What Makes Me Happy

by Katy on April 18, 2009 · 24 comments

The following is from a previously published column. Enjoy!



I am happy.

I am a happy person with a great life. And no, it’s not dependent on the price of gasoline.

Here’s what’s currently making me happy:

  1. I didn’t have to work today.
  2. Dinner tonight was healthy, cheap and well received, (pizza from scratch).
  3. I did most of the dishes, but no one cares if I finish up tomorrow.
  4. Both my kids had friends over after school today, and there was only minimal whining about no video games.
  5. My 12-year-old has been drawing more since I took away said video games.
  6. I have four great movies from the library right now, and three whole weeks to watch them. (Juno, Charlie Bartlett, Extras: Series Finale and Star Trek: Enterprise, the Second Season.)
  7. I gleaned a perfect Swiffer today from a neighbor’s garbage pile. I can use it with towel rags, which work perfectly.
  8. My husband just got his dream job, which he’s been working towards for eight years.
  9. The rock wall in my backyard is almost done.
  10. I was able to get all the rocks for free from craigslist.
  11. I picked up a check for $92 from the children’s consignment shop today, for clothes I had dropped off months ago and forgotten about.
  12. I can beat my book-smart older sister at online Scrabble. Sometimes.
  13. I played the word, “egads” today for 34 points. Egads is simply a terrific word.
  14. I can beat my ten-year-old at Sorry, and he doesn’t cry or pitch a fit.
  15. I got four beautiful zucchini from my friend Nadine, and have worked them into dinner two nights in a row.
  16. I went to The Dollar Tree store today for shampoo and conditioner, and nothing else snuck its way into my basket.
  17. The book my ten-year-old son wants read to him at night, is actually really good. (The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan.)
  18. I am reading a great, funny book from the library right now, and it can easily be enjoyed in short spurts. (The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World., by A.J. Jacobs.)
  19. My pants are kind of loose around the waist, (although it may simply be because they were line dried.)
  20. My mom lives in town and was able to drop by today for a cup of tea and a homemade muffin.
  21. I found a great second hand birthday present for my little sister at the consignment shop for only $2.
  22. The humidity from all the rain meant my 12-year-old’s thick, platinum blond hair was all wavy with curls at the bottom. Like when he was a toddler.
  23. My husband took the kids to a nighttime soccer game in the pouring rain. And let me stay home, warm and dry.
  24. When the news on NPR got to be too much today, there was great music playing on the other stations.
  25. Both my sons are still really snuggly.
  26. No one has found out yet where I hid the video game system. Although they may have found a few holiday gifts.
  27. We only produced half a grocery bag of garbage last week.
  28. Apparently having a swanky grocery store being built up the block will increase the value of our house “up to 17%,” according to an article in the newspaper.
  29. It’s flannel sheets weather, and I love my Garnet Hill flannel sheets. (Purchased pre-Compact.)
  30. I’m suddenly back in touch with almost everyone I went to college with, and we’re all much more bearable now. Pretty much.
  31. I have a job in the health sector, which is pretty much immune to economic roller coaster rides.
  32. My neighbors will stop to have a chat, even in the pouring rain.
  33. I have wonderful friends, who bring me garden surplus. And are always happy to stop in for a cup of tea, and maybe a scone.
  34. No one in my family gives a rat’s tuchus that all their clothing comes fromGoodwill.
  35. I have seat warmers in both my cars.
  36. I still have lettuce growing my my wheelbarrow.
  37. My couch is long enough to fully stretch out on. 
  38. My four-year-old $45 washing machine is still going strong. (Yeah, craigslist!)
  39. Both my kids eat a wide variety of foods, even if it’s just a no-thank-you-bite.
  40. The Japanese teacher we hosted a few years ago is pregnant with a boy. And she’s going to be an incredible mother.
  41. She once told me that Japanese mothers don’t kiss their kids as much as I do, (my kids are irresistible!) but she had decided it was something she would do.
  42. Wool socks.
  43. Having neighbors that admire my clothesline, instead of reporting me to a homeowner association.
  44. The friends, (Max and Julia) I’ve made through being part of The Compact. (Buy nothing new!)
  45. Being able to say I turned down an offer to be on the reality TV show Wife Swap.
  46. Knowing I have regular Non-Consumer Advocate readers in Tanzania, The Czech Republic, Canada, England, Scotland, Australia and France.
  47. Singing the Sisters song along with my Puppini Sisters CD. Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters!
  48. Being 40-years-old.
  49. Knowing, that by choosing to buy nothing new, I am not contributing to all the environmental mess that comes from unnecessary manufacturing.
  50. The health of my family and loved ones.
What makes you happy? Tell us your list in the comments section below.
Katy Wolk-Stanley
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

