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Tips for Staying Slim During the Holidays

There’s no doubt that the holidays call for celebrating, indulging, and relaxing. For some reason, when December comes many people make up every excuse to replace their diet and exercise routine with baked goods and lazy weekends indoors. While a little holiday decadence is a must this time of year, there’s no reason to reverse your hard work and healthy habits in a matter of a few days. Here are a few helpful tricks so that you can have your cake and eat it too during the holidays.

Watch Your Portions.

The easiest way  to remember how to control portions is to make sure the majority of your plate is loaded up with veggies. You don’t have to deny yourself a bread roll or a slice of pie here and there…just make sure vegetables are the main part of your meal. That way, you will fill up on healthy, nutritious, and low-calorie foods before it’s time to splurge on the indulgent stuff.

Grab a Buddy.

The holidays are everyone’s favorite time of year to reunite with with family and friends. One great way to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while is to make your get-together an active one. If one of your friends is in town for the holidays, plan a walking coffee date, or catch up on a hike. Stay active and be social at the same time.

Maximize Your Workout.

No one wants to spend all day in the gym when there is holiday shopping, dinner parties, and bundling up to do. So, if you only have 30 minutes to spare, make it worth your time by amping up your workout.

Get Festive with Your Fitness Routine.

Exercise is often disguised in fun activities we love doing with friends and family. In fact, anything that gets you breathing and gets your heart rate up will help to burn calories during the holidays (and burn off that pumpkin pie, too). Ice skating, sledding, and snowball fights all count as exercise!  Ice-skating actually burns 420 calories per hour. Or, if you live somewhere that’s warm enough to exercise outdoors, grab your family for a game of flag football—it burns 450 calories per hour. Who said you had to go to a gym to log in your workout?

While sticking to these tips is a great way to stay in shape during the holiday, be sure to keep your diet and exercise routine realistic and do what works for you.

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Cooking a Huge Thanksgiving Dinner in a Modest-Sized Kitchen

When your kitchen is anything but industrial sized the thought of cooking an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends might seem near impossible. But a pint-sized kitchen shouldn’t stand in your way this holiday season. Here are some tips to help get you ready. 

Clear Off the Counter Space

One of the most common complaints about small kitchens is the lack of counter space. To make the most of what you have clear off anything that won’t be used for cooking. The toaster, banana hammock, yesterday’s mail – all those non-essentials need to be tucked away in a cabinet until after Thanksgiving.

Invest in Space Saving Equipment

Culinary tools are made for kitchens of all sizes. There are a few that can be real space savers like over-the-sink cutting boards and collapsible measuring cups. If you have the floor space but are short on counter space you can always purchase a freestanding island, which also usually offers some additional storage space.

Get Organized

The better organized you are the more you’ll get out of every square inch of your kitchen. Section the space off into different zones for dinner purposes like having a spot strictly for measuring and mixing. A set of Tupperware can also be used to hold and stack ingredients that you’ve prepped beforehand. It’s also a good idea to create a plan of action as a part of your organization efforts. Think through the order in which you’ll cook things, what equipment you’ll need, etc.

Preparation is Pivotal

Whenever possible prep food before the real cooking gets underway. This is a sanity saver for anyone, but if you have a small kitchen it also keeps things more manageable. Prep as many items as possible then put them in the refrigerator until they’re ready to be cooked.

Keep It Simple

The more ingredients a dish needs the bigger the mess there will be, you’ll have more things taking up counter space and there will be less room in the fridge/pantry for other items. Sticking to simple sides and appetizers that need only 3-5 ingredients will make things a lot easier, and they can taste just as good as their more complex counterparts.

Clean Up as You Cook

Professional chefs know that cleaning up as you cook isn’t just more sanitary, it’s also a space saver.  Trash empty cans and cuttings as soon as you’re done with them. Rinse out dishes after you use them (see below). Put items back in the pantry or fridge rather than shoving them to the back of the counter.

Rinse and Reuse

Instead of having numerous bowls, pots, measurers and utensils out rinse them off and reuse them. Not only will this cut down on clutter, but you’ll also have less to wash after eating dinner.

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Instagram Wall Art

We take so many pictures on our phones that sometimes they just get stuck there. Sure they get likes and shares, but what if you want to see it off screen? Printing your Instagram photos can be a great way to add a personal touch to your art at home, and there are some great services that print professionally on different mediums. Check them out!

1. Printstagram

Printstagram offers several options to turn your digital photos into prints. The Framed Print and Poster options will make the most impact. With the Framed Print option, you get a 12″x12″ square of a four-photo grid, in a clean, modern frame. If you want more than four photos, the Poster option lets you print up to hundreds of your feed favorites onto one giant poster.

