Who Are We?

The NovelFriends are four writers who met through Wisconsin Romance Writers and initially became bonded by our love of books. That connection has expanded, grown, and deepened into true friendship over the years. We look forward to sharing our experiences with you, so follow the blog and join in the fun - we're always happy to have more NovelFriends!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Garden Looks Good This Year...Everything Came Up. ~ Donna

That happens to be a line from my soon-to-be-re-released novel There's Only Been You. Like many authors, I've put a bit of myself in my characters, particularly my heroine Sara, who is the only female in a house bursting at the seams with testosterone.  But more on that in a couple weeks. ;-)

I've been gardening for years, so naturally I've come to understand that some years are simply better than others. I'm also a home canner, a job I've come to have a love/hate relationship with. LOL But no matter how tired I get of watering, cultivating, picking, cutting, snapping, canning, weeding, etc. etc., few things make me happier than when my garden is full, lush, and thriving.


Which thankfully is the case this year. The green beans are so beautiful in their neat little rows, my cabbage plants are thriving and will be shredded and crocked for saurkraut this fall. My green peppers, which I started from seed (as I try to do every year, along with tomatoes...I've always been fascinated by how something so small can become something so huge and bountiful), are twice as big as they were last year. I have a row full of both pickles & cucumbers, another row of zucchini (I'll share a few zucchini recipes in next month's post!), and even some sunflowers. The dill is coming up, as is the cilantro, a favorite in my household. I even found a few basil sprouts fighting their way through the throng of weeds.

Holy cats, the weeds!

See how bad they are? We were blessed with plenty of rain the last couple weeks, so while my gardens are thriving, so are the weeds. I spent several hours 'cleaning' my big garden yesterday (top picture). I could barely walk afterward, and I managed to slice my finger on a buried shard of glass, but the work was worth it. Now I just need to buy some ant poison as they seem to be out in full force this year, the little buggers.

Tonight (or maybe tomorrow as the hours grows late) my daughter and I are going to tackle the strip garden where my zucchini and sunflowers have been managing to hold their own. Then I just need to save my tomatoes...Wait, the bunnies! I have to tell you about those fluffy little evil bastards...LOL

I spent several weeks growing my beautiful tomato plants from seed. I watered them, cared for them, babied them. And they were so happy when I finally moved them outside to the garden. My husband had torn down the old fence, and since I'd read bunnies don't eat tomatoes, I decided to wait until next year to replace it. Well, these little rat devils obviously didn't get the memo, because they scarfed all but 5 of my little lovelies within three nights. Chomped 'em right down to the ground. *sigh* So I had to bribe the old man into putting up a new fence pronto, and replace the tomatoes with store-bought plants. Not that there's anything wrong with store-bought plants, it's just that I had been so anxious to try the new varieties I'd personally researched and grown with such loving care. *major lippy-faced pout*

Anyway, thanks for reading my garden ramblings. And don't forget to stop by next month for several yummy recipes, including one of my favorites, Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread!

~ Donna

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Simply Irresistible (Jamie)

I have a confession to make, I am an office supply addict. I could spend hours wandering the aisles of our local Office Max, gleefully filling my cart with notebooks and pens, folders and binders, index cards and Post-It notes. Sigh...  

Now trust me - I could probably go for the rest of my life without buying one more of any of those items and still manage to get through life just fine. I can also tell you, that isn't going to happen. There is  something completely irresistible to me about a fresh pad of paper and a fully-inked ballpoint. It gives me shivers just thinking about it. I relish dreaming of what I can potentially create with my treasures, until I finally come up with the perfect project for each one. (I always buy them with a plan of some sort...)

When Back-to-School displays and sales begin, I shouldn't even be allowed to leave my house. I'm fairly certain I end up with more supplies in the bag for myself than I do for my boys who actually do need the things they buy for school. I'm getting kind of tingly realizing the bins of filler paper and glue will soon make their appearance. Squee! 

I'm believe this condition is at least partially hereditary since my mother has never met a pen she could live without, and it seems that my oldest son has developed a fondness for a nicely bound journal and is very particular about his own writing instrument purchases. As much as we all love our technology, my laptop and my iPod will never replace old school writing tools for me.

What do you find irresistible? How do manage to control your urges to keep adding to an over abundant stash? I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

End of the school year wrap-up by Delia

Oh, the chaos that ensues at the end of the school year!  I work with the food program at our local school so I'm trying to get all those end of the year government reports filed while I still can.  It's kind of like filing lunch lady taxes, only instead of money, I'm counting chicken nuggets and tater tots.  It's exhausting, people.

Both of my still-at-home kids are in track, though one in high school the other at middle school, so I've been averaging 3 track meets per week for the last month and a half.  Usually I don't mind being a track mom, but the weather this spring has certainly dampened my enthusiasm for the 400 meter relay and the shot put.  But now that that's all over, my evenings are starting to be mine at last.  At least they will after this week, when I'm done with 8th grade graduation, spring sports award ceremony and a retirement party for the outgoing elementary school principal and our wonderful superintendent.  Though I do have my evenings, I still don't have a vehicle since my son keeps using it to go to one of the gazillion graduation parties he's been invited to.  Next year he graduates and the spring craziness will ramp up a few levels.

Now that the spring stuff is almost over, we move on to the nutziness of summer.  I've got kids spending the week at friend's cabins, one is doing FFA camp, the Midwestern Rodeo is a must-do event on my family's agenda, though in my opinion, if you've seen one guy get thrown from a horse, you've seen them all.  Unfortunately, my husband and kids don't feel the same way.  But, in an  upside to that, my two out-of-state kids are both going to be home for the rodeo and I'll have all four of my babies under my roof at the same time in about a year and who knows when it'll happen again.  In honor of that, I've scheduled photo time with a real live photographer so we'll get those family pictures taken that I've been threatening to get taken for years now.

I like to think things will settle down eventually, and I'm sure it'll happen, just not in the near future.  Next year I'll have two kids in high school, which is not conducive to calm and quiet.  But, before I know it, all my babies will be out the door and it'll just be hubs and me.  Things will be quiet, probably too quiet, and I'll look back on these crazy days and smile.