Kathy MurdockAuthor

Kathy Murdock

Kathy Murdock works as a full time writer and web designer. Recently planted in the middle of the deep south from the busy streets of Los Angeles, when she's not coding Wordpress websites or writing about women in business and thrifty motherhood, Kathy spends time photographing alligators, playing with her family, and running.

homemade play dough

I had planned to write about making homemade sidewalk chalk this week. In fact, I’d gathered together our supplies and told the girls this is how we would spend our Saturday.

Then the weather got cold. Again. I don’t know about you, but the thought of drawing pictures on the pavement outside in the freezing cold with the wind blowing 15 mph doesn’t sound like such a great plan to me! But we love to craft and create on the weekend, so I quickly turned to another plan: homemade play dough.

If you haven’t made this before, you should! It’s super easy and super safe for kids. It’s also cheap to make; you should have everything you need in your cabinets, in fact! And once it is done it’ll keep the kids entertained for hours. Plus you can store it in a baggie or container for a few weeks for more play.

My girls are older, and their friend, who happened to be at our house, is in between their ages. They were able to help me with all parts of this process, including ‘cooking’ the play dough. Younger kids may be limited in what they can do to help, but if you don’t mind things getting a little messy (I don’t), they will enjoy measuring out the ingredients. …
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exercise during pregnancy

During my first pregnancy I was terrified to do any type of exercise. I wanted to run. I had been running for years. The doctor gave me the okay to run, but visions of a jostled baby scared me, and so I did little more than walk a few blocks here and there. I gained quite a bit of weight and had a tough time taking it off once I delivered.

My second pregnancy, though, went a bit differently. I ran until just a few weeks before delivery. I ran three days a week, three miles at a time, until I got too big and the baby pressed down on my bladder, leaving me to believe my water had broken on one particular jaunt. (The friendly staff at the local ER assured me, after an ultrasound, that wasn’t amniotic fluid I’d leaked but – much to my embarrassment – another bodily fluid.) I did so to keep my sanity and, I hoped, to keep in shape so that after baby came I had more energy and could drop the added weight faster. (I did on both counts.)

Still, I always wondered how safe exercise was during pregnancy, what was okay to do, and what should be avoided during that time. So I turned to a few experts with questions about the safety of fitness during pregnancy and to find out their thoughts about exercising with baby on board. …
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post baby shape up

Pregnancy will likely change your body not only during the nine months you carry junior but for months –or possibly years – after. And since everyone carries weight differently, it’s impossible to prescribe a one-size-fits-all training plan for new moms
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weight lifting

For years I was a cardio-only kind of gal. I prided myself on the ability to run for as long and far as I could before dropping. I reveled in the fact that I could run multiple days in a row without rest or that I could run and then get on a bike and pedal and then get in a pool in swim.

I never lifted a weight.

I had a fear of lifting. I tend to bulk up quickly in the arms. I didn’t want to look like a body builder. I felt, too, strength training in general, and weights specifically, would not help my running.

I was wrong.
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woman child

When our children were born we lived in Los Angeles, which, of course, was a wee bit more expensive than living in our current southern, small town location.

When hubby and I decided to finally enjoy a date night (over a year after having our first daughter), I gathered together a list of referred babysitters in our area and started making calls.

I was surprised to discover babysitters charged, on average, $15 per hour! I figured it was just my thrifty mindset and the fact that when I babysat I believe I made something like $4 per hour. But we didn’t have family around and we hadn’t had a date night in so long we’d actually forgotten what it was like to eat dinner without someone throwing food at us, so we were set on going out.

We did, and we loved it, but the cost of that one date night made us wait a long, long time (and a cross country move) before we went out again. …
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stretches for an aching back

There have been a few constants since I had children.

One, I don’t get enough sleep. It used to be because the kids woke me at night for feedings and changings; now it is because nighttime is the only time I get to read, play on the Internet, and watch TV.

Two, I can’t plan like I used to. I used to want to know exactly what I was going to do all the time. Not happening now. If I plan something these days, someone inevitably ends up sick or in need of doing something else.

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52 week money challenge

I often skip over many of the ‘other’ posts or pages I see on Facebook, since it can be time consuming to read through each one.

Recently, though, this page caught my eye:

52 Week Money Challenge

The idea: Save $1,378.00 in 52 weeks. …
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the art of self-massage

As a long-time distance runner I’ve had my share of aches and pains. Some have been quick healers, while others, like hamstring tendonitis, took a little time – and some therapy. Regardless of what aches, a massage is worth a million dollars to undue those lactic acid knots, elongate the muscles, and help the healing [&hellip
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Images via Flickr

It may seem like Christmas is still in the distant future – we just started back to school, and its warm enough outside to go for a swim in the afternoon. But in just four short months we’ll be baking cookies and wrapping gifts – and breaking the bank – if we don’t start planning for it now.

This article on Investopedia reveals that in 2011 the average American spent $646 on Christmas gifts and that amount was expected to increase by $200 the following year.

Additionally, MSN released a report in 2011 that showed that average American parents spend about $271 per child on Christmas gifts; one in ten, over $500 dollars per child.

That’s a lot of money.

If you start planning now for the holidays, Christmas doesn’t have to create such a financial burden.

Here’s how to get started
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cracking eggs

I love cooking from scratch, but when school starts up and we have homework, activities, and early bedtimes, it can be tough to get something homemade, nutritious, and not too time consuming onto the table. This goes for breakfast, lunch (since my girls often pack), and dinner. The following are a few of our favorite [&hellip
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