What kind of tires to put on a Caravan for Overlanding

So I’ve been stopped by a lot of people on the street asking what kind of tires I’m running on the Caravan.

People are always asking when they see the van online and most can’t believe that I’ve actually put BF Goodrich KO2’s on! I was in the market for new tires anyway as the OEM Yokohama Avids were almost worn out. The old van had street tires all it’s life, Goodyear Assurance Directionals and they did a fantastic job on paved roads, but this time I wanted to be able to take the new van down some more challenging roads and not have to worry too much about whether or not I’m going to get stuck.

As I couldn’t find much at all about people putting all terrain tires on a minivan I took to the Subaru forums to see what those guys were running. There was good debate about the KO2’s vs Geolanders and a few other brands. While the Geo’s were better on road I wanted to maximize my off-road capability as I’m only FWD. The KO2’s are the most aggressive tires I could find in a size to fit. Without a lift on the market for the Caravan and hesitant about using wheel spacers I couldn’t go taller or wider without rubbing. Obviously there would be more road noise and a hit to my mpg I still wouldn’t have chosen any other tire. I love these things on and off-road!

Jason

Ice Chalk

One of my favourite things to do in the summer is make coloured ice in the evening, and in the morning its ready to go. Its one of the first things we do in the morning, get up, kids eat breakfast and then outside to play with ice cubes. Why do we do this? Because it ensures I get to drink a hot coffee while the kids are distracted and having fun.

You can make simple coloured ice cubes with just water and food colouring.

You can fill up a container with water, food colouring (optional) and place little toys into it before freezing (also optional) (also make sure the toys are safe to put in water and freeze!). This adds another level of discovery to play time.

And now, lets talk Ice Chalk.

Its super easy and fun.

– Half Cornstarch
– Half Water (or maybe a little bit more water depending on the consistency you want)
– Food Colouring
Optional: Glitter, small toys.

And freeze.

You can use normal ice cube trays, or fun shapes. We use both.

And have fun!

~ Michelle

When my kids asked me not to post their photos

I blog, clearly. I am also on InstagramFacebook and even on Twitter. I post photos almost daily. I share on some form of social media almost daily. Two years ago I wrote a post about not sharing my kids faces and personal stories on social media. You can read that post here.

My 13 year old and soon to be 12 year old don’t have any social media accounts. Shocking, I know. A lot of their friends do however. So when my son turned 13 I asked him if he wanted an account. We talked about it. He asked me about the kind of stuff I post, so I told him. As we were talking it come up that he knows a lot of kids who’s parents have posted about them for years, pictures and stories, including personal and embarrassing stories and photos. During the conversation my son thanked me. He explained how he was so thankful to not have his life put out there for everyone else to know before he could share it himself.

In the conversation I asked him how he would feel if I did start posting photos of him on social media. He thought about it, and ended up asking me not to. And I totally respect that and my childs decision.

So when you look at my photos and wondering why my kids aren’t in them, why their backs are turned or I full on cropped their heads out of the photos, you know why. Its a fine balance trying to share my stories, my life, my motherhood journey without actually sharing information and pictures of them. But out of respect for them and their wishes, I will continue to crop their heads out of pictures. At least just the pictures I post online. Not to worry I have plenty (thousands and thousands) of pictures of them. In realty I am basically my kids own personal paparazzi.

Like this photo: 

I really wish I could show the world how incredibly happy she was. The giant smile on her face as she jumped and splashed us all. But the picture I’m showing you, I had to crop out her head. But trust me when I say her smile was radiant and she was having a blast.

Until the day my kids decide to share their own photos and stories, I will crop their heads out or take double the amount of photos trying to stage them so you can’t see their faces.

~ Michelle

Lets go camping

I some times wonder about my husband and his love of camping. He’s fascinated by it. He can spend days, weeks, out in nature. Me? Well I spend an hour and I end up covered in hives. So nature and me aren’t really on good terms. I love nature, I think its beautiful. I just love it from a safe distance.

But marriage is about compromise, give and take, all that crap. So camping we go.

At least this was just a camping trip with the two of us. No kids. So it would be totally restful, right? Right. Completely restful if you don’t take into account having to walk almost 10 minutes each way just to go to the bathrooms.

This was my first camping trip in a while. I was honestly a little rusty. I forgot just how important meal planning actually is. And how super important it is to make sure you actually have all the ingredients for the meals you foolishly planned out in your head but not fully in reality. I also really need to learn how to pack light. I for the life of me can never pack light. Ever. Especially if kids are involved. Which they will be on our next camping trip. (Did I really just say ‘next’?!)

I may not have meal planned all that well, but at least I made pillow cases for the trip! Thats got to count for something!

Did I mention that my husband built a bed to fit in our van?! Crazy right?! More on that in another post. It needs its own post.

It was a a nice escape from reality. Surrounded by nature, having a campfire, no noise, no tv, no radio. And when you have a husband who loves camping as much as mine, and who also likes things just a certain way, there does tend to be very little to do in regards to site set up and take down.

I will admit at first it was very odd to just sit and have no distractions. It is amazing how much noise we deal with in a day. Radio, tv, ads that pop up on websites, on games on your phone. We are forever being bombarded by advertisements. They are every where, all the time, non stop. That part I really enjoyed about camping. It was nice to just be fully in the moment.

