The Adventures of Stinky Sweet:

Sometimes stinky. Sometimes sweet. But it's our life - and it is always good.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


My husband dreams of one day owning a piece of land that is big enough to have some farm animals - ducks, chickens, a cow, and some goats. I was all for it. Until today. When I saw this video for the first time. And I watching it with tears of joy streaming down my face.

(Original video found here)

and then there is this:
You are so welcome.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

New Bees!

Chad's mom ordered him new bees for his impending birthday (it's the big 3-0. Don't tell him I told you.) They were delivered bright and early Saturday morning but it was too cold on Saturday preceding bad overnight storm so we waited until this morning.
We hope that these two new hives will stick around and be successful after we lost both of our hives this past year.
St. Elmo Sweetness lives on, fingers crossed.  
When you order bees, this is how they come to you. The queen is inside that large clump in a little cage of her own.
Under that thin piece of wood at the top is a can of thick sugar syrup with two tiny holes punched it in. They eat this in transit and until you get them in their hive.
P.S. these bees are in my guest room at the time this photo was taken. Too cold overnight to leave them exposed so we brought them in the house. The cat was painfully curious so we had to keep the door closed, which she did NOT appreciate.

Here is Chad taking the can of syrup out of the top so he can get to the queen cage.

Putting the queen cage in the hive body - it has other bees on it.
The queen cage is plugged with a sugar paste of sorts. The bees will eat through the sugar and release her once they are all in the hive together.

This is the crazy spray the bees down with water (when their wings are wet, they don't fly) and then literally shake/pour them into the hive. You can see the pile of bees spilling into the hive in that photo.

Here you can see that the transport container is much emptier - only a few bees left.

Putting the inner cover on...

Putting the outer cover/lid on...
Chad did get stung once on this round because a bee got stuck in his shirt near his armpit. Other than that, all went well.

For the second round, we had a friend come over and help who is interested in getting bees of his own. Chad was teaching/showing and then let M do his thing...
we had to wait 30+ minutes before putting these bees in their hive but we ended up waiting about an hour for M and his sweet wife, K,  to get out of church. It was really perfect timing and worked out really well.

M dumping the bees into the hive while Chad keeps them sprayed. I am sure that 2 sets of hands would be optimal for this entire process but I am too much of a pansy to participate. Either way, it was nice to have M here to use his bravery and help Chad with the second hive.

Inner cover placement...

Bee discussions...brave dudes.

Two new hives!
Crossing our fingers that we get many years out of these girls.

Photo Dump - Pacific Northwest

Here is a giant photo dump of our trip with a few captions. This is about 1% of the photos I took but since they won't mean as much to you as they do to me, I won't bore you with the 300 of them. :)
These first few are from Vashon Island (Seattle) so they are a little out of order but the rest of them should be in the right order...
I got squirted on by multiple gooey ducks.
If you don't know what these are, click the link. Mike Rowe will explain and it will change your life.
Apparently no walk on the beach at low tide is safe in the PNW.  

The driftwood was mind blowing. And beautiful.

Beach on Vashon Island
We flew over the Rockies and they were amazing. One day we will RV our way out there. Hello bucket list.

In the Columbia River Gorge...

Columbia River Gorge

Proof that we both went on this trip.
Columbia River Gorge
(Chad spent most of the trip with hot tea in his hands. It wasn't all that cold but super windy. And we made a trip to the Stash tea store our first full day in Portland and he enjoyed it the rest of the trip.)

One waterfall in the gorge.

Another waterfall in the gorge.
Further proof that all 3 of us were there.

Everything is wet and mossy.
Literally. Everything.

A little snow in the higher elevations in the gorge.

Where the Pacific Crest Trail crossed the river (across this bridge). We sought this out just for Chad.

Union Station in Portland. Beautiful old train/bus station. We left on the Amtrak from here.

Lighthouse on Vashon Island

More driftwood.

Mt. Rainer. You can see this exact view from Aaron and Sara's porch. Lucky ducks.

People had made little driftwood huts for fun on the beach. Here is Chad - on the phone - trying one out.

Pike's Place and its famous sign.

I wanted ALL of these. Too bad we couldn't really get them home.

More Pike's Place. Colorful fruit and flower stands were just a prevalent as seafood, much to my surprise.

This begins a series of Chihuly glass. This museum was basically at the base of the Space Needle and we decided to spend our money on this instead of the needle. For this not-too-fond-of-heights gal, I think we absolutely made the right choice. This was totally worth every penny.

Chihuly glass

Chihuly glass


There was a whole room full of these glass bowls. They were incredible!

