Know The Truth About Worn Tires ~ #TruthAboutWornTires

Know The Truth About Worn Tires ~ #TruthAboutWornTires

This post has been long overdue, but I wanted to find the right time to share this vital message with you, whether you're a car owner, you lease or rent, knowing the truth about your worn tires is crucial.

The Truth About Worn Tires is written in collaboration with MICHELIN®, however, all opinions are mine alone. 

I recently shared a message via Instagram this past Memorial Weekend encouraging everyone to check their tires before going on their weekend trip, but this doesn't just pertain to Memorial Weekend, but every day!

Summer is here, and for most people, especially those with kids, there may be plans for staycations, vacations, road trips, trips to the zoo, etc. While we tend to place a lot of focus on maintaining our vehicle engines, and we may do the regular checks before leaving on our trip, how much attention do we pay to our tires?

Here's something to note and something that most may not know: It's your brakes that stop the wheels, but it's your tires that stop the car - new and worn. While there's not a lot of data out there about worn tires,  knowing the stopping power of your worn tire should be essential.

Recently, I traveled to the picturesque town of Greenville, South Carolina with MICHELIN® to learn the Truth About Worn Tires. I then visited MICHELIN's Proving Ground to test worn tires for myself, and the results were very alarming.

The Truth About Worn Tires initiative is a global effort by MICHELIN® to help consumers make better choices and to hold the tire industry to better standards with worn tires.

What I found out while going on my test drive was that not all tires are equal, and the wet stopping distance wears down after wear and tear which is common. However, I was terrified when testing a set of tires, and after hitting the brakes, the car DID NOT STOP immediately. And these tires were new. It got even worse when they were worn.

Sure, your tires can wear down, but your braking performance should not! 

Think about it? You're traveling with your children in your vehicle on your way to grandmas house. It's raining, and while you're a great driver, the person in front of you may not be. Suddenly they stop, and you think you're safe because your tires purchased six months ago are excellent, so you immediately hit your brakes. How far will your car travel before coming to a complete stop?

What if you knew that information beforehand?

As consumers, we tend to base most of our tire purchase on the cost and quite frequently the mileage warranty. And when we read the reviews it's mostly about how well the new tire performs; there isn't any data on performance once worn. Wouldn't you like to know that information?

While there isn't information ON worn tires, there are a few things we can do to keep ourselves safe, and routine inspection of your tires is necessary, at least once a month and before/after long trips.

Here are a few things you can do:

1. Check your tire pressure on a regular basis. Underinflated tires can cause your tires to overheat, while overinflated tires can lead to blowouts. They both, however, can lead to premature wear and reduce the performance of your tire.

2. Check the tread of your tires. An easy way to do this is by using the penny test. With President Lincoln's head facing downwards, insert your penny into the grooves of your tire tread. If any part of his head is hidden, then your tires are OK. If not, then it's time to replace your tires. (MICHELIN® has a great video that demonstrates how you can do this.)

3. Check for embedded items. Screws, nails, stones and other debris can become embedded in your tires. If you see them, remove them. In the case of nails/screws etc., you may want to take your tire into a professional to get it repaired in the event of a leak.

Note: When it comes to leaks, always have it patched by a professional. 

If you've been hesitant to purchase MICHELIN® tires, because of the price or whatever your reasoning may be, think about this: How much do you value your life and that of your family while driving?

Purchase a set of MICHELIN® tires. They are built to perform the same while new and worn. You never have to worry about braking performance since they maintain wet braking performance and handling throughout the life of your tire.

Performance should not have to depend on the depth of your tire tread!

To learn The Truth About Worn Tires, visit MichelinMan

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Annmarie John
8 Things to Do in Harvest Caye, Belize Within 8 Hours ~ #CruiseNorwegian

8 Things to Do in Harvest Caye, Belize Within 8 Hours ~ #CruiseNorwegian

Planning to sail the high seas to the Western Caribbean that involves Harvest Caye, Belize? Today I'm sharing with you eight highly probable activities you can do while there, all within 8 hours.

We earlier shared our list that featured Roatán, Honduras and while there were numerous other excursions that you can partake in, you might be stretched for time. My current list of Harvest Caye, Belize comprises of experiences that can all be accomplished with a bit of planning and some, not so much.

The official language of Belize is English, and Harvest Caye, Belize, like most Caribbean islands is truly divine! So what is there to enjoy besides the gorgeous beach? Well, let's dive into details.

Did you happen to miss out on this event in  Roatán, Honduras? Don't despair. You'll have a chance to zip line right here in Harvest Caye, Belize. While you can sign up on board for this activity, the lines weren't incredibly long so you'll be able to enjoy it before the day is over. Ziplining can only be paid for using your key card and billed to your cruise account. You are required to sign waivers for those under the age of 18.

