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Building Community for Kids Without Parents

by Mandy Blume
Building a Home for Kids without Parents

Building Community for Foster Kids

Because of our experiences building and fostering, BLUMESTONE gives a lot to help children without parents or capable parents. But recently, we feel called to do more. We have a vision and God-willing, we will soon have the financial support to move forward to make our world a better place.

 

Over the past 12 years, we have visited over nine Children’s Homes and Orphanages through our nonprofit organization, Real Food Recovery. We have posted this passion there in order to congruently share our mission.

The volunteer work we do is changing the lives of hundreds of kids. We started Real Food Recovery as a nonprofit organization after writing a cookbook with studies for health benefits we experience. After fostering about eight children, and watching each child improve behavior and health with the right food and conditions, we took it bigger. We began to work in homes with many children.

Getting the Hands Dirty

Some of the incredibly rewarding work we do for these kids:

  • Build gardens with organic vegetables these kids have never seen grow
  • Teach educational classes;
    • how important it is to eat good fats
    • the power of amino acids and proteins
    • necessary gentle detox of eating fresh vegetables
    • why we need minerals and colorful salts
    • what hydration does for our body’s cells
    • and much more
  • Support local organic farmers and bring these nutrient-dense foods to the Children’s Homes
  • Write the menu for the home cook and State requirements with oversight of a Registered Dietician
  • Use my Functional Nutritional Therapy education to support common issues of these children;
    • diabetes
    • joint pain
    • sleeplessness
    • night terrors
    • addictions
    • depression
    • compromised guts
    • and much more

The Dreams Evolve

During our work over the past twelve years, Mandy has been asked to help support many folks in Assisted Living Homes with their diet. She teaches kids how to eat foods and food supplements to help improve and hopefully recover indications. Enjoying the success supporting these kids and some folks in the Assisted Living Homes, it is noticed that there is a need for more social interaction, which is what develops a goal for a new business plan.

We have afforded foster children better opportunities to:

  • get off medication for diabetes
  • avoid or recover from the flu faster
  • reduce or stop bad cramping
  • improve grades
  • support a doctor’s protocol more successfully
  • improve behavior
  • and much more

Building a Home to Close the Gap

With these years of learning from the systems we work with, we have bigger dreams than before. As a bio-dynamic construction company, we have the resources to remodel or build the perfect place. What we lack is the financial support, but God-willing, that will come.

Because of our experience, we know that building a home for Seniors and foster kids/ orphans, we can close a vast gap of loneliness. This plan can give sage to these kids who have been handed a harder life by allowing these elderly folks to mingle at meals, spend time tutoring, and just be friends.

It’s a huge dream, and it requires a lot of work, but we have already prepared for this. The only challenge we have is the financial aspect, which seems small after all we have already faced and overcome. As much as we are private about our company mission, this goal requires our community to come together.

There are 500,000 children today in foster/orphan homes. There are almost 50,000 children in the State of Florida and about 3,000 kids in my county system.

A Better Plan

Every person on death row was in foster care. Over 70% of our prisons are filled with people who were in foster care, and more awful statistics. We need a different approach to make it better for these kids and, ultimately, our community and nation. And our experience, heart, education, and skills provide the perfect backdrop to fulfill these dreams!

We must start a program and housing that is:

  • fun,
  • environmentally clean,
  • mentally stimulating,
  • built beautifully for the imagination, and
  • providing healthy food- while also supporting our local farmers and community.

If you or your company are looking for a place to donate, we’d love to be considered. All donations are tax-deductible, just leave a note with your address if you’d like a letter in the mail. No amount is too small or too big, there are big things to do and all proceeds go to these kids as always.

Give a better chance to kids without parents here.

We post pictures on Instagram for our buildings and our work with foster kids regularly of the companies, farmers, artisans, local businesses, and efforts with these kids. It is not allowed to show their faces to protect them, but we can show particular views.

Thank you for being a part of our community efforts and allowing us to build your dreams at BLUMESTONE.

