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My mother-in-law managed to turn my spirits around today by cooking dinner for the family – she made vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie (a yummy combo of faux meat crumbles, veggies, and mashed potatoes) and steamed cabbage, peas, and gravy.  Any night that I am not in charge of dinner is a good night by my standards.  🙂


Oh, and I had two pieces of buttahed toast but I forgot to photograph!


Perhaps even more sweetly, she also planted over twenty beautiful peonies in my back garden.  They are all blooming so brightly and look so cheerful.  It was such a nice and thoughtful surprise. 


I think about all the hard work that she must’ve put into gardening while I was at work – driving to the store, weeding the flower bed, planting all those flowers, and re-mulching.  I’m so thankful!  She work definitely made my day with her gesture.


Her flowers were especially sweet because I had a killer headache this afternoon.  I was light-sensitive and nauseous, which is why I didn’t have an afternoon snack.  But… Flowers + coconut water chased away my headache, and now I feel fine!




Tonight, I found myself at Ben and Jerry’s in my pajamas.




For me and a friend:


Have you tried the Clusterfluff flavor?  It’s peanut butter ice cream with caramel cluster pieces, marshmallow swirls, and peanut bits.  Yeah.  Pretty awesomesauce.


We got our cones to-go and, after eating half, I put mine in a cup in the freezer.  I’ll go back for the rest in a hour or so.  I like to stretch it out! Otherwise, the deliciousness is over too quickly.


Yes… I’m pretty sure you aren’t technically suppose to put chia seeds or coffee in the fridge, but we do.  Not sure why.


Did anyone else receive a random act of kindness today?  Please share! We all need a little boost every now and then. 


Edited to add:  I know of another awesome random acts of kindness today! Sweet Tater Katie’s online blogger bake sale raised enough money to send her on her service trip to Nicaragua – over $1,000.  She leaves for the mission in another 10 days or so!  Thanks to everyone who bought items from the bake sale – especially Hanna for buying my granola bars. :) 



  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife March 4, 2011, 8:35 pm

    I love the idea of spreading out the deliciousness- thanks for the tip 🙂 A random act of kindness…..a girl in my BodyPUMP class came up to me after and told me it was the best fitness class she’s ever taken and that I motivated her to work harder. What a nice comment- it made my day!!

    • Caitlin March 5, 2011, 9:23 am

      That is sweet 🙂 I love it when people go out of their way to give a compliment.

  • Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) March 4, 2011, 8:37 pm

    This is so sweet! Didn’t you mother in law have an incredible garden at her place? Dinner looks perfect!

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks March 4, 2011, 8:39 pm

    I think you’re supposed to keep coffee in the fridge..keeps it fresher longer? I think…not sure. I don’t keep it there, but I know people who do!

    Never had Clusterfluff…but I finally had some Bonaroo Buzz…delicious!

  • amber March 4, 2011, 8:39 pm

    No RAK received today, but I try to give some every day. I complemented several people randomly. This wasn’t my best effort for RAK, but every little bit adds up. 🙂

  • Kira March 4, 2011, 8:39 pm

    That ice cream looks so good!


  • Kelly March 4, 2011, 8:40 pm

    Ah I’m so jealous!!!!! I’m in Cape Cod this weekend and the Ben and Jerrys down here closed for the winter- why is it not considered spring yet? I need my ice cream 🙂

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul March 4, 2011, 8:52 pm

    we definitely need more love and kindness in this world! 😛 so glad you got to experience that today~It’s always encouraging to see someone do it, and it’s encouraging for me to do it as well.

  • VeggieGirl March 4, 2011, 8:57 pm

    BEN & JERRY’S!!! The best 🙂

  • abby March 4, 2011, 8:57 pm

    I just loove peonies!! Lucky girl!

  • Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles March 4, 2011, 8:59 pm

    I have that same bag of chia seeds, and it says on the bag that they should be stored in the fridge! 🙂

    Enjoy your night, Caitlin!

  • Val @ Balancing Val March 4, 2011, 9:00 pm

    I can totally relate to putting half your dessert away.

