Black Ice: What You Need To Know

Black ice is one of the biggest dangers that you can encounter on the road today. Black ice is a hidden danger that can impact your driving without you ever realizing it. Whether you are currently taking driving lessons or you have had your license for a long time, it’s important to know what black ice is, why it’s dangerous, and what to do if you encounter it.

What Is Black Ice?

Black ice is a dangerous phenomenon that is known to cause many alert drivers to lose control of their vehicles, but what exactly is black ice? What causes the phenomenon known as black ice? Black ice is not exactly invisible, as many people are wont to say, but it can easily blend in with the background, because it is essentially ice that is just forming.

Black ice occurs when the surface of a road is 32 degrees or less, which is the temperature at which freezing conditions begin, but the air above it is warmer. When it rains, the droplets fall to the ground as water, but upon contact with the ground, they turn into ice. It often blends into the road so that it is largely undetectable by the human eye. Black ice also tends to form under light snowfall, which obscures it from detection. Remember, black ice can form if the temperature of the air is above freezing, so even things such as heavy rainfall under the right conditions can cause black ice. 

Why Is Black Ice Dangerous?

Black ice is dangerous due to the fact that when it comes to matters of detection, it is very hard, and sometimes it is even impossible, for people to see it. As such, people believe that they are driving on road with relatively safe conditions, and drive in a manner in which they would drive on dry, non-icy roads, when they actually should be driving more cautiously.

People tend to drive faster speeds and perhaps a bit more “loosely” than they would if they knew there were awful driving conditions that abound.

There are also more substantive reasons for black ice being dangerous. Black ice creates a condition of iciness and water, which means that your vehicle has a greater tendency to slide and also has very little in the way of traction. There are numerous tips that one can give for driving under such conditions.

Tips For Driving On Black Ice

Black ice should never be taken lightly. First and foremost, the biggest problem with driving on black ice is that people don’t realize that they’re about to hit a patch of black ice. This is why it pays to preventative in the conditions that create black ice.

If you are driving in weather in which ice can occur, or if you believe it is cold enough that the black ice phenomenon can occur, then drive accordingly. Firstly, make sure that you aren’t engaging in any activities that would result in distracted driving, and keep your eyes strictly peeled to the road. Ensure that you are maintaining a wide following distance from the car in front of you. Maintain alertness and if you notice cars ahead of you slipping and sliding, start to slow down and prepare to hit a patch of black ice. When you do hit a patch of black ice, do not hit your brakes, but take your foot off of the acceleration pedal and steer the car into a stable position.

Black ice can be a dangerous phenomenon, but with these tips you should find yourself being able to avoid any problems should you come into contact with it.

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5 Alternative Classroom Birthday Treats Ideal For Younger Children

Every school year, numerous children get a special day in class where their birthday is celebrated and honored. Long gone are the days where it’s OK to just send in a platter of cupcakes and let everyone chow down. Peanut sensitivities, gluten-free diets, and artificial ingredient restrictions have made it tough to plan meals. Luckily, celebrating a classroom birthday for your younger child has plenty of other options. This includes celebrations at both traditional schools and child care centers with preschool programs. The following five alternative birthday treats give children plenty to look forward to and can make the celebration memorable for everyone involved.

Birthday Puzzle Erasers

Pencils are a very common gift for classrooms, so you can take things one step further by offering children puzzle erasers. These erasers feature different components that can be pulled apart and placed back together again.

For birthday themes, you can purchase bulk quantities of puzzle erasers in designs that include cake slices, party hats, and balloons. Along with birthday designs, puzzle erasers are available in animal shapes, holiday shapes, and a variety of foods like hamburgers and pizza. When shopping, look for a variety pack that provides you with plenty of options for the young children.

Food Treat Coupons

Even if you cannot bring food directly in the classroom, you can provide a nice snack for every child to get at a later date. Many fast food restaurants offer small food coupon books. These coupons contain a variety of treats like small ice cream cones, apple slices, and hamburgers. Sometimes these treat books are not advertised, so it’s a good idea to request them or research a specific restaurant.

If there are not food-specific coupons available, then you can find one dollar booklets to give each child a special certificate. This all depends on the classroom size, so it’s important to budget and plan accordingly.

