My Fill-The-Bucket List: Dreams Completed And Those Yet To Be Achieved

I really should have written this post a while ago.  Maggie at Northern Expenditure challenged other bloggers to come up with a list of accomplishments, or “awesome opportunities you’ve taken.”  She wrote about a friend who was disappointed about not checking everything off of her to-do-before-I-turn-30 list.  In comparison, Maggie decided to come up with a list of the noteworthy things she has done so far in her life.  As much as I am working hard for my family’s future, it’s important to look back on our progress and the experience along the way.  The inspiration for finally adding this post came from a bucket list I found on my Evernote, which was drafted way back in February of 2014.  I jotted it down when I was still pretty lost and before starting this blog.  It was encouraging to realize that I had already completed some of the tasks on that list and it made me think about all of the other awesome things I’ve been able to do by the age of 33.


The February 2014 “Dreams List”

  • Start a blog
  • Write a book
  • Teach a college course
  • Take a road trip with the kids all over the county
  • Travel to Spain, Ireland, Australia, Hawaii, California, and Alaska
  • Start an Etsy store
  • Speak fluent Spanish
  • Go skydiving
  • Fly a plane
  • Own a horse
  • Foster a litter of puppies
  • Eat food out of my own garden
  • Learn how to knit
  • Learn how to play the piano
  • Learn how to play the guitar
  • Go skiing
  • Swim with dolphins and sharks (not at the same time)
  • Go on a missions trip to build a school or something
  • Sponsor a child in another country
  • Go to the cabin every single year, once in the fall

I’m proud of myself for only including one possession on the list, even back when I was still transitioning from my consumerist ways.  To be honest, I’m not even sure that I still want to own a horse anymore.  As you’re reading my blog right now, I think we can agree on marking that one complete.  I’m still working on my book and hope to finish it this year.  I’m not sure why I want to teach a college course, but it probably has something to do with the fact that my father was a college professor.  I enjoy my tutoring side hustle, so it should be an achievable goal for the future.  For anyone who has been following this blog for a while, you know that we were pretty successful with the garden last summer, so that’s another item that I can check off the list.  My great-grandmother was from Spain, which is why I want to visit the country and become fluent in Spanish.  I used to have a decent ability to speak the language, but it has atrophied over time.  My father has a cabin in Maine that we love to visit, but we don’t end up there every summer.  It is a long drive for us and that requires us to take more time off from work.  I’m looking forward to a time when we can go there whenever we want, including a trip to take in the fall foliage.  And the big road trip?  Well, that’s in the works 🙂

Fresh from the garden, delicious!

I have quite a few things left to learn and experience, but the point of this post was not my to-do list.  It was to recount some unique accomplishments in my life.  So, in response to Maggie’s challenge, here are the experiences that I’ve already collected in my bucket.


My Fill-The-Bucket List


There are quite a few travel destinations on my dreams list, but we have gone a couple of places already.  Mr. Smith and I took an epic trip to Washington D.C. together.  It was our babymoon (I was about 5 months pregnant) and just so happened to be right after a huge snowstorm.  We hiked all over the place through huge snowdrifts.  The Jefferson Memorial was quite a challenge because there were no cleared paths to it.  The D.C. trip ended up being a pretty frugal experience, with all of the free museums and a hotel package purchased through Groupon.  We are looking forward to taking the kids there someday (maybe on the roadtrip), but it will probably be more fun when they are a little bit older.  I’m glad we were able to see it all on our own pace.

We went on one cruise together to the Bahamas.  While not the most economical vacation (and definitely one of the causes of our credit card debt), it was heavenly.  Mr. Smith loved the all-you-can-eat buffets and we both enjoyed exploring the islands and floating in the crystal blue water. We often talk about the cruise and can’t wait to go on another one, someday.


