November Expenses

Life in Taipei has been a lot of fun but it can get expensive very fast if we're not careful...

Review of Christmasland in New Taipei City 2018

If you're a foreigner living in Asia, then Christmas can be a bit different. But there are festivities here...

The Cost of Moving to Taiwan: The First Month

How much does it cost to move a family overseas? One important question to consider when moving abroad is: How much will this international move cost?

How to compare cost of living between countries

Will I spend more money in Taiwan compared to my home country? Less money?

Toy bank - aka the Taipei City Parenting Resource Center

Those of you who are parents probably know that kids tire of toys very quickly. So the Taipei city government has this great resource for parents with kids ages 0-6 years old, the toy rental bank!

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Homeschool resources: Elementary school math and STEM

So I was looking at some resources for math provided by Taiwan's Ministry of Education and wanted to share just in case anyone is curious and able to understand instructions in Chinese. 



Apparently, kids are suppose to be able to count from 1-100 in grade 1, know simple addition and subtraction, time of the week, day and some basic money knowledge. 

Here's the link from the MOE from different education printing press:

一年級 | 均一教育平台 (junyiacademy.org)

Here's the link from an online learning resource:

LearnMode 學習吧

Here's the link for learning code for preschoolers:

兒童月專區 (google.com)

Here's the link for learning code for other grades:

https://sites.google.com/view/program-edu/%E9%A6%96%E9%A0%81?school_code=&school_type=&role_type=&uuid=

Bonus: Here's a good explanation of scratch in English 

https://www.stemlittleexplorers.com/en/learn-programming-with-scratch/



Homeschool resources: Learning zhuyin or the Taiwan version of Pinyin

 So recently our kids have had to learn Zhuyin and so I've been trying to dig up the resources that are available to teach them this online as I myself know learned pinyin. 

What's the difference and what are these strange symbols you ask? 

So basically, the bopomofo, or zhu yin in Taiwan, and pinyin in mainland China are the phonetic system used to help with the pronunciation of Chinese words. In Taiwan, zhu yin are symbols and in the mainland, it's pretty much like the English alphabet.



Someone else did a good job of explaining this so you can consult (I got the image from them) them: https://singandlearnchinese.com/chinese-alphabet-learn-pinyin-zhuyin/

But here are the free resources I found from the Ministry of Education for zhuyin 

 An awesome dad explains the story with zhuyin in drawings here:


Another one is similar but the zhuyin are animated characters here:



One of the major education printing companies has these videos that kids need to spell out zhuyin for the story:


If you need a very simple ye olden video on how to pronounce and write zhuyin, here's the MOE's videos:

一年級 | 均一教育平台 (junyiacademy.org)

Here are some online books:

https://exam.tcte.edu.tw/tbt_html/index.php?mod=instructionalresources



Homeschool resources: online learning for elementary school in Taiwan

 We have been trying to teach our kids with various resources to prepare them for elementary school here and here are some of what I found.



These are the starting page for everything Taipei provides in terms of online learning:

https://cooc.tp.edu.tw/

防疫不停學陪伴孩子在家安心學,均一 x 學習吧 ft.PaGamO,從教學到測驗,師生最可靠的智慧助教 (junyiacademy.org)

Then there's gamified learning: 

https://www.pagamo.org/

Here's my source page for where I found all this:

https://kikinote.net/160355


How to find nanny in Taipei or childcare in Taiwan in general

 After seeing a lot of blog posts with broken links or references to the mythical yellow pages, I've put together a list of the pages and sites that have helped me to find childcare/nanny here in Taiwan.

The majority of the resources are going to be in the local language so it is probably best to view their pages on a desktop computer/laptop to get google translate to work. So far we are not affiliates of these sites so you can be sure they're just my opinions.

Also, please note these are not affiliate links, I get no money for recommending these resources. 

Taipei City Childcare Resource Center - https://kids.taipei/Eng/main.aspx?MenuID=58 this is supposed to be the go-to resource from the government if you're looking for child care in Taipei. It is also supposed to be in multiple languages, but I've found that most of the sites it links to are in Chinese so again, turn the website translation on or have a friend who knows Chinese call up the centers for you. 



On the tab "Family Childcare Personnel" > Search for childminder leads to the Taipei City childcare matchmaking platform (https://findchildcare.taipei/) which again, utilizes the website translator or a friend who can help you click and call up the child care centers or the nanny themselves.

If you scroll to the bottom, on the left is the map of Taipei by the district that you can click on to see the available nanny.



Peng Wan-Ru foundation – https://www.pwr.org.tw/

This is one of the sites listed by the Taipei Childcare Resource Center above but just wanted to give it special attention as they also help with getting moms re-integrated into the workforce with additional services of house cleaning, helping with the elderly. Unfortunately, it’s all in Chinese so you’ll have to use translation. They’re also not available in all districts of Taipei but they do have other locations throughout Taiwan.

Bananny – https://bananny.co/

Bananny is a nanny match making platform also that’s operated by a private company and I believe although registration is free there is a fee to contact the nannies on the platform.



