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An email from Martha

or, from her MS Living staff, anyway…


I emailed Martha Stewart regarding this issue over the weekend.  Here’s what I said:

Dear Martha Stewart Living,
For years, I have looked to Martha Stewart for inspiration, so I was
very intrigued when one of my blog readers emailed me to tell me that
the February 2012 issue of Martha Stewart Living included a project
inspired by something I posted on my blog earlier this summer.  I am
flattered that you liked my son's dresser enough to make your own
version, but I am very upset that I did not receive proper credit or
compensation for my original idea.


This afternoon, as I mentioned on Squaw Creek’s facebook page,  I got a reply.

Dear Ms. Olthoff,
Thank you for contacting Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
We appreciate your interest in the Martha Stewart Omnimedia family of

We are in receipt of your email from January 30, 2012. We apologize that
you are upset at the article in our February issue of Martha Stewart
Living. We work on issues anywhere from 6 months to one year in advance.
Unfortunately, we do not have access to the files to see how/who/what
inspired the idea. However, we like to support our fellow crafters, and
we would be happy to give you an acknowledgement.
This issue should be posted live to our website sometime in the middle
of February.  As such, we would like to offer to place the following
credit along with a link to your blog on the electronic version of the

“Project inspired by Katie Olthoff of

Please let us know if this accommodation is amenable to you.

MSLO Customer Relations

Yeah, Martha, I guess that would be alright.


Now, do you think I could get her to retract her little youtube message in which she portrays large farms as terrible places where animals are abused daily?  Or maybe I’ll just invite her to read about how farm animals are truly treated on my blog and the blogs of my friends. :) 


(And if you’re interested in finding out the REAL story about modern farming, check out the Real Farmwives of America and CommonGround.)

Sharing here:

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Turn your “Can’ts” into “Cans”

For many of us, our dreams are just that – dreams.  We have a million reasons why they haven’t become our reality. 

I dream, daily, of a beautiful, organized house with character, and built-ins and clever storage solutions.  I have saved pictures for years – ripped them out of magazines, saved them to my computer, and lately, pinned them by the dozens to my pinterest boards.  I spend hours thinking about how to make our home work the best and look the best for us. 

Over the past few years, I have shared these ideas with my husband.  And at first, he was totally on board.  But the physical and mental exhaustion that comes from long hours of manual labor and stress of owning our own farm has kept him from carrying out all of my plans.

So, for awhile, I got frustrated.  And then I got to work.

projects1. Barn Wood Shelves 2. Landing Zone 3. Pull Out Pantry Tutorial 4.  Clean Laundry Closet 5. Bookshelf Dresser 6. Stuffed Animal Zoo

At this time last year, I had very limited experience with power tools, definitely not enough to be comfortable building something on my own.  I wanted to learn to use our compound miter saw, so I did one of the things I do best  - I googled it.  I watched a video on youtube, read our manual online while sitting next to the unplugged saw, and prepared to make my first cut.  I will admit, it was a little scary, because it was something new (and sharp and noisy) but I had my dad supervise a few cuts, and kept my trusty best friend Karen by my side for the first big project. 

Now when I dream up something new, I KNOW that I can make it a reality.  I may not have the necessary skills right now, but I can learn. 
Lack of knowledge will no longer be one of my limitations! My friend, Kim, is also a great example of this.  A few months ago, she made one of these for her husband, and when I asked if her red frame would “match her décor” she replied that they didn’t really HAVE any décor.  Now, after discovering pinterest, she is hooked on making her house beautiful and functional.
She wanted to cover a basket with fabric, similar to what I did here, so she bought a glue gun, even though she had NEVER used one before.  In fact, when I told her that I plugged it in the kitchen, she asked, “It has to be plugged in?”  Lack of knowledge and experience with DIY was definitely one of her limitations, but she is NOT letting that stop her!

So what are your dreams?  What are your limitations?  Dreams of a beautiful house may be insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they are an excellent example of how continual learning and willingness to try something new can help us do things we never thought possible.

Ballard to Barn Wood

About two years ago, my dad and hubby helped me make these Ballard Designs inspired shelves for my kitchen.

I loved using them to hold my everyday dishes.
But this fall, they were feeling a bit too feminine.  And since we hadn’t mounted them on studs, they were getting kind of wobbly.  I was constantly in fear that my dishes would all come crashing down.
So I replaced them with two reclaimed wood shelves.

The wood is from my Great Grandpa’s barn, and I prepped it by sanding it smooth and brushing on 3 coats of polycrylic .  I *thought* I took pictures of this process, but they seem to have disappeared.  Sorry.  img_5113

I screwed the shelf brackets to the studs this time, and screwed the shelves to the supports.  Those babies aren’t going anywhere! 


In addition to my everyday dishes, these shelves are strong enough to hold some of my cookbooks and baking supplies and I’m still loving the dresser there. 


Do you see the “new” turkey platter?  Maybe someday I’ll get tired of collecting all things turkey, but not yet!


