I can empathize MamaBear. I found playdoh to be of help, but you have to corral them on the tile if you have carpet otherwise you'll be pounding the dried bits out of the carpet with a hammer. Hide and seek is also a good game, especially if you can get them to count to really high numbers, also if you can hide really well, it gives you a five minute breather.
Getting them to clean up their own spills, or cleaning it up together helps, actions actions have consequences, we make a mess we clean it up sort of deal.
Also water play in the tub while you read a book is a good breather, if you have the time to breathe. A few butter or yogurt containers, a tub some food dye a cushion for your butt on the potty, this is as good as it gets. If you have wireless and a laptop you can even surf while they play.
A timeout can help. I could never get mine to stay in one though. Sitting on her wasn't an option.
Have you tried meetup.com for playgroup info? It looks to be a good place to go to find other mommies, though I can't find a group close enough to me to go.
I'm having a rough morning with mine too. I got a call from a teacher telling me that mine pitched a fit and yelled at her. Seems a little boy gave my daughter $5 for something. Then he wanted it back. My daughter didn't want to give the money back, so the teacher made her do it. And my daughter got really upset. The teacher started to explain to me how these parents work really hard for their money and my girl couldn't just keep the little boy's five dollars.
The teacher doesn't seem to understand that not only do I stay at home, but I freelance part time, my husband works overtime plus is doing construction on the weekends to make extra money, we have no cable television, we have no free healthcare or lunches and right now my 1996 car has broken down and we don't know a mechanic in the area to fix it or if it's even worth it to fix since a head gasket is probably blown. We probably wouldn't even have an internet connection if I didn't need it for work. For my daughter to have any spending money at all is a really big deal and for a little boy to give her five dollars and then take it away is really hurtful. On top of that the teacher tells her to understand his feelings and needs and she has to give the money back to the kid. Now granted, the little boy shouldn't have given her the money if he needed it, and should get it back, but the teacher could take a moment and realize the hurt is all around. She is usually pretty kind and was understanding about most things, but she didn't seem to get it in her head that I was in no shape or form rich or even well off and this was a big deal to my daughter.
My daughter is having trouble at school emotionally. She does great academically, but this is a very rigid public school that was pushing religion on the kids. At least that stopped this year. She just can't control her emotions when things are unfair to her. And it doesn't seem like anyone is cutting her any slack either. As much as I'm frustrated by her lack of emotional control, I feel her pain and understand.