How to Build a Sweet Home Together

Change can begin with a sugar cube castle. This is a wonderful craft and teaching lesson that will help your children learn the importance of kindness and the power of words. A destructive habit comes to life and a "hole in the wall" paints a picture in the minds of youth. Use this analogy and activity to create something beautiful and uplifting in your home.

“That’s one memory I’ll never forget.”

That’s how the conversation began.

“I’ll always remember that sugar-cube castle,” our older teen daughter told me.

My mind did a quick shuffle, sorting through thousands of files, until the right image came up.  Oh, yes. I remember now.  But why? Why did that particular memory stand out so?

The children were young – six of them under the age of nine years. The youngest babies weren’t too much trouble, but the “older” girls were giving me grief. They had picked up the very bad habit of picking at each other. A little snide remark here and a slight put-down there.

It was a very destructive habit and I knew it.

So one night as I lay there crying out to the Lord for wisdom, this idea came to me.  It wasn’t one that I’d read about in a book or article; it just popped into my head out of nowhere. The nearest thing to a vision.

And in this dream, I pictured a little house made all out of sugar cubes.  It was beautiful and sweet, made with the hands of my own dear young girls.

Along with the picture came this particular verse:

The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands (Proverbs 14:1).

With that a plan was set in motion….

The very next day I announced enthusiastically that we were going  do a craft together. What great  fun!

So all that morning we built a lovely home made out of nothing but sugar cubes and frosted mortar. We were like sugarplum fairies in a storybook. And, oh, when it was done – such a charming sight to see!

As we worked, I shared with the girls that we were like the wise woman who builds up her home, adding a caution that we should be careful not to tear it down. To this they happily agreed and we all drifted into the kitchen to fix some lunch.

But good intentions are not always enough to overcome bad habits. And, sure enough, the little tearing-down remarks soon started up.

I didn’t say anything this time, however, but merely walked over to our Sweet Home and carefully, deliberately, pulled one of the cubes out of its special place.  A dark, gaping hole was left staring its ugliness at us all.

A horrified gasp!

Once again, I gently explained that every time one of us “tears” at each other, we are essentially tearing down our house. The reverse is true as well: each time we lift each other up, we are building it up.

So if that “hole” in the wall bothered them—and believe me, it did enormously!—it would help them remember what they were essentially doing to our own home. That if they wanted to build up, to create and to make beautiful, they would need to say something kind and uplifting instead.

After that, I rarely said a word. I would either quietly remove – or add – blocks as was necessary.

I can’t say how long this went on—maybe a few weeks? But this picture did more for them than all my lectures and corrections seemed to have done in the months previous.  I really do wonder now if it was a heavenly vision after all.

My hope is that it brings Good Memories – and a Sweet Home – for many years to come. And I hope the same for your home too. 

In His grace,

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  1. Oh Lisa, I needed this. We deal with this regularly and I feel as though my words are shooting into one ear and out the other. Definitely going to try this!

  2. This is exactly what I’ve been needing. Two questions: 1) Is that picture the one your family made? Lovely! 2) Any idea how many sugar cubes you used? Ballpark number?

    1. This is not the original one (I never thought to take a picture at the time!), but one that is similar. I think we used a box (or 2?) of sugar cubes. Then added white mints and other inexpensive white candies to “pretty it up”.

  3. This is amazing! Although we don’t have all girls, with two boys and two girls, I am definitely going to incorporate this lesson into our home life. Thank you so much!

    1. Oh, yeah, it doesn’t have to be limited to girls, for sure. Our oldest is actually a boy – it’s just that the girls were the ones who were struggling the most at the time?

  4. I will be using this but with older children, we will see how it pans out. They are boy 14, boy 10, and girl 6. Thank you for this post, we have had a wrecked, torn down house for awhile and it has brought me to tears many times. Hoping this has a lasting impression of my bigger children.

