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4 Free Printable Groundhog Day Word Search Puzzles

4 Free Printable Groundhog Day Word Search Puzzles

These free printable word search puzzles are a fun way to celebrate Groundhog Day with your kids. They make great educational activities for home school or classroom use — or they can just be a fun activity for your kids to do at home, just […]

15 Easy Leftover Spaghetti Recipes

15 Easy Leftover Spaghetti Recipes

As I’m sure you already know, one of the secrets to cooking is to always make extras. Doubling a recipe gives you double the meals without doubling the work. And if you’re really smart (and to be honest, I’m usually not), you’ll always make double […]

Best Wines to Pair with Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Best Wines to Pair with Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

There are two basic ways a blogger can choose a topic for an article:

  1. Find something you really like and have a lot of experience with, and share your expertise with others
  2. Find something that you know nothing about, do some research on, and then share your discoveries with others

This article is definitely the second one.

A week ago, I knew almost nothing about wine. My husband regularly drink Pinot Noir, and sometimes I’ll pour a little for myself, but that’s about it. I knew that other wines were white, ha ha. I had no idea what made Pinot Noir different from any other wines (other than the fact that it was red and some other wines were white), and I had no ideas if there were other wines out there that I would like better — or worse.

But after following up my popular crockpot spaghetti recipe with an article about the best side dishes to serve with spaghetti, I thought it’d be fun to expand my horizons and learn a little something about the best wine to serve with spaghetti.

The goood news is that there’s no definitive answer, which means there are no wrong answers.

However, knowing a few basics about wine is not only interesting, but it’ll help you decide on the perfect wine for your latest pasta dish.

In this post you’ll learn about some wine terminology and general tips about pairings. After that, I’ll list different kinda of spaghetti dishes and sauces, which type of wine goes best with each, and why.


What does “bodied” mean?

One of the first things you’ll notice is that wines are described as being, for example, “full-bodied.”

I had no idea what that meant and found this definition from Hy-Vee:

The body of a wine refers to its mouthfeel, with light-bodied wines being less viscous that full-bodied wines. Remember, viscosity describes the thickness or texture of a liquid, with water being less viscous than syrup, for example.

Okay, so that helps a little. Let’s break it down some more.


Light-Bodied Wine

Generally, any wine with an alcohol percentage under 12.5 percent is considered light-bodied. They’re described as “crisp” and “refreshing.”

Examples: Pinot Grigio, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc


Medium-Bodied Wine

Typically they have an alcohol content between 12.5% and 13.5%. They cover a broad spectrum of wines and go well with a lot of different foods.

Examples: Merlot, Rosé, and Pinot Grigio


Full-Bodied Wine

Full-bodied wines have “a rich, complex, well-rounded flavor that lingers in the mouth.”
They’re high in tannin content (we’ll talk more about tannin in a moment), which usually leaves a dry taste in the mouth
Full-bodied reds pair best with strong-flavored foods like BBQ, Mexican, smoked meats, and steak. Full-bodied white wines pair amazingly with crab, lobster, creamy pasta sauces, chicken, white sauce pizza, and soft cheeses.

Examples: Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel (red), Chardonnay (white)


What are Tannins?

Glass of wine and plate of grapes

Tannins are naturally occurring compounds called polyphenols. They’re found in grape skins and give wines their dryness. Tannins act as a natural preservative that helps wine age and develop.

Red wines generally have more tannins than white wines. That’s because red wines go through a process called maceration, where the grape skins are steeped to extract color and tannins.

Generally, tannin tastes bitter and astringent, giving your mouth a ‘dry’ feeling. (Note to self: avoid high tannin wines.)

As a point of comparison, Cabernet Sauvignon is much higher in tannins than Pinot Noir.

You should avoid pairing wines with super high tannins along with spaghetti because they can make the pasta taste bitter.


Which Wine to Serve with Different Pasta Dishes

Now that you I have a better understanding of wine in general, here’s a list of which wines go best with which pasta dish — and why.