2. PostalPIx

For a bit more instant gratification, this iPhone app may be the way to go. For only 30 cents per pic, pic an image you want to print, and bam! It’ll be shipped to your door—and fast! The best part is that it’s all done from an app.

3. CanvasPop

If you’re going for a more elegant look, you can get your Insta photos printed right onto canvas. These will deinfitely leave more finished look to your art. Prices range form $40 to $114.

4. Artifact Uprising

The Wood Block + Prints are a super classy reason to start getting some photos printed ASAP. Your timeless photos are printed on unique, thick textured paper. They come with a block of woo with a slot that is just the size for your photo to wedge into, for a minimal frame.

5. ImageSnap

Want something a bit more permanent? A bit more lasting? This company prints your pics on tiles, from itty bitty for fridge magnets to big statements on 12″x12″ slabs. There’s a tile for anything!

Be sure to try out these great sites and share on our social media pages!

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Back-to-School Safety Tips

You can help protect your children from the most frequent kinds of school-related injuries by following these practical, proven tips.

Traveling to School

When parents talk about school safety these days, they’re usually referring to the surge in violence at schools. But research shows that school-age children are actually nine times more likely to sustain an unintentional injury — whether on the playground or in school — than to be the victim of violence while at school. In fact, an estimated 2.2 million children ages 14 and under are injured in school-related accidents each year, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign.
Accidents can be prevented if parents are on the lookout for potential hazards. To help you keep your kids free from harm, here are some safety tips from SAFE KIDS, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Traveling to and from School

1. Plan a walking route to school or the bus stop. Choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and, if possible, with intersections that have crossing guards.
2. Walk the route with your child beforehand. Tell him or her to stay away from parks, vacant lots, fields and other places where there aren’t many people around.
3. Teach your child never to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers. Remember, a stranger is anyone you or your children don’t know well or don’t trust.
4. Be sure your child walks to and from school with a sibling, friend, or neighbor.
5. Teach your kids — whether walking, biking, or riding the bus to school — to obey all traffic signals, signs and traffic officers. Remind them to be extra careful in bad weather.
6. When driving kids, deliver and pick them up as close to the school as possible. Don’t leave until they are in the schoolyard or building
7. If your child bikes to school, make sure he wears a helmet that meets one of the safety standards. Research indicates that a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent.
8. If your child rides a scooter to school, make sure she wears sturdy shoes, a helmet, kneepads and elbow pads. Children under age 12 should not ride motorized scooters, according to recent recommendations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
9. Teach children to arrive at the bus stop early, stay out of the street, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching the street, watch for cars and avoid the driver’s blind spot.
10. Remind your children to stay seated at all times and keep their heads and arms inside the bus while riding. When exiting the bus, children should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, exit from the front using the handrail to avoid falls and cross the street at least 10 feet (or 10 giant steps) in front of the bus.
11. Tell your child not to bend down in front of the bus to tie shoes or pick up objects, as the driver may not see him before starting to move.
12. Be sure that your child knows his or her home phone number and address, your work number, the number of another trusted adult and how to call 911 for emergencies.

On the Playground

13. Check the playground equipment at your child’s school. Look for hazards such as rusted or broken equipment and dangerous surfaces. The surface around the equipment should be covered with wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, or mats made of safety-tested rubber or fiber material to prevent head injury when a child falls. Report any hazards to the school.
14. Avoid any drawstrings on the hood or around the neck of jackets and sweatshirts. Drawstrings at the waist or bottom of jackets should extend no more than three inches long to prevent catching in car and school bus doors or getting caught on playground equipment.
15. Make sure that the school’s athletic director or a custodian anchors soccer goals into the ground so they won’t tip over and crush a child.
15. Teach children proper playground behavior: no pushing, shoving, or crowding.
16. Give your child some strategies for coping with bullies. He should not give in to a bully’s demands, but should simply walk away or tell the bully to stop. If the bullying continues, talk to the teacher.
17. Make sure your child’s school has up-to-date information on recalled toys and children’s products. Schools, daycare providers and parents can receive recall information by fax, email, or in the regular mail free of charge by calling the Consumer Product Safety Commission hotline at 800-638-2772.

Have A Fun & Safe School Year!

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4th Of July Safety

The entire Morgan Properties’ team would like to wish you, your family and friends a safe and happy 4th of July!

