Etsy store is still closed due to upcoming kidney transplant March 12, 2014.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Kidney Transplant...Footprints in the Sand

Once I realized that Heaven's answer to my prayer
was a transplant, it became a lot easier to go along for the
ride. Even though there were many tests and pain through
2013, I consider myself very fortunate not to be on dialysis.
I know so many more people who were far worse off than
I am.

The waiting was the hardest (being extremely tired
much of the time). As time went on, I saw that I had
enough energy to get up, get dressed, go to my many
doctors appointments and sit in a recliner most of the
day. I know that does not sound like much, but being
at 10% kidney function and not on dialysis was highly
unusual for someone in my position. I was so fortunate
to also have a daughter that took time off work each week
to take me to and from appointments.

I also missed my friends at church and doing the
many things I once did, but I realized I needed to put
my health first or I would not be here very long. I needed
to slow my life down. Listening to my body more I found
out a lot about what it needed from me. As I listened I felt
a strength that was not my own. I also never had a specific
feeling that I was in jeopardy of losing my life.

I felt like someone else was taking care of me, like
in the “Footprints in the Sand” poem. The narrator in the
poem wonder's why the Lord had not helped them in their
time of need. The Lord replied “During your times of
trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I Carried You.” I feel that I have been living
that poem since I was first diagnosed w/renal (kidney) failure
in Jan. 2013. I feel the Lord carrying me daily. I don't
believe I could feel as good as I do with now only 7%
kidney function without His help. It is the best kind of
strength I have ever felt.

After much prayer, I decided to go to Utah to get
the transplant. They were on top of everything, rated
highly in the medical community, and I felt confirmation
that the University of Utah was the right place for me to
go. I left California in Oct. 2013 for Salt Lake City to
beat the snow. I found being in Utah a wonderful experience
and noticed an improvement in how I felt. All the while
acknowledging that the “Footprints in the Sand” poem
was playing out in my life on a daily basis.

I have grown and learned so many things of
significance through this experience. Do I wish this
experience had not happened? Surprisingly the
answer would be “No”. I feel like I have received
a college degree worth of knowledge and growth
through this journey. There are so many benefits
from what has happened for myself, my family,
friends (both new and old) and even strangers with
whom I have shared my story.

I feel a more intense desire to help people. I feel
more empathy for them than ever before. If I
can get through something like this, then maybe I
can give someone encouragement or help them get
through a struggle, or share the universal message
of hope.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Waiting for a Kidney Transplant...Faith precedes the miracle

            It was March 2013 (three months since I found
out my kidneys had only 10% function; kidney function
for a healthy person is 60-100%). I had been praying for
a miracle which wasn't going to happen in the way I had
hoped. I had to come to grips with that. I felt my prayers
were not being heard. My daughter suggested that I pray
for the Spirit to guide me (validation #1). I agreed, and
that night was a turning point in this life changing journey.
Finally, the answers started coming one after the other.

        The next evening a friend of my husband's visited
unexpectedly and when he left, my husband told me
of the informative discussion they had. His wife previously
had a kidney transplant a few years ago and was doing
fantastic (validation #2). I told my husband that I was
happy for her, but I really did not want a kidney transplant.
I was adamant about it.

          The next day I received a call at lunch from my
husband telling me he bumped into another close friend.
She is a nurse who works at many schools. It had been
months since he had seen her last. I asked if he had
told her about the kidney that time he said
he had not. He called me again later that day, and said that 
he bumped into her again. He told her about my 10% kidney
function. She said she had a very strong feeling that I
needed to get a kidney transplant before the end of the
year (validation #3). When my husband mentioned that, I
knew in my heart that the Lord was answering my prayers...
I needed a kidney transplant. Up to that point I had thought
a kidney transplant was the closest thing to death...not the
answer to my prayers.

            The following day I got up and turned on the
television. I was so surprised to hear the word donor
coming from it. It intrigued me because I usually never
watched that station. The show was about three different
people waiting for a kidney transplant (validation #4).  
I was glued to the set. I felt it was another answer to
prayer...for me to learn about kidney disease and
transplants... and I did.

          My mind and heart were making a complete 180
degree turn-around. Then, the next day our friend, the
school nurse (mentioned above) stopped by our house
with flowers and dinner. We had a great discussion. She
helped educate me about kidney transplants and their
benefits. She shared with me some things in her life
which connected to what she was telling me about
kidney transplants. (validation #5) Consequently, she
felt she was being helped by our discussion as well.

