By Heather Leszczewicz Special to Published Dec 30, 2006 at 8:47 PM

New Year's isn't just the time for partying, although it's the predominant thing to do. There are also the people who spend the time at home with family, a quieter celebration. For a long time, that's been my New Year's. It's predictable, but definitely not ordinary. Every year there's a get together on New Year's Day at one family member's home to eat, drink and be merry. New Year's Eve, however, the kitchen's bustling and bubbling in preparation for a midnight meal plus a few superstitious elements going on outside of the oven and stove.

Prior to midnight, there's a table full of cooked into circles and spheres, anything round. The round shape represents money in the new year. The more dots, the more money. So we've got mini corn muffins, meatballs and sauerkraut or Swedish meatballs, spinach balls and tons of Filipino food like siopao (a round, steamed bun with a meat filling; I prefer chicken) or carioca (a fried dessert slathered in coconut and a sweet, gooey sauce). Sometimes there's flan and another dessert that involves tapioca, I can't remember or pronounce the name, but it's good.

Besides the round food there was the requirement of being bedecked in at least one article of clothing that had circles or polka dots. When I was younger I'd steal a couple of my dad's ties and wear them all at once. I especially enjoyed the obnoxious yellow tie with smilie faces that either my brother or I had given him one year.

At midnight, all the lights in the house must be turned on as well as all the doors open. This signifies the welcoming of a new year and letting out the old.

It's a superstitious tradition, but, to me, it's as common as people sharing a kiss or clinking champagne glasses at midnight.

Heather Leszczewicz Special to

Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.

However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.

Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson. 

Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.