Fireworks are often a part of special times like the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve. But fireworks can be dangerous. 200 people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. The best way to protect your family is not to use any fireworks at home. Attend public fireworks displays, and leave the lighting to the professionals.

Fireworks are not approved to be used in common areas at Morgan Properties.
Please visit your community Facebook page for dates and locations of local fireworks displays, events and celebrations.

We are committed to keeping all of our residents and their homes safe so please do your part and follow the safety guidelines and community rules and regulations.

Please be reminded that our leasing offices will be closed on Friday, July 4th in observance of the holiday however our maintenance team is available to our residents in the event of an emergency by calling your after hours emergency phone number.

Thank you and enjoy your holiday!

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Tips For Apartment Gardening

Growing a garden in an apartment might sound like an impossibility, but it’s not. Even if you have no sunlight or no place to put any soil, there are options for you. In most cases, you can get started very cheaply and maybe even for free. Some scenarios cost a little more, but when you consider what you will end up saving on grocery bills over time, it pays for itself.

Producing your own food is a great way to get vegetables that are tastier than what grocery stores offer, that are cheaper (because you’re doing all the labor) and that come from soil you know and having nothing in them but what you fed them. It’s also a very relaxing hobby that can bring some life into an otherwise dull apartment experience.

Many apartment residents are taking up gardening, growing vegetables, herbs, flowers, and other plants on their patios, balconies or even inside their apartments. No matter how tiny your apartment, there’s room for a few plants. Read on for tips on how you too can have an apartment garden.

 

  • If your apartment has a balcony or patio you are truly blessed and should take complete advantage of that outdoor space, no matter how tiny.
  • Maybe you don’t have a balcony in your apartment, but you do have a large window. You can easily grow plants in pots in front of that window.
  • Then there’s sprouting. Sprouting might just be the perfect way to grow your own food in an apartment. You can grow fresh, healthy, organic produce in just a few days with just a few simple steps, and using nothing more complicated that a quart canning jar and cheese-cloth if you don’t want to purchase a sprouter.
  • People have been planting flowers and vegetables in window boxes for centuries, and you can too. All you need is a window box, a place to put it, and the soil and plants to put in the window boxes.
  • Grow lights and hydroponics inside are another apartment gardening idea
  • Herb gardens can be grown inside in your kitchen or on a windowsill somewhere in your apartment quite easily.

If you’ve never gardened at all, the first thing you need to know is: it’s not rocket science. There’s a little research to be done, so you’ll know what each plant needs. Getting started takes some planning and may require a few experiments. The maintenance is pretty straightforward – mostly just watering. And then you’ll need to know when to pick your produce and how to go about that. It can be a lot of work at first, especially if you’ve always known veggies as things that magically appeared in grocery stores. But it gets easier the longer you do it.

Also remember not to get frustrated if you lose a plant or a crop, or the birds or bugs get to it before you can. These things happen. Some experienced gardeners make it look easy to avoid these mishaps, but that’s because they’ve been doing it long enough to develop an instinct about it. You’ll get there, too.

If you’re uncertain of your gardening skills, tomatoes are a great plant to start with. They need a fair amount of sunlight, but if you have that, they’re hearty growers that defy almost every mistake you throw at them.

Be aware that pets, especially cats may make things difficult. For example, cats like to knock plants over, dogs like to dig dirt and pet birds may chomp on food items that are poisonous to them. You can still grow food around pets. You just need to be aware and take precautions. If you can grow your food on the balcony, for example, and just never let the pet roam around out there, you’re all set.

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Winter Storm Safety

Please review the following tips and information so that we can complete our snow removal processes and ensure your comfort in your home.

Morgan Properties is committed to ensuring that snow is removed from sidewalks, parking lots & roadways as quickly as possible.   Main roadways will be cleared first to ensure access for emergency vehicles.  Smaller lots and parking spaces will then be addressed.   Our number one concern is for the safety and convenience of our residents.  Therefore, we are asking for your assistance when it comes to snow removal.

  •  Please use caution during the storm getting to and from your vehicles.  Although snow will be removed as the storm is on going, final clean up will not be completed in all areas until the storm has passed.
  •  Sidewalks, steps and roadways are treated for ice removal.  If you see areas that need additional ice treatments when temperatures are fluctuating, please report this to the management office or emergency service number.
  • Please use caution when driving behind a snowplow and maintain a safe distance.    If you see the plow coming in your direction, please stay to the side or the road, or stop your vehicle to allow the plow to move by safely.
  • Do not park in fire lanes or along curbs that are not designated parking areas. This will make clearing the roadways difficult, and you may be at risk of being towed.
  • All residents are responsible for cleaning off their own vehicles.  Please do not place patio chairs, or other household items in parking areas if you leave the property.  We will clear parking spaces as quickly as possible.
  • Some winter storms may include freezing rain, or ice.  Ice build-up on power lines and trees can cause power outages and unsafe driving conditions.  Please stay tuned to weather alerts in our area.
  • In the event of a power outage, we recommend that you have flashlights and extra batteries on hand.  Please refrain from using candles for light.  Candles can easily catch fire on curtains, lampshades, and other items when left unattended.   Never leave your home with a candle burning.
  • Please remember that Kerosene heaters are NOT permitted in our apartments.