Food Accessories

Another food-related option are food accessories. Instead of giving a treat, you can give young children an entertaining way to enjoy snack and lunch time. One of the easiest food accessory gifts for the classroom are silly straws. Available in multiple shapes and colors, the straws are cheap and easy to distribute among a classroom full of children.

Additional food accessories include novelty spoons, plastic cups with character designs, or fun party supplies like plates and napkins that children can use in the lunchroom. If you find good prices, you can mix two or more of these items together to distribute with the classroom.

Papercraft Printouts

Give young children a fun activity that will also encourage the growth and development of fine motor skills. Papercraft projects are small folding projects that can feature a number of designs. They are printed on cardstock paper, and children can cut and fold the pages to create various designs. For younger children, like a preschool classroom, you could even pre-cut the papercrafts so they just have to fold them.

As you select the free papercraft projects, there are numerous designs to choose from. Birthday themes include a birthday cake design where children can fold a realistic looking piece of birthday cake. Pop-culture papercraft designs include a number of cube characters. This includes cartoon characters like Super Mario, SpongeBob Squarepants, or heroes like Captain America. Choose designs that cater to your child’s interest.

Surprise Egg Toys

Egg toys are trendy all over the world and they can provide a nice classroom treat to help celebrate the birthday of your younger child. One of the best parts of giving egg toys is the mystery and surprise that comes with it.

When purchasing bulk toy eggs, you can find a variety of options that are pre-packaged and have small novelties on the inside. These toys are not just available around Easter; you can purchase them all year long from a variety of websites.

As you plan any treat or special birthday celebration, it’s important to communicate with the classroom teacher. You want to ensure that the celebration is approved and will not hinder on specific classroom activities. For more information about what may or may not be acceptable in a classroom, contact a child care center like Learning Tree Schools.

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Should You Become A Medical Assistant?

If you’re stuck in a job that leaves you too mentally and physically drained at the end of the day to enjoy the time spent with family, you’re likely considering a career change to avoid total burnout. However, with bills and responsibilities, you may not feel you have the time to invest in your education by going to college full-time for the next four years. If you’ve always enjoyed jobs that allow you to interact with a diverse population and perform a number of skilled duties, you may be able to find your niche as a medical assistant — without spending much additional time in school. Read on to learn more about this profession and what you’ll need to do to get started.

Will your skills and abilities be a good fit for this profession?

A successful medical assistant possesses a number of different skills. Much of your workday will likely be spent on administrative tasks — answering phones, scheduling appointments, greeting and escorting patients, and processing payments. Depending upon the type of medicine your managing physician practices, you could also find yourself taking vital signs, helping patients pick out glasses or contact lenses, or even drawing blood. You’ll need a friendly, professional demeanor and the ability to prioritize and juggle multiple tasks at once.

Although you won’t have as much hands-on patient contact as others in the medical field, if you’re squeamish about blood, vomit, or other bodily fluids, this may not be the right field for you. You’ll also need the physical ability to spend much of your day standing or walking, and good typing and word processing skills are important.

What education will you need to become a medical assistant? 

If you’re concerned about being able to balance your current job with the training needed to pursue this career, you shouldn’t worry — you’ll be able to become a medical assistant with only a one-year certificate or associate’s degree. For those who need an immediate career change, the short (but intense) training period required to become a certified medical assistant can help boost earnings quickly.

Those who would prefer the more flexible schedule permitted by an associate’s degree instead should be able to enroll in a local community college or even obtain this degree online. You’ll be able to take classes as you can fit them into your current work and home schedule, paying as you go to help keep educational costs low. This degree can be completed in two years, but you’ll be able to stretch this time period out as needed to accommodate your lifestyle.

Although each state’s programs differ slightly, some of the classes you’ll need to complete to become a certified and credentialed medical assistant include anatomy, physiology, biology, accounting, and even business law. These classes can help give you the background, vocabulary, and knowledge you’ll need to successfully navigate the world of medicine.

What should you do to get started? 

Each state sets its own requirements for the education, licensing, and certification of medical assistants. You’ll first need to check out your state’s regulations to determine exactly what level of education and training may be required, as well as factors that could prevent you from ever being able to be certified (like a criminal record). 

Once you’ve determined what you’ll need to do to qualify for this career, you’ll want to decide whether a certificate program or associate’s degree is the right fit. If your family can do without your regular income for up to a year, you may opt to quit your job and enroll in a certificate program. However, those who don’t have the luxury of becoming a full-time student may want to investigate course offerings at the local community college to see how a future schedule may look. Finally, you’ll want to speak with an admissions counselor about application deadlines, financial aid, and other important considerations you’ll need to take into account when embarking on your new career.

