February 22, 2018

A brown swallowtail butterfly with white spots drinks nectar from a flowering pink and yellow lantana plant.

Sometimes bad news can feel overwhelming, as if one person can do little to make a difference. Growing plants that support honeybees and butterflies doesn’t solve a major world problem, but it can give these important pollinators a boost while also offering loads of beautiful color to your yard or garden. Now is the time to plan! (Photo credit: Kat Lawrence)

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Close-up of a young leafy green vegetable plant growing in a salad table with other herbs and marigolds.

Prepare for Spring: Build Your Salad Table Now

January 16, 2018

If you are planning for your vegetable garden this spring, a salad table or two might be in order. Salad tables are a great addition to a traditional vegetable garden or wonderful on their own.
​(Photo by Kevin Hudson)

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Five baked muffins loaded with fruit and nuts on a green floral plate. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)

Cook’s Choice Muffins

January 12, 2018

Sometimes you need a quick energy boost that doesn’t leave you feeling guilty.

And sometimes your food preferences or allergies don’t line up with the ready-made options available, box mixes, or the recipes you find on Pinterest.

One solution to this problem is a recipe I like to call “Cook’s Choice Muffins.”

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Two birds visit a platform feeder full of black oil sunflower seeds

How to choose backyard bird feeders

January 9, 2018

2018 arrived with a breath of fresh, frigid air. Colder temperatures can mean limited food for our feathered friends. Many people like to provide supplemental food for birds in the winter, which is a great way to draw birds to your backyard for observation.

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Four Crispy Rice Peanut Butter Bites made with oats, peanut butter, mini chocolate chips, crispy rice cereal, and honey sit on a small dark turquoise plate with a floral border.

From Scratch: Crispy Rice Peanut Butter Bites

January 5, 2018

Need some energy but want full control over the ingredients in your treats? Look no further!
These tasty, bite-sized snacks are quick and easy to make, and don’t require any baking. If you have little hands to keep busy, this is a fun recipe to make together – you can learn about fractions and get them to help make their own food. Learning can be so sweet!
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Two women smile as they enjoy colorful potted ornamental plants.

Volunteer in the New Year

January 3, 2018

If you’d like to volunteer more in the New Year, Extension has some wonderful opportunities. We have volunteer organizations designed for all ages and interests, including gardening, healthcare, natural resources and youth development.

Here’s a brief description of four of our...Read more

Snow covers a split-rail fence and trees near Mount Locust on the Natchez Trace in Jefferson County, Mississippi on Dec. 8, 2017.

From the Field: Winter Wonderland

December 15, 2017

The wintery weather last week caught us off guard! Several of our Ag Communications team members were on the road . . . including our photographer Kevin Hudson. On his way home he captured this beautiful scene.

We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season. Our offices will be closed from Dec. 21 to January 2, 2018.

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A mixture of rice, apples, raisins and almonds is displayed in a colorful bowl.

Add local rice to your holiday menu

December 13, 2017

Looking for something a little different for your holiday menu this year?

Consider adding Orange Wild Rice with Raisins and Apples to your lineup. Apples, raisins and orange juice add some sweetness to the savory rice, and the almonds give it a bit of added texture. Leaving out the parsley will allow more of the fruity notes to come through.

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The FARMtastic logo depicts a red barn with a brown wooden fence and features a tan horse, a white and brown cow, a pink pig with gray spots, a corn plant on the left of the fence and a wheat plant on the right.

From the Field: Behind the Scenes of FARMtastic

December 8, 2017

Looking in from the outside, FARMtastic appears to function like a well-oiled machine. Delighted children move in a choreographed dance from station to station to learn where their food, fiber and fuel comes from.

 

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flowers

Adjusting binoculars for birdwatching

December 6, 2017

Teaching your children or grandchildren about nature can start in your own backyard. Birdwatching is a simple, inexpensive way to start a conversation about our natural resources and their importance in the ecosystem.

But first, you’ll need a set of binoculars that you can actually see through clearly. If you have only one set, you’ll want to adjust them properly for each user. 

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Dunes with grass appear in the foreground with the sun shining on the blue waters of the Mississippi Sound at Graveline Bayou in Jackson County.

From the Field: Managing Stress

December 1, 2017

Take a deep breath. It’s December 1.

The year is almost over, which feels impossible.

Your “To Do” list may cover several pages. Your calendar may be full.

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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