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Well hello, friend!
We made it through March! Wait, is it even a big deal to make it through March? I know we don’t usually celebrate this, but I live in Iowa, and March is a month of… flirting. The weather could be warm but also cold. And the calendar shows that spring is here, but it often doesn’t feel like it. When I look back at years past, I’ve even planted my garden in March. While that sounds exciting, I’ve also learned a lot of hard lessons about early planting. This year, I spent March starting seeds and thinking about gardening without needing to work in it. This feeling of freedom is my new motto when it comes to the garden.
I’ve lived in my home since moving back to Iowa after college in 2010. In those 13 years, I’ve ripped out pretty much everything already in the ground and re-planted it all in my own style. It’s been quite a process. I dreamt up a new vegetable garden with raised beds and followed through on that dream. I planted new trees, and then more trees, and have now moved some of those same trees that I first planted.
Each year at this time, I’m usually anxiously making lists of all the spring things I want to make sure to do. I now realize that the garden will never be done. Planting trees is important so they have time to grow, but a garden is ever-evolving, and my ideas will grow along with it. Instead of worrying about doing it all, I’m taking it in stride and doing what feels right.
Okay, enough about the garden! Let’s talk about what happened this past month. As always, I hope you have something to drink; if not, this is a reminder to grab something warm (or cold). Personally, I’m drinking a shaken espresso while I dream of spring and April right around the corner.
Let’s talk about my vacation to Savannah, Georgia.
A few weeks ago, my mom, stepdad, sister, brother-in-law, two nieces, and nephew spent a week together in Savannah, Georgia! Last year, we all went to Disney World and enjoyed it so much that we thought this time of year was perfect for an annual family vacation. Once Christmas was over this year, my sister started the planning, and Savannah was at the top of the list!
After a week spent enjoying the city’s hospitality, I want to return as soon as possible! We stayed at an Airbnb a few blocks from Forsyth Park, a historic park with an iconic fountain. And since you’re always used to my weather reports, the temperatures during the week were between 60°F to 80°F. It was perfect sightseeing weather if you ask me!
Here are three of my favorite things about the trip:
Historic architecture. The historic district of Savannah has 22 town squares. During our stay, we walked everywhere, and every few blocks was a new square with houses, churches, and storefronts all around. We later learned that the architect planning the city wanted to mimic the squares found in London. It was quite an experience and made me long for something vibrantly similar in my own small town. My mom, sister, and I visited the Mercer-Williams House toward the end of our stay. The rose-colored brick house was initially constructed in 1860 and finished in 1868. It was later refurbished and owned by James (Jim) Williams, the central character of the novel “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt. If you ever have the chance, I highly recommend a historic home tour as a great way to see the architecture that once existed in any given city.
Guided tours. On our first day in the city, we hopped on a trolley tour. Since we knew nothing about the area, it was an ideal way to understand Savannah’s layout. The trolley pass lasts for the day, so we got on and off whenever a locale looked interesting to explore. With the success of the trolley tour, we all agreed a bike tour a few days later was a must! The time spent cycling was slow-paced and took us to many historically significant stops. A guide talked through each location, and while we couldn’t hear the bike tour guide as well as we could on the trolley tour, it was still terrific! One notable stop on our bike tour was a small church where the classic Christmas song “Jingle Bells” was written and performed for the first time.
Delicious food. Often, food is a trip highlight, and Savannah didn’t disappoint! We either had breakfast at the house or walked to brunch, then ate out every dinner. I’ll admit that we could have cooked more in the house, but trying new places was too much fun! Here were our favorites:
- Olde Pink House, which features local Lowcountry food, was highly suggested and it was delicious! However, be warned that you must make reservations well in advance.
- Collins Quarter features a fresh, modern spin on many types of food, including breakfast and brunch. It has two locations; we went to the Forsyth location.
- Bull Street Taco is a hip, young street-style eatery. Their main “thing” is tacos with a mix-and-match menu. My sister Kelsey, a Tex-Mex food fan, couldn’t get enough.
- St. Neo’s Brasserie has a great atmosphere with good cocktails (hello, margarita). The food is slightly upscale, with a unique take on traditional Southern options.
- Leopold’s Ice Cream was super yummy! You know I’m obsessed with ice cream, so I couldn’t miss out on this recommendation!
- The Paris Market was one of my favorites! It’s an inspiring retail store that has excellent coffee and delicious pastries!
- Java Burrito has such unique coffee drinks and cocktails. Plus, there’s a make-your-own burrito bar, and we all know there’s nothing wrong with that! After dining, we ran across the street to a local store, Capital Bee Co., and the owner is a Wyse Guide follower!
Let’s talk about food.
Easter is right around the corner, and that reminds me of all the delicious Easter dinners we spent at my grandma’s house growing up. In the coming week, I’ll post some new Easter recipes I love. But in the meantime, I want to highlight the recipes on my website that I make year after year.
If you’re looking for an Easter meal idea, try this combination: sweet and meaty ham balls, creamy scalloped potatoes, unique blood orange & wheat berry salad, classic deviled eggs, and lemon pie to finish it all off.
Even though we’re hurtling toward spring, I can’t shake my obsession with cool-weather food, mainly soup and roasted vegetables. I’ve been back on my chili kick, which I could honestly eat every day. Recently I made my squash and black bean chili and piled homemade guacamole on top. I love the cool refreshing avocado when consumed with the slight heat of the chili. And when I’m not making chili, I always try to find new ways to enjoy other genres of soup. Earlier in the month, I posted a roasted carrot soup that I love. The flavor is sweet with some warm spices, and I think you’ll love it too! I also made a batch of beef & barley soup that’s a true classic!
In case you missed any of the other recipes I posted this month, here they are:
Let’s talk about the garden.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m taking the garden slowly, so there’s only a small discussion about the garden in this newsletter. At the beginning of the month, I started some of my seeds, which included lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. And here, toward the end of the month, I started peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and a few herbs. As I write this, everything is sprouted and growing. I never know what the weather will do or when I’ll actually plant the seedlings in the garden, but I do know it will be in April. More on planting the seedlings in next month’s newsletter!
Let’s talk about Kip.
You’ll be happy to know that Kip is doing very well again, especially after he had a bit of a rough patch during the last month. The doctors have been monitoring his rising liver levels and watching them closely. At the beginning of March, we discontinued using an immune-suppressing medication entirely to see if the liver would improve. Changing up medications is a scary process because we’ve never known which one helped Kip regain his ability to walk. Thankfully Kip’s walking has not been significantly affected by the removal of the drug. Instead, he’s once again at his best: energetic and excited to eat (we recently switched to The Farmer’s Dog food, so that could have something to do with it). I’ll return to the University of Illinois again soon to have his liver numbers rechecked, and I’m hoping for the best! Fingers crossed, everyone!
I’m grateful whenever I go outside to work in the garden and bring Kip along. I’m blessed to have such a perfect friend by my side doing so well, from being paralyzed in May 2021 to running around today.
That’s all for this month of March. My renovation is chugging along, albeit slowly, so next month, I’ll likely have an update on what’s been happening on that front.
Until next month, have a great start to spring!
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