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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Travel adventures: Mid-autumn festival in Yilan

 So we went to Yilan to celebrate the mid-autumn moon festival and had a lot of fun.

We went to the following places:

Bambi land

https://www.taiwanfarm.org.tw/zh-EN/Front/Farm/Detail/174



National Center for Traditional Arts

https://www.px-sunmake.org.tw/index/index.html?lang=en


Jade rabbit pencil factory

https://www.rtaiwanr.com/yilan/rabbit-pencil-factory


2nd day

Yilan Cake factory

https://www.taiwannatravel.com/yilan-cake-factory/

Yilan one rice dessert factory 

https://www.onemit.com.tw/

Yilan rock factory

https://www.facebook.com/chiilihmuseum/


How to find your kids schools in Taiwan

 So to follow up on the previous post on how to find nanny or childcare in Taiwan. I've just compiled how I find the following for my kids:

For kids between the ages of 2-6 years old

Kindergarten/Preschool

Comes in either public (公幼), non-profit(非營利幼兒園), contract public (準公共化私幼), or private (私幼) where each one has different price points, how to apply and operating times. 

I consulted these two sites on what the differences are:

https://blog.bananny.co/2020/08/18/kindergarten/

and https://www.parenting.com.tw/article/5092607

Basically, if you look at the graph tables on those two sites, the public, and non-profit ones you'd have to register your child's name into a lottery and see if you get lucky. 

The contract public and private ones you can just directly apply to the kindergarten and have a spot. 

All but the public ones will operate during summer and winter vacation. 

For public ones, the tuition is equal or less than $1000NT for the monthly fee, the non-profit it's $2000NT, for contract public it's $3000NT and the private ones can pretty much charge whatever they want. 

The government 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 (ap.ece.moe.edu.tw)

For kids above age 6, you can either choose the public local school or private school. 

Elementary/Middle school

This is a bit tricky unless you live in Taipei, where they have a site to just type in your address and you can see where your kids will go to school right here: 

 https://schooldistrict.tp.edu.tw/html/search.jsp

For New Taipei and other cities you'd have to type in your city, year (Taiwanese), and school district in Chinese

新北市111學區

That's New Taipei 2022 school district 

You can also ask your neighbors or your neighborhood leader, who I still haven't found out yet. 

Easy recipe: egg free or eggless cookies

 So we came down with COVID-19 and had some time to cook and bake at home. We also watched a lot of magic school bus from the good old days of PBS. 

But here's a super easy recipe I found from the BBC one day when I ran out of eggs and our food/grocer delivery was running a bit slow.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/user/4592506/recipe/egg-free-cookies


Ingredients: (Makes around 24 cookies) 

125g (about 1 cup) butter or pure vegetable margarine, softened

125g (about 1 cup) caster sugar or regular sugar or even brown sugar will work too

1 tsp vanilla essence or extract

200g (about 2 cups) self-raising flour or all purpose flour will work to

1 tsp baking powder/soda

1 tbsp water, for some reason, I always need to do like 6 tbsp of milk or soymilk 

Optional: 2 tbsp coco powder (to make it chocolate)

Optional : milk chocolate chips or milk chocolate cut into chips or 2 oreos

STEP 1

Preheat the oven to 180°C ,350°F or gas mark 4.

STEP 2

Cream the butter and sugar together(with a wooden spoon) in a large bowl until light, fluffy and golden.

STEP 3

Stir everything together (vanilla, flour, baking powder and chocolate chips or oreos, add the water and the Coco powder) to make the yummy dough.

STEP 4

Sprinkle some flour onto a surface and the dough. Roll out the dough and with cookie cutters cut out the shapes and lay them out onto greased, lined baking sheets. Spacing them well apart.

STEP 5

Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.

This recipe is super easy and forgiving. There's another version I'm thinking of trying also here:

https://www.keepinglifesane.com/best-eggless-chocolate-chip-cookies/


Travel adventures: Keelung's badouzi daping shore

 So family came to visit us so we went to the very rocky shores of badouzi with fun tidal pools.

We used Aiky's youtube channel to take the 2088 bus from city hall station on the blue line. It took around 1.5 hours from our house. 

The video helped us to figure out how to get onto the water front. 


We consulted the tide chart to make sure we'd be able to go onto the rocks. It is very rocky and slippery here so we recommend some good beach shoes. You can use nets and we saw people snorkeling here too so we might do that next time we go again. 


There are a lot of interesting rocks, including one that's suppose to look like a seal but I didn't find it. 


My kids liked searching for little sea creatures here. We saw some people with nets and buckets but people will put them back into the ocean before they leave.





Travel adventures: Keelung's gold sand beach

 There have been no travel adventures in a while due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But recently the restriction has begin to lift so we ventured out to Keelung's beaches. So the one we went to is Jin Sha Wan (or golden sand beach) park a little bit away from Longdongwan (Dragon cave beach park). 

We took the train from Taipei main to Keelung's train station and then caught the bus 791 near the train station. Here's the schedule: 791 bus  all around it took about 2 hours for us. Afterwards we realized we could have taken the 1551 bus over to the train station and then switch over to the 791 bus or the 1811 from Taipei main station to the beach. 

Here at around 10 a.m. the beach is not too croweded.


Definitely bring either beach tent or some umbrellas and plenty of beach toys. Our kids had a ton of fun playing here.


The ocean water runs into little tidal pools and the river upstream. We saw even toddlers playing here, supervised of course. But the waters are not deep so bring lots of water and sun screen and your own food as the options for food is limited. There is a bathroom here but no place to clean your feet.



The Best Recipe for Cut-out Cookies for various Holidays

 So after numerous batches of different recipes for cut-out cookies with my kids, I've discovered the best cut-out cookies.

I discovered it here: Heart Tree Cut Out Cookie Recipe - A Spicy Perspective

She explains the best sugar cookie recipe here that I took to heart: Best Sugar Cookie Recipe (VIDEO) - A Spicy Perspecve (aspicyperspective.com)

But in case she ever takes the recipe down, here is what I made with variations to local ingredients:

Cookies:

1 1/2 cups butter (I used coconut oil as it has the butter-like consistency in the winter)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 

1 teaspoon sea salt (I used 1/2 teaspoon regular salt) 

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour + extra for rolling

I'm trying to figure out if I added 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. I think I will have to test this next time. 

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy—5 minutes. Then add the salt, vanilla extract, and eggs. Beat to combine. With the mixer running, slowly add the flour until the dough is smooth. Then separate the dough and wrap it in 4 separate pieces. Place in the fridge and chill for at least one hour. (This dough could be made weeks in advance.)