           I thought my prayers were not being heard. 
However, I realized that they were indeed being heard; 
the answers were coming through other people to me, 
one right after another. There were five validations that
the Lord was letting me know His will for me to receive
a transplant.

           Now that I knew what He wanted for me, I
researched the Internet and talked with doctors. My
nephrologist (kidney doctor) could hardly believe it.
When she asked what happened, I pointed to the
heavens and said I finally found out what He wanted.
I have been at peace with my decision ever since.

The next phase of growing and understanding was
about to begin.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Kidney Disease...The Power of Prayer

          Looking back to January 2013 I could hardly
believe the words out of the doctor's mouth. “You have
stage five renal failure with 10% of your kidneys
functioning.” He said it was not “life-threatening,” but
that was not true. After researching it on the internet I
found that it was indeed life threatening, and if I did
not go on dialysis the disease would be fatal. Something
needed to be done immediately.

          I was sent to a kidney specialist. A true God-send
for me. She is one of the best in her field, and I was truly
blessed the day she came into my life. She did a lot of
tests from head to toe to rule out causes. She immediately
had me get an iron infusion and a Procrit shot to help do
what my kidneys could no longer do.

         During this time I prayed for a miracle and expected
one. I believed I had faith to have one, since I had
previously experienced major health scares. Maybe
I was praying for the wrong thing.

         My prayers for a miracle were ongoing. I had
Priesthood blessings which gave me much peace and
comfort. I had many people praying for me which filled
me with gratitude for such love, support, and being

          However, I did not feel my prayers were being
heard. That was one of the hardest times through this
experience. I had previously received fast answers to
my prayers that I was shocked when I felt I wasn't
receiving any answers. That went on for three months
with no answers. It felt dark, and I hated that void in
my life...not feeling that my Heavenly Father was right
there with me. During that time I had some depressed
days; Let's call them “pity party” days. Thank goodness
they were few and far between, but I learned and grew
through them all.

           One thing I discovered was that I needed to
mourn the loss of my kidneys like the death of a loved
one. I was going through the emotions without realizing
it, essentially experiencing the five stages of grief.

            I was lucky. I went through the denial, some
depression, and then acceptance. Most of the time, I
just wanted to know what Heavenly Father wanted me
to learn from this so that I could move on. However,
I quickly learned that my time was different than His,
things were on His timetable, he had numerous things
for me to experience. It was going to be an interesting

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Kidney Transplant: A Journey of Hope


             It has been a long time (approximately 1 year) since I
have updated or written on my blog. The reason being, I found
out January 2013 that my total kidney function was at 10%;
normal is between 60-100%. When your kidney function goes
down to 15% or less you usually need dialysis to function on a
more normal level. My kidney function is currently at 7%, and
miraculously I am still not receiving dialysis. I consider it a
             Most people know little about kidney disease...I was
one of those people. However I changed that! I researched and
educated myself, and am now in the process of preparing to
receive a kidney transplant in the near future.
               That's the good news! The bad news is knowing that
the majority of people do not know that high blood pressure,
diabetes, and Ibuprofen contribute greatly to the chances of
kidney (or renal) failure, that more than a 100,000 people are
on a waiting list for a deceased donor's kidney or that you only
need one kidney to function and live a normal life.
                I am one of the lucky ones with five living donors
(family and friends) offering me one of their kidneys so that
I can live. This is one of the most humbling and wonderful 
blessings that has come into my life. I will continue writing
on my blog about the high and lows of the journey and what
I have learned from this challenge in my life.
                 It is my hope that by writing about this experience, 
people everywhere will become well informed about this disease...
to help you, your family, friends and maybe even inspire some
changes in thinking about and considering organ donation that
saves lives.
                I invite you to come and join me in this journey of hope and enlightenment...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Easter Decals

These are very beautiful... Easter glass blocks... You can have Happy Easter
 or a Name made to put on the block. (You can get the blocks at Lowe's or Home Depot.

For more info on ordering visit our santasgiftshoppe Esty Store. Here is our store link:

Here is a link to the item featured:

Easter Tubs with Name/Dots Decals

Can be used for Easter & then a catch all for toys later...or for a Newborn with all the newborn goodies in it.

Other uses
could include for a College Dorm..Apartment.. Kid's room..endless ideas!!

Most of all it's just Fun Vinyl Decals which
personalize anything!!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Special Oreo Treat

Great idea for Teachers, neighbors, family, or sweetheart.