These two activities are in the same location which eliminates the need to walk around looking for one or the other. Both can be booked on the cruise directly to your cruise account using your key card. These are an hour's activity, and I counted this one as my exercise for the day. The kids took to kayaking while my husband and I decided on the pedal boat. (I'm pretty sure I burned about 1,000 calories pedaling, and that's just a slight exaggeration.) You have the option to choose between a 2 or 4-man pedal boat, and waivers are once again needed, for those under the age of 18.

For parasailing, I highly suggest signing up for this activity onboard the ship. Parasailing is paid for with your keycard and billed to your cruise account. Spots get taken very quickly so the only slots available might be ones very close to when the ship is departing, and you do NOT want to be left behind in Belize, no matter how beautiful the island is. Once again you're going to need to sign waivers for your children. We had a 1:30pm slot which afforded us lots of time to parasail and still left us with a few more hours before our ship sailed.

How about a coconut filled with your favorite alcohol and an umbrella? It's what Rum Coco is all about. Sure you can get a virgin coconut, but why would you? You're on vacation after all! You have the choice to purchase your Rum Coco with cash or card; the decision is yours. Be sure to have your ID on hand if you're buying the alcoholic version as they card everyone.

The Wildlife Experience is what it sounds like: a wildlife experience. There you're able to enter into a butterfly garden and be surrounded by butterflies. There are also snakes, the keel-billed toucan (the National Bird of Belize), butterflies, and scarlet macaws. The experience should naturally take about 30 minutes from beginning to end and cost of admission is free.

Show your skill by playing a game of life-sized chess or checkers. Who says that nothing in life is free? There are no age limits, and both games are 100% free, however, you may have to wait a few minutes for your turn, but the experience is worth the wait. It's a great way to get the entire family involved.

Have you always longed for your hair to be braided, beaded or threaded Caribbean style, and want to go back to your country of origin to show your friends? The choice is yours, and it's available on the island. Prices vary based on the hair design, and cash or card is accepted, and conveniently located in the same place as the next thing you can do.

Have a teenager who has been asking for a tattoo, or how about yourself, but scared of the commitment of being permanently inked? Then a Henna Tattoo may be just the thing for you? You can have an intricate design done, or something simplistic, it's all up to you. Prices vary based on the tattoo design and cash, or cards are accepted.

Or skip them all and relax on the beach under a cabana or lounge chair while enjoying a drink from the bar. After all, you're on vacation, and it's all about relaxation. So kick off those shoes, put on your swimwear, dig your toes in the sand and have fun! Don't forget to grab a few souvenirs and photos from your trip to share with your family and friends when you get back.

Next, we'll be sharing a few ideas on what to do in Costa Maya, Mexico. Stay tuned!

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Annmarie John
8 Things to Do in Roatán, Honduras Within 8 Hours ~ #VisitHonduras #CruiseNorwegian

8 Things to Do in Roatán, Honduras Within 8 Hours ~ #VisitHonduras #CruiseNorwegian

We recently returned from a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Norwegian Getaway and it was incredible. One of the islands that we visited was Roatán, Honduras and generally when our ship docked, we had approximately 8 hours to become a tourist.

Today I want to share with you a few stuff you can do within those 8 hours. A few of the items that are listed can be done as soon as you disembark from the ship, allowing you the option to add several more to your itinerary.

So here goes!

Once you leave the comfort of your cabin and disembark into Port Roatán, Honduras this is actually one of the very first things that you can do. There is the option to go ziplining from one side of the port to the other, so you're suspended above the water, and this can be seen from the deck of the ship. There are other ziplining stations around the island with another a stone's throw away that suspends you over land. Even with the lines, this may ordinarily take you less than an hour. You'll have to sign a waiver for children under 18.

This is another event that can be completed as soon as you disembark, and one that all four kids participated in. You'll need to once again sign a waiver, of course, and everyone will be given a life jacket and given a safety briefing before beginning their kayaking journey. Madison age 6, shown in the photo with her sister Krxssy, kayaked for the very first time and had a blast. You can organize a ½ hour or an hour kayak experience, whichever floats your boat.

You can book your island tour excursion through your cruise line or on land. The native language of Honduras is Spanish, however, the tour guides all have an excellent handle on the English language and are quite willing to show you around and give you a little history on the island. Our guide took us to the highest point in Roatán where we were able to observe our ship and score an excellent view of the island.

OK, you can't go to the Caribbean and not drink from a coconut. Growing up on an island myself, it was the only way to drink a coconut, as I grew up surrounded by coconut trees. There was no such thing as coconut in a bottle or container; it was straight from the nut. Prices vary by location and you can obtain either a virgin coconut or take it up a notch by adding some alcohol. No matter which way you decide to drink it, drink up!

While on your tour of the island, you may ask your tour guide to make a pit stop to the island's chocolate factory, if it's not already included (ours was). There you'll attain a first-hand tour of how chocolate is made. There are even samplings of each chocolate, from white to dark, and even flavored (all organic), after which you'll have the option to purchase. Madison walked away with a bar of milk chocolate, which she devoured.

