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About Michelle Marine

Welcome to Simplify, Live, Love – written by Michelle Marine in Eastern Iowa. Simplify Live Love is a lifestyle resource for eco-conscious families who want to simplify their lives through eco-friendly living, modern homesteading, and sustainable travel.

michelle marine and family outside the big red barn (1)

If you want to live a more environmentally friendly life, eat local food (maybe even grown in your own self-sufficient backyard), turn your oasis into a modern homestead, or get out and travel more sustainably, this is the place for you!

I’m Michelle Marine – 

Entrepreneur, writer, photographer, wife, mom of four – living on a five acre hobby farm in Eastern Iowa.

I’m happy to help you navigate your journey to live a more sustainable life through eco-friendly living, modern homesteading, and sustainable travel. Being eco-friendly is something that has been ingrained in me since early childhood, starting with my family’s move to Germany when I was six years old.

My dad, mom, younger sister, and I lived in Germany for much of my childhood. We moved to the Heidelberg area from Mississippi when I was in the middle of first grade. And, we stayed there until we moved to Missouri when I started high school. During our years in Germany, I learned fluent German and became immersed in German culture and traditions.

5th grade class photo heidelberg germany

It’s fair to say that my sister and I were not pleased when our parents moved us to Missouri. They wanted us to both graduate from high school in the United States,and didn’t want to move us in the middle of high school. Moving to Missouri turned out to be an eye-opening experience. It probably goes without saying that Missouri is not at all like Germany. My eyes were opened by the throw-away society we moved to in the US, which was quite a lot different from how I was raised in Germany.

After high school, I earned a BA in German Language and Literature from the University of Missouri. Shortly thereafter, I married an Iowa farm boy who happened to be in the Air Force. I followed Dan around the world while he spent ten years in active duty. We lived in Okinawa, Japan for three years and spent many years in the Western US states of California, Arizona, and Colorado.

Several years into our marriage, I earned an MA in English, focusing on second language acquisition and linguistics from Arizona State University. Neither of my degrees are overly practical, but they did teach me to think critically and write well. I put my MA to use by teaching in-person and online community college English classes for ten years in Colorado and Missouri.

After traveling the world with the Air Force for ten years, Dan and I decided it was time to head to Iowa to raise farm kids. In 2006, our little family of four moved from suburban Colorado Springs to rural Eastern Iowa. Dan had been teaching at the Air Force Academy and we made the difficult decision to leave active duty military life and become self-employed.

We started a home building business, Oak Tree Homes, right before the housing market evaporated in 2008, and we had to be very creative to keep our family and company afloat for many years. Trying to maintain a healthy diet on very little income became a priority in those early years of self-employment.

passive house in snow

Eco-Friendly World View Learned from Living Overseas

Living all over the world has given me a unique perspective on life that I will always treasure. A few years ago while visiting the World War II Museum in New Orleans, it really hit me how much my life was shaped by the tragedy of World War II. If not for that horrific event, I would not have had the positive life experiences in both Germany and Japan that I hold so dear.

The twelve years I lived abroad also fueled my passion for greener living and international travel. Germany was so much ahead of the US in terms of environmental initiatives, even in the 1980s! And they surpass that dedication now, in the 2020s. We have a long ways to go to just catch up with their progressive ways from 40 years ago!

garden in early spring

Living on five acres in rural Iowa allows our family to act on our green living passions by growing a large garden that supplies a lot of our family’s food, living in one of the most energy efficient homes in the United States, raising bees, dogs, pigs, sheep, goats, and chickens – in addition to the four well-traveled farm kids we have today.

About Michelle Marine’s blog, Simplify Live Love –

Simplify Live Love was born in 2010 after baby number four was born. At first it was a way to chronicle our personal journey during tough times. Now it’s a resource for busy families who want to reduce their carbon footprint and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle but aren’t sure where to start.

When I started this blog in 2010, I wanted to share the ways we found to keep our family healthy with very little money. At, we encourage families to collect memories instead of things. Offering practical advice on sustainable living, farm-to-table recipes, gardening tutorials, and sustainable travel adventures, we hope you will cut through the BS of life and focus on what matters: your family, your sanity, and your health.

SimplifyLiveLive is also proud to help families navigate through hip dysplasia. By sharing our daughter’s struggle with developmental dysplasia of the hip, we have helped numerous families through rough times with practical advice, personal connections, and love.

In addition to publishing SimplifyLiveLove, I am also the Creative Content Director for our remodeling company, Oak Tree Homes. My ten years of teaching community college writing classes not only helped students hone grammar and writing skills, but it helped mine as well!

Published Author, Michelle Marine

I’m also a published author! My first book, How to Raise Chickens for Meat is now available at Tractor Supply and book sellers everywhere! Part memoir, part homesteading tutorial, and part cookbook, this lovely new book will help your family take the next step toward self-sufficiency!

Learn how easy it is to raise your own chickens for meat so you can put a full farm to table meal on your family dinner table. Or if raising chickens for meat isn’t for you, you can also learn how to cook an entire chicken to save money and live more sustainably.

simplify live love brand partnerships (1)

Brand Ambassador & Influencer

Simplify Live Love is proud to partner with brands that align with our environmentally friendly and healthy lifestyle goals. My goal is not to simply work with brands though. I want to be a true partner to show how your brand can help my audience solve problems.

Simplify Live Love’s audience enjoys personal stories and responds to posts that help make their lives more enjoyable, healthy, or fun. Please email me at [email protected] to discuss partnership opportunities!

Let’s Connect!

Send Michelle Marine an email at [email protected]!

Follow Michelle on instagram!

Connect with Michelle on facebook, twitter, and pinterest.


Sunday 24th of June 2012

Hi Michelle. My name is Ruth and I live in Australia. Home schooling parents of 3, we too, are trying to live simply, make food from scratch, run our own business and enjoy the journey of life. It's encouraging to find like-minded souls throughout the world. Hope your journey continues fully of blessings and joy! cheers, Ruth


Sunday 24th of June 2012

Hi Ruth! Thanks for your comment! It's always nice to hear from like-minded spirits! One of these days we're going to visit Australia. That's one place I've not been. :-) Blessings to you, too! Michelle


Wednesday 16th of May 2012

Hello! I found you via pinterest and I'm from Eastern Iowa as well, currently in DSM. We have been considering homeschooling and I am super excited to find your blog, follow you on pinterest/facebook and all that good stuff. :)


Thursday 17th of May 2012

Welcome, Cassandra! Thanks for commenting!


Tuesday 17th of April 2012

Stringtown is one of my favorite places in the area. The butter, the produce and the bulk baking supplies are reasonably priced and great quality.

Tracie Carrigan

Thursday 23rd of February 2012


I just wanted to invite you to my new giveaway link up for February. We just posted it today, so we'd love for you to join us. February link up will run through the rest of the month. A March link up will be posted this weekend.

I would also invite you to visit my contact page on and if you fill out the information, I"d be happy to do a blog review on your site and add you to my states list.

Mrs. Carrigan


Saturday 11th of February 2012

LOVE this post! I'm a word nerd by nature and in my main occupation, so I'm smiling right now. I'm not sure how I found your blog, but following your likes will provide enjoyable sidetracks for a long time as we have many interests in common.

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