Valentines Day Toffee

I have a sweet tooth, their is no denying that. It seems that lately all my recipes have to do with something incorporating chocolate. I love chocolate. And nothing screams Valentines Day better than chocolate! Today I will be sharing an easy toffee recipe. It is delicious, super addictive, rich and oh so yummy! After you make this your going to want to devour the entire batch.


Ingredients - 

Saltine Crackers 
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips 
1 cup brown sugar 
1 stick butter 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Valentines Sprinkles 

If you don't want to use sprinkles you can use almonds or chopped walnuts, M&M's, pretzels, etc. I have also used white chocolate chips and butterscotch chips and it is yummy!

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place foil on cookie sheet and spray with grease. Grease it well. 

2. Place crackers on cookie sheet. It doesn't have to be perfect, I just have OCD.


3. Melt butter, brown sugar, and salt on medium heat. Stir continuously until thick. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla.


3. Pour mixture over crackers and spread it evenly over crackers. Bake for 6-10 minutes (depending upon your oven).


4. Let sit for 1 minute and pour bag of chocolate chips over crackers. Spread the melted chocolate over the entire pan. Sprinkle Valentines hearts over the chocolate and let sit for 2-4 hours until chocolate hardens. Break into chunks.


*You can speed up the process by tossing it in the fridge for 10 to 20 minutes if you get antsy. I usually do.*


Enjoy! This toffee is A-mazing! 

Thanks for stopping bye. Enjoy your day. 

It Must Be Wednesday...

Simply Durant has finally had a makeover after six years! It was time for a change and I am very pleased with my simple Finley template by Georgia Lou Studios. I love the simplicity of it and you can't go wrong with pink, black, and white. It's a lovely combination and oh so girly!

I have been thinking about changing up my blog for a while now and giving it a whole revamp but I'm still deciding on what exactly I want to do. I may have been blogging off and on for the past six years but I still consider myself to be a newbie. 

I originally started Simply Durant to document my sons life back in 2010 to keep our family and close friends up to date on our lives. Now I am wanting to do bigger and better things with it. I want to use my voice to help support and connect with other mothers, share the knowledge that I have learned from nursing three babies in the past five and a half years, and recovering from C-sections. I'm no expert on the matter but I did have three of them! All three of my children's births are on my blog but I never shared the aftermath of recovering from major abdominal surgery while dealing with a new baby. 

I also am wanting to share weekly recipes, DIY crafts, occasional decor posts, and how I dress myself and three children on a frugal budget but still keep all of us looking stylish. I have other ideas but I'm too lazy to write them. Simply Durant will continue to be a mommy blog as well as a lifestyle blog from now on. 

I would love to hear your feedback on the subjects I mentioned. I hope you all have a wonderful day. Thanks for stopping bye. Adios amigos! 

Chocolate Dipped Biscuit Donuts

Sometimes I am just too lazy to run to the closest bakery to buy a dozen of donuts on the weekend. When I was in college I learned to be very frugal and used good ol' Goggle to find an easy donut recipe that I could whip up in my dorm room on my electric skillet. That was eight years ago [damn I feel old] and I am no longer pulling all-nighters to finish writing a 30 page research paper or speed reading to finish the weeks seminar book for the next day's discussion. Instead, I got three little humans to take care of and my two oldest always seem to want donuts on weekend mornings.

This recipe is easy and all you need are a few ingredients. I always keep a can of jumbo biscuits in the fridge and you can use powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, chocolate chips, or whip up a maple glaze to drizzle over them. My kids love chocolate donuts with sprinkles and sometimes we use or mini star cookie cutter to cut out mini donut holes. These donuts are delicious, inexpensive to make, and they don't take up a lot of time. 



Ingredients:
1 can of jumbo biscuits, any brand 
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup canola oil 
Sprinkles 

Directions:
1. Heat 1 cup canola oil on medium-high heat. While the oil heats, open the can of biscuits. 

2. Use a cookie cutter or poke a hole in the center of the dough with your fingers and set aside. 


3. Place the dough in the oil and cook until dough is golden brown, flip to cook the other side. When the dough is a beautiful golden brown remove from the oil and set on a paper towel or clean hand towel to cool. 


4. When the donuts are cool, pour 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute and stir with a spatula. If the chocolate needs more heat, heat it for 30 seconds and mix until smooth and creamy. Dip one side of the donut into chocolate and set aside. Repeat until all donuts are done.


5. Add sprinkles and let chocolate harden on the cooling rack. Serve with a cup of coffee or glass of milk. Enjoy! 


Thanks for stopping bye. Enjoy your day. 