    It gives you something to look forward to and makes it 2x the fun!!

  • Charlie March 4, 2011, 9:01 pm

    1. I’m jealous of your shepherd’s pie.
    2. I need to try Clusterfluff flavor. Sounds soooo yummy :).

  • Zo March 4, 2011, 9:04 pm

    I thought the shepherd’s pie looked awesome (those potatoes look amazing….) and then I saw the clusterfluff. Wow. Definitely one of the best sounding flavors ever.

  • G March 4, 2011, 9:06 pm

    Clusterfluff flavor ice cream sounds like the most amazing thing in the world……. drooooooooooool….

  • Brittany March 4, 2011, 9:07 pm

    Someone donated a hug amount yesterday to help me get to Fitbloggin! What a wonderful act of Kindess!

  • hippierunner March 4, 2011, 9:13 pm

    I think Chia seeds do go in the freezer, that’s where mine are! And nooooo- you made the ice cream sound so good (has all my fave things)! Now I won’t be happy til I get some after class tomorrow! 🙂

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) March 4, 2011, 9:13 pm

    Yeah, I also thought it was weird that you have chia in your freezer, but I’m sure it helps keep it fresh!

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans March 4, 2011, 9:15 pm

    I love random acts of kindness, especially when I am on the giving end. It makes my day to make someone else’s day.

  • betty@runbetty March 4, 2011, 9:15 pm

    OMG – yes, the Clusterfluff flavor is THE best! So peanut-buttery and delicious!

  • Mary @ stylefyles March 4, 2011, 9:24 pm

    haha oh my gosh. I was going to comment on how amazing that shepherd’s pie looked…until I scrolled down and saw the ice cream. suddenly, that’s all I had eyes for. seriously, I’m like a child.

  • Katie (Sweet Tater) March 4, 2011, 9:28 pm

    hahaha, clusterfluff…

    thank you so much for your bake sale donation, caitlin!

  • Jo @ Jo In the Kitchen March 4, 2011, 9:30 pm

    What a sweetheart!! I wish I had a garden full of peonies 🙂

  • Baking 'n' Books March 4, 2011, 9:38 pm

    Holy Ice Cream Stacks. I want Coldstone’s. Good thing I have a freezer…

    That is so sweet of YOU to recognize her working hard! Especially when you were as well at the office!

    Hmm…well, I left some candies for my assistant…and I donated a couple of bucks to a charity when I was at the grocery store (they always ask at the cash) – which is HARD for me – because I’m trying to save every dollar :0

  • Caitlin @ TPL March 4, 2011, 9:40 pm

    Today when I was moving to my new room a very nice womyn came and helped me push the super loaded cart I had across campus. She turned out to be a counselor at the health center. I’d been considering making an appointment and she said I could request her if I wanted… I’m considering it a sign! Have an amazing weekend!

  • Lana March 4, 2011, 9:48 pm

    I once read that putting nuts and seeds in the freezer/refrigerator keeps the oils fresh. Ever since then, I’ve kept al mine in the fridge too.

    I’ve never seen coffee in the fridge, but It makes sense!

  • Kristen March 4, 2011, 9:49 pm

    Mmmm….Ben and Jerry’s.

    Loving your obsession with the word “awesomesauce” lately 🙂

  • Teresa (Teresa Tastes & Travels) March 4, 2011, 9:57 pm

    No Ben & Jerry’s for MILES around here. Clusterfluff sounds like heaven.

    I sometimes have a really hard time at work gathering enough quality content for various marketing pieces. Someone in another unit came across a really awesome story and sent it my way. It was so sweet of her. Totally made my day. 🙂

  • Elanor March 4, 2011, 9:59 pm

    That shepherd’s pie sounds great!

    Ugh I hate to be a killjoy, but marshmallow isn’t vegetarian. =( (Definitely didn’t know that for a while after I went vegetarian myself, which is why I mention it.)

