Season of Giving

By Kate Riley December 19, 2011

Hey everyone ~ what a fabulous weekend we had!  It was a great party Saturday night with many of our friends and family in attendance.  We all gathered in the living room around the piano and sang carols with a loud rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas that included everyone at the party ~ it’s the highlight and an annual tradition.  We spent Sunday in San Francisco at the Dickens Fair (ever been? very fun!) and touring Union Square with the big tree right in the center all lit up for the season.  Here’s another tour of San Francisco at Christmas you might enjoy . . .

As you all know, the mister and I adopted a house earlier this year (see this post on origin of the Alma Project) and we’ve spend the year fixing up the house when we had a spare weekend thanks to donations from so many of you.  On Friday, we stopped by to surprise the families with a Christmas tree and some other holiday decorations.

alma visit


Becky from Vinyl Crafts kindly donated this inspirational subway art for the wall and a fresh wreath and poinsettias brought some Christmas cheer to the kitchen nook.


alma project kitchen wreath


The girls wanted a real but white tree, so I dusted the fir with light flocking, which shows off their favorite brightly colored ornaments, then some of the family members helped decorate. 

alma tree 2


We had a few hundred dollars left in the Alma account, so I made a list of the needs of the household and did some shopping. Under the tree are some new blankets, new sets of flannel sheets, a kitchen mat, plus a few small gifts we donated too. 

alma christmas tree


The remaining money we have left will go to purchase two sets of woven shades for the breakfast nook and kitchen. This December concludes our work for the Alma House and exhausts all the funds raised. If you’re interested in reading more posts on the Alma Project from the year read the following: Entry Upgrades; Media Storage Center; and the Laundry Center.

We were so happy to have had this project this past year, and to have met the women and children who live in the house.  I cannot say thank you enough to the kind individuals who donated to the project throughout the year, you really did help make a difference in the lives of these families! 

We look forward to adopting a second house next year, so stay tuned for more details in 2012. swirl

Speaking of this season of giving, I was honored to be one of the ten bloggers chosen to be a part of Home Depot’s Gift of Good program (mentioned here) and nominate a nearby military family for a chance to win $20,000 in home improvement.  My nominated family (Lee and James) did not win the big prize, but I got the best news last week. The Home Depot generously donated $5,000 in home repairs to ALL of the military families nominated in the Gift of Good program, yahoo!!!  (And a big congrats to Stacy who’s family did win the big prize!)

A team from Home Depot met at the house last Friday to assess the needs and they’re committed to up to $5,000 in necessary repairs, what a generous gift by Home Depot who brought a great Christmas blessing to this military family. 

home depot gift of good

two Home Depot reps, Lee, and me


Reminder, the Cookie Party is tomorrow, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite recipes, and I hope you’ll stop by to link up one of your favorite treats too.  Anything sweet that you’ve baked for the holiday season counts!


cookie party button


See you then,

kate signature image




  1. This is so inspiring! If everyone just gave a little (if only their time) this holiday season, much fewer people would be going without! I complain all the time about the million+ projects that we “have” to do to our home, but at the end of the day, we have a beautiful house to come home to, and sometimes I need to be reminded of that!

  2. Kate, congratulations on being able to give back to your community in such a big way. What a great project to be a part of!

  3. Kate, congratulations on being able to give back to your community in such a big way. What a great project to be a part of!

  4. i love this post- what a great reminder of what the season is all about, and really what we should think about all year- not just at christmas.

  5. Your energy and kindness (and of course decorating talent) never cease to amaze me. I look so forward to the next project.
    Merry Christmas!

  6. Kate,
    Your generous heart made me cry, and moved me to action. What if each reader is inspired to make a grand action of giving in 2012? What if we were as brave as you, to take on a project just a bit bigger than our comfort level? Imagine the ripple effect! Keep posting your acts of love. You are touching our hearts.
    Merry Christmas!

  7. Such an inspirational post, Kate! You are a very caring and generous woman. A wonderful reminder to all of us that this is truly a season for giving.

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