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September 17, 2019

Three female teenagers wearing green blazers and khaki pants standing in front of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

“4-H has something for everyone.” If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard that phrase a time or two. As cliché as it sounds, it’s true. There’s a wide variety of activities and clubs that ensure that everyone has a place in 4-H.


A closeup of a gloved hand holding a pair of bypass pruning shears.

Essential Pruning Tools

February 22, 2019

February marks the beginning of pruning chores in the garden. This task will be a breeze if you have the right tools. MSU Extension horticulture specialist Gary Bachman recommends three pruning tools every gardener should have. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

Three small sandwiches made with whole wheat slider buns, shredded chicken, and barbecue sauce on a white plate.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Sliders

February 19, 2019

Y’all know I love a good slow cooker recipe. This one is fast and easy, and, depending on your barbecue sauce, can also be healthy. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish / Cindy Callahan)

Close-up of roasted Brussels sprouts coated with Panko breadcrumbs on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper.

The Food Factor | Shake & Bake Brussels Sprouts

February 15, 2019

Growing up, Brussels sprouts were the vegetable every kid on TV loved to hate. Most people think they hate these cute little veggies that resemble tiny cabbages, even if they’ve never tried them. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

A tan-colored cardboard egg carton partially filled with potting soil on top of a floral tablecloth.

Start Seeds Indoors Using Egg Cartons

February 11, 2019

Gardening can feel like a very expensive activity sometimes, but starting seeds for spring planting doesn’t have to be. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

A man in a blue shirt adds a packet of flower food to a clear glass quart jar. White flowers lay beside the jar on a cloth-covered table.

Does Flower Preservative Really Work?

February 8, 2019

Have you ever bought a bouquet of flowers that includes a little packet of powder to add to the vase? Many people just toss it in the trash with the wrapping and stem ends, not knowing just how important that little packet is! (Photo by Zac Ashmore/Cindy Callahan)

Green leaves cover branches that end in pink crape myrtle blossoms.

How to Prune a Crape Myrtle

February 5, 2019

Southern landscapes are filled with crape myrtles of all sizes and colors because they are easy to grow and provide beauty for several months. However, they do need a little TLC this time of year. (Photo by Gary Bachman)

Mashed sweet potatoes in a white ceramic ramekin on a butcher block table.

The Food Factor | Maple Sweet Potatoes

January 30, 2019

After the holidays and the traditional sweet potato casseroles and pies, I’m ready for a lighter, faster take on this Southern staple. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

Blooming, yellow daffodils in the sunshine.

What to do in your garden in February

January 29, 2019

Daffodils are starting to bloom, and that means one thing – spring is right around the corner! If you have the itch to start getting your garden ready, here are a few things you can do during the month of February. (Photo by Michaela Parker)

A clear glass bowl of red raspberries sits on a butcher block table in front of a pint clear glass jar filled with homemade raspberry vinegar and topped with a metal lid and ring. Text overlay reads, "Delicious on salads, pastas, and veggies!"

The Food Factor | How to Make Flavored Vinegar

January 25, 2019

I’m always interested in ways to add flavor to food without adding fat. I like to experiment with herbs, and I recently discovered flavored vinegar. Did you know you can make your own? (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

Common Winter Practices to Avoid superimposed over man adjusting thermostat

Common Winter Practices to Avoid

January 22, 2019

When the temperatures drop for several days, getting warm is the only thing on our minds. Sometimes desperation leads people to make choices they wouldn’t consider otherwise.

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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