Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reviews: Two "How - to" Manuals - Mischief Making and Cleaning Your Home

Sir John Hargrave's Mischief Maker's Manual
by Sir John Hargrave

This is one book that I'm keeping away from my kids but I can't wait to pass it on to my nephews!

This little book is exactly what it says it is, a mischief maker's manual. The first page welcomes young pranksters to their training and advises the reader to work through the book from beginning to end. There are illustrations, charts, instructions, advice and handy tips.
The book marks itself as the ultimate handbook for pranks, practical jokes, stunts, tricks, and large scale hoaxes. It appears to be a very accurate description.

The Table of Contents lists everything you need to perfect the art of making mischief. It's broken down into broad categories The Basics, Prank Moves, Do-It-Yourself Gags, Experts Only, Trouble and About M3 (Mischief Maker's Manual). Each category also has a corresponding symbol to mark the pages (fake dog poo, a slingshot, etc.) and descriptions and supplies to perform the pranks. Never again will you have to wonder how to place a Whoopie Cushion (body functions and noises are always funny) or put a bug into an ice cube. With experience you can achieve more impressive stunts like making your own crop circles and faking aliens landings. The most impressive stunts to aspire to are the ones achieved by Massachusetts Institute of Technology students over the years. This is considered the greatest engineering school in the world so the feats are all creative, amazing and each attempt tries to outdo the last. Crowned the Perfect Prank, students in the spring of 1994 placed a police car with flashing lights atop a famous domed building on campus. It was 15 stories tall and there was no way to drive it there and no helicopters had placed it there. Only a narrow trapdoor allowed access to the roof. You'll have to read the book to find our how they did it and they've remained anonymous to this day! (Or leave a message that you really, really want to know and I'll tell you how. I'm not that cruel!)

This really is a fun book and the design is very clever and makes the reader feel like they are part of an exclusive club. I think it's interesting reading it now and I would have loved it as a kid.

The Prankster's Code - these will greatly improve your odds of staying out of trouble.
A: Always be careful.
B: Don't be a Bully.
C: Be Creative.
D: No lasting Damage.
E: Excellence in pranking.
F: Be Funny.

** Special note to parents - Although most of these pranks appear harmless and are intended to be so, I would advise you read this before you pass it on. There are also more complicated pranks that are much more involved. Recipes for smoke bombs, using dry ice and firecrackers are mentioned but are not items for children to handle themselves.

Thank you to Shelf Awareness and Penguin for this ARC.

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin Group
Release date: 2009
Price/format: $15.99 /Hardcover
Type: Children/Young Adult
Age: 9-teen


Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home

No-nonsense advice that will inspire you to clean like the dickens
by Mrs. Thelma A. Meyers

In this day and age where we are trying to encourage people to "go green"and to be more frugal and responsible with our environment and our spending, this book is a very handy guide to doing all of those things.

Thelma Meyers has been married fifty-four years and has raised nine children in a small town in Iowa. To honor her good old-fashioned values, her daughter Monica Meyer named her cleaning products after her. The Mrs. Meyer Clean Day products are "powerful against dirt, grease, grime, fingerprints, and the like. The philosophy is to make straightforward, honest cleaners that smell good and work like the dickens on dirt." Mrs. Meyer mentions in the opening pages that it's not only the products you use but the way you clean. She has discovered handy tricks to make daily chores, monthly duties and annual tasks much easier. She used her own experiences to create this book.

The early pages consist of lists of supplies, the differences in spring cleaning and fall cleaning, what to clean when, safe products to use and how to organize your priorities. The separate rooms of the house are broken down into individual chapters. A "Toolbox" is listed for each room that recommends the supplies and tools you may need for that area.

Although I like to be clean and organized, I don't always like to do the cleaning. Especially this time of year when my three teenage boys and three dogs are tracking in the spring mud and grass clippings and leaving an endless supply of dirty clothes from their jobs and sports. They are helpful in many ways but that doesn't keep them from being slobs. I have learned to live with it and go with the flow. It's not like the dirt is going to go anywhere if I don't get it cleaned up today. It's still going to be there waiting for me tomorrow! I try to prioritize so I don't make myself crazy. My drapes may not always be dusted (I don't even have drapes) but I am at my kids' activities and we have clean laundry. My mother on the other hand is a cleaning maniac and still can do it all! It's not being clean that she has an issue with, it's the act of cleaning that she likes. It's her way of relieving stress and accomplishing chores at the same time. She truly enjoys it. She's very helpful to me and is a good motivator. We did yard work together last weekend and it looked great. I'm never going to be the maniac she is but no one expects me to be. (At least I hope not.)

I've also been trying to use more common sense household items that are easy and inexpensive. Rather than buying all of the store products that have ingredients I can't pronounce I've been making good use of white vinegar (mixed in a spray bottle with water it's great for cleaning many surfaces and for removing pet stains) and baking soda (a mild abrasive and odor neutralizer). I have many products that I do buy and they are miracle workers but I can substitute when I need to.

This book is a great resource that I recommend to everyone. I'm proud to say that I won't be passing on my own copy. I plan to use it for a long, long time. When it comes to household cleaning advice, nothing beats years of experience. Thank you Mrs. Meyer!

Thank you to Cindy from Cindy's Love of Books where I won this book.

author website:

Publisher: Wellness Central/Hatchette Book Group
Release date: 2009
Pages: 240
Price/format: $19.99/hardcover
Type: Advice, Self-help


  1. I had a lot of fun and giggles, as well as did some plotting, while reading the M3. It made me think of all the dirt my brothers and I used to do :-D

    Definitely a gift for OTHER people's children... like your ex's new thang's kids >:-D~

  2. MISCHIEF MAKER'S MANUAL sounds awesome! I'm all about mischief.

  3. I've got to buy the Mischief Maker for my nephew!!! Cleaning my home? I would love it if someone else came and did that for me!! Great reviews!!

  4. I laughed when you said you won't let your kids have The Mischief Maker's Manual but you can't wait to pass it on to your nephews!


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