Almost all the information below is summarized from various articles at DrinkandPair.


Spaghetti with Bolognese Sauce

Spaghetti with Bolognese sauce

Bolognese is a kind of ragù (that’s the Italian word for “meat sauce”) originally from Bologna, Italy.

It’s much thicker and creamier than your typical American meat and tomato sauce. It has milk as one of the ingredients, and just a touch of tomato.

Chianti Classico — a dry, red wine high is both tannin and acidity — is the best wine to pair up with a Bolognese sauce.

The tannin helps break down the meat flavors, making the sauce taste richer and more savory. Meanwhile, the acidity helps keep your palate cleansed.

Chianti Classico has the flavor of red and black cherries, plus hints of sun-dried tomato, plum and raspberry. It also has rustic flavors of black pepper, thyme, leather, and tobacco, which all go along well with the meat in the sauce.


Pasta with Pesto Sauce

Many kids (and some adults) immediately want to run screaming when they see a bowl of pesto, mostly because it’s green color reminds them of something from a Dr. Seuss book.

But it’s just crushed basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and cheese, all of which are awesome.

Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp white wine with a “grassy” flavor and hints of lemon, lime, and grapefruit, which all goes well together with pesto sauce.

The acidity of Sauvignon Blanc enhances the vibrancy of pesto sauce and makes them seem even fresher. Also, Sauvignon Blanc is rarely aged in oak. This is really important because the tannin in oaks makes pesto sauce taste extremely bitter and unappealing.


Spaghetti Carbonara

Plate of spaghetti carbonara

I used to make spaghetti carbonara all the time (despite the fact that one of my kids hated it), but haven’t made it in years, because I always end up eating way too much of it.

With spaghetti carbonara, you want to avoid a heavier red, like Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux, which can overwhelm the flavor of the bacon.

Chianti Classico is a dry, Italian red wine made only in a specific part of Tuscany in central Italy. It’s an excellent choice Spaghetti alla Carbonara because of its herbal and fruity flavor, plus it’s high acid level.

The acidity cuts through rich butter and cheese-based sauces, bringing out its full flavor. Meanwhile, the herbal, smoky and earthy quality complements the earthy bacon flavor.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo — an inexpensive Italian red wine — is another option. It’s described as “fleshy and rich with inky dark fruit flavors and earthy with notes of licorice, olives, violets, spice and black pepper.”


Spaghetti Alle Vongole

Spaghetti with clams

This is a fancy (Italian} way of saying “spaghetti with clams.”

Italians prepare Spaghetti Alle Vongole two different ways: with tomatoes (in rosso) and without (in bianco).

Since white wine is a main ingredient, avoid serving it with red wine — but if you do, choose one that’s low in tannin and high in acidity, like Pinot Noir.

Pinot Grigio is one of the best pairings with Spaghetti Alle Vongole.

Pinot Grigio is a dry, light and crisp white Italian wine with the flavors of apple, citrus, and even notes of pear. These fruity flavors go well with the briny clam and garlic flavors and the high acidity cuts through the heavy carbs of the pasta and the taste bud clogging fats of the olive oil.

If your Spaghetti alle Vongole has a ton of garlic in it, consider a Pinot Gris, from France, which has a slightly bolder fruit flavor.


Spaghetti with Sausage-Based Sauces

I always loved it when my mother made a homemade spaghetti sauce Italian sausage links. Yum! I actually liked that better than her meatballs (which were also amazing.)

However, none of us that we should have all been drinking an acidic red wine like such as Chianti, Pinot Noir, or Dolcetto with my mother’s spaghetti.

A wine that has a higher tannin and a lower acidity “fights” with tomato sauce and makes the red wine taste more like tin than berries.


Pasta with Seafood Sauce

Pinot Grigio is a great wine pairing with any seafood pasta.

It has a mellow flavor that won’t interfere with either the seafood or the sauce. Its minerality also complements the sea-breeze flavours of the seafood.