  5. WOW I;m telling my 2 daughter-in-laws about this idea! It can help solve almost any “problem” ie stealing, lying, hitting , bad grades, etc… Thank you for listening to the Father for such insight. <3 We can even encourage Bible reading with this idea… The possibilities are endless <3

    1. I think you’re right, Debby! The possibilities are endless. I’ve learned some new ways even through the comments left here. I hope it blesses this next generation of families as well!

  6. What a sweet idea and I mean that in more ways than one 😉 thanks for sharing

  7. This is a good idea. I think I will try it – not the house of sugar necessarily, but the crying out to God for wisdom part. My children (at least my boy) might be a little too old for the sugar house. But maybe God will answer my prayer with some real insite like he gave to Lisa.

  8. This is what I want to raise my children to be:

    If people look at you a bit differently, it is because
    you exude the worthiness of royalty. The
    way you carry yourself enhances your outer beauty. The words you say and the graciousness which
    you show to others, especially the disadvantaged, shows that you have wealth to
    give. Your love and worthiness exude
    from your pores and spills over onto everyone around you. When you enter a room, you light it up with
    the light of Jesus in your heart. When I
    look into your eyes, I see a weighty soul. You are slow to say a bad thing about someone
    else, and you quickly praise what is good and true. It will be hard for you to find a suitable
    mate to marry, because Kings and Queens are rare. You have an air of worthiness about you that
    cannot be taken away, even when you are put into rags and desolation. People long to serve you, because they see
    your worthiness to be served. There are
    some low life’s who know that they are not worth much, and they treat
    themselves accordingly, giving themselves over to debasing lusts and sins. Their tongues are dirty because they care not
    to cleanse them from filth and curse words. These low life’s observe you and how you treat
    others and can’t but help see the superiority that you exude. They will long to know how you got this inner
    beauty, and when you tell them it comes from Jesus, they will therefore worship

  9. I love the idea. My children are grown, but it is timely as I am working on a sermon about unity in the church. The same idea works for the church. When people pick at each other or create disunity they are tearing down the body of Christ, His Church one block at a time. I guess my sugar cube house will have a steeple!

    1. I admit that I’d not thought of this application, Charles, but would certainly apply to the church as well. Wow. I wish I could be there when you teach on this. Here’s to sweet homes with steeples….!

  10. How beautiful Lisa! I believe that was from the Lord. You asked Him for wisdom in a situation and he gave it to You! How awesome and wonderful our Lord is! 🙂

  11. Brilliant! I make a gingerbread nativity every year with and now in memory of our Boysies. They are all big grown men now, successfully launched from the original love nest to feather nests of their own…I refuse to say empty nest…me, my Dearheart of 30 years and our Gracious GLUE, the Lord make for a full house though quieter;)
    I LOVE the fact that you used sugar cubes to build a sweet home…for most of my life I have been so thankful for my parents teaching and example, to ‘think before you speak’ to ‘speak the truth in love’ and if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all’…Popp G-d modified that one as we can not always say something nice, but we can be kind, even when a helpful thing that needs to be said could be painful.
    I so love this example, for the church too…and I do so hope you husbands and wives will take the lesson to heart. We Can and must break old bad habits of hurting each other and we can start new healthy habits of building up-thank you for….., I’m so sorry I caused you pain, inconvience…..please forgive me and I forgive you for….

  12. Do you have a blueprint for how you assembled them sugar cube house or a recipe for the mortar? I have a 3year old daughter a 4 year old boy and a 9 year old boy. I would very much love to do this mostly for my husband and my nine year old. But i would like a few tips on how you made yours.

  13. Thank you for sharing this! I was looking for just this sort of thing to help our little family. I believe the Lord has answered MANY prayers!

  14. I read this a few months ago and then lost where I had read it. We have 5 strong willed girls, always wanting to be right and first , arguments and comments happen . It hurts this mommy’s heart to watch and hear it. I prayed that when we were ready to tackle this problem I would find this post again. The Lord answered my prayer .Thank you for sharing .

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