Thank you for your attention to this very important matter.  We appreciate your cooperation as we work together to continue to make Morgan Properties the best place to call home.

 

 

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Holiday Safety Tips

Below, please review some important safety tips to follow during the holidays. 

GENERAL RULES FOR HOLIDAY SAFETY

  • Plan for safety. Remember, there is no substitute for common sense. Look for and eliminate potential danger spots near candles, trees, and/or electrical connections.
  • Keep matches, lighters, and candles out of the reach of children.
  • Avoid smoking near flammable decorations.
  • Make an emergency plan to use if a fire breaks out anywhere in the home. See that each family member knows what to do.
  • Avoid wearing loose flowing clothes—particularly long, open sleeves—near open flames, such as those of a fireplace, stove, or candlelit table.
  • Consider using battery operated candles. Never burn candles near evergreens. Burning evergreens in the fireplace can also be hazardous. When dry, greens burn like tinder. Flames can flare out of control, and send sparks flying into a room.

CANDLES

  • Candles can be extremely dangerous when left unattended or when near any flammable item.  We strongly recommend use of battery operated candles instead of wax candles.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.
  • Always use non-flammable holders.
  • Keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper.
  • Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.
  • Be sure candles are extinguished when leaving apartment or going to bed.
  • Consider using battery operated candles.

TREES

Many artificial trees are fire resistant. If you buy one, look for a statement specifying this protection. A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree. To check for freshness, remember:

  • A fresh tree is green.
  • Fresh needles are hard to pull from branches.
  • When bent between your fingers, fresh needles do not break.
  • The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin.
  • When the trunk of a tree is bounced on the ground, a shower of falling needles shows that tree is too dry.

Place tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Heated rooms dry trees out rapidly, creating fire hazards.

  • Cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Trim away branches as necessary to set tree trunk in the base of a sturdy, water-holding stand with wide spread feet. Keep the stand filled with water while the tree is indoors.
  • Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways. Use thin guy-wires to secure a large tree to walls or ceiling. These wires are almost invisible.

ARTIFICIAL SNOW

Artificial snow sprays can irritate lungs if inhaled. To avoid injury, read container labels; follow directions carefully.

  • Please do not use artificial snow on any apartment home windows.

TRIMMINGS

Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials.

Wear gloves while decorating with spun glass “angel hair” to avoid irritation to eyes and skin.

Choose tinsel or artificial icicles or plastic or non-leaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.

In homes with small children, take special care to:

  • Avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable.
  • Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children. Pieces could be swallowed or inhaled.
  • Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food. A child could eat them!

 FIREPLACE SAFETY

Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that flue is open.

Keep a screen before the fireplace all the time a fire is burning.

Discard ashes in a proper metal storage container with a lid. Do not throw ashes over balconies or leave them in open containers.

Use care with “fire salts” which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals which can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation or vomiting if eaten. Keep away from children.

LIGHTS

Whether indoor or outside, use only lights that have been UL tested for safety. Identify these by the label from an independent testing laboratory.

Do not attach lighting or other decorations to the exteriors of the buildings with nails, staples or other materials that could damage windows, door frames, or the siding on the property.

Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.

Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.

Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the apartment. Lights could short and start a fire.

Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.

PAPER

  • When making paper decorations, look for materials labeled non-combustible or flame-resistant.
  • Never place trimming near open flames or electrical connections.
  • Remove all wrapping papers from tree and fireplace areas immediately after presents are opened. Do not burn papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

 Thank you for your cooperation and Happy Holidays!

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Preventing Kitchen Fires

Leaving an unattended skillet sizzling on the stove is a good way to burn your food, not to mention the chance of starting a fire in your apartment..

According to statistics, 30 percent of all reported home fires start in the kitchen, and of those, most involve the range-top. That is why the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Safety Council, Underwriters Laboratories and the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers are teaming up over the holiday season to spread the word about prevention of cooking fires.

