Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Sky Is Falling

Or, maybe it's just all the acorns falling from the Oak tree in my yard.   Either way I have a fun fall centerpiece on the way using these babies.  Stay Tuned!!!

Yes, I actually collected Acorns from my own yard!
 Here's To Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever After!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sweet Cajun Pork Loin

Last night I tried out a new recipe and it was a hit in the Sparks household so I thought I would share.

It's pretty simple and only involves 5 ingredients.

Pork loin
1 tbs Cajun Seasoning
3 tbs Honey
4 tbs Butter
1/4 cup water

Melt the butter and honey on the stovetop in an oven safe pan. Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning on the pork loin and then brown the pork loin, 10 minutes on each side. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast at 375 for 20 minutes.  (The time in the oven will vary based on the size of your porkl oin). Roast in the oven until center is no longer pink.

Remove the pork loin from the pan and let it rest. Mix the remaining sauce in the pain with 1/4 cup water and simmer.  Slice the pork loin and drizzle the sauce over the top and serve

Sweet Cajun Pork Loin
 You can play witth the honey-Cajun seasoning ratio to find a flavor that is right for you.  I will probably add a little more Cajun seasoning next time I make it.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Mexican Fiesta

It's Mexican Fiesta night at the McCord house...actually most nights are, it's our favorite thing to eat and my favorite thing to cook!  My husband and I joke often that maybe we should pick up and move to Mexico.

Since we do eat quite a lot of Mexican food I am always looking for ways to mix it up a little. I decided this week to do shredded chicken tacos; this was so easy that I couldn't resist sharing it with you.  If you’re anything like me, then you’re always looking for ways to speed up that dinner process after a long day at work. I mean who really wants to be a slave to the kitchen after you get home from an 8+ hour day, right?

The hardest part of this dinner was the chicken and it couldn't have been easier, I make my own guacamole as well but I will share that with you at a later date.

What you need:
3 Large Chicken Breasts
1 can of Rotel Tomatoes & Green Chilies
1 package of your favorite taco seasoning

What you do:

Trim your chicken breasts
Lay them flat across the bottom of your Crock-pot
Sprinkle the package of seasoning all over the chicken
Pour the can of tomatoes & chilies all over the chicken
Turn the Crock-pot on low for 6-7 hours and walk away!
Once the chicken is cooked, take two forks and shred the chicken
That's it, you’re done!

Now just serve with tortillas and your favorite taco fixing’s, Enjoy! We did!

Shredded Chicken for Tacos

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Making "His" House Feel More Like "Our" Home

A lot of my time recently has been consumed by furniture shopping, decor shopping and a couple DIY projects. I'm working diligently to turn my husbands "bachelor pad" into "our" home. My most recent and time consuming project has been refinishing two end tables and a console table for our living room.  When we got married and I moved in, we had some furniture that we needed to get rid of and a few pieces I knew I could transform into something that would fit the decor I envisioned.

My recent DIY projects are not what I would call extensive but definitely made a big difference in our living room space. The only items I needed for these tables were a sander, primer, spray paint and sealer.

 I started easy with this table because no sanding was required.  I used grey primer from Rustoleum. (I'm sorry I got excited and forgot to take a "Before" picture) I was hoping to only have to do two coats of primer but it wasn't covering well, so I ended up doing 3.


Then I sprayed the table with 3 coats of black satin paint from Rustoleum, be sure to let each coat of primer and paint dry thoroughly between each coat.

The only costs I had in this table are $3.50 for a can of spray primer and $3.50 for the black spray paint for a total of $7.00, not to shabby if you ask me!

The next two tables were a little more time consuming.  Here they are before I started.

Since they had varnish on them I had to sand them down in order for them to take the paint well.  I am NOT a  fan of sanding, it takes way to long for my taste, even with a sander.  The husband may have helped a little with this stage!

With these tables I wanted a distressed look.  I wanted to add a little color to them so I painted them red first, just around the edges where I wanted to distress.  Here they are with the Red Matte Rustoleum spray paint.  The husband came out at this point and had a little panic attack... can't say I blame him.

After the red paint dried completely, I covered the entire table with Black Matte Rustoleum spray paint.  I did 3 coats of the black paint. When the black paint dried for 24 hours I then took a fine grit sanding block and sanded where the tables would become naturally distressed over time, for example, the legs, corners and drawers.

Here is what I ended up with. (My apologies for the bad pictures, I got excited to get them back in the house and these were taken at night time)

Here is the console table finished. (with some Fall decorations)

End Table (I also added new hardware)

Close up of how the distressing turned out...I am pretty pleased
with the little amount of red "peaking' through.

Hope you're inspired to update that table that may be in the spare bedroom that could fit in nicely in your living room with a fresh coat of paint!

