Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Making Base Housing Feel Like Home: Small Bathroom Decor Ideas


Anyone who lives in military base housing knows all too well how challenging it is to create a space that feels like home when painting or major DIY renovation projects aren't always an option. Even the smallest changes or DIY project is done with the knowledge that time in base housing is temporary and any change made will have to be changed back when we move out! This usually results in living with things we don't necessarily like about our house.

When we moved into our home on base, I knew the small downstairs powder room was going to be a challenging space to brighten up because of its size and shape. The room is narrow and deep in a hallway with little natural light; so it is usually dark. Like the rest of our house, the walls are bright white and textured so any DIY bathroom decor ideas needed to include color to brighten the space. We knew we would be moving and because it's on-base housing any bathroom vanity makeover needed to be temporary, removable, and inexpensive. For just a bit more than $100 and without paint, the small powder room was transformed using materials that could move with us to our next home.

Here is the bathroom when we moved into the house. The room felt cold, sterile, and dark despite the bright white walls.

small bathroom before

Because so many details bothered me, including the face-height towel bar nowhere near the sink, it was hard to decide where to begin. The 3-bulb vanity light was not very pretty and the sink itself had no storage or way to conceal the plumbing attachments. My main goal was to prevent that from being the first thing people would see looking into the room!

Vanity before photo

A serendipitous online clearance sale on rolls of blue vinyl stripes that perfectly fit the bathroom vanity wall width made the decision to create a striped accent wall an easy one. I love a red, white, and blue combination for a nautical-looking room; especially in a small one like a powder room.

I purchased two rolls of 10 pre-cut navy blue vinyl stripes for $28 for the accent wall.  I ended up using eleven stripes for the accent wall and although I was worried that it might be difficult for the vinyl stripes to adhere to a heavily textured wall, they stayed in place perfectly.


I found a wood look mirror at Homegoods for $32 and knew it would fill the area over the sink much better than the flat, boring mirror that was there and hold up to splashes or cleaning. We hung the new mirror right over the top of the old one so we didn't even have to worry about re-hanging it when we move. When I found a clearance three light vanity light with metal shades for $40 at Home Depot, the vanity area came together exactly how I wanted it to!

I shopped the rest of my house for the accessories we used. The blue whale was sitting in our toy closet.


By itself, it seemed out of place on the white wall but after adding metal hooks, rope, and a burlap ribbon, it fits perfectly next to the wood toned mirror over the sink.


After hanging the whale, the red lobster towel hook and red metal octopus joined in and basically turned the blue and white bathroom makeover into a red, white, and blue color scheme with a nautical/ocean theme I hadn't really planned but went with anyway.

Red bathroom accents

I added one of our red gas station number signs and moved the toilet paper holder back into the nook where the toilet is because it made better sense to have it there (base housing) and so it wasn't one of the first things you see looking into the room.


The red octopus looked strange to me on its own, like the whale did before adding rope and ribbon to it, so I used an old reclaimed wood frame to give it more of a space of its own.

The last things I added to the bathroom makeover were two $18 Ikea shelves that matched the same wood color of the vanity mirror and with metal brackets similar in look to the metal vanity light. The two shelves sit over the toilet and help break up the tall, plain, bright white wall.

bathroom shelves

I added a tall vase soon after installing the shelves and took away the happy sign which made even more of a difference in how stark and bland the wall looked back there in the little cave-like area where the toilet is.

For just over $100, our small base housing bathroom was transformed with a vinyl stripes accent wall, new mirror, new vanity light, and two floating shelves. Colorful wall hangings that we had on hand finished brightening up the stark, all-white bathroom. Even though it's not usually possible to make permanent or expensive changes to military base housing, try small changes like these to make your base housing feel like home!


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Making Base Housing Feel Like Home: Kids' Rooms

     I wasn't sure how living in base housing was going to be and worried about how I would make everything we own fit, how I'd make it feel like home without being able to change things that bothered me, and how I would be able to stand a completely white interior. Every single wall, ceiling, door, and inch of trim in this house is white. It's not that we couldn't paint if we wanted- we didn't want to. Who wants to paint a house only to have to return it to white in what could be less than a year's time? Instead, I slowly learned to like the way that most of our things work on a white wall. Today I'm sharing some photos of our son's room.

