Lexi's Latest Jams: Wagon Wheel

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Soooo, I wouldn't exactly say this is Lexi's *latest* jam- she's been jamming to this one since she was just a babe, but we were reminded of it recently at this year's annual Bluegrass Along the Harpeth Festival

Wagon Wheel was originally sketched by Bob Dylan, and later made popular by the Old Crow Medicine Show.  It has been covered countless times, most recently- if not most famously- by Darius Rucker in 2013, who took it straight to the top of the country music charts.  

As for little Lex, she started jamming to this one early on because the lyrics say: "Rock me, Mama, like a wagon wheel.  Rock me, Mama, any way you feel.  Hey, Mama, rock me..."  I used to sing this one to her over and over as I rocked her to sleep at night.  Ever since, this has officially been "our song".

Here we are dancing to it at this year's Bluegrass Festival.  That's what the band behind us was playing.  :)

And here's Darius Rucker's version for you.  It's a good one.

And just in case you feel like rocking right along too, here are the lyrics.  Enjoy!

Heading down south to the land of the pines
I'm thumbing my way into North Caroline
Staring up the road and pray to God I see headlights
I made it down the coast in seventeen hours
Picking me a bouquet of dogwood flowers
And I'm a-hopin' for Raleigh, I can see my baby tonight

So rock me momma like a wagon wheel
Rock me momma any way you feel
Hey, momma rock me
Rock me momma like the wind and the rain
Rock me momma like a south bound train
Hey, momma rock me

I'm running from the cold up in New England
I was born to be a fiddler in an old time string band
My baby plays a guitar, I pick a banjo now
Oh, north country winters keep a-getting me down
Lost my money playing poker so I had to leave town
But I ain't turning back to living that old life no more

So rock me momma like a wagon wheel
Rock me momma any way you feel
Hey, momma rock me
Hey, rock me momma like the wind and the rain
Rock me momma like a south bound train
Hey, momma rock me

Walkin' to the south out of Roanoke
Caught a trucker out of Philly had a nice long toke
But he's a heading west from the Cumberland gap
To Johnson City, Tennessee
And I gotta get a move on before the sun
I hear my baby calling my name and I know that she's the only one
And if I die in Raleigh at least I will die free

So rock me momma like a wagon wheel
Rock me momma any way you feel
Hey, momma rock me
Oh, rock me momma like the wind and the rain
Rock me momma like a south bound train
Hey momma rock me

Oh, so rock me momma like a wagon wheel
Rock me momma any way you feel
Hey, momma rock me (mama rock me, mama rock me)
Rock me momma like the wind and the rain
Rock me momma like a south bound train
Hey, ey yeah momma rock me (you can rock me, rock me)

Road Trip Radio

Monday, July 27, 2015

Road Trip Radio on Sirius XM is back!  For those of you who are Sirius users, it's Channel 147 on the dial.  It's a mish mosh of music, all genres, from the past 50 years or so.  It's all upbeat, uptempo, roll your windows down and crank the radio up load kind of music- perfect for the last of your summer road trips!

I was planning to tell you all about this a few weeks ago when I first stumbled upon it, but then I tried to pull the channel back up and it was gone just as quickly as I had discovered it.  Apparently, it was a limited-run channel and was scheduled only through the 4th of July weekend.  But listeners were in love with it and raised holy heck when it vanished.  So Sirius agreed to bring it back for a few more weeks to round out the summer.  It is available on Channel 147 until August 12, 2015, so head on over and give it a listen (while you still can). 

Or, you can always rely on the Harris Sisters Road Trip playlist for inspiration in building your own personal playlist of tunes. Check that out here.

Thunder Road: Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Growing up in North Carolina, we Harris Sisters have visited Carowinds Amusement Park more than our fair share of times. We knew the ins and outs of it and had our favorite rides. Some rides, of course, were staples that we visited year after year. 

And it's with a very heavy heart that I report that one of those rides is being taken down this weekend after having been with the park since 1976. Thunder Road, one of the park's few remaining wooden roller coasters, is being taken out of commission this Sunday, July 26.

Thunder Road was always very special because even though it may not have offered the speed, thrills, loops, or twirls that its steel counterparts offered, IT ran on dual tracks with one riding in North Carolina and one riding in South Carolina. Riders could choose which state they wanted to ride in as they filtered onto the ride. THAT was very special.

