Alpha Mom » Brenda Ponnay parenting and pregnancy opinions and information Thu, 13 Aug 2015 17:13:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Back-To-School Friendship Bracelet Cards Thu, 13 Aug 2015 17:11:00 +0000

Friendship Day came and went this month (first Sunday of August) and we missed making these Friendship Bracelet Cards, but we thought they would be perfect for going back to school and handing out to new friends and old friends that we missed over the summer.

Friendship Bracelet Cards for Back-to-School (making bracelets) by Brenda Ponnay for

Making friendship bracelets was a favorite pastime when I was a kid and I love passing on the skill to my daughter and her friends. We had a summer playdate a few days ago and I threw out my vast collection of embroidery floss and let them have at it. (Of course not everyone has a tangled mess of embroidery like I do. Really, a fraction of this would be enough and keeping it all tidy in a plastic box would be ideal but I’ve been doing this for many years and I’m not always the most organized.) Don’t let the pile of thread dissuade you.

The little girls started making combinations of their favorite colors and before we knew it, the hours quickly passed. It was a great playdate for moms and kids that brought everyone together. Add some snacks and drinks and you have a party!

Friendship Bracelet Cards for Back-to-School (making bracelets party) by Brenda Ponnay for

I’m not going to write a tutorial on friendship bracelet braiding here. You can find them all over the place online and there are even kits that make the process easier. But I am going to give you a Friendship Bracelet Printable Card that you can give away with your bracelets as a little gift.

Just click, download and print our Friendship Bracelet Card . Cut them out and then punch out two holes on either side of the wrist and thread your completed friendship bracelet through it.

Friendship Bracelet Cards for Back-to-School (making card) by Brenda Ponnay for

Tape the loose ends up with some pretty washi tape on the back and you are ready to spread your friendship!

Friendship Bracelet Cards for Back-to-School by Brenda Ponnay for


]]> 0
Fun Back-to-School Door Hanger Printables! Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:30:16 +0000

As summer vacation winds down and the new school year looms near for some parts of the country, we’ve started preparing.  First up, we’ve created some Back-to-School door hangers perfect for getting into the studying mode. (You know it’s been a long summer when homework starts to sound like it might be fun.)

Fun Back-to-School Door Hanger Printables! by Brenda Ponnay for

Or maybe decorating your door handle is fun. Either way, we’ve got some free printables for you if you’re getting into the Back-to-School spirit, too.  Our printables are below.  Just click to download, print, cut, fold in half and hang on your door! We used regular printer paper and double-stick tape to keep the sides together but card stock would work well.

Back-to-School Door Hangers Printables

Shhh! I’m studying (But I won’t say no to Snacks)

Shhh! I’m studying (for those who aren’t allowed to have snacks in their room)

Do Not Disturb I’m reading a Book.

and lastly,  (just for fun):

Housekeeping please!

Fun Back-to-School Door Hanger Printables! (Housekeeping please!) by Brenda Ponnay for

May they make your school year smoother!


]]> 1
Totes Beachy! Paint Your Own Beach Tote Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:14:58 +0000

There are a million ways to decorate a beach bag. If you are looking for a simple and fun summer craft to keep your kids busy, this might be just the bag for you! It’s easy and you can use your masterpiece when you are done, my favorite kind of art!

Paint Your Own Beach Tote by Brenda Ponnay for


Supplies you’ll need:

  • pre-washed plain tote bag (found at your local craft store)
  • fabric paint
  • sponge
  • paintbrush (optional)
  • wax paper or a piece of cardboard (for protection)

Paint Your Own Beach Tote (supplies) by Brenda Ponnay for

Make sure your bag is ironed and clean so that it’s a nice smooth surface to work on. Lay out your bag on a hard protected surface. (Fabric paint stains! So protect your clothes too and wear an old t-shirt or an apron you don’t care about in case it gets stained.) Insert wax paper or piece cardboard if you intend to use a lot of paint so the paint doesn’t soak through to the other side. Cut up your sponge into small geometric shapes.

