Ours is just cut up however many apples were donated, add some water, sugar, and cinnamon, and cook on high for as long as we have that day. It seems to turn out every year even though we don't use any specific measurements.
We use the old-fashioned sieve too! I boil the apples ahead of time so they are a bit easier to mash up. We don't use a crockpot when we use the sieve. I've used a crockpot before and added Red Hots for a bit of cinnamon flavor (and a pinky color.)
thanks so much everyone! I splurged and bought a food mill from Amazon tonight and this will help with keeping the kids involved and part of the process. I figure I can use the mill for other cooking duties in my kitchen anyways