pi throughout the day.

We read a variety of stories involving the use of measuring a circle and all its measurements. At the same time, we happened to be studying ancient Egypt, so that we were reading a book about Archimedes at the time. Here is a list of books that relate to the study of Pi:

  • Sir Cumference and Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander
  • Sir Cumference and the Isle of Immeter (diameter of a circle) by Cindy Neuschwander
  • Sir Cumference and the First Round Table (circles) by Cindy Neuschwander
  • Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone (cone’s dimensions) by Cindy Neuschwander

Here are some resources to use with some of these books – http://www.homeschoolshare.com/sir_cumference.php

  • Archimedes and the Door of Science by Jeanne Bendick (the chapters near the end of the book look at Archimedes’ mathematical studies)
  • Piece of Pi: Wit-sharpening, Brain-bruising, Number-Crunching Activities with Pi by Naila Bokhari (activity book)
  • The Joy of Pi by David Blatner (middle to high school range)
  • A History of Pi by Petr Beckmann (high school) (reference to million years old earth on first page)

Part of our day we read books, writing a notebook page summarizing what we learned about Pi on the bottom half of a notebook page and on the top half, drawing diagrams and examples of using Pi in a formula. My younger son had a worksheet with a table to fill in as he measured the circumference, diameter, and radius of objects around the house. My older son had a similar table to complete, but had an extra column where he had to use Pi to calculate the different dimensions of various circular objects around the house. Some Pi activity worksheets can be found at http://search.enchantedlearning.com/cgi-bin/uncgi/search?key=pi and edhelper.com.

To obtain different notebooking pages to write your findings of Pi, go to http://www.notebookingpages.com/index.php?page=free-lined-paper-pages.

Other Pi activities can be found at the following websites:






If you want to have your kids do a Pi lapbook, join Live and Learn Press’s Yahoo group and receive a free wonderful lapbook at liveandlearnpress.com.

You can end your Pi Day celebration like we did, by making a pizza (or ordering one) and taking its measurements using the formula. Enjoy your day making memories no one will forget!

If you would like to be notified of newly posted study units, please subscribe to Katie’s Homeschool Cottage newsletter (link found in the top left corner of this page.)  If you enjoyed these ideas, please share with friends! Thanks.
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Using Charlotte Mason Methods

If you are looking for a way to homeschool a number of children of various age ranges, enjoy reading books with them, want to enhance their writing skills, delve into stories of historical figures and events, and minimize the use of textbooks, using Charlotte Mason’s methods may be just the right path for you to follow.

Charlotte Mason was an educator in England in the 19th century. She wanted children to learn from “living books” not textbooks. She felt children should go outside and experience nature, make observations, and record them in a nature journal. She advocated that children learned and retained information best when they listened to or read good literature and had the opportunity to narrate orally what they remembered from the reading. Their writing skills developed from reading good literature, studying it, and copying it into copy work journals, and writing down dictation. This is a simplified summary of her philosophy, but it gives you a starting point of her basic ideas. To fully understand and implement her methods you can read her original works or books that have been written summarizing her methods. These can be found at http://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/toc.html.

Using Charlotte Mason’s methods, you would teach history chronologically, and can include Bible instruction if you wish. Lessons are kept short so that the child does not dawdle and includes foreign language and art and music appreciation. There are suggested curriculums you can follow at the following websites: http://amblesideonline.org/ and http://simplycharlottemason.com/.

Some homeschooling families combine the use of Charlotte Mason methods with unit study topics. They use notebooking pages to write their narrations, copy work, and dictation to document what they have learned about the theme they are studying. For example, if your family is studying the Middle Ages, you would read living books about the Middle Ages or stories set in the Middle Ages, provide copy work for your child from the book or written work from that time period, and tie in a science topic like disease (black plague) or any scientists’ biographies from that time. You would also include art and music appreciation of artists and musicians from that era. You can find ideas using a combination of Charlotte Mason’s ideas and unit study methods in our Charlotte Mason Ideas section.

