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November 15, 2019

Roasted Brussels sprouts on a serving dish.

Eating seasonal vegetables helps you get the most nutritional bang for your buck. Brussels sprouts are wildly popular right now and are easy to prepare. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/MSU Extension)


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.

A man with a white goatee and dark-framed glasses leans on a table behind a small LED table lamp and a tray of seedlings. He wears a blue floral Hawaiian shirt and brown hat.

LED Lights for Starting Seeds Indoors

January 18, 2019

For people who love gardening, the long, dark, cold winter months can be torture. Gardening catalogs are fine, but their allure can only last so long before we want to get our hands back in the soil! (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

A thin stream of water drips from a stainless steel kitchen sink faucet.

How to Properly Drip a Water Faucet

January 15, 2019

Fortunately, we live in a state that doesn’t see a lot of bitterly cold winter weather. However, it can still get cold, even in the Deep South. When the weather forecast shows temperatures staying below freezing for several days, be prepared to drip your indoor faucets to keep your pipes from freezing and possibly breaking. (Photo by Michaela Parker/Cindy Callahan)

A colorful display of fruits and vegetables features a head of white cauliflower in the center with tomatoes, bell peppers, yellow squash, potatoes, plums and more radiating outward.

The Food Factor | How to Get More Vegetables in Your Diet

January 11, 2019

We all know we need to eat more vegetables, but finding ways to include them in our busy lives can be a challenge. It’s easy to get in a rut and eat the same vegetables year-round, but you may find some tasty options if you try something new! (Photo by Canstock)

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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