This is a 100 foot long installation in a glass house, made especially for this location.

Outside. Chihuly glass.

Back on Vashon Island. Our last beach stroll for this trip.
This would immediately prior to the aforementioned gooey duck incident.
Finally, one of the things on my list was a trip to the Freemont Troll. Check.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pacific Northwest Day #5 and #6 - Coming home.

Let me preface this by saying that I didn't think that I would have a problem with jet lag because I was so tired all day as we travelled today but here I am - 11:45 at night - blogging instead of sleeping. I've been laying in bed for an hour and a half hoping that sleep would come but have decided to do something a tiny bit more productive than listening to my husband snore.

We got up Wednesday morning and headed into Seattle via the ferry with Aaron as our fearless driver. It was nice to not be at the mercy of the bus schedule or our tired feet and taking the ferry while in a car was a fun experience. (I vaguely remember taking either our camping or a car on a ferry back in the day with family but I'm not sure where it was. Mom?) We didn't have much on the schedule for the day but a couple of touristy stops again. We headed straight to the REI store that is the original/home of the company - which we have lovingly been calling the "motherland". It was a huge store - 3 floors of outdoor goodies - and we had fun just strolling around and trying out the supplies. We only bought a couple of tiny things because if we bought something big we would have had to ship it back anyway...left REI and located the Freemont Troll - a large art sculpture under the Freemont Bridge (photos to come). It was on my list of things to see after having seen it in a couple of movies ("10 Things I Hate About You" anyone?). We then headed back towards the ferry with a stop off for lunch at one of Aaron and Sara's favorite local brewery/pub places (super hoppy beverages - my least favorite of all the ones we sampled - sorry locals!).

We were trying to get back on Vashon Island before 4pm because we wanted to tour the local Russian Orthodox Monastery. They roast their own coffee beans, make their own tea, raise bees, and lots of other cool stuff we wanted to check out. We finally made it back and got a lovely tour from Father Moses. He willingly answered all of our nosy questions in his own quiet way. I bought some coffee to bring back to some caffeine lovin' folks back home and we said our goodbyes to them. Dinner and a movie later, we crashed knowing that we had to get up early and pack our stuff for home. A super windy evening caused power outages so we gladly went to bed in the lovely dark (the island was pretty dark anyway - few street lights and a careful use of resources).

We got up early this morning and Aaron drove us back through Seattle to the SeaTac airport (Seattle/Tacoma - it is about halfway between the two cities). Our flight was delayed about an hour leaving Seattle so we ended up getting tickets for a much later flight out of Atlanta (by about 3+ hours when we planned on a 30 minute layover!). Our pilot must have put the petal to the metal because we made up some lost time and ended up touching down about 20 minutes late. This still meant that Chad and I jogged through ATL from the E terminal where we landed back up to the A terminal and squeezed onto our original flight home just as they made the last boarding call. I am super thankful that I am sitting at home in my PJs instead of just now arriving in the Chattanooga airport.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I absolutely love making memories with my guy, seeing places that I haven't ever seen before, taking loads of pictures, and being off work for a few days. I am gearing up for a super busy spring (literally all of my weekends are committed until the end of May) so it was so nice to have some time off and get to spend 24 hours with my guy (though we all know travelling like that isn't exactly relaxing. My mom says that when you get home you need a vacation from your vacation.) Chad actually gets tomorrow off - just how the cards fell - but I have an all day meeting so I wish it was me snoring in his ear down the hall instead of the other way around.

I still feel a little like I am moving from all of the ferry rides and flights so I will be glad with that settles down. I am looking forward to jumping back into a routine and getting back into the gym next week.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pacific Northwest days #3 and #4.

So we left Portland around lunchtime and hopped on the Amtrak headed to Seattle. It was actually a super cool experience and I would recommend it to anyone. We made about 6 stops between Portland and Seattle but each was very short; it took about 4 hours to get there but it went a lot faster than 4 hours on the plane. There was plenty to see and lots of legroom so it was a very pleasant 4 hours. Chad had run in a little deli before we got on the train and purchased some sandwiches so we had lunch and drinks and just hung out.
We arrived at the Amtrak station in Seattle and easily located our next destination of the ferry dock with a little friendly help from an Amtrak employee. We walked about 6 blocks down to the pier and hopped on board the water taxi to Vashon Island. Sara, Aaron's wife (these are family friends), picked us up at the dock and we headed into town for dinner. After a lovely dinner of fish and chips (my 3rd on this trip - and this girl, not ashamed) we came home and headed to bed.
This morning, we got up and dropped Aaron off at work so we could take the car. We left it in the park and ride and took the ferry back into Seattle. We packed our day with lots of fun touristy stuff - fish throwing at Pike's Place followed by a lunch made up of samples and random foods from the vendors there, a trip on the monorail across town to Seattle Center where the Space Needle is located, and a trip through the Chihuly Glass Museum where I kept thinking how much my mom would have loved to be there with us. Another stroll through the Seattle sculpture garden and a walk back to the pier to grab a ferry back to Vashon. We made it back to the island in time to catch Sara coming home from work and to leave Aaron's car for him; about to shower and eat a well deserved pizza and salad dinner. I am tired but super happy; it was an awesome day with my guy just checking stuff out with no schedule or place to be.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pacific Northwest Day #2

