DEAR SUN SPOTS: Thank you for this column. You’re doing a great job helping us out. Do you know of a bread company that puts out a half loaf of bread? My husband and I are not bread eaters, and we seem to throw away more bread than we like. We also do not care for frozen bread. Thanks for your help again. — No Name via e-mail

ANSWER: It’s a good thing you don’t live in Alaska, or some other far-flung local. When Sun Spots lived in Juneau, Alaska, all of the commercial bread on the shelves appeared to have been previously frozen. She asked the store manager, who said that it was necessary to keep the bread fresh for the long journey north.

However, as you’ve noted, freezing changes the texture if not the taste of the bread. Sun Spots found that she could improve the texture a bit by thawing the bread in the toaster oven instead of at room temperature. You want to leave it just long enough to thaw and become very lightly toasted.

As for half loaves, there were many complaints similar to yours online. According to those postings, apparently there are half loaves being sold in some locales, so you might want to approach the managers of your favorite grocery stores and ask them to carry half loaves.

Another option would be to ask local bakeries to package their bread in halves for you. That would probably cost more, but at least your bread would be fresh.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I saw in your column that there is an album from birth to the last year of school. I can’t get this information and would like to have it, so I can get one for my daughters. They have been looking for one. Thank you. — Brenda Austin via e-mail


ANSWER: Anita Poulin of AP Graphics and Fine Arts said she makes custom scrapbooks and has created one just for that purpose. She can be reached at 782-5118.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Park Avenue Elementary School’s Odyssey of the Mind team needs your support. This talented and creative group of third-grade students won first place at the state level and will be traveling to the world finals at Michigan State University in May. But they need your financial support to make this opportunity a reality.

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving competition involving students from kindergarten through college. Team members work together at length to solve a predefined problem (the long-term problem) and present their solution to the problem at a competition. They must also generate spontaneous answers to a problem they have not seen before; this is the spontaneous competition.

The children are currently fundraising for this event – an ongoing bottle drive with returnable’s going to Florian’s Market in New Auburn under the OM Park Avenue Elementary school name, tagging being held at various local stores, a spaghetti dinner and much, much more. All total they must raise about $7,000 between now and mid May.

Please consider making a donation to support this team’s efforts. If you would like to make a donation, please make a check payable to Auburn Schools OM Team and return it to Park Avenue Elementary School, Attn: OM Team, 161 Park Ave., Auburn, ME 04210.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration and support of our children as they strive for academic achievements! — Dionne Morneau via e-mail

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am planning an American Girl tea party as a fundraiser on May 15. I would like to be able to give each girl a teacup to take home. If anyone has teacups that they are willing to donate or sell for a low price I would love to have them. Please contact me at 364-8358 or 357-8621. All proceeds from this event will be donated to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. — Diane Mitchell, [email protected]

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). Please include your phone number. 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 e-mailed to [email protected]

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