Happy 4th of July Y’all!

From our family to yours we hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.” -JFK

Easy Hoppin’ John

Last week I shared the collard greens I prepared for our New Year’s feast and today I am sharing the recipe for the Hoppin’ John that we had to go along with the greens! This recipe is as simple as it is tasty! Hoppin’ John is considered a Low Country food and I have grown up eating it all my life in South Carolina. I am not really a fan of blackeyed peas but the rice and the seasoning that the bacon gives really accompany them so well that I do not mind them at all in this dish! As you make this dish your home will smell delicious as the scent of bacon reminds me of home! Feel free to try your hand at some traditional South Carolinan food!

Hoppin’ John

  • 2 Tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 2 cups cooked and drained black eyed peas
  • 3/4 cup diced sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock(reduced sodium)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. In a large skillet fry 3 slices of center cooked bacon. Remove bacon (crumble to use on a salad or something later or you can just eat it). 
  2. While you’re frying the bacon cook the one cup of rice in a rice cooker or on the stove.
  3. After the bacon is removed, saute the onion in the bacon drippings for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the peas and cooked rice until heated through and add the chicken stock and stir
  5. Salt and Pepper to taste
  6. Enjoy!

Crock-Pot Collard Greens

Sorry for my absence these past few days! It seems that if you travel for 9 days straight in cars and on planes and are around thousands of people you have a really good chance of getting sick! I am feeling better and am back with a recipe I prepared on New Years Day! 

Around the country there are many traditions as to what should be your first meal in the New Year! Here in the south we are no different. Legend is that you should eat collard greens(which represent cash money), blackeyed peas(representing change and cents), corn bread(representing gold) and ham hocks or pork(representing positive motion forward since a pig cannot turn his foot anyway but forward). The saying goes “Eat poor on New Year’s, and eat fat the rest of the year.” So I wanted to try my hand at making this traditional southern meal for my husband as he had never heard of this tradition that I would never miss at my Meme’s house growing up! 

These turned out good and they were super easy. I love the Crock-Pot so much because it’s a set it and forget it appliance. Mike was a good sport and tried them and he responded with just how I thought, “they’re bitter.” Well that’s exactly how they’re supposed to taste! Next year I think I’ll cook cabbage instead since it is a green that I actually love! Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try your hand at easy collards!

Crock Pot Collard Greens

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion; chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • 3 bunches collard greens; cut
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water

  1. Add bacon to pan heated to Med/High and fry until crisp. Remove bacon and crumble.
  2. While bacon is frying, chop and wash greens. I used my salad spinner to get them clean and dry.
  3. Add onion to pan that bacon was cooked in. Sautee for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add: chicken broth, water, salt and peper and the bacon back to the pan. Heat up for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add clean greens to Crock Pot and top with mixture from the bacon pan.
  5. Cook all day(8-10) hours on Low. The greens will cook way down in the pot!
  6. Enjoy!
I hope you had a fabulous New Year and that 2014 will be filled with health, wealth and prosperity!

2013 Superlatives

Today is the last day of 2013. It is hard to believe that 365 days has passed since we welcomed this year! With that said, I want to share some of my favorites for the past year with you! When I think back on 2013 I will smile since I have had quite an amazing year! In 2013 I got married, became a certified Pilates instructor and traveled quite a bit. I have gotten to know myself a whole lot more and have started treating myself with respect and dignity and I hope you have as well! Here are some of my favorite things/experiences in 2013…

Day: June 1
Travel Destination
Experience: Wedding weekend
2013 was an amazing year for us Arnold’s and I am looking forward to making 2014 even better! 
See you in the new year!

Merry Christmas

I wanted to personally wish you a very Merry Christmas from the Arnold’s! I hope you enjoy this 
special day and use it as a reminder of just how important time with friends and family really is! 
Our 2013 Christmas Card!
We are headed out tonight on a desert adventure that I cannot wait to experience!
We’ll be back next week with new memories to share!

Christmas Wreaths

At Christmastime, or any time of year for that matter, a front door decoration is a great way to show your personality. Think about it, the first time someone shows up on your doorstep you have an opportunity to show them your style without even inviting them in. Personally, I think front door decoration is a must and it should change with every holiday and occasion. Since it is Christmas I am sharing some wreath inspiration pics that I have found that would look amazing on your front door and would welcome any friend or family member to your home!

Christmas Tree Decor Inspiration

Today I wanted to share some Christmas tree decor inspiration pics. I love looking at pictures of holiday decor on the web and getting ideas for my home. There are tons of ideas for trees out there and I have included everything from whimsical to more traditional. I tend to stay on the traditional side with decorating however these make me want to try something a bit more funky! I hope these ideas spur something creative in you when it comes to decorating your tree this year!

Now I want to go switch up some of my decorations!!
Stay southern,

DIY Letter Christmas Tree Topper

It seems to be that I can never find the perfect tree topper to my liking. Now I may just be picky or frugal as all of the ones I actually do like are out of my price range. Last year I was into burlap so I tied a big burlap bow on top of the tree with 6′ ribbon that was fun and different. But I am now over burlap so I wanted something a little different. I had seen some inspiration pictures on Pinterest of monogrammed tree toppers that I really responded to. I happened to have a large letter A that had just been lying around for about a year just waiting to be crafted! Here is what I came up with!

You’ll need:
  • A blank cardboard, chipboard, MDF or wooden letter
  • Craft Paint in the color of your choice
  • Paint brushes(I used foam and threw it away after)
  • Craft Bond Extra Strong glue stick
  • Glitter in the color of your choice
1.Start by spreading newspaper on your work surface to protect it.
2. Next paint your letter. I did two coats, letting it dry for a few hours in between.
3. After your paint is completely dry, draw your circles(or whatever shape) with your glue stick, really making sure that you have a lot of glue on your surface to hold the glitter.
4. Sprinkle glitter all over the spots where you applied the glue while making sure that you completely cover the glue. Shake off excess glitter and cover bare spots.

5. Affix topper to the apex of your tree. I used 20lb. test fishing line that my husband provided me with!

I really enjoyed DIY’ing my tree topper this year! I have gotten so many compliments so far. It is far from perfect but It looks so much better in person! My circles are a little less than round but even though the perfectionist in me is screaming I really love it!

Harvest Decor

If you know me at all then you know I LOVE Thanksgiving. I love the food and family but also the decor. I find harvest items to feel very homey and warm and I am not one to skip right over Thanksgiving and head right to Christmas. In fact, it outrages me. Thanksgiving is a very important holiday for us to come together as a family and remember what all we have to be thankful for(although, we should do this daily). Anyway, I will jump down off my soapbox and share with you some harvest decoration inspiration photos! I hope they inspire you do adorn your home before this family holiday!

**I found all of these images on Pinterest**
Stay southern,

Happy Halloween

Today is Halloween!! One of my favorite days of the year! I LOVE dressing up and planning the perfect costume! Since today is such an awesome day I thought I would share Mike and I’s costumes since we have been together! This is in fact our 5th Halloween together, however I had just moved here in 2010 so we were lame and did not dress up. Anyway, here are our costumes from four of the last five years including this year where we actually dressed up in September for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom in the Walt Disney World Resort!

2009: Sherlock Holmes and an Aviator
 2011: Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley
2012: Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler with Pumpkin as a raptor
2013: Waldo and Tinkerbell

We always have a fabulous time dressing up for Halloween parties but we always come down to the wire when it comes to choosing and getting together the items for our costumes! I need to be proactive for next year…any suggestions?

Stay southern,