I’m Eliza Cross, and this is me cracking up as my daughter tries to take my picture in our back yard. (Full disclosure:  As an organic gardener and constant puller of weeds, I never actually blew those dandelion seeds around. Nosirree.)

Happy Simple Living is where you can explore ideas and discoveries about simplicity, home, family, good food, saving money, and sustainable living. This is also the home of the annual January Money Diet.

When I began consciously yearning for more simplicity, I spent some quiet time considering the qualities of daily living that, for me, are most important. Here’s the list I wrote:

Simple Living:  My Goals

  • To foster peace and laughter in our home
  • To live in a healthy, uncluttered environment
  • To eat good food, spend time outdoors and get exercise
  • To be debt free, and steward our finances wisely
  • To live lightly on the planet
  • To give back

My Time:  Top Priorities

  • Time to pray and meditate
  • Time with family and friends
  • Time to create
  • Time to do good work
  • Time to exercise and take care of myself
  • Time to do nothing

Your list may look very different from mine, but that’s the beauty of occasionally reviewing our priorities and considering how we ideally want to spend our time, energy and resources. Successful companies often have annual retreats for long-term planning; shouldn’t we also occasionally take stock of whether our daily lives match up with our values and dreams?

Since 2006, I’ve been blogging about our family’s journey to live simply and sustainably, with an emphasis on having fun along the way. I welcome your thoughts and ideas, and you can contact me at elizagcross(at)gmail(dot)com.

May your own quest to live simply and happily go abundantly well, and I hope you’ll stop by and visit often.

Eliza's signature for happy simple living

36 comments to About

  • James Hordos

    I am 65 and have some cognitive decline, so I found your article very interesting. I am willing to try anything that might reverse or even just slow it down. My wife has little patience for my forgetfulness and I seem to be able to get myself in hot water often.

  • Katie

    Blow those dandelion seeds! What is more fun then finding a bright yellow flower in the middle of the yard?! Don’t you remember the fun you had doing that as a kid? My kids love finding dandelions throughout our yard to pick. You just need to change your perspective just as you did with material things. And since they will bloom just about any time of the year they are often the only food for pollinators when nothing else is blooming.

  • Your recipe posts are brilliant. I’m a recent quinoa obsessive and totally love your quinoa fried rice and especially the oatmeal quinoa cherry cookies recipe (http://www.happysimpleliving.com/2015/05/27/chewy-oatmeal-cookies-get-a-boost-from-a-secret-healthy-ingredient/)! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Jem Mabalay

    Hello Eliza! I just sent a comment to your “a letter to my 17-year old self.” I hope it reaches you. I am a fan of sensible, successful yet grounded women like you. I sincerely hope I could start and focus on living simply with myself and my family.

  • Sue Coletta

    I’ve never read this before. You just get more amazing the longer I know you, Eliza.



  • Terry

    I am starting to look at living simpler and trying to be a bit more self sufficient in the city. Your blog looks like it might be what I can read to get inspired and educated. I also am very happy that you are Canadian. It’s not easy to follow advice from someone who lives in Australia. Thank you for taking the time to write your blog.

  • Janet Kelly

    Not a comment but a question. If I make yogurt with 2% milk, drain it by hanging in a muslin bag, and now have 2/3 of the original, the rest being the drained whey, what is the fat content of the resultant yogurt?

    maybe one of your readers can help with this if you don’t have the answer.

  • Vicki Mathis

    Sure glad I found your site. I finally found someone just like me. Thank you for all the blogs. Keep them coming.

  • Dear Eliza: What a wonderful feature in today’s POST. Congratulations on reinventing your career. This certainly is different from the days at CO Homes and Lifestyles and Mountain Living and those shopping trips to Santa Fe! yes- simpler is great. This is a wonderful blog. When does your broadcast show start! Nan

  • Bonnie

    “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

  • Joyce

    Looking forward “to live simply and happily”

  • Mark

    Came across this site via link from Miss-Thrifty (also an excellent site). Your goals and priorities resonate with me hugely. Attempting to live these values can be like fighting gravity sometimes, the daily pressure to “conform to the norm” is so strong. It would be a lonely experience without the wisdom and inspiration of fellow frugal lifer’s.

  • Absolutely fantastic blog. Top class practical advice. I am sure, Liza this blog has a great future ahead.

    Keep going.


  • Just found your site, and liking what I see, and I just wanted to let you know that those problematic dandelions are probably the most nutritious item in your yard or garden. Look up the nutritional value on them, we actually plant dandelions on purpose in our hydroponic towers to add to our fruit and vegetable juice. So as long as they don’t have lawn chemicals or animals spraying them the leaves are quite nutritious!