    • stephanie c March 5, 2011, 5:24 am

      Just wanted to chime in here…are you thinking marshmallows aren’t vegan? Vegans are more strict and don’t eat any animal products..such as honey eggs or marshmallows.
      As a vegetarian, I still eat dairy, eggs, honey and marshmallows.

      • Caitlin March 5, 2011, 8:58 am

        Marshmellows have gelatin in them, which technically makes them un-vegetarian.

        I however don’t want a life without marshmellows and allow them to fall into my ‘grey’ area. I think each person has to decide for themselves.

        • Ali @ Around the VeggieTable March 5, 2011, 10:01 am

          I was wondering about this too. I eat Dandies because I don’t want the gelatin BUT lucky girl, I checked and Ben and Jerry’s uses “marshmallow syrup” in the Cluster Fluff which does NOT contain gelatin. So we’re in the clear 🙂

    • emily March 5, 2011, 9:41 am

      Actually, what’s used in ice-cream (if you’re talking about flavors with marshmellow squirls instead of chunks) is marshmellow fluff; and that IS vegan!

      By the way Caitlin, there’s a brand of vegan marshmellows – Dandies – that my husband and I eat because we actually think they are better than regular ones!

      • emily March 5, 2011, 9:42 am

        Clearly I’m obsessed with these, but I Googled and in SC Dandies are sold in EarthFare and Whole Foods.

  • Allison @ Happy Tales March 4, 2011, 10:03 pm

    Aw, that is so thoughtful of your MIL! Glad your headache has passed… I know how ugly they can be! Ack. OH, and your ben and jerry’s looks sooo good!

  • Mary March 4, 2011, 10:14 pm

    I know my bf keeps coffee in the freezer… and flour too. supposedly it’s supposed to stay fresher longer or something like that. I don’t know I just keep mine in the cupboard 🙂

    What a sweet gesture of your MIL. I bet the flowers are beautiful.

  • Jillian@ Reshape Your Life March 4, 2011, 10:15 pm

    That was so sweet of your mil! I need a garden fairy…

    I don’t know about frozen chia seeds, but I think flour, coffee and grains are supposed to stay better in the fridge.

  • Jessica @ Dishin' About Nutrition March 4, 2011, 10:15 pm

    omg I haven’t had shepherds pie in so long!

  • greenbean March 4, 2011, 10:23 pm

    ha! just figured out how i finally got my headache to go away last sunday. it all went away after i drank some coconut water. sweet!

    • Caitlin March 5, 2011, 9:34 am

      coconut water is truly the bomb.

  • Lindsay Ann March 4, 2011, 10:33 pm

    My friend Megan randomly sent my the cookbook, Super Natural Cooking. I have no idea how she knew I’d been wanting it! I guess she just knows me well. It totally made my day!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) March 4, 2011, 10:36 pm

    I’ve tried to do that with ice cream- I sit down and then get back up, take it out of the freezer and devour it. So much for making it last 🙂

  • Kiran March 4, 2011, 10:41 pm

    Ive got to try taking coconut water for headaches 🙂

  • monicanelsonfitness March 4, 2011, 10:45 pm

    what a great dinner…looks so good.

    Random act of kindness today…yes, I helped a lady at the grocery store get her bags. 🙂

  • Wendy March 4, 2011, 10:48 pm

    Peonies are one of my favorite flowers!

    I haven’t received a random act of kindness myself, but one of my fellow HS teachers had a really bad week, and one of her students sent her flowers!

    • Caitlin March 5, 2011, 9:34 am

      That so sweet for a student to send a teacher flowers

  • Emma March 4, 2011, 11:06 pm

    A random lady on the ferry ride home from my first race gave my all sorts of praise for doing it! It was so sweet!
    also I did the same thing with my ice cream today! i put half in the freezer and went back at it an hour later 🙂 it’s like having two servings!

    • Caitlin March 5, 2011, 3:00 pm

      Congrats on your first race 🙂 : )

  • Lisa March 4, 2011, 11:14 pm

    That is so sweet! Does she want to plant flowers for me too? 🙂

    I had a random act too. I got home from work and the swimming pool to find: a lovely dinner cooked by my boyfriend, candles lit…new lights for my lightbox AND brand new hiking boots!!!! Aw!!!! Boyfriend did good!