Got in late last night and now I am awake before my traveling companions so I thought I would do a little morning blogging. (Coming to you from my phone again so it will be another short one).
Spent the day yesterday just checking out stuff we have never seen up fairly early (the 3 hour time difference is more challenging than I thought it would be) and had breakfast here at the hotel. I intentionally booked a hotel that had breakfast hoping that it would save us a little time and money each day and so far it has. After breakfast we jumped in the car and headed out to drive through the Columbia River Gorge. It was so beautiful... I still can't get over how green and wet everything is out here when everything back home us so bleak looking still this the of year.
We stopped at one point and did a little hike to a beautiful waterfall and u wish we could have done a little more hiking but we were sort of on a time schedule because we booked a brewery tour at 2pm. We headed back into Portland just in time to catch the tour at the Widmer Bros brewery which was really interesting. I wish they would have let us in more of the building but i can understand why they can't. After that tour, we tried to go to the history museum but they were only open another hour or so and we didn't think we could get our money's worth so we skipped that one. Instead we headed to the International Rose Test Garden and Oregon Holocaust Memorial. The roses were - of course- not in bloom yet but it was still so beautiful. Lots of other things were blooming (mom, wish you were here....the forsythia is in FULL bloom and there are daffodils everywhere!) And it was neat to see the perfectly manicured garden and imagine what it would look like in full bloom. The Holocaust Memorial was sad and beautiful; the wording was well spoken and they had buried dirt and ashes from the 6 main camps under part of the memorial. It was surprisingly moving and i an glad we pulled off to check it out.
After that, we were all tired so we came back to the hotel for a while. It was nice to just crash for a free minutes before heading back into town. We pulled it back together long enough to go to a traditional British pub for dinner and my fish and chips were delicious. We also had warm brie with roasted garlic and wished my sister were here to enjoy it with us because she makes the BEST brie...we crashed hard after dinner (midnight our time, mind you). Waiting for my fools to wake up now so we can go to breakfast. We plan on wandering around downtown for a while this morning before we catch out train around lunchtime to head to Seattle...having a blast!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pacific Northwest Day #1

After walking up at 4am EST this morning to catch our flight out of Chattanooga, I can safely say it has been a long day. It is now 11:10 EST and I am gonna try to make some notes before a major crash.

We had a 3 hour layover in ATL which was fine but it just meant we had time to burn. Another uneventful flight later and Megan picked us up at the airport right on time. My first impression of Portland is that everything is wet and so green! Conifer trees are the dominant variety out here and the annual rainfall is so high that it really is shocking to see how full-of-life everything looks here heading to the tail end of winter. We headed downtown to the Saturday market and tromped around in the rain looking at local wares. I bought a couple of little gifts and kept my eyes open for a small piece of art (my usual travel souvenir) but nothing struck my fancy. Lunch at a delicious Greek place - possible the best Greek food I have ever had, a trip to the famous Powell's Book store, the Stash tea store where we stocked up, and dinner at the Widmer Brother's brewery (which we hope to take a tour of tomorrow). It has been an awesome and long day so we're headed to bed. Columbia river gorge is on the plan for tomorrow....

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Chad and I don't get to travel that often - mostly because we have to save both our dollars and our vacation days for so long to be able to go anywhere - so I am crazy excited for our upcoming trip to Oregon and Washington state. We are about a week out and have finally settled into some plans that involve things like Mt. Rainer, snow tubing, the motherland REI store, one of the largest locally owned bookstores in the US, whale watching, Pike's Place, and some visiting with family and friends. It is going to be an epic vacation - and the only one we get this year - so we shall make the most of it.

