Kids in the Kitchen: Make an Apple Cookbook

This is a frugal family or homeschool project that will teach math, reading, life skills, and more.

What is added to each child’s cookbook depends on their age and skills, but this will be a fun project for them to work on as they learn to help with food preparation during the harvest months.

Some examples of book parts include:

  • table of contents
  • this for that information
  • measurement information
  • information on the different types of apples
  • classification of baking apples
  • information on freezing apples, or the finished recipes
  • why you should never eat apple seeds (hint: poison)
  • a page telling about each family member’s favorite type of apple

They add a photograph of finished recipes, or of themselves making each recipe.  A nice two-page spread would showcase the recipe and picture on one page, and a journaled story about making or eating the dish on the next page.

When my daughters made their apple books, they created them in shapes of apples – the pages and the cover, using construction paper and binding them with yarn.

Have them use only the family’s favorite holiday/harvest apple recipes, so they’ll have to try them all out first. This can be a lot of fun. Make sure that you know how to, and they include the directions for, preparing relevant recipes for the freezer.

Here are some apple recipe ideas:

  • bread
  • muffins
  • apple cake with cream cheese frosting
  • apple bars
  • pie
  • cookies
  • crisp
  • applesauce, apple-pear sauce, apple-peach sauce
  • salads
  • pancakes

Let us know what your children decide to put in their apple cookbooks!


Pumpkin Centerpieces

Yesterday I did a review over on the Frugal is Fabulous! blog for Colleen Dorsey’s book Easy Pumpkin Carving: Spooktacular Patterns, Tips & Ideas. You can read the review here.

What I wanted to do was make a couple of centerpieces for a meal, and then to be able to use the pumpkins to make recipes such as muffins or pancakes. I did not want to carve them. I found some ideas on pages 22 and 23 that I particularly liked.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright October 2017.

I wanted flowers and pumpkins, but did not want to hollow out my pumpkins. Instead, I bought autumn floral picks and glued some to the top of each pumpkin, around the stem.

I chose small arrangements of autumn floral picks, and two small pumpkins that would sit nicely on the table.

It was easy to pull the flowers and other items I wanted to use off the picks, and glue them in place where I wanted them.

This was not a time-consuming project, and I ended up with two nice centerpieces. The first was a simple one with leaves and flowers. I simply glued the leaves around the stem, and then topped it off with a few flowers.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright October 2017.

This second one was a little different. I started with the leaves again, then added a pinecone and a few other things before adding flowers. I like the look. How about you?

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright October 2017.

These are great for autumn in general, and also for Thanksgiving. The book has free patterns for Halloween carvings as well.

Added bonuses:

  • They cost less than $10.00 to make.
  • I’ll save money in coming years reusing the flowers and other items from the picks.
  • I’ll have pumpkin for autumn recipes!
  • They will look great at the center any table placed on a runner or placemat.
  • These could also be placed on a mantle or on a porch.

How will you decorate your pumpkin?



Decorated Jars

I did a little fun-shopping the other day. That does not happen very often. One of the places I went was Wal-Mart, to get a few craft supplies. I thought it would be fun to dress up the canning jars I use for storing food.

I bought

1/8 yard each of blue and red gingham, because I just love that look ($1.72 for both)

32.8 feet of jute cord ($0.94)

24-pack of Kraft assorted labels ($2.97)

4-pack of 8 ounce canning jars ($4.22)


Total spent for supplies = $9.85/4 = $2.46 per jar

And there are 20 labels, plenty of jute cord, and plenty of fabric left over for other projects.

The materials I used to complete this project will be used over and over, meaning I wont have to re-buy things any time soon.

I’ve decided I love this size canning jar, and will likely buy more. They’ll come in handy for snacks, and can easily be packed into a lunch bag for work. These jars will also hold small bits of food, taking up less space in the pantry than a full size jar with just a little food in it.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright March 11. 2017.


4 (8 ounce) canning jars


4 labels

jute cord

permanent marker

bowl, about 7 inches in diameter



trail mix, or other foods you want to store

  1. Wash the canning jars, lids, and rings. Dry thoroughly.
  2. Place a bowl that is about 7 inches in diameter over the fabric.
  3. Use the permanent marker or chalk to trace around the bowl on the fabric.
  4. Wash the bowl so the marker comes off easily.
  5. Cut 4 circles out of the fabric, where you traced. I folded each of my fabric pieces in half and stacked the two types of fabric, so I would only have to cut once. The fabric was thin enough to do this.
  6. Divide the trail mix or other foods among the jars.
  7. Place the lids on the canning jars.
  8. Center a fabric circle on each lid.
  9. Place a ring on each jar, screwing into place.
  10. Cut four 24-inch lengths of jute cord.
  11. Tie one 24-inch length of jute cord around each ring.
  12. Using the permanent marker, write ‘Trail Mix’, or whatever will go into the jar, on each 4 labels..
  13. Tape the tag to the top of the jar.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright March 11. 2017.


  1. If you’ll be putting different types if things in each jar, you might want to use a hole punch to put a hole in each label, and tie them into place at the ring. This way, you’ll be able to see the label at a glance and know what exactly is in each jar.
  2. If I could have found the right color scrapbook paper and the tag punch I wanted at the store, I would have made my own labels.

Happy crafting!