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colorful fall leaves

Autumn is the time of year when nature graces us with a perfect landscape of red, orange, and yellow leaves to enjoy. As you take in the beautiful scenery, you may wonder: What causes the leaves to change colors in the fall months? Many people believe frost is the reason, but that’s actually a myth! 


A woman stands outdoors on a grassy lawn.

Cholesterol: What It Is and How to Manage It

February 9, 2021

High cholesterol increases your risk of cardiovascular disease (heart disease), which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Lifestyle change is a key component that can prevent or help manage high cholesterol. 

A pen lies on top of a will.

Do I Need an Estate Plan and Will?

February 5, 2021

Death isn’t something we like to think about. I personally would rather concentrate on living, but I learned something recently. Almost everyone needs an estate plan and a will. Spending the time and effort it takes to put your wishes in writing and having it legally declared will save your heirs money, time, and heartache.

A slice of chocolate angel food cake on a small saucer with the entire cake on a blue platter in the background

The Food Factor: Chocolate Angel Food Cake

February 2, 2021

Last year, our recipe for Tropical Angel Cake was by far our most popular post. So, when we found this recipe for a different take on angel food cake, we knew we had to try it!

Four pots of soil on a blue background.

February Garden Checklist

January 29, 2021

Everyone’s favorite yellow daffodils will be popping up soon and you know what that means! Spring will be here soon! While you wait, there are a few things you can start doing in your yard and garden to get ready for spring.

Chicken tortilla soup in a colorful bowl with a small glass bowl of cilantro in the background

The Food Factor: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

January 26, 2021

In wintertime, I want to come home to a supper that’s ready to eat and will warm me up, inside and out. This spicy soup hits the spot! If you like more zip in your soup, use hot green chiles or hot salsa instead of mild.

Rinse the canned beans to reduce the sodium in this recipe and keep your broth clear. Don’t forget our handy trick for shredding chicken in a hurry: you can use a hand-held mixer on low speed to shred it!

Red fox in a field.

Critter of the Month: Red Fox

January 22, 2021

“What does the fox say?” That’s a question we may never know the answer to, but I’m sure we’ve all heard the song before!

three zucchini fritters on a blue plate

The Food Factor: Zucchini Fritters

January 19, 2021

Zucchini is a versatile and budget-friendly vegetable, and this recipe takes a popular kitchen staple to the next level without a lot of prep time. I like to make these on nights when I want something a little more fancy than sliced zucchini with my meal. It’s also a terrific entrée for your friends or family members who don’t eat meat but will eat dairy and eggs.

Bright green burweed in a patch of dead grass.

How to Treat Lawn Burweed

January 15, 2021

Having “stickers” in your yard can be quite the nuisance. Stumbling upon a patch of stickers while walking barefoot is a painful experience. Plus it’s painful for your four-legged family members! Formally known as lawn burweed, these winter annuals are no fun to deal with.  

A woman and man walk for exercise.

How to Keep Your New Year’s Health Resolutions

January 12, 2021

A new year often signals a new start or reboot, which is a great thing. For many, this means setting health and wellness goals like losing weight, eating healthier, and being more physically active.To be able to achieve your goals and make your resolutions a reality, your goals need to be realistic and measurable.

Apple pie smoothie in a blender

The Food Factor: Apple Pie in a Glass

January 8, 2021

Some of my favorite winter desserts are fruit-based, including apple pie and apple crisp. But as we begin the new year, I need to get back to healthier eating habits!

If you are looking for a bright apple flavor without the calories found in a pie or caramel apple, try this smoothie! A 1-cup serving is just 90 calories!

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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