The sad truth is that in nearly 75 percent of reported home fires, especially those originating in the kitchen, the person responsible for the fire was not in the area when it started, according to Underwriter Laboratories.  The best tip is to urge everyone to pay attention to what’s cooking, especially during the busy holiday season.

The three not-for-profit organizations and CPSC offer these tips to help prevent kitchen fires this holiday season:

  • Smoke detectors save lives. Make sure smoke detectors are installed and working. Never disconnect a smoke detector while cooking.
  • Supervision is key. Never leave food unattended while cooking. Keep children and pets away from cooking area.
  • Roll ‘em up. Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto burners and catch fire.
  • Too hot to handle? Use thick, dry, flame-resistant potholders when handling lids and pans. When removing pot and pan lids, tilt them away from you to protect your face and hands from steam.
  • Keep away from the heat. Turn the handles of pots and pans in, but away from hot burners.
  • It’s not a closet. Never use the oven for storage.
  • It’s made for food. Never use it to heat a room.
  • Keep it clean. Keep the cooking area clean and clear of anything that can burn.
  • Keep a cool head. In the event of a range-top fire, turn off the burner, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding a lid onto the pan. Leave the lid in place until the pot or pan is cooled. Never use water or flour to extinguish a grease fire and never carry the pan outside – you could spread flames      throughout the apartment.
  • Use the right tools. If you’re familiar with using a multi-purpose fire extinguisher, keep one handy in the event of a grease fire. Baking soda is effective for extinguishing small food fires, but not grease fires.
  • Prevent flame spread. If you have an oven fire, immediately turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.
  • Call for help. If you can’t extinguish the fire yourself, leave your home, call 9-1-1, and wait in a safe place until emergency personnel arrive.

Consumers can receive a free brochure with safety tips by calling 1-888-785-7233 (SAFE).

Special thanks to The National Safety Council for these great kitchen safety tips!

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Pedestrian Safety

Many accidents occur when a pedestrian walks on a roadway and into the path of an approaching vehicle.  Pedestrians often misjudge speed and closeness of a motor vehicle and assume a driver can and will slow down for them.  Also, pedestrians think because they can see the vehicle, the driver can see them.  These kinds of errors in judgment are frequently why pedestrian accidents occur.  Drivers should try to anticipate pedestrians and pedestrians should try to anticipate drivers.  Especially with Halloween coming shortly – many little ghosts and goblins will be roaming neighborhoods so be careful out there . . .

Pedestrians, follow these tips to anticipate drivers:

  • Walk defensively.  When approaching intersections, even if you have the light, survey the environment before stepping into the street- many times driver fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians while turning.
  • Keep your head up.  Don’t text or browse e-mail or other applications while approaching or walking through an intersection.
  • Keep an ear open.  Walking or running with headphones can isolate pedestrians from their surroundings.  If you must walk or run with music, leave one ear open, especially at intersections, so you can tune in to the crossing environment.
  • Brighten up.  Consider brightening up if you will be walking.  Anything that is bright increases the chance of being noticed by a motorist or bicyclist.  At dawn, dusk, or at night, be sure to wear reflective clothing or materials.
  • Walk facing traffic, if sidewalks are not available, and cross at corners or intersections whenever possible.
  • Stand clear of parked cars, buses, hedges, or other obstacles before crossing so drivers can see you.
  • Stop, look, listen and look again.  There are more than many hybrid-electric vehicles on the roads that are completely silent at low speeds.  When crossing in a parking lot, be especially alert for hybrid vehicles backing out.

Drivers, follow these tips to anticipate pedestrians:

  • Anticipate that a pedestrian may do the unexpected.
  • Scan around the vehicle thoroughly when pedestrians are present.
  • Adjust driving speed to anticipate and safely avoid a pedestrian.  It is difficult for pedestrians to correctly judge how fast a vehicle is approaching.  A pedestrian will often misjudge a vehicle’s speed and enter the roadway thinking there is time to cross, especially in the vehicle is going faster than normal for the area.
  • Do not assume that a pedestrian will give a vehicle the right-of-way until it is obvious the pedestrian is waiting for the vehicle to pass.
  • Use eye contact or a polite gesture to communicate your intention to a pedestrian.
  • Be especially careful at night in pedestrian areas, as pedestrians may assume a driver can see them because they can see the vehicle headlights.
  • Remember that pedestrians often walk or stand in the blind spots in front of and to the right of the vehicle.
  • Be extra cautious with children.  Children do not have the ability to fully negotiate the hazards of a vehicle on the road and can make unexpected moves into traffic without warning.
  • In residential areas, assume there are children or pets present.
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