There’s no way for you to legally “live” in Canada until you have PR (or a work permit or study permit). Until you have PR (or a work permit or study permit), all you can do is visit and you can’t move your personal belongings here. As visitors, you would want to make sure it doesn’t look like you’re moving when you arrive (i.e. don’t bring everything with you – bring what a normal tourist would bring – like 1-2 suitcases). You would also want to make sure you are spending more time outside of Canada than inside of Canada in any given year. In terms of timing for visiting. right now you wouldn’t even be allowed to enter Canada as tourists since the border is closed to non-essential travel. You will need to wait until the travel bans are relaxed in a few months.
If you want to go the study permit route, one of you will need to be a full time student and you’ll want to make sure the studies you opt to take in Canada make sense in light of your previous education and work experience (i.e. show a logical progression).
And yes, if Express Entry is a no go due to insufficient points, then you’ll need to look at the self employment immigration route.