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    What Are The Best Towels for the Cottage?

    We've just purchased a cottage in Ontario's Georgian Bay region, the cottage country made famous by The Group Of Seven painters. We've been busy painting, moving and preparing our new home away from home for all the good times ahead. This means stocking the cottage with firewood, comfy furniture and all the amenities that a vacation home needs. Our list of long-term plans includes building an outdoor shower and designing an integrated multi-level deck and hot tub, along with connecting outdoor kitchen and fire pit areas. Ambitious, I know, but exciting, too!

    I know from having a pool at home that guest towels and swimming towels can quickly add up to a mountain of laundry. Luckily for us, we've got Snappy Towels. Here's why they make the best towels for your cottage:

    1. They are compact: Snappy Towels take up 1/4 of the space of cotton towels when folded. That means they are easier to carry to the beach, they take up less room in the closet, and you can wash 4 times as many of them in a load of laundry. So instead of running multiple loads of towels each week, you can just throw the Snappy Towels in along with other laundry. This saves time and money. And there's less load on our well and septic system, too.

    2. They are comfortable: other compact microfiber beach and bath towels are made of "suede microfiber" or a flat, non-textured microfiber fabric, similar to camping towels or some travel towels. These things stick to you when you try to dry yourself with them, much the same way that wet blue jeans feel. Gross. Snappy Towels are textured microfiber, meaning they feel more like a Turkish towel, making them comfortable enough to use every day. Sure they aren't the world's fluffiest luxury bath towels, but if you want a towel that you can take to the beach, throw in a boat or toss on the sand, then this is the best of both worlds.

    3. They are multi-functional: Making a quick trip down to the water's edge? Snappy Towels can be snapped to form an over-the-shoulder beach tote, so you can carry a few items with you, hands-free, without needing a backpack. I usually take sunscreen, my phone, keys, a book, a water bottle, sun hat, swim suit, and t-shirt. These all easily fit into any sized Snappy Towel. Sometimes it's best to have a backpack, but I prefer to travel light.

    I also use my Snappy Towel as a changing cover at the beach, either changing into my bathing suit or after a swim when I want to get back into a dry change of clothes.

    Once back at the cottage, snapping the towel over a clothes line or railing to dry is easy to do. I don't need clothes pins to ensure it won't blow down. This is an essential feature if your railing is over the water on a dock or boathouse.

    How to Pack For a Family Vacation

    How to pack for a family vacation. 10 packing tips

    Summer is fast approaching, and that means many of you are starting to think of your vacations. We've put together this guide on how to pack for family holidays, so if you need a little help getting organized for a fun summer break, take a look at our list of 10 top tips below.

    1. Roll Your Clothes

    You know who has to carry clothes and then wear them in pristine condition? The good people at the US military! Rolling your shirts, pants and socks instead of folding them is one of the main secrets to enjoying less creased clothing. Take a look at the WikiHow guide for more details.

    How to for a family vacation

    2. Pack Smart!

    When it comes to packing for a family holiday, you have to be ruthless in your selections. Less is often more when it comes to clothing. For the kids, make sure to take one set of clothes per day, plus a spare for accidents. Any more than that is adding unnecessary extras.

    3. Pack Snappy!

    Save space on beach essentials by using our compact, microfiber beach towels! Check out our blog post on why Snappy Towels make for excellent travel towels for your next vacation, resort holiday or cruise.

    4. Prepare for Baby

    Take more baby essentials than you initially think you need. In the event of a delay, you want to be prepared, unless you're absolutely sure you can pick up essentials in Departures. Take a look at Mumsnet's PDF checklist for a comprehensive list of must-pack baby items.

    5. Divide Clothes between Luggage

    Try to spread clothes for each person across a few different bags. That way, if the worst happens and a bag goes missing in transit, nobody needs wear the same set of underwear for the first few days of the holiday!

    6. Make Copies of Your Itinerary for Each Bag

    Misplaced luggage will be returned much more easily if every bag has details of your flights, home address and hotel address. Plus one lost bag doesn't mean a lost itinerary too!

    7. Give the Kids Their Own Bag

    Hand your kids some responsibility in the shape of an appropriate backpack or wheeled carry-on bag. Fill it with their favorite toys and books for the journey ahead.

    8. Take Medication in Hand Luggage

    Pretty self-explanatory - the last thing you want is someone not getting their medication because it's in the Bermuda Triangle instead of Cancun!

    How to pack for a family vacation - luggage tips

    9. Pack in Advance and Test the Weight

    Don't leave it until the last minute. Make a checklist well in advance and then make sure you're done with a couple of day's grace. For extra ease, take your packed bags round the block a day or two before you leave, to check that nobody is overburdened.

    10. Make Your Life Easier

    Finally, take a look at this short list for some extra inspiration on packing hacks:

    • Sunscreen - buy and pack at home - it's likely to be better quality and not overpriced
    • Kids' inflatables - they're usually cheaper to buy and pack at home than on the beachfront.
    • Zipper storage bags - these multi-purpose bagging solutions have a million uses, from storing wet or sandy clothes to transporting dirty nappies.
    • Nappies - a sneaky trick is to pack cash, jewelry and valuables inside a nappy if you have one available: potential thieves are less likely to try and steal soiled garments. Just make sure nobody -helpfully- throws it out on arrival!

