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Dear Dad,
I had my birthday on Thursday, I am officially the age you were when you died. I used to think you had done so much in your life, but, I now know there was so much more to do. I spent my birthday going home to Vancouver, driving by our old house, my schools, where my childhood friends lived. The schools are there, empty, the friends, all long gone. It was eerie because the west coast is all on fire and the haze of smoke is just hanging in the air. Felt like I was in a weird sort of a movie. One you know is a documentary, but, it felt like a fantasy.

I wish you had taken better care of yourself. Learned you couldn’t drink and smoke with your diabetes. All I can think of this week is what if I died at 55? I wouldn’t see my boys grow into men, and find that one perfect person, and possibly get married. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet my daughters-in-law, who hopefully will come over and play in the kitchen with me, or go shopping. I wouldn’t have or get to play with my grandchildren.
My God, you have missed out dad! You never saw me truly happy. Meet my husband Tim, and see the life we have made together. See your grandsons grow up and all of their accomplishments. They are funny and all so talented in different ways. At times it feels like you just threw it all away, your wife, your children, me!
What I do know now, is the rest of my life, will be a gift. I will do and see things, and I will take care of myself and my health in a way you never did.

Not long after you passed away Jason and I had tickets to Harry Connick Jr. The tickets were purchased before you passed, and we decided to go anyway. We were the fourth-row center. Harry had his big band playing with him, but at this moment in the show, he sat at the piano, by himself, and started singing Danny Boy. Being Irish on your side of the family, I had heard that song multiple times, but this version, in that big, dark, silent theater, completely destroyed me. The brave face I had kept through your funeral, the denial, all came to end. As he sang, I knew you were really gone, I started uncontrollably sobbing, and Harry is staring straight at me, thinking what the hell is going on! There is no one way to grieve. I have been angry at you for so long, it’s hard to remember how to love you too. When anyone says life is short, you never know how much time you have left, it true! Thank you for this one last lesson dad. I know I will not be wasting any of the time I have left.

Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountainside.
The summer's gone, and all the roses falling,
It's you, it's you must go and I must bide.

But come ye back when summer's in the meadow,
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow,
It's I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh, Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so!
But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying,
If I am dead, as dead I well maybe,
You'll come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.

And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be,
For you will bend and tell me that you love me,
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me!

Today’s recipe is one I have made so many times. It’s a potato side dish in honor of my Irish side of the family. Ask my husband, I could have potatoes every day, and not think twice about it. The recipe comes from one of my oldest and dearest family friends, Judy, who is my little brother's godmother. Her daughter Bethany and I met as four-year-olds at a dance class in Seattle, a million years ago! Step ball change, step ball change...

It’s time to break out the beautiful fall patterns and the ones I’m using today, are just stunning! I never thought I would need pieces for the different seasons, but after seeing these, I know I do! This large handled bowl in the Orchard pattern can hold this recipe, and go from oven to table, and look just lovely. Regularly $156.99 it is on sale for 20% off for $124.99. Also pictured is this darling scalloped serving bowl in Wishful, a perfect accompaniment to Orchard, on sale for $69.99, and salt and pepper for $60.79.

Simply type handled bowl or the pattern name in the search bar at www.potteryavenue.com and it will bring up all your choices and availability. Can’t find what you are looking for? Just send a message and Twila and her team will be happy to help you. Use discount code Twila or PAF for your 20% discount.

From my heart to yours, Smacznego!

Judy’s Red Potato Bake

16 small red potatoes

Sauce ingredients
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1-pint sour cream
3/4 cup chopped spring onion

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup panko crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

A day before, boil or steam red potatoes till a knife goes through easily.
Refrigerate overnight, or at least 5 hours.
Cut into bite-size pieces and place in baking dish. I liberally then salt and pepper the potatoes.
Combine sauce ingredients and pour over potatoes. Cover with shredded cheese, and top with panko crumbs. Dot the top of the panko with two tablespoons of butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 50- 60 minutes or until hot and bubbly!
This goes perfectly with turkey, ham, chicken, roast beef, or fish!