Tonight my 40 Before 40 project is over.  I will be 40 tomorrow.  I have been working on achieving 40 items during this, my 39th year.  Even though I didn’t accomplish all of them, I feel really good about the ones I did accomplish. I would like to think that in the next year, I should be able to finish up the rest.  I have included my list and thoughts about each item below.  The ones I didn’t finish are left in black.  Thanks for joining me on this journey.  I am very anxious to get working on my 40+ years ahead of me and I have some thoughts that I will share with you soon.  But first…..I am going to celebrate with my family and then I will be flying off to California with some girlfriends.  This will be our view for the next few days and I can’t wait!

Cheers! Here’s to my last 40 and the next 40+!

1-Go out to eat with Pat to a restaurant we have never been to.
     – Pat and I went out to a little Mexican restaurant on 1/10/12 called La Salsita.  It was ok.  I think we will stick to our usual Hacienda Las Gloria for our Mexican fare.  We went to Cibo Fusion in Marion, IA on 1/13/12. I would definitely go back!

2-Cook something with an ingredient I have never used.
   – I made Goji Power Snacks with coconut oil and chia seeds – two ingredients I have never used before on 4/2/12 HERE.

3-Try Sushi – preferably with my cousin, Melanie.
    Done – 3/9/12 Tried 3 different kinds of sushi and sashimi.  Read about it HERE.

4-Lose 20 lbs.
    –I have lost 7 lbs as of 2/22/12.
   – I have lost 10 lbs as of 3/9/12
   – Current total loss = 10 lbs…which is better than not losing any or gaining 10 lbs! But, I can do better!

5-Pay for a stranger’s drive through food. Ugh, this would have been so easy, but mostly I just forgot each time I had the opportunity.

6-Write letters to each of our kids.
    – For Valentine’s Day I wrote 10 Things I Love about each of them.

7-Write a letter to Pat.
    – For Valentine’s Day I wrote 10 Things I Love about him.

8-Write a letter to my parents.
  –  Done on 12/14/11

9-Have all the white walls in the house painted a different color– either by someone else or myself.
   – We hired them done and the painter finished on 5/31/12! All the paint came from Sherwin Williams.  Mudroom is Rain. Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Hallways are Practical Beige. 2 Accent walls are Portobello and YES I LOVE IT!

10-Spend an entire day reading off of MY to-read bookshelf.
    –  I was never able to devote an ENTIRE day to reading, but of the 42 books I read this year, 16 of them were ones that I chose to read for my own enjoyment.  I didn’t read them for a book club or for a publisher in order to review it.  I just read it because I wanted to read the book.  That is a little over 20% of the books I read.  Even though I love reviewing books, I need to be better about reading books that I want to read.  

11-Spend an entire day antiquing. – Well, it truly is hard to give up a whole day for myself and I really wanted to do this with my friend, Mary.  Hopefully soon, we can find a day.

12-Visit Tammy in Tennessee.
    – Flew out to visit Tammy from June 22 – June 25, 2012!  Check out my trip HERE.

13-Spend an entire day baking treats and delivering to friends and neighbors. -I had really hoped to do this during the summer, but it just flew by.  Hopefully over the holidays we can get this accomplished.

14-Spend a day with Julie at The Mission of Hope.
     – Done on 12/21/11, but would like to do it again!

15-Have a weekend getaway with Pat. This is just really difficult for us right now with our kids’ schedules and not a lot of people able to stay with the kids to help out.  Someday we will get this opportunity again.

