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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...


A wooden spoon is used to stir mint leaves in a pitcher of lemonad.

The Food Factor: Mint Lemonade

July 14, 2020

Hot summer weather is here, and this mint lemonade is just the thing for cooling off! If you’re not already growing your own mint, I recommend trying it. Be sure to plant mint in a pot, because it thrives in Mississippi and will spread like wildfire if you put it in the ground!

A bright green moss pathway with large pavers.

How to Create a Moss Pathway

July 10, 2020

A moss pathway is an easy way to add a special touch of elegance, enchantment, and royalty to your landscape. A pathway covered with bright green moss seems like something a king or queen would have in their landscape, right? 

A woman sits in a chair outside.

How to Build Your Body’s Natural Defenses with Food

July 7, 2020

Video by Jonathan Parrish

There’s no better time than now to use food to build your body’s natural defenses to boost and help protect your immune system. A healthy immune system helps your body fight illness.

Merriam-Webster defines nutrition as the act or process of nourishing or being nourished. Nourishment focuses on using many nutrients from a variety of foods to give you what you need to be healthy.

So, make sure your kitchen is stocked with an assortment of foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, dairy, eggs, and plant-based proteins, such...

A family eats at a picnic table in the park.

How to Keep Food Safe in a Cooler

July 3, 2020

During your outdoor outings, you'll want to take some steps to ensure your food doesn't spoil in the cooler.

fruit salad with whipped topping in a clear glass bowl

The Food Factor: Red, White, and Blue Salad

June 30, 2020

Fresh, cold fruit and creamy, fat-free topping make this Red, White, & Blue Salad the perfect treat to beat the heat at your next summer gathering. A little bit of lime juice will keep the bananas from browning and adds that zesty citrus flavor I love so much!

Water poured over brown eggs in an electric pressure cooker.

The Food Factor: How to Boil Eggs in an Electric Pressure Cooker

June 26, 2020

Hard-boiled eggs are a quick, affordable, and protein-filled snack. They are the foundation for egg salad and deviled eggs and are tasty in a variety of salads. So use your electric pressure cooker to make easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs!

Watering colorful flowers with a blue watering can.

Gardening Tips for July

June 23, 2020

And just like that, we’re over halfway through the year. How is that possible? I have spent more time at my home over the past few months than I have in a long time!

A poison ivy vine.

Poison Ivy vs. Virginia Creeper

June 19, 2020

With many summer attractions closed or limited due to COVID-19, people are heading into the great outdoors. As you’re exploring nature, you don’t want to have a run-in with the dreaded poison ivy.  

A mixture of spices and salt in a clear glass bowl

The Food Factor: Italian Dressing Mix

June 16, 2020

Making your own mixes is a favorite topic here on The Food Factor. We’ve shared recipes for Ranch Dressing Mix, Taco Seasoning Mix, and Magic Meat Mixes. Today we’ve got a recipe for Italian Dressing Mix!

True confession: I don’t usually make this dressing mix for salads. I put it in the slow cooker with roast beef, onions, and peppers for a delicious alternative to traditional pot roast.

A close-up of a white-tail deer's face.

Top Deer Resistant Plants

June 12, 2020

Oh, deer! White-tailed deer can be quite the nuisance in the garden. It’s disheartening to see deer ate the flowers in your back yard for a snack. 

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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