100 dreams

100 dreams

“'Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake.”

—“A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

This year instead of making a New Year’s Resolution, I decided to make my list of 100 dreams and check off at least a few of the items. It’s already been productive!

This concept is inspired by the author Laura Vanderkam, whose work I got turned on to when I read “Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Things Done” last year. She often covers the idea of creating a list of 100 dreams on her blog.

My husband and I each started our list in the new year, and already we have plotted out a trip to take this year that will let us both achieve a few of our dreams. Colorado, here we come.

The thing I love about 100 dreams is it’s a bit of a stretch to come up with all of them. According to Vanderkam, a lot of people have a bucket list with 25 items or so on it (often filled with travel destinations). That’s great, she says, but aiming for 100 allows you to make room for both the big and the small. Some of the items are things you’d put on a to-do list, but that’s OK. Having small, attainable dreams lets you make progress quickly, which builds momentum and brings you joy. It’s a bit of a snowball effect.

I was tempted to add things I’ve already accomplished to my list. Quit my job to freelance and spend more time with my kids—check! Grow my hair long enough to donate—check! But that’s not the point. Vanderkam also advocates making a “done” list, so I’ll do that some day, too.

Here’s my list:


  1. Go on a solo trip.

  2. Visit all 50 states.

  3. See the Grand Canyon.

  4. Do an annual family trip to an Ohio state park.

  5. Take an Alaskan cruise.

  6. Visit Scotland.

  7. See the beaches of Normandy.

  8. Take a backpacking trip.

  9. Eat lobster in Maine and visit Acadia.

  10. Do a Colorado trip and see Rocky Mountain National Park. DONE! We took a family trip to Boulder, Estes Park and Denver August 2019.

  11. Visit Yellowstone and go to Jackson Hole.

  12. Take an RV trip.

  13. Do a family NYC trip, including Coney Island, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

  14. Take a family trip to Washington D.C.

  15. Go to Boston and do the Freedom Trail.

  16. See Sedona.

  17. Go to Australia.

  18. Visit Philadelphia.

  19. Take a summer trip to Lake Michigan. DONE! Sort of. While not what I originally had in mind, the girls and I joined my sister and her family for a weekend at my brother-in-law’s family cottage at White Lake and Lake Michigan. It was so fun!

  20. Go away for a month.

  21. Take a train trip.

  22. Go back to Italy to see Cinque Terra and spend time at the coast.

  23. Continue annual Michigan trip with my girlfriends.

  24. Continue every other year trip with my sisters and parents.

  25. Do a “big” trip with my girlfriends, maybe for 40th birthdays.

  26. Take a family Niagara Falls trip.

  27. Go to Savannah.

  28. See the Tribe at spring training one year.


  29. Write and publish a children’s book. Participate in 12x12 children’s book writing course.

  30. Do a full family tree.

  31. Blog (look, I’m doing it!)

  32. Have a capsule wardrobe.

  33. Visit all of the Cleveland Metroparks reservations.

  34. Do a Whole30 or try the AIP.

  35. Quit caffeine for 30 days. DONE! I quit caffeine for the month of March 2019. It was silly but I did it.

  36. Learn to knit or crochet.

  37. Really learn to use my sewing machine.

  38. Make a quilt.

  39. Take an art class.

  40. Watch all the Godfather movies. (I have never seen them!)

  41. Take the Girl Scout leader first aid and outdoor essentials training. DONE! Spring 2019

  42. Become a facilitator for one outdoor Girl Scout activity (canoeing, low ropes, archery).

  43. Keep doing the community garden every summer. NOT DOING. I’m 10 months into my year of working from home and I chose to devote very little time to the garden. Maybe I just don’t care about it that much after all. We aren’t going to keep our plot next year.

  44. Learn to compost better.

  45. Try canning.

  46. Refinish the table and chairs in my basement for our dining room.

  47. Make our family photo books.

  48. Learn to braid the girls’ hair well (french braids, etc.)

  49. Have my mom teach me how to bake pies.

  50. Do “morning pages.”

  51. Get real furniture for our bedroom.

  52. Get into a good skincare routine (preferably inexpensive).

  53. Establish a family chore rotation.

  54. Become a regular volunteer somewhere.

  55. Help regularly in the girls’ classes.

  56. Get real family photos (just the four of us, Palmieri side, Shugrue side)

  57. Do a Take a Hike Tour in Cleveland.

  58. Visit famous Cleveland movie filming locations and see the movies.

  59. Have a device-free day of the week.

  60. See the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit and spend a day at the Cleveland Museum of Art. DONE! 2019

  61. Frame my watercolor from high school.

  62. Continue getting together with my friends the third Thursday of every month.

  63. Read the Anne of Green Gables series.

  64. Read all the Harry Potters. I’ve read the first.

  65. Kayak through the Flats.

  66. Zipline somewhere scenic. I’ve done Orlando and rural Ohio.

  67. Take a cooking class or do the Gatherings Kitchen Supper Club.

  68. Read at least two books a month and post my reviews on Goodreads.

  69. See Hamilton.

  70. Pay off mortgage and remain debt-free for life.

  71. Get to $1 million.

  72. Support the girls through college.

  73. Renovate kitchen/first floor.

  74. Renovate backyard and add outdoor fireplace. Build a new garage.

  75. Redo front lawn and front bed plantings.

  76. Do “Bike Aboard” the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway.

  77. Take the girls and Sylvie to the American Girl store in Columbus. DONE! May 2019. We also went to Legoland Discovery Center.

  78. See the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus.

  79. Adopt a dog.

  80. Go to Ohio Military Kids family camp annually.

  81. Frame the girls’ flags Mike had with him overseas.

  82. Do puzzles as a family.

  83. Do one-on-one “dates” with the girls.

  84. Go to the West Side Market more often.

  85. Do Cedar Point and the water park.

  86. Go to the top of the Terminal Tower.

  87. Go tobagganing.

  88. Try snowshoeing.

  89. Go horseback riding. DONE! We did a trail ride at Camp Willson family camp in September 2019.

  90. Learn to fish.

  91. Try to ski or snowboard.

  92. Do the family mission/vision activity in “The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family.”

  93. Pick strawberries in the summer. We seem to miss the small window every year. DONE! June 2019 with my sister Gina and her kids.


  94. Start my website. DONE!

  95. Make a good, part-time salary freelancing.

  96. Pitch and write for local magazines (Cleveland Magazine, Edible Cleveland).

  97. Pitch and write for a national magazine (Parenting, Real Simple or others).

  98. Have my own small business (other than freelancing).

  99. Do NaNoWriMo.

  100. Get a new headshot.

Photo: ©Kaboompics.com Pexels via Canva.com

January reads

January reads