This is just an introduction to the wonderful homeschooling experience you and your children can enjoy when implementing Charlotte Mason methods in your daily routine. For further information, read any of the following books: A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola; A Charlotte Mason Education and More Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison; and When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy for Today by Elaine Cooper, Eve Anderson, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, and Jack Beckman.

For free practical ideas in using Charlotte Mason methods, combining these with unit topics of study, and links to many educational resources, please journey around this website.

So, How Are You Supposed to Teach Math Using Living Books?

When you think of Charlotte Mason you think of using living books as the foundation of your studies. So, how are you supposed to use living books that you read to help your child understand and learn mathetical concepts? This is a very common question amongst homeschoolers using Charlotte Mason methods. Usually, parents find a math program that suits their child’s individual learning style, which is a major goal in homeschooling. But, what can you use to add variety and spice things up abit, or to connect what you are learning in history, science, and literature with your mathematics? That’s right, living books!

You can read fictional stories involving the use of math concepts, non-fictional books putting math concepts in real settings and examples, and biographies of mathematicians and scientists who developed or used certain math concepts. Depending upon what you are studying in math, history, or science will determine what concepts you will read and what people you will study. Tying these real books in with the study of math or history makes math come alive, making it personally significant and significant to what you are studying in other subjects.

Some examples of fictional books using a story to explain and utilize math concepts are –

Books by Mitsumasa Anno and David Adler


  • Math Start
  • Step into Reading + Math
  • Rookie Readers – Math

Some examples of non-fiction books setting math concepts in real life situations and examining real examples are found in the following series:

Math Works!
Math for the Real World
Math All Around Me

When studying mathematicians or scientists in history or science, it’s fun to include a biography of the person. The children enjoy knowing what the person was like and what made them so interested in the concepts they discovered or helped to develop. My kids definitely enjoyed the stories of Archimedes and his adventures in the bathtub! These are the stories that stick and in turn help make the concepts associated with these entertaining personalities stick in our memories too!

Here are some suggested biographical resources for some famous mathematicians:

Math and Mathematicians: the history of math discoveries around the world by Leonard C. Bruno

Archimedes: Mathematical Genius of the Ancient World by Mary Gow

The Life and Times of Pythagoras by Susan and William Harkins

The Thirteen Books of Euclid’s Elements

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky

Some examples of activities you might want to include when reading any of these books might include narration at the conclusion of a chapter of a short book or at the end of a longer one, then writing a narration on a notebooking page. Your notebook page might include an explanation of the concept, formula if there is one, an example of the concept (including a math problem if that is how you use the concept), and a story example using the concept in a real life situation that your child can pull from their own experience.

You can also write a narration from one of the biographies using a biography notebooking page or a specific mathematician notebooking page, such as the one at this website http://www.homeschoolwithindexcards.com/Notebooking_Forms/MathematicianBiographySheet.pdf.

If you wish, you can incorporate the use of copywork from some of these biographies or quotes from mathematicians and then have your children do dictation from this copywork.

We have done a number of these types of books and notebooking pages. You can go further, if you come across a fun idea like our family did when we were studying Archimedes during our ancient history studies. We found out that he developed the concept of Pi that we use today. We also found out that National Pi Day was on March 14th, so we held Pi Day at our house! We read, wrote, played some problem-solving games and activities using Pi (while wearing Pi headbands). At the end of the day, we had to calculate the dimensions of our pizza pie using the formula for Pi before we could all eat our dinner.

To start your planning for Pi day, March 14th, try out this website www.exploratorium.edu/pi. To add some more fun to Pi day with a book, try reading Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander.

