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Mommy Sabbatical 2014

It’s time for my annual Mommy Sabbatical and I’m off to the most secluded place I could find on earth armed with my usual arsenal of journals and books.

Fregate Island

I am looking forward to this time to reflect, recharge and face some spiritual challenges I’ve been struggling with.  I realize what a luxury and a gift it is to be able to go on a sabbatical, much less to one on the other side of the world.  I am humbled by my husband’s support and generosity in encouraging me to take this time away for myself.  I don’t naturally take time for myself and I’m going to be challenging myself on why that it is during this Sabbatical.

Although I have missed writing I know that I want my words to matter and to encourage or inspire.

I hope that when I return from this Sabbatical I will do so with a fresh perspective and the words and images that will both encourage and inspire you.

I’ll be back with a full report and a special announcement on March 31, 2014.

I promise.

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Love Does: a book review

Love Does

God invites us to be new creations, original art, and to live a life of engagement.

Love does isn’t so much a ‘how to’ book as it is a collection of inspiring stories about how one man, Bob Goff, decided to model love in his life and with his children.  It’s a book that truly illustrates why it’s not enough to talk about what you want to do in the world, or what you believe in—you have to DO SOMETHING about what you believe in and you don’t have to be the most famous, most talented, smartest or even wealthy to do SOMETHING for another person.

As a parent I was inspired by the way the Goff’s have chosen to parent their children.  From ’10 year old Adventures’ to encouraging their children to write leaders in foreign countries and then vowing to take them to any of the countries they were invited to.  In the end, the Goff children received invitations from and visited political leaders in 29 countries! Can you imagine what a life changing experience that is to have as a kid? What could ever possibly intimidate you after such an experience?

God says He wants us to battle injustice to look out for orphans and widows, to give sacrificially.  And anyone who gets distracted with the minutiae of this point or that opinion is tagging out of the real skirmish.  God wants us to get some skin in the game and to help make a tangible difference.  I can’t make a real need matter to me by listening to story, visiting the website, collecting information, or wearing the bracelet about it.

I guess I would say that before reading this book I already believed in the things Bob writes about.  We did start a Family Foundation because we wanted to DO something in this world, after all.  However, after reading it I feel a new resolve to think BIGGER and involve our children in the brainstorming process.  I’m going to start putting myself out there and realizing the worst that can happen is that someone can say No.

Sometimes when you want to chase after a dream or fight for change in the world it’s easy to become discouraged.  It’s easy to feel small and insignificant, but you have to press on, because you’re uniquely created for this world.  Everyone has the ability to change lives. I now firmly believe that and I intend to model that for my children.

All proceeds from the sale of the book benefit Restore International and the Mentoring Project.

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A Six Week Break


Tree of Hope

After struggling to keep all the balls in the air I’ve come to the realization that I cannot, in fact, keep all the balls in the air.

So, instead of trying  cram time in to write something worthy of others reading, and then beating myself up when I don’t, I’ve decided to be  reasonable & wise and just give myself 6 weeks off.

I can do that.

I need to do that.

I’ll be back on September 18th and I hope you’ll join me.







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The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas

Palazzo Suite Venetian Hotel

Accommodations at the Venetian Resort

The Piazza One Bedroom suite at the Venetian Resort is breathtaking and beautifully appointed. This spacious room has everything you could need and plenty of room to spread out and get comfortable.  I originally booked the Luxury 1 bedroom suite but was upgraded to the Piazza One Bedroom upon arrival.

Although you cannot walk through any casino in Las Vegas without experiencing second hand smoking, you can request a truly non-smoking room at the Venetian.

The housekeeping department does an excellent job and the bathroom amenities (toothpaste, tooth brush, shaving cream razor, q-tips, cotton balls, sewing kit, mouth wash etc) are thoughtful and on point.

Room Service was a breeze thanks to their online ordering system which I LOVED.  You can even preorder breakfast and it actually shows up on time and looks like the picture on the website.

Although it would be a shame never to leave the hotel, there is quite a bit at the hotel to keep you occupied.

Be sure to check out the Suite Value offer on the Luxury 1 bedroom suite.

Shopping at the Venetian Resort

Grand Canal Shoppes

The first thing you notice when you enter the Grand Canal Shops is the Gondoliers.  Yes, it’s all kinds of Vegas Touristy but the Gondola Rides are at least something to see, if not do.  If the kids were there we would have definitely had a ride.   Although it doesn’t compare to actually being in Venice, it is pretty and makes the shopping at the Grand Canal Shops a little more interesting.

My favorite stores at the Grand Canal Shops:

7 for all Mankind

Barney’s New York

Bottega Veneta

Camille Flawless

Chapel Hats


Christan Louboutin

Herve Leger

Houdini’s Magic Shop (great place for kids)

Tory Burch


Restaurants at the Venetian Resort

The Venetian Resort offers a variety of Fine dining and Casual dining options.

Instead of Starbucks try Cafe Press where I had the BEST Vanilla Chai Latte I’ve ever had.

If you’re in the mood to try a Gastropub then Public House is where you want to go. I prefer it for lunch and I highly recommend the Prime Rib French Dip and the seasonal oysters.

Try Cut if you’re in the mood for a really good steak, you won’t be disappointed.

AquaKnox has a fantastic raw bar and is the place to go if you are in the mood for seafood.

Sweet Surrender has the most amazing cupcakes! Try the Birthday Surprise or the Red Velvet cupcake. It’s not a restaurant, more of a kiosk but they will package it to go for you.

Espressamente Illy has a large selection of delicious sweet treats (among other things) but I didn’t get past the macaroons. Don’t go there without trying a few.


Canyon Ranch Spa at the Venetian Resort

If you like to indulge in spa treatments you cannot go wrong with the Canyon Ranch Spa at the Venetian Resort.  I was able to get same day appointments for most treatments and their gym also included a rock climbing wall!  If I wasn’t here for an education conference I would have spent more time in the spa.


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Links & Things: Leaving Las Vegas Edition

Palazzo Suite

I’ve been in Las Vegas for a Singapore Math Conference.  Seriously.  This homeschooling thing is no joke.  For the past week I’ve spent the better part of 9 hours each day thinking about the one thing I dreaded and avoided in school: math.  The conference was held at the same time of the National Tobacco Conference and although that sounds seriously horrible to me, it turned out to be amazing for so many of the teachers attending the conference.  Why?  Many of us got upgrades because of the limited availability of non-smoking rooms!  Bonus!  The picture above is of the swanky suite I was upgraded to.  I was seriously impressed with the Venetian Hotel. It was the first time I’ve ever stayed there and I as soon as my head stops spinning I’ll sit down and write a post about it for the travel section.

In between practicing Singapore Math Model Drawings I managed to read a few things online:

If you don’t live in South Florida this might not mean anything to you, but the former Versace Mansion is now in foreclosure.

The Day I stopped saying Hurry up {Hands Free Mama} made me rethink how I go through my days.

I don’t know whether to send you over to Lynn Knowlton’s feature on Design Mom for the pictures of her beautiful home or to hear the stories of her heart. I really fell for both and don’t get me started about the tree house. Seriously, the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my life.

On Trophy Mom Diaries:

This week I’ve been writing about our trip to the Dominican Republic with Compassion International:

How to be the 1%

Waiting Children

Karin Katherine on Instagram

You can follow me on Instagram this week I’ve been posting pictures from Las Vegas and the Math Conference.  Next week I’ll be back to the grind.


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