Why Ree Drummond Moved Out of the Home Where She Raised Her Kids and Into a 'Smaller' House

"We loved raising our kids in the house, but it had foundation problems and had developed a few problems that were going to be pretty overwhelming to fix," Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond tells PEOPLE

The Drummond family recently made a big change.

This winter, the Pioneer Woman star moved out of the home where she and husband Ladd raised their kids, and Ree spoke exclusively to PEOPLE about the downsizing. Their original house in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, which is the same one Ladd grew up in, was nearly 50 years old.

​​​​"It wasn't a charming 50-year-old house. We loved raising our kids in the house, but it had foundation problems and had developed a few problems that were going to be pretty overwhelming to fix," she tells PEOPLE.

But the Drummond family didn't have to go far. Ree, 53, who will appear on talkshoplive on Tuesday to launch her first outdoor Walmart collection, says the new house is still on the family's ranch in the same spot they've lived for 20 years.

ree drummond
Ree Drummond/Instagram

"We wound up building a small house right next to our regular house over the past year. And we moved into it in December," says the mom to kids Alex, 24, Paige, 22, Bryce, 19, Todd, 18, and foster son Jamar, 18.

Ree Drummond
Ree Drummond

Ree, along with Ladd and Todd — who's the only kid currently living under their roof — nestled into the new house in what seems like a record easy move, "We packed our things and walked across the yard — it was so funny — and moved in," she says.

Ree Drummond
Ree Drummond

Eventually, Ree and Ladd plan on building a "main house" and this new temporary space will ultimately serve as a "smaller guest house" where her kids can stay while visiting.

"When we build our main house, we're only doing one or two bedrooms, so it's not going to be a big mega house," she says. "But right now, we're happy in the guest house. And this may be our 'house, house' for the time being. It's very comfortable and again, simple. We had to be very selective about what we brought here."

The Drummond dogs are especially happy with one new feature of the place.

Ree Drummond son Jamar
Jamar in the Drummond's new home. Ree Drummond/Instagram

"They set up shop on the front porch. They each have their own little bed on the front porch," she says. "They're outdoor dogs mostly anyway, and they have a whole barn to themselves if they want to go sleep in the barn sometimes, but they hardly ever leave the porch if we're home. It's really funny."

While the Food Network star may almost be an empty nester, her lodge, the property on the ranch where she films her show, was full of her kids during the early stages of the pandemic. The Drummond kids all helped her film The Pioneer Woman show when her crew wasn't around due to conditions of the pandemic.

Ree Drummond celebrates Easter with family
Alex Drummond Scott/Instagram

"​​It's been an incredible bonding experience for the kids and me," she says. She even got to know Alex's husband, Mauricio Scott, even better as he helped film. "Alex and Mauricio weren't even engaged yet when the pandemic initially hit. And so it was a really great time for us to get to know Mauricio and just kind of have that purpose together during that crazy first few months," she adds.

The days of filming as a family are coming to a close: the last day the Drummond kids will serve as a makeshift camera crew is in June, right before the original show's crew comes back from the U.K. in July, Ree tells PEOPLE. But that doesn't mean they'll stop making appearances on the show entirely.

"We've all been talking and we kind of want to create a new version of the show that sort of marries the two eras — the kids shooting era and then the original," she says. "So it'll be fun to kind of see where the show goes when my crew comes back."

A huge plus of having her kids film the Food Network hit is that it "allowed me to really take the show in a more off-the-cuff, natural direction," Ree says, especially since she talks to them and jokes around as she's cooking on camera.

"It'll be so fun to create a whole new kind of a hybrid show," she says of the possibility of a project involving her kids.

Ree and Ladd are also focusing on getting their youngest, Todd, off to college as he makes his way through the football recruitment process. And once he's out of the house, she's excited for quality couple time.

"Ladd and I, we look forward to someday traveling a little bit. We really haven't done that beyond just going to Colorado for a week in the summer, but we'd like to actually travel places in the world sometime," she says.

When it comes to the home chef's appearance on talkshoplive, a livestream commerce platform, she's looking forward to not only showcasing her line of home and garden products, but also chatting more about her family with fans.

"I started out as a blogger, and back in the very old blog days around 2006, blogging was pretty interactive. I post and then the comments section would have real conversations," she says. "[Livestream viewers] can ask me how my dogs are or what's going on with my husband and things like that. So I think that's part of it to me because I've always enjoyed the connection."

Tune in on Tuesday, May 10 at 7 p.m. EDT / 4 p.m. PDT on walmart.com/live or talkshoplive's Walmart channel.

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