Here are some other websites that focus on math concepts and mathematicians for the older students:

http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/BiogIndex.html (an index for biographies of mathematicians and math topics)



We’ll be having more ideas soon for using these books, activities, and more in unit study formats soon! Remember to click on our link in the top left hand corner to subscribe to our newsletter for more ideas just like these in the future! Have fun using real books in your math study!
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Abraham Lincoln Mini Unit Study

Primary Ages

Read Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner – your child can read to you or you can read aloud.
Meet Abe Lincoln by Barbara Cary
As your child narrates to you the events of the story, you can write it for him/her on a notebooking page to place in a notebook. (See notebooking page links you can choose from below.)

You can have your younger child listen to some of the reading suggestions listed below for the older child and have them narrate to you events from these stories as well, while the older children write their own narrations.

Make a hat and have the child put notes in it and wear it just like Abe Lincoln. Make a donut shape out of black posterboard that fits over the child’s head, roll th top part of the hat and tape it and attach to the inside of the donut shape to stick up like Lincoln’s hat. Then cut a circle out to tape to cover the hole at the top of the hat.

Your child can also make a log cabin like the one Abe lived in when he was a boy. Cut out of a cereal box or light weight cardboard the sides and pointed roof of the cabin and tape together in the shape of a cabin. Cut out a door or any windows you wish to add, and glue craft sticks to the cardboard cabin to completely cover the cardboard. When the glue is dry, paint the craft sticks with brown paint.

If you would like some worksheets and more information to read with some unit study activities, click on the following link from School Express http://schoolexpress.com/ishop/software/lincoln_dg86.pdf

Intermediate and Junior High and High School Ages

Read any of the following living books:

Abraham Lincoln: Lawyer, Leader, Legendby Justine and Ron Fontes (younger readers)
Abraham Lincolnby Ingri and Edgar Parin d’ Aulaire
Abraham Lincoln by James Daugherty
Abraham Lincoln’s World by Genevieve Foster (this gives you a world view of Lincoln’s time)
Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln by Jean Fritz
Abraham Lincoln the Writer: a treasury of his greatest speeches and letters by Harold Haolzer (for older students, a great resource for primary documents for study, copywork, dictation, memorization, and analysis)

After reading any of these living books, have your students narrate the events from chapters as you read them together aloud as a family or individually and then have them write their narration on any of the notebooking page options listed below.

You can copy nicely worded or key sentences from the books for copywork for the children to write on any notebooking pages. After they have studied these sentences and copied them, you can dictate any sentences to them at the end of the week while they write them down.

When there are key events mentioned in the books from his life or from events occurring around the world, put these into a timeline. (an example of a timeline notebook page can be found here http://www.notebookingpages.com/index.php?page=Free-History-Notebooking-Pages )

Copywork can also include lines or the entire text from the Emancipation Proclamation or the Gettysburg Address. You can find these online or from the collected works mentioned in the book above.

A unit study for Abraham Lincoln for elementary age students can be found here in lapbook form http://www.homeschoolshare.com/abraham_lincoln_boy_who_loved_books.php

For more activity ideas, read Abraham Lincoln For Kids: his life and times with 21 activities by Janis Herbert

Have your older and high school students write an essay or prepare a persuasive speech for debate about Lincoln’s actions and reasons for instituting the Emancipation Proclamation. Did he do it for the slaves or save the union? Look at this link to analyze and prepare for this discussion and write your position. http://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/pdf/liberty_and_justice_for_all.pdf

Notebooking links to choose from

http://www.homeschoolshare.com/docs54367/AbrahamLincolnNtbkpgs.pdf (this one is written to work with the
d’ Aulaire book)

http://homeschool.consumerhelpweb.com/basics/notebooking-pages.htm (you can use the blank biography notebooking page or the 1/2 inch Abraham Lincoln page)

http://www.notebookingpages.com/index.php?page=Free-Biography-Notebooking-Pages (a variety of blank biography notebooking pages to choose from)

Exclusive Discount Coupon to Use with Notebooking Pages Black Friday – Cyber Monday Sale!

