Monday, May 28, 2012

Disneyland Vacation

 Last week we were SUPER happy to welcome my mom, brother, sister in law, and niece to California! For some reason, my pictures loaded in reverse order, so I guess I'll narrate backwards. ;)
Here is the cutest niece you ever did see! We ate at Rainforest Cafe in downtown Disney before heading home.

Cousins waiting for World of Color. 

My brother and his family at Disney Junior Live on Stage. It was a live show that included all of Rory's favorite tv shows.

Her favorite show is Jake and the Neverland Pirates, so she got a sword. :)

My girls meeting Tinkerbell and Terrance in Pixie Hollow.

Emma looks so grown up!

We did the Surf's Up with Mickey and Friends breakfast. What a easy way to ensure you meet your favorite characters! I love how she has a hold of Minnie's cheek!

 I took all three girls on the teacups, since no one else wanted to spin. Ha ha. I love the teacups!
The girls rode a few things for the first time, like Goofy's Fly School (CRAZY-deceiving ride in CA Adventure! lol), Haunted Mansion, and even Indiana Jones! I can't believe they rode Indiana Jones! They wanted to try the Matterhorn for the first time but it was closed. The Little Mermaid ride was open this time so we rode that twice.

It's a Small World. Nothing makes me happier than hearing my girls sing to the top of their lungs on this ride.  Total joy!

 We stayed at the Grand Californian hotel...WOW! It was amazing! These little chairs are right next to registration so that kids can watch old Mickey cartoons while their parents are checking in and out. Right when we pulled up, the cast member that came to get our luggage wrote us out two magical yellow tickets. Well, they were "magical" to us! They were each good for 6 people to go to the front of any line! Sa-weet! THEN he asked the girls if they like popcorn, and wrote us out a ticket for 6 free popcorns. Brandon joked that the popcorn ticket probably had a value of $78. Ha ha!

The hotel was completely wonderful! We had our own entrance into Downtown Disney and also directly into California Adventure. One of the pools has a really fun water slide that we couldn't get Emma off of. She was in heaven. My mom even treated us to a couples massage in the hotel spa. It was fabulous. I am so thankful for this time with my family, I can't believe it's already over, and they are already back in Ohio.

Avenue of the Flags

A couple of days ago I read in the newspaper that they were looking for volunteers to help set up a couple thousand flags in the cemetery. The old, shy me would have thought about it, but not called the phone number from the article unless someone was going with me. I thought about it for a day and decided, yes you want to do this, no you don't need someone to hold your hand. I am SO glad I went. Volunteers were to meet there at 6 am. That 5 am alarm wasn't so nice, but it was worth it. They tell you what to do and you pick a truck and follow it to it's starting point. The trucks are loaded down with hundreds of flags each, all marked with a name and number. The poles are already on the ground next to their holes. You get into teams of 3 or 4 and just start wiping down poles and hanging up flags. They tell you there is no rush, it is meant to be a somber experience. You are careful to not let the flags ever touch the ground. It is quite humbling to be in the presence of so many men with their uniforms, shirts, and hats that say "POW, Purple Heart, Silver Star, etc.". I had the pleasure of hanging flags with a man named Richard and his wife. He was in Vietnam, and he had lost family members in the Korean and Iraq wars. Seriously, what can you possibly say to these men and women? There are no words that can ever measure up to their sacrifice. Crawling out of bed early on a holiday and walking a couple of miles to hang flags is nothing.

I will be sure to go back next year. Way more meaningful than a BBQ, although we'll be doing that later as well. ;)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Press Release-Bravo Farms to Open New Restaurant in Downtown Visalia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                       May 10, 2012
Bravo Farms to Open New Restaurant in Downtown Visalia
An enticing new restaurant is currently under construction in downtown Visalia. Bravo Farms Smokehouse is coming soon and will feature artisan style barbeque, and the fresh quality that you would expect from their trusted name. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, and offer patio seating. The renovation is well underway at the former Wagon Wheel building, located in the heart of downtown Visalia, at 400 N. Willis St.
                “We are excited to bring Bravo Farms to Visalia, and we look forward to creating a modern spin on barbeque in the valley”, said owner Jonathan Van Ryn. Lunch will feature a dynamic offering of salads, wraps, soup, sandwiches, and bountifully fresh options. Dinner will boast a variety of barbeque offerings, including: tri-tip, steaks, ribs, seafood, and more.  The bar will offer an impressive selection of beer on-tap, showcasing many local beers, as well as an array of notable wines.  In classic California style, guests will have the option of being seated in the full-covered patio for their dining pleasure.
                The restaurant atmosphere is sure to please, with its’ clean, upscale twist on the vintage-rustic style. Upon entering, customers will be greeted by a beautifully decorated gift shoppe. In addition to playing an integral role in the menu, Bravo Farms world famous cheese will be available for purchase in the gift shoppe. The restaurant will have seating for hosting guests with large parties, and special events. Bravo Farms Smokehouse will be open seven days a week, with a tentative opening date set for August 1st. Families and foodies alike are sure to take notice of this valuable new addition to downtown Visalia.
Above is the official press release I wrote for Bravo Farms. It was just delivered to all of the local news in-boxes. NOW the really fun part... I get to tell you my OPINION. Press releases need to be written in a certain format and based on facts, but I'm excited to share what I'm looking forward to! I can't tell you how excited I am to have a place in town to go for fresh, delicious food! I never realized how big the old Wagon Wheel building is until today's tour. It was really dated when it was Wagon Wheel, but I can tell you from the drywall dust on my shoes, that everything is brand spankin' new and fresh. When it is done it will be unrecognizable. Lunch will be a healthy, fresh version of a fast lunch, just like the Tulare restaurant. I can't wait for the dinner menu! If the staff and service are anything like the Bravo Farms in Tulare, it will be fantastic! I've never met such pleasant and helpful people. I've said it once, and I'll say it forever...find a place to call your own and put down some roots. Get to know people at the place you love, make some friends. It will make your experience so much more personal and enjoyable. Cheers knew what they were talking about when they said, "sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name". Supporting local restaurants is good for everyone. You know I'll keep you in the loop and let you know when they are open for business, and include pictures when it's finished. Get your taste buds ready!
Click here to view all of my Bravo Farms posts, and see food pictures!