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A diamondback rattlesnake

Snakes, like other wildlife, need a suitable place to live and enough food to eat. If the area around your home checks these boxes, they may take up residence there. These tips can help reduce the chances of a surprise encounter with a snake around you house.

paperwhite narcissus

How to Grow Paperwhite Narcissus

December 17, 2021

When people think of holiday houseplants, poinsettias usually come to mind. Rightfully so! They’re one of the most popular plants on the market during the holidays. One plant many people overlook for decor during winter months is the paperwhite narcissus. 

A woman stands at a kitchen counter with ingredients displayed.

How to Use Ingredient Substitutes to Lower Sugar and Fat

December 14, 2021

With all the get-togethers, parties, and potlucks during the holiday season, it can be hard to consistently make healthy choices. Instead of giving up some of your holiday favorites, consider reducing the sugar and unhealthy fats in these dishes by swapping some of the ingredients for healthier substitutes. Qula shows you some easy swaps in her latest blog post!

Red poinsettias

How to Choose and Care for Poinsettias

December 8, 2021

Other than the Christmas tree, there’s no holiday plant more sought-after than the poinsettia. Although the most popular color for this winter favorite is Christmas red, you may find white, pink, yellow, maroon, and multi-color versions at your local garden store. Poinsettias are fragile and finnicky indoor plants, but they can add a bit of holiday cheer to any space with the right care! Here are a few tips on how to choose the best-looking poinsettias, and how to maintain them throughout the season.

Cinnamon Walnut Pecan Pie Bites on a plate

The Food Factor: Cinnamon Walnut Pecan Pie Bites

December 7, 2021

If you’re watching your calories this season, this Cinnamon Walnut Pecan Pie Bites recipe will satisfy your craving for pecan pie and help keep your portions sensible.

A coyote walking.

Critter of the Month: Coyote

December 3, 2021

At a quick glance, coyotes can be mistaken for a domestic dog, like a German shepherd or collie. But this wild dog species can be trouble if they take up residence in your neighborhood. 

Coyotes are abundant in Mississippi and are natural predators, preying on animals like small dogs, cats, birds, and rodents. They also can damage land. 

You may only hear coyotes and never actually see them. Their distinguishable howl is one sure sign they’ve taken up residence in your area. Most coyotes are active at night or during times when humans are not around. Coyotes are...

Frost on a plant.

Gardening Checklist for December

November 30, 2021

It’s hard to believe we will be closing out another year at the end of the month. If you’ve followed our monthly garden checklist, we know it’s been a busy year for you! Staying on top of the chores in your yard and garden is quite the undertaking, but isn’t it rewarding? To wrap up the year, here are a few things to take care of:

  1. Keep an eye on the weather. Mississippi is known for its unpredictable weather, and you don’t want a sudden cold snap to ruin your plants! Bring cold-sensitive container plants indoors and apply 6 to 8 inches of mulch in your garden or flower beds
  2. ...
People serve their plates at a buffet-style dinner.

3 Tips to Maintain Healthy Habits During the Holidays

November 23, 2021

If you always find yourself off track in the diet department this time of year, you’re not alone. But if we partake thoughtfully this holiday season, we can still enjoy our favorite things without the guilt.

Close up of a sliced quesadilla.

The Food Factor: Turkey Cranberry Quesadilla

November 26, 2021

Thanksgiving festivities have come to an end, and you probably have an abundance of leftover turkey and cranberry sauce. This Turkey Cranberry Quesadilla is a fresh take on the turkey sandwich and is just as easy.

Christmas trees on a farm.

Five Types of Popular Live Christmas Trees

November 19, 2021

Choosing, cutting, and bringing home a real Christmas tree is a fun tradition for many families during the holiday season. Around 32,000 Christmas trees are sold in Mississippi each year! Whether you go to a Christmas tree farm or to a local retail store, you’ll likely be presented with a few options to choose from.

Closeup of a person cleaning leaves out of a gutter.

How to Winterize Your Home

November 16, 2021

Take what’s left of this fall to make sure your home is ready for cold weather. Winterizing your home can save you money on your heating bills and help you avoid costly repairs.


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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, Qula Madkin, 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