Become a Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Member now during their  NotebookingPages.com Black Friday – Cyber Monday Lifetime Membership Sale Event  and save $25!

NotebookingPages.com Black Friday – Cyber Monday Sale Event Details:
1) Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Members receive access to ALL CURRENT notebooking products.
2) Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Members receive access to ALL FUTURE notebooking products.
3) Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Members receive 12 months FREE access to our notebooking web-application, The Notebooking Publisher™.
4) Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Members receive a $100 e-bonus homeschooling package.

Cost of Membership:
Black Friday – Cyber Monday (Nov. 29 – Dec. 2)… $99.95 $74.95

PLUS, I am offering an exclusive $10 discount coupon code to my readers to use in conjunction with this sale. Use discount code = discount10 to save $10 on your $20+ purchase at NotebookingPages.com

Here are some videos to show you how you can use your membership now and a description of the NEW Notebooking Publisher web-application! At the end of this post, I have included a link to some free notebooking resources.

Video Demonstration Part I – The Notebooking Publisher

Video Demonstration Part II – The Notebooking Publisher

Create Your Own Custom Copywork Pages! Video Demonstration

If you are new to notebooking and would like to try out these pages before you buy, click on this link to access FREE pages.

I have not found a more effective way for my guys to remember what they have read nor a more effective means for them to improve their narration and writing skills. The use of these pages has helped them develop their organization skills in developing their thoughts and ideas in writing and speaking. Try these today, you will be convinced too!

Middle Ages and Human Body E-Books!

Well, we’ve been very busy! We have a number of projects in the works right now and have finished two of the smaller ones at the moment!

Have you been looking for a fun, creative, and effective way to research or review what you have learned about the middle ages or the human body? We have the solution for your family!

ABC books are not just for little kids anymore! We have created two books that have 5 different kinds of notebooking pages for each letter of the alphabet with various letter fonts, borders, and line spacing. Young and old alike can make their own books and have a portfolio of their learning and work when they are finished.

You can illuminate the book about the middle ages just like the monks in the monasteries or style your human body book after the classic Grey’s Anatomy or write in rhyming verse like Dr. Seuss or prose like Ogden Nash. Each book supplies you with some ideas of using the alphabet pages and an extensive list of topics for each letter from which to choose to write your alphabet pages for each theme.

Make Your Own ABC Book About… the Middle Ages

Introductory Price $1.99

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Make Your Own ABC Book About… The Human Body

Introductory Price $1.99

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Spice up your studies and written narrations, notes, or research with these notebooking pages that will help your child become an author of their own book in no time! We did and this was my kids’ favorite activity for the year!

Recalling Information Proves Most Effective in Learning

The New York Times published an article stating test-taking (a means of retrieving information about recently learned material) has proven to be the most effective means in long-term memory retention. I find the article interesting, not because of the test-taking, but by the results from different experiments that were conducted using various popular learning methods, including the popular mind-mapping idea.

From my standpoint and own experience in our homeschool, and stated in the research, the test-taking or practice of retrieving information can also take the form of oral and written narration, including writing notebooking pages on the topic recently stated. It is the practice of retrieving the information on your own (without looking at a reference) that appears to transfer it from short term memory to long term memory.

Here is the link to the article http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/science/21memory.html?src=me&ref=general

This scientific study hasn’t told me anything I haven’t seen in our own homeschooling experience using oral and written narration and our notebooking methods! It did confirm for me and reassure me that we are on that right track!

Learning about Charlotte Mason

For those of you considering using Charlotte Mason’s methods in your homeschool, you might be interested in reading this short biography of her life and her intent in developing her methods. I found it written in a different slant than others I have read before and enjoyed it very much. Perhaps you will too. It is written by a homeschool mom who has homeschooled through high school and has offered workshops sharing ways in which you can use Ms. Mason’s with your children.  Here’s the link to receive your own pdf file of this biography. Get your own copy of “Meet Charlotte Mason” here

If you are interested in an easy course where you receive weekly tips and practical advice in how you can incorporate Charlotte Mason’s methods in your days, you may want to check out a new online course. Charlotte Mason Made Easy E-Course

Well, that’s the latest from here for the moment. Just thought I’d share these new resources with you! Happy Homeschooling! And, Happy New Homeschool Year!

