Second Step: Nellie Bly ~Exploring Cont’d and Conclusion~


Studying Nellie Bly has been a treasure trove of learning for us! We left off in England in my last post. From there we continued to France where we made strawberry crepes, then we headed to Egypt and made some self portraits of ourselves as ancient Egyptian pharaohs. In the last two weeks we also got our first package from our monthly subscription to Little Passports to continue our world studies after Nellie Bly and we did a quick activity about how Nellie traveled, that is with one 16″x9″ bag for a 72 day trip! It was all capped off with a trip to our local train diner  for lunch and the kids’ Festival of Countries program at  their school! The kids had a fabulous time making crepes when we ‘visited’ France on our travels! It was a little messy, but they tasted great! After we did all the mixing, sifting and pouring of ingredients the kids had some time to just play at the table with some of the ingredients while I cooked the crepes. We finally cleaned up, added some strawberry, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce to our crepes, and sat down to eat! The recipe for the crepes(which really were fantastic) along with other links to the activities and materials can be found on my Pinterest page for Nellie. Our next activity on our trip ’round the world were ancient Egyptian pharaoh self portraits. The kids loved seeing themselves as ancient pharaohs and coloring their headdresses and tunics. I let their Festival of Countries studies at school take them the rest of the way around the world as life kind of got in the way of us doing it at home. 🙂

We received the first of our monthly activities from Little Passports, a subscription service that sends us materials to learn about a new country each month. The first kit introduces you to the hosts of your studies, Sam and Sofia, who are doing the traveling and sharing the adventures with you through: letters, stickers, maps, information, computer games and more. Each kit after that focuses on a new country and sends you new materials for fun and games while you learn.

Inspired by our kits from Little Passports, we decided to try an exercise in packing for travel. Nellie Bly traveled the world for 72 days with just one hand bag measuring 16″x9″ in size, about the size of a loaf of bread. The bag that I bought for our photo shoot was the same size and style as that bag. I thought it would be fun to see if we could pack for a two day trip to Grandma’s with that bag. We made a pile of items that we thought we would need to be away from home for two days. The kid grabbed pillows, blankets, clothes, toys, etc.  Needless, to say, the items did not fit in the bag! They ended up narrowing down to just a few small items to take with them. My son didn’t seem to mind editing his pile, but my daughter was a little frustrated, lol!

We decided to wrap up our studies at Choo Choo Johnny’s, a local train diner for lunch. It seemed appropriate and was a lot fun! 🙂 We also got to see the kids perform at their Festival of Countries program which was really fantastic and included songs, dances, costumes and they brought home a ‘suitcase'(portfolio) of all their activities from their studies! We had so much fun learning this month and are looking forward to our next awesome lady, a real ‘fly girl!’ 😉

Second Step: Nellie Bly ~Introduction~


Nellie Bly! I was so excited for this step! Big Sister’s personality reminds me a bit of this famous reporter and globetrotting record breaker. Nellie Bly is the pen name of a journalist born Elizabeth Cochrane. She is known for her edgy stunt-style reporting which included a trip around the world inspired by Jules Verne’s ‘Around the World in 80 Days.’ This feat made her a household name in 1889-1990. It was this trip that inspired our photo shoot and the activities during our study of Nellie Bly.

Though Jules Verne’s fictional character Phileas Fogg completed his journey in 80 days, Nellie Bly circumnavigated the globe in 72. She did it with only two days notice from her employer, with only one handbag measuring 16″x7,” and was basically unchaperoned(unheard of in her day). These were all feats for her day and some still would be today. On her journey she traveled from New Jersey through England, France(with a pit stop to meet with Jules Verne himself), Egypt, Italy, Singapore, Hong Kong, and San Francisco before arriving back at New Jersey. She encountered many obstacles along the way, but beat even her own personal goal of 75 days by 3 days. Through writing about her experiences and having them published as she went, she became a household name and the most well-known woman in the world at the time. She inspired songs, fashion, and games created in her name as a result.

Nellie Bly’s trip around the world brought her through Joliet and Chicago, IL on her way back home. Nellie arrived in Illinois on the The Miss Nellie Bly Special, a train for the express purpose of getting Nellie on her way to break a world’s record for traveling around the world. It was a passenger train comprised of one passenger car and an engine that set new speed records during its trip. Nellie passed through Joliet and Chicago on the morning of January 24th, 1890, 114 years ago.

At that time the current stations in Joliet(Joliet Union Station) and Chicago(Chicago Union Station), did not exist. Both locations had overhauls and new stations built just a few short years after Nellie’s trip. They were, however, in the same basic locations. I had hoped to have our photo shoot on the anniversary of Nellie’s stop in Joliet, but the weather around here this year did not cooperate! But, we did get to shoot at Joliet Union Station and on the same tracks she rode on her legendary journey! It really was an incredible experience. The whole family had fun exploring the station and its history.

We are really looking forward to learning more about this amazing woman in the coming weeks! I have created a Pinterest board for all things Nellie that I used as inspiration while researching her and planning our activities, you can check it out here!