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September 18, 2018

Three young people drive ATVs on a marked course in a field during a safety training.

Abbye Buchanan, of Florence, is the 2018 winner of the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H ATV Safety PSA Contest. Buchanan is 11 years old and has been a member of 4-H for 3 years. (File photo/MSU Extension Service)

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A close-up of a fire ant mound.

How to Get a Handle on Fire Ants

August 10, 2018

Fire ants are everywhere. If you’ve thrown your hands up in exasperation trying to deal with them, don’t give up just yet. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)

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Children stand around a large garbage can while they shuck the husks and silks from ears of corn.

Tips for Gardening with Children

August 6, 2018

Gardens are great outdoor classrooms, and schools are increasingly embracing gardens to enhance their students’ learning. Home gardens are also perfect for hands-on outdoor experiences that are both fun and educational.  

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Colored pencils, paper clips, tacks, markers, a ruler, scissors, and a pencil rest at the top of a chalkboard with Back-to-School Lunch Tips written on it in white chalk.

Tips to Make Back-to-School Lunches Easy

August 3, 2018

Students will be headed back to the classroom this month, and it’s important to make sure they have the proper nutrition to fuel their learning. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A paper wasp on a multi-cell nest.

Learn more about bugs with Bug’s Eye View

July 31, 2018

Mississippi has an abundance of bugs, especially in the warmer months. We are all familiar with mosquitoes, bumblebees, and house flies. But I bet there are bugs around your house and yard that you can’t identify. (Photo by Blake Layton)

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Stirring corn salad in a glass bowl

How to Make Fresh Corn Salad

July 27, 2018

If you’re looking for a fresh and low-fat summertime potluck food that features locally grown produce, this fresh corn salad is quick to make and is a crowd pleaser. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Art Shirley)

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A pitcher of iced, flavored water sits in the center of a halved watermelon, bowls of cubed watermelon, limes and jalapenos.

3 Flavored Water Recipes to Beat the Heat

July 24, 2018

It’s hard to stay hydrated in the heat and humidity of summer if you aren’t a fan of water. Sodas and other caffeinated and sugary drinks can contribute to dehydration, so what should you do if you just can’t drink another glass of plain old water? (Photo by Jonathan Parrish)

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Freshly blanched green beans in a bowl.

How to Blanch Vegetables Before Freezing

July 20, 2018

If you have a lot of fresh produce you want to preserve, freezing is the fastest and easiest method. But before you throw those veggies in a freezer bag, check to see if they should be blanched. (Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A plant with light green leaves and white flowers on tall stems grows in the shade under a tree.

What Plants Thrive in the Shade?

July 17, 2018

With Mississippi's legendary summer heat, everyone wants some shade trees in the home landscape. But with shade comes a unique challenge: what plants thrive with less sunlight? (Photo by Gary Bachman)

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Homemade pico de gallo in a white container placed in the center of a wooden bowl of tortilla chips.

How to Make Pico de Gallo

July 13, 2018

Summertime means homegrown tomatoes, or tasty tomatoes picked up at the local farmers market. One of my favorite ways to use these seasonal treats is a fresh summer salsa that’s delicious on top of grilled fish or chicken, a healthy addition to a baked potato, or the perfect match for tortilla chips and taco salad. I personally love tortilla chips with lime! (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)

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A brown tick is pictured next to a penny on a gray background.

Protect Yourself from Mosquitos and Ticks

July 10, 2018

Whether you work or play outdoors in the summertime, you are a prime target for mosquitos and ticks.

Aside from being irritating, insect pests can carry bacteria, parasites and viruses, such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which could make humans sick. It’s important to protect yourself. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)

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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