  • Fard Farhoudi

    Simple living in this materialistic world. How ever one should try to live within your means, not to be greedy, specially for materialistic matter. One should relax, meditate, always smile. Thank you once again.

  • So glad I came across your blog. Your encouragement to live simply and with purpose is needed in today’s world!

  • If it is so simple, to live happily, then why don’t more of us simply do it? I believe most of us are victims of Madison Ave. advertising. Slaves to marketing, we believe we gotta have it. I look at nature and most animals survive with just one coat. Winter is coming, get your coat, for you and your home. Energy Conservation, makes sense, “but common sense, is not so common”. Bucky Fuller was the first to promote “Doing more with less”. He designed the Geodesic Dome, after he asked his Harvard professors “how much does a house weigh?” None of his professors knew! So he said if he were to design an efficient home, he had to forget everything he was taught in school. He motivated me in the early 1970’s, (I heard him speak at Sandia Labs, when I was a D.U. student) to also think outside the box. In 1975 I started my company, About Saving Heat, (AboutSavingHeat.com) still doing what I love. A great new book “A Fuller View” is now out, about inspirational quotes by Bucky and how they changed the authors (short stories from famous folks) lives, and right up your blog! Eliza keep up the great “Happy Simple Living” and Happy and Proud to continue to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.

  • Granny's Parlour

    Greetings and glad to meet you! I believe I am here thanks to The Happy Hippy, if I remember correctly. The moment I read your goals, I thought they would be just as suitable for a large corporation. To be honest, I wish many corporations would adopt such down-to-earth goals. As I read further, I was delighted to find these words, “Successful companies often have annual retreats for long-term planning; shouldn’t we also occasionally take stock of whether our daily lives match up with our values and dreams?” My next thought was inevitable: “I must tell our readers about this young writer and her blog.” Thus, as part of an upcoming weekly review I release every Saturday, I am inviting them to add this to their reading list.

  • We all need moral compasses and you are indeed one of mine. Your ideals listed are a perfect mantra…thank you

  • enviro hive

    Thanks for sharing this interesting post with us.I enjoy at the time of reading this post.Keep sharing with us.I am very interested by reading this.. Its very helpful yo us..keep posting such an interesting things..
    Thank you

  • kevo

    I thought I had the patent on “urban homesteader”,a completely suberbanized city-boy,with a sence of self-reliance. Now after 10 years,I find this cool site. AWESOME!

  • I Love your blog. It’s a lot of what I hope to accomplish through my site. Please stop by and comment. I’m new at this and want to be able to share some wisdom on the benefits and joy of living a peaceful life.


  • Anna

    What a pleasure to have found your blog, Eliza.
    A reminder of being awake for life.
    Your former, across the street, neighbor.

  • Nice to know you Eliza! You have a good blog

  • Faustina Wortham

    I love your list Liza, we’re on the same list but there is a little bit difference, I fail sometimes in following my list because I forget to do the rest that is probably my problem on how to manage well my time through my list which I depend on. By the way it is great I love your list! Stay healthy and always keep going!

  • Mike


    Is it possible to advertise on this site at all?



  • Jonathan

    I just found your blog through the comment you left on our blog, and I like it already just from reading your priority list…I have been yearning for exactly what you wrote down, and am hoping that blogging about it helps out. Feel free to pop over anytime 🙂

  • David D

    Enjoyable blog… and in the above all good words of wisdom to live by. We have a dandelion problem also, made worse that the dog loves to go crashing through them – thankfully they are typically relegated to the large field of to the side.


  • Julie

    Hi Eliza,
    I started following your other blog a couple years ago, I think we live in the same neighborhood, and in any case I share your dandelion issues in our yard too. Thanks for the ideas about prioritizing and saving.

  • martha@simple-nourished-living.com

    Hi Eliza,

    Just found your site through the e-college finder’s wellness guru list. I too am on a quest to live a happy, healthy, balanced life. I’m glad I found you.

  • CJ Holloway

    I agree with your priorities, lately I have found the joy in simply living each day as it comes. I have found that everytime I make plans, life happens and all my plans are null and void. Rejoice in the day and the challenges it provides so that we may become stronger souls. My spirit is healthier today than it was yesterday and it will be fortified each day of my life. Riches don’t always have to do with money!

  • Laura Lee Carter aka the Midlife Crisis Queen

    Really a lovely site Eliza! It captures your spirit so well! Thanks for sharing! – Laura Lee

  • marla benroth

    Eliza…your mom just told me about this site – GREAT!!! I’ll have to find time to read back entries. 😉 We met at a tea your mom hosted a while back. I am also a writer and work in marketing some still, but mostly am a book project manager for a Christian publishing company.

  • Karen Butler

    I love it! Eliza, I am so glad I found you! What serendipity! (I love that word!)

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