“In our minds, this became the best place to be for our family,” she tells PEOPLE of the ranch they moved to full time in 2010. “It’s quiet and there’s a different way to living here.”
Adds the Grey’s Anatomy alum, 38, “Our time is centered around being home and being together … it’s grounded. I think we just appreciate the quietness of this lifestyle. There is just more time for each other.”
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Though she travels to L.A. for work (she filmed Doubt while pregnant with Joshua Jr.), “I had to make a change so I could literally stay home in my leggings and my flannel and craft all day if I wanted to and not be ‘on,’ ” she says. “Being ‘on’ is a whole other job.”
That more laid-back life is conducive to growing her family, and she’s totally ready for that.
- For more on Heigl’s life with her new baby and her red-hot career, watch the full episode of People Cover Story: Katherine Heigl and Joshua Jr., available now on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) and at People.com/heiglbaby. Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the app for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, Xfinity, iOS and Android devices.
“Nancy Leigh is my very, very smart, very compassionate, very big-hearted little gal,” Heigl says. “She’s totally Mommy’s little helper and loves being the big sister.”
“Adalaide has so much just inherent self-esteem, which I am so proud of and so grateful for,” she adds. “When you’re raising girls, you want them to be confident and you want them to love who they are. With Adalaide, I’m not gonna have any problems with that.”
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Madison (Heigl’s older sister Meg’s daughter) lives with Heigl and Kelley to focus on equestrian activities.
“This kid is a horsewoman, and that’s what she wants to do,” says Heigl of her niece, who FaceTimes with her mom back home in L.A. and goes to visit as often as she can. “We’re just part of the village that’s helping raise her.”
An added bonus of having Madison around? “She’s such a good example for my girls,” says Heigl. “She’s passionate and committed to what she loves.”
Heigl seems to have found a serene balance in her life now.
“I know I’m always going to want to act and be a storyteller,” she says. “I can do that and then do what I have to to promote that, like making sure [I] look great, having a cute outfit, losing that baby weight.”
“But when that is done, [I can] go home and completely turn that part of my life off. And that, to me, is very necessary.”
For more from Katherine Heigl, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.