Well, I have a Delicious "TO DIE FOR"
St. Patrick's Day TREAT..."CHOC/MINT
(See Photos BELOW)

Supplies Needed:
Oreo Mint Cookies
Parchment/wax paper
White & Green Candy Melts
Lollipop/Sucker Sticks/bags
Curling Ribbon/or Twists

1) Lay out some Wax Paper on counter top.

Take Oreos & separate them (See Photo

2) At 30 sec. increments..microwave Candy Melts.

3) Take a Lollipop Stick & dip into
melted candy (will look like a Q-tip) &
place in middle of Oreo. Press down
softly into green frosting)

4) Place top of Oreo on top ofstick & press gently..Let harden
(about 5-10 min) See Photo BELOW

5) Dip hardened Suckers into melted
coating (making sure all sides & edges
are coated) See Photo BELOW

6) Decorate however you choose. I
used green sprinkles, Green Candy Melts,
White nonpareils (See BELOW)

7) Decorated & protected by plastic bags
these delicious "Choc/Mint Cookie Suckers"
are ready for gift giving...Friends, Neighbors,
Co-workers are going to ask you for the RECIPE!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Peanut Butter/Chocolate Reeses Cookies

BUTTER CUP COOKIE....Loaded with Reese's
Pieces, Mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups,
Chocolate Chips, Peanut Butter & a Chocolate
dough...Wow that's chocolaty.......

These would be great for a special occasion.
I found these on a number of blogs, pretty much
the same recipe, This one was adapted from
Kitchen Cafe ....(I didn't put the 1 cup of peanut
butter chips that was in the original recipe & you
may want to do that)....


1 Cup Butter, (softened)
3/4 C. Peanut Butter (creamy or crunchy)
(I used crunchy)
3/4 C. Sugar
3/4 C. packed Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 1/3 C. Flour
1/3 C. Cocoa Powder (I think I would use not
as much..... maybe 1/4 -1/2 Cup) decide
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1 Bag Reese's Pieces

~Note: Cut the Peanut Butter Cups in half
(gently) and put in refrigerator or freezer
til ready to use. Original Recipe said to
freeze first.......(but 1 blogger stated she had
problems cutting them after they were
frozen)....we don't want problems like that...

Preheat Oven to 350F.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together
softened butter, peanut butter, white sugar, &
brown sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a
time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa,
& baking soda; stir into the creamed mixture.
Mix in chocolate chips, & Reese's Pieces (hand
stir them in so the shells of the Reese's Pieces don't
get broken).

I used a Cookie Scoop to have each cookie round &
look more uniformed. I also used a Slipat Cookie
sheet liner...(they are the BEST non-stick liners!!!)
These are 2 of my Favorite Kitchen Items......Push one Peanut Butter Cup half into the center of
each ball of dough. Bake for 8 to 10 min. (My oven
they were done at 9 min. (You don't want them to
fall apart so make sure you let them cool completely
before lifting them off the cookie sheet).....ENJOY!!!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Day Dessert/FAST & EASY

Here is a FAST & EASY Dessert for the ones you
love... It's just a Chocolate brownie cut out with a
heart shaped cookie cutter...topped with a scoop
of vanilla ice cream, Chocolate sauce dipping
down the sides..& a Chocolate heart place on top!!!
It looks harder than it is..I promise...

1 box of Brownie mix (any kind)
ingredients for brownies (eggs, oil, & water usually)
vanilla ice cream

For Chocolate Hearts on Top:
1 bag chocolate melts (from Walmart or Michael's)

For Chocolate Sauce:
3/4 c. heavy cream
2 cups chocolate chips

1) Make brownies as directed on back of pkg.
(cool & set aside)

2) To make Chocolate Hearts
Take 1/2 a bag of chocolate melts and microwave
for 1 min. on 50% power...then continue at 30 sec.
intervals at 50% power stirring after each one
(until smooth & shiny)

(Line a baking sheet with wax paper for the hearts
to be placed on & to dry)

Take melted chocolate & put into baggie (that
is not pleated) or small Ziplock bag with spoon.
Grab & twist bag tightly at top so chocolate doesn't
come out & cut a tiny bit off the corner so you have
a small hole that you "write" a heart on the prepared
baking sheet. Make as many hearts as the baggie will
hold or that you need. Let cool (I put them in the
refrigerator to speed up the process.) Set them aside