Kids Room Gallery Wall in Base Housing

     Since we are getting ready to move again, I'm trying to take photos of my favorite spaces in this house so that I'll be able to help the kids remember what we call the "Blue House."
Out of all of the white walls in this house, their walls were the easiest to brighten up. The kids' rooms were the first to feel like 'home' and even if they don't always remember these details, I'll be able to show them the photos.

Colorful Gallery Wall in a Kids Room

     Our son turned five not long after we moved here and his room is playful and full of bright colors. This little book wall is my favorite part of the room and turned what was a small, white, empty box feeling room into a space that feels happy as soon as you walk inside.

     The Noah's Ark mobile has hung in all of his rooms since he was born and even though he's outgrowing having a mobile in his room I plan to hang it in one more!

Colorful Decor for Base Housing in Kids Rooms

     The gas station number sign for his age and some of his own artwork combine with whatever objects come and go from the shelf. Our neighbor made him the lightning bolt and I painted it yellow.

Colorful Wall in Base Housing

The best part about finding ways to add color to base housing without painting- as we get ready for another move- is that all of these things are coming with us! I'll share some pictures of our daughter's room next time.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Stealthy Healthy Smoothie Recipe

I've come to realize that in our house, the food one child loves is often the food the other child can't stand. One loves fruit but the other won't eat it. One loves eggs and yogurt but the other refuses to try them. The list goes on and makes preparing meals more of a challenge than it should be. I've had success renaming foods to coax the kids to try them and our "power shakes" are the perfect stealthy healthy breakfast. 

Smoothies are a way for fruits, healthy fat, and dairy to go undercover as a sweet tasting "shake" and straight into the stomachs of little ones not always willing to eat them. They happily drink them down without knowing the secrets inside this stealthy 007-ingredient smoothie.

A nurse at our pediatrician's office suggested I use weight gain shakes to move our daughter higher up on the growth chart but I was concerned with the ingredients used in them and instead tried incorporating more healthy fat into her smoothie. My super healthy-eating friend suggested adding fats like cooked egg yolk and coconut milk to her drink and when combined with the avocado and high fat yogurt I'd been using, this stealthy healthy smoothie became our go to breakfast.

Stealthy Healthy Smoothie Recipe

A lot of people have asked me about using the egg, skeptical about whether their kids would drink it, but it's undetectable in ours. I usually eat the egg white myself so I make a batch every Sunday to last for the smoothies I'll make during the week. Boiling the eggs is about the only prep that goes into the week's smoothies. 

I use a coconut cream that's very thick and silky smooth instead of coconut milk. One can lasts for several smoothies and I just store the remaining cream in a covered container in the fridge. I also use half of an 8 oz. container of lemon or honey Noosa yogurt. We love it and have it on hand all of the time.

After adding almond milk, banana, avocado, yogurt, coconut cream, and egg yolk, I add about 1.5- 2 cups of frozen fruit and blend for a minute or two. I typically buy a large bag of a Dole frozen blend that has peaches, pineapple, mango, and strawberries in it. Using frozen fruit keeps the consistency of the smoothie icy and milkshake-like. If it's too watery, they won't drink it!

I've also added a tablespoon or two of flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed depending on which one I have and you could certainly add spinach or other greens if you prefer and have kids that will tolerate it! I've found that when I really press my luck and try to add too many things into the mix, they don't drink it.

Our kids both drink one full serving and sometimes have seconds and they both have a favorite cup that's just for drinking their smoothies.

Rather than waste any, I freeze the leftover mixture in these trays and add the cubes to a smoothie when I'm running low on any of the ingredients or just add to a glass of the juice they're drinking in place of ice.


1. Fill blender with 8 oz. almond milk

2. Add avocado, banana, and cooked egg yolk

3. Add coconut cream and yogurt

4. Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups frozen fruit (this recipe uses pineapple, strawberries, peaches and mango)

5. Blend until smooth and serve with a straw

Do you have any stealthy tricks or secret recipes of your own for getting your kids to eat healthy? 

Enjoy blending your own 007 style smoothie! Here's the Stealthy Smoothie recipe one more time:

Stealthy Healthy Smoothie Recipe

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