A handy artist tip: I like to limit my color palette (three or less colors) when I’m doing activities like this with kids. It challenges their creativity and the end result is more fashionable in my opinion. But if you want to let them go crazy with the whole rainbow, please do! It’s all good.

Squeeze out a dollop of fabric paint onto paper plates. Direct your kids not to mix the colors (unless you are okay with that, of course). Blot your sponge shape into the fabric paint and then stamp it onto your tote. I encouraged my kids to create simple designs using the triangle and square shapes but they interpreted my directions differently. One kid created a scene, the other swiped the sponge sideways and painted stripes. But guess what? Both bags turned out really cool. Of course I had to make one too so I created a geometric triangle design only using triangles that reminds me of ocean waves.

Touch up your shapes with a paint brush.

Let your fabric paint dry, following the directions on your fabric paint bottle (usually a day), and you’re ready to fill up your tote with your favorite beach or pool accessories and head for the water!

Paint Your Own Beach Tote Summer Craft by Brenda Ponnay for

Happy Summer!

]]> 0
Happy Bastille Day Profiteroles! Sat, 11 Jul 2015 16:57:34 +0000

You can’t celebrate Bastille Day without a classic French pastry so I teamed up with Elyssa Fournier from Mixed Bakery (again) and we made some Profiteroles! They are so simple and elegant, just light puffs of pastry with a hollow inside. You cut them in half, stuff them with ice cream and drizzle chocolate sauce on top. C’est magnifique!

Profiteroles for Bastille Day Celebration by Brenda Ponnay for

Below is the recipe for your own Bastille Day festivities.

Profiteroles (ingredients for recipe) for Bastille Day Celebration by Brenda Ponnay for

First you will make the pastry dough or “Pate a Choux” and then you will make the chocolate sauce to go on top. Happy Baking!

Pate a Choux Ingredients

  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 sticks + 2 tbs of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup of flour

Bring water, butter and salt to a boil. Remove from heat and mix in flour.

Profiteroles (mixing instructions) for Bastille Day Celebration by Brenda Ponnay for

Return to medium heat and stir to dry out mix. When the dough pulls away from the side of your pot, transfer it to a mixing bowl and mix (electric mixer or by hand) for a few minutes to let steam escape. Slowly add eggs.

Profiteroles Recipe (how-to) for Bastille Day Celebration by Brenda Ponnay for

After the eggs are added, your dough should have a ribbon-like texture. If it doesn’t and it clumps, you might need to add another egg. This can easily happen if you are using smaller eggs.  Once everything is mixed and to the right texture, fill a pastry bag with your dough and pipe out quarter-sized dots onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 375 degrees F for approximately 25-30 minutes. Do not open oven for at least 20-25 minutes. This is very important or your dough will not puff properly.

While your puffs are baking now you can make your chocolate sauce!

Profiteroles (chocolate ingredients) for Bastille Day Celebration by Brenda Ponnay for

Chocolate Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 cup + 1 tbs sugar
  • 1/4 cup of corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped chocolate
  • a pinch of salt

Profiteroles Recipe (tutorial) for Bastille Day Celebration by Brenda Ponnay for

Bring water, sugar and corn syrup to a boil. Turn off heat and whisk in cocoa powder. Then whisk in chocolate and mix until smooth. To make sure your sauce is silky smooth you can pour it through a strainer. Let it cool and store in a jar or pitcher for later.

Profiteroles Recipe for Bastille Day Celebration by Brenda Ponnay for

Mmmmmmmm! Do you smell gluten?!!

When your pastries are done baking and they have cooled, cut them in half and put three on a plate. Stuff them with a scoop of your favorite ice cream or sorbet and drizzle with your chocolate sauce. If you have leftover chocolate sauce store it in your refrigerator for another time.