OK, so you drank from a coconut, but how about a pineapple? Just as with the coconut, there are two versions of the pineapple drink, a virgin, and an alcoholic option. Once again, the choice is all up to you, however, they're all delicious!

Did you know that the Iguana is a delicacy in Honduras? When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and when in Honduras give their food a try. I decided on the Iguana meal and I must admit that it was absolutely tasty. Who knew? Does it taste like chicken? Not really. While it was prepared rather flavorful, the meat itself is a little chewy but still rather enjoyable.

You CANNOT visit the Caribbean and not dip your toes or entire body into the Caribbean Sea. While you may not have enough time for a swim, it doesn't hurt to dip your toes into the water. The waters are extremely clear, clear enough to see your toes, and during the summertime, it's exceptionally warm. Or you can "do the Madison" and play in the sand while collecting seashells from the seashore.

No matter what you decide on partaking in while on the island, remember to have fun. The people are friendly, the food is scrumptious and the sites are spectacular. And don't forget to pick up a souvenir or two to remind you of your trip to beautiful Honduras, and take loads of photos!

Stay tuned for part 2 of what to experience while in Belize!

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Annmarie John
How to Make Family Mealtime Fun!

How to Make Family Mealtime Fun!

Life can get hectic, so quality time with your kids can often feel infrequent and always feels too short. Throw smartphones, tv, and computers into the mix, and it makes it difficult to really connect with one another and have everyone be present in the moment.

One of the best ways to spend time with your kids is to start a new tradition of eating dinner together, and make it a more timely activity that gets your kids involved and excited about throwing a recipe together that they made from scratch! Not only is this a great way to spend quality time with your little ones, but it also teaches them important life lessons along the way. Recent studies have found that shared mealtimes have many benefits for family wellness, which are further explained in the graphic below.

So, get your cooking utensils ready, and try this day plan for creating the perfect dinner for family mealtime.

Pick A Recipe
Before all else, you have to find a perfect recipe that will appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. Pinterest is a great place to start! Scroll through the “food” or “recipe” pinboards with your kids and create your own board to save recipes for current and future meal times. Or, maybe you have an old family recipe book to pull some traditional recipes from. This is a great opportunity to share some of your heritage and family traditions with your kids, and share your favorite dishes from when you were growing up.

If you’re looking for healthy recipes, or if you have any family members with dietary restrictions (i.e. vegan or vegetarian) or food allergies, EatingWell is a great site to check out too! It offers authoritative insights to help make healthy eating a way of life for you and your family. The website also features a multitude of recipes that appeal to a wide range of dietary needs and appeal to a wide range of palettes. Once your kids have come to a consensus on the recipe of choice, it’s on to the next step: buying the ingredients!

A Trip to the Market
Once you have decided on a recipe, it’s time to hit the road and head to your local grocer or farmers market. The farmers market is a great place to show your kids where they can find fresh, locally-sourced produce, and explain to them the benefits of supporting local farmers.

Farm-to-table doesn’t have to only happen in pricey restaurants, and can and should become a habit in your home. Do some research prior to taking the trip to the market to get some background on the benefits of organic produce. As you stroll from vendor to vendor, throw in words of wisdom about the benefits of eating organic, or why eating healthy, nourishing meals is important, using produce on display as examples.

Lastly, before heading home, let your kids roam the market to find fresh fruits or veggies they want to try, and let them pick one item each to have as a little mid-day snack before heading home.

Time To Cook
When you are home and have unloaded your groceries, it's time to get cooking! Encourage your kids to be hands-on and help them take the lead in cooking and preparing the meal. Show them techniques and safety tips when in the kitchen, and talk to them about different ways to combine flavors. Making this dinner from scratch will give your children a deeper appreciation for their meal.

When waiting for things to cook, bake or simmer, have the kids help you wash the dishes and clean up the mess on the counters and tables before it’s time to eat. Have them set the table as well, and maybe make it a race to see who can set their place the fastest to make it less of a chore. When everything is cooked and ready to serve, keep things upbeat by creating another game to see who can make the prettiest dish!

Let’s Eat
Finally, it’s time for the moment you all have been waiting for-- dinner! Gather around your family dining table, adorned with table settings and your homemade meal. Make sure cell phones and other electronics are left in their rooms so there are no distractions from the meal or conversations (Parents have to follow this rule too).

Start a conversation by asking what they learned from the day, and what their favorite and least favorite parts were. This can give you insight as to what you can do differently the next time your family chooses and prepares a meal together, and your children will appreciate having their feedback listened to. Then you all can decide on another recipe for the next week!
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Annmarie John
[name=AnnMarie John] [img=] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook= (instagram= (twitter= (pinterest= (