20 Ways To Elevate Homemade Popcorn

If you know me personally or have been reading this blog for a while you know that I have an obsession with popcorn. What snack do I crave nearly every night? Popcorn. What treat do I want to prepare for every gathering at our house? Popcorn. What do I believe is a budget-friendly solution to a dinner that didn’t quite fill you up? Popcorn.

Ryan and I believe that popcorn is the ultimate snack, especially late at night. It has whole grains, fiber, and endless possibilities of flavor combinations. Some have even compared popcorn to superfoods. YESSSSSS. Not to mention at a penny a cup (or a quarter of that price if you buy the 50 pound bag at Sam’s Club like we did ha), it’s totally budget friendly. And seriously if you like popcorn a lot, just buy the large bag of kernels, it’s like a quarter of the price of the kernels at the grocery store.

On to the combinations:

  1. The Classic: butter & salt
  2. The New Classic: coconut oil & salt
  3. Butter and Cinnamon
  4. Cheese Please: parmesan cheese & garlic olive oil
  5. Ragin’ Cajun: butter, cajun blend or paprika, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, & cayenne
  6. Ranch: butter, ranch powder
  7. Trail Mix: M&M’s & cashews/almonds
  8. Coconutty: coconut oil, coconut flakes, cashews
  9. Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn: coconut oil, syrup, cinnamon, salt
  10. Chili Lime: coconut oil, chili powder, lime zest
  11. Apple pie:  butter, apple chips, cinnamon
  12. Smore’s: mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, chunks of graham crackers
  13. Matcha: coconut oil, matcha tea, sugar
  14. Mexican Chocolate: cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, salt
  15. Honey Butter:  honey & butter
  16. Health Kick: nutritional yeast & cayenne
  17. Hawaiin: coconut oil, dried pineapple, coconut flakes
  18. Peanut Butter Popcorn: melted peanut butter, salt
  19. Salt & Vinegar: White balsamic vinegar, sea salt
  20. Brown butter: butter (browned), salt, pepper 

Are you a popcorn lover? What combination are you excited to try? 

Thursday Things 8.17

 

  1. Happy Thursday! Can anyone else believe that we’re already halfway through the month of August? I’m starting to get some mega end-of-the-summer blues.
  2. On teaching children to be kind.
  3. These iced raspberry lattes are beautiful.
  4. Also those above drinks are currently forbidden in the Bolte household, because we “quit sugar” again. We like to think of it as a reset on our bodies after months of tasty indulgences with family and one too many servings of late night ice cream. We’re on Day 4 and so far, so good.
  5. Other news in the Bolte household: operation baby proof the house (only about six months late, ha) is in full swing as we have an active army crawler on the loose!
  6. Anyone ever wonder where Trader Joe’s gets their snacks from? <— Follow that link to find out.
  7. Speaking of Trader Joe’s, I just learned they are related to Aldi’s (you can read about it here) and was MINDBLOWN.

Money Saving Mondays: 7 Steps to a Better Budget

Stick with me here: As I finish this post up after a wonderful long weekend spent with family, I can’t help feel like covering a budget for the first post of this series is beyond boring. Anyone else agree? Here’s the thing, our budget is so critical to our money saving habits, I had to cover it first. Having a budget allows us to decide how we use our money each month. It allows us to delegate money towards going on dates or treating ourselves to coffee while reassuring us we have enough funds to pay for our water bill and rent. It keeps us honest and realistic with our savings. It was the very first money-saving thing I did when we got married and is something I revamp nearly every month. When you think of your budget as something that serves you it makes the whole thing a lot more exciting. 

If you don’t have a budget, this post is for you! If you do have one, take a read anyways. Perhaps you’ll find some new considerations. 