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Make Daycare Drop-Off Easier By Making A “Goodbye” Book For Your Child

Daycare drop offs can be hard for both the child and the parent, especially if the child is crying and doesn’t want to stay. Luckily, there are ways to make this daily transition easier, including making a “goodbye” book. A goodbye book helps your child predict and understand what is going to happen each day, and it helps to create a soothing rhythm for your child.

Want to make one? Here are a few tips on creating one:

1. Buy a photo album to use as the base of your book.

Your goodbye book is going to feature a series of pictures and some simple text that tells the story of your child’s morning routine and daycare drop off. You can simply fold pieces of printer paper together and staple them in the middle, but that can be a bit flimsy.

If you want a book that your toddler can read over and over and even take with them to daycare, you want to use a photo album. A simple album with paper pages and spiral binding works great, or you can use the classic ring-binder style albums with clear, plastic pages that you slip photos into.

2. Choose the events to include in the book.

Once you have a photo album, you want to decide which events to include in the book. Ideally, the book should sum up what you and your child do every morning, so make sure not to include events if you cannot consistently make them happen.

An example goodbye book could include a picture of a child eating breakfast, brushing his or her teeth, grabbing his or her backpack, riding in the car, saying goodbye to mom or dad at daycare, and then playing happily at daycare.

You can also include a scene where you pick up your child — that can be especially soothing for kids who are worried that you may not come back.

3. Create or find images to include in the book.

Once you have selected the events for the goodbye book, you need to find or create images. You can draw pictures, you can cut out photos from magazines, or you can even use your camera to take real photos of your child doing each of those things.

Once you have the images, simply slip them into the book. If you have an album with paper pages, you will glue the images into the books or use photo squares to hold them in place. If you have an album with plastic photo pages, you just slip the photos, magazine pictures or drawings inside the pages as usual.

4. Read the book with your toddler.

Repetition is a key part of the toddler learning experience. Toddlers repeat things so that they learn them, but they also use repetition as confirmation that things will stay the same and be predictable. Typically, you will see your toddler use repetition as they repeatedly bang a spoon on a table, as they beg you for “one more” piggy back ride, or as they enjoy the same story over and over again.

You can also use the need for repetition to help teach your child what to expect during daycare drop off. Once you have the goodbye book ready, read it to your child. Then, read it to your child again and again. Through repeated telling and retelling, your child will learn what to expect, and as as a result, the daily daycare drop off will get easier and easier.

5. Mirror the book’s plot in your daycare drop off routine.

Now that your child knows what to expect, make sure to mirror that routine every day. Make sure that you work through the steps or events in the book. As your child does the same routine during every daycare drop off and gets the chance to have that routine reinforced through the book, he or she will be more able to say goodbye peacefully and calmly.

A goodbye books helps your child trust that the daycare drop off experience will be the same every time, and as your child gets comfortable with the drop off experience, he or she will also get more comfortable with the notion that you will always come back. For more tips and ideas on how to make daycare drop off easier, contact a daycare professional at a school like Miniapple International Montessori School


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So You Want To Learn To Fly – Four Popular Planes You Might Be Training In

It is a dream of many to soar above the clouds, to see the world through a bird’s eyes. Most of the time, people with that dream take a test flight with an instructor and end up hooked. If you go for your private pilot’s license at a school like Parkland College, you’re looking at ground school as well as air time in single engine trainer planes. In a way, these planes are the “compact cars” of aviation, small, easy to maneuver and forgiving of pilot errors. Below are four of the most popular aircraft used in private pilot training.


Cessna is a big name in the aircraft world, and the maker of some of the most commonly used training planes. Their distinctive overhead wing design gives pilots an unobstructed view beneath the plane, making it perfect for visually “getting your bearings.” Of course, you’ll learn to plot your course in flight school, but it’s always nice to get a panoramic view of your destination airport and its runways as you approach.

Cessna 150 and 152

The Cessna 150 came out in 1959 and it’s considered to be the most popular trainer. In 1978 the 150 was replaced with the 152. These are two-seater planes, with little space left over for belongings. Cessna eventually redesigned the cockpit, curving the doors outward to widen the seating area and dropping the floor of the plane to provide more leg-room.