mari April 19, 2009 at 6:23 am

What makes me happy

1. To have a job in this economy- I am an RN too.
2. Being 40
3. Being a first time grandma in June-girl
4. My youngest went to prom last night
5.To own my house outright by the end of next year.
6. To having my car payed off this month
7.to see the lettuce and spinach growing the the garden.
8.To go on my first air plane ride this August
9.To work with very good people. Both supervisors and CNA’s
10.To having a comfortable bed with nice sheets ,blankets and pillows.
11.To having the whole bed to myself( I work nights and my husband works days)
12.To having my family near by ( within 10 miles)
13.to having this community yard sale, to see everyone.
14.for summer to come,so I can go swimming
15.for my bicycle,when I get the brakes fixed.
16.For my parents, whom loved me alot.
17.In my belief in God


Connie Walsh April 19, 2009 at 8:47 am

That even in this economy I can afford to give to the less fortunate.
That I read a blog from a very nice person in the States.
That my hubby and I laugh a lot…I mean a lot.
That everyone is on board for the coming loss of income and change in lifestyle.
That I can clean off my dining room table (office desk) in less than 13 minutes…I just choose not to!!


Angela April 19, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Ah! The simple pleasures! Great post. I love the one about your pants feeling loose around the waist. And having snuggly sons is reason enough to be happy. The number one thing that makes me happy is my super-snuggly husband.


Jen April 19, 2009 at 7:51 pm

ok, dying to know…how did you get asked to be on wife swap???


thenonconsumeradvocate April 19, 2009 at 10:06 pm


The “Wife Swap” opportunity was through being involved with The Compact.

Noooo thank you!

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


connie April 19, 2009 at 11:06 pm

1.That I have a hubby who is an incredible, “good man”.
2.That I can care for my sick and aged pets. We are blessed to provide them with tender loving care, and great veterinarians.
3.That the “best things in life” are not things.
4. The first cup of coffee in the morning.
5. Music to sing along with, when you know all the words.
6. Rhubarb that is growing leaps and bounds.
7. Yoga class from a great teacher.
8. That almost all of the Easter candy is no longer in this house. Too much chocolate!
9. That living simply is something we have always embraced.
10. My faith in and love of God.


lala2074 April 19, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Katy, congrats on the husbands dream job!

Things that made me happy on the weekend and today:

1.sleeping in my own bed after a weekend away

2.country cooked breakfast this morning

3. being part of the audience for a 10 min song and dance performance made up by my 5 yo daughter and her 2 cousins on the weekend away

4. finding a great book (Chocolat) in Goodwill this afternoon

5 . going out to a family celebration dinner at a lovely restaurant with my daughter (only child) and her 2 cousins, where my daughter introduced herself and her cousins to the waitress as “triplets”.

6. the smell of rain


Julia April 20, 2009 at 7:40 am

I went to the emergency room with chest pains etc. a few weeks ago. So scary. I actually drove myself there (stupid, I know) because I didn’t want my husband to have to wake up our son at 5:30 a.m. and say “we’re going to the hospital”. My kid would never have handled that. The ER is very close, I got there safely and immediately was swarmed by the nicest, most caring nurses and doctor. After 3 hours, they said they couldn’t figure it out, but had ruled out all the life-threatening stuff. (It must have been stress, it went away thankfully.) I must have had a funny look on my face, because the nurse asked if I was okay. I said, I’m just thinking about how much this all will cost!! Even with insurance, it will take a huge chunk of cash that we can ill-afford. But I don’t care, I’m alive. When I got home and kissed my sweet son and husband (my son had actually slept most of those 3 hours, I’m so glad we didn’t wake him up that morning), it just felt so good. Then I sat on the couch in the sun with the kitty and my snuggly boy and just reveled in gratitude and happiness.


