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August 22, 2019

Two walls of a kitchen that has been flooded show significant mold damage and damage to the drywall.

When you’re ready to hire a contractor to repair or rebuild property damaged by flooding, keep these tips in mind to help avoid being scammed.


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.

Large tomatoes in varying stages of ripeness ranging from light yellow to orange-red hang on green stems filled with green leaves.

Plant Now for Fall Tomatoes

July 5, 2019

If you love home-grown tomatoes, you can enjoy them into fall. Get your plants into the ground from July to early August, depending on where you live in the state, and you can harvest into October or November.

Two partially filled canisters contain rice and flour sit on a speckled black countertop.

How to Keep Pests Out of Your Home

July 2, 2019

Everyone deals with the occasional invasion of sugar ants in the kitchen. It’s just a fact of life.

But when they do make their way in, you don’t want to lay out the welcome mat for them. Regina Boykins, Extension agent in Humphreys County has a few tips to help keep ants and other pests out of your kitchen.

A steamed salmon filet sprinkled with onions and dill sits atop roasted vegetables.

The Food Factor: Steamed Salmon & Veggies

June 28, 2019

Have you ever heard someone praise the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, but wondered what to cook? This delicious fish recipe, cooked with an assortment of tasty vegetables, fits the bill! Fish, healthy oils, and plenty of vegetables are key parts of the Mediterranean diet. Served with a side of whole-grain couscous or pasta, you’ve got a feast ready in about 45 minutes. 

Angel food cake with strawberries, cool whip, and strawberries on a green plate.

The Food Factor: Tropical Angel Cake

June 25, 2019

Ever since I started hosting The Food Factor, I’ve been getting curious looks at the grocery store. Other shoppers will recognize me and look in my buggy to see what I’m buying. People assume that I must always eat healthy foods, or I never have dessert.

A combination container with pink impatiens and red and green coleus.

What to Do in Your Garden in July

June 21, 2019

It’s officially summer, meaning the heat is here in full force! I set my watering can by the door as a reminder to water my plants. A few years back, when I first started growing an interest in gardening, I learned the hard way that you have to water your plants regularly because of the Mississippi heat. Don’t be like young Michaela. Always water your plants! (Photo by Michaela Parker)

Two women hold a tray of microgreens.

From the Field: Ag Literacy Workshop

June 18, 2019

There’s always something new happening in the world of Extension. This time, the spotlight is on a new workshop: “From Micro to Macro: Growing Ag Literacy.”

Before we get into the specifics, you might be asking, “what is ag literacy and why is it important?” (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

A grilled burrito topped with salsa and a green salad with tomato served on a multicolored plate.

The Food Factor: Vegetable Burritos

June 13, 2019

With all of the delicious, fresh vegetables available this time of year at great prices, vegetable burritos are a fast, farmers market-friendly meal you can whip up in no time. While Southwest-inspired recipes can hide a lot of calories, a few substitutions can keep you from breaking the calorie bank. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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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