The trouble with having your kids' birthdays so close to Christmas is that they get inundated with presents once a year. That leaves you with 10 months with no real events to buy "new things" to keep the savages busy and entertained.
Circumventing this issue, (and storing fun things to whip out when the baby is grumpy and dealing with two toddlers is just too much) we have stashed away some awesome Christmas/Birthday presents in the closet to pull out on the fly when things get dicey.
Yesterday was one of those days. So out came the easel and magnetic letters. Hours of distraction = good.