It’s true! Someone- who’s probably since been fired- let ME poke around the rooms of The White House! I read the spines of the books on the shelves, stirred my coffee with a silver spoon, and sat just feet away from First Lady Michelle Obama as she spoke about one of our nation’s biggest problems: childhood obesity. I returned to LA giddy but informed, ready to report on the accomplishments of the Let’s Move initiatives and armed with tools to continue the work.
- The White House paint color is “Whisper White” by Duron.
- If you are single, move to DC. Secret Service men are really hot.
- Sadly, I didn’t get to sit down with the First Lady to discuss her arms. But there’s this video if you’d like to follow her regiment and get a set of your own. 😉
OK, now for everything else…
150 very lucky parenting bloggers attended this once-in-a-lifetime event. We heard from a panel of speakers from Let’s Move! Executive Director Deb Eschumeyer to new mom and President’s Council on Fitness Co-chair Dominique Dawes to several USDA directors in charge of policy. There were moments of obsessive selfie-taking, but plenty of time spent with the camera down experiencing what was happening.
(Hmm. What could I be crocheting?)
If you know me, you know I love visiting Other Peoples’ Places. I am so down with OPP. I have a very strong desire to know how the other half lives- what’s in their pantries, where they keep their shoes. I want to know how comfy their couches are, what kind of sound systems they have, how much toilet paper they keep on hand etc etc…
OK fine, call me nosey.
While we didn’t get to roam around the first family’s private quarters, we were able to walk around several rooms in the East Wing: the library, the china room, the Vermeil room… A pianist played in a reception area while we sipped our beverages and took pictures in front of the presidential seal outside the East Ballroom. It felt a little like when the teacher leaves the classroom for a minute and we take turns sitting in his desk imitating him.
So here’s the deal: America’s obesity problem is out of control. Childhood obesity has tripled in the past 3 decades. It’s even worse for black and hispanic kids- 40% are obese. Think about long term health expenses– trillions spent treating unhealthy adults.
The good news is that since Let’s Move began in 2009 more than 30 million kids are eating healthier school breakfasts and lunches. Two million kids have a Let’s Move salad bar in their school. 1.6 million kids are now attending healthier daycare centers where fruits and vegetables have replaced cookies and juice. The list of accomplishments goes on and on.
But they’re far from done. There was a great moment during the Q & A period when blogger Leah Segedie confronted the panel. She asked them what they’re doing to protect children from endocrine disrupting chemicals like BPA and pesticides which are on the fruits and vegetables that we want our kids to eat more of. These chemicals contribute to long list of health problems including obesity, cancers, diabetes, and lower IQ’s. Unfortunately, her question wasn’t answered, but she made it clear that we were not interested in simply giving the White House a PR event. We would hold them to having a true conversation with us.
My own daughter won’t touch school lunches ever since she saw the cafeteria lady put the plastic-covered dish of whatever into the microwave. At 8-years-old even she knows that there’s something wrong about mixing plastics with food at high heat… It’s on us, as parents to keep pushing the conversation.
After a short break (where I purchased some George and Martha Washington Christmas ornaments and decided NOT to pocket my silver spoon- you’re welcome fellow Taxpayers) we were given a tutorial by the White House Executive Chef on making mason jar salads. I’m glad I recorded a video because I couldn’t focus when it was happening due to the fact that I was fantasizing about having my own personal chef. The demo and recipe are here.
Finally, Mrs. Obama took the stage and we went wild! Meaning we stood up, adjusted our pearls and clapped in a lady-like way like you do in the White House.
The other Michelle shared her very personal story of how and why she started Let’s Move. Here’s her story. She admits change takes a lifetime, and when she leaves the white house, she will continue moving Let’s Move! forward.
Before she left she said something really inspirational and validating: “There is power in this room. There is power in individual voices. And I am so proud of this group.”
So then I yarnbombed a chair in her honor.
It’s just something I do.
The final activity of the day was touring the the Kitchen Garden. The First Lady plans on replanting any day now, since it’s Spring, but there was plenty of kale and lettuce to behold. They also keep bees and make their own honey at the White House! Here’s a video of the garden. I like to call this one, “They’re just like us! They have stacks of extra bricks by their shed!”
So here’s a super cool thing that could potentially get your kid into the White House before he or she becomes president: The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge invites kids ages 8-12, in collaboration with a parent or guardian, to create an original recipe that is healthy, affordable and delicious. One winner from each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia will win the opportunity to be flown to Washington, DC and attend the 2016 Kids’ State Dinner at the White House!! A selection of the winning recipes will be served. Kids will also get to meet and learn from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Rachael Ray. How cool is this opportunity!! Check out some of the winners from last year and see if you and your kids can come up with something new. Hurry! Deadline is April 4th!
Another cool thing I learned about was called Every Kid in a Park, the brainchild of the Let’s Move! Outside initiative. Every Kid in a Park allows fourth graders nationwide to go to www.everykidinapark.gov and obtain a pass for free entry to more than 2000 national parks for themselves and their families for an entire year. I love this so much. Connecting our nation’s youth to the great outdoors is so important, especially when we live in a time when computers and smartphones rule our lives.
To learn more about Let’s Move visit www.letsmove.gov 😉
After the White House event I grabbed lunch at Ebbit’s with some fellow bloggers, then changed into sweats and sneakers and ran around the monument loop. I think I fell in love with DC that day. ~M