Spring Curriculum Sales!

Guess what, everyone! My Nature Study, Nature Journals, and Poetry Through the Year e-book has become a Copper Best Seller item on Currclick! Whooohoooo! I am also participating in their big Spring Sale right now. So, since I am offering discounts on their site, I thought I would add the same discounts on my site!

Right now, for the duration of their sale, I am offering 10 and 15% off select titles of my ebooks. They are already priced very low, but now they are lower – so if you’ve been wanting to try one out, now’s the time to buy and save some money while you are purchasing your curriculum for next year.

The Nature Study, Nature Journals, and Poetry Through the Year ebook has everything each seasonal version of the nature study books have plus more! So, it really is the most economical version to buy if you want to do nature study all year long. If you are only interested in studying nature during a particular season, then you would want to buy that season.

So, here are my ebooks at the same discounted prices:

Nature Study and More ebooks by Season

 Autumn Nature Study and More

Well, some of you asked for smaller units for nature studies and we did it! This is not just a nature study though. Just like our Nature Study Through the Year book, this nature study uses nature to introduce more formal scientific study topics and areas. So to use an old saying, “You can have your cake (Charlotte Mason style nature study) and eat it too (study more traditional science topics).

If you’re like me, you like the idea of bringing your kids out into nature, enjoying the current season and appreciating the little things in your surroundings. However, you might be concerned about covering science as an academic subject.

The new Autumn Nature Study and More has been taken out of our year long study and made into its own ebook for those of you who want to pick and choose which season you want to study at a time and wish to purchase something at a lower cost to you than our Nature Study Through the Year ebook.

This nature study has you observing the autumn season during the months of September, October, and November. There are several suggested topics to observe each month. Just like our larger ebook, this ebook includes:

  • suggested nature study books to use alongside our practical nature study suggestions
  • poetry about the topics of nature study
  • living book lists for each topic for each month
  • suggested activities to do during your nature walk or after the walk
  • questions to ask during the walk to help your child focus or discuss their observations about a topic you want to  study on your walk
  • scientific connections: topics of formal science subject areas – includes living book lists and activity or experiment ideas to extend your scientific study
  • nature journal pages to print and use to keep a nature journal
  • suggested book list for keeping nature journals and drawing from nature

For example, this nature study will ask you to observe, read about, discuss, and explore migration habits of birds and animals. That is your nature study topic for one month. (There are others to choose from as well, if you wish to do something different or do more than one topic for each month.) From the idea of migrating birds and animals, you extend your nature study into a formal scientific study into physical science with a study of the earth’s magnetic fields, then magnets and magnetism.

This nature study supplies you with what you need if you want to use the poetry for copywork (you can use the included nature journal pages and include the copywork in your nature journal), read about topics in nature, bunny trail ideas into formal scientific study, and links and suggestions for more research, activities, and experiments into topics in the fields of biology, physical science, and chemistry.

Autumn Nature Study and More e-book

autumn nature study cover  

  Purchase now for $6.50

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We hope you will enjoy this nature and science study as much as we do! I am enjoying the crisp feel to the air and can’t wait for the rest of the fall season.

 Other Nature Study e-books

We have other nature studies that we have taken out of our year long study for the Winter season and the Spring season if you wish to purchase either of those now as well here. They have everything the Autumn season nature study has, but different topics appropriate to each season.

