Our Hearts Go Out to the Victims of the Westchester Train Accident

By Sara

Dear Train Moms and Dads,

A week ago today, the unthinkable happened to a mom and dads coming home from work, when a commuter train in Westchester, NY hit a car. Five people died, including a mom just like us, and dads just like our husbands.

That train is my usual train home from work, but on that night I worked later and took the next train, right behind it. For those of you who remember the 1998 movie, “Sliding Doors,” with Gwyneth Paltrow, about a woman whose life is forever changed based on which train she gets on — well this was reality for many people that day. That one sliding train door forever changed the lives of so many people and their families.

We are all just train moms and dads trying to go to work and come home to see our kids. It is crushing to think of this not happening for those innocent people who lost their lives that day. It is painful to think of the families left behind who have to face this dreadful nightmare and forever ask themselves, why didn’t their dad get on a different train car, or why didn’t their mom stop her car at the crossing.

“Why” is a tough word to live with.

On behalf of 2 Moms On a Train, we want to send our heartfelt condolences to all the families who lost loved ones and our thoughts go out to all the train moms and dads out there who ride the trains everyday, but now with a heavier heart.

Easy As Pie Paleo Apple Crumble

By Sara

For all you paleo, or gluten-free Train Moms, I am excited to share with you an amazing and extremely easy dessert recipe that I came up with that my whole family can’t get enough of — and it is MORE than a dessert, it is also great for breakfast or a mid-day snack.  My kids (and husband) keep asking me for more and I am starting to feel like I work at an apple pealing factory, but given the fact that it is sugar-free, paleo, gluten-free and 100 percent delicious, I just can’t say no. Plus it is SUPER easy!

Time:

Preparation: 15-20 min

Cooking time: 2 hours

 

Ingredients:  

5-6 Granny Smith apples (peeled)

Yellow raisins  1/2 cup

Pecan pieces 1 1/2 cup

Almond flour 1 cup

Vanilla extract 1 teaspoon

Butter 3 Tbsp

Coconut oil 4 Tbsp

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peal and slice the apples thinly and place in a Pyrex dish, until dish is filled close to the top.  You might need more apples depending on the size of your dish. Sprinkle the raisins amongst the apples and mix it up slightly so the raisins fall between the apples.  Melt the butter and coconut oil together.  Once melted, take off the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add in the vanilla extract, pecans and almond flour.  Mix together and then scoop it over the apples so that you cover the surface.  Place in oven in middle rack for 60 minutes, turn the oven down to 25o degrees for the remaining hour.   Dish is ready when the topping is browned and the apples are soft and slightly bubbling around the edges.   Depending on your oven you might need to keep it in at 250 degrees for another 30 minutes.

 

pie 1 copy pie 2 copy pie 3 copy

How To Eat it:

Eat it warm….pie 4 copy

eat for breakfast with a scoop of greek yogurt (for the non-Paleo eater)

eat it for a snack

eat it for dessert

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoy it.  I would love to hear what you think @trainmoms.

 

 

Train Mom Chat with Digital Organizer, Lilli Weisz of Simplified

By Sara

We might be at the point into 2015 where we are done saying Happy New Year, but we are certainly not ready to give up starting our New Year’s Resolutions. So let’s tackle one of my top things to accomplish this year — getting “digitally organized.” You are probably asking yourself, what does that mean and how does this apply to me?  Think about the thousands of emails you have in your inbox, the hundreds of photos sitting in your iphone, and the constant conversations you have with your husband about what’s on the calendar for the week and why you didn’t know that your husband had a business dinner the night of the school play.  This my fellow Train Moms, is why we need to commit to being “digitally organized” in 2015.

For this week’s Train Mom Chat (#TMC), we turned to Lilli Weisz, a working mom, organizational guru, and founder of Simplified, a company that trains individuals, small businesses, schools and non-profit organizations to be digitally organized and productive.

What are three things every busy mom can do to keep digitally sane?

1. Have only ONE place where you keep a to-do list. pad of paper, Reminders, Evernote- the app isn’t as important as the fact that it isn’t scattered in various locations. Collecting your commitments in one place means you only have to look in one place to know what is on your plate.
2. Backup Backup Backup. Use an external hard drive as well as a cloud backup service to back up all of your important digital data. Set them to be automatic so that you don’t need to remember to do it.
3. Archive old emails. Keep your inbox current. All that email clutter makes it impossible to find and focus on the important emails.