Yummy Profiteroles for Bastille Day Celebration by Brenda Ponnay for

Bon Appetit!

p.s. If you thought this was fun, be sure to follow Elyssa on Instagram and Facebook!

]]> 0
Easy DIY Geometric Art for Patriotic Holidays! Thu, 02 Jul 2015 14:17:52 +0000

Does your house need some sprucing up for summer? Maybe some patriotic decor would be timely for that BBQ party you’ve got planned for the July 4th weekend?  How about a fun art project that involves the whole family AND looks great? You might even find yourself leaving it up all year around!

Geometric Patriotic Art for July 4th (art supplies) by Brenda Ponnay for

Here is what you’ll need for this super simple project:

  • 4 or more gallery-style (not flat) square canvases in whatever size you like (Ours are 4×4 inches)
  • gold spray paint**
  • acrylic paint in patriotic colors*
  • painters tape
  • scissors
  • paintbrushes

First, you’ll need to prep your canvases. Do this by spray-painting them outside or in a very well-ventilated area**.  Make sure to paint the sides of the canvases too.

Geometric Patriotic Art for July 4th (tutorial) by Brenda Ponnay for

When the spray paint is dry, use your painters tape to create geometric designs. Remember to wrap your tape all the way around the edges. If you plan on framing your art you can skip that step but what I love about the gallery-style canvases is that you don’t need to frame them. They’re ready to go as-is! They’re also super light so even a push-pin can hold them up on a wall.

DIY Geometric Patriotic Art for July 4th by Brenda Ponnay for

When all your tape is set, make sure to press it down firmly so that no air bubbles allow paint in later. Then set out three bowls with a squirt (or three) of your red, blue and white paint and three separate paintbrushes. If you’re involving children in this craft, make sure to reiterate that there is to be no paint-mixing. You don’t really want shades of pink, mauve or purple for this patriotic version of the craft and it’s easy to do if you aren’t careful with your brushes. Paint smoothly, making sure there are no clumps.

We could have been a little more careful with ours. AND we were a little too excited to pull our tape off so some of our paint peeled off with the tape. You can avoid our mistake by painting evenly and letting your paint dry completely.

Geometric Patriotic Art for July 4th (DIY tutorial) by Brenda Ponnay for

Peeling the tape off was easily the most fun part of this art project. The kids loved it! The paintings look so smudged and messy and then ta-da! the tape comes off to reveal nice clean and sharp lines. It’s a magic trick, every time.

After all the tape is peeled off, hang your art in your favorite grouping/arrangement and you’ve got yourself a festive home decor masterpiece!


*For this project you should opt for student- or professional- grade acrylic paint and not the washable kid-safe kind because it will be shinier and last longer. If you are more worried about smaller kids ingesting the paint than you are about longevity of your art, then opt for kid-safe paint.

**Always have a responsible adult use spray paint outside or in a very well-ventilated area.

]]> 0
Happy Canada Day! Red Maple Leaf Cookie Recipe Fri, 26 Jun 2015 20:12:17 +0000

We’re not one to miss out on a party so when we heard July 1st was Canada’s birthday, we decided to get our Canada on with some red maple leaf cookies to enjoy! These are not just regular sugar cookies. No, they are red AND they are maple-flavored! Yum! Not bad, eh?

Red Maple Leaf Cookie Recipe Directions for Canada Day by Brenda Ponnay for

For this recipe you will need:

Red Maple Leaf Cookie Recipe Ingredients for Canada Day by Brenda Ponnay for


Red Maple Leaf Sugar Cookie Recipe Ingredients & Supplies

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tsp maple extract
  • 4 tsp red food coloring (or more)
  • a maple leaf cookie cutter
  • white icing (optional)

(Recipe modified from this easy sugar cookie recipe from All Recipes)

Red Maple Leaf Sugar Cookie Recipe Directions

In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda and baking powder. In a separate bowl mix together sugar and butter until creamy. Beat in egg, maple extract (or flavoring) and red food coloring. Gradually blend in dry ingredients. When thoroughly mixed, wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.