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 4, 2011, 11:37 pm

    Holy Mother of Charlie Foxtrot I have NOT tried the Clusterfluff. But I know where I’ll be tomorrow…

    Random act: the lady a WHole Paycheck gave me a massive free scoop of ginger gelato tonight. 🙂

    Oh! Putting coffee in the freezer makes it last longer. It can go bad on the counter if you don’t use it fast enough.

  • christine March 4, 2011, 11:46 pm

    The PTA did an awesome luncheon for teachers today. It wasn’t random because we knew, but still so nice. The older I get the more I prefer kindness to “stuff.”

  • kristen March 5, 2011, 2:05 am

    Im so sorry to hear about your headache, but that was really nice of your mother in law! dinner and flowers! That was extremely generous.
    Ice cream + PJs= perfect night (in my opinion haha)
    And that ice cream flavor had my mouth watering- sounds delicious!
    (I heard) that putting coffee in the freezer is ok.

    ok long post. haha Im out!

  • Nikki M March 5, 2011, 6:05 am

    You’re too cute! Love the bangs and new cut! Looks great on you, very mature 🙂
    We keep our coffee and chia seeds in the fridge as well. My mom always told me that coffee will stay fresh longer in the fridge. I used to read Green & Crunchy and she always kept her chia seeds in the freezer, but always said to keep them in the fridge at least so they would stay fresh. Now we keep all of our coffee (love coffee) and nuts/seeds in the fridge 🙂

  • Lauren March 5, 2011, 7:45 am

    That does sound pretty awesome!! I keep coffee in the freezer. I think you are actually supposed to so it stays fresher longer.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey March 5, 2011, 8:05 am

    Clusterfluff reminds me of Clusterf**k when in one of Dane Cook’s bits. Sorry, but I had to say it! 🙂

  • Jessica M March 5, 2011, 8:15 am

    That headache and nauseous thing happened to me the other day! I didn’t know what was going on!

  • Allison @ OneWhiteTulip March 5, 2011, 8:24 am

    Another coffee in the freezer person here! We always buy the Starbucks coffee at Costco and keep it in the freezer to stay fresh, since there’s so much of it. I’ll take some out and put it in a little jar on the counter for quick access (my freezer is too crazy to rummage in before I’ve had morning coffee!)

    Haha, my mother in law did the same thing when she stayed with me! I left and came home and she’d planted tomatoes. Yay for nice MIL’s!

  • Katy March 5, 2011, 8:30 am

    A serious question — that is NO way meant to be judgy…

    But do you eat marshmallows? As a vegetarian, I tend to avoid it because most marshmallow has gelatin in it. Fluff does not.

    I’m really trying to get your thoughts, because in general — I’m pretty lax about that stuff. If I find out that the dressing I just ate had anchovies, I shrug and smile. Find out later that the amazing custard had gelatin…oh well!

    But I’m always curious to learn about other vegetarians’ eating habits.

    Love you and I wish you were back here in the 80 degree weather so we could eat ice cream together!

    Oh, and I keep nuts, flax seed, coffee, bread and chia seeds in the freezer. 🙂

    • Caitlin March 5, 2011, 9:35 am

      Yeah I eat marshmellows. I don’t get too hot and bothered about gelatin.

  • Ashley March 5, 2011, 8:33 am

    Your mother in law is so sweet! I keep my chia seeds in the fridge too! A girl in my group offered to right up our paper for us, and I was upgraded to a large coffee for free. Those were my acts of kindness for the day.

  • Michelle March 5, 2011, 8:41 am

    Last night we had a scare with my 2 year old son and had to call the ambulance. Knowing that my husband is out of town, my neighbors came over and demanded to know if we were ok, and then volunteered to drive my car to the hospital so I could ride in the ambulance with him. We are home now and my son is better. I am thankful for that very, very random act of kindness shown by my neighbors.