Learning How To Crochet

I had totally forgot about my idea to learn how to knit until revisiting the dreams list.  My mother jokes that I inherited a “crafting gene.”  I’ve dabbled in a bunch of different things, but finally found my new favorite hobby with crochet.  I wanted a crocheted blanket for the baby, but the options on Etsy were somewhat expensive.  I decided to watch YouTube video tutorials to teach myself and enjoyed it a lot (the blanket turned out pretty good too).  It’s just so relaxing to just repeat the motions and keep my hands busy.  Crochet is also rewarding because of the finished product.  I love creating things instead of just wasting time being a zombie in front of the day or goofing around on my phone.

Hats for Tornado and Goofball


Raising Three Children

Most people are biologically able to parent children, but raising good kids takes a toll on your heart, soul, and sanity.  They may sometimes drive us crazy, but I am so proud of how my children are growing up to be awesome human beings.  There have been many sacrifices over the past six years, but they were worth it.  The return on this investment of time and effort has been enormous.  I never realized how much joy and love children could add to your life.  Raising three children has been quite the experience.



We moved around a lot during my middle school years and as a result, I was horribly shy.  I made a decision to become a cheerleader, because I figured that being in front of a crowd would push me out of my shell.  I worked hard to become pretty good at it and ended up cheering for all of high school and college.  After college, I joined an All-Star team that traveled to national competitions.  We won first place at one of these competitions.  My “National Champion” jacket is something I will probably hang on to for a very long time.  Cheerleading gave me confidence, allowed me to travel the country and meet so many people, and tested my physical abilities.  I will also treasure the opportunity I had to coach a high school team.  It was really the natural evolution of my cheerleading career and allowed me to become a mentor.

national champion jacket


Earning A Doctorate Degree

I don’t get too specific about my education or my occupation on this blog, for a variety of reasons, but look forward to discussing more about those topics in a few years.  Education is a privilege and an asset.  I feel very accomplished in the dedication and diligence it took to obtain both of my degrees.


Learning To Love Frugality

I used to spend money on so much unnecessary stuff.  It cluttered me.  It has been an enlightening and transformative experience to refocus my energy, and money, on more-worthwhile goals.  I have learned how to transform the clothing in my closet, how to cut my own hair, and make all sorts of things from scratch.  We have been modeling good behavior for our children.  We have even been making less of an adverse impact on the environment.  I love being a frugal weirdo and can’t imagine being any other way now.


Becoming A Writer

While my dreams list includes the specific goal of writing a book, there are intangibles that go along with it.  I wanted to express my ideas, and share knowledge and stories with others.  I have been growing as a writer through this site and guest posting on other blogs.  The fact that two of my posts have been feature on Scary Mommy and a couple featured on Rockstar Finance has provided me with some validation as a writer.  I’ve even become confident enough to seek out freelance work.  I am starting to feel comfortable thinking of myself as a real writer.  Even Laura Vanderkam likes my writing (I am a huge fan of hers, so that was a pretty awesome day).

The really monumental thing about becoming a writer is the effect such success will have on my long-term plans.  The reason for this blog is my need to create a better life.  I’m unhappy with my current career path.  The fact that there might be a future for me that includes writing is incredibly motivating.  Our plan is only for semi-retirement.  As I will have to continue working part-time for the foreseeable future, it would be amazing my income could come from doing something I enjoy.


Thank you Maggie for challenging me to consider my past experiences.  My husband and I are working hard to build an awesome life filled with freedom and possibilities for our family.  But that isn’t to say that we haven’t done anything worthwhile just yet.  To the contrary, you can manage to have some excitement on weekends or in your allotted vacation time from work.  The issue is, that we want more.

overflowing bucket


Join in the challenge!  What do you already have in your bucket?



  1. I love your list. It is a great exercise, isn’t it. The line ‘raising good kids takes a toll on your heart, soul, and sanity’ really resonated with me. I’ve got a crafty gene too. Love the crochet. Look me up when you come to Australia so I can book you in for in-person cheerleading lessons 🙂

    1. Thank you so much. Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could fund international travel by coaching cheerleading? I will have to remember to ask you for some tips on visiting Australia when that day comes.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion on Duolingo – I will have to check it out. My only issue is with programs that start at a beginner level. I used to be pretty good with Spanish when my great grandmother was around (it was all she really spoke) and when I studied it in high school. It’s just really, really rusty. But I always say that if you dropped me on an island with someone who speaks Spanish, we could definitely communicate with each other.