Here's to Love, Laughter and Happily Ever After ~SCS~

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mmmmmm, Chili!

This is a post from a few years ago that I decided to share again since we are headed into Fall and football season!!!

The crisp nights, football on TV, and the smell of fall in the air and I get hungry for...chili!  The husband had been requesting it too, so I set out to the store for my ingredients and whipped up a big pot the other night.

Now, I love to cook, however I’m not a recipe follower.  I guess you can say I just go with what feels “right”?  So, I will do my best to give measurements but you can always add or remove what ever doesn’t feel “right” to you.  I also love that I can make it all in one pot, no heaps of dirty dishes to wash after!

 2 Large cans Tomato Juice
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 Medium Onion
1 Large Green Pepper
1 can Tomato Paste
1 Pkg. McCormick Original Chili Seasoning
1 1/2 cups Elbow Macaroni
3 Cloves Garlic
1 can Green Chilies
Worcestershire Sauce (6 shakes)
12 oz. Favorite Beer
2 dashes Cayenne Pepper (more or less depending on how hot you like it)
Salt & Pepper
Shredded Cheese

·        First step is to brown your ground beef, while it’s browning I add a little salt and pepper and the Worcestershire Sauce, approximately 6 shakes of the bottle. Once it’s browned you may need to drain the grease, I use lean ground beef (93/7) so I can usually skip this step because the grease is very minimal.
·        While the meat is browning I chop the green pepper and onion in my food processor.  This makes the work easier on you!
·        Peel 3 cloves of garlic and chop fine, I use the food processor for this also!

·        Once the meat is brown I start the dumping, all the other ingredients get dumped in.  Add the tomato juice, beer, green pepper, onion, garlic, chili seasoning, tomato paste, green chilies.

·        I stir this all together for a minute or so, you will want to make sure the tomato paste is incorporated well. 

·        Last step is to add your macaroni (uncooked), I use 3 palms full.  It’s approximately 1 1/2 cups, you can always add more or less depending on your preference.

·        Let simmer on the stove until the macaroni is cooked through, chili will thicken as the macaroni cooks.  Be sure to stir often so the noodles don’t sink to the bottom and burn.
·        Serve with shredded cheese on top.

  • ENJOY!!

Here's to LOVE, LAUGHTER & HAPPILY ever after!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


 Savvy Chic Sisters!!  Check it out, my sister and I started a new blog. 

Allison and I both have a love for mixing old and new, being crafty, Do It Yourself projects and anything where we can break out the paint, sander or power tools. Plus, I love to cook and she loves to bake, so we thought....why not a blog!

We have tons of ideas and projects and we are excited to share them with you, we hope you will continue to check in and see what we come up with.

We would also love any feedback you can give, if you decide to take on one of our projects yourself then let us know how it turns out. Or if you have an idea you think we would enjoy then please share!

We hope to inspire and be inspired!!

Not Just For Lamps Anymore

Apparently, I have been picking on my light fixtures lately because this is the second one I have given the big heave ho in the last week.   I guess I  figured it was time for a change!

I recently updated a recessed light in our kitchen that you can see here.  Then I decided it was on to the dining room light, I have planned to change this light for quite some time but never got around to it.  You know, that thing called “life” gets in the way sometimes.  Our dining room is connected to our living room, though the previous home owners didn’t use the dining room as such.  They used it as a “play room”; therefore the light fixture wasn’t what most would consider a “typical” dining room light.  Now, we are not formal people so the dining room gets used oh, maybe 3 times a year.  I guess you can see why it wasn’t necessarily at the top of my priority list.

Original light fixture

Keep in mind that we are not “formal” people, transitioning to a big chandelier just didn’t seem to fit our personality or the personality of our home.  So I decided an easy fix would be to convert our current light fixture to something a little more fun.  I love the look of the modern pendant light, however I don’t love there price tags. 
So here is my DIY solution, convert a lamp shade into a pendant light fixture.  Here is how I did it and how you can do it too!!

Original light fixture again

The first step is to measure the base (part against the ceiling) of the existing light fixture, this is how you will know what size lamp shade you will require.  I ended up using a 14 inch shade.  Once you have your dimensions then it's time to hunt down that perfect lamp shade.

If you're like me, then that perfect shade doesn't exist and you have to create it.  So, I set off to Joann Fabric to find the perfect fabric to cover my lamp shade.  This is relatively easy to do, I covered a lamp shade for my daughter's room a few years ago.  All you need is the lamp shade, fabric and a hot glue gun.  Keep in mind the darker the fabric the less light will shine through.  Cut the fabric to fit your lamp shade but leave 3 to 4 inches of "wiggle" room on each side.  Using the natural seam of the shade you will attach one side of your fabric along the seam, this will act as your anchor.  Work your way around the shade, pulling the fabric tight and gluing it down with your glue gun. You will do this on both ends and leave an inch or so of extra fabric. 