To see our total kitchen remodel, click here.
To see more barn wood projects, click here.
To see why I collect turkeys, click here.

Sharing at Saturday Night Special, Metamorphosis Monday , Serenity Now, Wicked Awesome Wednesday , Wow us Wednesdays, Primp Your Stuff, The Girl Creative, Tutorials and Tips Not to Miss.
Funky Junk Interiors Pallets and Reclaimed Wood Projects 
Shared at: Funky Junk Interiors Party Junk  - Salvaged Junk Projects

Well, they say…


…imitation is the best form of flattery…


Martha Stewart Living February 2012, p. 54


On the Banks of Squaw Creek

July 14, 2011


So, I guess I’m pretty flattered!

Bart’s Word of the Year: Progress

On New Year’s Eve, Bart and I put the kids to bed early, and spent the evening together in our living room.  We talked about 2011, and made plans for 2012.  We shared our goals and things that we hope to change.  I told him about my word of the year, and he started to think about what his word might be.

After much discussion he landed on one word: Progress.

I think it’s the perfect word for him.  Raising turkeys offers a lot of opportunities for progress and improvement.  Every 2 months, we get a new flock, and I don’t think he’s “managed” or raised any two flocks exactly the same way.  With each new flock comes a chance to tweak things that might increase energy efficiency, decrease stress on the turkeys, keep the barns cleaner and improve our farm in a variety of other ways.  He is constantly trying to improve things…
…and constantly making progress.

3 things I learned on Thursday

1.  I need to buy laptop cords in bulk.  My recliner ate the first last May.  I bought one on ebay that lasted until November when it magically quit working.  The one I bought in November died Thursday.  I ordered 2 this time around.

2.  When women get together, they all talk about the same things.  Whether it's kindermusik moms, friends out for girls' night, or a bunch of farmwives volunteering for Common Ground, the conversation always includes: men, kids, weight loss/exercise, food, and shoes.

3.  I met Emily, from Busy-Mommy.com on when she came to speak to our group of Common Ground volunteers.  She is adorable, and so sweet!  It was great to meet her!

Ground Turkey Tuesday: 10 ways to use it!

Rounding up these recipes was much easier than rounding up the turkeys for load out.  It turns out there are a TON of great ground turkey recipes out there.
ground turkey
These recipes will be great for the turkey breast we ground, browned and froze last week!
Ground Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers
from Po Boy Living Rich
These stuffed peppers look sooo good!  I will definitely be making them later this year, when peppers are in season and aren’t so darn expensive!

Ground Turkey Enchiladasimage
from Audrey’s Spot
Enchiladas are on the menu this week!  Can’t wait to try Audrey’s version.


Easy Haystack Dinner
From Sugar High
As I just explained to Adam, I’m not really a pea lover, but I’ve grown to tolerate them.  Pretty sure, as long as you cover it in melted cheese, I’ll eat it!  This would be so simple to throw together for hubby!

Ground Turkey Fajitasimage
from Brownie Bites
We use ground turkey in our “Mexican” meals a lot!  Here is another great one!

Quinoa and Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers
from Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
I’ve heard quinoa is really nutritious.  Here is another stuffed pepper recipe that uses quinoa instead of rice.

Ground Turkey and Vegetable Casseroleimage
from Audrey’s Spot
An easy casserole using stuffing mix…I love me some stuffing and turkey!

Spicy Tomato and Turkey Soup
From Iowa Girl Eats
This looks sooo good!  I wonder if Iowa Girl knew that her turkey was probably local?

Bubble Up Enchilada Casseroleimage
from Emily Bites
Emily has two versions of this casserole on her site.  It uses the classic enchilada ingredients, but instead of tortillas, there are chunks of refrigerated biscuit dough thrown in.  Yum, yum!

imageGround Turkey Stroganoff
from Just the 4 of Us!
Doesn’t this look easy and delicious!  And since there are noodles involved, the whole family will be happy!

A quick search of the National Turkey Federation’s website brought up a kazillion ground turkey recipes!

For more turkey recipes, check out my pinterest board!
Sharing at Beyer Beware for Hunk of Meat Monday, Tutorials and Tips Not to Miss

Word of the Year: Intentional


I’m not sure where I first heard of this idea, but I love it.  Instead of making New Years’ Resolutions, you choose a word that will guide you through the year.

Last year’s word was PRODUCTIVE.  Fall of 2010, I had terrible morning sickness.  I spent a few months just laying on the couch, and taking Benadryl to help me sleep through the nausea.  In early 2011 (or maybe late 2010), my husband sat down and had a little talk with me.  Basically, he told me that since the nausea was gone, the laziness needed to leave, too.  He was very kind and gentle about it, but I cried and cried.  Mostly because I knew that he was right.  I was be lazy – and not because of morning sickness at that point – just because of habit.



So, I tried to be more PRODUCTIVE and I think I was.  I kept my house a little cleaner, spent less time on the internet, and did some house projects that I’m pretty darn proud of.  I (mostly) broke my bad habit of laziness.