Pasta with Tomato-Based Sauces

If you’re having spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, chicken parmesan, baked ziti or other tomato-based pasta, Chianti Classico is a great choice.

It’s fresh and fruity, with flavors of black and red cherries, plums, and strawberries. It also has a bit of a rustic quality, with smoke, flavors of smoke, earth, herbs, and spices.

It’s acidity and tannin levels are balanced, making it perfect for both meat and tomato sauce. (Wines that are higher in tannin and lower in acidity clash with tomato sauce, making it taste flat and metallic.)


Mushroom Pastas

Pinot Noir — a dry, acidic, light-bodied wine — is a good match for any pasta with a mushroom sauce.

If it’s a creamy sauce, the high acidity of Pinot Noir cuts through the richness of the cream, butter and parmesan cheese, allowing the flavor of the mushrooms to come through.

If your mushroom sauce is a tomato based sauce, Pinot Noir’s high acidity and low tannin is perfect. (A red sauce can make a high tannin wine taste metallic and flat.)


37 Easy Crafts for Kids to Make & Sell

37 Easy Crafts for Kids to Make & Sell

When I was about ten years old, a neighborhood friend and I were hanging around outside one day during summer break when we discovered mint leaves in my background. For some reason we got pretty excited about this discovery and thought we should go door-to-door […]

43 Delicious Side Dishes to Serve with Spaghetti

43 Delicious Side Dishes to Serve with Spaghetti

Since this easy spaghetti recipe is one of my most popular posts, I thought I’d follow it up with a post of the best sides to serve with spaghetti. These 43 recipes includes various salads, roasted and steamed veggies, soft pretzels (great for dipping in […]

24 Easy Dollar Tree Store Crafts for Kids

24 Easy Dollar Tree Store Crafts for Kids

When my daughters were younger, they both loved crafts — even very simple ones, like peeling off stickers and putting them on a piece of construction paper.

We were always for craft supplies, craft kits, and art project ideas for them. But unfortunately, back then we didn’t realize what a great place the dollar store is for buying craft materials.

Some craft supplies that you can find at the dollar store include:

  • Crayons, markers, pens
  • Artificial flowers
  • Craft foam
  • Ribbon
  • Craft moss
  • Tissue paper
  • Doilies
  • Googly eyes
  • Glitter glue
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Glue sticks
  • Paint trays
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Pom poms
  • Rope
  • Beads
  • Clothespins
  • Feathers
  • Posterboard
  • Construction paper
  • Acrylic paints
  • Watercolor paints


Here are 24 easy crafts, all made with items that you can buy at your local dollar store — from craft supplies like pom poms and construction paper to household items like coffee filters, food coloring, and cupcake liners.

Some of these craft projects can be completely made using only Dollar Tree items, while others might need a trip to another store as well.


Dollar Store Craft Ideas for Kids


More Crafts that use Dollar Store Items

Here are even more fun crafts that your kids will love.



23 Best Open Ended Toys for Toddlers

23 Best Open Ended Toys for Toddlers

Isn’t toy shopping for your kids fun? I always think it is. But sometimes it can be overwhelming, or even confusing. There’s tons of stuff out there. And you don’t want to buy just any toy. You want a fantastic toy that’s high quality, lasts […]

18 Cause and Effect Toys for Babies & Toddlers

18 Cause and Effect Toys for Babies & Toddlers

When my son was a year old, we joked that his favorite toy with a light switch. But really, it wasn’t a joke at all. His favorite thing to do for a while was stand on a chair so he could reach the light switch, […]

The Best Rain Ponchos & Jackets for Disney World

The Best Rain Ponchos & Jackets for Disney World

If you’re planning a trip to Disney World (especially during the summer months), you might be so concerned about the heat that you forget about the rain.

But the truth is, it’s very likely that you’ll get at least a little rain — if not some heavy rain — during your trip, and it’s important to be prepared for it.

Florida weather can be kind of weird. One minute it’s hot and sunny, and the next minute you’re in what feels like the middle of a tropical storm.

