I live in the Coeur d'alene area (Post Falls), and I highly recomend it. Most areas of Coeur d'alene itself I wouldn't want to live in, but you might take a look into the towns in the area for something cheaper. Post Falls, Rathdrum, Hayden, all are good. And while the snow isn't everyones favorite thing, if you like wintersports like skiing or snowboarding, its a great place to live. Easy driving distance to at least 5 great ski resorts.
Yup Meridian is very close to Boise, about the only way to tell when you cross from one to the other is the occasional sign "Entering Meridian" or "Entering Boise". Most of the time you just know when you cross a particular street you are in one or the other. It is a great place to live.
I have lived in Idaho all of my life. It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. You are about 30 minutes away from the lakes if you like to boat, 10 minutes away from the rivers if you like to fish and 45 minutes away from the most beautiful camping areas. Traffic is a minimum, if you have lived in California, you can bet it will NEVER be anything like their traffic. The mall is in the center of the city, so 15 minutes MAX from any direction. It is safe; crime is VERY low. And if you have kids they can even attend Boise State! All in all, I would rate Idaho the #1 place to live.