2017 Travel Bucket List

Where I want to go this year.

2016 was a year of big travel and big changes for our family.  We traveled Down Under in January and moved an hour away from our home of 7 years just two days after Christmas.  Now that the boxes are unpacked we’re settled in to our new city (kinda) – I wanted to share with the world our travel plans for 2017.

(Our 2016 Travel Bucket List)


Toledo Zoo & Aquarium  +  Oak Openings (this is one we didn’t get to last year and now that we live a little closer I’m hoping we can)

Cedar Bog Nature Preserve & Johnny Appleseed Museum – two very close attractions

Gorge Metro Park (Summit County)

The Cleveland Museum of Art

Cleveland Museum of Natural History– Specifically the new Perkins Wildlife Center

How cool does this look?!


In our new town of Mansfield

Kingwood Center Gardens

Richland Carrousel Park

The Blueberry Patch– Blueberry picking, a winery, and cafe.  I hear they have donuts.  Enough said.

Malabar Farm State Park

That’s some lofty travel goals!  Good thing we have 11. 5 months.

United States

Outside of Ohio, we don’t have a bunch of concrete plans.

One trip that is booked is Topsail Island, North Carolina.  Our family has been there numerous times, I think this will be Mr. YT and I’s 9th time!  On our last visit C was only 9 months old, so this time should (hopefully) be a little more relaxed- and include more sleep.

That view never gets old.

On the way to the beach I’d like to cross off New River Gorge, WV.  This National River was on my list last year, but the timing never quite worked out!  It’s only a quick jaunt off of I-77 so I don’t see why we couldn’t leave a couple of days early for NC.

Photo from nps.gov

Fort Wayne, IN-  June will take us to Fort Wayne for the Mr’s work conference. (Last year it was at Belterra Resort & Casino and we traveled alone).  We’re planning to bring the kids this time and make it a family adventure.  Did you know that Fort Wayne has one of the Top 10 zoos in the nation?

Beyond that, we hope to do another week of travel in the USA or Canada.  I’m thinking a Canadian Road Trip to Montreal and Quebec City might be fabulous, but then I get sidetracked thinking of some Southwest miles we’ve accrued and how we could use them for Texas (Joanna Gaines, I love you) or Southern California.   My van is OLD (we only buy used cars with cash) so I’m not sure it could even handle a road trip.  Maybe that will pressure is into flying!

I’ve also got my eye on a few flower festivals. Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan is fairly close to home and looks like a fun weekend.  I’d also like to head south again- New Orleans?  The Lowcountry?  Eh, first things first- we better sell our vacant home.


Have you made your travel plans for 2017?  Where are you headed?  Have you been to Fort Wayne?  

Summer Bucket List

The unofficial beginning of summer is only 2 weeks away!  Our family counts Memorial Day weekend as the kick-off to our Summer Bucket List even if the calendar tells me that summer isn’t until June 20.

First, I asked the boys what they thought they would like to do this summer.  They were very excited to offer up “go to the playground” and “the pool!” (if this doesn’t show the simplicity of young children, #idontknowwhatdoes).   Then I wrote out a few of my own ideas, although I am questioning my thought process behind camp in a tent?!  I never really liked tent camping BEFORE kids…we haven’t tried it yet WITH.  The memories created are what is key here!

bucket list with logo

After a long Ohio winter, and a WET spring, we’re excited to get out and explore this summer.  I like to make a Bucket List for each season.  Whether we stick to it or not, it encourages me to think outside of the box when it comes to our daily activities – i.e. we have to try to do more than sitting on the porch with the neighbors, even if it is our favorite summer hobby.

What’s on your Summer Bucket List?

Here’s a free printable copy of the list (minus my website name).

You can check out my Fall 2015 Bucket List HERE.

Or my 2016 Travel Plans List HERE.

Can you tell I like lists? 😉

Making a Eulogy List, not a Bucket List

I recently went to the Memorial Service of a friend’s grandpa.  Now, I had only met his grandpa one time, but after hearing the speeches at this service, I could have given a short synopsis of this man’s servant heart and his love for God and family.

The eulogy is like the window into the true heart of a person.  You won’t hear about the size of their home or the 37 cruises they took, but you WILL probably hear about the time they saved a friend or influenced a young child.

There’s been some talk on the web about creating a Eulogy List v. a Bucket List, ever since David Brooks wrote this editorial for the NY Times.  In it he said:

“We all know that the eulogy virtues are more important than the résumé ones. But our culture and our educational systems spend more time teaching the skills and strategies you need for career success than the qualities you need to radiate that sort of inner light. Many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character.”

This is fascinating, yet concerning.  I know how to keep a clean home and feed my children healthy meals, but are those the issues I want people to talk about at my funeral?  Or maybe I can drive like Richard Petty (that’s what Mr. YT says) or talk as fast as the Hot Wheels dude, but those aren’t really the traits I want talked about when I’m lying dead in front of the speaker.

While I definitely think it’s important to make goals and have dreams, and I myself have a list of places I’d like to go before my time on earth expires, I can’t help but shake the feeling that the Bucket List is unimportant because it’s all about ME while the eulogy list is of most important because it’s about what I did or the positive influence that I left.



My grandma passed away almost 2 years ago and I was able to write a eulogy for her funeral.  The thing that kept coming back to me as I wrote was how much she valued her time with me.  Her face lit up when I came through her door.  She was genuinely happy to see me and eager to sit and listen.  Her name was Martha, but she had a Mary heart…she unknowingly blessed me with the gift of her time.  When anyone was at her home, they were the #1 attraction and her actions reflected that.

I’m not sure I do well at giving people my undivided attention.  I know I’m easily distracted by my phone and the things on my agenda.  If I died today, I’m not sure people would be running to the church podium to talk about my gift of time.

There’s many other things that wonder if I’m really generous enough with:

my faith

my money

the legacy of my children (i.e. knowing that they have the values that Mr. YT and I stand for).

I guess a Eulogy List can be considered an Intentional Life list.  When you list the values your family has, and then are intentional with all time based upon that list, it’s much easier to know that you’re living the best way you know how.  If you want to be intentional with making eye contact and focusing on your children, you’re going to have to turn off the TV or put down the cleaning list and instead play a board game or throw a baseball (<- a sermon to myself).

There will always be seasons of life.  And I’m definitely not as guru on time management, let that be known. Your values for your eulogy list may not be mine.  I value Christ and so I deeply hope that my faith impacted another!

I do know that I need to get away from the “what am I doing for me?” mentality that so permeates our country and consider more of “what helps others?  What is my contribution here?” thinking.

Even though I love to travel and write about travel, my #1 treasure is people.  I guess I know the start to my Eulogy List…

What do you think?  Do you have a Eulogy List or a Bucket List? Are you more apt to make a Eulogy List now?

For your continued reading

My grandma’s Bible was full of her sermon notes and underlines and highlights.  It is a treasured book to our family as we see her heart through the notes and markings that she made.  Here is a blog about being intentional with the Bible you leave behind!  I love this idea – and I would have more fun doing this than a scrapbook.