The other day while swinging in the backyard, I felt it – I really felt summer in my bones.  The kids are eating ice cream almost every day (they’re eating salad too so I don’t care) and the vintage Aggravation game I got on e-bay is starting to look it’s age.  I’m catching a nap with Sofi now and then while Lucas works with legos and I’ve even had a chance to sip cocktails on a local restaurant’s patio with my hubby (rhubarb bitters, basil, blueberries…mmm.)   It’s exhausting at times, chasing my pigtailed Houdini and helping her big brother stay happily busy, but I’m no longer worried that I will survive these long days.  I’m actually starting to enjoy them.

We’ve pretty much nixed any sort of summer agenda, but a couple of top priorities remain – swimming lessons for Lucas and visits with nearby “great-grandparents.”

Monday we took some of our new favorite banana bread and homemade jam to our friend Irene’s. The kids adore her and she loves them too – even when they start running loops on her wonderfully cushy carpet and exploring rocks in her fireplace.  Her decor is a feast for their eyes… porcelain birds, a clown doll, colorful glass balls and beaded fruits.  We can’t wait to go back!  (But we will let her recover for a few days.)

Monkey see monkey do…

Irene’s pretty plates…

I got the Whole Wheat & Millet Banana Bread recipe from Joy the Baker so I will send you over there.  It’s so yummy and turns out just like her pictures!  I omitted the granulated sugar but other than that followed her recipe exactly – it was sweet enough for us.

This peach-ginger jam is divine!  Just the smell alone is worth the (minimal) effort.   I made it with one tablespoon of ginger this time and it provided a mild yet distinct ginger flavor and just a bit of heat to the peaches.  Next time I’m going for two. I also plan to try this technique which uses honey and maple syrup in lieu of sugar.

Peach and Ginger Jam
2 cups chopped peaches (about 4 peaches blanched for a minute to loosen skin, peeled and pit removed)
1 cup granulated cane sugar
1-2 Tbsp. ginger
1 tsp. lemon juice

Place all ingredients into a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes on medium heat, until the jam thickens (it will still be pretty runny.)  Keeps about a month in the fridge.