Christmas Tour of Homes 2011 Edition

Welcome to our home!  I decided to link up with The Nester's Tour of Homes and Kelly's Tour of Homes this year because I love to see how people decorate!  Since having kids, my decorating has definitely changed.  I've let go of the fresh greens everywhere and things that are breakable and traded them for things that are kid friendly, cozy and fun! So I hope you enjoy the tour of our humble home...We won't be gracing the cover of Traditional Home anytime soon, but that's ok!  The smile on our kids' faces when we plug in the tree or show them their stockings make our style shortcomings seem pretty insignificant.  Merry Christmas from the Armstrongs!
I thought we'd start with our tree, which is where I've pulled our color scheme for the rest of the house from.  
Although I love all kinds of different color schemes at Christmas, we've gone with a true red for the last few years.
Although this picture doesn't give this corner of the room much justice, it really is so cozy at night to sit in here with all the lights on.  I think the glow of the Christmas tree might just be one of my favorite parts of December.
This is our newest addition to our living room and I just LOVE it so much!!  Trav's Uncle Ron made this for us and it is just gorgeous.  I think it looks so darling next to our tree and both kids love to climb up into it to sit and rock.  Ava especially loves to sit by the tree and rock her babies :) 
Isn't it pretty??  I think one of my favorite things about it, besides the fact that it's handmade, is that it's so incredibly soft.  It's been sanded to perfection and it's so smooth and soft to the touch.  I just know this will be one our family heirlooms that I hope to see my grandchildren in someday!  I'm sharing it with you not only because we love it but also because Ron has started to make custom furniture for customers beyond just our family!  You can click here to see his carpentry blog and get his email address if you're interested.  He's in South Texas and is unbelievably talented.  He built their home, which is also a Bed and Breakfast, and has handmade much of the furniture in it.  Check him out!

Some of our favorite ornaments that I love to pull out year after year.
One of our new additions from last Christmas is this Little People Nativity.
I pulled it out and set it up, along with a basket of Christmas books, and Travis said "Wow.  We're going to have a hard time keeping the kids from touching that."  Which totally made me laugh.  I assured him that they reason I put it out, was so that they could touch it and play with it :)  Ha ha.  I can tell you that they do love to play with it!  Especially Carter.  I find the Wise Men and baby Jesus all over the house, but I'm ok with that!  They seem to all return to their end table perch every night.
This is my real nativity that I'd rather not have them drag all over the house!  My parents bought us different pieces to this for years until it was complete.  Well, almost complete.  I still need the camel and a few stable animals I think, but I really love this set and look forward to setting it up every year.
I got this cute sign after Christmas last year and it's been fun to have this year!
I added a few little touches to my kitchen...
I love those little ornaments and put them on my stove every year :) 
I also love that picture because it was our Christmas card picture years ago, before we had kids and when we lived in North Carolina.  It's lived on our toaster oven for 6 years, along with that little mouse, which Ava loves to play with.
I'm looking for a big clock to go above my sink, but I thought that little garland was kind of fun to hang over that space
The addition of some Christmas napkins has been a delight to Ava every night for dinner!  She loves to tell us that it says, "Ho Ho Ho" and then she usually giggles about it :) I hope she always keeps that sweet innocence about her that finds joy in a cute napkin.  She'll probably become a napkin freak like her Mom!
I also hung these cute little wreaths on the back of chairs for something different this year.
I think I like them.  I'll probably look for some things to add to them for next year.  Maybe a small garland wreath or something else to put behind them? 
We don't have a mantle anywhere (insert sad faces) so this counter usually serves as a makeshift mantle for us.
I made some fresh centerpieces for our women's christmas event at Church and they sent one the vases I did home with me.  I was more then happy to bring it home, especially since I decided to skip fresh greens originally in my decorating!
It is just impossible to mess up Christmas greens!  They are so beautiful and the smell great.  Plus, I love the height on that countertop, I think I'll do the same thing there next year.
And here are our stockings.  We bought the kids new stockings this year as part of their gifts.  I just love them and had a hard time getting my hands on them before they sold out.  I'm hoping to send them to Faith after Christmas to get them monogrammed :)
I've had this Church for awhile and love to put it out but this year Ava loves it too!  She calls it her castle and pretends that people are going inside that door :) Too funny.
Always keep some candy canes around for my hot chocolate
 We decided to put little trees in the kids room this year and they just love them!
I'm waiting for these little tree skirts to go on sale at Target to put beneath them, but they turned out pretty cute.   I bought some ornaments last year on clearance for these and I'll probably do the same this year.
They love to fall asleep to the glow of their little trees and it will probably be sad when Christmas is over and we put them away :)
Carter's tree needs some more kid ornaments on it, but I did try to use the colors of his room so it looks cute with his crib bedding
And speaking of our little elves, here they are!
They hope you enjoyed your Christmas Tour of our home.  
But just so no one gets the wrong idea, here are a few pictures to show you what things really look like on a daily basis over here.  It's really easy to make these tours look "picture perfect" but sometimes I think that makes everyone else feel like their life isn't nearly as put together.
Worry no more!  My living room most often looks like this :)
And my kitchen like this.
I even gave in to those tacky, gel window clings today just to make this little sweetie smile!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!  I hope more than decorations, lights and trees, that Jesus is the main focus at your house like He is at ours!  I can't wait to tour YOUR home now :)


Mrs. Chupchake said...

Finally--a REAL house! Thanks for sharing your home with us. I like the 'unposed' photographs.

~Mrs. Chupchake

Laurie G said...


Can I just say THANK YOU for posting the "this is what is usually looks like" photos?!?! I loved seeing your decorating (while I may be creative with photos - decorating is NOT one of my strong suits)... but I really was thinking, "Wow - will I ever have this thing down?" Then... the rest of the photos... and I smiled! :)

It's beautiful, Steph... made even more precious by your love for the Savior we are celebrating and your love for your family! :)

Have a wonderful Friday, my friend!!

Joyce said...

I love the idea of wreaths on the chair backs...and your arrangement is beautiful! Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family!

Faith said...

So pretty, Stephanie! I really like the wreaths on the back of the chairs - darling!

And yes, please send the stockings to me...I'd love to do them for you!!

Jennifer said...


Maydelin said...

Pretty home!

Ron and Peggy said...

Looks so Christmasy! Love those colors. Did you decide not to use the ribbon/lights?

Amber said...

Great job! The little red and white church is super cute!

twinkietotmom said...

Very pretty! & your kids are adorable! Your little people nativity is the second one I've seen with different pieces than the one we have, you have trees & a few other accessories that ours didn't come with. I didn't know there were different versions! My kids love theirs.

Miss Charming said...

What a beautiful nativity and such cute kids. I bet they make celebrating Christmas such fun.

Unknown said...

Oh my word! I love your house. I kept scrolling through the photos thinking of all the different things I'd say I liked in the comments, but there were so many I forgot!

The rocking chair is really beautiful. I love your Little People's nativity and your Willow Tree one is stunning! Thanks for showing "real" life too. I will definitely be visiting your blog again! Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!