    Images by ironypoisoning and Infomastern, and used under Creative Commons license

    Where to Get Swimming Lessons in Toronto When City Programs Are Full

     Swimming lessons in Toronto, with your best swimming towel, of course!

    The recent controversy over the failing 20-year-old registration system for the City of Toronto's public recreation programs has added to what was already an uncertain summer for recreation in Toronto, after last week's news of a potential union strike or lockout. City spokesperson Wynna Brown confirmed a CUPE Local 79 work stoppage would postpone registration for spring-summer recreation programs.

    What no one seems to be talking about, though, is the real reason why it's so hard to get your kids registered for recreation programs in Toronto: there just aren't enough spots.

    Even if you've armed yourself with everything you need to know to register online for summer programs such as swimming and summer camps, you're probably going to be out of luck. For a city of over 5.5 million people, there just aren't enough swimming lessons available at Toronto city pools.

    Beyond dated technology, the reason that the online registration system is so stressed is because every parent in the city knows how limited spots are: if they don't make a mad dash to register their kids for swimming lessons on the very second that the online registration opens, they won't get a spot.

    There is likely a backlog of years of demand, since it takes years to learn to swim, and there are only 5 sessions all year: Fall, Spring and 3 fast-track swimming lesson session in summer (mostly daytime lessons that working parents can't attend). If you miss a couple of registration dates, you'll be still trying to register for that same class next year.

    So, if you are as hell-bent on your kids learning to swim as you should be (for obvious safety reasons), here is a list of places you can go to learn to swim in Toronto when all of the city swimming lesson programs are (inevitably) fully booked. Or when the registration system fails, or the Union craps out, whichever comes first.

    9 Places to Get Swimming Lessons Outside of City Pools in Toronto

    1. Swim Secure (www.swimsecure.ca) Operating out of Central Technical School, located at Bathurst and Bloor, Swim Secure specializes in private swimming lessons, tot lessons and parent & tot lessons.
    2. Felix's Swim Schools (www.felixswimschools.com) Multiple locations Downtown, Junction, Beach, Markham, Woodbridge and North York.
    3. Shendy's Swim Centre (www.shendys.com) 22m saltwater pool in North York.
    4. Zodiac Swim School (www.zodiackids.ca) North York
    5. AquaMobile Home Swim Lessons (aquamobileswim.com) They teach all across Toronto and the GTA. Private swimming lessons in your own pool.
    6. Olympian School of Swimming (www.olympianswimming.com) North York, Scarborough and Markham.
    7. Beach Swim School (www.beachswimschool.ca) Various east-end locations.
    8. Jack of Sports (www.jackofsports.com) Various locations east, west and central Toronto.
    9. G.S. Aquatics (www.gsaquatics.com) In Bayview/401 area and Bayview/Eglinton area.

    Kids Swim Towel and Toy Set Giveaway!

    It's sweepstakes time again!

    We are happy to announce a partnership with two great kids swim toy companies: Made By My Dad, the makers of Frogglez Goggles, and Flo-Therapy, makers of Zoo Noodles, who are co-sponsoring our latest giveaway.

    --> Enter here to win one of 3 Kids Swim Towel and Toy Sets

    Each of 3 Grand Prizes includes:

    About the Prizes

    Snappy Towels

    Snappy Towels are towels with snaps, so you can wear them in many ways. Snap them into a fun cape, a warming cover-up, or a convenient beach blanket. Snapping your towel around your shoulders can protect you from the sun, or just keep your hands free and your towel on. For kids, Snappy Towels also make a great quick-change poncho for the beach or pool.

    Snappy Towels Beach Balls

    A matching pair of fun beach balls to go with your towels. 

    Frogglez Goggles

    Frogglez are innovative comfortable swim goggles for kids that solve the most annoying problems with traditional swim goggles. Frogglez straps are made of neoprene and covered in a smooth fabric so they don't pull on kid's hair. Plus, they float. The patented strap design keeps them from sliding down over the ears. They are comfortable and easy even for young kids to use. You can learn more about Frogglez Goggles on their website.

    Zoo Noodles

    Zoo Noodles are fun plush float toys that come in 4 different characters. Our sweepstakes includes one of each! 

    Each Zoo Noodle is made from marine-grade UV-protected fabric and filled with safe EPS foam beads. This makes them easy to grasp, even by the tiniest of hands. The characters are cute, as you can see, and my favourite part is the "slurp and squirt" bulb that each Zoo Noodle has in their nose (or beak, depending on the character). So, it's a float toy, a plush toy and a water gun all in one. You can read more about Zoo Noodles on their website.

     

    For your chance to win these awesome gifts for kids, enter our sweepstakes now:

    http://snappytowels.com/pages/aug-2015-sweepstakes-kids-towel-swim-toy

     

    also featured on Infinite Sweeps

     

    Personalized Towels Giveaway Winner!

    Personalized Towels for Kids

    Congratulations to our sweepstakes winner, Jennifer Villebrun of Valleyview, Alberta, who will receive a custom order of 6 personalized beach & bath towels, including shipping!

    Consolation Prize!

    For those of you who did not win, you can claim a consolation prize by ordering now with discount code RunnerUpJune15 to receive 10% off any order!

    Offer expires June 21, 2015