I found an old hard drive (10.2GB), network card (she uses wireless), and 128MB of memory. Her machine is now up to 256MB. I had some trouble early on with the screen sitting at GRUB endlessly but that appears to have resolved itself (mysteriously).
I ran the updater to retrieve the latest for everything already installed. I also added a few items such as a wireless LAN config tool, PDF viewer (I also installed the FireFox plug-in), etc. I've configured security to auto-login my Mom and allow me to remote in.
Finally, I installed Automatix2 to ease configuration (write-up). I actually found the Add/Remove software package dialog sufficient but a good tool noetheless. I still need to:
-Switch to strong passwords
-Configure SSH, DynDNS for remote administration/resolution
My new schedule is to "release" to Mom in mid January.