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<<roughly $500,000. She currently has all that money in CDs, earning about 6%, and she insists that she only feels comfortable in FDIC insured investments.>>

Well, nobody's mom and dad listen to them, so you're in great company there.
Sounds like mom is risk-aversive. If she can live on 30K/yr, she'll have better peace of mind sticking with her strategy, but there are jumbo CDs that will do better than 6%. Here are some links:

http://bankcd.com/list.html

http://www.fisn.com/rates.htm

http://bank.imoneynet.com/savings/

http://www.money-rates.com/cdrates.htm

https://deposits.providian.com/
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