For Chocolate Sauce:
Melt chocolate chips in microwave @ 50% power
for 1 min & then 30 sec. intervals until melted
(Stirring after each interval) stir in cream slowly
to blend & is smooth & shiny

Putting it all together:
1) Cut brownies with heart shaped cookie cutter
2) With ice cream scoop put 1 scoop of vanilla ice
cream on top of brownie
3) Make sure the Chocolate sauce is warm & with
teaspoon drip some sauce on top of ice cream.
4) Place a Chocolate Heart on top of ice cream &
Chocolate sauce....Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Super Bowl Party Potato Skins

Whether it's  Football Party time or Anytime
is a great time for these appetizers..Potato Skins
filled with whatever you love (cheese, bacon, chives,
sour cream) These are from Daisy brand sour cream
recipes. These are super easy to make.

6 sm. baking potatoes
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 tsp. grill steak seasoning/or seasoned salt
4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 c. shredded cheese (I used Mexican 4 cheese)
4 strips bacon, cooked, crumbled
3/4 c. sour cream
2 tsp. snipped fresh chives (optional)

Lightly grease outside of potatoes, cut a small slit
in top & Bake @ 425F. for 45 min. or until soft.
Let stand until cool enough to handle,
about 15 min.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise & scoop out
cooked potato, leaving a thin layer of potato
interior. (Save cooked potato for mashed potatoes
or hash browns.) SEE (2) PHOTOS BELOW:

Brush outside and inside of skins with melted
butter. Sprinkle inside with steak seasoning &
Parmesan cheese. AS SEEN BELOW:
Place on lightly greased baking sheet (I love
& used Silpat Liners from France) Bake
8 min. or until crisp & bubbly. Fill with
your favorite cheeses & bacon. Bake 3 min.
or until cheese is melted. Top each with a
dollop of sour cream & sprinkle with chives.
(optional..I don't like chives so this is the
end result) SEE BELOW:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Christmas Glass Decals

Christmas is only 40 days away...Families together..
wonderful memories...Great Dinners together. These
Vinyl decals are so fun, fast & easy to put on inexpensive
glasses as a wonderful gift & memento from a great time
together. You'll be amazed at how fun & easy they are to
put on a glass. For more info on our Etsy santasgiftshoppe
or to order before our store closes..CLICK HERE
This one is a bit different than the Name/Initial
Christmas glass decal. It's a set of Merry Christmas'
These would look so beautiful on a Christmas Table.
For more info on our santasgiftshoppe store & this

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner Glasses

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. Here is an idea for your Thanksgiving table. To have personalized glasses for each member of your family (or guests) You can purchase Personalized Vinyl Decal Sticker Names for each (Glasses not included)

You have the fun of putting the sticker decals on the glasses as well as the compliments when asked who did these?

These can be found in our santasgiftshoppe ESTY store...CLICK  HERE

Be sure and order EARLY for Thanksgiving & Christmas Gifts.

santasgiftshoppe will be open until Nov. 22nd (THANKSGIVING) then we WILL BE CLOSED UNTIL Jan. 7th. 2013 (so we can enjoy the holidays with our family & loved ones, too.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's that time again!! Hoot-Owl Cookie time!!!
Start a new tradition...I did this with my girls when they were little just as my mother did with me when I was little...It's a great bonding experience as well as a fun Treat for School parties, etc.

 Recipe Below:
 HOOT OWL COOKIES(Look at their different Personalities)

FYI: This Classic recipe was a Pillsbury
Bake-Off winner for Natalie R. Riggin
of Olympia, Washington in 1956!!!

I just learned that this year!!

My mom never told me where she got it...
It was just a FUN Cookie tradition
we did each year!!

1 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
80 semisweet choc. chips (1/3 c.), 40 cashews
1) In a large bowl, beat brown sugar & butter for about
1-2 min. scrapping bowl occasionally, until light & fluffy.
Beat in vanilla & egg. On low speed, beat in flour, baking
powder & salt until dough forms. In a small bowl, place
1 cup of the dough stir in melted chocolate & baking soda
until well blended.

2) On a 12x8-inch sheet of plastic wrap, press half of the
light dough to form a 10x4-inch strip. Shape half the
chocolate dough into a roll 10-inches long; place on strip
of light dough. Mold sides of light dough around chocolate
dough; wrap in plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough.
Refrigerate 1 hour for easier handling.

3) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each roll into 40
(1/4 inch) slices; place 2 slices, touching each other, on
ungreased cookie sheets to resemble owl faces. Pinch
corner of each slice to form ears. Place chocolate chip in
the center of each slice for eyes; press whole cashews
between slices for beak.

Helpful Hint: To buy only the cashews you need
you can buy them at Winco in bulk & save money
not buy a whole can..(but they are soo good!!)

4) Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light
golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie
sheet to cool....ENJOY!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Halloween Treat/Monster Eyes in Hot Chocolate

I think I have told you..Halloween isn't just for kids!!
I have alot of fun myself during all these holidays til the
end of the year especially..Making lots of great Family
Memories/Traditions that never end..That's the
Best Part...the family memories..

Well....the above photo is my attempt to make
"Monster Eyes" which I found @ The Farm Girl
website..great blog...check it out!

Supplies to make Monster Eyes:
2 Big Marshmallows
2 Black Jelly Beans
2 Lollipop Sticks

Take a lollipop stick end & stick it in the jelly bean
then stick it through the Big Marshmallow & put it
in the hot chocolate...Have a laugh!! The weight of
the lollipop stick helps it to not fall over so much but
it will fall over a little..depending on which way you
put the jelly beans you can give them different
personalities sorta like "Mr. Potato Head"
Has anybody seen his "angry eyes"? I love Toy Story!!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Faces of Halloween

 Here are some different fun faces and Monograms
 we have in our Esty Store.They have been a lot of fun.
They are Vinyl Decals...different sizes/prices..
Come check them out!



Hope you have a Safe & Fun Halloween!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Halloween Personalized Candy Buckets

Halloween is just around the corner & a number of my
customers are purchasing these bucket Vinyl Decals for
their kids Halloween buckets for their candy. It's cute, fun
& affordable.

You buy the bucket & tell us what name/font  &
color you would like & we will do the rest. You have
the fun of putting it together with your child. Transferring
Vinyl decals to any smooth surface takes only a few minutes.

Instructions included.

Available now in our Etsy Store..Here is the link to this item:

Here is another link to a Boys Bucket:

Have fun browsing.......

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Homemade Ice Cream Drumsticks...Fast/Easy Dessert

It's 110 degrees in Central Calif. this week & I have a great way to cool off...with these Homemade Drumstick Ice Cream Cones. They are as good as store bought if not better (you can put more ice cream in the cone & nuts on top!) The Simple/Fast & Easy Recipe is below. Have Fun!!!
I found these on the Internet (cannot remember where though) I made these a few days ago with rave reviews from my husband & the family & my husband has been asking for them almost daily since. Here are the How to's:

***Ingredients needed:
Ice Cream Cones
Vanilla Ice Cream (we used reduced Vanilla Ice Cream & could not tell the difference)
Hot Fudge Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping
Planters Peanuts (lightly salted)

***Before you begin chop up peanuts, place in bowl...set aside.
Pour some Magic Shell into a small bowl to dip ice cream cone in... set aside.
Scoop ice cream in the cone making a rounded mound at the top.
Dip ice cream cone in Magic Shell & twist all around covering all the ice cream.
(at this point it will be a little drippy so I had a fan going close by & it helped it set enough to put the nuts on top (do not just dip cone into nuts) & place in the freezer for about 15 min.

***The hardest part was to find something that I could stand it up in the freezer with.
I came up with a plastic food container & put a plastic tall glass in it and put the cones around it for support.This was so they would not fall over before they were frozen.

***It worked out well & tasted delicious.A GREAT FAST DESSERT anytime...Try it! You'll love them!

Monday, August 6, 2012

New Items for BACK TO SCHOOL

It's that time of year again..BACK TO SCHOOL for the kids. So I thought I would show you
our NEWEST Back To School Items going into out ETSY store this week. ABOVE are Backpack ID's.Great for not mixing your kids backpack up with everyone else. You can put your cild's name on it or Initial & on the back it has the Name/Address/Phone/Email for any lost backpacks to get back to you.

                                          I.D. Insert included in Backpack Tag item.
Notebooks have changed a little since I went to school. They are a lot more colorful & fun now...Like this one with a Name & assorted vinyl dots.
I love these Pencil Boxes. They are so bright & practical.They can even be make-up boxes or filled with your kids favorite things. You can put your child's name on them with their favorite color of dots.
Hope you got some ideas for Back to school for your child. If you would like to visit our ETSY stoe HERE IS THE LINK: santasgiftshoppe

Have fun getting ready to Back To School.