  1. Calculate your true income: Add up all of the income coming into your hands for the month. Neither Ryan or I are salaried so this takes a bit of effort each month estimating hours worked at our primary jobs. We also make sure to include any additional sources of income: secondary jobs, babysitting, freelance work, and the like.
  2. Create your categories: Make a list of all the expenses you’ll have for the month: mortgage or rent, utilities, tithing, insurance, groceries – you guys get the idea. We’ve also found it helps to create specific categories for areas that could be umbrella-ed under a different category, but we’re tempted to spend extra money in. For example we group together our utilities bill in our budget: gas, electricity, and water fall in the same category; however, the category of eating out gets split into several sections: date money, coffee (my biggest struggle), and fast food (Ryan’s pitfall).
  3.  Every dollar gets designated: Ask yourself, “What do I want my money to do before my next paycheck?” At the end of the month your income minus your expenses should equal zero.
  4. Be flexible: Our budget fluctuates every month and we do our best to account for those fluctuations before they occur. There’s nothing worse than getting slammed with a bill that one wasn’t anticipating. In the winter we use more gas to heat our home; in the summer it’s electricity to cool it. Christmastime and wedding season mean more gifts. If we’re consistently spending more money on groceries than we’ve budgeted for, we sit down to analyze our lifestyle and either increase the dollar amount for that category or decide to make some changes. Anticipate and designate!
  5. Be honest: When we know we’re going on a trip we increase our gas and entertainment categories for the month. If we know that we’ll be away from home we designate some money towards eating out. When I’m taking classes our coffee budget goes up a little bit, because sometimes a coffee is needed to stay awake until 8 p.m. When we realistically plan for these conveniences, we don’t feel guilty about treating ourselves.
  6. Honor the time and effort you’ve put into creating your budget: When you spend time creating an honest and realistic budget, do your best to stick to the amounts you’ve allotted. Personally, our biggest pitfall here is dates. We typically budget around $100 towards investing in our relationship each month but rarely do we use it all. Is this economical to be under budget? Yes. Is it honoring the time we’ve placed in intentionally bettering our relationship? No. We’ve delegated a realistic amount of our income to spending time with each other as a couple each month and really should make an effort to follow through with our intentions to go on dates.
  7. Consider using an electronic resource: It’s 2017 and while a good pen and paper budget still works great, online resources can be extremely helpful. We use Mint to categorize our expenses and watch our savings grow. I’ve also heard great things about You Need a Budget and Every Dollar. All of these resources have apps and online access. So cool! I created a pretty intense Xcel spreadsheet when we were first married (think adding together multiple incomes and calculating a tithe based on income generated) that I’m sharing with you all too!  Click here to download—> Budget Template.

Do you enjoy budgeting? What helps you stay on track each month?

 

Money Saving Mondays

When I first started this blog I intended it for it to be a space for our family to share stories and ideas. I hoped that when the reader left, he or she would know what it’s like to spend a day with the Bolte’s. I had visions of those well-crafted mom blogs with artsy themes and sponsorships that equate to free coffee. While I still don’t have the perfect living room (hello baby toys!) or know how to create a dinner that is both delicious and visually appealing, I do share what life with the Bolte’s looks like.

Our family is made up of one incredible husband and father who works three different jobs to bring his family home the bacon. One wife and stay-at-home momma who attends graduate school courses in the evening and takes on every just about every side-hustle that comes her way. Oh, and we have a cute little six-month old baby that experts say will cost us upwards of $250,000 to raise.

All those little components combined, and I think I can say I finally feel like an expert in one thing and it’s something I’m excited to share with you all!

Money Saving Mondays is a new series coming to the blog. Each Monday (obviously) I’ll share with you a thrifty money saving tip. These posts will be perfect for recent graduates with mountains of student debt (we’ve been there), students working hard to make some money and still get good grades (I’m still there), families trying to stick to a budget, or any reader who’s looking for a creative way to save a little bit more money each month. It’s my hope that they’ll challenge you and me both to be wiser with the financial blessings we’ve been given so that we can give more, save more, and live more.

See you all next Monday!

Thursday Things 8.3

  1. Happy first day of fall! Just kidding, but it certainly feels like that in Minnesota today and I’m loving it.
  2. I shared Lincoln’s 6-month check-in on the blog yesterday in case you missed it.
  3. Anyone else obsessed with those chopped salad kits, but hate the price and all the sugary ingredients? I made a variation of this Costco Chopped Kale Salad recipe this week and it was awesome!
  4. Speaking of salads, my dream Caesar salad.
  5. And then I have to share these Oatmeal Cookie Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches, because #balance.
  6. We’re headed to two weddings this weekend, eep! Anyone else have exciting weekend plans?!

Lincoln 6-month check-in

How do we have a six-month old already?! The past half year has flown by rapidly. Early June (when I wrote Lincoln’s last update) marked one year since we had learned we were expecting him. It’s so fun to reflect back on our last summer: how different it was, the joys and fears we were experiencing, and then look at our little boy and just soak it all in. God is so good!

Eat 

I’ve always nursed Lincoln on demand during the day. It’s worked well for our family until right around 5 months when Lincoln began begging to nurse every 2 hours or so during the day and every 3 hours or so at night. A constantly nursing baby who was also increasingly interested in his parents eating led us to start Lincoln on cereal. He loved it! Two weeks later we gave him avocado (they were on sale at Aldi’s) and peas. So far I’ve made all his food at home (with the exception of the cereal) and it’s really quite simple. At six months he’s had rice and oat cereal, avocado, peas, sweet potato, banana, and broccoli.