Work emails and personal emails… So many to read! Any advice to help organize emails so we don’t forget to respond and know when to delete?

1. Prevention is key! If you find yourself receiving a lot of emails you don’t read (newsletters, Facebook or LinkedIn notifications, etc), it’s time for you to get on the unsubscribe train. Having so much clutter in your inbox, makes it difficult to find and focus on the emails that really matter. When you see an email that you want to unsubscribe from, just do it right away. The 10 seconds it will take you to unsubscribe will pay off exponentially in the amount of time you will save in the future. You can also do a search for the word “unsubscribe” in your inbox— that way you can find a whole bunch of newsletters at once.

2. Turn emails into actions. Email is best as a method of communication. Treat your email inbox like you treat the post mailbox at the end of driveway: it’s a stopping place for information, it is not a place to store information. Some people use their email inbox as a task management system, but it is not an ideal way of knowing what tasks you have at hand. After reading an email, step back and say, “what is the next action(s) I need to take regarding this matter?” Then write that action on a separate to-do list, outside of your email inbox. For example, your sister emails you about a fabulous restaurant she went to for a birthday party. That reminds you that your daughter’s 4th birthday is coming up and you need to plan for it. You write on your to-do list: “Call fabulous restaurant to find out costs for bday party.” You then archive the email. By archiving, you can still access the email, but you do not need to look at it every day.

What apps do you recommend every busy mom should have on their phone and why?

1. Evernote is my external brain! I can’t imagine living without it. Our brains are not designed to be storage facilities, they are designed to create and problem-solve. What technology has given us —by having a computer in our pocket at all times— is an opportunity to store every random bit of information that gets thrown at us throughout the day into one safe place. And that’s Evernote. No more post-it notes!
2. Fantastical is a brilliant calendar app.
3. CloudMagic is what I use to check email.
4. Dropbox is fabulous for looking at documents and for backing up photos.
5. Downcast is perfect for listening to podcasts and audiobooks in the car (warning: very addictive!).
6. 1Password is an essential tool for safely storing your passwords.
7. Drafts is great for quickly capturing text and sending it nearly anywhere.
8. Songza is where you go when the kids are out of the house and you want to dance around the kitchen to 80’s pop hits.

As moms we all have so many photos on our phones, what can we do with all of them? Any suggestions?

Most importantly: have a plan and stick with it. There are different strategies depending on your computer’s platform (Mac or PC), your comfort with cloud storage, the number of photos and videos you take, and how much you care whether your photos are lost, among other factors. Some key things to ask yourself:

1. If my phone was lost or stolen, do I have a secure backup of these photos elsewhere? If yes, is that place being backed up too?
2. If your photos are being automatically backed up elsewhere, how are you ensuring that it is happening? Is it backing up only over wifi? Are videos as well as photos being backed up?

My current personal system: As an Apple user, I take photos and videos with my iPhone. They are then automatically backed up to Dropbox. Once a month, I move them from Dropbox to iPhoto on my computer. My computer (including those photos) is backed up to a cloud service (CrashPlan) as well as an external hard drive.

Apple is about to release their new Photos app, so this could all change for Apple users— hopefully for the better!

What is the best “family” calendar option to keep track of every meeting, birthday party, dinner and soccer games?

Google Calendar. No question. Within your own Google Account, create a calendar for yourself and for each kid. Each calendar is a different color. You can share entire calendars or just certain events with your partners and care providers. It’s easy to view on the web and in all calendar apps on all devices.

Need help implementing any of these technological lifesavers? Give Lilli a call! As founder of Simplified, Lilli provides digital organization & productivity training for individuals, small businesses, schools and non-profit organizations. She specializes in helping busy people gain greater control of their lives through basic productivity principles and a better understanding of their technological tools. Based out of Nyack, New York, Lilli meets with clients in their homes or offices in the metropolitan NYC area. She also works remotely with clients all over the world via screen sharing. Contact/follow Lilli at lilli@simplified.so and @lilliweisz

Are you a social media mommy?

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by Kim

I consider myself to be social media savvy.   In fact I’m pretty sure that’s what it says on my resume…BUT I have to tell you sometimes I truly wish I wasn’t.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Vine –I mean it’s exhausting!

I mean when did we start having conversations in 140 characters or less. I majored in communications in college, and I LOVE to write; but when I’m on Twitter, I’m reverting to my 16 year-old Valley-Girl self using terms like “OMG UR SO GR8!” (please forgive the Valley-Girl reference, I grew up in the 80’s!)