Kate April 20, 2009 at 9:26 am

-Digging in my garden
-Feeling the warmth of sunshine
-Each of our amazing four seasons
-My morning cup of Joe
-Seeing my kids’ faces when I pick them up from school
-Inspiring others to consume less
-Being inspired by others to consume less
-Learning something new


Jeanine April 20, 2009 at 1:41 pm

-My Faith
-My Family
-My Friends
-The fact that I have a job…one with awesome freebies.
(why is everything starting with the letter “f”‘?)
-Learning new things.
-Picking berries in the sun.
-Folding clean laundry. Especially the towels.
-Hot Tea…..especially Black English Breakfast. With Milk. And Honey. And Vanilla. Ok…maybe this should have been higher on the list.
-Hot toast and butter.
-Anything. Harry. Potter.
-The fact that I’m 30..and I’ve had my job for 10 years come this August. In theory, I can retire, with a pension, at 45. The opertative phrase being….”in theory”.


Jocelyn April 20, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Re No.46 Add New Zealand too!
We do forget to take joy in the little things in our busy lives


Pennie April 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Downright lovely posts!

Contrats Katy on DH’s new position–good news is always a joy to read.

–Am an RN also. Have (and will always have) a job in that sector for as long as I desire (work very PT for “fun money” for travel, etc.)

–Thankful that many of my garden greens are finally up and soaking up the sun. My garden makes me sooooo happy!

–Thought little grandson would have MANY challenges after getting rather bad news from an in-utero ultrasound 3 years ago. Turns out he only had a bum leg, which has been remedied by a prosthesis from Shriner’s. He is perfectly normal and healthy otherwise, and runs and jumps around crazily, just like any other 3 year old. I love him so much, and am so thankful he is here.

–Am very thankful for my husband of 32 years. He is faithful, steady, eats anything that I cook and always says “thank you” for it, and he can repair literally anything. He is part mechanic, part welder, part painter, part electrician, part woodworker, part roofer, and ALL HEART.


jen b April 21, 2009 at 6:50 pm

Love your list! I just found your blog through The Frugal Girl. Question:
You PAY for shampoo and conditioner? 🙂
I ask in jest; I have been couponing for less than a year and have a closet shelf full of free shampoo, conditioner and stylers. Don’t you have a CVS or Walgreens nearby? LOL!


thenonconsumeradvocate April 21, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Jen B.,

Yes I pay for shampoo, which I buy at a dollar store. I spend approximately $10 per year for shampoo and conditioner.

I also scam the leftover shampoos that tenants leave at my mother’s rental guest cottages. (Although it’s better when they leave beer.)

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Julia April 22, 2009 at 6:51 am

Many years ago, a friend was a deckhand on a large sailboat that people chartered for parties. All the extra and leftover beer was his for the taking—he called it “bilge beer”. Man, getting free beer like that when we were poor college students was the best!


alunachic April 22, 2009 at 12:37 pm

I will be honest with you. Reading your lists of why you’re happy made me happy today. My journal work tomorrow will be to name 10 things that make me happy or I am happy about.

And Katy’s list is one of those things.

WONDERFUL warm post!


chaotic kitten April 23, 2009 at 3:48 am

I did the same on my blog, thanks for the great idea!


AJ in AZ April 26, 2009 at 9:04 am

One thing that makes me happy is having finally found you and others like you, and me. I’ve been living this way forever, and I’ve known it was right, but now I get daily validation. Thanks so much.


susan mbugua April 28, 2009 at 9:05 pm

RE: no 46 And in Kenya too. Love your blog, though some of it seems strange to us here. I do not even own a clothes dryer for example, I walk to work, bus to church and never turn on the hot water heater. We have an instant shower head and a small water heater in the kitchen. I am going to stop wasting food though, some people are going hungry here.


Madeline April 30, 2009 at 8:39 am

Awesome! Just reading your entry and all the comments is a spirit-lifter.I will keep this post to read over and over.My family is in frugal mode also.. I get lots of great ideas from your site!


Morgan Wright April 6, 2010 at 8:13 pm

1. Knowing that thanks to my frugality, I now have a savings account and a little extra to add to it each month.
2. Having the day off from work, waking up early, and having a cup of coffee leisurely with the paper.
3. When work goes nice and smooth…I am an RN.
4. Laughing uncontrollably (redundant, I know)
5. A nice breeze blowing through the house…I don’t have air conditioning.


Laura April 8, 2010 at 9:27 am

What makes me happy?
…when my kids get up and out to school without me having to nag them (or raise my voice).
…when I’m using my $10 off coupon at Safeway and the total of my groceries comes to $50 exactly (it’s only happened once)
…when I leave a meeting at work and everybody’s smiling
…when I come home and my dog can’t stop wagging her tail, and
…when I stop, breathe, look at my beautiful children and count my blessings.



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