Sleep

Lincoln officially has a bedtime! Right around 5 months he let us know that 7 to 7:30 is the time he’d like to go to bed for the night (regardless of when he woke up from his last nap). He proved this true when we visited Colorado for a week and with the time change went to bed at 6 p.m. each night ha.

Finally after a month or so of waking up every three to four hours to eat at night, the solid food seems to be filling Lincoln’s belly and the last three nights we’ve gotten at least 5+ hour stretches of sleep and two 8 hour ones. Lincoln wakes up between 6:30 and 7 each morning and from there starts a routine of napping every 90 minutes to two hours. Usually, he takes two 90 minute naps and two cat naps give or take throughout the day.

If you follow our blog, you know that our summer nights were a little crazy. I attended night classes, Ryan coached soccer, and one or both of us were out of the house at Lincoln’s bedtime most nights of the week. Ryan, Grandma Lori, and I all made a concerted effort for about two weeks to initiate a bedtime routine for Lincoln and magically it worked!

Another struggle we had the past two months was taking Lincoln out of his swaddle. He still sleeps best in it. We’ve tried a few naps and nights without the swaddle, but find that he wakes up and plays in his crib and gets distracted falling asleep. Then he’s just crabby and tired all day. We just purchased a new sleep sack for him. It arrives today, so hopefully, this will help us transition well. Stay tuned.

Likes

  • Army crawling everywhere
  • Eating everything and playing with his spoons afterward
  • Studying anything that moves or makes noise
  • Dance parties with his parents (we’re reveling in these, we’ll only be so cool for so long ;))
  • Talking to anything and everything. He still likes hands, but he’ll talk to actual faces now too!
  • Mom’s hair, Dad’s hair, Grandpa’s hair, everyone’s hair.
  • Watching the Keurig pour out coffee in the morning
  • Reading (and eating) books

Dislikes

  • Rooms filled with lots of people
  • Long car rides and being in his car seat (this is a new one – hopefully it doesn’t last long)
  • Believing he’s alone.
  • Loud sneezes

Favorites

  • HALO Sleepsack: Still Lincoln’s pajamas. We’ve certainly gotten our money out of this product! Lincoln can wiggle around in here while falling asleep but doesn’t get distracted by his hands.
  • Amber Teething Necklace: Lincoln still has no teeth visible, but he has had several drooly-let-me-knaw-on-everything spells the past two months. No crabbiness to report yet, is it the necklace? Maybe so!
  • Owlet Sleep Sock: This gives us so much ease of mind with a rolly polly baby.
  • Blendtec: We purchased this last fall when it was on major clearance at Bed Bath & Beyond. I’ve used it to make shakes and bulletproof coffee, but we’ve used it countless times to blend up Lincoln’s food too. It was a fabulous investment.
  • Risen Motherhood Blog & Podcast: This is for me (Katelyn), not Lincoln, but it’s seriously changing the way
  • The Big Picture Story Bible: We ordered this book for Lincoln based on a recommendation from the bloggers/podcastters (is that a word??) above. So many little devotion books I’ve seen for children gloss over sin and disobeying God, but this book does it in a gentle way while still preaching the gospel. Plus Lincoln loves the pictures, I can’t recommend it enough!

Life

Between four and six months Lincoln has traveled to St. Lucia and Colorado on airplanes. He’s becoming quite the little traveler. We struggled with sleep and travel (that darn carseat) much more in Colorado last week than we did in St. Lucia in June, so we’re all looking forward to being home and no major trips for the next few months.

Lincoln, we don’t want to forget your energetic smile, the way your whole body shows your excitement when you see us. Your giggle is by far the best noise I’ve ever heard and we can’t help but bust out into laughter when you do. You’re learning how to show us affection and I can’t get enough of your snuggles and attempts at kisses. Nearly everyone you meet comments on your big (blue) eyes and how you inquisitively take in the world. Keep on exploring buddy. We love you.

Thursday Things 7.27

  1. Hello from beautiful Colorado! We’re out visiting Ryan’s parents this week and loving that Lincoln’s getting some time with his Nana and Papa!
  2. I wrapped up classes for the summer last week and now that I have some time I have a million (or five) posts that I want to sit down and write. Stay tuned for some updates from the Bolte’s the next few weeks.
  3. If you like to spend your rainy days reading lots of blogs. Erin rounded up a list of her favorites (and I enjoyed them all too).
  4. Eight hundred dollar Birkenstocks. You read that right folks. Now you’ve seen it all.
  5. Last year we ditched our super old 8-cup coffee maker for a pour over, and then last week we inherited a 12-cup coffee maker from my aunt. I’m loving it. There’s just something about sharing a pot of coffee with those that you love in the morning.
  6. I love this post from Grace about learning what it means to be a child of God from her 9 month old daughter. Lincoln isn’t walking yet, but I can totally relate!