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July 17, 2018

A plant with light green leaves and white flowers on tall stems grows in the shade under a tree.

With Mississippi's legendary summer heat, everyone wants some shade trees in the home landscape. But with shade comes a unique challenge: what plants thrive with less sunlight? (Photo by Gary Bachman)

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Homemade pico de gallo in a white container placed in the center of a wooden bowl of tortilla chips.

How to Make Pico de Gallo

July 13, 2018

Summertime means homegrown tomatoes, or tasty tomatoes picked up at the local farmers market. One of my favorite ways to use these seasonal treats is a fresh summer salsa that’s delicious on top of grilled fish or chicken, a healthy addition to a baked potato, or the perfect match for tortilla chips and taco salad. I personally love tortilla chips with lime! (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A brown tick is pictured next to a penny on a gray background.

Protect Yourself from Mosquitos and Ticks

July 10, 2018

Whether you work or play outdoors in the summertime, you are a prime target for mosquitos and ticks.

Aside from being irritating, insect pests can carry bacteria, parasites and viruses, such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which could make humans sick. It’s important to protect yourself. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)

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Two ears of seasoned grilled corn on a platter.

How to Grill Corn on the Cob

July 6, 2018

Sweet corn is a popular crop in Mississippi, and different varieties grow throughout the warm months. It’s an affordable, fresh, and locally grown treat. Whether you like to cook it in the microwave  or cream it like your grandma taught you, corn is one of those foods that sings summertime! (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A pint glass jar filled with homemade taco seasoning sits on a kitchen countertop.

How to Make Your Own Taco Seasoning

July 3, 2018

It’s TACO TUESDAY! Don’t you hate reaching into the cabinet for that little packet of taco seasoning, only to find you forgot to buy any? 

Save yourself an extra trip to the store, and mix up your own taco seasoning! (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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Fireworks explode against a dark sky and above a large body of water.

Fireworks Safety Tips

June 29, 2018

Many people celebrate Independence Day with fireworks. However, it pays to be cautious with these beautiful explosives. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

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A man shows how to supplement supermarket floral bouquets with landscape materials.

How to Use Landscape Materials in a Floral Arrangement

June 25, 2018

Let’s face it. Sometimes we need a quick, inexpensive bouquet of flowers to give to a friend or family member or to freshen up our own spaces.

Jim DelPrince, Extension horticulture specialist, shows you how to use landscape materials to supplement those pretty bouquets you see at the supermarket and get more bang for your buck. (Photo credit: Zac Ashmore/Cindy Callahan) 

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A product display of Greek yogurt, buttermilk and kefir.

What Dairy Products Can I Eat if I’m Lactose Intolerant?

June 21, 2018

If you’re lactose intolerant, you may roll your eyes when you think of dairy. Yes, June is National Dairy Month, but what good is that to you? (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A sliced, ripe watermelon sits on a table outdoors.

3 Tips For Picking The Perfect Watermelon

June 19, 2018

Choosing a ripe watermelon at the market is easy if you know what to look for.  (Photo credit: Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A graphic depicts a woman preparing to clean a refrigerator after storing a recalled food item.

How to Clean Your Refrigerator

June 15, 2018

June is National Healthy Homes Month! Do you know all the steps to take to ensure your home is safe and healthy for your family?

A regular cleaning regime can keep your home free of dust, dirt, mold and pests. But did you know your refrigerator should be in this regular lineup? (Graphic by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

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A can of Broad Spectrum SPF 70 sunscreen.

3 Tips about Sun Safety

June 12, 2018

As a redhead, I am familiar with the consequences of not paying attention to sun safety. I still remember having blistered shoulders as a young child from a trip to the beach. OUCH! Sunburns are not only painful, but also dangerous: each incidence of sunburn increases my risk of developing skin cancer. (Photo by Brian Utley)

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About Extension for Real Life

Extension for Real Life is a product of the MSU Extension Service’s Office of Agricultural Communications.

That’s a long way of saying we are professional communicators who get to talk about food, families, 4-H, flowers, and farming for a living. Pretty good gig, right?

The three main writers for the blog are Ellen Graves (Seamstress of Social Media Strategy), Susan Collins-Smith (Content Connector) and Keri Lewis (Captain Cat Herder). But we get by with a lot of help from our friends in Ag Comm and Extension!

You can reach us at 662-325-2262 or extreallife@msstate.edu