Once your dough is chilled, roll it out on a generously floured surface. Roll to 1/4 inch thick and cut out your leaves with your maple leaf cookie cutter. (Now would be a good time to preheat your oven to 375 degrees F). Once you have your cookies cut and placed on a cookie sheet with space around for them to rise, use a toothpick to create leaf veins. Press gently.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool for two minutes on the cookies sheet before removing them to cool on a rack. If you like, you can ice white icing words or outline leaf veins to add an extra fun touch.

Red Maple Leaf Cookie Recipe for Canada Day by Brenda Ponnay for

Then plate your cookies and sing Oh Canada at the top of your lungs! If you need a printable Canadian toothpick-flag to help you celebrate, we’ve got that for you too.  Just click, print, cut and attach to a toothpick using double-stick tape!

Red Maple Leaf Cookies for Fall by Brenda Ponnay for

Or just make some festive fall leaf cookies, that’s cool too.


]]> 0
Father’s Day Brownies for Awesome Dads Wed, 17 Jun 2015 20:14:25 +0000

Many of you may not know this but I am actually horrible in the kitchen. I burn everything and I under-season everything else, so I decided to collaborate with a local baker, who is also a mom, for a really fun Father’s Day food craft. I like to call it the Father’s Day Brownie Bar Extravaganza.

It pretty much goes like this: Invite a bunch of kids over, set up a bar filled with all the brownie toppings you can imagine and let the kids create the most amazingly, delicious brownies for their dads as a Father’s Day presents! Each brownie is individually created for their dad in mind. It makes for a gourmet twist and lots of thoughtful surprises. I say, get your calendars out now and schedule it as a playdate because Father’s Day is right around the corner and it’s a whole lot of fun for kids.

Father's Day Brownies for Awesome Dads by Brenda Ponnay for #FathersDayParty

First, you’ll need to make your brownie batter. Elyssa Fournier, my friend and baker from Mixed Bakery, was kind enough to share her favorite brownie recipe below. It’s so easy to make, and delicious!

Father's Day Brownies for Awesome Dads by Brenda Ponnay for (ingredients list)

Brownie Recipe Ingredients

Father's Day Brownies for Awesome Dads by Brenda Ponnay for (brownie recipe)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup of granulated white sugar
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • all the toppings you can imagine set out like a bar

Brownie Recipe

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients (except toppings) together in a large mixing bowl and then pour into individually-sized baking dishes or an 8×8 inch pan. Set out all your toppings in small dishes and let your kids go to town on their own brownies, by adding toppings. When the they are done, bake the brownies for 25-30 minutes. Baking times may need to be adjusted depending on the toppings added, but 25 minutes is a good place to start. Check often and rotate the brownies to ensure thorough doneness.

About those brownie toppings? As you can see we had a lot of fun. Anything goes! Set everything out in small dishes and see how creative your kids can get. Make sure they keep Dads’ particular tastes in mind. Does Dad like savory mixed with sweet or does he have a big candy-loving sweet tooth? Maybe make some extra brownies for the kids too because creating combinations is so much fun, they are not going to want to only make one brownie.

Father's Day Brownies for Awesome Dads by Brenda Ponnay for (toppings)

Here are some ideas for brownie toppings that we used but be creative and come up with your own ideas too!

Red hots, confetti sprinkles, peanut brittle, toffee-flavored walnuts, chocolate covered sunflower seeds, marshmallows, miniature peanut butter cups, m&m’s, chocolate chips, coconut, pretzels, potato chip, peanuts, popcorn, dried apricots, red hot pepper flakes, broken graham crackers, slivered almonds, salt crystals, bacon, caramel, dulce de leche, leftover easter candy, gummy worms, peppermints, cyan pepper, white chocolate chips, leftover halloween candy… you get the idea.

