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August 16, 2019

Baked fish with spinach, tomatoes, and onions sits on a plate.

August is National Catfish Month! There are many delicious ways to cook catfish, and this recipe helps you get those daily vegetable servings checked off your list. Support Mississippi’s catfish producers and buy locally raised catfish.


apple slices on cutting board.

Quick and Healthy Snacks

August 12, 2019

As students and parents get back into the swing of school, it is time to start thinking about quick and easy snacks to refuel you or your kids throughout the day!

Today, I want to show you a quick and easy way to cut an apple!

Foil wrapped potatoes in a slow cooker.

The Food Factor: “Baked” Potatoes in the Slow Cooker

August 9, 2019

Who says you can’t have “baked potatoes” in the summertime?

I love baked potatoes, but I hate heating up the oven when the summer sun is sizzling. That’s when my slow cooker comes to the rescue! It’s fast and easy to wash, oil, and foil potatoes before work in the morning. Then, when I come home, I can add my healthy toppings and have a meal in no time.

A wooden stake is wrapped with white string to support the adjacent tomato plant. A man stands behind the stake and points to the string.

How to Stake Tomatoes

August 6, 2019

If you planted fall tomatoes, soon you’ll need to install a support system to keep the branches and fruit off the ground. There are three different systems for supporting tomatoes: staking, trellising, and caging.

A group of sixteen students post for a picture on a stage.

From the Field: 4-H Co-op

July 29, 2019

School is out for the summer, meaning 4-H activities are in full swing! I had the privilege of leading the Media Corps Team at the 4-H Cooperative and Leadership Conference earlier this month. We discussed how our smartphones and social media have changed the way the media works, and then we worked together to “cover” the conference as the media would.

An array of ingredients in glass bowls, including romaine lettuce, onion, diced red pepper, Mexicorn, diced tomato, black beans, salsa, cooked diced chicken breast, and mozzarella cheese, surround a blue and white plate bearing four halves of whole wheat pita bread.

The Food Factor: Southwest Chicken Pitas

July 26, 2019

When the weather heats up, it’s good to have a plan for those nights when you just don’t want to heat up the kitchen. This recipe is perfect for summer nights, for picky eaters (because everyone can decide what they want in their pita), and for healthy eaters. #winning

Bright pink flowers in full bloom on a crape myrtle tree on a partly cloudy day.

What To Do in Your Garden in August

July 23, 2019

There’s always a lot going on in August. School is back in session, and everyone is trying to get back on their busy schedule. In the middle of the chaos, don’t forget your garden!

A small child runs barefoot through tall grass and has red insect bites on his calf.

Chiggers: Step Away from the Nail Polish

July 19, 2019

Being outside in the summertime can feel like a battle against nature. Mosquitoes. Ticks. Chiggers. (Photo by CanStock)

A man holds pruning loppers as he stands next to a tall blueberry bush.

How to Prune Blueberry Bushes

July 16, 2019

Pruning is a task I put off, and my blueberry bushes serve as a testament to this fact. Mainly, I am unsure how to do it correctly most of the time and don’t want to kill my plants.

A woman stands in a kitchen while holding a can of reduced fat cream of chicken soup.

The Food Factor: 5 Favorite Ways to Cut Fat

July 12, 2019

If you’ve ever been told you need to cut fat from your diet and wondered how to do it, this post is for you!

Fat, especially saturated fat, plays a role in heart health. Increased blood cholesterol is tied to heart disease, so finding ways to reduce saturated fat is important.

A small, leashed dog walks on a sidewalk.

Three Tips for Pet Food Safety

July 8, 2019

My pets are part of the family, and I want them to have a healthy diet. There are many choices when it comes to what to feed your pet, and I always discuss this with my veterinarian when I add a pet to the family and at each pet’s check-up.

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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