Now that I have some time on my hands, I figured out my 2014 New Year’s resolution, which had been delayed to the great move. Inspired by another blogger who is working on her 30 Before 30 list, I decided to create my 40 Before 40 list as I’m turning 39 *gasp* in April. Instead of freaking out over the number, I’ve decided to try and embrace the milestone. Key word: try. So, I’m pretty much giving myself a year and a few months to complete my 40 Before 40 list.

Some tasks are simple and frugal (set a dandelion on fire) while others are more intimidating and expensive (tandem skydive). I tried to be realistic about the tasks because I want to complete all 40 in about 14 months (I don’t have the financial means to hit all 50 states in one year). If I had thought about this list a few years earlier, I probably would’ve listed more complex tasks. Without further delay, here’s my well-thought out 40 BEFORE 40 LIST:


1. Tandem skydive. Sure as crap not skydiving by MYSELF. I would be too freaked out to pull the parachute cord. Nope. Someone else will have to pull the cord and listen to my death-defying screams.

2. Document my big year. Have you seen the movie, “The Big Year,” starring Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson? No. Well, you should. I loved it and inspired me to be a birder — a very lazy birder but a birder nonetheless. Diehard birders basically track, identify, and document as many birds as they can in one year. I would be happy to see 50 different kinds of birds. Do birds in a zoo count?

3. Take one photo every day for one year. I thought starting this goal on my 39th birthday and ending on my 40th was a good idea. I’m just basically photographing the last year of being in my 30s. *sigh*

4. Draw funny faces on a carton of eggs. More than likely I’ll draw some funny faces on either my sister’s or my dad’s eggs because Charlie and I use Eggbeaters.

5. Picnic in the park.


6. Visit a castle. Excalibur in Las Vegas would count, right? Charlie and I are tentatively planning a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate our 5th anniversary.

7. Take a cake decorating class.

8. Set a dandelion on fire. Did you know several web sites are entirely about bucket list ideas? I had no idea until I needed help setting realistic 40 Before 40 goals. One suggestion was setting a dandelion on fire, and judging from the pictures the result is pretty.

9. Send out 2014 Christmas cards. The last time I sent out Christmas cards was the year Charlie and I were married. I should probably send out Christmas cards and update friends and family about our first year in Iowa.

10. Bake and share cupcakes. For the record, I will not make cupcakes from scratch. I can’t remember the last time I baked cupcakes, but I plan to buy a cake mix and bake cupcakes.


11. Visit a winery. I’m sure I can find a winery somewhere in Iowa.

12. Attend a city festival.

13. Grow a $1 plant from Target. I gave up on the last experiment, but I’m still determined to successfully grow a plant.

14. Complete a coloring book. When was the last time I completed a coloring book by myself? Probably before I was 10 years old — just a guess.

15. Read a book recommended by a friend. I’ve already asked for book recommendations from my Facebook friends. I recognize some titles — Gone Girl, The Fault in Our Stars, Angels and Demons — and other title need some research — The Boy in the Suitcase, Code Name Verity, Cinder, and Kitchen House.

16. Re-create Happy Times cover with my sister, Krissy. My sister and I were simply adorable when we were younger. I think re-creating the cover would be hilarious.


17. Paint a moustache on a bottom of a mug. Or a pig snout. Or cat whiskers.

18. Refashion jeans into shorts with lace. Thanks to Pinterest, I found a way to turn skinny jeans into a pair of shorts. I just need some lace.

19. Make sesame chicken. Now that Charlie and I are further away from our favorite Chinese restaurant that serves the BEST sesame chicken, I need to find a simple recipe for sesame chicken.

20. Make watermelon popiscles. Again, thanks to Pinterest I found a very simple recipe to make watermelon popiscles.

21. Run 300 miles on a treadmill. Let me clarify, I will run a TOTAL of 300 miles on a treadmill. Is 300 miles too little? Should I up the mileage to 500? Hmmmmm.

22. Have Tova, Gavin, and Ethan over for game or movie night.

23. Take Dad to dinner. A nice restaurant that doesn’t have the words “bee” or “red” in the title.


24. Complete and frame a 500-piece puzzle. I love Van Gogh! I wonder where I can find the Starry Night puzzle.

25. Explore Amana Colonies.

26. Visit Field of Dreams site. I love the movie! Anyone who doesn’t like the movie doesn’t have a heart.

27. Wear something pink. I’m not a big fan of pink apparel, but apparently, some people think pink looks good on me. I will step out of my fashion comfort zone and find something pink to wear.

28. Attend a midnight movie premiere. What big movies are being released this year that will offer a midnight showing? Muppets Most Wanted? Divergent? Noah? Oh! Captain America: The Winter Soldier. X-Men: Days of Future Past — the title confuses me but I love X-Men. Transformers 4?

29. Ride a roller coaster. I hate death-defying roller coasters. Absolutely hate them. But I will face at least one of my fears this year.


30. Build a gingerbread house.

31. Attend a play.

32. Learn how to tie a tie. My dad can help me with this since he wore a tie to school every day for years.

33. Candle-lit bubble bath. I have a bath tub!

34. Send Mom a birthday card. She might not be able to remember her birthday, but I will. And I will always remember her sending me and my sisters birthday and holiday cards.

35. Watch “Ghostbusters” from beginning to end. Charlie would be so proud of me.

36. Write five favorite memories of me and Charlie and attach to five red heart balloons on our anniversary.


37. Buy and build a simple Lego kit. An airplane or car. Whatever. I was never really interested in Legos, but all my nephews just absolutely love them. My younger sister, Becky, was the one who was a fanatic about Legos.

38. Create and order a “Shelby Moving Co.” shirt. Modern Family fans should know the reference.

39. Do something nice for a friend.

40. Complete (and finally wear) my washer necklace. I need to touch up the black paint and add a heart charm.

Categories: 2014 Resolution: 40 Before 40, Jennifer Elliott

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