Source: marykatemcdevitt.com via Katie on Pinterest


This year, I’m going to build on that.  This year’s word is INTENTIONAL.

I pinned this a long time ago, and even shared it here, and I’ve continued to think about it almost daily.


Source: flickr.com via Katie on Pinterest

I realized that if I want to change anything – my habits, my home, my parenting, my body – I was going to have to be more INTENTIONAL about it.  It’s not enough to say, “I’m going to start exercising.”  Instead, I need to be more specific and intentional.  “I’m going to do a workout video during Isaac’s morning nap on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”

Right now, I’m focusing on food (cooking it, eating it, planning meals, planning shopping,) exercise, and simply completing my to-do list. 

So what’s your word for the year?  One of my friends decided that her word is “simplify.”  Another chose “progress.”  Layla, from The Lettered Cottage, chose “up.”  But if none of those sounds good to you, head over to TLC for “This Little Word of Mine.”


But first,




(just kidding.)

Storage Solution: Clean Laundry Closet

I have trouble keeping up with the laundry sometimes.  I know I’m not the only one with this problem.  It’s not so hard to get it washed and dried, but folding it and putting it away seems impossible – overwhelming, even.  I know, I know…if I just folded each load as I took it out of the dryer, it would probably be no big deal.  But for various reasons (disgusting basement laundry room, two little boys who need my attention every 30 seconds, etc.) that just doesn’t work around here.
But SOMETHING had to change.
So, after seeing a “laundry basket dresser” on pinterest, I developed a system.  It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly an improvement over the giant mountain of clean laundry on the dining room floor.

I used this empty closet in my still-barely-functional-not-yet-finished bathroom and constructed three simple shelves.  I screwed a 1x2 into the studs on either side wall, and then set two 1x8s across the opening.img_5134

There is one shelf/basket for each family member.  When the clothes come out of the dryer, I carry them upstairs and sort them into the right baskets. 

(Bart’s closet is downstairs, so those his basket is combined with other downstairs items, like bibs and dish towels.)
Then, during bathtime, I can pull out one basket and fold it.  Folding one family member’s laundry at a time prevents the “there were 17 different stacks of clean, folded clothes, until my baby/toddler/dog just knocked them over and now I have to start over” scenario.
Hanging clothes are put on the back of the door, and the occasional wrinkly shirt can be hung at the end of the shower curtain rod.  Since farmer Bart takes a minimum of two showers a day, those wrinkles are steamed out in no time.
Adam’s basket is on the floor so that he can reach it easily himself.  As he gets older, I fully expect HIM to take the full basket and put the contents where they go.

Like I said, it’s not a perfect system, but it’s keeping the clean clothes off the floor and making it much easier to find what we need.  I still get behind sometimes, but concentrating on one basket at a time seems much less overwhelming.

Shared at: Whisperwood Cottage

Phrase of the Day Calendar



Bart recently compared our Adam (3 1/2) to those “Word a Day” desk calendars.  It seems like he has a new phrase every or vocabulary word every day.  Here are some of our most recent favorites:

Unfortunately, the tree got sick and had to be cut down.”

“What’s unfortunately mean?” 

“It means the tree got sick and had to be cut down.”

“Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me.”

"In fact, it’s a cardinal.”

In a dejected tone of voice, “I can’t make up my mind.  My mind is out of order.”

My fort doesn’t have enough room to hide my head, so I’m introducing a new way to build it.

“I have a collection of coconuts.”


“A collection of coconuts.  From the park the other day.  For Isaac, in his stroller.”


“Yeah! A collection of pinecones!”

“It’s not for babies.  It’s for big-year-olds.”

Storage Solutions: Wrapping Station

wrapping station
This cabinet in my living room has a secret.
The back side is home to all of my gift wrapping supplies.
wrapping station4

The wrapping paper fits perfectly in a $4 Ikea plastic bag holder.
wrapping station2

The rest of the supplies are in this inexpensive hanging organizer from Walmart.
wrapping station3

Don’t have a cabinet that will work?  How about the back of a door, or inside a closet?  Your wrapping supplies will be close at hand whenever you need them!

Sharing this project at:
Piece of Work Wednesday 
Miss Mustard Seed
Feature Yourself Friday
Serenity Now
 Whisperwood Cottage

Sharing at Saturday Night Special this week!

(Ground) Turkey Tuesday



Two weeks before a flock of turkeys goes to market, Bart has to take fat samples from a few of the birds.  The samples are sent to the plant, where they are tested for food safety.  The breast meat from those birds ends up in our freezer.


I love turkey breast in the crock pot, cooked on low for several hours.  But, a couple of weeks ago, I found a meat grinder at Target on clearance – originally $100 but marked down to $30!  I snatched it up and put it to work!


Bart and I spent about an hour grinding and browning about 16 lbs of lean turkey breast.  We divided it into pint sized freezer bags and now it’s ready for supper at any time!


Got a favorite ground turkey recipe?  I’d love to have you share it!