16-Send an encouraging/happy card to someone every week.
     Week 1 – Card to our friend Ardie who is a recent and unexpected widow.
     Week 2 – Card to my friend, Diana
     Week 3 – Card to my cousin, Melanie and my friend, Jen
     Week 4 – Card to my uncle, Bill who had surgery due to prostrate cancer
     Week 5 – Card to my niece, Laura for her birthday
     Week 6 – Card to my niece, Jena who has 2 big anatomy tests this week
     Week 7 – Card to my BFF Tammy, who I miss dearly
     Week 8 – Card to my Secret Sister at church for Thanksgiving
     Week 9/10 – Card to my niece, Ali and niece, Jena
     Week 11 – I sent 145 Christmas cards with numerous personal notes to family and friends.
     Week 12 – Card to my BFF, Tammy for her Birthday
     Week 13 – Card to niece, Jena after having surgery and cousin, Gayle to celebrate her engagement!
     Week 14 – Birthday card to my friend, April and card to my secret sister.
     Week 15 – Card to Uncle Eugene after going out to eat together and to niece, Mykenah after she was bit by a dog and needed surgery.
     Week 16 – Card to my cousin, Art who has been recovering from illness and to niece, Kenan for her birthday.
     Week 17 – Card to niece, Krysta for her birthday, and to friend, Eric who got his wisdom teeth out  
     Week 18 – Sympathy card to the family of a high school friend who died of leukemia and to a dear friend of my mom’s who has cancer.  
     Week 19 – Card to Joe and Helen from our church.
     Week 20 – Valentine’s Day cards/gifts to my niece Jena, cousin Melanie, and BFF Tammy
     Week 21 and 22 – Several postcards to friends and family from our vacation. 
     Week 23 – Sent birthday cards to my sisters
     Week 24 – Sent a package to my niece, Jena to welcome her to Spring!
     Week 25 – Sympathy card to a friend, anniversary card to friends
     Week 26 – Sent the Cousin Box to Jensen and Elise, get well cards to Uncle Ralph and Aunt Ruthie, and birthday package to great-niece Amya.
     Week 27 – Birthday card to Brother-in-law, Steve and Easter cards to several people
    Week 28 – Birthday card to our great-niece, Mykenah.
    Week 29 – Thank you cards sent to two friends.
    Week 30 – Birthday cards to my cousin, Gayle and niece, Jena.
    Week 31 – Birthday card to my great-niece, Morgan 
    Week 32 – Mother’s Day cards to several friends and relatives
    Week 33 – Lots and lots of Graduation cards given out this week
    Week 34 – More Graduation cards, thank you cards, and a birthday card to my cousin, Elise.
    Week 35 – Three Birthday cards sent out this week
    Week 36 – Cards to friends who had twins, a friend who is hurting, and another who has breast cancer.
    Week 37 – Anniversary card to nephew and his wife, graduation card/gift to Ali, birthday cards to Emily and Bill
    Week 38 – Card and cupcake to our neighbor for his birthday, card to my cousin, Erin for her birthday
    Week 39 – Cards and gifts given for weddings
    Week 40 –  Card and gifts for my niece, Kara’s baby shower.
    Week 41 – Birthday card/gift to our niece, Sarah
    Week 42 – Thank you card to my Aunt Kathy
    Week 43 – Sympathy card to cousin, Wedding card/gift to our niece
    Week 44 – Sent a birthday card/gift to my Great-Niece Aubrey
    Week 45 – Anniversary card to my sister-in-law and husband and to my parents
   Week 46 – Sympathy card to my cousin, Velma and birthday card to my dad.
   Week 47 –  Birthday card and gift to my cousin, Melanie and cousin box to cousins Jensen and Elise
   Week 48 – Encouragement card to my cousin, Charlotte in her fight against cancer and to my friend, Tammy for the beginning of her new job.
   Week 49 – Card sent to my niece, Jena in her 2nd year of PA school.
   Week 50 – Card of sympathy sent to my mom’s friend, Mary.
   Week 51 – Birthday cards to our cousin, Jensen and card and gift to my Secret Sister. Get well card to Bennett’s teacher. 
   Week 52 – Encouragement card to a friend.
This blessed me more than I imagined.  I felt so good sending these cards off.  Sometimes I even got a thank you card or my card.  I love sending cards and have to continue to make this a priority.

 17-Give a waitress/waiter a 100% tip.
     – Well, I gave my hair stylist a 100% tip on 12/21/11, but plan to do it for a waiter/waitress too!

