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December 3, 2020

A white mask hanging on Christmas garland.

Looking for the top gift to give your loved ones this holiday season? Here’s an idea: a COVID-free celebration! The holidays are normally a time when we open our homes to friends and family and celebrate together. The spread of COVID-19 has caused us all to reimagine the way we enjoy the holidays. 

Just how do you celebrate this time of year, while limiting the spread of COVID-19?? It’s not an easy answer, but here are a few tips to help your holidays be as safe and festive as possible. Please note, this information is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease...


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 9, 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.

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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.

Blog content is created by a core team of communicators, including Susan Collins-Smith, Ellen Graves, Natasha Haynes, Keri Lewis, Michaela Parker, and Jonathan Parrish. 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