I told my husband that. Apparently we will be camping more, and soon. So stayed tuned for tips and tricks when it comes to camping, overlanding, all with 3 little kids.

~ Michelle

 

Half a Lifetime in Motherhood

 

As I approach my 34th birthday I am reflecting a lot on my life, on what I have accomplished, what I still want to accomplish, my family, my kids, life in general. And that’s when it hit me; I have been a mother for half my life. Half my life.

For those doing the math, let me help you, when I was 16 I was living in Kenya, I was in grade 11, I met a guy, an older guy from another school, he was a senior. So of course it was super cool to be dating an ‘older guy’ from another school. Well one thing lead to another, and I ended up pregnant. Just after my 17th birthday I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy (ok, 1 of the 3 most beautiful boys, because all my boys were of course the most beautiful ever. I’m not bias at all!).
When I was 16 and pregnant I had to start making choices I never dreamed I would have to do at that age. As my belly grew, my responsibilities grew as well. I made the choice to give my son up for adoption. You can read about that here.

Since that day in a friends basement bathroom when the stick showed two lines, my life and my choices have always had to factor in someone else. Now I have to factor in 4 kids and a husband.

For half my life I have been a mother. For half my life my heart has been walking outside my body. For half my life my decisions have been about other people. For half my life someone else, and a growing number of someone else’s, have been put first ahead of myself.

And do you know what I have learned from all this motherhood-ing (that is totally a word), is that I don’t know a damn thing about motherhood. Just when I think I got a handle on it the kids go ahead and grow up and things change.

I’m still trying to figure out how anyone can really call themselves a “parenting expert”.

I have given birth to 4 incredible humans. Four drastically different humans. Four people that are constantly changing, growing and evolving. Four humans that constantly surprise me, challenge me, push me to be a better person, show me what unconditional love is, push my patience to its breaking point, make me laugh, make me cry (happy tears, sad tears, frustrated tears, a lot of sleep deprived tears), and make me the proudest mother ever.

I can’t imagine my life any other way. I can’t imagine not being a mother.

Half my life has been spent navigating motherhood, and I’m still trying to figure it out.

~ Michelle

Overland

Have you ever heard of Overlanding? Someone being an Overlander? Yeah, me neither. My husband introduced me to it a while ago. And honestly I am still trying to figure it out. Basically to Overland is to travel by car over great distances, days, weeks or even months at a time. Basically it evolves a whole lot of driving and camping. Not really my scene, but other people seem to love it. Some people are even considered “full time overlanders’. Apparently there is a whole Overland lifestyle out there.

So why did my husband who knows how much nature and bugs hate me, want to introduce me to something like this? Simply put, this is totally his scene. He loves stuff like this.

So after much talking, mostly done by my husband, I have agreed to go on adventures known as Overlanding. Still not sure what I have gotten myself in to.

One thing is for sure, this is not a full time thing. At least not right now. I am still very much a fan of running water and sleeping in my own bed in my own room. Plus nature and bugs hate me. I go for a hike and end up covered in hives. So this is going to be an interesting experience.

So as I learn more about this lifestyle, as we go on adventures, you can follow along here and on Instagram.

And if you know anything about Overlanding, tips, tricks, advice, help, please send me a message!!!!

~ Michelle

Self Care Ideas

Why is Self Care so damn hard? I often wonder if I honestly just some how suck at it, or if its Mommy Guilt that stops me, or some misconstrued idea that Self Care is some how selfish? I honestly can’t tell you what the reason is, but all I know is that I suck at it. So this year, I am determined to practice more Self Care. For the good of my mental health. For me so I can feel better. For my kids so I can be a better mom for them. And for my husband so… basically so maybe he won’t get on my nerves so much. Kidding. I want to practice Self Care so I can be a better person for myself and for all those around me.

So, I present you with a list of easy Self Care Ideas. Maybe you are struggling to and this will help you as well.

Here we go.

1. Bubble bath.
2. Read a book.
3. Journal.
4. Color. Seriously, I am obsessed with the adult colouring books. I love them.
5. Dance. Put on some headphones, blast some of your favourite songs and just dance. Dance like no one is watching.
6. Go for a walk, or hike. Just get outside and get some fresh air.
7. Workout.
8. Yoga.
9. Mediate. Or try to, there are a lot of apps and great websites out there for beginners.
10. Clean or reorganize a room.
11. Watch your favourite tv show/ movie.
12. Drink water. Maybe add some fruit to it or something.
13. Cook your favourite meal.
14. Learn something new, language, learn a new skill.
15. Unplug/ turn off electronics for a day / or maybe just an afternoon.
16. Go to bed early and get a good nights sleep.
17. Do a facemask, paint your nails, wash and style your hair.
18. Do a random act of kindness.
19. Avoid toxic people.
20. Drink a hot cup of Coffee/ Tea.

And dont forget, it is completely ok to take a day to yourself. Take 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, the afternoon, or the whole day. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself!

Do you have any ideas? I would love to hear them. Share them in the comments!

~ Michelle