Unless you like being drenched, it’s a good idea to pack something for the rain, whether it’s a lightweight rain jacket, a travel umbrella, or even just a cheap poncho from the local dollar store.

In this post you’ll discover all kinds of rain gear options to help you prepare for the wet weather, whether your experience just a little bit of rain or a full-blown afternoon thunderstorm.


SaphiRose Hooded Rain Poncho with Pockets

Hooded Rain Poncho with PocketsHooded Rain Poncho with PocketsHooded Rain Poncho with Pockets


This hooded rain poncho is made of 100% polyester fabric and has an adjustable drawstring hood with toggles. It comes in 40 different colors, including gradient and polka-dot designs, so you’re sure to find a color and design that you love.

Reviewers loved how it was lightweight and that it can easily be rolled up and put in its matching zipper pouch, so you don’t have to lug a wet poncho all over the park. (You can see a photo of the poncho and its matching pouch here.)

This poncho is an excellent choice for “Pooh-sized” Disney fans. One size 28 reviewer was delighted that the poncho not only fit fine, but also was big enough to cover her backpack.

And if you love this poncho, you can get them for the entire family. Click here to see to the kid’s version

Amazon reviewer GraysonsMom said this poncho was a “lifesaver” at Disney World:

I bought this poncho for a trip to Disney world in early March. It was a lifesaver! It rained everyday. Not normal Florida rain, but full blown thunderstorms. Epcot literally flooded one night. I bought some other disposable compact ponchos and they did nothing. This bad boy kept me super dry. Dried quickly. Wasn’t too bulky or heavy to carry around in my backpack and I got multiple compliments on it.

Click here to see a photo of her wearing her polka dot poncho.


Frogg Toggs Men’s Ultra-lite2 Waterproof Breathable Poncho

FROGG TOGGS Men's Ultra-lite2 Waterproof Breathable PonchoFROGG TOGGS Men’s Ultra-lite2 Waterproof Breathable PonchoFROGG TOGGS Men's Ultra-lite2 Waterproof Breathable Poncho


You’ve heard me sing the praises of the Frogg Toggs cooling towel before. It turns out they also make a rain poncho that’s a popular choice for Disney goers.

The Frogg Togg men’s poncho is made of 100% Polypropylene, has a pull-on closure (as opposed to the poncho above, which has a zipper closure), and is machine washable.

It also features both an adjustable hood with cord locks and side snaps, with both do a great job of keeping water out. It comes with a “stuff sack” to make it easy to carry.

It’s available in 6 different colors, including dark green, yellow, khaki, and pink.

Reviewers liked how this poncho had a very light fabric lining that kept the plastic from sticking to you, but didn’t make you hot.


10-Pack Disposable Rain Ponchos with Drawstring Hood

COOY Disposable Rain Ponchos,with Drawstring Hood (10 PackCOOY Disposable Rain Ponchos,with Drawstring Hood (10 PackCOOY Disposable Rain Ponchos,with Drawstring Hood (10 Pack


If you don’t want to actually invest in a rain poncho for long-term use, but just want some cheap plastic ponchos that you’re gonna stuff in the trash soon after you’re finished with them, these 10-packs by COOY are your best option. (They’re also available in a 7-pack or in a 6-pack for kids.)

Reviewers particularly liked how the elastic around the wrists and the drawstring for the hood helped keep them dry.

Amazon reviewer Jessi Lynn says these ponchos are great for a Disney trip:

Took these for a “Just in case” rain shower at Disney. It seems to rain there once a day. Well it did & these were so useful. They covered our backpacks & went to about our knees. Im 5’5 230 lbs. And my boys are 5’10 180 lbs, 6 ft 260 lbs. They fit us all perfect!

The drawstring on the wrists & hood was a life saver. It kept us dry. We also purchased water shoes. When it started raining we were able to still walk through the park while others were hiding for cover.

Click here to see photos of her family wearing these ponchos at Disney World.


