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Closeup of soft granola bars on a plate.

Keeping a healthy snack on hand is a good way to avoid impulse eating. These Soft Granola Bars, filled with whole grains, dried fruit, and honey instead of sugar, are a tasty treat when I want something sweet, and they keep me away from the vending machine or drive-through.


Yellow and red fertilizer cans.

How to Understand Fertilizers

May 14, 2021

Fertilizing your lawn and garden is an important maintenance step that shouldn’t be overlooked. Fertilizer helps plants get established, keeps plants healthy, and encourages growth. But with so many different types of fertilizers and ratios, knowing which kind to use can be confusing.

A woman stands behind a kitchen counter.

Salt and Sodium: Do You Know the Difference?

May 11, 2021

Although people tend to use the terms salt and sodium interchangeably, salt and sodium are two different things. Sodium is a mineral we all need to live. Table salt by weight contains about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. Most Americans eat too much. Here's how to reduce the amount of sodium you eat.

A black and white skunk.

Critter of the Month: Striped Skunk

May 7, 2021

A skunk knows how to make its presence known. With their furry black and white coats and pungent odor, they’re hard to miss! Mississippi is home to two species of skunks: the spotted skunk and the striped skunk. The striped skunk is the most commonly found skunk in the state and are easily identified by, you guessed it, a white stripe on their back. 

a small bowl with a serving of fruity French toast casserole with a 9x13 pan in the background

The Food Factor: Fruity French Toast Casserole

May 4, 2021

Using up extra bread has never been so tasty! Whether you want to make something special for your family’s weekend breakfast or you are entertaining company, this Fruity French Toast Casserole is loaded with flavor.

I love incorporating fresh seasonal fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries, into this recipe. But you can also use canned or frozen fruits, which you can often find on sale. By choosing a healthy whole-grain bread, you’re starting your day with a hearty serving of fiber that will see you through a busy morning. And you can use leftover whole wheat rolls or hamburger buns, which helps you avoid food waste and save money.

Freshly mowed lawn.

May Garden Checklist

April 30, 2021

As warmer weather creeps in, many people find themselves spending more time outdoors and working in their yards. If you’re like me, you’ve probably made a trip or two to your local garden center looking for plants and other garden necessities. After reading over May’s garden checklist, it looks like you may need to make a few more trips. Here are some tasks to check off this month. 

Graphic showing differences between carpenter bees and bumble bees

What’s the Difference in Carpenter Bees and Bumble Bees?

April 27, 2021

What’s the difference between a carpenter bee and a bumble bee? A lot. They look similar, but they are very different. Find out more about the habits of each one.

How to Pick Plants for Containers

April 23, 2021

It’s that time of the year when people are on the hunt for the perfect container plant combos. It’s tempting to head to the local garden center, pick out the best-looking flowers, and plant them with wild abandon. However, planning is an important part of the gardening process. Before you go to the garden center, decide where you want to put your container. This will help you purchase the right flowers for the space.

Chicken alfreado in a colorful bowl

The Food Factor: Chicken Alfredo with a Twist

April 20, 2021

Alfredo sauce is a favorite comfort food in my circle of friends and family. Loaded with butter, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese, traditional alfredo sauce packs a lot of calories and unhealthy fats into one dish. So I was excited to find this recipe for Chicken Alfredo with a Twist! It’s a Food Factor Makeover!

old paint, batteries, and medications.

How to Recycle or Dispose of Hazardous Household Waste

April 16, 2021

If you’ve been spring cleaning, you may have come across some items you need to donate, recycle, or throw out. Learn what to do with items that shouldn't go in the regular trash or standard recycling bins.

A lady stands in a kitchen.

Let’s Do Lunch!

April 13, 2021

Growing up, I was always told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it is essential.But all our meals count. Here are a few tips to help you get a nutrient-filled lunch.

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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