hi all! since you guys are among the most astute readers ever, i wanted to pose a few questions to you:

1- i am unsettled by the fact that the judge who signed our dismissal order is not in our district. the list of places he/his court has jurisdiction over does not include oak park. i have asked our attorney to look into this, but do any of you know for sure if this is or is not fishy? (please don’t email me about not being mean to fish- it’s just a convenient expression ;)   )

2- i have a weird mildew smell in my kitchen, near the sink, that i cannot seem to get rid of. i have moved everything away from the sink and scrubbed it down. i washed my sponge in the washing machine, i have cleaned underneath everything and scrubbed around the faucet. it is not coming from under the sink, and i run my garbage disposal regularly, so it is not from there. any ideas????? (p.s. after reading this on the blog, my husband got a bit traumatized. he doesn’t want people to think our house is gross, or to give ammunition to people who think we are slobby icky people. so, let me state- for the record- that my house is very clean. we have the normal amount of clutter that any happy family with kids will have. but i love to clean- no joke!- and i tend to clean when i am under stress. so, let’s just say my house is pretty darn sparkling clean lately!!)

3- does anyone know how to cut off the tops of tomato plants to make them shorter without hurting the plant? i need to (it seems like) keep all of my plants under 30″ tall, but i don’t want to kill the plants. any ideas?

4- i wanted to give back, and not just take from you, so here is the long-awaited laundry detergent recipe:

elisheva’s laundry soap:

1 bar fells-naptha heavy duty laundry soap. i finally found this at ace hardware (13 mile at southfield road- they are so nice and helpful too!)

1 cup washing soda. i had them special order this for me at the ace hardware, but then i also found it at farm fresh market at 1o mile and coolidge.

1 cup borax- i got this at target

grate the soap bar and mix it with the other stuff. i did this in a food processor. store in a closed container and use 2 TBSP (1/8 cup) per load. this will get most dirty clothes nice and clean. now that the kids are outside more getting wet and muddy, i sometimes add extra washing soda to the load to make sure it cuts through the mud. i made 4x this recipe so i wouldn’t have to drag out the food processor as many times. it has lasted me for many many loads, and it is just starting to look like i may need to make more soon.

it’s so funny that i made this so i could be more self-sufficient, but then i realized that i still needed store to buy all of the ingredients- DUH… (one of my many ‘duh’ moments- oh well). i did read up last summer about how to make lye out of ashes and water, and how to make real soap from scratch, but the idea of lye with little kids around scares me, so it’s gonna be store bought stuff for at least a little while longer…

hope you are having a great weekend, and thanks in advance for your help with my questions!!!