Tag Archive for: Children

Apple pie

The arrival of summer in the desert fills with days where the thermometer surpasses the century mark and trees are heavily laden with apples. People are often surprised to find that apple trees can be grown in our arid climate, but they do surprisingly well. I have two apple trees in my garden, which is the center of our annual apple day where we gather together to harvest, bake, and play games.

Apple pie

The participants range from 2-years old, all the way to 19 and are made up of my kids, niece, nephews, in-laws, and my grandson, Eric. Each year, they all come over for a day filled with summer fun.

Picking apples are first on the agenda, and the kids pick delicious apples within reach of their arm’s reach.


The younger kids are excited to spot Aesop, our desert tortoise munching on grass, and take a moment to pet him.


One of my nephews is a little nervous to pet Aesop, so he observes him from a couple of feet away.

apple pie

Half a bushel of apples is more than enough for two pies, with plenty left over for the kids to munch on while we bake.

apple pie

Out comes my handy apple peeler, which makes peeling and slicing apples a cinch. In addition to peeling them, it cores each and cuts them into a spiral.

(Affiliate Link)Johnny Apple Peeler by VICTORIO VKP1010, Cast Iron, Suction Base

apple pie

The kids line up to take a turn turning the handle for each apple and sneak ribbons of apple peel to eat.

apple pie

Homemade apple crust is the way to go and I use Paula Deen’s recipe for Perfect Pie Crust. It is a little sweet and uses a combination of vegetable shortening and butter. 

The filling consists of brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice.

apple pie

Oh, and butter…

apple pie

The trickiest part is gently laying the top crust on top of the pie without it breaking.

apple pie


apple pie

At this point, the kids wanted to know how long it would take to bake.

Dutch apple pie

Onto our second pie, which was a Dutch apple pie, so only one crust was needed.

streusel topping

My niece helped sprinkle the streusel topping. I always make extra streusel topping because I love it so much.

Ticket to Ride

Pies are now in the oven, and it’s time to play our favorite board game, ‘Ticket to Ride’ and see who can complete their train routes across the U.S.

(Affiliate Link)Ticket To Ride

warm apple pie

Finally, the timer dings and warm apple pie leaves the oven, making our mouths water with their delicious fragrance. 

Every year, I am pleasantly surprised at how much the kids in both my immediate and extended family, look forward to this day of pie baking. For a few hours, I have the privilege of interacting with them without the distractions of phones, television, and video games while teaching them how to bake as well as where fruit comes from (a tree versus the grocery store). 

I hope to continue this tradition for years to come. *Do you have any traditions that you enjoy with your family that revolves around baking?

Now you may be wondering how on earth am I going to combine the above topics into one post.  

Well, they all occurred yesterday while we were visiting my in-law’s house.  We go there every week to help out around the house and do the things that my father-in-law can no longer do since he is suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

Okay, first I will talk about curiosity and a bug.  Actually this involves my three youngest children and a praying mantis that they found in my in-law’s backyard.

A 'Good' Bug and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you remember how curious you were as a child about living things?  There seems to be a natural connection between kids and certain bugs.  Now, my kids will not touch a spider knowingly, but they are fascinated by other bugs.

Yesterday, they discovered a praying mantis on a Pink Trumpet Vine in the back garden.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

As you can see, it was very young and small.  I don’t think my kids would have handled a full grown mantis.

The kids had fun taking turns holding the little praying mantis, who in turn would walk up and down their arms.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I remember playing with pill bugs as a child and seeing them roll up into tiny, gray balls.  We would put them into a margarine container with some grass and leaves.  Of course, they would die if we didn’t let them loose.

My youngest daughter, Gracie, who can be a little afraid of bugs even decided to hold this little insect (you can just barely see it on her arm)

A 'Good' Bug and Chocolate Chip Cookies

It lasted about 3 seconds because the praying mantis scurried up her arm and she was afraid it would go up her sleeve 😉

We have a rule that if the bugs are beneficial, that the kids can play with them for a while, but have to release them out into the garden the same day.

A 'Good' Bug and Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, since praying mantis are great at eating harmful insects, we let him go.

**Here is an interesting fact for you – Did you know that praying mantis are carnivores and have been known to actually eat hummingbirds if they stray too close?  It’s true!

The kids were having so much fun with their new little friend that they forgot about the chocolate chip cookies that they had just helped to make with their grandma.

A 'Good' Bug and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I didn’t forget though….

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I must confess that I ate 3 of those big cookies, which is why I don’t make a lot of cookies at home.  I did try to make it up for it by eating salad for dinner 😉


I hope your week is off to a good start.  My kids start school today and my husband and I are ‘celebrating’ by going to the movies and enjoying some time alone.

Does that make me a bad mom or maybe one that just needs a little break…..

Cookies and Sugar Cone Christmas Trees