Attaching the fabric to the shade

Creating that clean line
Once the fabric is completely attached the way you want it, you can go back and fold the fabric (that extra inch or so) under to create a nice clean seam and glue that down.

Finished lampshade!
To hang the lamp shade you will remove the finial and the glass bowl from your light fixture. You should be left with an existing rod that the bowl slid on and the finial screwed on.  You can slid your new lamp shade on the rod and use the finial (from the previous fixture) to secure the lamp shade in place.

Finished Product

So, do you have any light fixtures you are ready to tackle and give a custom look?  You can do it!

Here's to LOVE, LAUGHTER & HAPPILY ever after!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Antique Heaven

I talked one of my girlfriends into going Antiquing with me this weekend.  We grabbed some lunch at a local place and then headed to a few antique stores in downtown Bloomington.  Two things that Bloomington does not lack are local eateries and antique stores.

Our first stop was a little store that we passed on the way to lunch and decided we needed to go back after we ate.  They had a ton of old windows and apple crates sitting out front, both of which I have been on the hunt for. This place looks small but my goodness do they have tons stuff crammed in there. After looking at the crates and windows closer I decided they weren't in the best shape for what they wanted for them and passed on them.  They did have a desk (also of which I have been on the hunt for) that I have not been able to get off my mind.  I am one of those shoppers that likes to sleep on things (maybe for a couple days) before I decide if it's really the right purchase for me or not. It had the most beautiful scalloped edges and was in pretty good shape for only $30.00. A little sanding and paint and it could be perfect! Well it's been 24 hours now and I may just be taking the husband back to see if it's still there. 

Our next stop was the mother of all Bloomington Antique stores! I mean this place has shopping carts and the employees all have those little ear buds to communicate with each other. I felt like I was at the Gap only with 70 year old men working instead of trendy 20 year old something’s. Anyways, at 3 stories tall, you could spend a good 4 hours in the place if you really wanted to.  We spent about an hour oooh'ing and aaah'ing at numerous treasures. I got many ideas on things I can add to my DIY list and realized I am now on the hunt for an old high chair or little rocking chair to redo for one of my girl friends that is having a baby!

Our third stop isn't really worth mentioning and it for sure wasn't worth a picture.  Unfortunately there are some "dud" antique stores out there too.

I encourage all of you to stop in that little antique store that you drive past every day on the way to work.  You just never know what treasures you might find.

Here's to LOVE, LAUGHTER & HAPPILY ever after!!

Dinner Date

We had dinner with our friends Justin, Kristen and Jackson last week. I thought I would share a few pictures of Madelyn and Jackson playing. Maddy absolutely loved riding on Jackson's gator and he was even nice enough to let her drive!

Thanks for having us!!

Love these two!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Let There Be Light

I have lived in my house now for 5 1/2 years and have wanted to do a kitchen overhaul since the day we moved in. However 5 years later all that has been accomplished is new stainless steel appliances and cabinet hardware.  So this fall/ winter it's ON!!!!

The entire process will be done in phases, one of which I completed last night.  A new light!!  There was a recessed light directly above my kitchen sink; I have wanted to convert it to a pendant light for quite some time.  I prefer a pendant light over a recessed light, I think it gives a warmer feel and looks less sterile.  The great thing is they make recessed lighting conversion kits; they can be found at most home improvement stores.  No re-wiring necessary!!

Now, most of the boxes for the conversion kits say "as easy as screwing in a light bulb".  Let me just say this was not the case for me.  I even had my husband ready to box it up and return it to Lowe's asap.  I refused to give up (I'm stubborn like that) and finally got it to cooperate.

So here are a few pictures, I would recommend allowing a little more time than just screwing in a light bulb but it's definitely a DIY project!

I also FINALLY got rid of that hideous scalloped, wood molding piece above the sink as well!!

(Note the hideous scalloped wood piece)

Bye Bye Scalloped Wood Piece
(I still need to remove the wood molding across the top)

Love pendant lights!

 Here's to LOVE, LAUGHTER & HAPPILY ever after!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Who? What? When? Where?

Let us introduce ourselves! We are Sara and Allison, were sisters who consider ourselves "Do It Yourself(ers)".  Over the years we have learned many ways to take our "expensive" taste and make it happen on a dime.  Recently we were talking and realized how much stuff we have actually re-created using our DIY techniques.  So, we figured , why not share them with everyone else? 

Here's the thing, if WE can do this then you can do it too!  We hope you will join us on our DIY journey...and hopefully learn some tricks and get ideas that you can use to make your house a home!!!

Here's to LOVE, LAUGHTER & HAPPILY ever after!!