"We have backyard barbecues, we go to Walmart," Jon says of spending time with his kids

By Charlotte Triggs Kate Coyne
August 16, 2013 04:15 PM
Bobby Bank/WireImage

While Kate Gosselin is still adjusting to life away from the TV cameras, her former costar – and former husband – Jon Gosselin is quite happy outside the spotlight. Living in a small cabin roughly 30-minutes away from the house Kate shares with the kids, Jon is still miles away from the kind of adventure-packed life he used to have.

“It’s more rural, more of a farm community,” he says of his home now. As for his activities with his kids, whom he sees once during the week and every other weekend, he says, “We have backyard barbecues, we go to Walmart.”

Though the early days of sharing custody with Kate were fraught with legal wrangling and drama, these days Jon says his relationship with Kate is “civil.”

“We text. It’s moved from email to text,” he says. “We don’t communicate that well, so it’s better with text to leave emotion out of it. Really, all we’re dealing with is just transportation and logistics.”

And while Kate says in the new issue of PEOPLE that she still doesn’t fully agree with many of the choices Jon – who alternates between working IT jobs and selling energy-efficient products – has made, her ex is as capable of shrugging off her irritation as always.

Kate Gosselin and family

“I am way more laid back,” he acknowledges. “If they make a mess? Oh well. I live in a cabin. It’s not like it’s an expensive floor. So what? We’ll wash it.”

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One thing he does have in common with Kate? Looming money woes. With the bulk of the money they made during the heyday of Jon and Kate Plus 8 either socked away for college or long-since spent, Jon realizes there are big bills ahead.

“Feeding them is going to be super-expensive,” he says. “I spent $450 last weekend on food. They ate four pounds of shrimp at a restaurant – who eats four pounds of peel-and-eat shrimp? It’s almost comical. But they’re great.”