My favorite part of bananny is their blog that has useful information like pricing of nannies by cities in Taiwan: https://blog.bananny.co/2017/07/15/the-nanny-pricing-table/

Something similar to Bananny we've recently discovered is babysits:

https://en.babysits.tw/


Facebook groups:

If you type in the words: (city name)保母

Groups like this should appear: https://facebook.com/groups/245385508964000

https://www.facebook.com/groups/548841675265259

Although all posts are in Chinese so you’d need to get a friend to help to read or make a post searching for a nanny in your specific area.

I found my nanny through one of these Facebook groups but had to go to several different nanny’s houses.


So when looking for a nanny, the difference in fees you see in bananny’s post is that there are some who will come to your house (到府) and there are some who needs you to drop off your child at her house for in-home care(在宅). Basically, the one coming to your house will be more expensive as they won’t be able to care for multiple children at their own homes and there’s also travel time.


But if you’re looking for a pre-school or child care center you might have to type these chinese words into google and look around your neighborhood on foot:

幼兒園

兒童福利中心

The government also has a site that you can check for preschool/kindergartens with information on how many kids are in the school and the prices in your area, but you'll need a friend who knows mandarin to help:

基本資料查詢-全國教保資訊網 (moe.edu.tw)


Or you can always go the old fashioned way and ask for recommendations from friends or on Facebook groups that you are already a part of.

Also, a bonus Facebook group for busy moms is the: Cleaning jobs in Taiwan where you can find someone to come and clean the house

https://www.facebook.com/groups/209115196322134


If you have kids under 6, another free resource you might want to look into is the toy bank run by Taipei city government, I review it here: 

https://www.rnphdmom.com/2019/01/toy-bank-aka-taipei-city-parenting.html


Let me know other things you might want to know or have found helpful in the comments.



Easy recipes: Easy Chinese American dinner rolls in the rice cooker

 We've been stuck at home for a while now so have been looking into some new recipes.

As the summer gets really hot here I wondered if I could cook things in the instant cooker instead of the toaster oven. 

Here's a quick and easy 

Ingredients list: 

2 eggs

1 TSP instant yeast 

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk (we substitute with soy milk)

2 cups flour 

1.5 TBP oil (I use coconut)


Knead the dough for at least 20 minutes

Put it in a container and seal it to let it rise for 20 minutes

Put it sealed into a rice cooker for 40 minutes. 



Travel adventures: Yilan Jiaoxi hotsprings

We love the hotsprings here so went to Yilan Jiaoxi again where there are great hotsprings. 

Please note that links are not affiliate links, I don't get any money from our recommendations. 


This time we went to chuang-tang hot spring hotel, which is only minutes from the train station.

We were fortunate to get a view of the train station from our window, our son who loves cars and trains was so excited to watch the trains go by. 

We were fortunate to get a view of the train station from our window, our son who loves cars and trains was so excited to watch the trains go by. 

This time around we pretty much just spent the whole time in Jiaoxi at the hotel as it has a great children's play area at their hot spring facilities and in the hotel where you get to drive toy cars for kids under 15 kg I believe. Here's the hotel's official website's descriptions of their children's play area. 

https://www.chuang-tang.com.tw/bathhouse_spa/parent-child-play-area/

However, if you don't want to break the bank, here's a cheap option for hotspring hotel in Jiaoxi in our video below: 







Homeschool resources: ESL activity for preschoolers on opposites vocabulary

So after a somewhat successful English club for families, we did another round with opposite words as the theme.

Warm-up game:
We used "Simon says"

Simon says is a children's game in which players must obey the leader's instructions if (and only if) they are prefaced with the words ‘Simon says’.

This is pretty easy as the kids English levels are very beginners. 

Then we read Sandra Boynton's opposite book to get kids familiar with words that are opposites or any other English book you have around that does something similar. 

Goldilocks and the 3 bears roleplay.



Easy recipes: Asian style chicken noodle soup in the instant pot

 

So I've taken to doing soup in the instant pot lately since it's finally gotten cold. 

Basically, you put in whatever vegetables you have around and a package of chicken breasts that you can get from Carrefour or Costco.

The steps I take resemble the one here: 

https://www.spendwithpennies.com/instant-pot-chicken-noodle-soup/

Ingredients:

1 onion (sliced or diced)

1 tablespoon of whatever oil you have on hand

2 large chicken breasts (or however much meat your family eats, or firm tofu works also)

1 cup or package of carrots (sliced or diced)

package of green vegetables if you have them

6-8 cups of chicken broth

1 tablespoon or just a spoonful of whatever spice you like (we use costco's no salt seasoning)

4 cups of noodles or pasta if you have them 

Steps:

1. Press the saute option and put in some oil and saute those onions

2. Put in all ingredients except the noodles, press the soup option on the pot

3. Once the soup is ready, get the chicken breast out to shred to smaller pieces, put the pot on saute and put in the noodles for 5-10 minutes depending on type of noodle/pasta that you have