30 04 2021

Hey guys!

Quick post. I can’t make a Mother’s Ring, but I can make a Mother’s Cap commemorating the birth of my children 😀

I’m doing these as a Fundraiser for Paws 4 Autism and JJ and Bandit 😀

If you’re interested in purchasing one (or some) for yourself, or as gifts, the cost is $23, all of which will be going to Paws, because I’m matching the supplies cost, so together, we’re nearly doubling the fundraising impact.

You also have your choice of cap color and style. You’re not locked into this color or style of hat 🙂

To order:

Got to JJ’s Store, you can find it here:

As always, sharing is very encouraged and much appreciated.

Links of Interest:

Paws 4 Autism general info

JJ’s direct fundraising page

Thanks for stopping by!


That Time There Was Online Bingo an They Used JJ and Bandit’s Picture 😍 FUNDRAISER ALERT

27 03 2021

First, because I forget things like this, important things lol, here’s the link


Okay, the fun stuff lol. If the kiddo and the pup in the ad for the fundraiser look familiar, it’s because it is, in fact, JJ and Bandit ❤️

Now, the rest.

Covid-19 has knocked out and changed up the regular, most reliable fundraisers for Paws 4 Autism in the last year. What is typically our biggest fundraiser of the year has now been cancelled for two years in a row. So this online Bingo game is kind of a big deal.

If you didn’t know, Paws 4 Autism is a COMPLETELY volunteer run organization that trains dogs to be service dogs for autistic children. Both of my youngest boys are on the autism spectrum and I can tell you, we’ve seen some really great things with them and the dogs we’ve fostered, and Bandit, who matched to JJ a few months ago. Although he matched, we still need to fundraise to make sure the NEXT family can also have a service dog for their child.

So, from the comfort of your own home, you can sit back, relax, play BINGO, and help raise money for a really great organization. All the details are in the link above 🙂

So PLEASE help us get going by sharing this anywhere and everywhere appropriate 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Alta and JJ


As always, if you’d like to make a donation to JJ and Bandit’s Fundraising, you can find his

donation page here: Help JJ

For more info on Paws for Autism here

And, we’re always looking for partners and sponsors to work with Paws in the community. If you’re interested (and it doesn’t have to be a dog oriented company or individual) in partnering with us, let me know. I’ll hook you up. We do our best to brag about our sponsors anytime we can 😀

JJ and Bandit Go to Therapy – Service Dog Files

19 03 2021

I don’t know if you guys ever have this problem…but sometimes I try something and wonder if it worked.

This is especially true when dealing with my boys who have ASD. Autism can be tricky. And while JJ is amazing, he struggles with communication. With feelings – identifying them in him and others. So we can try calming techniques, but I never really know how much they’re working and how helpful they are. Or if they’re even worth pursuing. I can ask him, but it’s just not information he’s able to understand and explain. Don’t get me wrong, we can do simple happy/sad/excited kinds of things, but asking, “Does this help you calm down?” “Is this soothing?” “Does this help you relax?” All of these are much more abstract concepts that he’s still working on.

So then we have the dog. And we LOVE Bandit. We’ve seen some really good things with Bandit that lead us to believe that having him around is helping. But how do we know for sure? And what specific way can Bandit help the most?

Enter our new therapist (sometimes it feels like we have an army of them lol and we appreciate them ALL). JJ started seeing a new therapist recently to see if we could address issues like anxiety and attachment disorder. He had such an amazing year last year and made a good deal of progress and I wanted to keep the momentum going this year. Actually, that’s not quite true, we were on the waiting list for almost a year, so I would have absolutely started last year if we could lol.

So here’s the cool part. Our therapist has a heart monitor. It gently clips to the ear then plugs into the computer on the other end. It monitors the heart rate variability. How often is his heart rate is changing and how quickly. It provides a real time visual for JJ to see and our therapist is excited about working Bandit into the tools to help keep JJ’s heart beat regulated (or get it regulated if it’s not).

We KNEW we were on the right track when we saw this.

This is the read out of his last session. See the green zone? That’s where we need to be. That’s a well regulated space. See the spikes into the green zone? Those are the times he simply TOUCHED Bandit.

So while we *thought* Bandit was helping because of the outcomes in situations…we saw it, in real time, and very clearly during the session. We now have visible proof of just how much Bandit helps JJ. We can SEE how Bandit calms his boy. See that area in the blue right before the biggest spike? That’s me…and hopefully we can find ways for me to help JJ get into the green more. But this was really GREAT information to have. Because now I know, to help my son calm and regulate, it’s not, “Come give me a hug,” and holding him. This would work on his brother, but we can see clearly here, that me directing him to go “help Bandit, he looks like he needs a snuggle,” will be MUCH more beneficial for him, and really, that’s what this is about. Would I like to be the one who brings this much comfort to my son when he’s struggling and overwhelmed? Absolutely. And guess what…I am, by working with Paws 4 Autism and finding a way to provide a service dog for my son. By bringing in Bandit I’m able to help my son. And I hope this is a bridge that will go both ways, that eventually, through Bandit, I will be able to help JJ regulate and spend more consistent time in the green zone.