    • Caitlin March 5, 2011, 9:35 am

      OMG I am so sorry about your son! I hope he’s OK

      • Michelle March 5, 2011, 1:41 pm

        He had a febrile seizure, and he’s ok. Very scary for Mommy! Thanks for your kind words!

  • kathleen March 5, 2011, 8:58 am

    that was so nice of her to plant flowers. aw.

  • Katie March 5, 2011, 9:37 am

    That is sooo nice. I did an act of kindness. My new boss/friend has been working 14 hour days since our new Yoforia opened Tuesday and I couldn’t help him out shift wise yesterday b/c of overtime. I surprised him by bringing him lunch from his favorite restaurant. Doing something good for someone else makes you feel good too!

    As far as freezer things go I always thought that you were supposed to keep your coffee in your freezer???

  • Emilie March 5, 2011, 9:43 am

    I’ve always kept coffee in the freezer although now that I think about it, I’m not sure why!

  • Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner March 5, 2011, 10:42 am

    Ohmygoodesss, that ice cream looks divine!


  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss March 5, 2011, 10:48 am

    B&J in PJs is sounds perfect, I love late night treat runs like that. 😉

  • Sarah March 5, 2011, 10:53 am

    that is so awesome! I have always wanted to plant peonies! I might try to talk hubby into it at our new house this year.

    We actually had a really cool RAK. It snowed like crazy last week at our house. We have a snowblower, and many of our neighbors do not. It was my day off, so my hubby and I decided to help our neighbors out by clearing all their driveways. We noticed that down the street a woman came home and couldn’t even pull in her driveway b/c of the snow. She hauled her baby in the house and then came back out with just a shovel and a peacoat and was trying to clear a path. We both went down and helped her out and within 10 min she had a clear driveway.

    Anyway…yesterday, she sent us a really sweet card with a gift certificate to starbucks, which was totally unexpected and super kind. We didn’t do it for any reason other than to help her out because we didnt want her to leave her baby in the cold while she tried to shovel.

    • Caitlin March 5, 2011, 11:20 am

      sweeeetest thing ever.

    • Michelle March 5, 2011, 1:43 pm

      Someone did that for me when I was pregnant (and hubby was overseas) and it was such a relief. I’m sure she loved it!

  • Caroline March 5, 2011, 11:18 am

    Yesterday was a rough morning at work – nothing serious, just that technology and I were not friends and it took 4 hours to get 1 hour of work done. My cube mate knew I was frustrated so he went and picked up lunch for me. That meal turned my day around!

  • Amber K March 5, 2011, 11:55 am

    I love stretching out treats too. We put almost everything in our fridge or freezer. Fruit especially – it must be cold! So nothing like that tends to surprise me.

  • Natalia - a side of simple March 5, 2011, 12:06 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever been out to ice-cream after dinner in “real” clothes. I always like to go in my pj’s. Keeping it classy! (Plus, the elastic gives you more room) 😉 Mission for this weekend: try Clusterfluff!

  • Sarah (Running To Slow Things Down) March 5, 2011, 12:07 pm

    That is such a sweet gesture! And peonies are my favorite flower. They smell amazing in full bloom. 😀

    I’m pretty sure I need to make a pj run to Ben & Jerry’s sometime soon. It reminds me of college. 😀

  • CarrieBeth March 5, 2011, 12:29 pm

    what a precious mother-in-law 🙂 yes! i received a random act of kindness today. my husband picked some daffodils (i grew up calling them buttercups) and had them in a vase when i got home from work! i sure do love him!

  • peony March 5, 2011, 6:09 pm

    im so lucky that my mum named me peony 😀 x

  • LauraJayne March 6, 2011, 6:52 pm

    We actually freeze our coffee if it is pre-ground – I think I remember hearing somewhere that it keeps longer? It could be in my head, but if we both do it, maybe there is something to it?

    Random acts of kindness make my day – that is why I like Operation Beautiful so much, because I feel like things like that can make someone’s day – and we never know how much someone needs it!

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