Have you made New Year’s traditions?
My fiancee Spenser Gruis, and I have a few traditions we enjoy each New Year. For the past 5 years, we have spent New Year’s Eve with his parents, Scott and Cheryl Gruis. The Gruis family works hard at their family-owned towing company. When we actually get the chance to sit down all together for a nice meal, we want to take full advantage of it!
Photo by Seneca Epley Photography
I have heard so many great things about the West Fork Wharf ever since they opened in June (2014). Many of my friends and family have been but I kept missing out. Finally, a few of the North Iowa Bloggers decided to go there for supper after our recent wreath making class. Since I’ve never been here before, I was really looking forward to seeing all the awesome decor that I have heard about.
Pie’s & More is cute little restaurant in Mason City, IA. It’s hidden away in a little strip mall. This strip mall doesn’t get a ton of traffic so I think a lot of people forget about this place, but with food and service like they have, it should be top of the list for best comfort food in North Iowa.
Pie’s & More has become part of our family tradition the week of Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, everyone starts to roll into town around 10am, but since no one wants to make lunch we all meet up at Pie’s & More, which is located in the Willowbrook Mall. We have quite a large family so we try to get there around 11:30 to get one of the large tables saved for us. My favorite spot is sitting in the front window so I can people watch while waiting for everyone to arrive.
The absolute FIRST thing you HAVE to do upon arriving is to pick out the type of Pie you want. It sounds crazy to order and receive your dessert before you get your entree, but it’s an absolute must if you want the pie you want. Since pie is in their name, this is what people come for so it goes fast. They have something new and different every time I go, but my favorite are coconut cream, chocolate and Banana Cream. Other people in my family like Apple, Peach and Pecan.
Since this is going on my second year of living on my own, I am still if the process of starting and making my own traditions and I think I have found one that I want to keeping doing every year. I especially want to keep this going once I start to grow my family as it teaches patience, creativity and social skills.
Yesterday, a few of the North Iowa Bloggers decided to spend the morning shopping local in Mason City, Iowa. Mason City is what I would say is the central “hub” of North Iowa. It’s the town the has all the big box stores, but when we went shopping, we wanted to make it a point to only shop local as there are so many stores with such great things! We were sure to find something for everyone in our families.
Here are the stores that we stopped at and are a must during the holiday season.
Our first stop of the morning was at Soyphisticated Candles. To tell you the truth, I have lived next to Mason City my whole life and I never knew about this place! Sophisticated Candles is located on East State Street, right next to East Park. They have everything from candles to soaps, to sprays and oils.All of these products are made in Mason City with natural and renewable soy and essential oils. What I love about soy candles is that they burn cleanly, with very little to no black, sooty buildup.