50 lessons I want my daughter to learn from her Korean grandmother

My mom may not have been as affectionate as my friends' mothers, and maybe she didn't know how to bake cookies from scratch, but she taught me many life lessons that I can't wait to share with my 4-year-old daughter.

50 lessons I want my daughter to learn from her Korean grandmother

Being a parent is hard. Being a single parent is harder. Being a single parent while raising children in a foreign country is probably one of the hardest things ever. Yet, that's exactly what my Korean mother did.

My mom may not have been as affectionate as my friends' mothers, and maybe she didn't know how to bake cookies from scratch, but she taught me many life lessons that I can't wait to share with my 4-year-old daughter.

Even though she's only a quarter Korean, I want my daughter to fully appreciate our Asian heritage. So, I'm hoping to pass down these 50 unique pieces of advice that my mom shared with me throughout the years:


  1. Always brush your teeth after eating kimchi because your breath will smell like garlic and you will get red pepper flakes stuck between your teeth.
  2. Make sure whoever you live with won't judge you (at least to your face) for putting hot sauce or kimchi on everything you eat.
  3. Pay with cash. If you can't, then use a credit card, but only if you have no other option because credit cards create debt.
  4. Ramen can be fancy if you throw an egg, a few vegetables, some kimchi or leftovers into it.
  5. There is no shame in growing up in a house with a Korean karaoke machine. There is also no shame in mastering Madonna and Michael Bolton's songs on that machine because they are the only songs in English.
  6. Why own one pair of expensive high heels when you can own many pairs of affordable slip-ons?
  7. Stockpile wooden chopsticks from Asian restaurants even though you have nice reusable chopsticks at home.
  8. Cutting food with a knife is for amateurs. Who needs a knife when you have perfectly good scissors or fingers.
  9. Get as many free calendars from Asian markets, realtors and restaurants as possible so you can hang them up in every room of your home.
  10. If you can master the art of being respectful, considerate and selfless, and also learn to control your temper and the thermostat, then you will live a happy life.
  11. Always buy used exercise equipment from flea markets or thrift stores. Then you won't feel so bad a month later when you stop using it an ask your daughter to sell it on Craigslist.
  12. Make sure you have several hot tea options – green, ginger, barley, etc. – to offer someone after dinner.
  13. Don't depend on a man to support you. The only support you need should come from your comfortable walking shoes, which you bought on sale.
  14. The possibilities of cooking with SPAM are endless.
  15. Never be ashamed of where you work or how many jobs you have long as you earn everything you own in an honest way and without going to jail.
  16. Always have multiple brands and bottles of hot sauce.
  17. Capri pants and fanny packs are cool, no matter what decade it is.
  18. Rice can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  19. Giant kimchi-making bowls can double as baby bathtubs.
  20. Don't pay an arm and a leg for an expensive bed when the floor is free.
  21. You can make fried rice out of anything, including leftover hot dogs, chicken tenders and french fries.
  22. Tubs of overnight face cream are very cheap at Sam's Club and Costco.
  23. If you don't eat all the side dishes offered at a Korean restaurant, you will bring shame upon your family.
  24. Always clean the floor on your hands and knees with a rag. Mops are for the lazy.
  25. Need a laugh after a rough day? Watch a Korean game show.
  26. You don't need to master the art of baking, but you should know how to make sticky rice with your eyes closed.
  27. Korean medicine tastes like Lysol mixed with rubbing alcohol, but it really works.
  28. Ketchup is not the same thing as spaghetti sauce.
  29. If you run out of kimchi, then pickled jalapeños or banana peppers are a good substitute.
  30. It's much more comfortable to do your hair and make-up while sitting on the floor.
  31. The best way to crush garlic is in a Ziploc bag, on the floor, with a hammer.
  32. When having people over for dinner, always cook enough to feed your guests and their extended families.
  33. If given the option, shop at the PX or commissary so you don't have to pay taxes.
  34. It's better to spend money on an expensive rice cooker than an expensive dishwasher. You have two perfectly good hands for dishwashing.
  35. Thanksgiving meals should always include the regulars (turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, etc.) but also rice, kimchi and/or bulgogi, yaki mandu and japchae.
  36. If you work hard enough, take yourself on a vacation, but not an expensive one because you still need to save your money.
  37. You can totally dance your butt off in the privacy of your home and still act shy when in public.
  38. Comic books are great for learning how to read.
  39. You can never have too many nightgowns and oversized pajamas.
  40. Invest in warm house slippers, preferably with a leopard print on them.
  41. Don't scream and fight to pay the bill at a restaurant—do it silently when no one is watching.
  42. You should have at least one piece of Asian art hanging in your house.
  43. Buy the economy size soy sauce.
  44. Always be kind, especially to children and your elders, or they will come back to haunt you.
  45. Prove others wrong when they say you can't do something. Don't brag when you do it like a boss. Just smile and stare into their eyes.
  46. Do not be afraid of tofu. It is healthy and delicious.
  47. Make-up doesn't make you beautiful, your attitude does. Plus, too much make-up makes you look cheap.
  48. Eat soup. Lots of soup. The spicier the better. And use a giant-sized spoon when you do.
  49. The Notorious B.I.G. believed, "Mo Money Mo Problems." We believe, "Less Money Mo Bargains."
  50. Open the windows before you cook kimchi soup. The smell lingers for hours, and not even expensive Pottery Barn candles can mask it.

These are just a few things I want to teach my daughter so she grows up to embrace her Korean heritage, the same way I did. And I can't wait for her to have a bond with her grandmother that goes beyond heritage and culture but is deeply rooted in it.

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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