Mickey and Minnie Rain Poncho

Disney Mickey and Minnie Mouse Rain PonchoDisney Mickey and Minnie Mouse Rain PonchoDisney Mickey and Minnie Mouse Rain Poncho


If you want Disney ponchos for your Disney trip, but want a more affordable option than you’d at the parks, check out this poncho featuring both Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

It’s made of 100% vinyl, measures 52 inches across and 40 inches tall, and has an attached hood and two snap buttons on each side for easier access.

Click here to see a happy customer posing with her poncho in front of the Cinderella Castle.


Columbia Women’s Switchback Rain jacket

Columbia Women's Switchback II JacketColumbia Women’s Switchback II JacketColumbia Women's Switchback II Jacket


If you want to own a quality jacket that you can wear in “real life,” even when it’s not raining, consider the Columbia Women’s Switchback II Jacket.

It’s available in six different colors (including fuchsia, coral, blue, or black) and has a ZIPPER CLOSURE. The shell is 100% nylon and the lining is 100% polyester.

Amazon reviewer Mistelle wore this jacket at Disney World and loved it:

This fits absolutely true to size if you are going by your measurements and true size. I’m a size 22/24, smaller chested with more weight in my tummy area and average width arms for a plus size woman. I was actually worried I may not be able to zip the 3x due to my hips (nothing ever fits my hips) but I was pleasantly surprised that this jacket is a perfect fit.

Yes it is only a shell jacket, and yes it’s waterproof, so one should expect it may get a bit humid if you’re wearing it zipped in a hot climate. For being waterproof though, the material is buttery soft and doesn’t make annoying crunchy fabric sounds.

I love the adjustable velcro cuffs on the sleeves, the zippered pockets (great for keeping my phone handy yet secure at Disney World), and the hood. I’ve worn this in light rain and actually mostly as a windbreaker and I think it was worth the price- much nicer quality and style than you could find in a cheaper brand …


Toddler Mickey Mouse Rain Coat

Toddler Mickey Mouse Rain CoatToddler Mickey Mouse Rain CoatToddler Mickey Mouse Rain Coat


If you have a little kiddo who needs a good rain coat, this is an adorable choice. The outer shell is made of 100% polyurethane and the lining is 65% polyester and 35% cotton, so your child can be out in the rain and still be warm and snuggly.

Reviewers like the durable quality combined with the soft lining.



Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about rain gear at Disney World:


Should I bring rain boots to Disney World?

I’m always impressed when I see women walking around on a rainy day with actual rain boots. They look so smart! So prepared! So fashionable, even!

However, I personally wouldn’t recommend wearing rain boots at Disney World.

The idea of it sounds clunky, hot, and generally annoying. And what do you do when it stops raining after an hour, as it often does in Orlando? Are you just gonna keep walking around in the heat wearing rain boots? Mmm, no thank you.

If you’re looking for a good, comfortable shoe that can withstand both the Florida heat and the Florida rain, I suggest you check out Crocs sandals, Merrell sandals, or Keene sandals.

(NOTE: Don’t be put off by the boring colors in the photos below; both the Crocs and Merrells come in a variety of colors.)

Crocs Unisex-Adult Classic Ll Slide SandalsCrocs Unisex-Adult Classic Ll Slide SandalsCrocs Unisex-Adult Classic Ll Slide SandalsKEEN Men's Newport H2 Closed Toe Water SandalsKEEN Men’s Newport H2 Closed Toe Water SandalsKEEN Men's Newport H2 Closed Toe Water SandalsMerrell Women's Terran Slide IIMerrell Women’s Terran Slide IIMerrell Women's Terran Slide II



How do I keep my stroller dry at Disney World?

