Make your own hummingbird nectar
Do you have a hummingbird feeding solution? — Emily, Pennsylvania
Use 1/2 cup sugar and 2 cups water. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Cool. No need to add food coloring; you can hang a red ribbon from the feeder to help the hummingbirds find it. Fill your feeder and keep the remaining feeding solution in the refrigerator for up to one week. You’ll want to change the mixture often, according to the outdoor temperature. For warmer temperatures, change the mixture every couple of days. You’ll notice if you don’t change it often, the mixture becomes cloudy or gets moldy (black specks in it). If your feeder is in the shade as opposed to a sunny location, you can get away with changing the nectar mixture less often. I hang mine from a plant hanger (similar to a T-bar feeder stand), which is about six feet high. It’s easily accessible and viewable from all angles. Choose a spot that is close to plants hummingbirds love, such as bee balm, honeysuckle, liatris or columbine.
My daughter will be attending a summer preschool five days a week. Unlike her current preschool, where her food is included, her new school requires her to bring a sack lunch every day because they are either on field trips or at the park. While I don’t mind packing a lunch, they require the sack and all contents in it to be disposable, which means I have to buy paper sacks and plastic zip-enclosure baggies. Do you have any frugal ideas for bringing lunches? — Kim, Colorado
Very sorry to hear that they want everything to be disposable. Maybe you could encourage them to transport all of the sack lunches in a cooler to keep them cold. As far as what to pack, if you reuse a plastic grocery bag rather than use a paper lunch bag, you can freeze her drink to use as a cold source, enabling you to pack lunch foods that need to be kept cold. You can pack fruits, raw vegetables, crackers, granola bars, muffins/quick bread, small baggies of nuts or seeds, dry cereal or dried fruit, popcorn, gelatin, applesauce or pudding cups. I’d avoid meat sandwiches or dairy products (although a yogurt cup could be frozen and thawed successfully) because you can’t be certain how long the lunch bag will be in the heat. I do have a list of lunch box food ideas at frugalvillage.com/forums/food-kids/134225-mix-match-lunchbox-ideas.html.
Here’s a recipe for fruit burritos, too:
4 6-inch flour tortillas
4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 banana, sliced lengthwise and in half to make quarters
4 fresh strawberries, halved
1 fresh peach, sliced into thin quarters
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
For each burrito, spread about one tablespoon of peanut butter evenly on a flour tortilla. Onto each tortilla distribute in a line along the center 1/4 banana, two strawberry halves, one peach slice and approximately 1 tablespoon of blueberries. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of pudding over the fruit. Carefully fold one side of the tortilla over the fruit, tucking the edge under the fruit so it’s not too loosely packed. Roll the folded and tucked portion of the burrito toward the other side. The peanut butter will help hold it together. Makes 4 servings. — Joy, forums
photo by Rennett Stowe