My mom wanted to get me a “super special and amazing gift” for my 30th birthday.  Side note:  Now that I’ve pushed a baby out of my body, I feel like I should send my mother a gift on my birthday, not the other way around.  But I digress.  She wanted to get me a nice present. I thought and thought and thought and could not think of any material things that I wanted.  And then – it hit me.   I wanted a gift certificate for a maid service!


Oh man.  Now THAT is an awesome birthday gift.  To have someone else (well, two people) come to your home and make it sparkly and shining. I don’t want to touch a single surface and ruin the perfection.  This gift was a doubly awesome gift because it meant that I felt compelled to not do any cleaning at all the four days prior to the cleaning.  You know, so the difference would be very apparent.  Hah. 


Good thing I already did some cooking today – I am  not messing up my kitchen anytime soon!



I’m going to tweak this recipe a bit more before sharing it with you – I think it could be better.  If you’ve got to smother something in mustard to make it delicious, something is wrong with the recipe.  I was aiming for black bean gluten free falafels.  It’s close – but not quite there yet. 


The batter included oatmeal, sunflower seeds, black beans, nutritional yeast, salsa, coconut oil, and spices.  It was good enough to eat – just not good enough to share!


I also made Chocolate Covered Kate’s No Bake Coconut Crack Bars, which were SUPER easy.  When I made her recipe, I ended up using about twice or three times as much coconut.  She had hers listed by weight and measurement, so maybe my cup scoop just wasn’t packed enough.  I just eyeballed it until it was the right consistency. 


If you love coconut, you’ll like these bars.  They are really addictive!


Awesome Things on the Internet


Unlock the Open Water Swim: 5 Keys to Success

tremblant swim

10 Painful Rejection Letters to Famous People Proving You Should NEVER Give Up On Your Dreams


A Kid Gets Lost on a Field Trip: Then and Now


Treadmill HIIT Workout by Julie of Peanut Butter Fingers


Carly’s Bat Mitzvah Project: Operation Beautiful


What’s the best birthday present you’ve received?



  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine April 30, 2014, 3:38 pm

    This is weird but the best birthday gift I received was my barbell a few years ago!

  • Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} April 30, 2014, 3:51 pm

    That is an awesome gift! I would have to say my first pair of running shoes! 🙂

  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs April 30, 2014, 4:20 pm

    Maid service — what an AMAZING birthday gift! Such a treat! 🙂

  • Amanda April 30, 2014, 4:24 pm

    I was in between asking for a maid service and a gift card for a bunch of mani/pedis for my birthday because both are things I would love, but don’t want to pay for. I went for the nails and I’m loving it so far!!

  • Lyndsey April 30, 2014, 4:38 pm

    yes yes yes! I bought my husband and I a maid service for Christmas. Best, investment, EVER! I’m now on the hunt for a regular affordable one to come bi-weekly. Man would that save me such a headache, I hate cleaning!

  • Elizabeth April 30, 2014, 4:54 pm

    That’s what my parents got me last year and it was AMAZING. I’m pretty sure it’s the only thing I’m ever asking for again.

  • Betsy April 30, 2014, 5:08 pm

    That is such a great idea! Now I know what I’m asking for on my birthday!

  • Nancy April 30, 2014, 5:17 pm

    I’m not sure what my best birthday gift was, but I can imagine a maid cleaning service being up there if I had it.

    I think this year will be pretty special, my birthday is next week and all I want to do is just spend it at the beach, with my husband, eating an icecream cone.

  • Shelly April 30, 2014, 5:29 pm

    I loved the link about a kid getting lost on a field trip! Wow, that one really made me think. I think a whole series of posts could be written on that subject!

    • Caitlin April 30, 2014, 9:12 pm

      You should read that blog. It’s incredible!

  • Stacy April 30, 2014, 5:34 pm

    We have a maid service come every other week: best 120 dollars we spend all month!

  • Anne April 30, 2014, 5:41 pm

    It wasnt your scoop, chocolate covered katies recipes never seem to work, and I actually dont find too many that taste good.