As I mentioned before, communication about abstract, non-visual things, is challenging. The information on this screen is not context we would have been able to get from him.

So why is this important to know? How does this translate in a real life setting?

Earlier I mentioned anxiety. Every change causes anxiety for JJ. Every question. Every request. Every time I tell him we have to go somewhere. If it’s somewhere we’ve been, I can tell him that and it helps, but not always. Even good changes cause anxiety. But just touching Bandit helps regulate JJ’s heart rate, which is the opposite of a racing, anxious heart.

A few hours after this appointment, we had an urgent care visit. This can be something that’s very anxiety inducing. JJ knows the building, but doesn’t know what to expect. I can try and explain, but that usually creates more questions that I’m unable to answer. We had Bandit with us and JJ did a good job. Bandit distracted JJ, but also comforted him. The comfort and calming helped him answer the doctor’s questions. And the staff at urgent care was amazing and open to having Bandit there. It eased what could have otherwise been a rough night for all of us.

Here’s a pic of Bandit helping my boy ❤️

The doctor was more than happy for Bandit to jump up and sit with JJ on the bed. Bandit was able to “settle” and provide a deep gentle pressure that is often calming for JJ. And JJ was able to pet Bandit, which we can see from the graph above, instantly provides positive feedback for him.

And all of this is just a really good reminder for me, that I’m on the right track. We have a significant way to go to finish our fundraising and my ideas are proving harder than I expected to pull off, partly because I’m a perfectionist lol. But this image reminds me that this is all worth it.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe and healthy


Alta and JJ

As always, if you’d like to donate to help us reach our fundraising goal for Bandit, you can donate directly to his fundraising here: Help JJ

That Time I 3D Printed Pipes for my Bathroom…

17 01 2021

This statement is technically true, but maybe not in the way you think.

One of my absolute favorite things to do as an artist, is to create something that starts out looking one way – like paper, for example – and then working to make it take on some realism.

I’m trying to take those ideas and skills with me into 3D printing.

You may remember, we used 3D printers for some of our Paws 4 Autism fundraising for Bandit, JJ’s autism service dog. We made ear savers and 2020 Toilet Paper ornaments to commemorate the year (those are still both available).

But when I’m not busy printing for fundraisers, my printers get used for other things. Things that might be helpful around the house.

We’ve been redoing our hall bathroom upstairs. It has a kind of an ocean theme, but one that’s very easily removed so we can go a different direction if we ever choose to. This bathroom is the one that got the light switch I printed that had gears.

Well. We needed a hand towel holder and a TP holder. So I printed pieces that look like and fit together like pipes we could use for this.

We went from this

To This

To this

I used gray PLA filament. This is the same type of filament I used for the ear savers and the 2020 TP ornaments. It took some time to print, and I had to reprint a few pieces to get the right sizes for my needs. But you can see that they were individual pieces that actually threaded together. I bought the file online, and the designer did a great job with these. There are so many ways to mix and match to get what you need.

So then the next magic step began. The pieces required a couple of priming passes, a couple of coats of copper colored paint, and an oxidation spray. A lot of people sand between primer coats and painting coats, but I wasn’t going for a smooth, shiny, flawless look.

And we ended up with these.

So, there you have it. I 3d printed pipes for my bathroom 🙂

And while you’re here, I’ve got some other 3D printing fun to share in the next couple of days. It will be the next fundraiser for JJ, Bandit, and Paws 4 Autism. So don’t forget to come back 🙂

As always, if you’d like to donate to JJ’s fundraising page, you can find it here: Help JJ

Thanks for stopping by!


CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT 2020 – JJ and Bandit Fundraiser Opportunity!

23 10 2020

So here’s what happened 🙂

I 3D printed my first ornament of the year.

People liked it. I was encouraged to print more. So I did.

So here’s the deal. If you want one, you can go to the link in the picture by typing it in, clicking on it HERE, or scanning the QR code. That’s JJ’s fundraising page. Make a $10 donation. You’ll have the chance to leave a written message. In that message, please let me know the donation is for the TP ornament, and if you want more than one, please let me know the number you’d like.

Easy peasy lemon squeasy, but feel free to ask questions if you have any.

Thanks for stopping by!


PS Stay tuned – next project, street lamp made from paper. Lamp lights up!

A Better Person – Our Autism Journey

16 10 2020

I’m a better person because of autism; more specifically I’m a better person because of my sons with autism.

I’m more compassionate because of them. More aware of the struggles of the people around me because of them. I’m more understanding of those around me. More willing to acknowledge when people are trying, even if it’s not working.

I’m more caring and less judging.

I’m less worried about what people think and more concerned with how I can help.

I’m more willing to cut my way through the condescending stares of strangers as they judge struggling moms so I can put my arm around this other mom and offer support and help instead of criticism.

I know I am judged. I know I will continue to be. I know that not everyone will understand my life and the challenges we face with autism, and I don’t expect them to.

