Dear Sun Spots: My sister is a new kindergarten teacher at the James B. Longley Elementary School in Lewiston this year. I recently told her about a nonprofit,www.classroomwishlist.org, that opened in August 2004. What the Web site does is provide a place where teachers can list what they need in their classroom, then anyone can log on and donate the items, which benefits the teacher and kids, but is also tax-deductible for the donor.

Cherie has sent home requests to the parents for something as simple as tissues and received little from them. I’m sure they do what they can, but it’s a poor area. The teachers, especially a first-year teacher, can’t afford to provide everything, and that means the kids lose out. I thought the newspaper might be interested in running a piece to get the word out about the wish lists. Maybe there would be people in the community willing to help the teachers, especially in this season and for those looking for last-minute tax deductions. – Cynthia Blanchard, Dedham.

Dear Sun Spots: This recipe was given to me by a dear friend and maybe the lady from Bethel would be interested. – C. Wyman, Auburn:

Mincemeat fruit pie. Ingredients: ½ cup hamburger meat, 1½ cups chopped apple, ½ cup raisins, 2 tablespoons butter, ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon, cloves and salt, 2/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons water (I use orange juice), 2 teaspoons vinegar. Method: Put all in a pan and cook. Then turn onto a double crust and bake.

Answer: Sun Spots uses a similar version but filled with a variety of apples, some slivered almonds, orange/lemon peel, no butter, meat, salt or vinegar and steeps the uncooked mixture for about a week in some Irish whiskey. Serve your pie with fresh whipped cream, and you’ve got yourself an Irish traditional Christmas tart. Make it a month or more in advance, and you’ll really wow your holiday guests.

Dear Sun Spots: I look forward to Sun Spots every morning and often find a place to get rid of something that I can’t bear to throw away. I’m hoping you can help me again. I, like so many others, have hundreds of old photographs in which the family cannot identify the names or places. The photographs are from the early 1900s and up, and I would love to give them to someone who can use them. They may be ideal for a painter seeking authentic items from this time period and seeking to replicate such objects in their artwork. Some of the backgrounds are beautiful, with ornate chairs, old baby buggies and antique furniture. Perhaps there are writers or poets seeking a way to describe old items or scenes while being true to the era? If so, please call Winona Davenport at 639-4296 or write to me at P.O. Box 77, Phillips, ME 04966. Thank you and keep up the good work. – Winona Davenport, Phillips.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]


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