AND, with two young kids in tow, I must say that it's becoming increasingly difficult to find rides that they can enjoy. They are completely uninterested in level 1 or 2 "thrills" (think carousel), and they're not tall enough to ride those super fast steel coasters in many cases. That's where our good friend, Thunder Road, and coasters like it come into play.

This year Jaxon was just tall enough to ride Thunder Road. So, we made a special trip just so that he'd have the opportunity to ride it as many times as he wanted.

Of course, both boys loved it. And we ended up riding it eight times (we think). You tend to lose track of these sorts of things, as wooden roller coasters shake your brains up a bit (but that's all part of the fun).

We found that Carowinds had placed signs outside of the exit commemorating the ride. Note, two of the things pictured here are Bicentennial Babies, which is why I think it's so sad that they're doing away with this roller coaster. Poor thing didn't even make it to 40 years!

Here are closeups of the signs. The first one features photos of Thunder Road in action over the years:

The second one features facts about the roller coaster. If you've ridden it before, do you remember, "Grit your teeth. Bear the load. Enjoy your ride, on Thunder Road." I sure do!

We noted throughout the day how much the park has changed even since the last time we'd visited in 2011. On the way out, we grabbed two fresh park maps to commemorate the day, as we knew that this was the last year the map would show good old Thunder Road in D7 - the space it  has held on the map my entire life. Wooden roller coasters, it seems, are going the way of the dinosaur (literally - check out Dinosaurs Alive in B10 - but only if you're willing to pay a $5 per person upcharge).

Ironically Bruce Springsteen perfectly summed up our many rides on Thunder Road yesterday with some of the lyrics to his 1975 hit of the same name: 

"We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back, heaven's waiting on down the tracks
Oh oh, come take my hand
We're riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road"

Goodbye, old friend. Thanks for the memories!

Williams-Sonoma Lemon Pound Cake

Last fall, I purchased a lemon loaf pan from Williams-Sonoma on a DEEP discount.  It was the beginning of their holiday season, and they were trying to clear out all their summer wares.  I'm pretty sure I ended up bringing home this beautiful pan for something like $5 or $6; it was definitely less than $10.  

In any case, I promised myself then that I would put this pretty pan to good use this summer and I tucked it away until now.  When I pulled it out earlier this week, I realized that good ole Williams- Sonoma also happened to include a lemon pound cake recipe with the pan, so I decided to give it a whirl, and I must say I'm glad I did.  

SO....  Two things:

1.  ALWAYS check there at the end of the season for a super sweet deal on their clearance table, and

2.  Don't forget that Williams- Sonoma is the source of some really good recipes too. 

So without further ado, I give you...

Williams-Sonoma Lemon Pound Cake

Pound Cake:
1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbs cake flour
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
9 Tbs unsalted butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

  1. Bring all ingredients to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour loaf pan. 
  3. Mix together flour, soda, and salt.  Set aside. 
  4. Beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until creamy and smooth (about 30 seconds).
  5. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  6. Increase mixer speed to medium high and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  7. Then beat in vanilla and lemon juice.
  8. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, beating each addition until just incorporated and then stopping.
  9. Using a spatula, fold in lemon zest. 
  10. Spoon the batter into prepared pan.
  11. Bake until cake is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 70 minutes. 
  12. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool upright in pan for 15 minutes. 

Lemon Glaze:
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together lemon juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved. 
  2. Invert pan onto wire rack and lift off. 
  3. Using a pastry brush, brush warm cake with glaze. 
  4. Let cake cool completely before serving. 
Enjoy!  This is a good one!

One Man's Trash: Vintage Pinocchios

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Just last month, both my husband and I found vintage Pinocchios on the same day, but on completely different picking expeditions.  I was away on Girls' Weekend with the other Harris Sisters, while he was spending the weekend visiting family. 

Here's a look at the super awesome Pinocchio that I scored!  He's a marionette, and in pretty good shape for his age, I would say.  He is old, there's no doubt about it.  He still has his strings attached, but a few are in need of repair.  I'm not really planning to use him as a puppet, so that doesn't really bother me so much. 

I just love his look. His painted face and clothing are still in excellent condition. 

