This winter has already been a busy one for Springfield and the surrounding area. Check out some of the new shops and happenings popping up around town.

Springfield Botanical Garden – 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield

Christmas lights are once again on display at the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden inside Springfield Botanical Garden. Each year, Gardens Aglow lights up the trees, bridges, and walkways with thousands of colorful Christmas lights, and this year, it’s a much-welcomed way to enjoy the holiday festivities while being socially distanced outdoors. The display lights up each night from November 27 through January 3 starting at 5 PM. Be sure to bundle up for this evening stroll, which stays open till 8:30 PM. Fridays through Sundays, but if you do find yourself needing to warm up, gather around one of the campfires or buy yourself a hot beverage. Admission to the display is $5 for adults and $2 for children ages three to twelve.

Country Girls Espresso – 3650 E. Sunshine St., Springfield

If you’ve ever driven down east Sunshine in Springfield, then you know just how many restaurants line this main thoroughfare. One of those eateries—Country Girl Espresso—was one of the smallest. The drive-thru coffee and lunch spot opened in 2013 and quickly got people’s attention with its hay bale seating in the parking lot and the hot Cuban sandwiches. Now Country Girls has ditched the hay bales and has set up shop in a bigger location. Well, kind of! It is in a bigger location, but it’s not much bigger. At the new location, owner Mike Stone will be able to seat sixteen once the interior remodel is finished. In the meantime, customers can continue to use the building’s drive-thru and walk-up window to order their Cubans, coffees, and hot sandwiches.

Downtown Ozark Nutrition – 103 S. Third St., Suite A, Ozark

The historic Ozark square welcomed a new tenant this fall when Downtown Ozark Nutrition opened shop at the end of October. Owner Ashley Bryan is at the helm of the store, which specializes in nutritional shakes and teas. Ashley says the shakes are especially great as a post-workout treat since they only have 150 to 250 calories but are loaded with 24 grams of protein. Each shake and tea starts with Herbalife Nutrition, a nutrient-packed powder that comes as a soy, whey, pea, or rice protein base. Even flavors like thin mint, brownie batter, and peanut butter waffle are sugar-free thanks to stevia flavoring. This is actually Ashley’s second health-focused shop. She opened her first shop in Nixa. “We decided to open a nutrition club in Ozark as well to give the community a healthier tea and shake option,” she says. She says Ozark is already full of fast food chains, so she wanted to open something healthier. The teas Ashley carries are also Herbalife and come in black or green teas. She says the teas are great when you need an energy boost.

All-Organic Baby Food Cookbook: First Time Parent’s Guide to nutritious foods for every age & stage

Four years ago, Leah Bodenbach started making her own organic baby food for her daughter and sharing the experience and recipes on her Instagram. Friends took notice and began asking for tips and meal plans, and then one day an editor reached out to Leah. Now, 125 of Leah’s recipes have been gathered into a new cookbook geared toward first-time parents. The book, published by Penguin Random House, was released November 17 and can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target and locally in Springfield at Culture Counter. While the book is written for new parents, Leah says only half of the recipes are for kids ages six to twelve months. The other half are for toddlers up to family meals. Recipes range from breakfasts, main dishes and dinners to sides and snacks. There’s even a recipe for a healthy smash cake for baby’s first birthday. Leah who was splitting her time working as a pediatric nurse in the ICU and at a birthing center in Springfield says the idea to start making her own baby food came about after seeing food used as medicine and seeing the impact of focusing on gut health. “My oldest had an egg allergy,” Leah says, “and I was able to reverse it by focusing on her gut health.” With her first book barely fresh from the presses, Leah is already hard at work on book No. 2. Nothing is official yet, but she hopes this new book will focus on natural medicine. You can follow Leah and her mothering and culinary journey at @bloomingmotherhood