Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Make your own soap ~ Buff City Soap


 Nestled along main street in downtown Sulphur Springs is Buff City Soap.  A franchise that focuses on handmade, plant based soaps for the whole house. When Buff City Soap first came to town I thought it would be a great touch to add their soaps to our rooms for guest to enjoy.  With a local store from at 217 Main Street, guest could easily find their location and select some new favorites to take home.  Since our goal is to help promote the local shopping industry in Sulphur Springs, our addition of their products would help drive customers to their downtown location without overwhelming guests and provides them with a local treat to enjoy while staying in Sulphur Springs, at The Oaks.  

    One day a couple came and stayed with us and had visited Buff City, while at breakfast they told me they made their own custom bar of soap.  I think I vaguely remember them asking me if I wanted to make the soap myself when I ordered mine but I said no at the time.  Well this time, I needed to refill my bar soap supply so I figured why not give it a go and make the soap that the guests will be enjoying in the rooms.  

    I set up a time to come in and make my product, and the day had finally arrived.  I only added color to my soaps this time, to add some interest to our bars, but it would hopefully keep with the d├ęcor of the rooms.  

    Before you can get started you need to get "dressed."  Safety first on this adventure.  Make sure you wear closed toed shoes and long pants for your class.  Otherwise, they will have everything you need to stay safe.  Googles, face shield, apron, gloves and shoe booties are all on and now we were ready to make soap.  

    Since we decided to add color, we chose two different colors to mix together this time around, an orangish gold and a turquoise with our honey oatmeal scent.  The process is fairly simple and you even use a standard kitchen tool, an immersion blender, to mix everything together.  First you mix the water and scent together and then add in the color to blend it all together.  

    Your soap is not ready for the molds.  We added our gold color first then poured the turquoise over the top.  But your artistic skills do not stop there, by dragging a tooth pick through the liquid you are able to create a "design" in your soap to fit your stylistic needs.  

    Once you are satisfied with your pattern, your soap needs to cure and harden before being cut.  Buff City will cut it for you into the desired size you want for your soap to be used and displayed.  This a great and creative way to make gifts or have a unique bar at home for when guests come to stay.  We hope that you will take advantage of making your own bar of soap when you visit, or by making  your own bath bombs. 

    Be sure to stop by Buff City during your visit to Sulphur Springs, they are open seven days a week and are happy to help you find the perfect scent to please your senses. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

April Happenings

     Let's start April off right with an Easter Egg hunt at the Civic Center on Saturday, April 2.  The Hopkins County Sheriff's office will be helping to support and put on this community event.  Bring the kids on out and have a great time filling up baskets with eggs.

    Adults can purchase tickets for the annual Hospital Gala that will be held on Saturday, April 2 at the Civic Center.  Funds raised will go directly back towards programs and equipment at the Christus  Mother Francis hospital in Sulphur Springs.  

    The Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce will be hosting their annual golf tournament on Friday, April 8 at the Sulphur Springs Country Club.  Grab your friends and hit the links to see who is the best team in this fun scramble to help support the Chamber of Commerce.  There are morning and afternoon tee times available. 

    Saturday, April 9 will be the final run for Tanner Higgins Warrior Run.  Lace up your tennis shoes and hit the road in support of this fallen local hero.

    "Better Together" will be hosting a dinner and Live Auction to support Israel Lewis on Saturday, April 9th at Heritage Park. 

   The week after Easter will be filled with fun for everyone, as the Community Players are getting in on the action with their One Act play, Trifles, auditions April 18-20, from 6:30-8pm.  Come see if you have what it takes to step on the stage and play a part in this upcoming production, set to show in June.  

    Starting on Thursday April 21 - Saturday April 23, the Adult Leadership class will be working with the community to clean up Kids Kingdom.  They can use all the volunteers they can get to make this project a success.  Pick a day to volunteer and bring out the whole family.  There will be something for everyone.

    Friday and Saturday, April 22-24 and April 29 - May 1, CHESS will be performing Treasure Island.  These kids have worked hard to recreate these roles and put together a charming experience for people of all ages to enjoy.

    Saturday, April 23 will be the Spring Market on Main.  Vendors and local shops will be out selling their wares, for visitors.  Be sure to stop by and find all your favorite gifts for everyone on your list.  It's never to early to start thinking about the holidays.

    Have you ever wanted to know more about Sulphur Springs and the history of our town.  Be sure to sign up for History by the foot with John Sellers.  This walking tour will highlight the key and central points in the history of Sulphur Springs.  You don't want to miss out on this tour.

    Pull you a chair and join the Gifted and Talented program from Sulphur Springs Middle school for their annual fundraiser, the Ham Scramble.  This exciting event takes place downtown on the square.  Bring the whole family, everyone walks away with a prize.  Funds raised from this event help students to travel to Destination Imagination events, and provide a learning experience during the school year.


    Join the Rotary Club in their favorite fundraiser of the year, Claws for a Cause located downtown Sulphur Springs.  All you can eat crawfish is the way to go on Saturday, April 30. The Rotary club helps raise funds to give back to different community needs and a scholarship for local students to apply for their senior year. 


Sunday, March 20, 2022

Let's Eat ~ White Oak Buffet


    Our chosen restaurant this month to visit is the White Oak Buffet just outside of town on FM-69.  They are only open two days per week on Friday and Saturday from 3-9pm. So plan your visit accordingly. Their address is 2327 FM 69 North, Sulphur Springs, Texas.  Bring the whole family out to enjoy this local favorite.  The pricing is set by age, with a flat rate for to-go options. They should probably have a teenage boy category, based on how much my kid ate.  He made up for whatever I missed at dinner.


 They have a variety of fish options for each person in your group.  Once you made it to  your table get up again and start out in line to grab your food.  Everything is self-serve, and you might have to wait for a table at prime dinner time.  But the wait will be worth it!