And those silly Facebook quizzes…let’s be honest I’m married to a great man – do I really need to take a quiz to find out WHO I WAS MARRIED TO IN MY PAST LIFE? And do I really need to know WHAT COLOR MY AURA IS?  I already know my favorite color is Green, so I think it’s safe to assume my aura is green too.

Not to mention being on Facebook makes me feel bad about myself with posts like MISTAKES PARENTS MAKE WHEN FEEDING THEIR KIDS, OR GET ORGANIZED THIS YEAR, DECLUTTER YOUR LIFE. I knew it, the camera on our computer is showing the world just how messy my house really is!  Oh, and don’t forget the pictures.  You know the “perfect” picture of your “beautiful” friend with her “perfect” family on the “beautiful” beaches of insert-Carribean-island-here – which has you questioning “What the h-ll are we doing wrong?! Didn’t she just come back from Aruba?!”

Sometimes I like to tell myself that the reason I stay on top of social media is to keep up with everyone else and to be relevant – to make sure when my kids start to use it, I’ll have an idea of what the h-ll they are doing; which is a good thing, right? (Though truth be told I think I could have gone all my life without ever knowing what Snapchat was, I mean what the h-ll!!!)

Ever have a conversation with a friend who says “Oh, I didn’t see it, I’m not on Facebook;” and after you blurt out the obligatory “OMG, really, you’re not on Facebook?!!” – don’t you have a ping of jealousy?  I DO. Life is easier without social media.

Ok, so your friend might be a little out of the loop, and g-d forbid she actually has to pick up a newspaper (or read one online) to find out what’s going on, instead of getting everything instantaneously in her “newsfeed” (oh the horror!) And she might be deprived of ever knowing which Singer/Diva she is (another Facebook quiz, which by the way, in case you wanted to know I’m Adele ) BUT I can tell you, she might just be a better person than the rest of us; managing to live in the moment and have more real conversations with the people around her.

But let’s face it, social media is here to stay.  What I need to do is stop beating myself up about all the time I spend checking it; and let’s be honest, the two, little men who call me mom don’t care that I’m on my phone using it, they’re too busy fighting over who is going to get mom’s phone first!   (LMAO!)

 

photo credit: pixabay.com

 

Train Mom Chat with President of Equinox, Sarah Robb O’Hagan

By Sara

Welcome back to a new year of work and to kick-starting your New Year’s resolutions. No doubt most of you have “fitness” on your list to accomplish in 2015.  Each year, we make that extra effort to get our lives organized so we have more time to go to the gym.  For me, this seems to be a perpetual goal, and each year I look for people to inspire me to make fitness a priority in my life.   Well, who better than to share with us how to do it, than Sarah Robb O’Hagan, President of Equinox gyms.  Although she introduces herself best on her twitter account (@sarahrobboh), with the title of, “Workout Queen by morning, President of Equinox by day, Wife and Mum of Team Robb O’Hagan by night.”  We invited this work/family/fitness role model to be our first Train Mom Chat (#TMC) of 2015, and talk about how she juggles a demanding career and family, and still makes time for daily exercise.

Sarah Robb O'Hagan, President of Equniox

Sarah Robb O’Hagan, President of Equinox

1. How do you balance work, family and fitness?

I think for me it all starts with fitness. My fitness is the grounding to my life that makes me more productive and more able to balance all the other things that I have going on. I am fierce about protecting my morning time for my workout. I usually run, take a fitness class, work with a trainer or do Pilates. In each instance it enables me to start the day with time for me. It helps me handle the stresses of the day because I already know I achieved something important before my day even starts.  As it relates to family and work – I think its important to accept that life is really one big blur of both now thanks to the advent of the “mobile life”. So I am very comfortable interchanging from work to family and back again all through the week and weekend depending on all the places I am required to be.  Most importantly I try really hard to “be in the moment” no matter where I am at the time. If I am in a meeting at work I try not to multitask but to give me quality attention to the team and the topic at hand, and if I am with my family they also get me “all in”. I find this helps me fit in more because I am focused on the interactions I am having and the relationships I am developing.

