the ticket to summer

So, I figured out summer just in time (as in yesterday morning.) Our plan this year is much less activity oriented than last summer and that is simply because my children are very spread out. Clark at 15 wants to spend his free time in very different ways than Taft (7) and hello, Addie! I am taking Thursdays off and will be scheduling things to do with the "older" vs. "younger" kids and also involving them in projects around the house (painting bedrooms, etc..) Clark has driver's ed through June, Trey has theater and dance classes and camps in July and I'm still working on some stuff for Chase. Taft is just happy with play dates and projects (which, btw, have you seen the dollar section at Target recently?)


In any case, here's what I'm calling "The Ticket to Summer" …

Basically, you can earn one ticket by:

Reading, playing the piano, or playing with Addie for 30 minutes
Writing a good old-fashioned letter
Doing an extra job for Mom

You can earn two tickets by:

Getting up early (on your own) to study scriptures and other good books with mom
Making cookies/brownies or other treat and cleaning up (with my approval)
Doing two loads of laundry (with help)
Fixing dinner (with my approval)

You can earn a BONUS ticket by doing everything on Dad's list by 10:00 am

This is my contribution to supporting Geof in his academic assignments, that include math, reading, writing and piano — and I want to help the boys understand that if they get up and get going, then can be totally FREE by 10:00 am (it's that stop procrastinating and get to work principle)

So, the fun part … you get to redeem your tickets!

Stay up past 9:00 (Clark exempt) — 1 Ticket
Play with a friend –  3 Tickets (anytime, anywhere .. if you have the tickets!)
Sleep over — 5 Tickets
$5.00 to do something fun (lunch, movie, ice-cream) — 3 Tickets

Tickets can only be given by Mom or Jenna and must be marked with a specific color and dated. The best part of all (for boys who care) is that redeemed tickets are worth extra money for school shopping days in August. So, if you are into name-brand stuff, you can upgrade the jeans M&D would buy you by using redeemed tickets!!  Pretty cool, eh?

Speaking of my sweet Jenna — guess who got engaged on Friday night?
When you get a free minute, you can read all about it here, on her new blog!
We are so happy for her (sad for us) but happy for her!!!

Thoughts on intentional imperfection and answers to more Photo Freedom questions coming soon!



  1. I think this is an awesome idea. I think I am going to steal this for my family too.
    Thanks Stacy!

  2. how do you do this?!?
    I feel like I’m barely surviving summer (we’re on week 3 or 4?)–no direction, discipline, nada! just scrambling to do this, that, or the other. any advice?

  3. young c-m says:

    ha, I like the gimmick of this! I will have to store this idea away…=)

  4. Marta Valdes says:

    This is a wonderful idea. I will need to keep this in mind for the future.
    Thank you, Stacy for sharing. :)
    P.S. You always come up with the BEST ideas.

  5. sherry d says:

    I may have to ‘steal’ your idea. Sounds great!
    Please do keep those PF Q&A posts coming; i enjoy them immensely. I’m reading PF for the second time in 2 months for i really didn’t soak it all in the first time. Reading it again, it makes much better sense to me and i’m truly excited about implementing your concepts soon. THANKS for sharing your techniques and thoughts for i am, but soon won’t be, stuck in that chronological, stressed scrapbooking mode and want to be freed!
    sherryd in tx

  6. Jeannette P says:

    What a cool idea & so colorful & fun looking. I’ve been thinking about putting something like this together for the summer but haven’t stopped to do it yet.
    Congrats to Jenna & Deric!

  7. we are having fun fridays here, we each have a mini clipboard, earilier SJ idea I stole, mini clipboards dirt cheap at staples! anywho you get a point for each list item completed and lose one for making poor choices, yes we have a list o f those. :) then on yes, FRIDAYS we all go do something FUN! camping, bowling, dinner out, drive in movies, fun fun fun

  8. Julie S says:

    Hi Stacy – a PF question for you…I love the ideas in it and have already implemented many of them. My mom scrapbooked for my sister and me and I treasure mine so much, I was hung up on wanting both of my girls to have one of their own…but I now feel the freedom to do that as I want to and do other things as well…and that they don’t both have to have a page on opening every Easter basket of their lives! Freedom indeed!
    So here is my question. The pages I love the most were done pretty close to the events. This is when the journaling is so clear and I find myself thinking “I forgot about that!” when I go back and reread the page later. I don’t want to lose that as I (happily) let go of chronological scrapbooking. I know you write quotes and ideas in your notebooks, but for events or moments that you want to remember while they’re fresh, do you do journaling and hang on to it? and if so how do you organize it?
    and a quick question: did you paint the binder clips that hold your labels on your albums? the colors are so perfect!
    Thanks so much – I love PF and feel it will keep me motivated to do what matters most.