Anything goes and you’ll be surprised at how well some things go together and some better than others. Personally, the potato chip combination was a real winner for me. Super yummy.

Father's Day Brownies for Awesome Dads by Brenda Ponnay for #giftsfordad


After your brownies are all baked, let them cool and then package them up with a special Father’s Day sticker that you can print on your own printer on full-sheet label paper. Dad is going to love them!

p.s. If you thought this was fun, be sure to follow Elyssa on Instagram and Facebook!

]]> 1
Back Massage T-Shirt for Father’s Day! Tue, 09 Jun 2015 12:44:36 +0000

You know what Dad needs for Father’s Day? A back massage. With this DIY Back Massage Tutorial t-shirt you can make it a family affair! Easy iron-on decals will give dad a chance to customize his favorite back rub and give kids the direction they need to do it just right!

Back Massage T-Shirt for Father's Day by Brenda Ponnay for

Supplies to create this great Father’s Day gift:

1. a pre-washed cotton t-shirt in Dad’s size
2. iron-on transfer paper for inkjet printers (found in your local craft or office store)
3. our handy dandy printables:

4. a hot dry iron (no steam! make sure your steam is turned off)
5. scissors

Now let’s get started!



You can make this t-shirt gift three different ways:

1) Iron-on the front transfer that says “This Awesome Dad Needs a Massage” and then cut out all the arrows and directionals and put them in a plastic bag with some cute packaging that you create yourself or use ours here. Then gift wrap the t-shirt and the bag of decals and let dad design his own back massage with kids taking notes and somebody responsible ironing the decals on. OR,

2) you can sneakily ask Dad exactly how he likes his back rubbed and take notes and then put it together later secretly. Or,

3) you could just wing it and put directionals wherever you think he might like and that’s probably fine too because when it comes down to it, can you really go wrong with this gift? NO!

Back Massage T-Shirt for Father's Day by Brenda Ponnay for

Here are some notes to help with the process: (Please don’t let the abundance of notes discourage you. This is an easy craft to put together. I just learned a few things while I was doing it. You can ignore my notes (tips) and probably be just fine.)

First make sure your printer has toner. Also, make sure you read the directions included inside your iron-on transfer paper package. Follow them closely. You’ll want to make sure your t-shirt is clean. That means no cat hair whatsoever because once hair gets stuck between the iron-on transfer paper and your shirt, it’s there forever. A tape-roller can be handy.

When you’re cutting out your directionals, don’t leave a ton of white space. You don’t have to cut super-close but don’t leave more than an inch of white space either. I would say 1/4 inch is perfect but if you leave more, it’s not the end of the world.

Make sure your iron is dry. Dump out any water you might have in the reserve. Also clean your iron before you turn it on. Whatever item of clothing you may have accidentally burned three years ago… yeah, it’ll show up on the transfer paper and on your t-shirt. Transfer paper is magical in it’s ability to find any dirt you might have on your iron. So clean your iron.

(The ironing part of this craft should be handled by a responsible adult.)  You’re not going to iron on an ironing board for this. You want a hard sturdy surface. I used a pillow case on my dining room table. A hard surface is best because you don’t want any wrinkles or give so that the decal goes on unevenly. You want the iron to touch the decal all at once or mostly all at once. You can move the iron around but you want to make sure the transfer is getting a good 90 second seal as evenly as possible.

Wait until the decals are completely cool before removing them.

Back Massage T-Shirt for Father's Day by Brenda Ponnay for

And that’s it! It’s a great craft and Dad is going to LOVE it. You may want to discourage him from wearing it out in public but I’ll leave that up to you.

]]> 0
Bug Season is Here. Let’s Craft a Bug Party! Fri, 29 May 2015 20:33:51 +0000

It’s that time of year again. Time to make sure you have screens on your windows and citronella candles on your patio. But if you’re like us, you love bugs. Especially butterflies and caterpillars. We don’t love the flies and mosquitos quite as much.