The plane makes up for its small size with sturdy tricycle-type landing gear, shorter take-off and landing requirements and an extra long warning before a stall, all beneficial to new pilots. It’s a lighter plane that needs less fuel, which means it will usually cost less to rent a 150 or 152 to put in your required air time. The downside of being light is that you’ll have a bumpy ride if you hit even moderate turbulence.

Cessna 172

The Cessna 172 is the 150s bigger brother. It’s heavier, which means it handles turbulence better, and has four seats, but the cabin is still pretty tight. Some flying schools start pilots out in the 172; others use the 172 after the pilot has already started training in the 150.  The Cessna 172 is often used for instrument flight training, or IFR, a skill that qualifies pilots to fly in less than perfect weather.  The 172 is fuel efficient, making it a popular rental option for students and graduated pilots.


Piper planes are also a flying school favorite. Unlike the Cessna, the wings are built low on the sides of the plane, giving the pilot a clear view overhead but still far enough back to give good side visibility.

Piper Cherokee

The Piper Cherokee was designed by Pug (Howard) Piper, who wanted to prove he could build a metal plane for the same cost as a fabric one. He placed the wings low to make the plane more maneuverable on the ground, and better able to handle crosswinds. The Cherokee is lightweight, with triangle landing gear and four seats. The cabin may feel a bit tight if fully loaded. The Cherokee engines start out at 150 hp, compared to the Cessna 150 and 152, which can start out at 100 hp.  The plane burns a little more fuel, but is still cost effective for training hours and as a rental.

Piper Warrior

The Piper Warrior is a newer version of the Cherokee, with some visible improvements. One is the tapered wings with their two-foot wider wingspans. Part of this was for aesthetics, but the wing style also makes the plane easier to handle in a stall. The tips of the wings point slightly downward, which creates lift even when the engine stalls. This gives the pilot more time to restart the plane and regain control. This four-seater has a bit more room in the cabin. The longer wings also make it easier to get off the ground on a shorter runway.

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Two Nursing Specialties You Will Find At Top Nursing Colleges

If you have a love for people, want to work in the medical field, and are looking for job security, you should consider a career in nursing. It is estimated that there will be a need for more than one million new nurses in the field between now and 2022. While approximately half of these will be needed to replace nurses who are retiring or leaving the field for other reasons, the other half will be due to the growing demand. Some of this demand is being created for nurses who have specialized training found at some of the top nursing colleges around the country. If you are interested, here are a couple of the specialties you may consider.

Nurse Informaticist

A nurse informaticist works with the developers of the communication and information systems to ensure the following are done:

  • Health care policy used to advance the public’s health is defined.
  • Information and communication technologies are available to address the interprofessional work flow needs.
  • Data and communication standards needed to build an interoperable national data infrastructure are in place.
  • Dissemination of new knowledge into the practice by various research methodologies.
  • Ensure information presentation and retrieval practices are in place that will support safe and secure patient-centered care.
  • Help provide the vision, as well as the management used for the development, design, and implementation of all of the communication, as well as information technology used within a practice.

You will be able to find these positions not only in the health care field, but also within private businesses, industries and even within the realm of academia. If you choose to work in this field, you may also be called clinical analysts, nurse data scientists, nurse specialist, or a chief nursing informatics officer. No matter what you are called, you can expect an average salary of more than $100,000.

To work as a nurse informaticist, you will need a bachelor’s degree in nursing, as well as a strong background in electronic health records. Many employees are even looking for those who have a master’s degree in the field of Health Informatics, Quality Management, or Healthcare Management.

Certified Nurse Midwife

If data is not your thing because you enjoy the hands-on aspect nursing allows you to do, and you want to work in one of the older areas of nursing, you may consider a career as a certified nurse midwife (CNM). While once thought of as a practice for women who may not have access to physicians, or other types of medical care, it is estimated that in the United States, soon one in ten babies will be delivered by a certified nurse midwife.

As a certified nurse midwife, you will help to bring new life into the world by managing most perinatal care. This care includes prenatal, delivery, as well as postpartum care. You will also be qualified to help women of all ages with their family planning, as well as other gynecological needs. Some of the duties you will perform will include:

  • Taking complete medical histories
  • Performing physical exams
  • Ordering lab tests, and performing procedures
  • Write prescriptions
  • Educating, and conducting activities to promote women’s health
  • Delivering babies

You will work in a wide variety of settings which may include private practice, hospitals, healthcare clinics, health departments, birthing centers, as well as your patient’s home. To become a CNM in most states you are required to continue your education after you have become a registered nurse.