We will spend 2 and a half days with Megan in Portland and the surrounding area. Chad has some historical locations on his list of things to see and we have a few local breweries on our list to tour and sample (of course!). We hope to get to Rainer or up the Columbia River gorge to see some fun stuff too. We will head to Seattle via Amtrak (which I am equally excited about...!!) and stay with my best friend's little brother on a ferry-access-only island. We will be footloose tourists for a few days in Seattle where a whale watching tour is basically the only thing we have firmly decided on so far. I love to travel with my guy and promised he would hold my hand if we go up in the Space Needle so I think my dislike-of-heights-in-my-"old-age" can handle it just to say I've done it.

Marking two more states off my see all 50 bucket list!

Giving thanks.

This no-good-not-what-I-planned weekend turned out to be exactly what I needed and pretty much perfection.

Chad was off Friday so we got to spend the entire afternoon together - running around and then finishing our plumbing project with the help of his dad. (ok, it was mostly them. I do a lot of tool handing over...) Saturday we got up early to go pick up my car, Chad got his long run in, I got a walk in with Uncle J and lunch at UPD before Chad had to go to work. I spend the afternoon helping K at her house with more painting before meeting Chad at the townhouse for dinner. Lasagna and a nice glass of wine for J and I (not for Chad, obviously, since he was just on his dinner break) and some good conversation before heading home to bed. Chad ended up staying for an extra shift so he arrived home at around 7:30 this morning. We slept through church (oops? but not entirely a mistake since he had just arrived home after working 18 hours) then had a nice lunch with family at the Yellow Deli.

I spent this afternoon helping K again with an outside painting job and the weather could not have been more perfect. It has been an insanely gorgeous weekend, full of sunshine and near 70 degree temps. I have already cleaned out my car - a project that has been needing to happen for weeks - and now with the windows open, I will clean the kitchen. I feel so much more energized and ready to go and do when the weather is like this. My to do list shrinks so much faster! I am so thankful for today and a weekend where the unexpected turned into the wonderful.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Foiled plans.

You know that saying about "the best laid plans..."? Well, I could use it to perfection for this weekend.

On the way to work Thursday, the transmission light on my car came on and long story short, I don't think you want to go out of town in a car that might possibly have a transmission problem. I tried to take it to the Honda dealership but they couldn't see me until Saturday morning which sort of would have ruined my weekend travel plans. So, I found another local car shop that works on Hondas a lot - they came recommended by my boss who has a similiar car - who was able to get it in on Friday and get the part to fix it. One crisis averted. (It turned out to be something fairly minor - a sensor went out instead of the entire pressure system. Big sigh of relief.)

I woke up Friday morning, after taking my car to the shop, and saw a message that the reunion was basically being called off. The attendance was so small anyway and one of my besties had to back out because of her family passing around the stomach bug (I think I'll avoid THAT at all costs, thanks!) so our numbers were dwindling fast. I guess it is for the best since my cold would have made travel less fun, I wouldn't want to make my parents sick, and baby lovin' would have to be kept to a minimum (lame!).

Instead, we re-did the plumbing in our master bathroom for the 3rd time yesterday. We've had some issues with reduced water pressure since we started messing with the system. We think we've got it figured out and part of the problem is an old sink fixture that is making us BELIEVE we have bad water pressure. We are finally ready to start putting walls back up now and making some visual progress and I am pretty excited about it.

Chad is working this weekend so I am going to help K at her house some more - painting, cleaning, etc. - trying to get it ready to put on the market. Headed to walk with Uncle J now and lunch with Chad before he has to go to work. I am determined to enjoy a nice weekend at home with a long to-do list even though that wasn't my original plan!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

10 years.

This weekend is my 10 year high school reunion (though technically it is 11 because we are sort of a year late). The turnout is apparently going to be pretty low which is really fine with me. I am really looking forward to spending some more intentional time with the few ladies that are going to be able to attend, along with their sweet guys and kiddos of various ages.

I hemmed and hawed about going to this event; I didn't hate high school but I didn't exactly love it either. In general, I am abundantly thankful for the blessing of being able to go to a small, private school and the sacrifices that I know my parents made to keep me there. I have fantastic memories of a senior class that grew up a lot in one year, became fast friends, and that made memories together. But the 11 years before that weren't exactly always pretty. Like any high schooler, I had my fair share of body anxiety, clique struggles, and the overwhelming feeling of not being "enough". Since I still struggle in my adult years with acknowledging my own self worth, I really faught the idea of sending myself "back to high school", even if only for one evening.

I know that I am bigger than that now - well, literally and figuratively - so I spent a lot of time convincing myself to go. More than one talking to myself conversation about "your life is so good. You love what you do. You have a wonderful husband and the beginnings of a career that you love and where people respect you.". So, I'm going. And it is going to be wonderful.