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Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond Dishes on Juggling Fame and Family, the End of Her Show and More (Exclusive)

Ree Drummond has a very full plate. In addition to her popular Food Network show The Pioneer Woman, which is in its seventh year, the Pawhuska, Oklahoma–based star, 48, maintains a vast culinary empire (a namesake magazine, retail collections, cookbooks and a general store, plus a boarding house on the horizon) and, as she puts it, “keeps the home fires burning” for her family of six: husband Ladd, 48, and kids Alex, 20, Paige, 17, Bryce, 15, and Todd, 13.

Us Weekly recently spoke to the lifestyle guru, who also just signed on to help revamp the iconic Pillsbury Bake-Off, to find out how she manages the chaos and prioritizes what she dubs as “the things that feel authentic.”

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Ree Drummond Pioneer Woman
Ree Drummond attends The Pioneer Woman Magazine Celebration with Ree Drummond at The Mason Jar on June 6, 2017 in New York City.

How do you balance everything you have going on?

For me to answer that would imply I have balance. It’s hard for us girls; we take on the burdens of everyone in our lives. We have to really find balance, not that guys don’t too. Balance is always something I’m working on and striving for. It’s very nice to learn how to say no graciously and pick the things you feel good about. I start to picture, “If I do this, it’s time away from my family.”

What’s a typical day like?

It’s hard to give a typical day because it just depends on what’s happening. I get up extremely early — at 5 a.m., sometimes before that — and have a big iced coffee. I have cold brew in my fridge at all times! Sometimes I’m making food to deliver it to the guys if they’re working. If I’m shooting my show, I try to get rid of my puff eyes and head to the lodge and start shooting. Some days I go into our store and restaurant, the Mercantile in our small town, and spend some time in there getting things done. Never a dull moment. In fact, I aspire to dull moments!

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When do you get a rare one, what’s your favorite way to relax?

I would like to say I read a book about history, but what I really do is watch Real Housewives. That is my guilty pleasure. When you watch a show for as long as I have you really become attached. I not only enjoy watching Real Housewives, I enjoy trying to analyze why I watch Real Housewives; that is part of the fun.

Are there things your kids like to film and certain things they don’t want to be involved in?

My kids are pretty good sports. If it’s time to film, they’ll film, and then they’re happy to take the mics off and go on with their lives. We try to film them mostly when they’re already doing something and not manufacture situations. Right now, they’re weaning calves — helping their dad and balancing school and sports. I love that my daughters have grown up just like the boys; they all help out.

How often do you get involved in the ranch?

Oh, not at all. First, I wouldn’t be much help. Second, when I got home, there would be so much to manage.

What does a typical date night look like for you and Ladd?

We’re going to sound so old when I say this, but it’s going to Tulsa and having a big steak dinner and beautiful wine and dessert. Then we almost have to be carted home! Sometimes we go for drives. Usually we either listen to country music or ESPN radio — some kind of football analysis going on that I turn way down because it’s killing my vibe.

For a night in, what do you cook?

I hate to be clichéd, but it’s usually steak. I’ll do a mushroom wine sauce for me. Twice-baked potatoes are his kryptonite. Then some dessert in the form of warm chocolate cake or brownies with ice cream and all that good stuff.

How does opening a boarding house fit into your packed life?

It just feels right to be building it in our hometown. It actually sort of feels like the movie Field of Dreams. At the very least Ladd and I are excited to go have some dates there! We can do a little staycation situation, just check in for a night and be with ourselves.

Is there anything that would make you stop filming your show?

We’ve always approached the show with an open mind. I don’t have a checklist of things that would make me stop doing it. We just reevaluate and make sure it’s working for our family.

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