An Unexpected Snow Day

The holiday season has finally come to an end and we are enjoying the new year. We had a wonderful Christmas although it was super busy we got to spend it with loved ones and that is all that matters. The kids had a blast and we had a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Amari was supposed to go back to school on Monday the 4th, however; it snowed here Saturday night and we had freezing rain on Sunday night followed by freezing fog on Tuesday night. Us Pacific Northwesterners don't know how to drive in the snow especially when it turns to ice. It also doesn't help that we haven't had snow in the Couvd in two years.

The snow was very unexpected. I woke up to little squeals of glee from the boys. I could hear the excitement in their voice and picture their little faces with their noses pressed against the window as they peered out at the blanket of snow. For ten minutes I listened to little boy giggles before pulling back the curtains in my room and checking for myself. Sure enough snow covered the ground and it was snowing. My inner child beamed with excitement, I'm not going to lie.

We put on our winter gear and headed out into the snow.  A snow day was a perfect way to start off the new year and I hope we get more this winter. 


This morning I woke up to little boy squeals of glee. "Daddy it's snowing, it's snowing!" I heard my oldest say. Sure enough as I pulled back our brown curtains and looked out the window my eyes landed on a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. Flakes still fall from the clouds above and I just want it to keep on snowing. It's been two years since it snowed here in the Couve and their is nothing more magical than seeing the excitement on my children's faces as they gaze upon it with wonder.
 
Thanks for stopping bye, enjoy your day!

My Struggle with Postpartum Depression

I debated if I should share this or not. I went back and forth for two whole months trying to decide if I should or if I shouldn't. I wasn't sure if I wanted to share my mental health issue with others. It made me feel incredibly vulnerable and weak to be honest. After much careful consideration and thought, I thought why not? What's the worst that could happen? Plenty of mothers experience postpartum depression and go through it so why not write something that others could relate to or may help someone else out in the end?

I didn't even realize I had postpartum depression until a few days after my daughter's first birthday. With my two boys I just had the baby blues and that was it. For months after my daughter was born I had been feeling off and I mean off. Something was not right with me. I was irritable all the time and had these constant mood swings. I just thought that it was due to my two older sons not listening and let's be honest, being little shits in the attitude department. They know how to hit a nerve when it comes to acting out and not listening.

The littlest things would trigger me. I remember one morning when my youngest son accidentally spilled his milk all over the kitchen table. Instead of handing him a hand towel and telling him to clean it up the mess, I lost it. I started screaming at him and was so mad that I threw his cup against the wall. He cried and ran to his room leaving me in an angry state to clean up the spilt milk. I was fuming with pure rage more mad at my actions than the spilt milk that was dripping off the wall and onto the carpet. I was acting like a grownup toddler and honestly it was a damn shame.

And don't get me started on dirty dishes in the sink. After a long day of work and sitting in traffic for almost an hour the last thing I wanted to do was wash dishes. If I laid eyes on a single dish in the sink I could feel my blood start to boil. It seriously ticked me off and I would snap at my poor husband. On occasion he would get a real nasty text message from me about how I was not his maid and that I was going to start charging him fees for being a slob. 

Other things would set me off too. Clutter. Messy rooms. Piles of laundry. My husband sitting on his ass and watching football all day long. The boys bickering and picking on each other. My oldest son back talking me. My husband not replying to a text message or answering the phone when I called. Stupid petty things like this would send me into the foulest of moods. Anything and everything upset me to the point that my entire day was ruined and I had the worst attitude.

I knew that my behavior was not normal for me. I did not feel right. I shouldn't be getting so upset by petty things like spilt milk or dishes being left in the sink but I would get so angry. I had never felt so much anger or even aggression like that before. It got to the point that I started to Google my symptoms one night when I read a bible verse on Jane and started crying hysterically for no reason while everyone else was in bed asleep.  

I felt like I had reached my lowest.

I was always so angry with my boys and it got to the point where I dreaded being around them and was starting to resent them. The thought now makes me cringe with disgust and leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Honestly it hurts my soul to think about. I love my kids with all my heart and cannot believe I ever felt that way about them. I picked up my phone and called the advice nurse and set-up my appointment that night.

I feel like the Lord was speaking to me that late night in October, that He was urging me to seek out help for my own sanity. He truly works in mysterious ways and all it took was for me to read a verse from a printable on a website I look at every day. 

I have faith that the Lord will strengthen me and that He will make me healthy again. When I am having a bad day or am feeling those unwanted feelings slowly starting to creep up on me I pray. When I start to feel anxious or get a panic attack for no apparent reason I pray. I ask for peace. I ask for comfort. I ask God to take all the bad feelings away and to just help me to feel like me again. It helps and I feel loads better after having a conversation with God.

If you are or ever find yourself struggling with depression don't be afraid to seek out help. Know that you are not alone and that you will get through it. I know that I will get through this too. I will kick my postpartum depression in the ass and I will be back to myself in no time. For now I leave you with the verse that brought me to tears and was my eye opener: 

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

- Isaiah 41:10

 
Thanks for stopping bye and listening to my struggle. God bless. 