But if I’m going to be judged no matter what, it will be for doing the right thing. For stepping in and doing the best to love as the Savior did. He walked hard roads alone so that we didn’t have to.

And my autistic sons taught me these things. They’re helping shape me into a person like the ones I admire. Into the person I want to be. Into the person the Lord knew I could become.

Many days with autism can be hard and challenging. But I would not be who I am today without these boys in my life and I’m happy with the woman I’m constantly growing into.

The Call – JJ and Bandit – Service Dog Files

15 10 2020

Super short today guys…but I got a call today.

I answered it, and was told there was a problem with Bandit.

It’s getting time for the dogs in training to rotate foster homes and Bandit won’t be able to


Bandit and JJ matched.

My son now has a service dog. His best friend is staying.

BUT this was ONLY possible because other people have paid it forward. I say that like it’s not a big thing, so let me rephrase it.

My son has a service dog because OTHER PEOPLE were kind enough to PAY FOR IT ahead of time.

I don’t know who all the people were that paid for my son’s dog, but I’m SO grateful to them.

So now we’re switching gears. WE will keep raising money, because WE will be paying it forward to make it possible for someone else to find the same magic we have.

So please, continue to remember JJ and Bandit. They are the faces of the families you may never meet but you could make such a difference for them by continuing to donate through JJ’s fundraising page here.

I’m also open to suggestions for fundraising. I have some ideas, but I need help to make them a reality and make them feasible, so stay tuned for those ❤

Thank you again for being on this journey and for stopping by today.


Bump in the Night – JJ and Bandit Service Dog Files

6 10 2020

One of the jobs an autism service dog can do is help their person sleep.

My son, like many on the spectrum, has trouble sleeping. Specifically, he has trouble calming and regulating enough to be able to fall asleep. There have been some long nights, and even some nights that didn’t end. There were times when our medications were out of whack and sleep NEVER came.

As a reminder, Bandit is leaning to work with children – that’s how we’re helping as we foster. He sees me as the person to follow, because that’s what he’s used to. But he’s tethered to JJ most of the day and he’s starting to get comfortable with me farther away, which is exactly what we want him to do ❤️

We started a nighttime routine that lets JJ fall asleep with Bandit.

That’s what’s happening right now. I’m sitting on the hardwood floor writing this as those two snooze away lol. The goal is for Bandit to stay in JJ’s room with him throughout the night, but we’re not there yet. Bandit still gets up and leaves the room with me when my back decides it can’t sit on the floor any longer. But the ease of the transition is getting faster. Both boys are settling into this routine and I feel like there are only good places to go from here ❤️

Thanks for stopping by


As always, if you’d like to read more about JJ’s story, you can find it here: help JJ. If you’re interested, you can also donate to our fundraising efforts there ❤️

JJ and Bandit Update: The Service Dog Files and Fundraiser Reminders

3 10 2020

JJ and Bandit are doing so great things ❤️

If you’re friends with me on FB, you’ve probably already heard about these things, so I apologize. But for the rest of you, I wanted to share some things 😊

Between ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, and Dyslexia, school can be hard. But this is some of what I saw this week, that I haven’t seen before.

In the above picture, JJ was stressing over the work, I could see it. But before I could intervene, he reached out and pet Bandit, which is exactly what Bandit is there for! This was HUGE for JJ. I honestly didn’t know if JJ would respond to a dog in the beginning. But he has been. Then, I wasn’t sure if he’d reach out to Bandit in times of need. We’ve tried a lot of different fidgets and stress reducers to help him be able to calm down when he needed to, but those haven’t been that successful. But guess who’s been reaching out 🙂 And Bandit is there within easy reach.

In the picture below, I caught some good stuff, too.

I don’t think this looks like a kiddo who’s dreading school lol. We also switched online academies and that’s helped with completing school work, but now I’m worried JJ won’t WANT to go back to public school because this is just way too cool for him lol.

When not working, they’ve been able to work on Settle. Many with autism find deep, gentle pressure calming. Because Paws 4 AUTISM uses standard poodles, they weigh enough to provide that kind of pressure. Many times, you can find JJ resting on Bandit, but sometimes, he needs Bandit to rest on him.

Last but not least, LOVE. Bandit is a service dog, so by nature, he provides service. But he’s so much more than that. He’s quickly becoming JJ’s best friend. And as such, JJ works to make sure Bandit has the things he needs, including belly rubs.

JJ’s smile says everything you need to know about how it’s going.

And this is why we’re fundraising. The two fundraisers we have going right now are Ear Savers and Back to School Signs. You can find info about them below. And as always, JJ’s direct fundraising page if you just want to learn more about his story or donate.

Ear Savers to make wearing masks more comfortable.

Back to School Sign to bring a little smile to your face

Help JJ

Thanks for stopping by!



6 09 2020

We’re making these signs as a fundraiser for Paws 4 Autism and JJ.

You can find out more information about them here, E-Learning Signs, including size, shipping, and customization info.

As always, feel free to share, especially if you know someone who could use a little chuckle right now 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Alta and JJ