updated 12/23/2011 6:59:40 PM ET 2011-12-23T23:59:40

A 5-year-old girl from suburban Seattle sent a letter to Santa attached to two pink balloons, and it ended up in the hands of a Northern California ranching family who say they'll make the girl's wishes come true.

Helen Cardenas, of Auburn, wrote the note in Spanish, asking for a doll, a tea set, shoes and pants, KOMO-TV reported.

Her mother, Rosa Cardenas de Beyes, helped send the note Dec. 2. She said she has been out of work and cash has been tight.

"I didn't know what to do," Cardenas de Beyes said. "So I always told her we would send a balloon to Santa because that was a tradition when I was little."

The note ended up nearly 700 miles away, in Laytonville, Calif.

"My son Lane just came home from Christmas, so we were out on the four-wheeler in the middle of our 17,000-acre ranch, when we saw what we thought was garbage," said Frank Sanderson.

"Para Papa Diosito," the letter began, scrawled in Helen's handwriting.

A Spanish-speaking ranch hand translated the letter and called the phone number that was written along with an address. The Sanderson family drove to the nearest shopping mall to find gifts for the little girl, and they planned to ship them Friday.

"We're just hoping the gifts get there before Christmas," Julie Sanderson said. "For the balloons to make it this far down here and for us to find it, is just unbelievable."

Helen Cardenas is a miracle herself, according to the KOMO report. Her mother became pregnant 17 years after having the second of two sons. Helen was born prematurely when her mother was just 28 weeks pregnant. But she grew up into a healthy, happy girl, the TV station reported.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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