Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Brought School Lunch Bill, First Lady Says

During a visit to Children’s National Medical Center, First Lady talks her fave Christmas gift, cookies for breakfast, gifts for the President & Bo...
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act "was my big Christmas wish," First Lady Michelle Obama told a gang of child patients during a visit to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington on Monday. Mrs. Obama appealed to Santa Claus for the passage of the bill, she said, explaining that it's "an important law that helps make the school lunches more healthy."

"I was talking to Santa, 'Oh, please, Santa, please bring this,'” Mrs. Obama said. "And he did. So I got my gift early."

The President signed the bill into law hours before Mrs. Obama, joined by First Dog Bo--and Santa--met with the kids, their parents, and medical center staff to read the foodiest book of all time, 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, and discuss Obama Christmas Plans. A Q & A with the kids covered Presidential Gifts, what Chimney Santa uses at the White House, and Christmas foods. (Top: Santa, child nutrition bill advocate, escorts Mrs. Obama and Bo)

The XMAS Q & A
"What's your favorite thing to eat for breakfast on Christmas morning?" a child asked.

"Oh, wow, that's a good question," Mrs. Obama said, and before she could answer, the child, to much laughter, announced that "I usually eat Honey Nut Cheerios."

"Okay, we’re not going to do any advertisements," Mrs. Obama said. "But that is a healthy breakfast, it is."

Cue a Honey Nut Cheerios Summit.(Above: Mrs. Obama leads Bo so the kids can pet him)

"You should eat some cookies," one child offered, to lots of laughter.

"Some cookies?" Mrs. Obama said. "I don't usually eat cookies for breakfast. I try to eat a light breakfast, because Christmas dinner is big, right, and I want to save room for Santa. Santa -- yes, Santa probably doesn’t eat breakfast on Christmas because he’s had all those cookies."

Santa himself interjected. "Very full on cookies," Santa announced.

The kids urged the First Lady to reveal the President's Christmas gift.

"I’m not going to tell you because it’s going to be in the paper tomorrow, and then he’s going to read it, and then it won’t be a surprise," Mrs. Obama explained. "But first I have to see whether he’s been naughty or nice. I’ve been trying to figure that out."

Operating on the assumption that the President had, in fact, been nice, the kids offered suggestions: A Presidential bell for the roof of the White House, a new suit, a watch, a hot tub.

"Candy!" One child chimed in.

"Candy?" Mrs. Obama responded, to more laughter.

Presents for Bo: Chew toys and a ball?
The First Lady did reveal First Dog Bo's presents, because apparently Bo doesn't read the paper, or was too busy sniffing the kids' shoes to pay attention to the discussion. Daughters Malia and Sasha are responsible for Bo's gifts, Mrs. Obama revealed. (Bo listens as Mrs. Obama reads to the kids)

"They’re probably going to get him some toys, because he loses his toys. They’re everywhere. They’re all over the White House, in the South Lawn. I mean, the dog is a mess," Mrs. Obama said. "He just leaves his toys everywhere. And then he loses them and then he’s got nothing to play with. So we probably need to get him some more toys."

The kids suggested that Bo needs "a chewy," and a ball.

How does Santa get in the White House?
Santa will be coming down the chimney in the Yellow Room of the White House, Mrs. Obama advised the kids, when queried.

"Now, I’ve explained to Sasha that Santa will come down the chimney in the Yellow Oval Room because that's where the biggest tree in our house is," Mrs. Obama said. "So the expectation is that Santa will use that chimney."

One child urged Mrs. Obama to make sure the fire in the fireplace was out before Santa made his White House visit.

"We will see to it. Thank you for that reminder," Mrs. Obama said. "Santa appreciates it."

Mrs. Obama also revealed that while the Yellow Room is Santa's domain, the Christmas Tree in the Blue Room is actually her favorite among the 19 trees that are scattered around the White House. Art students decorated the 18 1/2 foot tall Douglas Fir grown by family farmers in Pennsylvania, Mrs. Obama said.
(The tree, above)

"So a lot of the ornaments are made out of fresh dried fruits, and there are newspapers that are folded in really interesting ways that look beautiful, and they’re spray-painted..." Mrs. Obama said. "So it’s my -- that's my favorite tree."

The Obamas will be spending Christmas in Hawaii again this year, Mrs. Obama said, and doing the same things they've done since Malia and Sasha were very little.

"Even though the kids are getting older, they still like to do the same things over and over again -- going to the zoo, going to get shaved ice, swimming in the ocean," Mrs. Obama said. "And we have a lot of friends and family with us...so there are a lot of kids in one house, and everybody is noisy, and it’s just fun."

Mrs. Obama walked Bo around for the kids to pet after she read 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, which she also read during the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. The First Family filmed Christmas In Washington, a fundraiser for the medical center, on Sunday. It airs on TNT on Friday.

Mrs. Obama reads the famous Christmas story:

Mrs. Obama visited the medical center last year, too. Bo barked at Santa last year, but this year he was very well behaved.

Related: The theme this year for the White House Holiday decorations is "Simple Gifts." More Photos are here. Watch a video of White House decorating volunteers in action. Click here for all the details on the 2010 White House Gingerbread House. The holiday recipe for White House Apple Cake with Maple Glaze is here; the recipe for Holiday Gingerbread Cookies is here. White House Apple Pie is here, Holiday Honey Cupcakes is here. White House Holiday Gulf Shrimp Cocktail is here.

*Photos by Getty/pool.