18-Buy Christmas gifts for a needy family at Christmas.
     – Bought several toys, hats, gloves, and scarves for people served by the Mission of Hope for their Christmas giveaway. Check it out HERE!

19-Get caught up and organized with all our photos. Yeah, NEED to get this done. UGH!

20-Share Jesus with someone who didn’t know Him. – Through our After School JAMS program I am around many kids who know and don’t know Jesus.  Through conversations and questions with the kids, I know I am making an impact here each week.  

21-Label all the family DVDs. – Again, a time factor.  Needs to get done soon!

22-Take the kids for a limo ride. – Just wasn’t a priority, but it would have been fun!

23- Read 40 books.
      1 – FAMILY TREE by Barbara Delinsky ***
      2 – PRETTY NEAT by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch *****
      3 – MAI TAI ONE ON by Jill Marie Landis ***
      4 – CALL ME WHEN YOU LAND by Michael Schiavone ***
      5- THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot *****
      6- PROOF OF HEAVEN by Mary Curran Hackett ***
      7- THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein ****
      8 – WISHIN’ AND HOPIN’ by Wally Lamb ****
      9 – THE MAGIC ROOM by Jeffery Zaslow *****
     10- ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS by Sheila Roberts ***1/2
     11- THE YELLOW HOUSE by Patricia Falvey *****
     12 – LITTLE BEE by Chris Cleave *****
     13 – SISTER by Rosamund Lupton ****
     14 – THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins  ****
     15 – OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout *****
    16 – CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER by Tom Franklin *****
    17 – THE GOOD WIFE’S GUIDE by Darlene Schacht ****
    18 – CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins ****
    19 – THE PROMISED LAND by Valerie Stocking ***
    20 – FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: Book One by E. L. James ***
    21 – A KILLING IN IOWA: A Daughter’s Story of Love and Murder by Rachel Corbett **
    22 – THE ART OF FIELDING by Chad Harbach **
    23 – LOTS OF CANDLES, PLENTY OF CAKE by Anna Quindlen ****
    24 – MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins ***
    25 – THE BABY CHEAPSKATE by Angela Wynne *****
    26 – MAKING LIFE MATTER by Shane Stanford *****
    27 – LONE WOLF by Jodi Picoult ****
    28 – LATER BLOOMERS by Debra Eve ****
    29 – THE WORLD WITHOUT YOU by Joshua Henkin ***
    30 – YOUR DAUGHTER NEEDS A HERO by Maria C Furlough *****
    31 – THE REPLACEMENT WIFE by Eileen Goudge ***
    32 – ONE BREATH AWAY by Heather Gudenkauf *****
    33 – YELLOW CROCUS by Laila Ibrahim *****
    34 – SOLOMON’S OAK by Jo-Ann Mapson ****
    35 – RUN YOUR BUTT OFF by Sarah Lorge Butler, Leslie Bonci, and Budd Coates ****
    36- WICKED WIVES by Gus Pelagatti ****
    37 – MRS. KIMBLE by Jennifer Haigh ****
    38 – THE LAST LETTER by Kathleen Shoop ***
    39 – BEYOND THE CHORE CHART by Kimberly Eddy ****
    40 – BARED TO YOU by Sylvia Day ****
    – Done on 8/29/2012!!!
    41 – UNBROKEN by Laura Hillenbrand ****
   42 – HOME FRONT by Kristin Hannah *****
   43- THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin *****

24-Finish reading The Bible. Nope, still working on it. I’m in Jeremiah.

25-Photograph something from our life at least once a week.
     Week 1
     Week 2
     Week 3
     Week 4
     Week 5
     Week 6
     Week 7
     Week 8
     Week 9
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    Week 14
    Week 15
    Week 16
    Week 17
    Week 18
    Week 19
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    Week 21
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    Week 23
    Week 24
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    Week 26
    Week 27
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    Week 29
    Week 30
    Week 31
    Week 32
    Week 33
    Week 34
    Week 35
    Week 36
    Week 37
    Week 38
    Week 39
    Week 40
    Week 41
    Week 42
    Week 43
    Week 44
    Week 45
    Week 46
    Week 47
    Week 48
    Week 49
    Week 50
    Week 51
    Week 52

26-Make a loaf of bread from scratch. –I have at least been researching different bread recipes….does that count???

