Keeping Christmas Meaningful on the Banks of Squaw Creek

Katie Olthoff

The Olthoff’s, from Stanhope, Iowa, are busy from sun-up to son-down.  Caring for 60,000 turkeys and two little boys keep Bart and Katie busy.

The Olthoff’s have been raising turkeys for about 3½ years in their five new, tunnel ventilated turkey barns.  Bart grew up on a turkey farm, so he jumped at the opportunity to build his own farm.  He is able to raise 6 flocks of 20,000 birds annually, and has up to 3 flocks at a time.

Managing that much livestock is no easy task, but Bart has proven time and time again that he is up to the challenge.  “Bart always puts the turkeys first, even if it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable for him,” says wife, Katie.  “That might seem normal to those who grew up on a farm, but I’m new to the livestock world.  I’m constantly amazed by his dedication to our birds.”

While Bart works hard with the turkeys, Katie spends most of her time with their two sons,  Adam, 4½, and Isaac, who’s almost 2.  Because Bart’s schedule can be pretty demanding and doesn’t include vacation time or holidays off, Katie has made a conscious effort to make the holidays less stressful for their family.  Her holiday motto is, “Keep it Simple, Make it Meaningful.”

Katie has written the Squaw Creek Survival Guide for Christmas with Kids, and today she’s sharing a few of her favorite tips:

  1. Bedtime books, the gift that keeps on giving.  Instead of taking part in the popular “Elf on the Shelf” routine, Katie wraps 25 Christmas books.  Every night, Adam opens one to read.  Click here for a list of great books for farm kids or to teach kids about the farm.
  2. Olthoff boys

    Pack the Protein.  Katie has learned that family gatherings are more enjoyable for everyone if she brings foods that her kids are sure to like.  “If all they eat is sugared treats, my kids will get crabby,” says Katie, who’s been known to serve up peanut butter sandwiches on a platter at family gatherings.

  3.  Keep the Yums Yums Simple.  Although Katie has a wonderful recipe for roll out cookies with sour cream, she relies on Betty Crocker to simplify holiday baking with her boys.  Click here for Katie’s beautifully photographed step-by-step process of baking with kids.

For more tips on Surviving Christmas with Kids. check out Katie’s blog at  You’ll also find more information about Squaw Creek Farms, including several recipes for turkey.

“Slow Cooker Turkey Breast” is just a sample of the quick, easy and delicious recipes featured on Katie’s site.  Also be sure to check out Katie’s featured section, Ground Turkey Tuesday, for more delicious recipes.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast:



  • 4-6 boneless, skinless turkey breasts (or turkey breast tenderloins)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix



  1. Rinse the turkey breasts and pat dry.
  2. Rub turkey breasts with olive oil.
  3. Rub the dry onion soup mix onto each turkey breast, covering completely.
  4. Place turkey breasts in the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6 hours (checking occasionally to be sure your turkey doesn't dry out).


image from Six Sisters Stuff