  9. Dear Stacy,
    Thank you, thank you for this! I am about to go to my parents’ house in Ohio for the summer and was trying to work out how to keep the kids from just vegging out in front of the TV all summer. We don’t have sattelite at home (in Saudi), so the commercial TV just sucks them right in. Every year I have lofty plans for reading and playing soccer, etc. and I can’t get them interested. They will go for this, and it won’t break the bank handing out cash. They are always making tickets of their own with my ticket punch. Once again, you are a genious! Love ya. Brooke
    PS – I finished the kids’ Hanging Tag Books and they love them! (See cover of Photo Freedom.)They each took them to school for show & tell, and show anyone who comes over. They hang right at the front door. I’m working on mine next, and waiting on supplies for my husband’s. Thanks for that great idea too! B

  10. Another great idea!! Thanks! I need to implement the academic side of things. Great incentives to get up and get going.
    I’ll be seeing you at the Memory Works Conference in Layton. I don’t know if you remember but in the 2007 LOM class you looked at my website, and gave me some great advice. I look forward to meeting you in person. Marla

  11. LOVE the tickets! I have a huge roll of raffle tix left over from the teacher appreciation luncheon…I might just have to copy you. I’m thinking I could have them throw one half in a jar for random raffles all summer long and keep the other half to redeem. :D

  12. I love the ticket idea. And you present it so beautifully!
    Just curious about “Dad’s list.” What extra academic work do your kids have? I’m always looking for ways to plus up the learning experiences.

  13. I did that years ago when my boys were young. Worked great

  14. This ticket to summer is a great idea. We are on our second week…everything was going along smoothly and now it is chaos! I am starting this Monday!
    My question for you:
    What do you do for consequences {sp?}or negative behavior. As a teacher/parent and always try to accentuate the positive, but sometimes there needs to be action taken for behavior that is unacceptable. Do you have any ideas for that? I know this isn’t a scrapbook related question, but I would like your input. I am inspired by you in so many ways, including parenting!
    Kim G
    Davenport, IA

  15. We also did marble jars for rewards a few years ago when we had a sweet nanny, Miss K, from Utah (who also left us to go get married) (plus by coincidence my kids’ first nanny was named Jenna). I’ve got a sizzix die for tickets – I think I might make up some tickets – my son loves a reward system. Thanks for the idea!

  16. LOVE the ticket idea —- You are just so oh creative —–

  17. Brilliant ticket idea! Thank you a hundred fold for sharing it with us. I think I might have to try it out on my two girls. I would love to hear how things go for you, how the boys respond. Good luck and enjoy your summer!

  18. I love this idea!! What a great reward system. What do you do if they do something bad? My DD is still a little young but I want to be able to teach her also that life isn’t just rewards. There are consequences for bad actions too… Do you take back tickets?
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. Last summer I goind my 2 DD’s constently asking for a treat or a juice so I made tickets, they each had their own envelope and when the tickets were gone for the day they were done. The only rule was breakfast first and then they could start ‘cashing them in’. They could use them all in the morning or spread them out.
    I am going to do this again this summer and make TV/computer minute tickets so they don’t just veg all summer.
    I will then incorporate some chores, piano practice and reading time with rewards like your system.

  20. Margaret C says:

    What a GREAT idea!!! OK so DD is almost two so we’re maybe a way off this BUT I’m stashing it away for the future!!! Thankw!

  21. That is pure genius! I am absolutely using this idea. LOVE it!
    I’ve got one for you too. I know how much your kiddos like sprinkles. Today we rolled banana pieces in sprinkles (then put them on a skewer) as yummy snack. They stick really well! :)

  22. I am completely going to try this with my kids. They aren’t in school yet so summertime break doesn’t mean much for them, but we need a better schedule. I think they’ll like the ticket idea. Thanks for sharing the good things you’re up to.

  23. Stacy…what’s on “Dad’s List”??

  24. I love this idea…I think I can completely fool…my daughter into this one!!! TFS

  25. The ticket idea is great! I’ll have to have my daughter and daughter-in-law read this post. Both might enjoy trying this approach to summer. Have a great summer, Stacy.

  26. EXCELLENT idea!! I am so “stealing” your idea. As I sit here typing my comment, my children are sitting here like slugs. Tickets to summer are so going to happen!! THANK YOU!!

  27. Wow! What a super idea! I was just printing out customized chore charts, while I was catching up on your blog. This sounds WAY more fun! Thanks so much for the great idea and the inspiration! By the way . . . where do you get your ticket rolls?

  28. Hi Stacy…
    I hope you get this all OK! I am Maggie. I had the pleasure of seeing you at the retreat in Utah (Memory Works)! What a joy! I gave you my picture of MY library of memories. Thank you for being my prism in this thing called life! You give me permission to color outside the lines and tell my story enthusiastically. I came home and got 0 pages done… 2 of which were letters to my son! I have a little something for you. You left to early on Friday! God bless you… I WOULD LOVE TO further discuss my “Big Picture” plans with you. My e mail is!
    Peace and smiles!

  29. Allison Barnes says:

    John thinks that sounds too difficult.. But I like it. I need to get organized before summer ends! what are you going to do without Jenna????? too bad ashley isn’t there, she gets out of school at 10:30am next year.
    How could clark be in drivers ed??
    miss ya,

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