2. What advice do you have for working moms who say, “I don’t have time to work out”?

Well I will tell you that I do hear that a lot. I also had plenty of moms tell me before I had kids that “something was going to have to give” and I’d probably not get so much fitness time any more. But I just don’t buy it. I think it all comes down to your own mental management and your own priorities. I do remember when I had my 3rd child that I suffered from terrible guilt because I had a lot of pressure on me work wise, and 3 kids that were aged 4 and under. And that was a time in my life where I let my fitness go because I felt I wasn’t meeting all of the needs of my family and my team at work. But in actuality I suffered and my contribution to those around me suffered because I just didn’t have the time to myself, and to be my best self. Once I stopped and recommitted to my fitness, I could clearly feel the difference in terms of how I was managing the pressure and delivering what I needed to.

3. To all the train moms out there… If they have 10 min to work out before getting the kids to school what would you recommend they do?

Gosh to be honest I don’t think 10 minutes is enough for a workout! If you only had 10 minutes to spare – actually I would spend it on meditation or diaphragmatic breathing. Something to help calm and center your mind before the stresses of the day.

4. If you had a motto — something that gets you up every morning and gets you going, what would it be and why?

Well I was profoundly influenced by the loss of one of my dearest friends when she passed away to Hodgkins Disease at the age of 33. (www.perkysam.com) She always used to sign her letters off with “Blue Skies Forever” and that is something I have carried forward as a motto that means a lot to me. It was her way of saying that no matter the tough stuff you are dealing with – there are always blue skies to be found behind those clouds. She taught me the critical importance of taking time just to BE and to enjoy the moment… she always said we are Human Beings not Human Doings!  I also never take a day for granted having seen such a talented incredible human being be lost just as she was beginning to realize her enormous potential. Whenever I see Blue Skies I smile and know that there is so much more for me to see and do and BE!

5. Tell us about a mentor or role model you have had in your career and what was the best piece of advice he/she ever gave you?

I was very influenced by my late father who was both a national representative rugby player and a very successful businessman. He always instilled in us that without risk does not come great reward and I am grateful to him for that philosophy that has pulled me forward at every turning point of my career.

Follow Sarah Robb O’Hagan on:
Twitter: @SarahRobbOh
Instagram: @SarahRobbOh
http://www.equinox.com

10 “small things” to be thankful for

By Sara and Kim

It is the time of year that we do a lot of soul searching, reaching out to family and friends, and thinking about what we are most thankful for — and family, health and happiness are sure to top the list. While we totally agree that these are all very important and longterm things to be thankful for, they do not necessarily bring us instant gratification. And sometimes, when you are busy living life and just trying to catch a train, it is that one little thing that can make you smile on the inside. So while you enjoy your weekend of family time, don’t let those special little moments of happiness pass you by without a little nod of thanks.

Here are 10 “small things” that Kim and I are giving a little thanks too this year:

1. Warm coffee in the morning
2. Cozy Pjs
3. Levain NYC chocolate chip cookies
4. Rainbows
5. Google calendar
6. Rosebuds Chapstick
7. Bravo
8. Express trains
9. Spanx
10. Peapod and Fresh Direct

Little things can be inspiring! So share the things that you are thankful for. Share them @trainmoms using #smallthanks

Happy Thanksgiving to all our Train Moms.

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My life in rhyme!

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Remember as new parents you’d wish it would go fast?

Praying everyday that you could just get past –those sleepless nights or piercing cries,

well I’m here to tell you that time surely flies.

Because I thought having a newborn was tough,

but as my kids get older things are still pretty rough.

Gone are the diapers, the bottles and such – but so is that sweet, gentle baby’s touch

It’s been replaced by rough house play – and potty words are now the theme of the day.

A little attitude and eyes that roll, some days it truly takes its toll!

Yes mommy” has been replaced by “I’ll do it later

I’m not really sure why they think I’m here to cater.

Even clothing fights hearing “I don’t want to wear that!”

– or now that it’s cold, G-d forbid I ask for a hat!

Supermarket trips with my baby in his seat – truly used to be such an easy treat

Nowadays taking the kids to the store – I can barely even get them both out the door.

Or when we do finally make it & we’re in the store

- you can guarantee I’ll hear “This is such a bore!

OR “I want to push the cart” & don’t forget “Can we get this?

I never knew I would truly miss

– going shopping alone or with someone who couldn’t talk

are they too young for me to tell them to go take a walk?

But parenthood we know is really just a test – one in which we can only do our best

So tonight I ask, please, please let me win- & help keep me out of the loony bin!