 

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Add Beauty and Health to Your Home or Business with Plants

by Mandy Blume
Peace Lily beauty and health

Add Beauty and Health

Health is pretty important, and over the years we’ve been building, Jim and I discovered there are ways to build health. We also include fun elements as a way to boost health in the home. We started out like everyone, but having children and volunteering with foster children directed us to consider materials and designs that create more fun and less toxins.

I wanted to share some thoughts are health that may seem a bit off the topics of; concrete, wood, and actual building. However, it is something we find to be very important.

Building a business or a home, we generally start with the idea of creating a canvas. We guide our clients to build with a classic style, with less trendy fixtures so that in five years, it’s still a design that is enjoyed. This way, changes can be made with new colors and styles by changing the; chairs, sofas, throws, dishes, curtains, etc… These varying trends and tastes of the different seasons of life will match if the basic design is classic. It is here where we find the beauty of plants comes into the picture to really take a living or working space to the next level.

Green plants are always a great way to bring a living element to the interior space. The choices are limitless; edibles, ornamentals, but I really like intentional placement and thought. Shown is the Peace Lily, which is a family favorite for many reasons.

Peace Lily

The peace lily is a simple plant that is an overall “cleaning plant” known to mitigate:

  • mold spores,
  • formaldehyde, and
  • trichloroethylene.

For this reason, I place these plants in the laundry room and bathrooms, just like my grandmother did. It creates a functional health  advantage as well as providing a “living” element in a wet room.

From an aesthetic perspective, the white flowers will go with any color scheme of a business or home.

Additionally, I like the name. Peace is something we all aspire to have in this short life and I feel that the name of a plant somehow matters.

Fortunately, peace lilies are easy to maintain by merely watering one day a week. Unless it is placed in a dry spot next to direct sunlight, which you may want to water twice a week.

These are a few of the reasons we use plants. We believe they add an element of fun and the Peace Lily is a terrific, easy, beautiful, and functional addition to any space.

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How to Make Step Downs Safe and Elegant

by BLUMESTONE
186 home Step Downs

Safe and Elegant

Step Downs are not safe features in a home unless designed well. They are random steps from one room to another that create a multi-level feel in one-story homes. These are very common in most older Florida Homes. Unfortunately, these step-downs create a real safety challenge, and taping yellow industrial ribbons across the steps is not an elegant design touch to any home.

So, here are some ideas of how we accomplish both safety and elegance.

Step downs

When we bought our very first home in Florida years ago, we tripped when we first moved in. Almost every guest tripped as well. Over time we got used to the floor plan, but we learned to give a warning to our guests.

History

Florida architects in the mid-1900s designed many homes with step-downs, especially in the transition from the Dining Room to the Living area. Ideally, if your ceilings are higher than 8.5 feet, you can fix this tripping hazard by simply adding concrete to level the floors. However, in most Florida homes, the ceiling is only 8 feet tall. Therefore, if you raise the floor, the original 8- ft ceiling becomes nearly 7- ft. from the floor, which is uncomfortably low.

Today’s style has changed dramatically. It is more commonly desired to have wide-open spaces in a home. Gone are the lower ceilings and soffit ceilings above bathrooms and kitchens. Cozy niche rooms are replaced with fewer walls and tall ceilings. These are easy renovations, but the step-downs are a real challenge.

Over time, we figured out an affordable, discreet, and successful way to make this transitional step safe and elegant.

Updating for Safe Design

Notice in the above photo we incorporate all bulleted features. This home was a real challenge because there were 2 step downs, from the entrance to the kitchen and dining area, and a second step down into the living area. To create a safe transition but instill beauty, the entrance floors were laid in brown wooden herringbone, while the kitchen and dining area featured a white wood-plank pattern. Next, the room changes color to the brown wood-plank design but finally returns to the brown wood herringbone pattern for the delayed step down.

With these visual aids, our employees, subcontractors, and guests quit tripping and falling at these floor transitions.

