"There's no place like home. . . there's no place like home. . . there's no place like home." Home for The Belt Team is Vienna, Virginia. Please stop by frequently and share with us all the things about life in Vienna that make Vienna truly the best place to live.

Welcome to Vienna, Virginia

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Healthy Living in Vienna

On the morning of August 12, 2012, while reading the Washington Post, I saw a story featuring one of my neighbors, JoAnne Hammermaster.  Now, it isn’t always good to see your neighbor in the newspaper, especially in the Metro section, but this time it turned out to be a wonderful story highlighting an initiative to improve the nutritional quality of school lunches through an organization she helped found, Real Food For Kids (RFFK).  

Before the meat additive “pink slime” became the focus of the media, JoAnne and her partners at Real Food For Kids were working to educate Fairfax County parents about the ingredients in food served in school cafeterias.  For example, a hamburger patty served in Fairfax County schools contained 26 ingredients, and the pizza and the cheese quesadilla each had over 70. This Fall, the hamburger will be replaced with a 100% beef burger and Fairfax County Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) says overall there has been an 80% reduction in food additives in the past year.

RFFK is working to bring fresh foods, locally grown fruits and vegetables, to our children’s schools.  One way to do that is by offering salad bars. Last year, 8 Fairfax County schools offered salad bars.  This year it will be 10.  RFFK encourages schools to contact FNS to request one.  Additionally, Marshall High School in Falls Church is beginning work on a pilot program that will enable them to make most foods from scratch starting in Fall 2013.
To continue its success, RFFK needs community support.  Here’s what you can do: 
  • Sign the resolution for better school food through your PTA.
  • Ask Real Food For Kids to come to your school to tell parents about our initiative and support the resolution. Email contact@realfoodforkids.org to request a speaker at your next meeting.
  • Write to the school board. Let the school board know you believe this is an important issue. Go to the website fora sample letter (in English and Spanish). 
  • Get involved! Real Food For Kids would love your help. Email  contact@realfoodforkids.org if you would like to speak with someone about opportunities to get involved.
  • Stay updated on the progress. Sign up for their newsletter! Email newsletter@realfoodforkids.org
Another really fun opportunity coming up is the 2012 Food Day hosted by Real Food For Kids.  It will be October 23rd at 6:00 p.m. at Marshall High School.  The theme is “Raising the Bar:  Feeding Academic Success”.   Local and national experts in food preparation, food policy and medicine will join together in a fun and educational experience with healthy foods.  I’ve also heard a celebrity chef will be on hand.  It is a free event and open to anyone in the community.

Real Food For Kids began when a group of Vienna parents came together to work toward the goal of increasing healthy food choices in Fairfax County schools.  Vienna residents who are making a difference locally and nationally are another reason I love living in our town.
(This edition of TheresNoPlaceLikeVienna.com was contributed by Susan HusseySusan resides in Vienna where she, her husband and two young children all try to eat healthy. )

Monday, August 13, 2012

Vienna Author Publishes Her First Book

If you were driving down Beulah Road in Vienna anytime during the last two weeks of July, you might have noticed hundreds of young witches and wizards making an appearance in the muggle world.  If you know what muggles are, then you may just know why they were there.  (Or maybe you read our blog post last year called "Not Your Mother's Summer Camp!")

For the second year, Vienna’s Church of the Holy Comforter held its vacation bible school based on J.K. Rowling’s popular book series exploring the adventures of Harry Potter and friends.  While the book series is the inspiration, the curriculum of the program was born right here in Vienna.

Leslie Barnhart,  a parishioner at the church, developed the curriculum for the bible school and with permission from Warner Brothers, opened the doors to Vienna’s  version of Hogwarts Castle in the summer of 2011.   After the completion of that first session, Leslie was inspired to write a book on the topic.  The Christian’s Guide to Harry Potter was published in July.

In the book, Leslie first explores some of the overarching themes of the book series and then dives into each book to highlight Christian themes and symbolism.  While I admit to loving English lit class in high school and college, the experience of reading this book, along with J.K. Rowling’s series is fascinating to me.  Like so many others, I’ve enjoyed the plot of the Harry Potter series but find myself re-experiencing it at a much deeper level through Leslie’s book.

The Christian’s Guide to Harry Potter by Leslie Barnhart is currently available in paperback and Kindle versions through Amazon.com.  Look for it in bookstores in September.  If you want to gain new insights into this wonderful series, you must pick it up!
Leslie has added her name to Vienna’s growing list of must-read authors (including David Baldacci, Ian Caldwell & Richard Kirkland just to name a few).  And interesting residents like these are just another reason why WE LOVE LIVING IN VIENNA!

For more information - visit Leslie Barnhart's web site.

(This edition of TheresNoPlaceLikeVienna.com was contributed by Susan Hussey. Susan resides in Vienna with her husband and two young children; and she is a member of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church. )