    Grab your plate, utensils and start loading up on all your favorites.  The first section of the buffet is 
"cold" items, such as coleslaw, shrimp and various toppings.  Then you can move on to the fried stuff.  Fried fish, fritters, shrimp and okra are just to name a few.  If fried fish is not your jam, you can find some baked white fish and a vegetable medley to enjoy or chicken tenders and sausage.  

    White Oak Buffet is a great stop on Friday during lent, if you plan to observe the no meat on Friday suggestion.  Your drink options are simple, water and tea.  Of course sweet tea and unsweet tea to choose from.  And what dinner would be complete without dessert.  Soft served ice cream, and your choice of cobbler to finish up your visit.  

    Our family enjoyed their time at the White Oak Buffet and will be sure to head back out their to enjoy their offerings.  We hope that you will take the time to plan a visit in the future.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Travel East Texas ~ Mt. Vernon


  Just fifteen minutes East of Sulphur Springs is Mt. Vernon, Texas.  A little spot away from the big city life, where you can stop into downtown and find a few good places to eat and cute places to shop for just the right item on your list.  The city is working hard to renovate their downtown to bring life back to the city, with local shops and eateries.  We found a few that you  might want to stop by while visiting Sulphur Springs.  

    The Chop House if a wonderful stop for dinner while visiting the area.  The hours of operation are from 5-10 p.m. each night except for Sunday.  You can make a reservation on the website, if you are traveling with a large group or small group.  We highly recommend making a reservation, especially on the weekend so that you can dine when you want to.  They have a good selection in their bar for mixed drinks and wine.  

    Plan to stop by during lunch, be sure to check out the other dinning options such as 5B Burger Co, Sweet Home Texas, or Steve-O's Pizza.  Each location offers a little different taste depending on what you are looking for to dine on.  

    Before or after you eat be sure to check out the shops along the square.  There is a little bit of something for everyone.  One boutique ranges from baby gifts, to men's clothing.  There is another cute shop that features women's clothing but where you can also order flowers for any special occasion.

    Mount Vernon is the county seat for Franklin County and happens to house the court house on the square as well.  Along with the library and a couple of museums that are just off of the square.  Be sure to check out the websites for the museums, to verify hours of operation.  Covid has played a difficult part in limiting operating hours at some of these local establishments.

    One of the city's highlights is the Mt. Vernon Food and Wine festival that will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2022.  This festival features amazing Texas wines and food from all over the state.  Food, music and wine, who could ask for more.  Be sure to check out this great East Texas event.

    Grab your bike and come out to support the Rotary Club of Mt. Vernon in their annual Tour de Cypress Bike Ride.   This ride can be taken in any number of lengths, as determined by your fitness level.  Bring the whole family out to have fun and get a little sun and exercise on Saturday, April 16, you can register by clicking this link.  

    To top off your Mt. Vernon adventure don't forget to check out the Johnson Photo Print Studio.  For $12.95 per person you can enter their wonderfully curated studio and take all the selfie photos you want with your friends, family and the people you meet.  This is a great way to be social in a fun environment and make some lasting memories.  Be sure to check out the Main Street Alliance web page for more information on what is happening in the downtown Mt. Vernon area.  There is so much exciting stuff going on, that you might not want to miss out.  

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Sage Germain Sour ~ Herb Infused Cocktail


    Hello and welcome back to our herb infused cocktail series, a new month has arrived and with it we have a festive drink to share with you, that dovetails a wee bit with the holiday that comes mid month.  In honor of St. Patrick's day we have selected an Irish Whiskey based drink to make with one of the herbs currently growing in our garden.  

    Upon a recent visit to Ireland, my husband and I toured the Teeling Irish Whiskey distillery in Dublin.  I kind of  had to twist his arm to go, because we are not personally whiskey drinkers but we both loved the tour and subsequent tasting, so much that I wanted to feature their whiskey in our drink, instead of another well known Irish Whiskey.  We really enjoyed our tour and even brought home whiskey to share with friends and family.  The tour was well worth the visit!


    This cocktail is unique in that it also uses a liquor that is derived from the Elder flower.   St. Germain is an artisanal French liquor that can be used in other cocktails, which we might feature at a later point.  Over here at the Oaks we are big fans of the elderberry, which grows from the elder flower, and has a myriad of medicinal uses and has been known to help reduce the amount of days a person is ill, while having the flu or a cold, when taken as elderberry syrup. 

    The herb we are featuring this month is sage.  Sage is well know in cooking of game birds, sausage and items roasted in the oven for a long period of time.  The slow release of heat, pulls the flavor from this herb, and brings a wonderful taste to the food.  There are a few different sage varieties one can plant, and they typically have beautiful purple flowers when in bloom. 

    We are using sage in two different ways for the cocktail, one is in the honey syrup and the other is fried, and placed as a garish.  The Honey Sage syrup is easy to make:

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup water

3-5 destemmed sage leaves

Put everything into a pot and and cook until the honey is dissolved.  Once dissolved let it cool and sit over night before mixing into the drink.

    Now for the main cocktail.  For most Irish whiskey cocktails you want to use small batch whiskey, it's going to give the drink a stronger flavor and help add to the taste of the overall drink.  The honey sage syrup and St. Germain help the curb the bite of the whiskey in this particular cocktail.

2 oz Irish Whiskey

3/4 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz Honey Sage syrup

1/4 oz St. Germain

Add all the ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake.  Strain into a glass and add some fresh ice.  Garnish with the deep-fried sage leaf.  Enjoy!

    We hope that you will try our latest herb infused cocktail.  Be sure to let us know if you happen to try this drink.  Tag us on social media and remember to always drink responsibly and have a designated driver.