If you have wood floors, lay a border before and after the step down in a contrasting color to emphasize a floor level change.

It is surprising how the smallest changes can make the most significant difference for a safe and elegant home.

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Tension and Compression

by Jim Blume
tension compression

A Balance of Tension and Compression

There are two types of forces involved in building, tension and compression. To have a great structure, which we call, “strong bones”, there must be a balance of both tension and compression. Anticipating an inspection, we cut out these holes to reveal the rebar inside. Once the inspector validates the block wall is properly constructed, we will pour concrete into the top of the blocks to solidify and thus strengthen the walls of this two-story home.

Tension and compression

 

The beauty of being a builder is the daily reflection we get working with our hands or with the hum of equipment. Today, I reflect on strength. Rebar is in every foundation. It is bound together while concrete is poured inside the floor or walls to share the space.

A strange metaphor emerges, as I realize that the concrete material and steel material work together symbiotically. This unity is difficult, beautiful, organic, and unavoidable in order to be a strong structure. It is the order of things. The steel is stronger when you pull it, which translates to a type of tension. Conversely, concrete is strongest when it squeezes together; meaning it is in compression.

Analogy

To continue this thought process, I begin to smile thinking of my marriage. It is full of balancing acts with little  “gives” and “takes”. Sometimes, I’m pulled too far and the “tension” is uncomfortable. Other times, it’s confining and stifling with too much “compression”. But as time moves forward, this friction creates something beautiful. I’m grateful for experiences that strengthen my bond. If there is too much tension, I will “crack” or become frustrated. Likewise, if there is too much compression I will also “crack”.

It’s stretching to be a builder. Building a good home or a good business requires a good foundation. Every material has the capability to handle a specific amount of “pull” or tension. And each material also has an ability to handle a certain amount of “squeezing together” called compression.

Tension and Compression arrows

Together, this symbiotic tension and compression creates a very good structure that will outlast the storms we face in life.

We keep on building and appreciate the privilege. I hope that when life gets tough, I remember the value and strengthening of the process, even though it is an unwelcome refinement. A little give and take or “tension and compression” is a good thing. It just means we are still living and moving forward.

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How to Make Your Home Fun

by Mandy Blume
Fun Narnia Mural 306

Home is our Place to Relax and Have Fun

Early on we realized the need to incorporate fun in every home. We are good at keeping the home cleaner with less toxins, but it doesn’t feel like home without some extraordinary elements of fun. No matter how the day goes; bringing fun elements into our home creates an environment we all enjoy.

In the beginning, we had 5 children under 8 years old. We couldn’t afford to go to a lot of places, but we could build things and make our home fun.

Incorporating Themes from a Favorite Book or Movie

Our boys loved CS Lewis’, Chronicles of Narnia, so we built the elements into their bedroom.

  • Dawn Treader took place on a ship. This allowed us to incorporate bunkbeds into this large iconic part of the book.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe  is the flagship book in the series. There are so many scenes to create, but in the end, we decide to install the famous lamp post. This small element brought the story book to life.Fun Dawn Treader bunk bed
  • There are many talented artists that can paint a mural. It’s unbelievable how much a mural can transform a space.
  • The Magician’s Nephew inspired a ceiling mobile of all the worlds which we found at IKEA.

Creating a Bit of Play Into Home

  • If you have a deck, try installing a slide along with stairs, a swing or hammock in the bedroom.It’s bringing the outside in and creating fun into a child’s space.
    Fun Built-in slide off the deck
  • Decorate an area inside the house with a unique part of the home (we found an old oil chimney in this home). Discovering old chimneys
  • Find ways to add depth using existing or hidden old materials. We find buried treasure in original wood planks underneath the ceiling drywall. Everyone loves to tell the story and remember.

Wood planks, shapes and contrasting colors

Fun ideas and designs can be incorporated on any budget. However, the key is to find what brings joy to your family and get creative.

Finding great ways to have fun in life requires intentional thought. We find the extra effort pays off with great memories, and of course, more built-in fun at home.

~Mandy