Jon and Kate Gosselin had the end of their marriage play out in the tabloids and on their reality show, Jon and Kate Plus 8, but the single mom says tensions have finally calmed between the exes.
"It's just naturally gotten more peaceful, which is good," Kate, 36, told PEOPLE on Friday. "He's working now, which is great. He has somewhere else to put his attention, which is good."
Although Kate considers her parenting skills "very different" from Jon's, she believes whatever he's doing is working.
Who says elephants love peanuts? In an exclusive first look at a new episode of Kate Plus 8, Kate Gosselin and her kids prove that the animals have a thing for bananas.
"Australia Adventure," which airs Monday (10 p.m. ET) on TLC, follows the Gosselins as they travel to Australia – a 21-hour trip with eight kids! – to ring in 2011. The adventures that await them include camping, a boat ride out to sea to swim with sharks, meeting with Australian aborigines to learn about dancing, didgeridoos and boomerangs and a trip to the Australia Zoo in Brisbane to feed the elephants.
So much for camping!
On Sunday's episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska, the former Republican vice presidential candidate invited fellow reality star Kate Gosselin into her home and out into the Alaskan wilderness for an overnight camping trip with their kids.
Though the women hit it off at first, bonding over paparazzi woes, Gosselin, who arrived with her eight children in tow, became uncomfortable pretty quickly. Palin did her best to prepare – and frighten – her guest during a bear safety course, which included a segment on shooting guns at a firing range.
"I can't say I'm a gun advocate," Gosselin said, "but ... if I had to use a gun to save my kids, absolutely [I would]." And she did, firing off a shot for target practice.
When it came time for camping, it was the rain, rather than the bears, that worried the women. Though Palin was determined to have a good time, Gosselin admitted she didn't understand the appeal of being in the great outdoors where it's wet and cold.
After taking care of some unusual household chores, Kate and her eight are heading to the Big Apple.
In a new Kate Plus 8 special, Kate Gosselin takes twins Mady and Cara and her sextuplets Alexis, Hannah, Leah, Aaden, Collin and Joel to New York City by train for some sightseeing, including a trip to the Statue of Liberty, Chinatown and Times Square.
While riding in a double-decker bus, Kate decides to stop to get ice cream – cookie dough, cookies and cream, vanilla or chocolate? – for the kids. Well, it's been a hot summer in NYC, and after scooping up eight cones, Kate, with production assistants Danny and Clark trotting in her wake, sprints in heels back to the bus as the ice cream melts. "It instantly started ... streaming down our arms, dripping off of our elbows and I thought, we will run or we will be handing the kids puddles."
The new Kate Plus 8 airs Monday (9 p.m. ET) on TLC.
Summer is a time to get things done in Kate Gosselin's household. "I'm home now, post Dancing with the Stars, here I go," she said during Sunday's double episodes of Kate Plus 8.
The first order of business: construction of a chicken coop and starting her own little egg farm. "I buy four, five, or more dozen eggs a week," she said. "That's it, we're getting chickens."
And so they did – with the help of Farmer Dave and Farmer Dan, who trucked in an easy-to-assemble coop for 16 chickens and one rooster.
The whole clan pitched in to help, a phenomenon Kate dubbed the "Farmer Dan Effect."
"The kids were willing to carry pieces of the coop and in no time all of those pieces were in the field," she said. "These are moments that make me very happy. The kids were suddenly very willing to participate ... It was a family event – we're putting together our chicken coop."
The Gosselin gang is about to get bigger!
On a one-hour special of Kate Plus 8, Kate Gosselin gets chickens for the family -- as pets.
And now that the supermom has hung up her Dancing shoes, it's time to get to work. "I don’t want to get wet," she says, as she pressure cleans the side of her house. "Whoa, I got wet!"
It's only been three weeks since Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek placed second behind winner Nicole Scherzinger on Dancing with the Stars, but the skater says he's still dancing in his dreams.
"I dream that I have to go out and dance but I forgot to learn the routine," Lysacek told PEOPLE at his 24 Hour Fitness and Coke Workout Sweepstakes event in New York recently. "I've had that dream two or three times ... The music starts and I'm like, 'Oh no! We didn't have time to learn it.' Then I would wake up and realize it was a dream."
Despite the occasional nightmare, Lysacek, 25, looks back fondly on his DWTS experience, calling it "remarkable." He's cherishing the memories as much as the new friends he made on the show. "I've kept in really close touch with the entire cast," he says. "The I met were the best thing I took from being on the show. We all walked away with a new family."
And that includes Kate Gosselin, with whom he says he's in constant communication. "Kate is in New York right now. We've been texting each other back and forth and we're trying to get together," he says. "We are very close. She is the sweetest woman in the world. We were instantly friends and everyone really loved her on the show. We missed her so much when she left. She's hilarious and she's always joking around. I don't think she ever said a serious sentence."
It's official! Kate Gosselin is returning to TLC with a new reality show, Twist of Kate. And in even bigger news for fans of the original Jon and Kate Plus 8, her eight adorable children will also be back on TV in several Kate Plus 8 specials. Twist of Kate will feature Gosselin responding to fan letters from those inspired by her story as a means to profile women in their own challenging situations while the Kate Plus 8 specials will focus on her life as a single mother and costar her eight young children.