And the price was right too.  I think the seller was asking $25 originally for him, but I ended up buying him for $20.  He's worth far more than that, but he's priceless to me. 

And here's what my hubbie scored for me!  It's a vintage Pinocchio cookie jar.  I just love his freckles and bow tie.  

It's not in perfect condition.  There is a little wear on the paint on his hat and a very minor chip there as well, but the price couldn't be beat- only $5 for this vintage find!

Our love of Pinocchio was born from our travels to Italy, the birthplace of this beloved character himself.  On our last trip there, we went to a flea market in Rome, and found this treasure- a large vintage Pinocchio toy, which now resides in Lexi's nursery alongside all her other vintage toys.  

Goodness knows what other Pinocchios are out there just waiting to join this collection.  Until then, until then.  Happy picking, everyone!

Coconut Cake

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I cannot tell you how long it's been since I've had coconut cake. Ryan Barrett Walkush does not like coconut, and since it's not advisable to devour an entire two-layer cake in its entirety all by your lonesome, I haven't made one in ages.

As luck would have it, I ordered a slice at a restaurant a few months ago and found out that both Aidyn and Jaxon like it! Woot! I have some partners in crime to help me eat this delicious dessert!

For those of you who have never attempted a coconut cake before, the magic is all in the frosting and this recipe doesn't disappoint. This frosting is one of the easiest to make - leave your electric beater stored away, you can mix this one by hand with a wooden spoon!

Coconut Cake

Yellow Cake:

  1. Prepare yellow cake of choosing per directions listed. 
  2. Frost cake with Coconut Frosting (recipe follows).
  3. Sprinkle reserved coconut on top layer of cake.
  4. If desired, garnish cake with one stemmed maraschino cherry in the center of the cake.
  5. Refrigerate cake.
Coconut Frosting:
8 oz sour cream
2 cups powdered sugar
12 oz Cool Whip
14 oz sweetened coconut

  1. Stir together sour cream and sugar.
  2. Fold in Cool Whip. 
  3. Reserve a small amount of coconut to sprinkle on top of the cake as a final garnish. 
  4. Fold in the remaining coconut.

Note: This recipe makes a generous amount of frosting for a two layer cake, so make sure to frost the middle, sides, and top layer of your cake thickly. 

If using maraschino cherry as a garnish, drain it on a napkin or paper towel before placing on top of the cake so that the red juice does not bleed onto the white coconut.

Catch the Waze Craze

Saturday, July 18, 2015

For those who aren't yet familiar, WAZE is the latest craze in navigation apps.  It is free from your app store, and it's really one of the coolest ways to navigate I've used in a long time.

It relies on users to report incidents such as cars on the side of the road, police presence, construction, accidents, traffic slowdowns and much more.  When you are about to reach a user-reported incident, the alert pops up on your phone to let you know.   You can also confirm that the incident is still active, or report that it is no longer there.  Of course, the app also provides turn by turn guidance to get you where you are trying to go and redirects you around traffic slowdowns and onto the timeliest routes.  

One of the coolest features I have taken advantage of lately are the celebrity voices that provide the navigation guidance.   About a month or so ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger started providing turn by turn guidance for me.  And it was pretty cool.  Whenever we came to a "hazard", he would say "Get Down!!", and when we arrived to our destination, he would tell me "Hasta la vista, baby."  The only problem was I kept calling him Bruce Willis, and he did kind of get stuck on phrases to the point that it was wearing me out.  He kept saying "I insist" after every turn.  I'm not sure what that was supposed to mean- is that a phrase from one of his movies, I guess?

In any case, his days were numbered and Waze has now rolled out the next celebrity voice.  It's none other than Rusty Griswold!!  Actually, it's Ed Helms who plays good old Russ in the latest upcoming Vacation movie.  He says things like "Breaker, breaker one nine, there's a hazard reported ahead.  Over."  And when you reach your destination, he wants to know if you are at Wally World.  I like this one.   Has me wondering who will be next.  Celebrity voices seem to coincide with new movie releases and last about a month.

So that's the nitty gritty on this app.  They also have a Facebook page to keep you up to date on all the latest (including which new voices are available and when existing voices are about to come to an end.)  Check it out and see if you aren't catching the craze too!