Some of the top nursing colleges will require you to receive an advanced degree, while others only require you to complete their CNM program. Once your education is complete, you will be required to pass the American Midwifery Certification Board exam, and be licensed by your state. Check with your state for their licensing requirements, as licensure varies by state. The salary of a CNM will vary based on where you work and the type of services you provide, but the average salary exceeds $86,000 per year. 

There is a wide range of positions you can hold with a degree in nursing and advanced training. These are just two. Contact nearby top nursing colleges to find out more information on how you can get started in an exciting career. 

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Don’t Be A One-Trick Pony: 3 Skills To Turn Your Accounting Degree Into A Freelance Opportunity

While you are working on your accounting degree, you should consider ways you can integrate new skills for different career paths. Whether you want to avoid a brick-and-mortar job or you want to be prepared for changes in the job market, adding skills conducive to freelance opportunities is a good investment of your efforts.

Business Statistics

A solid background in business statistics can increase your chances of landing contracts with larger companies. You should focus your efforts on taking courses or independently gaining skills related to various statistical analysis software used by businesses. Common analyses, such as cost-benefit analysis, correlations, and linear and multiple regressions, are important in helping businesses manage their current finances and make projections when determining how they want to spend money in the future.

In addition to learning different statistical analyses and being familiar with software, you want to make sure you can display statistical information in a clear and accurate way. Most statistical software packages have options to display output in graphical form, but you need to be familiar with common productivity software programs to produce charts and graphs. Combining your statistical knowledge with good technical writing skills will also come in handy to write business and technical reports.


Marketing is a lucrative skill for future accountants, especially when you consider the impact of internet marketing on businesses. Many businesses will look for contractors who are able to assist them in developing marketing plans and determining how effective these plans are at increasing sales. Some excellent areas of focus for boosting your marketing skills are consumer behavior and market research.

Experience in consumer behavior will allow you to help businesses determine product trends, which can be effective when a company is in the product development stage or determining the best time to launch a new product. Courses in the business department are helpful to understand consumer behavior, but you might want to look at your psychology and sociology departments for help. Learning about social dynamics, sensation and perception, and even cognitive psychology can help you increase your knowledge regarding consumer behavior.

A good understanding of the front-end and back-end of market research is important. Companies often use surveys and focus groups to gain consumer perspectives on current or upcoming products. You should have a thorough understanding of how to conduct research and be a competent interviewer for telephone and in-person interviews. On the back-end of market research is the development of surveys and the recruitment of participants.

If your current degree program does not have courses specifically designed to address this information, consider looking in other departments, such as psychology, sociology or education. These fields typically have courses, such as experimental or non-experimental methodology, which are applicable to market research.

Small Business Accounting

Small businesses have unique accounting issues that are unlike larger businesses. In many cases, smaller businesses may not have the funds to hire employees for accounting needs, but may rely on contractors. Understanding the needs of small businesses can give you the opportunity to work as a contractor. Since you would be working as a contractor, you have the opportunity to manage multiple small businesses in different locations.

This is the ideal opportunity if you only have part-time work and need to supplement your income. Some small businesses rely on virtual accounting services due to cost. If you want to promote yourself to small businesses, emphasize the advantage of hiring a contractor because one-on-one interaction may be limited or missing from virtual services. Also, market your skills to local small businesses. Local businesses may be interested in contracting your services since you are easily available for face-to-face meetings.

Being prepared for the workforce after graduation is not only about having the necessary skills to land a full-time job, but also having skills to make yourself marketable, no matter what the job market throws at you. Before you graduate, consider taking extra courses at a school like Interactive College of Technology or learning additional skills to make it easier to find related contract or freelance positions.

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About Me

What kind of school district do you live in? Do you live in an area in which the schools are filled with fun-loving children that are interested in learning and know how to interact with other children properly? Or, do you live in an area in which the children are less than nice and don't know how to behave in social settings? Unfortunately, not every school district is equal and I live in one of the lesser quality districts. I weighed the pros and cons of sending my son to public school and private school. To get help deciding what to do for your child's education, read through the tips on this blog.

November 2015
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