Be Santa to the homeless- Ways to savor the season 11/16

JMJ  *Nowadays, it is very easy to find the homeless in our area, because the downtown revitalization of Los Angeles, while beautiful, has pushed these individuals out to surrounding areas.  To top it off affordable housing is getting more and more scarce, and many more people are out on the streets.

Every day for 16 days, I have been giving ideas which are inexpensive to do, involve little to no preparation, for family and close friends to enjoy together this holiday season, while I continue to also keep a journal of my homeschool journey through the school year.

These ideas are from my memory bank, traditions that continue to work for our family every year!  They are included in the category Ring the School Bell on this blog, in case you have missed any.

As busy as it gets with the regular stuff, I hope you can take a little time to savor the season!

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Ways to Savor the Season 11/16- Be Santa to the homeless!

A few years ago, a group of our friends got together for this fun and charitable cause.  We were Santas, and filled stockings for the homeless, then drove to the freeway underpasses in the San Fernando Valley, and store fronts where the beggars were, and distributed them.  Nowadays, it is very easy to find homeless in our area, because the downtown revitalization of Los Angeles, while beautiful, has pushed these individuals out to surrounding areas.  To top it off affordable housing is getting more and more scarce, and many more people are out on the streets.

This is simple, but heartfelt charity.  It is a great activity for a group, but of course, would work as a family also.

Here is how to do it:

  1. Go to the department store and buy several pairs of warm socks.  Knee length are great, as they provide more room for items.
  2. Collect stocking stuffers.  The Dollar Tree or other discount store is a great place to buy some of the following.  You may very well have some of these around your house already: fruit, water, personal care items such as toothbrushes, small packs of tissue, brush, comb, candy-canes or other small treats that won’t melt.
  3. Write a faith-filled message of hope to include in the stocking.  Try to put yourself in their shoes (or stockings:) as you write the message.
  4. Stuff the stockings with the items above and distribute them!

Feel free to leave feedback on how this worked for you.  I would also love to hear about more charitable ideas around the Christmas season.

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On the Homefront…  Ring the School Bell 72/180 Days

Monday, and 3 days after submitting the treacherous university application to UCLA, I am sitting here with a miserable cold.  It reminds me of my own college days when I would get sick the week after finals, like clockwork.  To our dismay, UCLA has already sent us an email stating we did not pass the prescreen round for the music school.  Did they even take a look?  My guess is that they probably were looking for something more professional, and not a link to Youtube.

Sabrina figures she will end up being where she was meant to be.  And me, I now have my very own Youtube channel, plus I now know how to merge video files into one movie.  However likely I am to ever use that knowledge, I don’t know!  And my drying laptop, while still painfully sluggish, shows promise of a renewed future.

On another note, I took Melissa and Sarah to the mall this afternoon, although I was full of sneezes.  They have outgrown their wardrobes once again!  I bought myself some cozy light blue pajamas and cushy slippers to warm up my evenings.

Regrettably, we have been rather broke this Christmas season.  I feel guilty that I am even bringing this up, when I have a roof over my head and I am surrounded by people who love me.  So many are less fortunate.  I know it is not the most important thing by far, but a little more cash flow would have been helpful this holiday season. The problem is the cash flow is going in the wrong direction.  Instead of coming to us, it has flowed out to our broken-down van this month, $1500 dollars of it!

Brainstorming ways to make an income stream, today, led to a variety of creative, but probably not very practical ideas:  A “Collegiate Crafts” online store to market crafts by students, a “Happiness is Homemade” online store to market craft kits, or “Mystery Dinner Party in a Box”, where I would write party scripts such as the one I wrote for Melissa’s birthday, but of course, one with a successful outcome!  Writing a homeschool book would be kind of cool, too.  But, for now, thriftiness and prudence is the priority.

Being the last week before Christmas break, I cut the kids some slack by assigning less work.  Of course, that also translates to less work to correct!  Sarah chose to spend a good portion of her day taking notes, while watching her online fiction writing class.  Melissa and Sarah also enjoyed sketching Christmas pictures for some homemade cards, and I worked on writing some holiday cards to friends and family.  Lovely day.

After inspecting the sparse pantry for food, I headed off to the market with Melissa, where we were apprehended by a man trying to sell his sofa, “Senora, you like to buy a sofa?” It was sitting in his truck bed ready to deliver.  So random and amusing.  Needing a new sofa ourselves, I entertained the thought for a second.  Our couch is from a long ago era, kind of like our beat-up green van.  But the money in my wallet was there for food, not a sofa.  “No thank you”, I replied.  But I couldn’t help but think maybe he was one of those angels amongst us, and we had missed an opportunity. Melissa and I did enjoy a small splurge of frozen yogurt at Menchies on the way home.

Follow my blog on WORD PRESS (sidebar).  If you would like to receive a post of each day of our journey through this school year, sign up with your email and you will find a message in your inbox for every school day of this year. (2017-2018)   

** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is part of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.  Every day’s blog entry coincides with a day from that special year.  It can be read from the beginning by selecting the “Ring the School Bell 180” category on the side bar.  Commence with the narrative, “The School Bell- What comes to mind when ‘you’ hear that bell?”

Start here to get the story from the very beginning:

Follow along with us day-by-day through the school year.  Hope you will join us!

May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine.    Annette







6 Comments Add yours

  1. achildof says:

    I love the idea of stockings for the homeless. We have begun to make a habit of a similar idea although we collect and fill canvas duffel bags as they lack of something to carry their sparse belongings in seems constant. Happy holidays for all I hope regardless of the situation.

    1. Annette Marie says:

      What a great idea. It is very practical, and the canvas bag is rather like Santa’s big “duffel bag”!

      1. achildof says:

        Yes your right I hadn’t thought of the canvas bag in that way. I recently heard on the radio of a family that delivers candy canes in elf bags to all the vehicles parked at the children hospital on Christmas. So touching the giving that can be and is done. 🙂

      2. Annette Marie says:

        That is so sweet!! Thank you for sharing. It is so inspirational to hear stories like that.

  2. I hear you are saying how tight money can be this holiday season. Our family being in the same boat (unfortunately that’s one small downside of one parent working as another one committed to homeschooling). Me and my husband are both musicians and we don’t make a lot of money. And living in the most expensive city as in NY where we live is no fun either. But I try to bring cheers up to my kids by doing DIY projects like baking Christmas cookies and getting cheap decorations from Dollar store. Sad as It can be I don’t know if we’ll be able to afford a Christmas tree this season (may be a really small one).

    1. Annette Marie says:

      I have no regrets about our decision to homeschool, but it is definitely a financial challenge for us too. The bright side- your kids will have such fond memories of baking cookies! We are getting ready to bake gingerbread to decorate as well. It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions. I hope you can get a little tree. We are at the Dollar Tree every week out here. Thank God it exists! Blessings to your family, Annette

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