 

Aurora's One Year Photo's Are Here!




 
Aurora's romper: Jane 
Pink Glitter Crown: Target
Pearl Necklace: Target
Sleeping Beauty Inspired Headband: Aurora Rose Designs
 
  
I have waited patiently for these beautiful images of my sweet girl to arrive. They turned out lovely. I feel so blessed to have one of my mentor's growing up being able to capture my children in their own unique ways. Diana always does such a beautiful job and I wish I could post all of the images.

Aurora is the sweetest little thing and I feel like it was captured in her one year photos. She was so happy being able to explore the outdoors even though she was hardly able to walk on her own at the time. She looked darling in her pink lace romper and custom Sleeping Beauty inspired headband. I tried to capture some component of Sleeping Beauty with her outfit while trying to remain true to my sweet girl. I am very pleased with all of the photos. My favorite is the closeup of her smiling above. She is such a little mover and it is often a challenge getting her to sit still long enough for a picture. She has the prettiest smile and I just love her dimple! 

If you live in the Portland Metro Area you should reach out to Diana. I promise you will love working with her and the finished work. She is amazing! 

 

Thanks for stopping bye. Enjoy your day.

New Year Resolutions: 2016

I am horrible at sticking to new year resolutions. No matter how hard I try each year I never fully commit to them. It's not that I can't. I know I can. It's about the execution process. I last about a week or two and that is about it. In past years I would set goals like no soda or stop eating fast food but let's be real, I am a full time working mom who also works with adolescent girls who always want to eat food. Soda and fast food are hard to avoid on the daily basis and it's just unrealistic especially when I love Pepsi from Taco Bell.

So instead of setting resolutions I have set mini goals that turn into bigger milestones. I am way better at implementing and executing goals. These are my personal goals for 2016.

My Mental Health - I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression back in November. I'm currently writing a blog post about it. Mentally I have been struggling for the past year. I was diagnosed with P.D. with anxiety and irritability. The littlest things trigger me into having horrible mood swings and I often lack patience. Dealing with three kids has been incredibly difficult this past year and I constantly feel like I am always yelling at them or indifferent towards them. It is not fair to them and hate it. I hate feeling this way.  I am currently taking medication and it is sort of helping but I still have my moments. I plan on taking it slowly each day and just focusing on finding stability and my sanity again.
 
I will practice patience. 

I need to remind myself that my children are children. It's their job to be wild, crazy and free. I need to learn to just let things go and to just be content with things that I can not control and when I feel like I am at my lowest to pray and ask the Lord to bring me back into the light.

My Physical Health - I suck at drinking eight glasses of water a day or even taking my daily vitamins. This year I will aim to drink a gallon of water a day and set the alarm on my phone reminding me to take my vitamins every morning. I am cutting soda completely out of my diet because it makes me feel like crap after I drink it.

I also will be starting to workout again. I still have some baby weight to lose and exercise helps with my mood. I think it helps me to distress and I can put my aggression into cardio or pumping iron. My goal is to workout four days a week and do a monthly challenge like abs, squats, arms, and so on each month. If I lose weight than that would be great but I just want my mind and body to feel better. 

Pay off some debt - We still have some medical debt that we are paying off along with a couple credit cards. We hope to eliminate two of the cards by September and pay off Aurora's birth in March. It's totally doable. We paid off two medical bills last month and its nice having some extra cash this month to put towards other bills.

Be More Organized - With three kids it is incredibly difficult to organize all their things. My house is always a mess and I am constantly cleaning and picking up after everybody. It seriously raddles my brain and doesn't help with my mood swings. My plan is to organize the kid's bedroom closets, toys, the linen closet, the laundry area, and my own closet this year. I need to do a major downsize and make things more functional especially since we are moving into a bigger space at the end of April. I feel like we have a lot of crap and the goal is to get rid of things we don't need anymore. 

I also am going to get all of our paperwork in order. I swear I never get any peace because we have mail, important documents, Amari's school art,  and things that need to get shredded all over the desk. I drives me insane and makes our bedroom look a hot mess and it just stresses me out. 

The last and final goal for organization is to meal plan again. We saved a lot of money with meal planning and it was nice knowing what we were going to have for meals each day. It also made grocery shopping easier. 

Blog More - I miss writing. It allows me to get my thoughts out and to process everything. It was why I started Simply Durant in the first place. I hope to blog at least once a week, two if I can manage it. I am a working mom so finding balance will be a struggle at first but it will happen. I posted more in December than any other month last year. It felt great to write and it also boosted my mood. 

These are my goals for 2016. I'm going to focus on the little things first but ultimately my health is number one. I have hope that this year will be a great one. 

Happy New Year.
 
Thanks for stopping bye.