27-Send flowers to someone.
    – Done – Sent to my friend Ardie on 12/20/11.

28-Go without sugar for 1 whole week.
     – Began on September 23, 2012 and completed on September 29, 2012!

29-Take my family to LeMars, Iowa for some Blue Bunny Ice Cream. I really wanted to do this during the summer, but time ran away from us.  I also didn’t realize how far away from us it really was.  Really not an easy day-trip as I had originally thought.  Still want to do though.

30-Have the “Birds and Bees” talk with our kids. -Will be doing soon!

31-Scan all my childhood photos into the computer. – With mom’s illness this spring/summer, I wasn’t really able to have the time to devote to this that I wanted to.  

32-Try wine from 40 different wineries.
      1 – Beviamo Sparkling Moscato
      2 – Oktoberfest from Eagles Landing in Marquette, IA
      3 – Red Fox from Stone Cliff in Dubuque, IA
      4 – Pink Moscato from Sutter Home, California
      5- Andre Peach Passion Durazno, California    
      6 – White Zinfandel from Charles Shaw, California
      7 – Happy Camper from California
      8 – Several Wines from Arrington Vineyards, Arrington, Tennessee
      9 – Chardonnay from Huntington Vineyards, Graton, CA
     10 – Chardonnay from Cupcake Vineyards, Livermore, CA
     11 – Demi Sec from Cedar Ridge Winery, Swisher, IA
     12 – Mamamango Moscato – Italy
    13 – Glow from Fireside Winery, Marengo, IA
    14 – Aspok from John Ernest Vineyard, Tama, IA
    15 – 2G2BT Sauvignon Blanc, Napa, CA
Ok, well, so I didn’t try 40 different wineries…..I have some favorite wines that I frequently go back to often.  But, I bet I will get closer to this goal this weekend! 🙂

33- Send 3 boxes to Operation Christmas Child
      DONE!  Read more about it HERE!

34-Get all my recipes and cookbooks organized.- I did get a new cookbook shelf hand-built by my husband, I sorted through all my cookbooks and got rid of ones that weren’t important to me.  Now to get binders organized of all the loose recipes.

35-Buy a nativity set to add to my collection.
     Check my new Nativity Set HERE!

36-Start reading the Little House Series to Reagan
     – Started reading LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS on 8/19/2012

37- Have monthly Family Game Nights with the kids and Pat.
     – December – A wild game of Monopoly and I WON of course!
     – January – Game night of 100 Wacky Things, Beat the Parents, and Cranium Brain Break
     – February – Several game nights throughout the month.  Played Spot It on vacation a lot!
     – March – Alas, busy nights and weekends led to no games…I also think the warm weather played a part in that too.  We were often outside til dark.  We did manage to have a family movie one Sunday night, Mr Popper’s Penguins. Does that count?
     – April – The kids have been into the Wii lately and Mario Kart has been the game of choice.  Reagan is even getting into it.  Lots of laughs when they race each other!
     – May – A rousing game of UNO Attack was played!  The kids are still on the Mario Kart kick and a few rounds of that are still played nearly daily!
    – June – Lots of Mario Kart was still being played and we had a good family game of Skip-Bo.
    – July – Apples to Apples and Whoonu have kept us laughing!
    – August – Our game of choice was Spoons!  
    – September – Alas, no time for family games this month between activities and practices.

38- Splurge on a rockin’ new outfit to wear to my party!
    – There won’t be a party, but I did get a few new clothes for my trip!

39-Have a party to celebrate turning 40 and completing my list!
    – No party, instead I am taking a trip with some awesome ladies!

40- Let Go and Let God!
     – A daily struggle and one I will continue to work on.

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