Some people like to make their own stroller covers using a shower curtain and something like duct tape or elastic

If you’d rather just click a button than go through all that trouble, here’s a good stroller cover with a Disney theme to boot:

Disney Baby by J.L. Childress Universal Stroller Rain CoverDisney Baby by J.L. Childress Universal Stroller Rain CoverDisney Baby by J.L. Childress Universal Stroller Rain Cover


From one Amazon reviewer:

Our amazing Cybex stroller came with a rain cover — but, unfortunately, it does nothing to cover the bottom of the stroller which means a really wet bottom that just drips wherever we park it. Not really ideal. Great for the baby and the seat, but that is about it.

When I saw [the Disney Baby stroller cover], I was interested for two main reasons:

  1. It’s larger and looks like it will actually cover more of the stroller
  2. The Disney theme/print. My kiddos love Disney, so that was an obvious win from the get go.

I love that it goes all the way to the bottom on the back end (parent facing). This helps to keep anything in the under-storage part dry. An added bonus is that it also contains a pocket, so you can place either your phone, wallet, or something for the kiddos in there. And since the opening is like that of an envelope, it will also keep the contents of the pocket dry. It also goes farther around the front. If you have a toddler seat, it will drop down to cover the foot area. Due to it’s design, it keeps majority of the stroller dry — which is a huge plus!

This is easy to fold down and store, which is great. Again, it’s adorable with the Mickey head shapes on it. If you have any of the other Disney themed J.L. Childress items, this goes along with it well …


Can you wear ponchos on Disney water rides?

Sure, although people (most likely the other members of your family) might make fun of you.

Regardless of the weather, some people like to wear ponchos when they ride Splash Mountain (in Magic Kingdom) or Kali River Rapids (in Animal Kingdom).

Personally, I never wear a poncho on Splash Mountain, but I usually do wear one on Kali, because you can get pretty drenched on it, including your underwear, and that doesn’t particularly appeal to me.


Does Disney give free rain ponchos?

I saw this as one of those “People Also Asked” on Google, and thought, “Aw, how sweet … there are still people out there who are innocent enough to ask this.

That’s a nice thought, that Disney would provide courtesy rain ponchos as a service to their customers, but unfortunately they do not.

You can, however, purchase a rain poncho at any of their gift shops.


How much are rain ponchos at Disney World 2022?

“Youth” ponchos are $9.39 and adult-sized ponchos are between $12 and $15.

That might seem like a lot (and it is), but some people really like the Disney ponchos. They’re pretty well-made for a plastic poncho, and they’re fun-looking too.


How many ponchos should I bring to Disney?

If you’re bringing disposable ponchos, I’d recommend bringing 2-3 ponchos per person, depending on how averse you are to getting wet and how much of a risk-taker you are.


Should you bring ponchos to Disney?

Yes, you should bring either ponchos, rain jackets, and/or a travel umbrella, unless you either like living on the wild side of just enjoy being wet.


Should I bring a rain jacket to Disney?

See above.


Do they shut down rides when it rains at Disney World?

Some rides are shut down due to rain. Some rides are shut down due to thunder. Many other rides stay open all the time regardless of weather. Read my post on which rides close at Disney World when it rains.


Will Disney refund you if it rains?

No. (If they did, they would be giving refunds all the time!) However, they sometimes give refunds for extreme bad weather, like a hurricane.


When is hurricane season in Disney World?

Hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, which is not exactly a “season,” if you ask me. Usually hurricanes hit during August, September, and October.


Is Disney still fun in the rain?

Like most things in life, your expectations and attitude are going to affect your level of fun more than the circumstance itself.

But to actually answer the question, sure, you can still have fun at Disney when it rains. Ride some indoor attractions, get something to eat or drink, maybe even visit a resort.

The rain won’t last forever, and it might even do you the favor of clearing out some of the crowds.

[Featured image courtesy of Judd Helms Disney Parks Photography.]


rain in Disney's Animal Kingdom

What to Wear to Universal Studios

What to Wear to Universal Studios

The last thing you want during your vacation to Universal Studios Orlando is for you (or your spouse or kids) to be uncomfortable. Wearing shoes that hurt, socks that cause blister, or anything that’s inappropriate for the weather is no fun. And Florida weather can […]