We thought it would be fun to make some buggy crafts that might come in handy for bug-themed birthday parties or just an afternoon of it’s-almost-summer fun.

Bug Crafts (Butterfly Clip + Caterpillar Bracelet) by Brenda Ponnay for

What do you need for making bugs? Not much!

Supplies for this Bug Craft

1. Chenille stems
2. self-adhesive googly eyes
3. tissue paper
4. beads
5. imagination!
6. hair clips (optional)

Some tools that might help along the way:
1. wire cutters
2. a pencil for wrapping chenille stems around for curling
3. scissors

Bug Crafts (Butterfly Clip + Caterpillar Bracelet) by Brenda Ponnay for

Tutorial for Bug Crafts

To make a butterfly, simply snip a chenille stem in half. Bend that piece it in half. Then slip a small rectangle of tissue paper between the two stems. Slide a bead over the two open ends and crinkle the paper down to create two wings. Curl your ends like antennae and add eyes to the bead. If you want to make a butterfly clip, just slide a hair clip through the butterfly’s chenille stem body on the back side, clip to your hair and ta-da! Butterfly clip!

Bug Crafts (Butterfly Clip + Caterpillar Bracelet) by Brenda Ponnay for

To make a caterpillar bracelet, first make a bracelet by twisting two chenille stems together and clasping at the ends so it can circle your wrist. Be careful to bend all pokey wire bits tightly back around so they don’t scrape your skin. Then create your butterfly again like we described above but instead of adding tissue paper for wings, skip that step. Add eyes to your bead and curl the antennae. Then use another chenille stem to wrap around the body. It will look like stripes on your caterpillar and double as a way to attach to the bracelet.

Then wear and enjoy!

]]> 1
DIY Star Garland for Memorial Day Sat, 23 May 2015 15:13:05 +0000

I love to decorate for holidays no matter how big or small. Sometimes I go all out and sometimes it’s just something little like this cardboard star garland. It’s a fun activity to do with kids and a great way to talk about what Memorial Day stands for. Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most whether it’s spending time painting outdoors or a picnic or just singing some songs around the dining room table. We thought this homemade garland added just the right homemade touch to our Memorial Day.


DIY Star Garland for Memorial Day by Brenda Ponnay for

You can make one too following these steps.


1. cardboard
2. a box cutter or blade for cutting cardboard* and a cutting board or self-healing mat
3. hole punch
4. washable kid-safe acrylic paint in red white and blue
5. some twine or string
6. party lights (optional)

DIY Star Garland for Memorial Day


First you’ll need to cut out your stars. (This step is for adults or someone who can use a sharp blade responsibly.) I cut out 14 stars but I’m the cardboard whisperer and I love cutting things out of cardboard. You might not have as much patience as I do. Even a garland of three stars would be cute. The best way to cut cardboard is to lay your piece of cardboard on a cutting board or self-healing mat and cut away from your body or fingers. I use a box cutter and an x-acto knife with a sharp blade interchangeably.

I’ve created a quick printable template in a star shape if you need some help cutting out your stars. I recommend printing it on card stock, cutting it out and then using it as a tracing pattern on your cardboard.

DIY Star Garland for Memorial Day by Brenda Ponnay for

After you’ve cut out your stars, punch them in one corner with a hole punch. This will require some muscle but you can do it!

Then set up a painting station with three bowls of paint, give your kids strict instructions to not mix the paint (if you don’t want light blue, pink or purple in your patriotic color palette) and let them have fun. Messy is good. It gives the garland a soft homemade touch that somehow seems appropriate for appreciating military families and all the sacrifices they make for our country.

After you’ve painted your stars, let them dry. Once they are dry you can string them up. I actually chose to tie each star up individually with it’s own piece of string so I could keep my stars from moving freely along my string. However you do it, I’m sure it will look perfect.

Then hang and enjoy!



]]> 0