    What a great gifT! One year, my mom knew I was stressed at work and actually came and cleaned my apartment top to bottom as a surprise. She is an amazing cleaner, i didnt want to touch anything for weeks!

  • sararm April 30, 2014, 5:57 pm

    I received the exact same thing for my birthday Sunday, a clean house. It was glorious!

  • jonelle April 30, 2014, 6:54 pm

    Love it! That was part of my birthday from the husband. He asked me what I wanted and I said there’s a group on for housecleaning. He thought I was kidding. Best gift ever :-). They came yesterday and I’m still in awe. Happy birthday!

  • Sandy April 30, 2014, 9:45 pm

    I have a friend who sent his mother flowers every year on HIS birthday. I thought it was the sweetest thing ever.

  • Kathy April 30, 2014, 10:52 pm

    Best present, hands down was my cat…he was my shadow for 14 years and pure love!

  • Abby April 30, 2014, 11:42 pm

    Best gift! We are using a cleaning servic this year, once a month. I find myself cleaning more often just to keep it looking that way. And I declutter a lot more too, it’s a great feeling!

  • Runner Girl Eats May 1, 2014, 6:06 am

    I agree, that’s the best gift ever. I love birthday gifts that are thoughtful and unique.

  • Stacey May 1, 2014, 8:09 am

    Well done, Carly, well done!

    Caitlin, I’m sure that makes your heart smile!

  • Rebecca May 1, 2014, 10:32 am

    My friend this year had her golden birthday, and her parents bought her a puppy! (She’s 25, but still!)
    Best birthday present I’ve ever gotten? Hmmmm… Probably the Harry Potter DVD set this year. 🙂

    Pretty sure the answer to that side note on giving your mom something is “Mother’s Day.” 😉

  • Aerevyn May 1, 2014, 10:40 am

    Best birthday gift ever:

    My boyfriend (later husband) told me that he would fan me from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep. And he did! All day! In the house, at the store, at the Renaissance Festival, during a last moonlight walk. Made me feel like a goddess. : )

  • Chrissy May 1, 2014, 11:27 am

    No chickpeas in the falafel? That may be why they don’t taste right.

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork May 1, 2014, 12:35 pm

    I haven’t even had a kid yet and I totally feel like I should be getting my parents gifts on my birthday! Without them, I wouldn’t be having a birthday!
    Yes, maid service would be great, and I’m sure it’s even more amazing when you’re a mom. And I totally advocate not cleaning before they come. I know people that clean up for their maid and I ask them what the heck the point is. They say they don’t want the maid to think they’re messy. 😉

  • heather May 1, 2014, 2:07 pm

    My best birthday present ever, was getting a positive pregnancy test for my 2nd daughter. It was really cool. We had been trying for quite a long time and to see the two lines first thing on my birthday was something I will never forget. 🙂

    • Caitlin May 1, 2014, 3:19 pm

      Congrats 🙂

  • Chocolate-Covered Katie May 1, 2014, 6:35 pm

    Aw happy birthday Caitlin, and thank you so much for making the coconut bars! I hope your birthday was wonderful and relaxing and that you are still enjoying the nice clean house. 🙂

  • Laura @ RunningJunkie May 1, 2014, 8:53 pm

    Oh my gosh, maid service would be GREAT. This past Monday was my birthday so I’m spoiling myself this weekend. Massage, hair cut, mani/pedi, facial. I cannot wait. I’ve never done this.

  • MomHTP May 2, 2014, 9:35 am

    I enjoyed Carly’s project video which was engaging as well as inspiring. Her use of the power of of Love was a creative idea for her Bat Matzvah Project and, of course, Operation Beautiful a perfect choice. Love can even trump money in helping some people through emotionally difficult times. Operation Beautiful is simple but effective,

  • jen May 2, 2014, 4:32 pm

    my engagement ring! one month ago!

  • Kath May 2, 2014, 8:31 pm

    That is an awesome idea for a gift!!

Healthy Tipping Point