Winter Nature Study and More ebook
(covering December, January, and February)


winter nature study and more cover

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Spring Nature Study and More e-book
(covering March, April, and May)

$6.50  (This one is not discounted at this time)

spring nature study and more cover

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Using Nature Study, Nature Journals, and Poetry Through the Year e-book

This ebook is a year long study of nature divided into seasons and months and the natural events that occur during those seasons. Through a natural introduction into science through nature, this study introduces children into different areas of biology, physics, and chemistry.

For an overview of what you will find in Using Nature Study, Nature Journals, and Poetry Through the Year, I invite you to view a slideshow I created to help explain my ebook:

 Using Nature Study, Nature Journals, and Poetry Through the Year ebook slideshow

 Would you like to give nature study a try but don’t know how you will find the time or fit it into your schedule and still feel like you are covering everything you really feel the need to cover for science?

I’ve been there. That is why I have written a book that takes the time for nature study but still covers different areas of biology, chemistry, and physics as an extended study of what you observe in nature. These topics can be covered generally or more in depth. It all depends on you, your child, and the time and interest you have for each topic.

This 215 page study includes the following sections that you can print off a few at a time depending on the topic of your study and the time of year:

  • Each Season has 3 months
  • Each Month has poetry and quotes that have to do with that month or topics within that month
  • There are different topics and a different number of topics depending on the natural events during that season or month.

    For example, under Winter, you will find December, January, and February. Within January, you will find the topics of Trees in Winter, Astronomy, Owls,and Nocturnal Animals.

    Within each topic you will find:

  • Pertinent poetry and quotes
  • Suggested Living Book list
  • Nature Walk and Post-walk Activities
  • Questions with which to engage your children in conversation about the topic of study during the walk
  • Scientific Connections that naturally draw your child into an extended study of biology, physics, or chemistry that is connected to your nature study topic

    For example, a topic study in July is Weather – Thunder, Lightning, Rain, and Rainbows. After observing this in nature and studying it, a Scientific Connection offers suggestions in which to extend that study into a study of Electricity, Sound Waves and Vibrations, Color, Light, or Acid Rain.

             Each Scientific Connection has

  • Suggested Living Books list (if books are available on the topic)
  • Suggested Activities and Experiments
    Some of these are described in the book, others are websites or books of experiments.
  • The Next Major Section of the book is Nature Journaling
    Here you will find Recommended Nature Journal and Drawing book suggestions and websites. You will also find Suggested Sources for Nature Journaling pages and Sample Nature Journal pages within this book to get you started right away.
  • The Last Section is the Poetry section.
    Here you will find Suggestions in which to integrate Poetry into your nature study through Writing and Studying Literary Devices commonly found in Poetry.

 So, you can see that you CAN do a weekly nature study and still tie it into a more formal study of the traditional scientific areas and have the best of both worlds.

You can purchase the Using Nature Study, Nature Journals, and Poetry Through the Year ebook here with Paypal

for a special price of $14.95.

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Please let us know how you like the ebook after your purchase. We are eager to hear your thoughts! If you know anyone else that may be interested please share our post. Thanks! 

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Insect Unit Study

Order your Insects: A Unit Study using the Charlotte Mason Method and More now before the Insect season and school year are over!

We are offering this unit at a special price of $9.95, normally offered at $14.95!

Click on the Add to Cart link below the ebook picture and you will be taken to paypal to complete your purchase. Then you will have directions to automatically download your item.

Insects: A Unit Study using the Charlotte Mason Method and More

Insects: A Unit Study using the Charlotte Mason Method and More

Add to Cart

Remember, we have links to the Free Online Libraries on our website under Free Online Books and we have our own Unit Study Resource Store where you can browse the titles suggested in the unit’s Living Books list to look at their descriptions or to purchase. Just look for them under the heading Insect Unit Study and click to open that store.Thank you! We really appreciate your business! Please let us know what you think! We want to know! 

Free Summer Nature Study

This week only, Currclick.com has my Summer Nature Study as the freebie of the week. Make sure you visit them to get yours before the end of the week! I know you’re gonna love it!



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