Friday, March 31, 2017


It has been a while since I have volunteered at Hillcrest Thrift Shop due to our road trip and then "recupping" from it. I was scheduled to go in this week though and so I found these cookies to make because I certainly wouldn't considered going in (especially after missing three weeks) without something for the other volunteers to enjoy. 

It was a busy Monday as we went to Fort Leavenworth to have our taxes done. Then my husband drove out of the way to drop me off at Friend Carol's house where the Farkle group were gathering. At five o'clock when I should have been preparing dinner, I was in the kitchen making the cookies. (In fact, my husband walked upstairs and said, coming into the kitchen, "I guess you are fixing something for dinner.") Oops. Well, no Dear, I'm making cookies to take to Hillcrest tomorrow.

Tuesday morning I loaded them in my car and took off for the thrift shop. Not sure why I did it, but when I got there I went to the register and pulled out the binder to make sure I had signed up. What I saw surprised me. Someone had whited-out my name and someone else had signed up for my time slot. (Not sure what had happened. Last week I called to have my name removed for last week and I guess it got removed for both weeks.) So I walked around the shop to see if there was anything I couldn't do without, visited with Volunteer Dana for a bit, placed my cookies on a plate so I could take my pan home, and went home. I did talk to one volunteer who was eating one of the cookies and he said they were really good. I am sure the rest of the volunteers enjoyed them also.


1        stick butter, softened
1/4    cup oil
3/4   cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2    cup granulated sugar
2       eggs
1        teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1         teaspoon cinnamon
1/2     teaspoon baking soda
1/2     teaspoon salt (optional) (I did omit)
1/4     cup cocoa
2        cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1         cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used 60% dark cacao chips)
1/4     cup chopped dates
1/2     cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, oil, and sugars until creamy.

Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt if using. Mix well with a whisk.

Add to other ingredients. Blend thoroughly.

Stir in cocoa and then add chips, dates, oatmeal, and walnuts. Mix well.

Drop by tablespoons (cookie scoop) onto ungreased cookie sheets. (Oops. Looks like I forgot to take a picture.)

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until slightly firm. (I baked mine 13 minutes in my oven.)

Cool 3 to 5 minutes on cookie sheet before removing them to
finish cooling on wire racks.

The good news, I came home, called and talked to my sister-cousin for an hour. It was so good to see her on our road trip and I miss not getting to see her often.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


After a busy, jampacked, informative day at the LBJ Presidential Library and the Texas State Capitol the day before, we had planned to go back to the area and visit the Bullock Museum the next day. The next morning though when we woke up to some rain, we decided to rest up a little and go out later in the day. That little break gave me a chance to check out some other options. 

So instead of heading out to the Bullock Museum, we found ourselves searching out the Texas' Botanical Garden - Lady Bird Johnson's Wildflower Center. We had enjoyed seeing some wildflowers along the highway driving in from New Orleans. We knew about the bluebonnets, but we were seeing so many other pretty wildflowers, too.

We were there probably a few weeks early to really enjoy the flowers, but it was still a fun few hours. It is a beautiful place and I am sure if we lived nearby, we would have a membership as we would be going there often to see the new plants in bloom. Lots of fun things for children, too. I hope you will enjoy my pictures.

There was an owl nesting behind the palm in the upper left corner of the wall.

Texas Bluebonnets
Golden groundsel (Sunflower family)

This is a favorite area for children....

Would love to see this when the Carolina Jessamine is in bloom on this fence/wall.

Can you see the frog structure in the center of this maze formed by the fence wall?

They had these metal seats and larger benches in the area 

The Observation Tower can collect 5,000 gallons of water

View from the top....

Rainwater is collected by 17,000 sq. feet of rooftops.

We enjoyed a delicious bowl of soup in the cafe
The Entry Cistern can collect 3,000 gallons of water
An off-duty docents that we met when we came in told us to make sure we visited  the Shou Ping ("Sue Ping") three dimensional paper sculptures on display in the Margaret and Eugene McDermott Learning Center. (This was the best advice we got while we were there! Beautiful artwork! I am sorry that you can't really appreciate her brilliance from my pictures.) The artwork will be on display until May 28th if you are in the area.

The artworks are for sale, too.

One last picture... they had these windchimes positioned around the center. Such a beautiful sound.

I am sure we would have enjoyed the Bullock Museum, but it was good to get out and enjoy this center even though we know we missed almost all of the flowers in bloom. Oh, well, maybe we will find ourselves back in the Austin area again sometime. I know if we do, the Lady Bird Johnson's Wildflower Center will be on our "to-do" list.