May 18, 2018

Pink coneflowers which are native to Mississippi.

Native plants are excellent choices for any landscape. They are adapted to the climate, which makes them low-maintenance. Planting native varieties of flowers, plants and shrubs provides food and shelter for native wildlife. (Photo by Tim Allison)

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

Go Green: Make Your Own Household Cleaners

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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In the Field with Jay McCurdy: Pre-emergent Herbicides for the Lawn

March 2, 2018

If you want to get rid of weeds in your home lawn, now is the time to apply herbicides to control them.

Late February and early March is the ideal window to apply pre-emergent herbicides that control various weeds in home lawns. But you want to make sure you buy the right ones and apply them correctly.

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Miniature green bok choi plants grow in small window box containers.

Go Green: How to Simplify Gardening

February 26, 2018

Intimidated by gardening? Yes?
Our advice: start small. You don’t have to commit to a half-acre garden. Try planting a few of your favorite vegetables in containers.
(Photo by Gary Bachman)

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

How to Plant a Pollinator-Friendly Landscape

February 22, 2018

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

Love Your Pet Day

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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USDA graphic explains egg grades and sizes and what the carton labels mean

Get the Facts on Eggs

February 16, 2018

Eggs are a staple in most kitchens, and for good reason. They’re a great source of protein and can be prepared a variety of ways for any meal of the day. They’re even good snacks. (Photo by USDA)

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Green leaves cover branches that end in pink crape myrtle blossoms.

How to Prune a Crape Myrtle

February 12, 2018

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)

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An assortment of green, orange, and red vegetables are arranged in a heart shape.

February is Heart Health Month!

February 9, 2018

Wearing red in February isn’t just for Valentine’s Day. It’s also worn to raise awareness of the dangers of heart disease.
The American Heart Association reports about 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day. 

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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.

How to Make a Quick and Easy Valentine's Day Gift

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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A football referee in a black and white striped shirt blows a whistle while another raises his arms to signal a touchdown. Another illustration uses a thermometer to depict the proper freezing, refrigeration, cooking and holding temperatures for food.

Score a Major Win with Food Safety

February 2, 2018

I may not be very interested in football, but I love food. So for me, Superbowl parties are all about the snacks! (Photo credit: Karen Blakeslee/Kansas State University Research & Extension)

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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