EZ Life Tip 3: Spice Up Your Life

Dated spices

EZ Life Tip 3 is a very easy one to set up and start using right away.

Keep a sharpie or other permanent marker near where you store your spices. Any time you buy a new spice write the month and year on it, now you know exactly how long you have had it and have an idea when to replace it. EZ enough?

The general recommendations for freshness is four years for whole spices and two years for ground, blends may not last as long as they are only as good as the first ingredient to lose potency. The best way to tell if it needs replacement is by color and smell.

Average Shelf Life:

  • Ground Spices- 2-3 years
  • Whole Spices – 3-4 years
  • Seasoning Blends – 1-2 years

 

 

EZ Life Tip 2: Touch Up, What a Pain(t)

A fresh coat of paint can make a room look great but over time the smudges, nicks, and scratches can take their toll. We get a lot of compliments on our house at Three Acre Paradise, one of my secret weapons to keep the house looking good is to go around and touch up the paint blemishes a couple of times a year.

Here’s a couple of ways to make this easier. First, when you paint a room always reserve a small amount of the paint in a little container and write on the container what it is. One of the best containers to use is the ones home stores sell paint samples in.

EZ Life paint sample

If you don’t have any of these then you can use just about any plastic container that seals good. The one below can be bought at dollar stores, they are about a dollar for a four pack.

EZ Life paint in cheap container

What makes these so convenient? You don’t have to deal with a big can of paint. You can shake these before opening so you don’t have to worry about stirring, they are easy to carry around, and they are easy to reseal. They also hold enough paint for a lot of touching up, I’ve had a few that I’ve used for the last three years and haven’t had to refill.

Second touch up tip, keep a small brush with the paint samples. Don’t cheap out on the brush, I like the Purdy brand brushes and keep a 1 1/2 inch brush for this purpose. It’s small enough to be easily cleaned and dries quickly. Keep the paints and brush together in a box so you can just grab and go.

Third, use good paint. I use Sherwin Williams but any good brand will do. Quality paint is worth it, it will take less coats to get a good finish and it will resist dirt better. Take pictures of the mixing labels so if you have to have a new batch made up you will have this for reference and write on the cans what rooms they are for.

Fourth and final tip, keep a map of the paint and codes for your home. When our house was built I created this paint map and update it as we make changes. You can click on the image to zoom in.

EZ Life paint map

Touch up can be quick and easy (and painless) using these tips and will keep your home looking fresh for years to come. Got any touch up tips you’d like to share? If so, please post it as a comment below.

Link: Purdy brand paint brushes on Amazon

EZ Life Tip 1: Stop Calling Me!

EZ Life Tips will be posted every other week on Thursdays (or Friday in case of holidays), these tips include money saving ideas and things you can do to make everyday life just a little bit better. Alternate Thursdays will be plant focused posts that go in depth on things that are growing at Three Acre Paradise, other posts will continue as usual.

This first tip is a bit specific, it only applies to iPhone users but if anyone who has an Android phone knows of a similar functionality please let me know. I’ve been inundated with telemarketing calls lately, it’s gotten so bad that I don’t answer my phone unless I recognize the caller. Sound familiar? Blocking these calls does no good, telemarketers are spoofing random numbers. Spoofing is making the call look like it came from a number that it did not (see this FCC link for more information). In fact, they may even be using your number to call other people! I’ve had more than one person call me and tell me to stop calling them, I try to explain to them what spoofing is but they don’t want to hear it and hang up.

Can you do anything about this? Well you can’t block the phone numbers since they can spoof new ones but you can prevent unknown numbers from ringing your iPhone. They can still call and leave messages but at least you won’t be disturbed. How can you accomplish this? By enabling Do Not Disturb mode.

To turn this on, go to your Settings then to the Do Not Disturb option (click each picture for full size view):

Iphone settings - Do Not Disturb

Next, turn on Do Not Disturb. Also turn on the Allow Calls From option and select Favorites.

Iphone do not disturb and allow favorites

Now this will make it so all unknown numbers will not ring your phone but calls from anyone in your favorites can get through. Unfortunately this also blocks ALL texts from making an alert but we can get around this. First, scroll down further and set Auto-Reply To to No One.

Iphone auto reply to no one

Now, to enable a person to be able to text (and alert) you, go edit that Contact and go to the section called Text Tone.

Iphone contact text tone

Turn the Emergency Bypass for this contact on and save it. When they text you the alert will now sound even when the Do Not Disturb is turned on.

Iphone contact emergency bypass

There you have it! When any of the people in your favorites calls you your phone will ring or vibrate, all other calls will remain silent. Anyone with the Emergency Bypass will be able to text you and you will get the alert, all others will remain silent. It really doesn’t take very long to set this all up, for me there’s only about a dozen people I had to add to favorites and edit their contact info.

I hope this makes someone’s life a little easier. See you with another tip in two weeks!