  2. Such a great list. I love your “learning to love frugality”. This is something that isn’t easy to do but gets better with patience, determination, and discipline. Just to tag on your list, I’d say that I want to learn to love frugality while still able to travel.

    My wife and I have always been able to travel at a fraction of a cost. Last year, we spent only $150 among the three of us (wife, me, and daughter) vacation to Las Vegas for 7 days. We are attempting to do it again this year. 🙂
    Allan @ The Practical Saver recently posted…The Financial Costs of ProcrastinationMy Profile

    1. Good addition there – I definitely wouldn’t mind learning some tricks for frugal travel. We are saving as much as possible right now, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t use a little vacation if it didn’t cost much.

  3. I’m so glad you shared your list! There’s so much awesome stuff on here — like national champion cheerleading team. Wow! I’m stoked for you that you’ve gotten validation for your writing! Have you read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert? I loved that book, but the thing that really clicked with me the most was the notion of not putting so much pressure on your greatest love to earn your livelihood. For me, that meant don’t expect writing to support us, because that will suck the joy out of it, whereas right now I do it for free and so it’s all about the love of it (and, at this point, the love of the community we’re all a part of). So I think the fact that you’re blogging and giving yourself a place to write without that money pressure is a wonderful thing! And if it grows into something that pays the bills, even better, but what a gift that it doesn’t have to start out that way, and risk becoming a chore, a drain or anything else negative.
    Our Next Life recently posted…Crafting a Life That Keeps the Stoke HighMy Profile

    1. Thanks! I felt a little silly posting about cheerleading, at first, but it really was a huge part of my life for more than a decade.

      I will have to check out that book – it makes complete sense. I’ve always liked trying on many different hats, but end up getting bored. Writing feels different, maybe because it’s not a job, but completely at my discretion. Of course, getting some revenue from activities you enjoy would definitely be a wonderful thing.

  4. Wow I love your list! It’s very detailed and I love that you set yourself lots of goals and did well with it! I definitely have to write my own bucket list too!

    That swimming with the dolphins and sharks not at the same time made me smile 🙂 definitely separately! I would love to swim with dolphins x

  5. Great blog! Your bucket list is impressive and you inspired me to add a few things to my own bucket list. I like the idea of starting a garden, but you are far braver than I with the skydiving. I was able to scratch off “learning to play guitar” where I have mastered a full 4 chords (we determined I was tone deaf)! I have no doubt you will fair much better! The cheerleading is impressive and know that it must not be as easy as it looks. Looking forward to see what you achieve next! Happy we connected! Mrs.FE

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! We have really enjoyed growing our own vegetables. It’s hard work, but saves money and the food is much more delicious. Kudos for learning how to play four chords, at least you gave it a shot 🙂

  6. Congrats on getting so far! And I cannot tell you how much I love the ninja turtle hat. My husband would be so jealous if he saw it!

    I always mean to get better at knitting, but I don’t have the patience to measure sample stitches and/or I lose interest part way through. I’m doomed in that regard, I think.
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…The book is out!My Profile

    1. Goofball loves his hat too 🙂 One of my favorite things about crochet is how if you mess up, you can just unravel and re-do it. I have no idea what “measure sample stitches” means, but it sounds really boring and tedious.

  7. Pingback: The Fill-the-Bucket List | Northern Expenditure

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  9. Hi Harmony,

    I really admire your achievements especially being a good parent. Some people don’t even consider this as one. Though you are right, everyone can become a biological parent but how many can actually become a role model for their children? Great list, you are such an inspiration! Keep it up with the amazing work!

    Psychic Nest recently posted…Reincarnation and the AfterlifeMy Profile

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