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Family Blog Posts

Two children waiting at a well-lit door for Halloween treats.

October 16, 2018

Halloween is a fun time for all! Who doesn’t love dressing up as something or someone you could only be in your wildest dreams? And not to mention the candy! Oh, the candy. Kids of all ages look forward to a bucket full of treats! (Photo by Michaela Parker)

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

September 18, 2018

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

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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Fireworks explode against a dark sky and above a large body of water.

June 29, 2018

Many people celebrate Independence Day with fireworks. However, it pays to be cautious with these beautiful explosives. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

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A teenage boy in a blue and white long-sleeved shirt and protective gear, including a red and black helmet and black gloves, rides a red ATV around orange cones during a safety class. (Kevin Hudson)

June 5, 2018

It's ATV Safety Week! (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

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An African American woman with braided hair and wearing a white sweater shares a board book with her infant daughter who wears a coral shirt.

May 29, 2018

Most parents are too busy for a college course in child development, but want to help their babies grow into children who are successful in learning and ultimately successful in life. (Photo by Canstock)

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An orange sunset on Biloxi beach with the Gulf of Mexico in the background.

April 10, 2018

When I think of the beach, I picture soft, white sand and pristine, blue water. But our beaches and oceans have a dirty little secret: trash.
 
That’s right, several tons of trash end up in our waterways and on our beaches every year in Mississippi. In 2017 alone, volunteers with the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup collected 13 tons of trash from 40 sites along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This trash isn’t just unsightly. It threatens the Gulf Coast’s ecosystem.
 

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Photo of a gray and white Craftsman style house illustrates a list of seven tips for making homes healthier.

March 5, 2018

Taking care of your home will make it a healthier environment for your loved ones. (Illustration designed by Beth Barron)

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A woman with a dog in front of chocolates, which can make dogs sick.

February 20, 2018

It’s National Love Your Pet Day, so give those four-legged family members extra special treatment. More noggin’ pats and extra-long walks are in order. But be careful with the treats. Some human foods can be harmful to pets. For dogs, that includes chocolate. (Photo/video credit: MSU Extension/ Brian Utley)

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This Valentine's arrangement has a stuffed bear and a red heart hugging an arrangement of twigs with candy attached using red ribbon.

February 6, 2018

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you might already be racking your brain for a gift idea to give to that special someone. Have you ever thought of making the gift yourself?    (Photo/video by Jonathan Parrish)

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Graphic with five tips for staying healthy during winter

January 19, 2018

With more than 200 viruses that cause the common cold, it may seem impossible to avoid getting sick.
Flu cases in the southern states are unusually high this year, as well.
(Graphic by: Kim Trimm)

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

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

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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Two women smile as they enjoy colorful potted ornamental plants.

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

flowers

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.

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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Bud vases filled with greenery, holly berries and roses

November 28, 2017

With Thanksgiving celebrations behind us, we’re beginning to decorate our homes for Christmas, and calendars are filling up with Christmas parties. That has everyone thinking about hostess gifts, parting gifts and thoughtful gifts for friends.

Our floral design specialist Jim DelPrince has an easy, inexpensive bud vase that can meet all those needs. He’ll show you how it’s done.

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Invasive fire ants crawl over a mound of soil. (File photo by MSU Extension/Kat Lawrence)

November 8, 2017

Just when we think we’ve conquered our tiny foes, it rains, and fresh fire ant mounds pop up in our yard.

Like many tasks around the house, fighting fire ants feels like a constant battle. My husband and I finally started seeing some progress when we followed recommendations from MSU Extension’s expert, Dr. Blake Layton. (Yeah, that’s a side benefit of my job, learning all kinds of practical information!)

You can find information specifically targeted for the areas in which you want to control fire ants at this dedicated fire ant ...Read more

a thumbs up symbol for remembering to say thank you while trick or treating.

October 23, 2017

Halloween brings back all kinds of memories from my childhood. From uncomfortable masks to itchy, thick face paint, not all of my brilliant costumes turned out as well as I had imagined. When I got too old to go out, I loved to answer the door and ask the kids to demonstrate skills related to their costume. 

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A diverse group of youth displaying 4-H signs.

October 3, 2017

Ready “to make the best better”? October 1 is the official start of the 4-H year!*

*If you don’t know what 4-H is, start here, with 4-H Wants You!

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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

Recent Posts

Black and white Hostein cows and light brown Jersey cows graze on green grass.

Holstein and Jersey cows from Mississippi State University’s award-winning dairy herd graze in a pasture. (File photo by Kat Lawence)

From the Field: Where Does Milk Come From?
Two children waiting at a well-lit door for Halloween treats.
Tips for a Safe Halloween
Several browned bone-in chicken thighs on top of halved baby potatoes and green beans on a foil-covered sheet pan.
Sheet Pan Greek Chicken